During WWII, my father fought in five campaigns: North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany. My father was a mechanic in the 157th Infantry, 45th “Thunderbird” Division. He kept the Jeeps and other vehicles running. Because of censorship, he could not write a lot about what was going on or exactly where they were located. In WWII “embedded reporters” were not permitted.
The following are V-mail letters that my father, Sgt. John W. Kendall, Jr., wrote to his parents from Italy the day before D-Day and a few days afterward.
Italy, June 5, 1944
I will try to drop you a note but don’t have much to say or much time to say it. But we sure are going lotza places. Hope Berlin is the next stop. I haven’t got any mail for about a week. It sure looks like harvest time over here. Wish I was over there doing a little harvesting. How is every one over there? I am still doing OK so far. Just hope my luck holds. I haven’t written my wife for 5 days, but just finished a V-note to her. Hope she don’t get too lonesome without any mail. We are on the move again. So guess I’ll try to drop you another line when I have more time. We are moving day & night. So, bye bye for this time.
Lotza Love & Kisses Always, Tex
Italy, June 22, 1944
Dear Mom Dad & Kids,
How is everything going with you? I hope you are having some good weather for a change. It seems every time I hear from you it is raining. I have heard from most everyone except you in the last 2 days. But maybe I will get a letter from you today. Did you ever hear from Rex [brother]. Where is he? I hope he ain’t in France, but I think that is where he will be because that is where they are doing the hardest fighting now. I got 5 letters from Hazel [wife] yesterday. So, you see I had a lot of reading to do. I hope this thing don’t last too long. Maybe we can all come home. It has been over a year since I last saw the USA. We had it pretty rough this last year too. I don’t think I have very many gray hairs, but I seen lots of guys get them over night. Well, Bye Bye.
Lotza Love, Tex
For those interested in WWII, the 45th Infantry Division has an excellent museum located at, 2145 N.E. 36th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73111. A few additional letters that my father wrote are located on the museum’s Web site. My father died from cancer on September 11, 1992, at the age of 75.