Hi Honey, I Got Shot and Can’t Write, Don’t Worry About Me…

Letter from U.S. Army Lieutenant, E. Co., 127th Infantry, APO #32, to wife at home in Iowa, U.S.

24 April 1945

My dearest–

I cheated the Grim Reaper so close that I just can’t think about it. But I’m okay and still in one piece. I got wounded on Sunday the 22 April while doing some patrol work. I think that I was hit by a Jap mortar that hit two feet from me.

In a few days darling you will receive one of those war dept. telegrams. I hope that this reaches you first.

I was hit in the right leg and ankle, and in right forearm. I have a cast on the leg–and I probably could be writing this myself–but this is faster. An officer from my company, who is also here at the hospital, is doing the writing.

We have nurses here, and wonderful doctors–so don’t worry about me darling–I’m receiving excellent care.

I’ll give you more of the details in a few days–

Dwight

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In a stack of old letters, this missive stood out to me because it seemed to be written in a different hand. I opened it, read it, and knew why–Dwight was injured in the Philippines by Japanese ordnance. He couldn’t write, as evidenced by his pitiful scrawl closing the letter.

“In a few days darling you will receive one of those war dept. telegrams. I hope that this reaches you first.”

It was extremely unlikely that a mailed letter would reach Dubuque faster than a telegram would. I think Dwight included this bit to ensure that his mind was calmed, that he did what was within his control.

Now, Dwight is injured, unable to write, laid up in bed. At least he’s in good company. Other letters from 1945 talk about how boring, how hot, how insufferable it is. Now, some excitement!

And imagine–to be the recipient of this letter! You already knew of the injury, but not much detail–telegrams are brief, succinct. Dwight’s letters are verbose, with pithy observations of military life in a strange land, and this injury report isn’t out of character for him. At least you know what happened. But you’re still thousands of miles away, you cannot lay eyes on your beloved, you can’t fluff his pillow or bring him tea and toast.

We know Dwight eventually came home to the States. This injury slowed him down, but his letters continued to send the latest news home.

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