Letters Home From The War: Part 1November 2, 2013
Compiled by Martha Rasche
James Himsel wrote home to Haysville to his brother Robert and his parents. Himsel will be 88 next month and lives west of Jasper. One letter includes a reference to the Jerries, a nickname for the Germans. The letters were shared by his daughter Wanda Haas of Jasper.
Aug. 30, 1944
Basic training in Texas
... I am writing this letter in my tent out in the woods. The reason I am writing this letter now is because we are off whenever it rains and it has been raining around all morning. You mentioned that you didn’t know what course I went through when they shot over my head with machine guns. Well, that is called the infiltration course. You thought that we should hear the wolves and coyotes howling at night. Well, Robert, whenever there is an Army camp nearby there are no wolves or coyotes, because it scares them away. However, the Texans here say that if you go farther from an Army camp you can hear them howl at night. By the way, yesterday was the first time I seen a real coral snake. It is the prettiest snake I have ever seen, and I am quite sure that you would say the same thing.
... You always tell me to let you know when I get to drive a bulldozer. Well, so far I didn’t get to drive a bulldozer yet, but I have driven a 21â„2-ton truck.
... Our rifles always have to be in tiptop shape. Tomorrow we go out on the machine gun range but I don’t have to go because I am on kitchen patrol. I guess after I’m in this outfit several weeks, I’ll have to learn how to take the machine gun apart and clean it and lots of other work. An engineer nearly has to know how to do mostly anything.
... Yesterday I got my new rifle, an M1, and I worked on it about five hours to get all the grease off it. It was packed in grease, as you know that all new rifles are always packed in grease. There were not very many who got new rifles. I guess us who got new rifles just didn’t have good enough rifles to take across. You wanted to know what kind of clothes we got. Well, we got all woolen clothes and we figure to move out next week. Well, I guess we won’t go to the Pacific Coast after all on account of our clothes which were issued to us. I am pretty safe in saying now that we are going somewhere along the Atlantic, most likely New York. However, I do not think we will stay in Europe. I think we will move from there to the Pacific, because it is safer to that way than the Pacific.
... We are now in the Fourth Army. Another reason why I think we are going to the Southwest Pacific is because we seen a picture today on malaria control. It will not be long and you will receive a card which will have my future address. Right now we don’t hardly do anything. Almost everyone is laying around the barracks and this is also what we done last week.
Feb. 1, 1945
Well, the headlines looked good today, the Russians being only 45 miles from Berlin. Here some engineer outfit is doing construction work and the Jerries are helping them every day. Some of these prisoners look as if they were only 12 to 14 years old, which they probably are.
Maurice Leistner of Dubois wrote letters home to his wife, Alice. He referenced the point system that would be used to determine who would be eligible for discharge first. Points were awarded in several categories, including number of months in service and number of months overseas. The letters were shared by their son and daughter-in-law, Gary and Ruth Leistner of Dubois.
Sept. 9, 1943
Camp Riley, Minn.
... So far I have been getting a letter from you every day and I sure enjoy reading them. I wish I could save them and read some of them later on, but the way I have been sending them home is the best way for me to save them.
... The eats are getting smaller all the time. We only have rations for 85 men now and there are 104 in our company.
May 4, 1944
... I’ll warn you not to lift any heavy boxes, please. I know how you were at home. If there wasn’t anyone there to help you, you would try and do it yourself. You little devil — never was afraid of work. I wasn’t, either; I could lay down beside it and go to sleep. Ha! Ha! Like I told a guy the other day, I never done very much in my time but what I did do was a little of everything. I’m rather proud, at least I know how to work; some guys I know can’t do that. That’s the advantage a small-town guy has. By gosh, some can’t even build a fire.
... p.s. Send candy, cookies, peanuts, anything to eat.
... This evening we get six bottles of beer per man, a month’s ration. I think it’s French beer.
... I was planning on sending you another money order, but who knows, maybe I’ll get a chance to visit Paris.
... The apples are ripe and the last few days I have eaten my share. About all they have here and that’s orchards. These people use plenty of cider. They drink that instead of water.
... Our commanding officer read us the points we need to go home after the fall of Germany and it seems I’ll be in this Army a long time. Ha! Ha! The way I figure I only have about 13 points. As long as I know you are taken care of, things won’t be so bad. I’ll gladly stay in the Army, just so a complete victory is won.
... This morning I finished my drawer in my foot locker, very handy. Living from a barracks bag is the most unhandiest thing in this sorta life and in some ways handy. Frakes is sewing and said for me to tell you if you want any done just send it over here. Ha! Ha! I’m sure if you could see some of the things we do you would laugh and laugh. We get by, though.
... Almost too tired and sleepy to write but I’m so happy this evening so I’ll try and write a few lines anyway. I got 21 letters this evening, 10 from you and the rest were from the folks and Sis.
... Gosh, Darling, I sure miss you very much. Hell, I lay awake at nights dreaming of you. You are so plain in my mind, I can almost see you. Funny, isn’t it, how a person dreams. It’s the only thing that keeps a guy going, thinking of the loved one he left behind.
Tomorrow if I have a few hours off I’m washing clothes, only fatigues and I only boil them and wring them out, good enough for me. It sure will be good to get in some real nice clean clothes washed by a little lady who knows her stuff. One thing I’m not ashamed to admit that I really never realized what you done for me until we were separated. Gosh, Honey, a wife is everything a man would want in this world.
... p.s. Send cigarettes and eats.
... Frakes gave me a haircut, a very short one. You should see me. All the boys kid me and say I look like one of the Krauts. Ha! Ha! Honest, it’s the handiest to have it short. These damn helmets only mess up one’s hair if it’s long and doesn’t look like anything. Understand?
... Listen, Honey, whenever the time comes for my discharge from the Army, they can go to hell about a physical checkup as far as I’m concerned. All I want is out of this Army. Maybe they give you a big story in the papers how stiff a physical one gets before coming overseas. Well, let me tell you right now, it’s a lot of bull. I never said anything before — it doesn’t do any good — but since you said something about it, I wrote the truth. I know several buddies of mine that haven’t got any business in the Army. Every day one can read in the paper where some popular guy in sports or otherwise is getting discharged or either rejected from the Army for the same thing ails these guys I know. Then they say all men are created equal. By gosh, Honey, sometimes I wonder and wonder a damn sight more just why we are fighting. Personally, I know what I’m fighting for and that’s to live free with the one I love, a little redhead who lives way down south in Indiana.
Jan. 24, 1945
... I only have 200 franks ($4). That’s not enough to go to town so I’ll wait a few more days until I ask for a pass. Four bucks in the States is a whole lot; here it’s not worth very much.
... How are all the folks around home? Still kicking, I suppose, and griping because they can’t get everything their hearts desire. What a world. Sometimes I wonder if people in the States really realize there is a war going on. Most of them do, I suppose, but then why do they complain all the time?
... Also got the paper. It sure gets here in record time since you are mailing it first class. Rich sure had a nice write-up. He probably will be back in the States before long. The lucky devil, but I suppose he earned it — 36 missions are many a headache. ... The only bad part about the paper is that there is always someone home on furlough. I envy those guys.
... For some time cigarettes were few and far between. Now we get our regular seven packs per week. Keep on sending, only not as often. I smoke plenty more than seven packs a week.
... Yes, Honey, you are right as to where I’m located and it’s not Paris. How did you guess it? The town isn’t worth a damn anymore, can’t get anything to drink except champagne and beer. All the joints caught selling cognac, etc. to G.I.s are closed by military police. And another thing — too much brass keeps a guy busy saluting.
... Sure was glad to hear Rich is home on a 21-day furlough but am sorry to hear he must report at a rest camp in California. That probably only means one thing: South Pacific, here I come.
... What’s so funny about wanting a thimble? My fingers are sore. Ha! Ha! I’m not worrying about you forgetting how to cook. That you’ll never do and as for me griping about the food that is one thing I won’t do, not for some time anyway. All in all, Darling, I’ll be pretty well satisfied just being around you. No one realizes more than I do what it has meant being separated from the one you really loved.
Joseph Caroll Gregory met his wife, Hazel Murray, when both were students at Ireland High School. They got engaged before Gregory joined the Army, but they didn’t marry then because he didn’t want to leave Hazel a widow. After Gregory left for war in 1943, Hazel went to work at a munitions factory in Evansville and then to Inland Steel in Gary, which was producing materials for weaponry, for two years. She always said she had a vested interest in working in the steel mills as a Rosie the Riveter helping to produce war provisions: She wanted her fiancÃ© to come back home safely. He did, on Oct. 31, 1945. The two married eight days later. The first letter here references C-rations, precooked canned food that fell behind A-rations (fresh food) and B-rations (packaged unprepared food) in desirability. Gregory’s letters to his wife were shared by their son Dan of Loogootee.
April 3, 1945
Basic training in Texas
... We’re out in the fields and it rained last night. We’re eating C-rations too, so the package I had about four days ago is really coming in handy. It’s almost all gone except for a cigar or two. Things will be straightened out in a few days and we’ll start getting our mail and rations regularly again. These bad times always hit ever so often so it’s nothing new or unexpected.
Camp Atlanta, France
... I had thought I wouldn’t write anymore because I was coming home and they keep saying every day that we’re leaving here tomorrow. It’s about to drive me nuts. I think we will be on our way in a day or two now because some of the other outfits are starting to move from here. We would probably be on our way if they hadn’t gone on a strike in the harbors on the East Coast around New York. Those dock hands were getting $1.25 an hour and a 44-hour week, too. If some of those soldiers don’t shoot up some guys when they get home I’m going to be surprised as hell. They say that they expect 8 million unemployed next year. We don’t like that, either. If they’re going to wipe their feet on us, we’ll cause trouble. We do their fighting and what do they do? Piss on us.
... p.s. I forgot to tell you. I lost my billfold on the trip down here. Lots of pictures, money, my address book that had all the boys’ addresses, my pay book and your lock of hair.
While Vincent J. Fromme of Jasper was serving in the U.S. Navy, his wife, Cyrilla, was pregnant with the couple’s third child. Daughter Donna (now Collignon) was born Nov. 4, 1944. The Mehringers referenced in one letter were the family’s landlords. Fromme was a deep-sea diver, or frogman, and the cat’s eye gemstones that he used to make jewelry were among his underwater finds. Doctors surmised that the breathing problems that resulted in his being hospitalized throughout his time in the Navy came from the deep dives. The letters were shared by Fromme’s daughter Carolyn Kuntz of Jasper.
... Honey, I’m waiting for the next mail call to find out what the baby is, a boy or girl. The suspense is killing me.
I wrote to Mother and to Lenore; don’t know when you all will get them, but I bet that when this war is over I won’t write another for 10 years. Haha.
... In the paper that I’m sending you’ll see the reason why we don’t know what to write about: They censor the letters. It is a good idea, though, because if they didn’t we would be putting too much in the letters.
Honey, I filled out papers so you will get 20 more dollars for Donna. I don’t know when you’ll receive it but it will start from the time she was born.
May 10, 1945
... Honey, in your letter you said you were going to write Mehringers and ask them how much they want for the place. If you buy it, buy it through the building loan. To tell you the truth, I don’t know what to say. Maybe you should wait. I’ll let you be the judge. Here’s what I had in mind. What would you do if they sold it to someone else? If places are so hard to get, you would be up the stump.
I’m glad to hear mother got her heart (jewelry). I was beginning to think that someone else got hold of it. I don’t see why dad made such a big fuss over it. The work on them wasn’t any art. But we don’t have too much time to work on things like that. We work on things like that after evening chow.
... I hope this letter finds you all in the best of health. As for me, I’m in the hospital. I don’t think it’s anything too bad. There’s something the matter with my nose and throat and have been having trouble with my breathing. I hope to be back on the job in a few days. There still a lot of Japs to take care of and one can’t do anything laying on his back.
It’s been quite some time since we had any mail. They are most likely using the planes to carry the wounded back to the hospitals.
By now you should be eating things from your garden. Wish I could sink my teeth in a nice fresh radish.
... Darling, I’m afraid you’re in for a big letdown if you’re looking for me to be home for Christmas. I hope you’re right. But this war is not over by a long way. It’s not as far along as the people in the States think. It looks like we’ll have to stay here to the end.
... Darling, I think you had better tell the babies that I’ll be home for Easter. Then they won’t be disappointed.
Peleliu, Palau Group
... Well, it won’t be long now till we can write what we wish to. Today we heard over the radio that they are going to knock off censorship. It will be nice to be able to write and know that everybody won’t know your business.
This hospital life is the life. One can hear anything and everything. I bet the war gets fought over at least 10 times a day. They have Army and Navy and Marines in the wards together. So you can see they all think their outfit is the best.
... The doctor told me today that I would be leaving here this week. I really think cool climate will help me. It’s a hell of a feeling to feel well and not be able to breathe.
... I’ve been feeling a little better the last two days. If we don’t get out of this place soon I’ll be all cured. The scuttlebutt is we’ll leave here Tuesday. Transportation has been tied up for two days on account of the storm.
Darling, I have a bracelet for you. It’s like the shell necklace. I’m sure you’ll like it very much. I’ve been selling cat’s eyes here in the hospital for $1 and some of them $2. You know how it is — got to transact business some way. I don’t have the machines to make cat’s eye necklaces.
I bought myself a new watch yesterday for $40. It’s a waterproof, 17 Jewel. And also a lighter for $8. So I turned around and sold my old watch that has taken a beating for $35. So that left me $5 in the red for a new watch. Got to figure out a way to make that today. ... I’ve got to have $1,000 on my hip to come home with. My baby is going to want a new house one of these days. By the time I get home, counting my muster-out pay, we should have close to $2,000. That will give us a nice start.
The hell of it is we’ll be needing a car, too.
Harold C. Bartelt of Huntingburg wrote from Germany to Sister Sophia Bartelt, his aunt who worked at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville. The third letter excerpted here was from a friend, Harold Tauss, to Bartelt’s parents. The letters were shared by Bartelt’s granddaughter Cassie Heile of Holland.
Sept. 16, 1945
... Our Division is now in the Army of occupation. I hear that we might move to Berlin but I don’t know for sure yet.
It don’t make much difference if one is in a division that is for occupation or if he is in one that is going home, because all of the divisions that go home are filled with high-point men and they put the low-point men in occupation divisions anyway.
... I have been in the Army now 14 months and have been overseas eight months. I hope I don’t have to stay here too much longer. I don’t like this country.
... I am just fine. I am driving a jeep now. I like it just fine. I almost got a trip today to Frankfort but for some reason things changed at the last minute and they didn’t have to send a jeep down there. I would have liked to have gone. It would have been a couple days’ trip but it would give a person a chance to see some different country.
January 3, 1946
... First of all, I am Harold’s friend from Chicago, Ill. Perhaps he has mentioned me but if not, he and I were pretty good buddies. I think he is a pretty grand guy myself and so does everyone else around here.
And it might interest you to know that in combat he was a very good soldier, worker and friend, believe me. Since the end of the war, he has been just as good a soldier but he certainly appreciates his home and wants to go back to you for good as soon as he can.
I want to thank you for the packages that were received and eaten by the guys around here. The one from Sister Sophia, whom I know is Harold’s aunt, contained candy, cheese, dates, razors, swell cake, socks, cigarettes, etc. plus some toilet articles that a guy certainly can use.
The one from his sister and brother-in-law and his nephew was full of good things to eat also — especially the cookies. The handkerchief to uncle Harold made me laugh because my name is Harold also and I have two nephews.
Also got the box of cookies from Virginia and the box of popcorn and cookies from you folks. They sure were good and appreciated.
I sincerely hope that Harold doesn’t have to come back here after his furlough and that he can come home to you to stay soon.
Thomas Knowles was in the Army Air Corps from the time he was 18 to when he was 22. It is uncertain where he was when he wrote some of the letters, which were sent to various family members. The Sept. 25 letter references his very dark suntan causing confusion about the color of his skin. The letters were shared by his daughter Penny Spangler of Jasper.
June 7, 1943
... I suppose you’ve been keeping up on the news reports so you know about our latest victory. My home (a tent) is now near a small native settlement where just a few families live. They own cows that like to moo a lot and bulls that try and make little cows right in front of our tent (excuse that statement) and jackasses that bray in the middle of the night, dogs that howl all right, roosters that wake us up in the morning and sheep that think our tent ropes are something to eat. Our tent is right in the pasture near a community water well. At this well the natives water their cattle and the women get their washing and cooking water.
... We give the little kids some of our candy rations and they go nuts over it. I’m in good with the old man of one of the families and the other morning as I was just rolling out of bed one of his youngest daughters was there at the tent flap with about a quart of fresh milk and a couple of fresh eggs (no bacon).
... Sometimes after night chow we get a gang and a truck and go down to the sea for a swim. Where we go to swim are two sunken Axis ships. One of these is pretty well under water and when I swam out there, about 500 or 600 feet out, I only could find a bell, which I brought back for a chow bell.
The other ship is about the same distance but it is only sunk in a sandbar in about 12 or 15 feet of water. This one has a tank and two Jerry jeeps on it and a lot of ammo, bombs, flares, land mines and equipment. We’ve built a raft and hauled the most valuable stuff off. The stuff in the hold of the ship is mostly full of water but the other day I dove down in and hauled out a case of Jerry rifles and a lot of other stuff. I found a Jerry sailor’s blouse with an insignia on it so I took the insignia for a souvenir.
... You know the story about the desert playing tricks on your eyes. Well, it’s true. Last night I was on the last shift on guard and as I was walking around our well-dispersed planes I noticed one in particular. It seemed as though two men were monkeying around this plane that was about 600 yards away. There was a full moon out last night; that’s why I could see so far at night. It seems to me that these men were dragging something, then they would stop and rest, light a cigarette. I could even hear a mumble and a cough now and then.
I snuck up on the left flank of them. They seemed to work slower as I came closer. I came closer and they still labored at what they were doing. Then I went around the plane and they had stopped working. The cigarette was out now and I couldn’t hear any mumbling. I worked up to about 50 feet of them and that’s when I was about to yell, “Halt.”
I looked real hard this time and what do you suppose I saw? It was just a couple of barrels and toolboxes and other odds and ends. It sure did give me a scare, though. The cigarette light I saw must have been a light from the camp in back. And the sounds I heard. Well, in the stillness of the night, any sound will carry for a long, long way, especially out here.
... It must be pretty hard trying to figure out that point system. When I get home you will have to show me how it works cause I don’t get it. I’ve heard a lot about it but that’s all. Are potatoes and beans rationed? If not, that’s my order when I get home: baked beans and baked potatoes. Just like you used to make ’em.
... Boy, have I been getting the razzing lately. The second day we were in Italy we saw a stage show. Wasn’t much of a stage show — it was just put on in the front of a building on the porch. It was Jack Benny, Winnie Shaw, Larry Adler (world’s best mouth organist) and one of the Yacht Club boys.
Well, the reason I’ve been getting a razzing from the boys is because in the middle of the show Winnie Shaw (a gal, she was in a lot of movies) asked me to come up on the stage and fix the mike. I was sitting right in front about two feet away from her. I didn’t want to do it at first cause I knew there was a catch in it. Well, I went up and fixed it and started to sit down again. Then she grabbed me by the arm and made me stand next to her. Then she stood there holding my hand affectionately. Then she said, quote, “I don’t know what you are,” unquote. I took it that she didn’t know if I was a black or a white man cause I didn’t have a shirt on. The boys in the crowd took it that way too cause they laughed a lot but she wanted to know my rank.
Then she asked me my name and a couple other questions. I forget now but they were jokes on me. (She was still holding my hand in a nice sort of a way.) She then said she was going to sing me a song and it was a lovey-dovey song but I don’t remember any of it. I was so self-conscious. During the song she made me put my arms around her and it made me blush, I think.
At the end of the song She Kissed Me. Boy, did this make the boys howl. I heard cameras clicking and even a movie camera going. She left half of her lipstick on me. Then I sat down and Jack Benny came out and looked at me and said, “Boy, that guy hung to you like a G.I. girdle.” Then he said a few more things to me.
During the rest of the show Winnie would wink at me and say a few things to Jack Benny such as, “I think Tommy’s cute,” etc. Ever since the show the boys are razzing me. Especially our ordnance officer. Every time he sees me he says, “I think Tommy’s cute” or something like that. The rest of the boys call me lover, handsome, Romeo, Casanova, etc. I got a couple of pictures of Benny and Shaw (not developed yet). I’m looking up some of the fellas who had cameras and took pictures of me and Winnie. I’ll send ’em home to you if I can get some.
We hit the road, on the move, 10 minutes after the show. When we camped by the roadside that night, an English captain came up to me and asked me if the lipstick was off yet. He must have been there at the show. I didn’t wash my face for two days and then it wore off, darn it.
... Love, Tommy (Cutie to you)
From a hospital in England where he was being treated for jaundice
... Now I’ll give you a little idea of how I spent my last few days. In the morning (5:30) a nurse (or “sister” they call ’em) pops in and turns on the lights and says good morning to each and every one of us. Then I get a dose of salts, almost before my eyes are open. I groan a bit, put on my shoes and grab a towel, soap, etc. and head for the washroom to beat the rest. ... Then I come back to the ward, about 5:45, in time to hear Reveillle (English) blown just outside my window. I tear my bed up, turn the mattress over and remake it and crawl into it. About 6:30 or 7 is breakfast.
Oh, yes, I’m not allowed to eat any fats, butter and stuff like that and you know how I love my butter. My meals are served me in bed. We fellas kid with each other a lot as there are New Foundlanders, Irish, Scottish, English, Canadians, Yankee (me) and even a Jerry. He’s a good sport and we are teaching him how to speak English. “Paddy” the Irishman from Tipperarry is a lot of fun. I like to hear him talk. Well, we have tea about five times a day and between teas I read, play solitaire or an English Marine buddy in the next ward drops around and we play cards on my bed.
... I’ve only seen one American since I’ve been here. I thought he was a regular G.I .until he told me he flew medical bombers. He said he don’t like to wear his bars as then us G.I.s treat him with too much respect.
Marvin Corbin wrote letters home to his parents, Herb and Desta, in Clay County and to his uncle Scherb at the large dry goods wholesale house he worked for, Hibben, Hollweg & Co. — where Corbin got a job as a traveling salesman after the war. The letters were shared by Corbin’s son, Gary, of Jasper.
Nov. 11, 1942
... Today, the 11th, has been a great day. We celebrated by not having calisthenics, but the one that’s a’coming will be so great that we’ll never think of the 11th again. Yes, sir, and we think it’s a’coming soon since the new offensive has started in Africa. Let’s hope it’s coming sooner than it’s expected anyway.
... So Lester, Mutt and Art are all leaving too. Sure seems hard to believe that they have to go. Well, here’s luck to them.
...The war is now over in Germany and it’s just what we have been looking and praying for for a long time. I don’t think anyone was surprised. But no one got excited or did anything out of the ordinary yesterday when the “cease firing” order came down. Everyone just considered it in a way just another day for they know this is just another phase of the whole world war. And knowing that we will soon be fighting again, why then should we celebrate it any more than any other battle?
...Well, Uncle, you would have enjoyed being where I was yesterday and watching the Germans surrender. They surrendered in every which way. For transportation they used anything that had two wheels. (Here comes a long column right now. They just passed. A very long convoy. They were riding in and on everything. It it weren’t for the soldiers being in uniform you wouldn’t have known what they were. Here comes the horse and wagon gang and maybe some artillery. ... They sure aren’t supermen anymore.)
Aug. 30, 1945
Camp Detroit, France
... Really getting a lot of mail from all of you and you can’t imagine how much I like that.
... Rumors are still flying and they are sounding darn good but I am not opening my mouth. No, I am not saying I’ll be home at a certain date again. You’ll just have to wait and in the meanwhile I’ll be sweating out every minute. Last week they said be ready, for our names were on the list to go in 48 hours. Well, what happens? This shipping list was canceled until a later date. How much longer, we don’t know. According to the papers it can’t be too much longer, but I just don’t quite see it that way. Here’s hoping, though, that there is a surprise awaiting us and that you’ll be hearing from me at the great big city of New York before another letter reaches you.
... Sorry to hear George Haas sold his store for I had sorta figured on looking into that setup when I got home too. Scherb still says the house wants to put me on the road but I’m not altogether for it. I just don’t have that gift of gab for that to make any extra good money. I just hope my old boy friend Falney at Knox hasn’t been inducted when I get home. I know he’d help me all as possible. These two leads is about all I have when I get home — but suppose that’s more than a lot will have.
About this series: A few months ago, The Herald asked readers for letters written by their loved ones from World War II. We received more than a dozen responses, including from a couple of people who had letters from World War I. Some readers had fewer than a handful of letters to share, while others had dozens, even hundreds. From now through Veterans Day, we are publishing excerpts from the letters received. The words are original to the writers, though some spelling and some punctuation have been altered.
Part 1: In shared company — Soldiers and sailors wrote of new experiences and of missing the old routines.
Part 2: Pigeoneer Marty Gosman — This soldier followed the birth of his firstborn from a distance.
Part 3: Two who never came home — The sisters of Calvin Voelkel and Lowell Gray always have wondered what might have been.
Part 4: Pharmacist Denny Bell — This sailor — the father of two — wrote his wife almost daily.
Part 5: From World War I — A soldier missed the farm he grew up on, and several servicemen were pen pals with a Jasper girl.
Contact Martha Rasche at email@example.com.
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