Genealogy and History
Part of the Genealogy Trails History Group
From Walter Jacobs to his sister
Somewhere in France
Sunday, Oct. 27, 1918
My Dear Sister,
I will have to write a few lines to you. I am lying in bed writing this letter. I am feeling pretty fair now. I am very weak. It will take sometime before I get my strength back again. I guess it is the weather, It is rainy and damp most of the time. I suppose you are doing your Christmas shopping by the time this letter reaches you. I suppose you are all waiting for peace over there. I think we will have it soon. How are the rest of the folks getting along? Is brother Roy at the same old job yet or does he have to go to camp. I have been trying to find Ed. C. and cousin Herbert, but I have not seen anything of them.
The airplanes are flying over us all the time. I have been in some of the towns the Germans have shot and burned up. We Yanks will soon have that stopped before long. We have the Germans about on their own ground now. We Yanks are certainly doing some fighting over here now. I suppose the weather is getting cold over in the U. S. A. It is not very cold over here yet. They say it will rain one day and snow the next. They sure are behind times over here. Believe me, they cannot beat the good old U. S. A. I have written quite a few letters since I was in the hospital. I wrote four letters Friday. I wrote to Ed Hamms, Dolly Otto, Ed Stukenberg, Uncle Dave Harkins and I have a good many more to write to after I get through with your letter. I have also written Roy Switzer. What are Harry and Emerson doing these days? I suppose Harry still works for Becker's and Emerson goes to school. I suppose you and Mabel are at your same old work and how is mother? I wrote her four letters last week. I hope she got them all.
I am with a strange bunch of boys. I met one of my old friends. I don's know if you know him or not, his name is Walter Kutzke. His folks live up on Empire street. He is in the hospital with me. He is talking to me. He was gassed. He could not see for five days, but he is getting along fine. Does Eva Parriot ever hear from Herman Z? I have not seen anything of him and I have been a good ways in France.
Well sister I think I will have to bring this to a close, hoping this letter finds you well. I have a new address. I think that's why I don't get your mail. The next letter you write put my new address on. With love I remain as ever, your loving brother.
F. C. Pvt. Walter E. Jacobs
Co. D. 162 Inf. ------- American E. F.
[Contributed by Karen Fyock]
From Otto L Keehn to his family
Co H 27 Infantry
American Expiditionary Forces, Siberia
December 7, 1918
I Received your letter and Christmas boxes all O. K. and thank you for them. We had a real feast after I opened them. It is funny that you did not get any of my letters yet. I am well and hope the same of you. The weather is cold just now, but don't worry we have enough clothes to keep us warm - Fur caps, Fur mittens, overshoes and sheep lined coats. I suppose you people are glad the was if over, so am I, but I don't know long we have to stay here. Next summer might find us on our way back. The picture of Helen and the Kids are good. I am going to have my picture taken in my heavy clothing before I go back. I hope you Folks don't get the Flue, I sure seen enough of this country life. I received the Moose Magazines allright. If you see Ed Bausher tell him to drop a few lines to me. Well I guess I will have to close for this time, hoping this letter finds you all well,Thanking you all for the Presents. Helen and Edwin also, Write often.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
With Love from your Son Otto
[Contributed by Karen Fyock]
LETTER FROM Paul R. Fogel to his brother
Somewhere in Siberia
September 21st ‘18
Dear Brother: --- Just a few lines to let you know that I am in Siberia. What I am going to do here is more than I can say. But at the present time I am the 1st Sgt. of a Regimental Hospital. I am all O.K. and I hope that this will find you the same. I suppose you have heard that I am with the first of the American Forces to land in Siberia. “Holy Smoke,” but it is sure cold over here and we are all in tropical clothes so we are freezing. We had a stopover in the city of Nagasaki, Japan, was in the city for about six hours. Fine place for a millionaire but not for a soldier. Well when we landed at Vladivostok, Siberia we were cheered by all the nations, namely the Slovaks, Russians, French, English, Bohemians, and the good Lord only can tell how many more. You see Vladivostok is a city of refugees and the people sure welcomed the American troops, as they have done all over, in every city where we have been.
Since I have been here I have sure found out what soldiering was like. I have hiked in the mud and would sleep in the water at night.
Oh, by the way, Otto Keene, Toby Leiber, Fred Berg, and Harry Wieman are with us. Keene and all of the boys liked to fainted when they seen me. I was sure glad to see them. Keene told me that Deac LeVeque was on the Brooklyn which means that he is at Vladivostok now.
Well old boy, it is about time for “chow” so I will have to postpone this.
Here I am back again but not until I got soaked to the skin while waiting for “chow.” Well Rus, I guess that I had better close for this time. I will write later.
Closing I am as ever,
Sgt. Paul R. Fogel
Medical Department, American Exped. Forces In Siberia
World War 2
OFFENHEISER, Vietta (Sgt.) --
London, England - May 31, 1945
Dear Verena and Glenn:
Well, well, it's really been a long time since I've written, hasn't it? I'm sorry! I had the best intentions, but heck, it seems like I barely have time to eat and sleep. I've been over here eleven months now, and how the time has flown. Let's see, where shall I begin? I get the Pearl City paper fairly regularly but now that I have sent you my correct address, it will probably reach me more quickly. Jan Mitchell called me a couple weeks ago when he was in London on pass and we had an "evening at home" even though we were in a restaurant in Piccadilly having dinner. He said he hadn't been getting the paper so I send my copies to him as soon as I've read them. I used to send them to Jimmy but now he is on his way home and I imagine you will see him in Pearl City for a few days in the near future. Boy, it sure was good to see Jay again, and remember all the good times the old gang used to have. Now that censorship has relaxed somewhat I can probably make my letter a bit more interesting if you are interested in my job and what I've been doing lately. I guess that I wrote that I was in the Headquarters of the Army airways communications System, 5th Wing and assigned in the Air Inspector's Office. I am the only WAC and my duties are combined secretarial and administrative inspector's. Major Christianson is the Section Head with Captain Hornstein and Lt. Bicker and M/Sgt. Hoganson and myself as his assistants. Imagine that, I have a title, Sgt. Offenheiser. Asst. Administrative Inspector, and it's right on my desk too. Now to ourline the duties and an administrative inspector, briefly, I must study all current and new regulations from all sections of higher commands; Hq., AAF; War Department, etc., and keep abreast of all pertinent changes, additions or elations and believe me that is no small matter. Then we go on trips to our Groups, Squadrons, Operational and Supply and Maintenance. Besides my own inspection of the administrative records, service records files, publications and other procedures.
I take the notes of the Officers as they make their individual inspections and compile all notes into a complete report. This report, I then send through all necessary channels for corrective action if any is needed and there usually is, and report to the Major who in turn reports to the Col. and our Commanding Officer on the condition of the units and compliance with our recommendations or directions stated in the report. We inspect about four or five units each month and so you can see that I really have my hands full. I have been promised an assistant to take care of routine office work that piles up for me while we are out on trips. We have our own plane so that the transportation problem isn't bad, but sometimes weather and living quarters in some of the units makes things a little unpleasant. Usually the trips are only a few days but one that we made in may was ten days and was by far the most wonderful trip that I have been on. I was able to write the folks about that one but previous ones I hadn't been able to mention very much. In case they haven't told you I'll try to describe the ten days of that trip, but please don't think the others have been as luxurious, because they darn well haven't! We were to make inspections of two of our Squadrons, located near Paris and had planned to have out temporary headquarters in Paris. The billeting situation there is terrific, everything is crowded and the place hat I was scheduled to stay was really crowded. Well, the first morning we jeeped out to the one squadron, about 15 kilometers from Paris to begin our inspections and in the course of the evening, the C. O. of the Squadron invited us to stay in his chateau. He had stumbled on this beautiful chateau, worth about $3,000,000 while hunting for a sight for Sq, Hq.
It had formerly belonged to a collaborationist who doesn't dare return to this little village on the banks of the Seine; so he made the necessary negotiations, had the place cleaned up, and appropriated it for his quarters. The place is simply out of this world, has old paintings worth thousands, exquisite furniture, paneling and woodwork and lovely adjoining lawns and gardens. he has employed five servants and now has the place in tiptop shape. There are seven bedrooms, the Cerise Room, the Chartreuse Room, the Green Room, the Blue Room, the Rose Room, etc. There are two living rooms or drawing rooms and a den or library on the ground floor and a dining room and a smaller, more informal breakfast of lunch too, lovely hall and foyer, tiled kitchen. Second floor has 3 bedrooms, enormous bathroom and canopied balcony at the end of the gall. Third floor has four more bedrooms, a large room used as a studio or sitting room, furnished with a lovely Grand piano and comfortable chairs and inlaid tables, etc. All the windows are French and open onto little balconies edged with flower boxes. On the roof is a solarium and gym combined with all sorts of exercising machines and sun bathing facilities in a glassed-in room. The garden has a grotto and a little stream ending in a pool in the center of which is a statue fountain that tinkles and sparkles in the sunshine. I had the Blue room and one of his servants was delegated as my personal maid and chaperon during my stay. It someone had told me this would happen to me in the Army I wouldn't have believed them! The maids name was Angel, pronounced Ahn-jell and she was a perfect wonder. She slept in a tiny room opening off mine and would have my bath ready for me when she woke me in the morning.
She would lay out my clothes and would have them all pressed and my shoes shined. She couldn't understand when I assured her I was quite able of dressing myself. We would then have breakfast in the garden at 8 or 8:30 and begin our days work. In the evening, she would have a clean shirt layed out for me and brush my hair while I cleaned up for dinner. I worked several nights on the reports in the studio, a couple of nites we toured Paris and V-E night I went to Fontain Blue with one of the fellows from the Squadron. I got to bed between 11 and 12 each night though and Angel was always waiting for me. She would have my bed turned down, robe and slippers laid out, tea or fruit juice and a snack on a tray for me, and always fresh flowers on the night table beside my bed. She would also brush my hair for about 10 minutes each night, too. Such luxury, I almost got spoiled. I went to church twice in the Cathedral De Notre dame while I was there. On the one Sunday and on V-E day morning. On the Sunday afternoon, we went sight-seeing all around Paris, the first time I rally had time and really saw all the sights. Services in the Cathedral really were impressive on V-E Day, the French people are very devout and were so terribly happy about the end of the war. The crowd in Paris all day that day were terrific!
It was estimated that there were three million people concentrated around the Arc De Triomphe and I can well believe it, because it looked like there were more than that to me. Lt. Eschen from the Squadron drove me in town that afternoon in a jeep and we no more that started up the Champe DeElysees that the jeep was covered with French people of all ages singing the Marseillaise and shouting "Finis LeGuerre" (End of the War or War is ended) and "Vive La France" and Vive La Americain" Every vehicle that tried to traverse the streets was promptly boarded by the hilarious people. The amazing thing to me was that I noted only one or two people here and there who were intoxicated. It wasn't till late that evening that we opened a bottle of champagne at Fountaine Bleau, in a quiet little side walk cafe on the bank of the Seine, that we toasted Victory Day. My reactions were, on the whole, like most of us here. I felt that it was wonderful that the actual fighting was over, but we still have quite a war to fight on the other side and there will also be a long time of cleaning up here, so I guess, it just seemed like another day to me. Sometimes, when I let myself think of it, it seems like it will be so long yet before we will all get home. As for myself, I only have 33 points, not enough! Besides no one gets released in my outfit until there is a replacement because our job is considered essential. You see, the AACS controls all the radio, teletype, and crypto communications to the Air Forces and our planes will be flying around here quite some time. Goodness, this has really gott to be quite a book, how I do chatter on! I'll try to write a bit more often now that I've got in the groove again. Please give everyone at home my very best regards and also my address in case anyone feels like writing. Also please remember that this last trip to France was one in a million, and I guess I was about the luckiest WAC in the world on that one.
As ever, Vietta
Sgt. Vietta Offenheiser is now located in Wiesbaden, Germany. A letter to her parents Mr. and Mrs. Henry Offenheiser says in part - "We were scheduled to fly from England Sept. 26 and almost across the channel, but the weather on the continent was so bad we had to go back to London until the following day. I got to sit in the co-pilots seat all the way, a little over three hours. It was a marvelous ride. I learned to read about half the gadgets in the cock pit and was allowed to steer the plane through clear sailing for almost an hour. The plane is a smooth looking job, silver painted with our insignia painted on the nose. We WACs are billeted in one of the best houses left standing in Wiesbaden. It failed to get the beating the rest of the town got. I am with three other girls I was with in London. The ground floor consists of a large oak ceilinged foyer with stained glass windows, potted flowers and beautiful paintings on the walls. The furniture is so grand it is almost "out of this world". Books rest on glassed shelves, tables are all inlaid, fire places, mirrors from the ceing to the floor, huge crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling that is beautifully carved, and wood panels are very elaborate as side walls. Our mess hall is on the main floor of the Hotel Metropolis still in good condition and only two bloacks from where we stay. It reminds me of the Faust hotel at Rockford. German cooks have plenty of KP help and the food is wonderful. Some of these displaced people work for three cigarettes a day or a package of K rations or the food we leave on our plates. They are good workers however, and very clean. The aristoctrats of the town dress in true Hollywood style. My German dialect is very poor and whenever I try to express myself in French I draw a "nein" every time. But my sign language has increased about 500 percent and in that I can put across almost any order or instruction. At one time Wiesbaden was the most beautiful city of Germany. They tell me 440,000 people were killed in this area when our raids were on. The Gestapo used this as their winter resort for high ranking officers. Wiesbaden is on the Rhine backed by the most beautiful mountains that are perfect for skiing and sledding. Elegant riding stables are to be seen, golf courses and tennis courts, in fact all surroundings are simply wonderful. We hope to go to Italy next and then I shall have another flying lesson enroute. My present address is Sgt. V. Offenheiser A698219 Hg 5th ASES Wing APO 633 U. A. Army % P.M. New York, N. Y.
[Contributed by Karen Fyock]
A LETTER FROM GUAM 1944
Dave Southwick F. 1/c, (Micro Switch 1944) ex Mechanical Maintenance writes from Guam "The other day two Marines stopped at the plant and asked for me. They were Vernon Fairbairn and Johnny Muchow from home. They asked me if I would like to see LeRoy Wilhelms. Willie had gotten my address from the birthday card you had sent him and so the boys came looking for me. Did it ever seem good to see them! There are five of us bunched up now - those three, myself and one of Willie's buddies, Dave Brown, from Chicago. I went over to see Willie again yesterday and spent the morning with him. It sure seemed good to talk to someone from Micro. He is working in a machine shop near an airstrip. His outfit takes care of all the trucks, cats, and other heavy equipment. The other two boys are in the radio racket with the Marines. The whole gang came over to see me at the Gas Plant this afternoon. After talking awhile, we laid out some plans for a Freeport reunion this next Sunday. Boy, is that going to be a tail winder! I got up to see Bill Shoemaker last week too. We are going to try and get him in on this party some way. The next time I write you I'll let you know how it comes out. Tell the boys at the shop to hold the fort and we will do our damndest out here. Oh yes, tell Mike Roswitch to get himself in the Navy, and we can get outfitted with diesels for those size 15 pontoons he calls shoes, and some of the boys will sail him right into Tokyo Bay." [Micro News - September 1945 Contributed by Karen Fyock]
BACK - HOME
© Genealogy Trails