June 1946 – May 1947
June 17, 1946
Dear Mom & Dad,
Well today started off pretty bad. There was a heavy rain falling and the breakfast was not very good, but things have become exceedingly brighter this afternoon.
Today I was assigned to my permanent company. It is General MacArthur’s Honor Guard.
This company does not belong to any division, regiment or army, and we take orders only from General MacArthur and his staff.
We are now stationed at GHQ (General Headquarters) in Tokyo just two blocks away from the American Embassy. Eric Orzelius and three other fellows from Mass. are here with me. Oh yes we are living in a large hotel.
In our hotel we have our own PX, movie, snack bar and swimming pool. We have beds with springs, mattresses, pillows, sheets and a pillowcase. It doesn’t sound like much but write Ed and tell him about it.
There are only 300 men in this company. It is the only company that has its own shoulder patch authorized by Congress. That’s 300 men out of the whole army.
We got into this co. “because of our high IQ” and the men in this company have to be between the height of 5 ft 10 and 6 ft 2. Anyone under or over this height is ineligible. They say we have the best deal in Japan.
The next time you see Gen MacArthur in the newsreel, look carefully at the soldiers around him and maybe you will see me.
In this company we do not have any KP or any other details. We work four hours and off for twelve, but the longer we are here the less time we have to work (after six months we are on four hours and off for forty-eight. I should be a PFC within two weeks.
In this company they have a jeep that is used only by members of our company for pleasure trips only. It is used by rotation by the men in their off time. When it’s my turn I will be able to see quite a bit of the country.
They have quite a good baseball and basketball team here, so Eric and I will have to work pretty hard to get on it. We will get a lot of good experience though.
I’ve often heard about guys getting jobs like this in the army but I never imagined that it would happen to me. It must be the luck of the Irish and the skill of the Swedes.
PS: I will write again as soon as I can buy some stationery, and as soon as I get some more details on the work we will do, besides guarding Gen. MacArthur and his family.
[Eustace “Bud” Erickson died Jan 31st, 2009. His wife Barbara gave us permission to print one of his first letters home after he was assigned to the Honor Guard. His words bring back torrents of memories of our own “early days” with the Guard.
Bud’s glowing report of the benefits he expects to enjoy is quite different from those of us who followed him, circa 1949-1951. We have to wonder if other Guards of that era recall those rewards.
As a courtesy, we’ve added Barbara and Bud’s granddaughter Christine Parker to our list as Associate members. Editor]