Somewhere between the end of the campaign at Iwo Jima and the LCI(R)-707’s arrival in preparation for the battle at Okinawa, Frank Stevens manages to take enough time to write a two-page letter home to his parents, William and Agnes Tully Stevens, and his family in Chicago that bears little trace of the fierce fighting that is surrounding him.
U.S.S. LCI (L) 707
C/o. Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, California
March 22nd, 1945.
Dear Mom Dad & All:
Well the fifth offspring has a chance to belt out a letter to the old soaks at home so here goes, things are okay out here and little F.X. is in the best of health so don’t worry about him. I’ve got a little good news for Pat, Pat are you listening, you are? okeh I’ve picked up some Nip money for your short snorter, can’t send it home as yet but will when I get a chance.
Ever the well-connected and sociable, Frank still is writing letters, not only to family but also to friends from the old Chicago neighborhood. It’s been interesting trying to locate any records of these old buddies he’s mentioning. I did manage to find a record of a Joseph Robert Lavelle from Chicago who served on the USS Cowpens. And I located a 1930 census record for a Lavelle family on 56th Street, just around the corner from Frank’s old home, which included brothers Bob and Jim. I’ve found some records on Ancestry.com for a Roy Hodges, but the family member who posted that tree is too distant a relative—and one generation removed—to have actually known him or be able to connect me to his immediate family members.
As I mentioned in my post on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, this generation we’re talking about is nearing ninety years of age—if they are still with us at all. While it would be neat to find each of these men and piece together their collective stories, with Time against us, it would be almost impossible by now.
Regardless of whether we could ever assemble such a collage of remembrances, one thing is certain for each of them: in Frank’s words, “All I can say is this war can’t get over too soon to suit me.”
Wrote to Bob Lavelle yesterday, I’ve had a couple of letters from him and just missed seeing his brother Jim when I was at Pearl Harbor Bob is out here on a Aircraft carrier the USS COWPENS. I’ve been looking all over for Roy Hodges ship but so far no luck, it seems to me I should run into some of the boys from the block out here, hows to send me a list of where the gang are as I’m hitting quite a few of these islands. I suppose Mutz and Ed are back in Chi by now I bet they are glad to be home I know I would give my last buck to see you all right about now.
I hear from the bunch down at St. Thomas every so often and from what they say the rock is really a country club now, that was what I call good duty if it were offered to me I think I would be ready to accept. The war news really sounds good these days and all I can say is this war can’t get over too soon to suit me.