A Letter Home. May 12, 1945

April 30, 2014

The following excerpt is from a letter written from my grandfather to his sister, while he was stationed in Italy during World War II. He was 19 years old. This letter serves as a huge inspiration to me. Thankful for my grandfather and all those who served and currently serve in our armed forces. 

Dear Edna,

Well how are you all by now? I am OK and i feel good now that the war is over. We was moving up through the Alps on our way to Austria when a tank in our convoy got the news that the war was over and we all almost went crazy. We are in a town in northern Italy now. I would tell you the name of it, but I dont know it myself. I can tell you where Im at now and almost anything because our mail isn't censored by a unit censor any more but only by a base censor.

There are really plenty of Germans around here. They walk all over town and the GIs walk right by them and neither of them have a weapon. What looks funny though, is the patrol these krauts and three GIs walking through town. They all have rifles and hand grenades.  Seems like they should be fighting each other, but they try to talk to each other mostly...the Germans seem relieved and ready to go home too. 

I guess i have to sweat out the Army for quite awhile yet. I suppose our outfit will be occupational troops or move on to the South Pacific. If it's all the same to them, I'd just as soon occupy Italy. I hope it isn't long before Japan surrenders and then maybe i will have a chance of coming home.

Now that our mail isn't censored, maybe i can tell you about my boat ride. We shipped out from Newport News, Virginia on April 22 (1944) on a liberty ship. It was a big convoy. I guess there was almost two hundred ships. None of us knew where we were going. We sailed south for a few days and then changed our course to north. It took us 28 days to reach the port of Naples. We stopped in port in Augusta, Sicily for a day and a half but didn't get off the ship.

About the second day after we passed the rock of Gibraltar and was way out on the Mediterranean Sea we had an air raid.  All of us was down in the hold of the ship and the guns up on the deck turned loose and i thought the whole ship was coming apart. You could hear the bombs dropping, but i guess we were lucky none hit our ship. They said that two of our ships were sunk, but we never did hear anything else about that. Anyway i was glad to hit land. Now i am ready for just one last boat ride - home. 

Well, I'll close now as I've went over my quota and wrote three pages. Ha! Answer soon. I'll try to write more often now.

Love, Tommy.

PFC Thomas O'Hair 35877973

Req. Hqs. Co. 349th Infantry

A.P.O. 88 C/O P.M.

New York, New York