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A View From The Attic

Week of March 21, 2011


Fremont County Historical Society

Letter Home
Danette Hein-Snider


Since the 19th century, American families have had loved ones fighting in a distance country. Today, troops are serving in Afghanistan miles away from base camps. They are able to occasionally call home when the company commander brings the global phone into camp. At base camp, they can call and e-mail. Even with frequent communication; families still wait at home wanting assurance that their service member is okay.

This week's article gives us a glimpse of communication in World War II when they had only land mail. The letter below was written by Harlow Hein, my father, to his mother in Anderson, Iowa. He was stationed at the time in the Philippine Islands at Luzan.

Today, Luzan, P.I.
July 17, 1945
Dearest Mom, Received your swell letter of the 8th or 9th by post mark. So far none of the packages have gotten here; they will be by and by though. I've had a couple of letters from Bud. And as yet the one from Lill, with the pictures hasn't gotten here. Wait awhile to mail the vibro tool, if you haven't already.

Yes there are a few radios among the fellows in the squadron. And we hear programs broadcast from San Francisco now and then. Have you folks heard any broadcasts from Manila? We are part of the fifth air force and have heard in the broadcasts that it has moved to Okinawa.

So Mable says Don is going home, well I sure hope he makes it O.K. I only hope we can all get home soon. I've thought about Marvin a lot, I was over where he was last heard from, not so long ago but didn't find out anything. If they could contact someone who was in his outfit at the time they might find particulars. The Japs really plastered that place.

(Note: The family thinks Marvin was sent to the Philippines to build things. He was captured by the Japanese and was on the (Bataaan) Death March. He probably died in l94l of dysentery in one the prison camps. The family was notified in l948 that he was dead. He received the Purple Heart.)

You say Bob Weber is here on Luzon?
Sorry to hear that Cousin Billy isn't feeling so good. Hope he gets along O.K. And is back in shape by now.
I had a letter from a fellow who came over when I did. He was with this outfit for awhile. But moved to another some time ago. I suppose his wife and folks missed his letters while he was moving, cause on the move you can't send or receive mail.

Hope Merle doesn't have to stay too long over here. You say Paul traded his 80 for a farm by Randolph. Maybe you could sell your 40 to the guy who got his 80.

Darn, that's a shame that the Camp Creek Bridge went out and also Taylor Bridge. The county should sure be shaken up and made to fix them.

The money I sent home will be in a check or draft from the government service. So you will have to cash it when you get it. It will probably be sometime in August. This is just between you and me.

The rainy season is on us full blast now. I never saw it rain with such effortless ease as it does here now. It's a break from the heat though.

Well Mom take care of yourself - tell the folks hello for me. Bye for a little bit.

As always your loving son, Harlow