About this blog

As the author of this blog, Karen L Garner Martin Messick, I am the daughter of an American soldier, Wilbur (Bill) C. Garner, Sr. and Women's Royal English Navy service woman (British Wren) Gwendoline Rosa Wilkins, who met and married during World War II. They lived and loved for over 50 years before Mother passed in 2000. When she did I helped Dad with every day chores when I could. One day I was helping him clear things out and I lifted a plastic bag out of the seat of Mom's piano stool, asking Dad, "Whats in this bag?" to which he replied, "Just some of Mary's old letters." Mary, his older sister, was still alive at the time, residing in an assisted living facility, suffering from Alzheimer's disease. I put the letters back in the piano seat thinking he did not want me to open the letters.
When Dad passed two years later, I inherited Mary's letters.
When I began to read them, I found they were mostly letters from Dad to Mary while he was in World War II ("The War"). I could not put them down. I wished I had opened them the day I first saw them so that Dad and I could have had conversations about them, but that was not to be...so as I read through these "Letters to Mary" I began to get a glimpse into Dad's young years when he met Mom and his time as a soldier. I have researched events during World War II to enhance my understanding of what was happening in the war as each letter came to broaden my understanding of what he might have been experiencing. I knew he landed on the beaches of Normandy, France D-Day plus 1 as he recounted his memory of that day to me when he was dying from Leukemia. It was horrifying. There were also letters from a companion Mary had met while in Minneapolis, he had been deployed overseas. I have entwined them chronologically with Dad's letters as it gives a greater dimension to the war itself. I intend to editorialize as necessary to explain personal relationships and situations as the story unfolds through the "Letters to Mary." I welcome any questions, comments and feedback. As the "Greatest Generation" fades away, I felt compelled to share these letters and story in hopes of continuing the legacy they left for the world. Let us never forget the untold years and lives that were sacrificed for freedom!
If you have stumbled upon this blog I have added a blog archive at the bottom of the blog page. Continue to scroll down to access the Blog Archive. The posts are chronologically listed and to follow the story it is best to start with the first post in December 2013.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Letter #29 from Henri C Romieux August 2 1944

A month had passed since Henri's last "Letter to Mary", when the letter in this blog post arrived Minneapolis, 2 August 1944.

The text in blue is an account of the USS John Land's activity in that time period July 4 1944 - August 2 1944.

The troopship USS John Land got underway from
Eniwetok for Saipan on 15 July 1944 to embark troops for the Tinian invasion, the next objective of the Marianas operation
John Land loaded 850 officers and men from 3d Battalion, 8th Marines, 2d Marine Division, on 20-21 July before conducting another landing feint off Tinian town on the 24th. The marines did not spend too long at sea, however, as John Land's boats put them ashore on Tinian the next day. Returning to Saipan, the transport received 122 casualties for evacuation and carried many of them to Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, via Eniwetok, as the hospitals at the latter atoll were overloaded. While en route, BM2c John D. DeLucca died of wounds received on Tinian. The transport anchored in Segund Channel there on 9 August and debarked her passengers. (DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER 805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060)

Henri C. Romieux, SK1c, USNR
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, Calif.

Mary Garner, Sk2c USNR
U.S. Naval Air Station
Wold-Chamberlain Field
Minneapolis, Minnesota

2 August

Dear Mary,

Just received your letter of July 16th. Yes I am sure glad I won the argument cause I do look forward to your letters. I can just imagine the perfect Sunday it is - I know Minneapolis does get some nice summer days at least once in a while. Those days I used to think it was hot back there will seem cool after being out here, and I can't imagine I'll ever complain about Mpls summers again.
Too bad about that D.O. of yours regarding SK(0)- know just how you feel and can't say I blame you for giving up after all. Some people are like that you know- always want things done the hardest way- "The Navy Way".

I was surprised to hear about NTS Electrical folding up so soon like, wonder what those so called sailors there like Madame Hammond will do now. It would really serve them right to get assigned to some out of the place Islands.
No I can't believe there is a chance of NAS folding up - must be just scuttlebutt. Speaking of scuttlebutt - you should hear it here - it's terrible and I am accused of being one of the worst spenders- Now Mary, you know better don't you?

Hope you have a nice time taking care of the T/R's for the jigs- That place will get just like NSD Oakland, 90% black and what chance have the poor whites?

Too bad you say - that that Fortune Teller was wrong. Well maybe its all for the best - the glamour of that Air Cadet uniform with all the gilt might soon wear off, and you would then wish it was just an ordinary enlisted man instead. What?
Of course you know if your not in Minneapolis when I get back - I sure will take a trip and quick like to Baltimore. 

Well, Mary that's about all I can gossip about for today. Keep up the good work and don't stop those letters whatever you do.
By the way if you get a chance phone madame Hammond and get the low down about NTS - and by all means keep his curiosity going about us - it's too good to let it stop. 

Love and More Love, Henri

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