Letters to our boys

(Editor’s Note: This is another installment of The Express’ “Letter to Our Boys,” written during World War II to let “our boys” know what was happening back in their home towns. The Express will bring the letters to you occasionally, thanks to the efforts of Fred and Anna Snyder, who compiled the letters over several years of research and donated a full copy of them to the Clinton County Historical Society.)

Saturday, June 16, 1945


Major Jim Heffner sent me a brand new arm band of the Nazi party from Augsburg, Germany.

He said: “You’re probably received plenty of these from the boys over here but in case you have not, here is a brand new one. By way of explanation, it is the arm band that the Kraut gave to the “Home Army” — the German ‘Volkstrum’. I picked it up in a recruiting station in Augsburg.”

Charles Crispen, a first lieutenant, recuperating from wounds at a Fort Devens, Mass. hospital, writes:

“Sorry I am not able to do much visiting this trip. However, I wish to send my best to my friends at The Express. I hope to get another leave in a couple months and by that time I should be able to walk. Now it is necessary for me to hop on one foot because my arm is not strong enough to support my crutch. All I need now is a little time and plenty of good American sunshine.”

Pvt. Dominic Vilello writes from Germany where he is serving with the 13th Armored Division. He says:

“I received the home-town paper today and as I was reading it, I saw one of your letters to the boys. In it I found you were collecting shoulder patches from other outfits. I thought you might like to have one of the best patches in the ETO, the 13th Armored, the fightingest outfit in the ETO. I hope you will put this patch on top of your list. If not, you will hear from me.”

Incidentally, Dominic is better known by the nickname of “Kutz.”

EM2/c Eddie McGill says: “You will, no doubt, be surprised to hear from me. I see that you are collecting some insignias of which there are very few in the Navy. I found some Jap money which you may possibly have seen already or have in your collection. If not, here is a sample of it.

“You can see the close following of the good old USA greenbacks. It is not worth the paper that is written on so don’t worry about it. Just thought that you and some more of the people at home would like to see what the Japs flooded these islands with when they took over.”

S/Sgt. Ardell (Doo) Passell writes a long letter which says it all, quote, How are you, unquote.

He is serving with the 570th Squadron of the Army Air Forces and is on the move. We will get his address later. Meanwhile, the printed part of the letter informs us that we are to hold up his newspapers for a time.

E.C. Wheeler stopped in to see Col. O’Corn the other day. He showed us a collection of snapshots from his son, Harold.

Harold once was an Express carrier; now he is in the Army. He sent a picture to us showing himself seated in a big chair, smoking a pipe and reading a copy of The Express with the big headline: “10th Army Lands on Okinawa.”


Pfc. William Goodling, USMCR, Renovo.


Pvt. Daniel Slovich, Stouts Hill, taken Oct. 4.


Pfc. “Bud” Shoemaker, USMC, Swissdale, for 30-day furlough, after 21 months in Southwest Pacific. S/Sgt. John Brunner, Renovo, after 60 missions as an aerial gunner in the Mediterranean there.

S/Sgt. Edward Fry, for 60-day furlough, after liberation from a German prison camp. Oscar Kreamer, S1/c 9-day leave, after year of duty in the Pacific.

Pvt. Norvil Burnside, Cross Fork, after six months in Europe. Pfc. John McGill, Salona, from overseas.


Col. Stanley Furst. Technician George Dutton. Cpl. Robert Gates, Howard. Cpl. Paul Heverly. T/4 Charles Bridgens, Mill Hall.


Dorothy Henry, Mill Hall, to Lt. (j.g.) of San Diego. Francis Sutliff, Renovo, to TM3/c. Paul Reiter, Farrandsville, to Cpl. John McGinnes to Pvt. 1/c.


Sgt. “Bud” Hurwitz, Air Medal with three battle stars. Pfc. William Smith, Blanchard, Combat Infantry Badge. Sgt. William Fowler, Lockport, Bronze Star. Clifford Shady, decorated for bravery. Robert Bowman, S2/c, USNR, Mill Hall, star to his Asiatic-Pacific ribbon. Pfc. Watson Adams, Combat Infantry Badge and ETO battle ribbon with one star. Cpl. Jack Thornton, Bronze Star. T/5 Fred Jamison, Bronze Star. Raymond T. Shadle, S1/c, USNR, star to his Asiatic-Pacific ribbon.


Cpl. Harvey Eisenhower, Salona, to Genevieve Nichols, June 8, in Lock Haven. Sgt. Lester Heller to Edna Marie Probst, June 9, at Lock Haven. Pfc. Jesse Lyon, Woolrich, to Mary Elizabeth Shuman, Jersey Shore, June 11, at Jersey Shore. Pvt. Robert Edkin, Lockport, to Virginia H. Wolfe, Lamar, May 9, in Lock Haven; PVt. Edkins is stationed at Alabama.


Daughter to S/2c Charles Aber and wife, May 30; dad stationed at Norfolk, Va.; former silk mill employee.


General Armature Corp. will get Army-Navy “E”. Maj. Gen. Frederick Anderson, commander of the Eighth Air Force, speaks at Elks annual Flag Day celebration at LHHS field. Mrs. Margaret Sicuranza, 51, injured in PRR wreck which kills 18 and injured 30. Major Hall Achenback speaks to Kiwanis Club. 70th LHHS commmencement graduates 200. Five cows killed in storm at Howard. Widmann and Tea merge with Weinberger Drug Stores, INc., of Cleveland, O., giving them 81 stores in 36 cities in three states. 13 graduate from Immaculate Conception High School. Former Mayor Charley Herr and wife celebrate 50th wedding anniversary. Clair Corman, William Bathurst, and Ralph Long, of Howard, hurt in automobile accident. County finances in very good shape with $116,483 in the old kitt — and that ain’t hay. 60 couples at annual Exchange Club ladies’ night with good time had by all. 68 enroll at early college Summer session. Dr. McGhee honored by classmates of 1895 at Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science.


The combined Trinity Methodist and First Evangelical Church team is leading the Church Softball League after five weeks of campaigning. Known as Trivans, the boys won seven out of eight, losing to Flemington, which appears tough after adding five new players, including the veteran Mike Cillo, recently honorably discharged from the Army after seeing plenty of action in Italy. Presbyterian is second with a 5-5 record, being tied with Flemington, 4-4. Church of Christ is fourth, 4-6, and E. Main St. Methodist 2-8. Lock Haven Teachers College expects to get back into intercollegiate sports this Fall. Max Bossert has some promising boys lined up for football.


Two colored soldiers were on a transport going overseas. Standing on the deck, they gazed out across the vast expanse of water.

“Dat’s de mos’ water I’ve eber seen in my life, remarked one. “Did yo eber see so much water?”

“Yo’ ain’t seen nothin’ yet, brudder,” answered his companion, “dat’s just the top of it.”


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