T hank you for visiting the WW2 Letters of Private Melvin W. Johnson. We'd like to know that you were here so be sure and take a couple of seconds to drop us a line below.
21 March 2004
My Dusty Box
As a WWII veteran, I was deeply touched by your web presentation of the life of Melvin Johnson. I especially appreciated the thoroughness with which you developed his life and the sad details and paperwork involved after his death. I think your interest in your grandfather is extraordinary. My children don't seem interested in my dusty box of shoulder patches of outfits no longer in existence, crossed rifles insignia, campaign ribbons and medals I never wore. Your web page is a lasting tribute to a true hero. Thank you.
William | USA
3 March 2004
Sgt Maurice Karschner
Dear Mr. Ketchum, I stumbled upon your website a few weeks ago while researching my great-uncle, Sgt. Maurice Karschner, who also served in the 79th in WWII. At the time, I didn't read much more than the timeline, tracing what was going on up to and including the date of his death, Dec. 10, 1944. My family knows very little about him, so I took it upon myself to find out who he was. I just found out last night from Mr. Jim Biggs that my great-uncle was in the F Co. along with Mr. Biggs's father. Now knowing this information, I went back to your website and looked at pictures and read as much as I could while I had some extra time this morning. I was amazed by all you have on your site.
From someone who has just begun the long, extensive search for a deceased WWII soldier and family member, I truly thank you for what you have done. May your grandfather's legacy live on and on.
Amy Dunlap | Muncy, PA USA
5 September 2003
My Grandfather's Story
I just thought it was great to see what you're doing. I too never knew my grandfather who fought in Okinawa. Then I stumbled across some old letters at my grandma's house. I have read most of them and am typing them up to distribute in book form to my whole family. Even though I'm only 16, I'm really interested in him because I never knew him. Another thing that is driving me is the way the veterans from his old platoon speak so highly of him. Keep up the good work. Elijah Palmer
Elijah Palmer | USA
20 May 2003
Mr. Ketchum, Just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for the Private Letters website. My father was a WWII veteran, serving in North Africa and Italy. I have precious few letters from the war, but those I do have are absolute treasures. Dad passed away in 1996, but his memory and spirit live on, and your website is a tribute to all who served. Thank you for sharing your grandfather's letters. They were truly the "greatest generation."
Sincerely, Sam Branstner
Sam Branstner | Baxter, MN USA
29 March 2003
He Was Brave
I had the pleasure of reading your grandpa's letters and looking at the pictures. My grandpa served under Patton, Charles Spates, was his name. He died in the 1980's of a heart attack. i don;t know if my grandma has any letters from my grandpa, I would LOVE to read them as I read about your grandpa. Our grandparents were truly a brave generation and I thank your grandpa and all the others who fought bravely for this great country. I dont know what to say except thank you. Thank you so very much for sharing this little piece of history. It's truly an honor to read the letters, you can feel the emotion, i even cried. God bless his soul and may he rest in peace. I thank your grandpa, Melvin. He was brave.
April Kimberly Canfield
April Kimberly Canfield | Fairfield, IA USA
25 March 2003
I had the pleasure of going through the web site that you created with the letters from your grandfather and all the other information...sites and sounds. I linked to it from the Institute for WW II and the Human Experience. I'm in the process of publishing letters that my grandfather wrote to my grandmother during WW II, so it was very helpful to see how you have created a very CREATIVE web site!
Sarah Laney Caldwell | USA
6 March 2003
Kilroy Was Here
What a great site! Not only is it well done, easy reading, and pleasing to view, it has valuable information for historians and posterity! I especially enjoyed the true life details of life in a war in the letters! These are what bring history to life for the younger generation. Thanks for all your work!
Patrick A. Tillery
Editor www.KilroyWasHere.org -- WWII and Korean War
Unknown stories revealed and places rediscovered
Patrick A. Tilley | USA
10 October 2002
51st Evac Hospital
I am John Walsh. My father, Eugene, was in the 44th Infantry Division, nearly killed by a land mine Oct 27th '44 and thankfully recovered in the 51st evac hospital in Paris. GREAT WEBSITE... Thanks!!
John Walsh | USA
17 September 2002
Wounded the Same Day
Positively the most comprehensive and interesting of any sites I have seen or read. Stayed awake half of the night reading and still more to go. A coincidence; I was wounded that same day, November 18th. Yours in Patriotism.
JJ Witmeyer Jr.
Director, Secretary 314th Infantry Association World War II, Inc.
314th Infantry Regiment
JJ Witmeyer Jr. | USA
14 September 2002
I think that this is one of the 'neatest' and most 'sober' sites I've seen, not only professionally arranged but respectfully presented - with the aim to honor a true Veteran of WWII - I just think there should be more of these 'websites' - congratulations.
Alain S. BATENS, part-time WWII Historian, Researcher, Collector
Co-author with David Steinert of "WWII Combat Medic"
The World War II Combat Medic
Alain S. Batens | USA
26 August 2002
I spent some time looking at the web site you created concerning your grandfather, Melvin Johnson and want to congratulate you on an outstanding tribute to him. The letters and timeline provides an impressive way to memorialize him. I am curious if you have been able to located anyone who remembered your grandfather. Bob Little
Bob Little | USA
29 May 2002
2nd Lt. Theodore Rowman
The web page www.privateletters.net is a Tribute to a true 79th Div, 314th Regt. veteran. We, in the 315th, along with the 313th were there and supporting each other. As it has been said, The True Heroes have never come home. I plan to display (copies) of these in our memorablia room at our ( 315th ) reunion in Milwaukee on Aug 29, 30, and 31st. Labor Day Weekend. You will be welcomed by ALL! ROGER & OUT.
Roger Cambell, Author
Roger Campbell | USA
26 Marcy 2002
PFC Edgar Biggs
Mr. Ketchum, I came across "The Letters of PVT Melvin W. Johnson" site last evening. It was a rewarding experience for me as it helped me relive some memories of my dad. Coincidentally, my dad, PFC Edgar Biggs, was also a member of Co. F, 2nd Bn, 314th Inf Regiment, 79th Inf Division. Dad was wounded on two occasions while serving with Co. F, 314th. He suffered a wound from shrapnel on June 20, 1944, near Croix Jacob, France. He returned to duty with the Co. F on July 24 prior to crossing the Ay River. He received wounds from machine gun fire at Harbouey, France, on November 18, 1944, the same day your grandfather died from his wounds. Dad made it back home, but his wounds left him totally disabled. We lost dad on April 10, 1988. I have a copy of the book "The Cross of Lorraine, A Combat History of the 79th Infantry Division." The book "When the Odds Were Even: The Vosges Mountains Campaign" by Keith E. Bonn was one I hadn't heard of before now. I hope to locate a copy. Thanks for the time and dedicated effort given to memorialize your grandfather and his service to our great country.
Jim Biggs | USA
24 July 2002
S/Sgt Paul Farnum
Visited your website this morning. Found it very rewarding. My father, S/SGT Paul Farnum was WIA 21 September 1944 in Luneville, and died there 24 September 1944. He was in the 79th Div., 313th. Have you visited the American WWII Orphan site? We have grandchildren as well!
Hilda Shantz | USA