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February 24 - March 18, 1943

In Norfolk Area-Preparing for the Ocean Crossing

On February 24th Dad sent a Western Union Telegram from Norfolk, Virginia to his sister that indicated that he probably won't be home for awhile. Dad probably already knew that he would be going overseas soon.

The crew of the LCI (L) 229 arrived in Norfolk, Virginia to begin training for their role in amphibious assaults later in the year. Since Deck Logs for the LCI (L) 229 were not available from the National Archives, the following information was obtained from the War Diary for Flotilla 1 under the command of O.F. Gregor organized on March 1, 1943*.

(*Please note that the original Flotilla 1 had its designation changed to Flotilla 2 on January 1, 1943)

March 1 - March 18, 1943

Letters to Dad's Sister Mae

March 1, 1943

On March 1st Dad sent a letter to his sister Mae responding to her question asking if there is anything she could do for him. His reply was somewhat surprising:

...My album full of pictures is what I really want. Not money, ha ha. So please Mae, I'd like to have it to look at whenever blue and then I can always recall many pleasant memories...Gee! If you only knew how much I want it you wouldn't hesitate to send it...

On the subject of his niece Lynda's birthday:

...Hope she had a wonderful birthday anyway. Incidentally from what I hear the little darlin, still thinks of me--she's not forgotten by a long shot. For I always vision that night at the station--one memory I shan't forget...

On naming his Brother Frank's boy born in January 1943:

...Glad to hear my nephew is doing so well...Wish they'd named him as I asked. Guess I'll have to name my own that way... (as it turned out it was close, but not exactly!!)

On leaving home after his leave of January 24 -30

...but my last day sort of got me. I do know that I have a swell family--even if it took a war to prove it...

On March 3rd John H. Leppert, USN assumed command of Flotilla 1, Group 3 and training exercises continued at Lambert's Point, Portsmouth and Little Creek, VA in preparation for sailing to North Africa.

March 11, 1943

On March 11 in another letter to his sister Dad made his second request for the album to be sent to him.

...I asked as I remember for my album and please Mae, have it sent. Don't know how much longer I'll be here and I'd hate like heck to go away without it. Like a good luck piece to me...

Since being in the Norfolk area, Dad also lamented about his long work day.

...I've been on my feet for an average of 10 hours a day -- no days off. So don't let anyone kid you about this Navy life--I admit it is romantic and adventuresome, but we have to work for our fun (darn it) ha ha...Boy sis, each night after work, I flop in my sack and really lay there. Tired isn't the word for it. Have a little trouble with my feet. Ache something awful at times...

Dad's Western Union Message to Sister Mae
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