Falcone, Joseph

A Father's Day Tribute by Linda Falcone

Father © 1999 Linda Falcone

Once upon a time

In a land not very far away

In a time not very long ago

Lived and died a great man

One of many

A soldier

Noble and brave

Who fought for his country

Who fought for his son

The father of a boy who shared his blood

The father of the many whose blood he bore

These words are a tribute to him

In my father's name

Whose blood I share

As well as the blood of that brave soldier

Whom we can never know

My father and I

But in the glory of his legacy

That breathes forever through our veins

My father's and mine

A day will not pass

Where his love will be forgotten

His love for his country

His country's children and grandchildren

But most of all for his son

Happy Father's Day to my father

And his father before him.

The following is a letter from Joseph Falcone, Jr. the son of Joseph Falcone, Sr. who served in Charlie Company. The letter is addressed to Rowland Lewis.

Dear Rowland,

As you know, my father was only one of many brave Americans who lost their lives on Iwo Jima. While I never met him, I am fortunate to have known him through over 700 letters which he wrote during his time in the Marine Corps. I have learned from these letters how much he adored his family, never wanted his brothers to serve in the military, and wished for nothing more than to see an end to the war and return home to those he loved. His thoughts were so vividly documented that I often found myself being taken back to that time and was able to understand the feelings and emotions he was experiencing. I find it remarkable that he was only 21-23 years old when they were written. Upon his death, he left a wife, Rita, a 17 month old son, his parents and 7 sisters and brothers (Nellie, Connie, Jimmy, Tommy, Sal, Lucy and Johnny). The following are excerpts from some of these letters. I have included several segments of letters from Sgt. William J. (Mac) McVey, one of my Dad's best friends from Co. "C" in addition to one written to my Dad by my mother prior to learning of his death which was subsequently returned to her. Also included are two excerpts from letters written by my Uncle Jimmy and a portion of one from Lt. Garfield M. Randall.

When I was 4 years old, my father's body was brought back to the States and he now rests in a cemetery in New York.

Joseph F. Falcone, Jr.

January 8, 1943 - To Family (Mom, Dad, Nellie, Connie, Jimmy, Tommy, Sal, Lucy and Johnny)

So far so good… Tell Mom not to worry because I eat plenty down here and it's getting easier day by day. Don't make Jimmy sign up because it's plenty tough.

January 17, 1943 - To Rita (Wife)

There is something about this Marine Corps that gets in your blood and I don't know what it is. When the Sergeant comes to drill you and you have to march you hate him and everything about this place while you are doing it. But if I had a choice of Army, Navy or any other I wouldn't trade and that's the way we all feel. I can't understand it. We even like the Sergeant when we are off but while we are drilling we all know that we hate him. Nine guys have gone to the hospital so far and he doesn't let up a bit. I get tired of this routine stuff. I thought there would be more adventure, but I guess that will come later on.

January 22, 1943 - To Rita

Honey, I really miss you and I hope I can get home for a couple of days. That would hold me for awhile. I don't even want to bother with anyone. They are all kids about 17 down here and have nothing to worry about. I stay with a guy who is about 22 and has a girlfriend and he feels the same way I do. So we share our troubles together.

January 28, 1943 - To Jimmy ("Don't Join the Marines")

By the time you get this you will have graduated and I wish you all the luck in the world but don't join the Marines. If you go in the Army, with your education you could become a Sergeant or Lieutenant in no time. The Marines are too strict and you won't like it. I'm in it and I like it because there is something about the Marines that gets to you but if you are not in it, don't try and find out.

February 17, 1943 To Rita -

Hello Honey,

This is the 2nd day in a row that I didn't get mail from you. Is anything wrong? Do you write every night? If you don't, let me know because I am worried stiff. I wait for your mail and when I don't get it, I wait for the night call and when I see there are only a few letters left, I start getting warm and cold and it's a terrible feeling. I keep hoping that I get a couple tomorrow. I still didn't get your picture either. I heard Jerry went over you house. He came back from the Army for a few days and he is going back again. Did you see him yet? I told him to write me before he left but he never did and I can't understand why.

Tomorrow is preliminary day and we shoot the same way as for record day and that's Friday. The weather is very crazy down here. Just as crazy as I am about you. It was very warm all Day and I was sweating. I hope I get a letter tomorrow because my mind is on you and I can't shoot. I know I could qualify Friday if I hear from you before then. Anything I do, Hon, is for you. I love you very much and can't do anything without you. Honest, Hon, it's tough. It's tougher than anything this Marine Corps could hand out and if you were near me, even if I could see you once in a while, I would be able to take it with my eyes closed and my hands tied behind my back. I got friendly with another coach on the rifle range and he said that I'm a cinch to go to Quantico.

Did you go see the Doctor yet? Tell me what he said. I just got through having a field day and that's washing the barracks. Then I took a good cold shower and starting writing this letter to my girlfriend. I named my rifle after and that's why I know I'm going to qualify, because it's a straight-shooter. Is everything going all right with you and Dottie living at Mary's?

The Major General is coming tomorrow to inspect our barracks. That is that creepy old guy that I told you about. If he is going to inspect every barrack, I don't think he'll live through it. If he should die, Hon, maybe they'll make me the General and the first orders that I will give out is to give myself a three month furlough, come back for a day and then have another three month furlough. Then, maybe, I might not come back for the one day. I'll be too busy going out with you. By the time you get this, it will be just one week more left on this Island and then it will be a matter of a week or so before I will see you again. Keep writing at this address until I tell you not to. I will send you a Telegram when I'm leaving. You'll be getting one pretty soon. The time is coming and it has been torture. I hope it doesn't happen again. I've been waiting to get paid again but my Sergeant said we won't be getting paid until we leave and we will get about $75. I still have money from when I first came down and from when I got paid. Honest, Hon, there is no use for money down here.

Well, Hon, I'll sigh off now loving you more and more all the time and I don't think I could love you anymore than I do now and I know I always will. You're tops for me and when the time comes, I'm going to try to make you the happiest girl in the world. And you can depend on it, Hon.

Love, Joey

March 11, 1943 - To Family

I got your package tonight. Why didn't you write to me what you had in it because the Sergeant looks in every box. He saw the bottle and he asked me what it was and I didn't know. Then I figured what it was and told him it was some kind of syrup that we put on pastry. He looked at me and I'm not sure but I think he knew what it was but he didn't say anything.

March 19, 1943 - To Lucy and Johnny

How are you two little people behaving? You must be a good little boy and girl because I don't hear that you make Mama mad.

April 11, 1943 - To Family (Jimmy Drafted into the Marines)

Well, Jimmy must have left already and don't worry about him because he can take it more than I can. Tell him to be a Squad Leader. He can then become a Drill Instructor and it will be swell for him. He will stay down there for the duration of the war and he will not see any action at all. That's what I want. P.S….Don't tell him that I told you. He would make sure that they don't pick him but if they pick him, he can't refuse.

May 23, 1943 - To Rita

I was waiting for the mail call but there wasn't anything. I guess I'll have to wait for tomorrow. I hope something would happen so I could be with you forever and ever. My mind needs a rest from thinking about coming home all the time.

May 30, 1943 - To Family

I didn't receive any mail from you again today. Anyway, Jimmy wrote and said his furlough starts June 11th but he didn't want me to tell because he wants to surprise you but I think it's better if you surprise him because after you get through with Parris Island, you really need a good surprise.

June 23, 1943 - To Rita (AWOL)

I'm in the U.S.O. waiting for the bus to come. I'm going over the hill. I should be home tomorrow. I'm doing this because we're getting shipped out to the West Coast and they wouldn't give me a furlough or weekend pass. I'll be back in time because we are not leaving until July 3rd.

June 29, 1943 - To Rita (AWOL)

I got back alright without being bothered by the M.P.'s. but they found out in camp that I was missing and I'm going to get a Deck Court Martial. The Colonel said he is letting me get off easy. The reason I got caught was because they were looking for me to get an exam for a P.F.C. test. Now I can't go for it for a long time. The reason they will not give me too much is because we are shipping out and they don't want to go to a new base with prisoners unless it's really something bad. They got Kelly for it too.

July 20, 1943 - To Rita (B.A.R. Man)

They are going to make me a B.A.R. man and that rates a stripe and I think I am going to get it. I don't know what I got, Hon, maybe my squad leader just likes me or I'm just a damn good Marine with some bad points. A B.A.R. is a Browning Automatic Rifle. It weighs twenty-two pounds and it could shoot 450 bullets a minute. It's 13 pounds more than the rifle I have now and boy it's a beauty.

July 21, 1943 - To Rita

There has been a lot of fights out here already with the twenty-third and the twenty-fourth Marines. Boy, the twenty-fourth Marines are like a bunch of sissies. They take their beds with them in trucks and they have real big tents. In other words, all they do is camp out in the field and they call it "bivouac". They should live like us for a while with no place to take a bath except in a creek, sleep on the floor and hike for three or four hours. I can see now why they say the twenty-third Marines are the toughest outfit the Marines have. We really live a combat outfit's life and I'm not kidding. It's hard but it makes you plenty rugged and that's what makes a good fighting man and fighting men will put an end to this war.

July 31, 1943 - To Family

I got an invitation to Nellie's wedding but I can't make it because Uncle Sam is too busy and won't give me a vacation. Will Pete wear an Army uniform or a tuxedo?

August 5, 1943 - To Rita

We went on a hike this morning and that rifle got a little heavy but it's worth carrying. If I go overseas those Japanese better get out of my way. There's a Juke Box in the Post Exchange and they have our song "You Are Always In My Heart". I always put it on and picture you and I dancing. Gosh, it's a wonderful feeling to dream and dream.

September 13, 1943 - To Rita (Baby Born)

Well, Hon, it's finally come and I'm so glad and happy that you can't imagine. They hollered my name to go down to the office because there was a telegram for me. When I got it I walked out of the office and took a walk around the barracks before I opened it. And when I did and saw the word "alright" I felt like hollering and jumping like a kid that got up on Christmas morning and found all his toys under the tree. Gosh, Hon, I'm so glad its over and that it's a son. I saw my Commanding Officer and told him what happened and that I wanted to get home. He said that it was impossible. I know that if he could do something for me he would.

October 20, 1943 - To Family

I can't picture Tommy getting to be a man. I hope like hell that they never take him in the Army. By the time he is old enough this war should be over.

November 3, 1943 - To Family

We went on the rifle range today, tomorrow we fire preliminary and Friday for record. I'd like to qualify with this rifle because it's pretty damn hard and only a few guys can. They only allow two guys to carry these rifles in every squad. One is supposed to be a Corporal and one a P.F.C. The guy that carries it in my squad is a P.F.C. and if I could outshoot him I should be made first gunner but I guess they don't want to make me a P.F.C. so there is no chance of my ever being a Corporal. That's one thing about the Marine Corps that is just like an elephant, it never forgets. But I'm happy as a Private because they can't break me except to a civilian and I would kiss them if they did.

November 6, 1943 - To Rita ("but I'll never get out for my knee")

Mac and I went out and had a nice time. He said I get more homesick when I go out than when I stay in the barracks. I hope like hell I could be home with you again but I'll never get out for my knee. Some guy got the Purple Heart two weeks ago and he was shot twice down in Guadalcanal. He was in the hospital for eight months and was nearly died. They operated on him and today he is in my company and they won't let him go home for good. There's a guy that saw action already, got shot and still couldn't get home. So you can see what the story is. That kid doesn't want to go overseas again but there is nothing he can do about it. While we are on these maneuvers they might get orders to go in a combat zone and all they have to do is turn the boats and off we'll go. Look, if I can't be home I'd rather be someplace fighting. At least I know that the more guys that are fighting the sooner this war is going to end. Nothing will happen to me, Hon, because I told you before that I have too much to come home to. I love my wife and I love my baby and someday we three will be together and we'll have lots of fun.

December 12, 1943 - To Rita

I went to the movies today and saw Sergeant York. It gave me the chills when the war was over and he came home and his girl and family were waiting for him at the station. I was thinking how nice it would be if this war was over and I was coming home to you.

December 21, 1943 - To Rita

I didn't get any mail from you yesterday or today. It's 4 days off to Christmas and nobody knows just how I feel about being away from you but there is nothing I can do. All I hear on the radio is "White Christmas" and it's driving me nuts. My love to you and the baby. I'm sorry I can't be there with you.

February 19, 1944 - To Rita

I guess you've been waiting a long time to get a letter from me. It's just that I had a little business to attend to with the Japanese. I was with the Marines who raided the Marshall Islands. I was promoted to P.F.C. Now I'm only one step closer to General. Isn't that nice. It was a heck of a shock to hear about my sister Nellie's husband. I guess I wished a little too much for her happiness. I keep looking at the picture you sent and I can't believe he's dead.

April 1, 1944 - To Family

I received the packages that you sent me. A couple of the guys went to the mess hall for bread and we went to the Post Exchange for some beer. My buddies thank you all very much. You are still the best family in the world. I can't wait until the day comes that this war will be over and we can all be together again.

May 1, 1944 -To Family

Tomorrow we finally get liberty and I have to iron my khaki's tonight so I'll look presentable. Remember when I used to like for Connie to iron my shirts? Those were the good old days.

August, 1944 - To Rita (via V-Mail)

(Saipan) As you probably know, I was on "Bloody Saipan". Well, I came through it all without giving any of my blood. It really was terrible and I lost quite a few of my close buddies. Out of my whole crowd that really stuck together there is just me, Mac and the guy from Tennessee that I told you about. I was plenty scared this time and I guess everyone was especially the first 3 days when they were shelling us with artillery. All you can do is get into a foxhole and pray that one don't fall in with you. And I prayed a lot.

August 7, 1944 - To Family (Via V-Mail) (Marines vs. Army)

I received your letter telling me that Tommy R. (Army soldier) was on Saipan and I hope I get a chance to see him because he might be here on Tinian.

August 27, 1944 - To Family (Via V-Mail) (Marines vs. Army)

Well, here I am at rest camp just in time for my Birthday. It feels good being away from those dirty days at Saipan and Tinian. The one thing I'd have hoped is that they would have had a Marine Division fighting next to us. I hate to knock the Army down but they just don't fight like the Marines.

August 30, 1944 - To Family (Via V-Mail) (Marines vs. Army)

The reason why Tommy (R.) was able to write as much as he did on Saipan was because the Army didn't do much fighting.

August 29, 1944 - To Rita

I received a letter from you aboard ship and you mentioned an argument you had with a girl whose husband and other workers all walked out because some guy in the shipyard came in late and got docked a dollar from his pay. When you told her it was unfair because a lot of boys are fighting overseas and by walking out it prolongs the war just so much, I really felt proud of you. I read that to quite a few boys and you should have heard them. After we got through with Saipan and Tinian, some guy brought that up again. He wanted her address because a couple of guys wanted to write to her and ask her just how dangerous it was in a shipyard and then ask if she wanted to come and take a look at three thousand graves on Saipan. Even if I knew her address, I wouldn't give it to them because it sure would be a mean letter.

I'll tell you of an experience that I had on Saipan that made me feel funny and think of you and the baby and glad that the battlefield never was in the States. It was on the fourth of July and it was raining. We went in to attack some hill. We had to go through some jungle growth and boy it was hell going through it. Well, as we were just about out of it I heard something like a baby crying up ahead. So I asked this guy from Tennessee that I told you about, if he had heard anything and he said yes. We went over and looked around and we saw a white blanket with someone under it. We were going to shoot at it and all of a sudden the baby started crying. We walked over and took the blanket off and it was a Japanese girl about twenty years old holding the baby in her arms. We tried to take the baby away from her but she wouldn't give it up. We had a heck of a time trying to convince her that we wouldn't hurt her or the baby. She couldn't walk because her heel was blown off and I had to carry her out while this guy, Charlie, carried the baby. They finally put her in a jeep and I guess she was taken care of. And what a cute baby it was. It really made me think a heck of a lot about it being like that back home and how thankful we should all be that it isn't. There was a heck of a lot of things worse than that, Hon, but I even hate to think about it.

September 3, 1944 - To Rita

Yesterday the promotion list came out and I was made Corporal. Mac was made Sergeant and my buddy from Tennesse was made Corporal. It felt pretty good being called out in front of the whole company and having the Captain congratulating us on our good work. Especially when it's from a man that all the guys respect so much. It's really something hard to explain.

September 14, 1944 - To Rita

You mentioned something about a little mouse that you saw in the shop and you started screaming. I don't know if you know it or not but I happen to be slightly afraid of them. I think I got over it on Saipan but I'm not sure. One time, it was just about getting real dark and I saw something run across the foxhole. Well, I lifted my poncho and about three field mice starting running all around and then took off. I swear I felt sick inside at just the thought that I had to get down in the foxhole. You're lucky if you get three hours sleep during the night and I know that I wasn't about to sleep and take a chance on them crawling over me. So I didn't sleep for about two nights in a row. When you mentioned mice it took me back there. I have no real fear for them. It's just that they get me sick just looking at them. I'd rather have those---- ----'s come up at night than them.

September 20, 1944 - To Rita

Well, I was an M.P. for a day yesterday in town and I really enjoyed it. All I did was walk around getting guys in my Battalion out of trouble. The idea of it is to get the guys before the regular M.P.'s in town grab them because once they get their hands on them they get run up to the Colonel and they would probably get some Brig time, fined, or restricted. We try to avoid all that and it works out damn good.

October 12, 1944 - To Rita (Eddie Rashid)

We were all just having a big laugh. That Marine you met in New River, Eddie, had a couple of drinks and he's crying and hollering about how much he loves his girlfriend. He sleeps in the next tent and I can hear him from here.

October 14, 1944 - To Family

This may sound funny, but I wish that Jimmy never meets up with me. He's safe where he is and I want him to stay that way. I wouldn't like the idea of having to worry about him being in the same battle that I'm in. He's in the Air Corps Ground Crew and he won't ever see a live Japanese there and that's the way I want it.

October 26, 1944 - To Family

That Marine with the "4" insignia that Sal saw, I guess was wounded and that's why he was home. I don't want to come home that way and tell Sal to stop playing hookey because he still isn't big enough that I can't bang the heck out of him.

November 11, 1944 - To Rita

Well, Hon, on Monday the 4th Division is going to receive the Presidential Citation for the Saipan and Tinian operations. A lot of guys will be getting the Purple Heart for being wounded and that's one thing I hope I never get. You feel pretty proud going through it all without getting hit and I want to stay proud and healthy.

December 14, 1944 - To Family

I haven't received any mail from you in 2 days now. I guess it's because of the holiday. Mac received your package. He is really a swell guy and he's coming to N.Y. if we get home together. He is a damn good Marine with plenty of nerve. He was wounded on the first day of Saipan and the Corpsman told him to go back to the aid station but he wouldn't go. He stuck it out all the time through Tinian with just a bandage around it. You'll all like him when you meet him.

December 16, 1944 - To Rita

It's funny, Hon, I've traveled over so much water in all kinds of boats and transports and I could never really swim. I know the fundamentals but I don't seem to be able to coordinate them. I never was really scared because I always had confidence that if the ship ever sinks I would be able to swim far enough to get to a life raft or away from it before it actually sinks. I guess it's because I have too much to come home to and I just know that I'm coming home no matter how much I have to go through.

December 25, 1944 - To Rita

Yesterday I went to Midnight Mass. If you remember I never really was a religious guy and never thought of praying much. I used to say if I ever got myself in a tight spot I wouldn't pray to get myself out of it. Well, I was wrong because now that I'm in a tight spot, I do pray, for you and my son. I don't want anything to happen that would hurt you or the baby.

January 1, 1945 - To Rita (Last Letter)

I can't squawk too much about this New Year's Eve because the last one was a lot worse. We didn't do anything last night except sit around and talk about being home. I think next year will be a good one because you and I will be together. My family sent some pictures of the baby and I felt like crying when I saw them. In fact my eyes were watery. I guess I'm just a lucky guy to have all that I've got waiting home for me. I went through three battles without even getting a scratch. I've got a wonderful wife and son. Boy, I must really be lucky. That's why I say nothing will happen to me because I have you and the baby to come to and just let anybody try and stop me. I'll sign off now and I hope that this year will bring us together again.

March, 1945 - To Joey - From Rita (Mailed Prior to Notification of Death & Returned to Sender)

I guess the world knows now where you are. I've been so frightened since I found out and I never felt it as bad the previous times you were in combat. I feel better now because I know you will be alright. You always told me you have a lot to come home to so it just has to turn out alright. I was so angry because if they wanted the Fourth Marines to shed blood, they already had without Iwo Jima added to it. The papers complimented your division because never had a Division been asked (???) to go into four combats in a period of 13 months. What happened to that bloodless system they worked out after Tarawa? I hated the world that day especially for you, Hon, a boy that avoided trouble. I mean, you're so good natured and then to have to go through all that. Sometimes I feel I can't stand it anymore. For two years my spirit has been knocked around. I keep thinking of all the things we'll do when you're home. We'll be so happy because we deserve it. I can't write anymore, Hon. I love you from the bottom of my heart, always. I know God will watch over you. I love you so terribly.

To Rita - From Lt. Garfield M. Randall - Commander, Company C

I wish it were possible for me to convey my deepest sympathy in person on the loss of your husband, Joe, to enemy action on Iwo Jima, February 26, 1945. All the officers and men of this Company feel the loss of a friend and buddy. He has been with us on four operations and proved himself in every way. He was mortally wounded by machine gun fire on Hill 382. He was a brave and courageous Marine who gave the ultimate for his country and the Corps.

April 16, 1945 - To Rita - From Jimmy

Today I received the shocking news of my brother's death and it's still hard for me to believe. It seems like the world dropped out from under me because that's what my brother meant to me. I can't say how sorry I am. He wanted so much to see his son but the will of God is strong. He fought through many battles but it was God's will for him to rest in another world, one of peace and quiet. I don't feel so good just now but I will write again soon. I know there is nothing I can say but Rita, have courage, he would want you to.

June 11, 1945 - To Rita - From Jimmy

I hate myself because I know it should have been me, not him. Had we any choice in the matter, I gladly would have gone in his place. In his letters Joe always wrote about you and Junior so I know how he felt. That's why I know it should have been me. Less people would have suffered. I know how my mother felt about his homecoming and I sensed it in her letters when something went wrong. I'm afraid to even face her when I get home. Everything she did was for him. Everyone who ever met him liked him and he never hurt anyone. God must have been cruel to make so many people unhappy. We can never forget him, but we must try to forget what happened to him.

May 13, 1945 - To Rita - From Sgt. William J. (Mac) McVey - C-1-23

I received your letter the other day. The reason I didn't write sooner was because I had to receive a letter from you stating that you had been notified by the War Department. It was quick and there was no pain or suffering. I was with him till the end. When it happened, he hollered "Mac, Mac" and those were the words I heard him say. His body now rests in the Fourth Division Cemetery on Iwo Jima. Joey was well liked by everyone. When I lost Joey, I didn't just lose a man from my squad, I lost a brother. He never complained about anything, but he never wanted any of his brothers to join the Marines. He talked of you and his family constantly. He always would say, "Gee, I'm a lucky guy. I have so much to live for".

June 9, 1945 - To Rita from Bill McVey

Rita, you asked what Joey was doing to get killed. Well, there's only one answer I can give you and it was through no fault of his own. I was right beside Joey when it happened. How it missed me I'll never know. I was with him till the end and I can honestly say that he did not suffer. I was wounded three hours later. The day Joey went, many others went too. You needn't worry about asking me any kind of questions. Joey and I were like brothers and I'll remember him always.

July 1, 1945 - To Rita from Bill McVey

Eddie Rashid received his soon after Joey. His was also quick and no suffering. Rita, I never try to avoid answering your questions. It's just that some of those questions cannot be answered through the mail.

July 15, 1945 To Rita From Bill McVey

I am very sorry to hear that you have not been out in so long. I honestly believe that you are doing harm to yourself. Don't forget you have a life to live and a child to raise.

It was six o'clock in the morning. The sun was just beginning to rise. It was a beautiful day. We ate a 'K' Ration for breakfast and we got the word that we were going into the attack. Joey and I stayed close together. We were talking about our folks back home saying how thankful we were that they didn't have to go through this. We moved about three hundred yards and then we finally started to get even with those little ----- -----'s . It seemed as though they outflanked us but we kept up the fight. Finally, they started a counter attack. We had to move back to a ridge where we would have the high ground. I sent Joey and his men back. He took good care of his men. When I got half way back, Joey called me to take cover. He could see them coming. I hopped into a hole and we began to knock them off. Joey looked very happy, as he always carried an automatic rifle and that day it was working in full speed. Joe felt proud that he was killing so many. Then it came time to move back to the ridge. Joey sent his men back and then waited for me. We never went anyplace without one another. It seemed just as we started back, all hell tore loose again and then I saw my best friend take his last breath. There were no marks on his body. It was concussion that took his life. Somehow, I had the feeling that he was going to die soon. From being around men and seeing them die, I noticed they wear a strange expression on their face. Joey had been wearing that expression all that morning. I sure hope this will enable you to build in your mind the kind of picture you want. I'll say good-bye for a while hoping this letter will help to comfort you. May God bless you and yours.

August 15, 1945 - To Rita from Bill McVey

Well, now that the war has come to an end, I guess I will be home soon. My buddies and I didn't feel much like celebrating. We went to church and thanked God that we were still here and prayed for our buddies that gave their lives to make this a better world to live in. I will always keep in touch with you and Joe, Jr. and someday, when he is able to understand, I will tell him what a brave Daddy he had and how men like him defeated the Japanese. Rita, the reason they said it was machine gun fire was probably because we were receiving plenty of it at that time but I know it wasn't that because I saw it with my own eyes. Concussion is caused by an explosion of Mortar Shells. The spot in which it happened was just over the second Air Field on Hill 382. Rita, the expression is something that I don't know how to put into words. It is something you have to see to understand.