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WW2 Era Letter Written by Soldier Who was Killed during the Battle of Okinawa.

Article about: William Walko was born on January 22nd 1925 in Indiana. He would enlist into the Army on August 16th 1943. William would go on to serve in the 382nd Infantry Regiment within the 96th Infantr

  1. #1

    Default WW2 Era Letter Written by Soldier Who was Killed during the Battle of Okinawa.

    WW2 Era Letter Written by Soldier Who was Killed during the Battle of Okinawa.
    William Walko was born on January 22nd 1925 in Indiana. He would enlist into the Army on August 16th 1943. William would go on to serve in the 382nd Infantry Regiment within the 96th Infantry Division. When William wrote this letter, his regiment was taking part in the battle of Leyte, which began on October 17th 1944. The letter reads:

    “October 27th 1944

    Dear ma & pa,

    Don’t have to much to do tonight so I thought it would be best for me to drop home a few lines.

    Well first of all I’m feeling fine and am still in the same place. Nothing much is really new around here and everything is just about the same. I hope that everything at home is the same way.

    I’m sending a money order home that I’m enclosing with this letter. I just may as well put it away and have something when I get out. Anyway, it’ll give me a little start after I get home. Are all my allotments coming through all right? You should have received about 4 or 5 of them by now.

    Well what’s new at home, if anything? I wrote Barn(?) a v-mail yesterday but I haven’t heard from him in a long time. I suppose he’s still taking it easy. He probably received it by now anyway.

    I heard all about Loddy(?) being home again. Well i guess he’s still lucky. He’s the only…

    *next page*

    one in from our bunch that is still in the states. The rest of us are all scattered all around I guess with Alex being over the longest. I wrote to him and told him about Loddy being home and he didn’t feel a damn bit pleased. I don’t blame him myself. Do Feges(?) folks hear from him regularly yet? Margie told me it took his mail about three weeks to get home.

    Well I haven’t got very much more to say right now but anyway tell the kids I said hello. I wish that this letter finds you all at home in the best of health and don’t forget to write soon.

    Your son,
    “Will”

    Unfortunately William would not make it back home. 6 months after writing this letter, William would be killed in action by the Japanese while on Okinawa on April 8th 1945, during heavy fighting in the Kakazu Ridge area. William is buried in the Saint John-Saint Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Hammond Indiana.

    An excerpt detailing the events on the day William was killed:

    “The Army’s 96th Infantry Division lay before Kakazu Ridge on the morning of April 8, 1945 and prepared to make an assault on the positions that had halted their initial advance. With no preparatory artillery barrage, the two companies of infantry jumped off from their positions before day break so as to achieve surprise. One company from the 96th under the command of Lieutenant Willard Mitchell reached the top of Kakazu before Mitchell and his men were pinned down by furious Japanese fire. The Americans were unable to dig in on the rough coral tops of Kakazu, and thus were exposed to well-aimed rifle fire and shrapnel from all angles. The Japanese, knowing they had their enemy at their mercy, sprang from their caves hurling grenades and satchel charges at the pinned down American infantry. The Japanese assault was halted with heavy losses. Mitchell’s men repelled the Japanese assault in hand to hand combat with fixed bayonets and rifle butts.

    As Mitchell’s company was fighting for its life atop the ridge, another two companies under the command of Captain Jack Royster and Lieutenant Dave Belman advanced opposite Mitchell’s position. They, too, became pinned down. Two Japanese machine guns, well emplaced near the entrance of two separate caves, pinned Royster and Belman’s companies down. Seeing an opportunity to place fire on the Japanese machine gun crews, PFC. Edward Moskala crawled forward, unobserved by enemy eyes, and opened fire on the two Japanese positions with his Browning Automatic Rifle after lobbing grenades at the crews. Moskala’s one-man assault eliminated the Japanese machine guns and allowed Belman's and Royster’s companies to begin a withdrawal. The two infantry units were able to move off of the ridge crest and into the valley below when the Japanese realized their enemy’s intent. Furious enemy fire poured in on the withdrawing Americans, forcing them to take cover in previously occupied Japanese caves. Royster, half blinded by a mortar wound in the face and knowing full well that his company was on the verge of being overrun and annihilated, called his battalion for further support. Infantry support pushed forward only to be stopped in its tracks by heavy Japanese mortar and machine gun fire. Royster radioed back to his battalion headquarters and requested a smoke barrage so they could retreat. He was ordered to hold the ridge at all costs. His position untenable, Royster again radioed for smoke and received the barrage, only to have the first barrage blow back in his own face due to wind. A second barrage was requested and then a third before enough smoke drifted in front of Royster’s position to allow him and his battered company to withdraw.”

    WW2 Era Letter Written by Soldier Who was Killed during the Battle of Okinawa.
    WW2 Era Letter Written by Soldier Who was Killed during the Battle of Okinawa.
    WW2 Era Letter Written by Soldier Who was Killed during the Battle of Okinawa.

  2. #2
    TWS
    TWS is offline
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    Unfortunate fate. Shared by so many.

    My hometown is next door to Hammond. I fear I won't remember, but if I do I could try and get a photo of his headstone for you next time I am back that way.
    Todd
    Former U.S. Army Tanker.
    "Best job I ever had."

  3. #3

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    Indeed

    And thank you! That would be cool!

  4. #4

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    Here is the headstone application. No other picture listed on findagrave.
    WW2 Era Letter Written by Soldier Who was Killed during the Battle of Okinawa.

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