Grandpa’s World War II Love Letters to Grandma
Since it is the month of love, I have been enjoying working on a personal project for my Grandma. I have been scanning all of her love letters from my Grandpa that he wrote to her during World War II.
My Grandpa was a Master Gunnery Sargent for the US Marines. He was stationed in the South Pacific during World War II and fought in some very difficult battles. He was in the Battle of Guadalcanal, the Battle of Iwo Jima, the Battle of Tarawa and the Battle of Tinian.
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Camp Elliott San Diego
These love letters are so beautiful to read because it is obvious how much he loved my Grandma and how important it was for her to know it. My Grandma and Grandpa met when Grandpa was training at Camp Elliot in San Diego. When they were able to take leave he and his buddies would go up to Los Angeles to have a good time and meet some girls. He met my Grandma in April 1942 on one of those trips and he was “smitten.”
These early letters talked about how much fun they had when they were together. They talked about the carefree spirit of the soldiers out on the town dancing and drinking the night away, not knowing whether this would be their last adventure before heading off to war.
The South Pacific
In July 1942, my Grandpa was sent overseas. His first letter to my Grandma was very short and scribbled. He just wanted to let her know that he was okay. He wasn’t able to write again until September 1942. Most of his letters were very long telling my Grandma how much he loved her, reminiscing about the good old days and telling her how we couldn’t wait until they would meet again. He often told her that “you are always in my heart” and decided that should be their song when he returned.
He continued writing to Grandma mostly weekly and sometimes a couple of times a week. His last letter to her before coming home was postmarked July 5, 1944. He was on the island of Tinian. One of my favorite paragraphs in all of his letters he writes, “My letters are getting to be like a bun, pop up here and pop up somewhere else. I’m now on Tinian and feeling fine. Little battle weary is all. A good feather bed would really feel good about now. I’ve slept in so many foxholes since this campaign started that they are beginning to call me the fox hole kid.”
My Grandpa was in the Second Marines, Second Division, 2nd Battalion, G Company. He was very proud of his battalion because they were awarded multiple Presidential Unit Citations for their service. He never talked about his personal achievements although they were numerous. He was a true team member.
A Happy Ending
We were very fortunate that their story had a happy ending. As soon as he made it home, they were reunited and married. They had four children and eight grandchildren.
As a young girl I remember reading the love letters with Grandma when I was staying at her house. When my Grandpa passed away in 2003, I read them out loud to the family. We laughed, we cried, and we enjoyed the special memories of Grandpa. It was a very special time for our family.
Grandpa was my inspiration for starting Sharelooms. I wish we had been able to capture his stories. There is a lot of his World War II history that we still do not know and hope to be able to share with our children some day. If any of you are experts in World War II history and can assist it would be much appreciated.
I’m looking forward to creating a special book for our family with their letters and incorporating Marine World War II History!