Marion's note 12-15-06: It is with deep regret that I announce the passing of Vince this morning. He is now with his fellow WWII Engineers, all who have served their country so well. Our condolences to his family and friends. He shall be missed but NEVER forgotten!
Where do I begin this story? For once I am at a loss for words.
First off, you may notice that in place of the typical photograph displayed in the usual spot above the name of the vet, you instead see a cropped image from a famous World War II poster. Some of you will recognize it right away; that's correct, it's from the poster that states, WE CLEAR THE WAY, and depicts a handsome young combat engineer. So you ask, why did I choose this instead of Vincent's photograph? Well read on my dear friends and watch the poster come to life...
Today I received a most unusual email from a woman named Wendy. When I first read her letter, I must admit I was a bit confused, but the letter touched my heart. She stated that she found her dad on my site, and I wondered which photo she was referring to. I then read the letter once more and said, oh my God, she is referring to the poster on my History Page. I quickly went to the page and scrolled down to the bottom. It was there that the poster first came to life for me.
I never realized that these posters actually had REAL men behind them, so I learned something new. It's great to be able to place a face to a poster from the past. I now have a copy of that poster hanging in my office signed by the one and only Vincent Leckey. Thank you sir, the honor is all mine!
Marion, Here is the picture that hung in Grand Central Station on a 35 1/2 Mural my daddy is to the left.
I Remain Your Humble Servant
Wendy Lee Leckey/Oliver
The following letter is one of the letters that Wendy has sent to me this week.
During his 33 1/2 months in the Pacific Theater, he was first assigned as a demolitions specialist and later an intelligence sergeant in the 43rd Engineers and the 18th Regimental Combat Team. He fought the Japanese on New Guinea. He told me one time the one day they were in bivouac and the Japanese started bombing his location. Our course he had his slit trench all ready dug out for them to use and when he got to his it was occupied by several other guys all huddled together, he said I yelled at them... that's my hole, and you guys are going to have to find your own. He said that the Japanese kept bombing an old Dutch freighter that sat rusting in Oro Bay Harbor and that Tokyo Rose would keep reporting that "another American ship was sunk". She would come on the air ways every time that the Japanese bombed that old Dutch freighter.
I can't wait to get him home as I have now seen how important his view of WWII is and I want to tape everything he can remember, names of guys in his units and things that happened to him while he was over seas. I want to write a book on my daddy and what he went through to become who he was while he was in the Combat Engineers. I guess I could just go on and on about him, I know that you are busy and getting ready for the wedding this weekend. Hope all goes well and I will pray for travel mercies while you are gone. Lots of love to everyone.
When I spoke to Wendy on the phone, she mentioned that the Army Corps magazine, issue Nov-Dec 2003, included an article regarding her father, Vince. I hurriedly scribbled in on a scrap piece of paper for future reference.
While working on my site I was looking for information on lapel insignia that I found in a photo of 540th combat engineer. So I performed my usual Internet searches and found myself once again on the Army Corps of Engineer's site. While there I stumbled upon a page that included upcoming engineer reunions and decided to submit the 36th CE's reunion that I am attending next month in PA.
Sure enough, I received a response informing me that my submission would was accepted for inclusion. I looked at the name at the bottom of the email and realized it was a familiar one; Colonel Mike Morgan. Mike and I had corresponded last year when he so kindly included my weblink on his Army Corps of Engineer's site.
Later today while reading through more email, I read his email again, and then something struck a chord. Under Mike's name it said, Army Engineer Magazine Associate Editor. Whoa! I had completely forgotten that Mike was the associate editor. Suddenly two and two added up and I sent the following email off in haste, including the link to the forum.
Just realized that you were the associate editor for the magazine. Doh, it had slipped my mind. Just the man I need to talk to. I am trying to help a daughter of a combat engineer (see link below in case you are interested in reading her story). She happened to tell me yesterday, that there was an article regarding her dad in the Nov-Dec 2003 issue. I believe it is in regards to the WWII poster that he posed for during the war. His name is Master Sergeant (Ret) Vincent G. Leckey. He spent 33 1/2 months in the Pacific Theater and was first assigned as a demolitions specialist and later an intelligence sergeant in the 43rd Engineers and the 18th Regimental Combat Team. Can you help me locate a copy of this article? I would greatly appreciate it.
Thanks a million,
A half hour later Mike replied and now I am certain that God DID send Wendy to me. I still can't believe how everything is falling into place.
The article you referenced is attached in pdf format. We printed the magazine in B&W back then...it's in color now. I've attached two of the color photos I took the day we did the interview with Vince. He's shown signing one of the posters he posed for during the war. Hope this helps. Take care.
Colonel, USA (Ret)
Army Engineer Magazine Associate Editor & Webmaster
Here are the two photos. Now you yourself can see the poster come to life!