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WW2 Era Letter Written by Soldier Who was Killed during the Battle of Okinawa.

Discussion in 'Photographs and Documents' started by Heartfeltzero, May 17, 2023.

  1. Heartfeltzero

    Heartfeltzero Active Member

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    William Walko was born on January 22nd 1925 in Indiana. He would enlist into the Army on August 16th 1943. William would go on to serve in the 382nd Infantry Regiment within the 96th Infantry Division. When William wrote this letter, his regiment was taking part in the battle of Leyte, which began on October 17th 1944. The letter reads:

    “October 27th 1944

    Dear ma & pa,

    Don’t have to much to do tonight so I thought it would be best for me to drop home a few lines.

    Well first of all I’m feeling fine and am still in the same place. Nothing much is really new around here and everything is just about the same. I hope that everything at home is the same way.

    I’m sending a money order home that I’m enclosing with this letter. I just may as well put it away and have something when I get out. Anyway, it’ll give me a little start after I get home. Are all my allotments coming through all right? You should have received about 4 or 5 of them by now.

    Well what’s new at home, if anything? I wrote Barn(?) a v-mail yesterday but I haven’t heard from him in a long time. I suppose he’s still taking it easy. He probably received it by now anyway.

    I heard all about Loddy(?) being home again. Well i guess he’s still lucky. He’s the only…

    *next page*

    one in from our bunch that is still in the states. The rest of us are all scattered all around I guess with Alex being over the longest. I wrote to him and told him about Loddy being home and he didn’t feel a damn bit pleased. I don’t blame him myself. Do Feges(?) folks hear from him regularly yet? Margie told me it took his mail about three weeks to get home.

    Well I haven’t got very much more to say right now but anyway tell the kids I said hello. I wish that this letter finds you all at home in the best of health and don’t forget to write soon.

    Your son,
    “Will”

    Unfortunately William would not make it back home. 6 months after writing this letter, William would be killed in action by the Japanese while on Okinawa on April 8th 1945, during heavy fighting in the Kakazu Ridge area. William is buried in the Saint John-Saint Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Hammond Indiana.

    An excerpt detailing the events on the day William was killed:

    “The Army’s 96th Infantry Division lay before Kakazu Ridge on the morning of April 8, 1945 and prepared to make an assault on the positions that had halted their initial advance. With no preparatory artillery barrage, the two companies of infantry jumped off from their positions before day break so as to achieve surprise. One company from the 96th under the command of Lieutenant Willard Mitchell reached the top of Kakazu before Mitchell and his men were pinned down by furious Japanese fire. The Americans were unable to dig in on the rough coral tops of Kakazu, and thus were exposed to well-aimed rifle fire and shrapnel from all angles. The Japanese, knowing they had their enemy at their mercy, sprang from their caves hurling grenades and satchel charges at the pinned down American infantry. The Japanese assault was halted with heavy losses. Mitchell’s men repelled the Japanese assault in hand to hand combat with fixed bayonets and rifle butts.

    As Mitchell’s company was fighting for its life atop the ridge, another two companies under the command of Captain Jack Royster and Lieutenant Dave Belman advanced opposite Mitchell’s position. They, too, became pinned down. Two Japanese machine guns, well emplaced near the entrance of two separate caves, pinned Royster and Belman’s companies down. Seeing an opportunity to place fire on the Japanese machine gun crews, PFC. Edward Moskala crawled forward, unobserved by enemy eyes, and opened fire on the two Japanese positions with his Browning Automatic Rifle after lobbing grenades at the crews. Moskala’s one-man assault eliminated the Japanese machine guns and allowed Belman's and Royster’s companies to begin a withdrawal. The two infantry units were able to move off of the ridge crest and into the valley below when the Japanese realized their enemy’s intent. Furious enemy fire poured in on the withdrawing Americans, forcing them to take cover in previously occupied Japanese caves. Royster, half blinded by a mortar wound in the face and knowing full well that his company was on the verge of being overrun and annihilated, called his battalion for further support. Infantry support pushed forward only to be stopped in its tracks by heavy Japanese mortar and machine gun fire. Royster radioed back to his battalion headquarters and requested a smoke barrage so they could retreat. He was ordered to hold the ridge at all costs. His position untenable, Royster again radioed for smoke and received the barrage, only to have the first barrage blow back in his own face due to wind. A second barrage was requested and then a third before enough smoke drifted in front of Royster’s position to allow him and his battered company to withdraw.”
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  2. Maddog71

    Maddog71 Member

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    It is sad even these many years later. Who knows what he may have contributed to to the world he left behind.
     
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  3. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

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    You can't compare the youth of today (or any decade after 1940 for that matter), to those of the Greatest Generation that signed that 'blank check'. They knew what they were facing but still stepped up.
     
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  4. Temujin

    Temujin Active Member

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  5. Temujin

    Temujin Active Member

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  6. Temujin

    Temujin Active Member

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  7. Heartfeltzero

    Heartfeltzero Active Member

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  8. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

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    Heartfeltzero and Temujin,

    Either one of you should seriously consider a book. Between the both of you I'd be the first in line for a copy. If you two combined your efforts together with the outstanding archives you've acquired I would order several copies. Seriously !

    Biak/Roger
     
  9. Temujin

    Temujin Active Member

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    I’ve written my book……leave this one to “younger than me” who have the energy to research, AND I get carried away researching all sorts of topics and putting together facts and figure type of info……lots more on this forum under “Juno Beach”

    Juno Beach Landing Tables
     
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  10. Maddog71

    Maddog71 Member

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    That is true to a point, however everyone feels like they will be one of the ones coming back.

    I remember the story of some WWII troops receiving the last briefing before whatever "D" day that they were about to face. The troopers were told that two out of three of them wouldn't make it. The storyteller remembers that he looked at his buddies on either side of him and was sad that they would "buy the farm." The kid that wrote the letter in this thread was planning on coming back and having money to spend and I suspect that that was typical. I don't think that at 20 years old that most people can imagine their own deaths; it is something that happens to others. That is why the military drafts young men. Those of us old enough to properly evaluate the odds would tell their leaders to take a hike; it takes time to learn to say no to authority.
     
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  11. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

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    Down loading the Tables from the post now.
    It is still downloading the files :D
    My internet provider sucks.

    I golfed with a D-Day Veteran a few years ago (10years ?) who landed on the 6th. Ed didn't talk much about it and I never pressed him for information but he did say "Yeah, that was an interesting couple days". Never did find out which area he landed only that he explained dragging and setting off bangalores near the cliffs.
     
  12. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

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    Its sure a lot easier for me to actually say my piece now than it was 20 years ago. I don't have many friends, but I've also reach the age I don't need many friends. Or want.
     
  13. Maddog71

    Maddog71 Member

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    We may be cut from the same cloth.
     
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  14. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

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    Spent many an hour (days/years) talking to Merle and when the worst happened the only attitude was, damn it but at least it wasn't me.
    Something that has stayed with me was it was Always :: "We really gave em' hell that day".
    Didn't matter wether it was the Army, Navy, AAF or Marines.
    They were all in it together.
     
  15. Temujin

    Temujin Active Member

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    Don’t forget the Coast Guard…..they were their also, and the Merchant Marine
     
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