A Fathers Day Letter - June 1943
#1

Hi:

 

Recently came into contact with Rob, son of 540th member Lt Robert Stephens, who was part of my dad's Bn (2833rd). Rob and I are creating a page for his father, which I hope to feature this summer. In the interim, I wanted to post this letter, which was sent home to the Lt's dad for Father's Day. Rob and I thought it was very touching.

 

=========================

 

Lt Robert D Stephens

 

June 3, 1943

 

Dear Dad,

 

Thought I’d drop you a father’s day letter although I have no idea what date it's to be. I’m writing today so if it’s too late it won’t be a disappointment.

 

How’s the gas and oil business with all the rationing what we hear is going on.  Better or worse.  I don’t suppose you even sell tires anymore but I’ll bet you really have to check tires closely. However, I imagine that people are getting more grease jobs and are taking better care of their cars now that they can’t get new ones. By the way, how is that little Chevrolet you bought since I left home?  Does it run pretty slick?

 

Dad, I haven’t seen you in over a year and quarter.  I remember distinctly Dorothy and I drove the green V-8 into the station and I sat there while it was being serviced.  Remember you put a fog light on for us.  Somehow, I knew it was the last time I was going to see you until the war was over. I should have told you a better goodbye but I was afraid you might think me a sissy so I didn’t.  Dad, now I know I’m not a sissy and I think you do too so I want to say a few things.

 

You’re the best dad in the world.  You’ve had some dammed hard knocks but never did you take it out on us.  You’ve always given me good advice when I’ve needed it.  Remember how we used to work together painting houses – Every boy should be given a chance to work with, and thus know his dad better.  Remember how hard I worked that summer and earned my bicycle. I’ve glad that we’ve had tough times for if we hadn’t I’d never have known you like I do.  Remember Medford and Old Lady Colner? Dad, wasn’t that fun? And the time you and I rushed home because Irene was going to have an operation. How disgusted I was that she wasn’t sick in bed! Remember the time Dick I tried to take you down out in the front yard?  We couldn’t get the job done – doubt we could even now. Just too big for our pants I guess?  Remember how I used to go with you on the Raleigh route? Didn’t we have fun?  Dad – thanks for being my “Pop.” I proud you have been!

 

Dad, I want to tell you a story – an African story. I understand we can tell a little about that now so I’ll try to only put in enough into it to give you the grist.  We in our outfit once had a Lieutenant Ed McCrackin from South Carolina.  Ed isn’t with us anymore and here’s why – he was under fire and was wounded --while saving two men’s lives – in the groin. But that didn’t stop him -- he kept in there fighting and for his efforts got four of five shots in the back though his guts – Big shots – about 50 calibers. Mac still wouldn’t stop fighting. He got on a machine gun and gave the hell for about an hour.   When they finally got to him he didn’t want to go back for first aid until the others were taken care of. Mac walked into the operating room after great loss of blood and pain. He was out like a lamp for three or four days. I didn’t get a chance to see him before he was taken back to the States but I do know he lived. Yes, he was cited for his gallantry – one of the few DSC’s given out. He deserved every inch of it! Dad that guy has been my model over here for all of these months.  I hope if my turn ever comes around that I can take it like he did. And I will be able to if I keep thinking about him.

 

Dad, I don’t know whether I’m going to get in on the invasion of Europe or not – haven’t any idea – but I’m going to volunteer. I am a specialist – perhaps an expert -- of a special type that I’m sure can be used – if not on a special mission at least in the early waves of any beach head that may be made.  I just want you to know that I’m doing so of my own accord.  Maybe Ed’s story (you might have read it in the paper?) will make you see why I feel the way I do.  Don’t worry about me – honest I’m the luckiest guy in the world.  Be good and I’ll see you after the war.

 

Love, from your son,

 

RD

 

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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