16 September, 2011

16 September 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
16 September, 1944      1300
Dearest sweetheart –

I started to write you a V-mail because we’re off on a storm again – but we’ve been delayed for 30 minutes – so I started this. If I end abruptly, dear, you’ll know why.

I received one more letter from you – 22 August and very sweet and sentimental. We do see eye to eye, dear – and I don’t see how we can miss hitting off a very happy life together.

Yesterday p.m. I went looking for a radio and believe it or not, I found one. They are scarcer than anything you can imagine – especially battery sets. I found one – an R.C.A. and it plays well. I had to pay 4000 francs for it – that’s $80.00 and I’ve already been offered $20.00 profit by at least 3 different men. I’ve already written you I believe, darling, that I asked my father to get me one. If he has already done so – it is all right – because I can get rid of this one without any trouble at all. And besides – this one I have is for battery only and he may send me the combination type.

You know, dear, I got a good laugh in one of your recent letters. You mentioned you had been discussing things with Nin one day and of all things to discuss you mention the subject of arguments. What struck me funny was your decision that they are nice to have because making up is such good fun. I think you’ve hit on something there, sweetheart – and no doubt we’ll have our arguments, too. The only thing you didn’t mention – was a time limit. That’s important. First we have the argument, then a time limit for pouting – depending on what we were arguing about – and then – oh boy, we enjoy the end of the argument!

Oh – the enclosed post-card picture was taken by the proprietor of the place where I had my work done. He also give me a picture of Hitler superimposed riding on a Pig and made me promise I’d put it in the window of the jeep – which I did of course. The other snaps are from back in France and should make a total of 15 I’ve sent you. Let me know, darling, as you receive them. I have a total of 52, I believe, to send. That’s all I had on hand.

Hello, dear! Love from Liège, Belgium - September 1944
[Greg is in the passenger seat.]

The news, sweetheart, is still good – oh! oh! – I must stop dear, because things are humming again. Be well, darling, enjoy your work – and remember that you will always have
My sincerest love,

P.S. Love to the folks –

Route of the Question Mark
(A) Romsee to (B) Welkenraedt (17 Miles)
11 to 16 September 1944

September 16... Welkenraedt. A Nazi plane, shot down in a dog fight, almost crushed our field, and the Belgian farmers tried to spread manure all over our area to fertilize it, and the days were getting shorter, so we'd listen to the BBC nine o'clock news on Capt RENKIN'S radio and then go to bed.


about Humanizing...

Two soldiers were mentioned in today's excerpt from The Route of the Question Mark. Here is a little about each.

The Nazi Pilot

The Nazi plane shot down was flown by Obergefreiter Hermann Hillebrand, who was reported to be Killed-In-Action during aerial combat "with a P-47 or a P-38" at Schinnen, by Welkenredt, Belgium, 16 kilometers southeast of Aachen. He was buried at Lommel, Belgium. He had been flying a Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-8.
Here are diagrams of that aircraft

Hillebrand had been awarded the "Fighter Operational Clasp in Bronze". The "Bronze" clasp was awarded to German aviators for 20 operational flights.

Here is a picture of that clasp (shown in silver)

The man with the radio

William Stewart Renkin, a general contractor and architectural draftsman, was born June 16, 1913 in Pittsburgh, PA. He served in the African/Middle East Campaign as well as the European Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes and Rhineland Campaigns and was awarded 6 Battle Stars and the American Defense Medal. He was married to Genevieve Conklin in New York in 1942 and had three children: William M., Elizabeth "Betty" and Genevieve "Jenne". A 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army, Renkin retired as captain for the 213th Regiment, Coastal Artillery. William S. Renkin died in February of 1979 in Lancaster, PA.

Here is a picture of William Stewart Renkin

William's son, William Matthew Renkin, born in October of 1946, was the last of eight generations, all with the first name of William, to serve in the U.S.Army. He served for thirty years, from two tours in Vietnam to a Pentagon position in computer mapping for Desert Storm. Master Sgt. Renkin died in July of 2005 at the Lebanon VA Medical Center, following a brief illness.

Here is a picture of William Matthew Renkin

William S. Renkin's daughter, Betty, retired from the U.S. Army as a Sergeant. His other daughter, Jenne, is a former nurse's aide, a published author of some of the local history of Lancaster, PA and one of the original guides for the Historic Lancaster Walking Tour, begun in 1975.

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