The letters from August 1945 have been transcribed, and that marks the end of the letters from World War II. August begins with Walt’s squadron moving to the Ryukyu/Okinawa Islands and ends with the Japanese surrender after we dropped the atomic bombs. At the end, Walt is a little lost, probably wondering what he will do now that this 4-year period of service is coming to an end.
There are only seven letters in July 1945, but they begin with the long waited for news of Walt’s promotion to Captain. He gets a chance to visit the front line with the infantry, but by the end of the month, his squadron is headed out for another location, where he expects to be pretty busy.
The few letters of June 1945 have been transcribed, with recurring themes: restlessness, waiting for a promotion to captain, the desire to come home coupled with concern about how to make a living, and the rainy season.
The nine letters of May 1945 have been transcribed. Mostly Walt talks about whether to stay in combat and wait for that elusive promotion to Captain or come home, now that he has over 300 combat hours. It’s an increasingly difficult choice when he sees his friends both getting promotions and going home.
The nine letters from April 1945 see Christmas gifts from home finally reaching the Philippines on the 15th, just as the rainy season is about to begin. Walt reaches 300+ combat hours, and wonders if he should stick out waiting for a promotion to Captain or come home—he makes it sound like it’s his choice. Even though he hasn’t received his promotion yet, he receives the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross following his being shot down in January.
I’ve posted a photo of Walt’s Air Medal before, along with the Purple Heart, but I don’t have his Distinguished Flying Cross. It has gone missing somewhere over the years. I have replicas of all the medals, given out by some organization very late in Ruth’s life, but she refused to attend that ceremony for her own reasons, so I’m not going to show the replica of the DFC.