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Still in Europe
This letter was written after VE Day when censorship was lifted. It's the first letter where Joe talks about the day he was wounded. After being wounded on February 8th, Joe spent two months in a hospital near Nancy, France. When he was released from the hospital, he was reassigned to the 816 Signal Service Co. in Cherbourg, France. In November 1945 he was finally shipped home and released from the Army.
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May 29, 1945
Anne darling, I just got one letter today but it was an old one from the beginning of March. The reason it took so long was because you just addressed it to Detachment of Patients and forgot to put #4347. Without that number they couldn't tell what hospital it was supposed to go to. In it you answered the question I asked you about your intuition.

You know that the people back home could read about all the news in the papers but we weren't supposed to write about it in our letters. I know they were using airplanes to deliver supplies because a few of them came over when I was there. As the paper said, it was really tough to get out the wounded. All the fellows that were hurt real bad had to stay there nearly two or even three days. There were so many of them and the only time they could be taken out was at night. Even at that, they had to dodge shells once in a while.

The worst part of it was that we were in a deep valley and the wounded had to be carried on litters back over a very steep hill about 1 miles long with mud over our ankles. It took 3 hours for four men to carry one man back. I had to walk back alone because there were no Medics to take me back. That was the longest and most painful walk I ever had. By that time the numbness was gone from my foot. I didn't have any shoe on because I couldn't get one on. I had to hop most of the way because if I put my foot down, it hurt a lot and sunk way in the mud.

I sure was scared walking back alone because the shells were coming in. I had been hit once and didn't want to get hit again. The only reason I started back at that time was because some of our planes came in for the fight, and when our planes come over the Germans button up their guns so they won't give their position away to the pilots. Boy was I thankful to see our planes there. When I get home I'll really have to see Lt. Walsh and thank him for a whole lot.

Your next intuition about my being back in combat again was wrong though. I'm glad of that. Just to go back one more day I would never want. A lot of fellows were wounded or killed on their first day of combat.

I see that they have been censoring a lot of my letters from here. It's just like everything else back here. Up on the line I could tell you more news than I could back here. Back here the only bit of work the officers ever did was to censor our letters. Now that there is no censorship, they have absolutely nothing to do. It would never have lost the war for us if they never cut anything out of my letters. Anyway, there is no censorship so I can write just as I please.

Guess what! I'm going to St. Mere Eglise where dad said Uncle Marcy's grave is. One of the fellows has to go pick up some Special Service equipment and he has to pass through St. Mere Eglise. I have borrowed the camera from the fellow in my shop. It's a real expensive French camera. It ought to take good pictures if I can manipulate it alright. I hope the weather is better than today. It's cold and rainy. It would be a lousy day to drive the 30 to 40 miles to St. Mere Eglise. That's all the news from here darling.

I miss you an awful lot and I'm getting awfully homesick. I used to get homesick on Sundays but now I feel in the dumps all week too. If I didn't have this job to keep me busy, I think I'd really go crazy. I guess I'll just have to wait my turn though. There were a lot of fellows over here years before I was. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to the Pacific. I only wish I were just as sure about being home in a few months. When we're finally together again, we'll never be separated again for the rest of our lives. That's just the way I want it.

Loads and loads of hugs and kisses and all my love.
Yours forever, Joe

Home

Joe in Paris
Joe Jr. with the Signal Corp in Paris
(Joe is on the left in front -- wearing boots)

Joe with buddy Chet
Joe Jr. (on left) with Chester (on far right)
(Joe and Chet remained best of friends after they returned to the States)