With this cheeky letter to his parents in which he scolds them for continually asking him to send them a picture, we close the book on the letters from 1943. Next we start to transcribe and comment on letters from 1944, the only full year he spent in the U.S. Army.
Between his induction into the army on Feb. 19 and the end of 1943, Babe wrote 60 letters home to his family that I know of. Those 60 letters are transcribed here and I have included a scanned PDF of each of them. It goes without saying, of course, that he probably wrote scores more to friends and other family that I don’t have.
In the nearly 11 months that Babe has been in the army through this point in our project, he has traveled about 7,000 miles — from his hometown of Mount Kisco, N.Y., to Caserta, Italy. Use the interactive map at this link to trace his route; click the pinpoints to see more information about each spot and link to details on this blog.
Since I launched this project on Dec. 3, 2011, I have posted 93 items, including Asides and Commentary. These are loosely defined categories, I grant you. I have considered “Asides” to be personal stories that sprout from the memories these letters inspire; “Commentary” I have defined for myself as posts that lend additional context about the war or bring additional factual information to supplement the content of Babe’s letters.
Also since launching, I’ve posted something all but six days in that time. Of course, it’s easy to keep up with a blog when most of your posts were written for you three generations ago….
I have been humbled to get a few comments from readers to whom I have reached out for information, as well as those on the Facebook pages of the 34th Infantry Division Association (a group) as well as the 34th Infantry Division itself. I was also quite flattered to get a shout-out from blogger Charlie Sherpa and his Red Bull Rising blog (the title, of course, a reference to the Red Bull insignia of the 34th).