World War II Diaries of Ernest F. Easterbrook, 1944–45

The diaries of Ernest F. Easterbrook describe his service in the China-Burma-India (CBI) theater, a little-known part of the campaign in Burma. Easterbrook was assigned to be General Joseph W. Stilwell’s executive assistant in Burma in 1944. Later that year he commanded the 475th Infantry Regiment, at that time the only US ground combat unit in the CBI theater. He led the regiment behind Japanese lines to cut the Burma Road in an effort to support Chinese troops from Burma linking up with the Chinese Y-Force, which was pushing the Japanese out of southwestern China. This led to the reopening of a land supply route, the soon-to-be-named Stilwell Road from India to China.

Map from March 26, 1944, Earnest Fred Easterbrook Papers, Hoover Institution Archives

"Sat. Mar. 18. Wet and road in one hellish mess from Walawbum to Tingkwak...."

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Joseph Stilwell Diaries

Joseph W. Stilwell, 1946. Photo courtesy of John Easterbrook.

In addition to chronicling his career and activities up to and following World War II, Stilwell's diaries offer insights into his developing character, as he matured from a twenty-one-year-old second lieutenant, fresh out of West Point, to a mature four-star general officer.