Mother Nature was in a nasty mood when Jack Frost reported in, “Look, Jack,” she said, “I don’t often complain when you goof off, but this is really the limit. When I sent you out to bring autumn to all the northlands, you overlooked one place. And here it is almost Christmas.”

“Yeah? Where?” snapped Jack, a bright-eyed, sharp-nosed gnome.

“Iwo Something-or-other,” said Ma Nature, looking through some papers. “Here it is—Iwo Jima. I know you missed it because South Wind reported she heard some GIs griping about the unseasonable heat.”

“Dammit, Ma,” snapped Jack, “you should never of made Iwo Jima in the first place. If you hadn’t got so stewed at Jupiter’s party and heaved into the Pacific—“

“That’ll be enough of that kind of talk, Jack,” said Mother Nature. “That happened 23,000 years ago. Besides, I would have been more careful if I’d known it was going to be inhabited by anyone but Japs. But now there are United States troops there, so we’ve got to do something, quick. Get your autumn paints and grab the afternoon typhoon to Iwo.”

Three days later Jack Front was standing in front of Mother Nature’s desk.

“Well, my boy,” she beamed, “how did you do on Iwo? Did you paint the leaves all gold and brown?”

“There aren’t any leaves,” he muttered.

“Then get some, immediately, from the warehouse, and put them on all the trees.”

“There aren’t any trees on Iwo,” objected Jack. “You’ve been neglecting the place for a long time, you know.”

“Well, we’ll have to do something for the boys there,” she said. “We’ll have to make up for this somehow. I’ve got it—it’s getting close to Christmas. We’ll let every man on Iwo have whatever he wants for Christmas this year. Tell Santa Claus I said this has an absolutely No. 1 priority!”

So Frost got all the first sergeants on Iwo to hand out printed blanks (WD AGO Form 35-1440, Christmas Wish Questionnaire), and when they were filled out Front gathered them up and took them to Santa Claus.

“Don’t blame me for this, Santa, but Mother Nature says you will grant these requests from Iwo.”

“To hell with her,” beamed the kindly old gentlemen, a vicious twinkle appearing in his eyes. “She’s getting too damn big for her britches. I hate working under a woman. But I’ll certainly grant those requests from Iwo all right. Anything for a serviceman. Nothing’s too good for those boys. Unfortunately I was kept out of the last 63 wars, on account of my essential occupation—“

“Yes, yes,” snapped Frost, “I know.” He began to open the Christmas blanks.

“What do the boys want?” beamed Santa “If it’s promotions, b’gawd, they’ll get them, if I have to bring a new T/O to every outfit on the island. I’ll see that every man on Iwo gets a shaving kit, or shower clogs, or fruit cake, or whatever he wants. I can fix anything—after all, I’m Santa Claus!”

A deepening frown appeared on Frost’s little hatchet face. “These forms all seem to be the same,” he said. “Every man on Iwo wants the same thing—a piece of paper.”

“Paper!” beamed Santa jovially. “Why, that’ll be simple.” He leaned back and puffed on his pipe. “I’ve never let a serviceman down yet, Frost, and I certainly won’t start now. Nothing’s too good for them. We owe them an eternal debt and gratitude and—“

“All they want,” said Frost, “is out. A discharge paper. Every single one of them—“

“What?” cried Santa, leaping to his feet. “Discharge? Jeez, who the hell do they think I am? After all, the point system—transportation is tough—must finish the job—you know. I’m only Santa Claus for cryssakes, I’m not Superman.

—Pfc. Arthur Adler

-Iwo Jimawwii cartoon discharge iwo jima

For More Reading Check Out:

I’m Staying with My Boys: The Heroic Life of Sgt. John Basilone, USMC

Deadly Sky: The American Combat Airman in World War II

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