I found this letter in a small cache of documents my Uncle Bob had saved, given to me in July 2022 by my Aunt Terry. This was written 18 days after Babe died, on his baby sister’s (my mother’s) fifth birthday.
HEADQUARTERS 168TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
Office of the Chaplain
APO 34, c/o Pm., N.Y.
22 May 1945
Mrs. Florence Mauro
491 Lexington Ave.
Mt. Kisco, New York
Dear Mrs. Mauro:
By this time you will have received notification of the death of your son, Tec 5 Frank D. Mauro, 32810329, Anti-Tank Company, 168th Infantry Regiment. He died 4 May 1945.
Frank was a radio operator of a section attached to one of our battalions as a relay station. While driving along a highway in northern Italy, the vehicle in which they were riding became out of control and was forced into the canal alongside the road. Frank was pinned between the truck body and the bottom of the canal and was unable to free himself. Some moments passed before his body was retrieved and at which time artificial respiration was administered, but to no avail.
He was buried in an American Military Cemetery in northern Italy. Services were read at his burial by a Catholic Chaplain, and his body was laid to rest with the care and tenderness due one of our honored dead. The grave is marked with a white cross bearing Frank’s name and home address.
The Effects Quartermaster, Army Effects Bureau, Kansas City QM Depot, Kansas City 1, Missouri, is the only Army agency which is able to furnish you any information or inventories concerning the disposition of your son’s personal effects. Therefore, it is suggested that any inquiries you may have be addressed to that agency as personnel overseas are unable to supply this information.
It is doubly tragic that his death came at a time when victory was so near, yet it is undeniably true that his sacrifice played a great part in the bringing about of conclusive victory. I am confident it was a sacrifice the extent of which only you and God know. May I offer my own personal sympathy to you who have lost so much. I pray God’s blessing and comfort may be yours in this hour of great sorrow.
JAMES L. CARRAWAY