Letters from War – Irvin Schwartz prepares to leave Europe from the United States, August 1945

This is part of our “Letters from War” series documenting the World War II letters of Irvin Schwartz of Pine Grove, PA. The letters were all published in the West Schuylkill Press-Herald between 1943 and 1945. 

Read the previous letter here

Nurnberg, August 27, 1945

Dear Mae, Mr. Reber, Friends and Relatives:

Please discontinue sending any newspapers, letters, packages, postal cards, etc. I am leaving for home.

I am coming home, not to see any particular individual, but to talk to those who fought the war, including the people who worked on the home front. On arriving home, my primary aim is to renew acquaintances. To hear the experiences of my old buddies who probably braved the mud on the battlefields of Italy in the capture of Naples, on the beaches of Anzio, at Cassino, and at Bologna.

I am coming home to speak to old friends who maybe stood M.P. duty at home – in Washington, Chicago and San Francisco – or on the downtown streets of Rome, in the G.I.’s own Piccadilly Circus in London, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beneath the Arc de Trumphe in Paris, in Brussels, or on the beach of Nice, the capital city of the Riviera. I hope to speak to old buddies who managed to live as prisoners after their aircraft were shot to pieces over the Ploesti oil fields of Romania, over Austria, Germany and Japan; to buddies taken prisoner in the Dragon’s Teeth of the Siegfried Line, in the hedgerows of Normandy, and Von Runstedt in the Battle of the Bulge. To old-timers wounded in the battle for fortress Metz, France, and in the crossing of the Rhine.

I expect to talk with Marines who on many occasions were with the assault troops in the invasions of the islands; to sailors who transported us to the beaches of Oran, North Africa; Gela, Sicily; and Normandy, France; and kept supplies moving from the home front to the battle lines despite enemy activity on the seas.

I’ll talk to our airmen who flew to Japan from bases on Luzon, New Guinea, Okinawa and Guam; to buddies who stood sentry in the snow of Attu and Kiska; and then later when they return home, I will exchange thoughts with the boys who are now occupying the homeland of Japan.

Since the First Infantry Division is an occupation unit and will remain here for quite some time, a group of 2,000 high-point men will be transferred from here to the Ninth Armored Division which recently was alerted for shipment to the States. Just whether we will fly or go by ship, I do not know, and whether it will be a matter of three weeks or two months before we arrive in America is another big question mark. Elements of the Ninth Armored can arrive in the States while part of the unit is still here on the continent awaiting shipment. Remember, there are as high as over 15,000 men in a single division.

I, as all the others, will hate to the leave the “Fighting First” in a certain way, but as I wear the shoulder pacth of The Big Red One back home, I’ll know that it’s still being carried over here by the boys who fought a fierce enemy with me. Boys who one day I will see again. Either over here or over there. After I have talked with my buddies I’ll probably have my choice of a discharge, service in the states, or return to the forces of occupation in Germany. But right now I am coming home to talk to those who fought the war.

As I bid farewell to France, England, Scotland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Holland, and the rest of an again peaceful Europe, I wish to start saying “Hello” to America.

Will be seeing you soon,

T/Sgt. Irvin R. Schwartz

Featured Image: Irvin Schwartz in 1945

This is part of a series titled: “Letters from War.” Read more of the letters written by Irvin Schwartz during World War II

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