My father served in the 43rd Division in the 169th Infantry Regiment. They served in the South Pacific and Central Pacific campaigns. He liked to talk the most about campaigning in New Guinea. He recalled one story about being in his foxhole one night and nearby he heard something metallic scraping on the ground. He sweat out several hours in the dim moonlight looking for what had to be Japanese infiltrators coming to cut his throat. The scraping periodically continued and then stopped. Still he could see nothing. It was the longest night of his life and finally the sun rose. It was then his infiltrator revealed himself. A land crab had taken his canteen and was dragging it away. He made a pet out of the thief and painted him olive drab. Tojo was his only pet during the war.
In another story my father told me that he was surprised that when on New Guinea that he spent some of the coldest nights in his life. The cold was numbing at night and they did not have proper gear. My father said he just couldn't get a decent night's sleep. Then one night he settled down to shiver through another sleepless night. He managed to drift off and then he felt warmth. He had the deepest and most restful sleep of the whole campaign and cursed the sun that work him from such a great sleep. It was then he realized that he had is arms around a wild boar that had crawled into his foxhole and had snuggled up against him. Apparently the boar was cold as well.
There are more tales to tell but we'll save those for the future. Here's to you Howard Julius Del Bene. We miss you.