Here is a war-time letter from Jim Craven (my uncle) to his sister Margaret (my grandmother):
Jim mentions Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, and Leyte in his letter. These are places in the Philippines. Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines, was captured by Japanese forces in 1942. Jim was part of the invasion force that brought the island back under American control.
Here is information from Wikipedia about the USS Monitor LSV-5, the ship that Jim served aboard:
“USS Monitor (LSV-5/AN-1/AP-160/MCS-5) was an Osage-class vehicle landing ship built for the United States Navy during World War II. She was named after the original USS Monitor (the first ironclad warship commissioned by the Navy), and was the second U.S. Naval vessel to bear the name.
“Following shakedown in Chesapeake Bay, Monitor steamed via the Panama Canal to Pearl Harbor, arriving 10 August. Loading troops, cargo and amphibious DUKWs, the ship joined the 3rd Fleet off Leyte in October, participating in the landings at Leyte Gulf on 20 October and then removing wounded for transport to Morotai. She returned to Leyte with reinforcements 14 November and then sailed for Sansapor where she reloaded troops and equipment for the invasion of Luzon. Steaming for Lingayen Gulf, under air attack much of the way, the vehicle landing ship put her assault force ashore 9 January 1945 and then stood by in support, shooting down an enemy aircraft that night with only 28 rounds of 40 mm expended.
“In the closing days of January, the ship took part in two invasions in support of the Lingayen operation, the landing on San Felipe and La Paz on 29 January, and the landing of Army Rangers on Grande Island in Subic Bay on the 30th.”
Note that a naval censor removed something from the letter. Also, I believe Jim wrote down the wrong year; the Battle of the Philippines occurred in 1945 (January 22, 1945 was a Monday, too).
Finally, here is some of the Japanese money Jim got for my Dad as a souvenir. The things my Dad really wanted, such as a hand grenade, were fortunately off limits!