A gap in the letters makes me wonder whether Frank only wrote when he was responding to a letter from home. In this letter, dated April 19, 1945, he mentions that he hasn’t heard from William and Agnes Tully Stevens since the middle of March. Frank’s own last letter—at least the last one in my possession—was dated March 4. Either there is a missing letter, or problems with the Navy’s war-era mail system.
One clue as to mail delivery difficulties might be in Frank’s first paragraph, the mention of a midway stop between his ship’s duties at Iwo Jima and its current unnamed mission: Leyte. Though that stop was well after the epic battles there were concluded, the overall air in this letter seems more despondent than Frank’s usual patter. His tour of duty seems to be wearing on him.
Dear Mom Dad + All:
Still no mail, this makes it more than a month since I’ve received any and that was at Leyte. Hope someone gets on the ball bonito pronto and gets some up here to us. Got word today that Ernie Pyle was killed by a Jap machine gun slug over on Eie island. That makes two great men gone inside of a week’s time.
Hope this finds every one at home feeling okay. I as usual am so healthy I stink or is that due to the lack of soap and water – oh well what the hell maybe some day I’ll be on a ship that doesn’t have to ration water and then I’ll smell real purty.
Just got a letter off to Jeanne but don’t know when I’ll get a chance to mail it and this. I have to get a note in the mail to John + Clara as they both have birthdays this month.
Gee it’s pretty bad when you get to the point where you can’t think of a blessed thing to write about. Of course I could write a lot of things but what’s the use of giving the censor the work of cutting them out.