Veterans Day: A Salute to Uncle Stan,
Awarded the Purple Heart during World War II

Uncle Stan, off to war.

Copies of thirty-nine letters, some written in “V-Mail,” to my uncle Stanley Misiuk (April 7, 1915–March 9, 1999) during World War II, were recently given to me by his son, my cousin David Misiuk, and his wife Patti. Saved all through the years by his father, some of the letters were written by Stanley’s sister Mary, in her mother’s voice as if to her son, and mailed from their farm house at 2590 Romeo Road (aka 32 Mile Road), Romeo, Michigan. They date from June to November 1944. David also showed me copies of several innocent and sweet love letters from Uncle Stan to Della Ottenbacher, who would become his wife when he returned for good from World War II. Uncle Stan was wounded twice during the war. At least once, he was sent to the Army hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan, to recover. He saw action primarily in the invasion of Sicily and Italy in 1943 and was awarded the Purple Heart. One of his letters from Sicily is the only one of the love letters that talks significantly about the war. In another, he says there is only so much he write in a letter about where he is and what he is seeing. Here are those two letters, followed by letter from home:

Pvt. Misiuk 36128228
August 25, 1943

To: Della Ottenbacher
R#1 Box 62
Lenox, Michigan

Somewhere in Sicily

Dear Della,
I am sitting here in my pup tent thinking of you honey. Thought I’d write you a letter. I received your wonderful letter & was more than glad to hear from you dear. I am fine, hoping you’re the best of health. It was a nice long letter you wrote me. Them’s the kind I like. I love to read big letters.
I could write a book about this war in Sicily, what I went through. But you know I can write so much up & it’s all. A fellow can’t write this & you can’t that–it’s the Army.
Bye Bye
XXXXXXX
Love, Stan

August 29, 1943
Sicily

Dear Della:
Received your nice long letter as I told you in my last letter, but my last letter was very short. I have more time for myself now, since this war in Sicily is over and now I have more time to write. I have so many letters to answer, but to me you always come first, Honey.
Today, or I should say this morning I went to mass. The sermon was short and was about our campaign here in Sicily. After mass I started back to our bivouac area. No sooner did I get back it started to rain. It lasted for about two hrs. Boy! What a mess.
Sicily is a very rugged island. The only flat land I’ve seen was just a few miles off the coast. All the farm land is irrigated. Some farmers have gas engines to draw water from the well into the irrigation ditches. The poorer class use a mule, the system he uses is very clever. He has a big leather bag that holds about twenty gallons. The bag has a funnel shape with an opening on the bottom with a rope attached to it. When he lowers the bag into the well, most naturally it fills itself with water, as if you didn’t know (ha, ha). Well anyway when the bag fills up he pulls the rope on the bottom which closes the bottom of the bag, which releases the water from the bag into a pit, which drains the water into the irrigation ditch. Simple huh!
There is plenty of food here. They have plenty of grapes, figs, nuts and almonds. I can say we went practically around the island. We went thru the mountains and really had a rugged time of it. It wouldn’t of been so hard if we didn’t have to carry our equipment. We went three days without rations. You probably read about it. That’s something I’ll never forget, also a few more things I don’t care to write about.
Well, Della to me this is a big letter. Before I forget I’d like you to send me a picture of yourself. Will you? Please. I am fine hoping you are in the best of health. I guess that’s all for now. Hoping to hear from you soon. Lots of love. XXXXXX Stan

Hand drawn letterhead.

Hand drawn letterhead.

Detroit, Michigan
April 18, 1944

Dearest Stan,
Greetings! Since I think it’s my turn to write so I will, right now, that is if I don’t get too many disturbances.
How is my lovely brother getting along in his shoes? How’s tricks? and every little thing? How is your arm? When are you coming the the U.S.?! I think I better stop asking you so many questions and tell you a little about home fronts, O.K. Well, I’m still working here with a good job at hand and incidently Mary quit her job, she claimed it was too hard. Last night was my third lesson in swimming. We tried some new strokes and I didn’t make out so hot. Eventually I will (I hope). You know, my birthday was last week, but I don’t know if I should tell you what I got or not, because I know that doesn’t interest you one bit, but just the same I will. Received a smart handsome handbag and green gloves to match from Mary. Mother greeted me with a cake and a rug, of course Hank helped her with the cake, just imagine that. It was very delicious too at that. The girls from the office gave me a pair of earrings. Lucille and John invited us for dinner and I received a beautiful slip with lace trimmings. I’m pretty proud of them. Without my brothers and sisters (you included) I sometimes wouldn’t know what to do. And of course definitely my mother and dad are sure swell too. I only speak for myself. I think the world of them. And I may thank God for that. So I’m happy. Are you?
Today is the grand opening of the ball game. Golly I sure wish I’d be going, but no such luck.
Stan, I saw Della in church last Sunday, probably you heard she is working now in some kind of a factory near Port Huron. Say did you hear from Virginia J. By golly you should of by now, because I haven’t. And if not what do we care. Besides, who is she. There are a lot of girls in this world and the right one will come along, dear, so don’t worry. Take me for instance. I’m 21, and I don’t worry for not getting one for I have faith and I know that some day the right one will come along.
I just had a fight with one of the draftsmans. That’s the way we get along here. In other words we do get along swell.
I say, I’ve accomplished enought words for today. Now this letter is coming to an end. Until I’ll be hearing from you it’s good luck, good health, and God bless you, now go on with your journey and take of yourself. Then I will too.
Sending all my love and kisses,
Your lovely sister, AGGIE
Signed: Agnes Patricia Brodacki

New Haven, Michigan
May 3, 1944

My Dearest Brother,
Sure is a lovely day out, sun is shining so nice and bright, warm, the birds are singing, flowers are starting to blossom, trees, grass is getting green. Such makes one feel wonderful, is sign of spring, now we feel the same. Hope to find you the same way.
Received your wonderful letter, which made us very happy to hear you finally received your package. Gee I’m so glad you answered Joe’s letter right away, he will be so glad.
We got our car. John sure did a good job on it. We were out to the farm Sunday and everything is so lovely out there.
We got a 7 page letter from Joe, he said he sure is lonely down there in the jungles, only thing keeps his morale up are letters. The pages were short.
You heard Ted Gutt was married Sat. and John B. [brother] was the best man. I guess Mary and Agnes were there, and they had a nice time. And James Lynch was home on a furlough again, some fellows are lucky.
Johnnie [husband] is feeling pretty good now. Doctor gave him an X-ray and it shows on his lungs there is lots of dirt. So Doc said no work, only sunshine, fresh air and lots of rest will bring his health back. Stan, you just don’t know what I’ve been through. But when he gets his health back things will be different.
I guess he had half the foundry in his lungs. The other day old Cooper asked Johnnie when he is coming back. He said won’t be for a couple of months. But he is never going back. Only he is trying to get some compensation out of the old man, sure is having some time trying to get some. I’ll let you know how he makes out.
We got a letter from Bolo and Ann, you remember them don’t you. Bolo is in Calif. in the Navy. Ann is in Penn. in the WAAC’s army. Stan, I will have to cut this letter short for I have one more letter to write and get my ironing done.
You remember Cap Lynch, he comes back to the foundry but quit again and went to Detroit. I don’t blame him.
Well Stanley my dear I will have to close for it’s getting to be noon and I have to get my work done so I can get to work. You know you have to have that economics arolling. If you don’t have nothing coming in, that’s bad.
Now my darling brother I will say good luck, good cheer, keep smiling and we will smile with you, honey.
God bless you and protect you every moment, so long now and do write soon. Love & kisses XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX we’re saving some real ones for you.
Your Big Sister Lucille
Bro-in-law “Jack”

V-Mail
John Brodacki
Route 2, Romeo, Michigan
May 3, 1944

PFC S. Misiuk 36128228
Co. D. 30th Inf.
A.P.O. #3 c/o Postmaster
New York, New York

Dear Brother Stan,
I John miss you so much that I just had to write you a few lines. So I say I sure am sorry to hear that you got wounded again. Boy oh boy them dam fools sure are after you. But you are too tuff for them, are you not. It kinda makes us feel bad to hear news like you gotten wounded again. Say, today I got on the land with my new tractor and boy does it do the work, 10-20 McCormick Deering Tractor and you know all they can do yes. I guess if it is nice tomorrow I will plant my oats. Now then I must say So Long for now. P.S. Hope you get wll soon.
John

Stan in uniform, with Mother and brother Henry, 1941.

Romeo, Michigan
May 16, 1944

My Dearest Loving Son,
How are you today, my son? Fine, we hope. As for ourselves we never felt better. Even though the atmosphere is quite wet this morning. But for the past 4 or 5 days it was grand. Since it was, that gave John enough time to work the land for oats. Which he did, now we don’t have to worry about that anymore, or did I write that before? Well anyway if I did nor didn’t, you’ll know by now. That’s that, and my next topic is going to be about something I am quite proud of. And this is it–Last Sunday as you probably know, was Mothers Day. And I had a perfect day. The girls (Agnes, Lucille, and Mary) took my out for dinner, then after that we went to a movie, and I even enjoyed the picture. So you see it was quite a day for me, and different, too. Oh! and I simply must tell you what they bought for me, as gifts. Agnes gave me a pair of earrings, and a brooch (you know a nice pin) I do like that very much, and something else she gave me was a corsage (a bouquet of flowers, made up to be worn on a dress). So you see I was all decorated. Then Lucille gave me a big bottle of purfume, so I’d smell nice. Besides it’s something every woman has, so I really like that gift, too. And Henry gave me a nice flower plant. Wasn’t that nice of him? I thought it was. Mary bought some white paint and painted the kitchen for me, as her gift. That was something, besides it (kitchen) needed it (paint). And boy! it sure does look nice now (the kitchen I mean).
I’ll write again (very soon) so since I will, so long until then, loads of good luck, and God Bless You my boy.
With all our love,
Mother & Dad
P.S. (Answer soon, O.K.)

Mr. & Mrs. John Kniffel
3156 Main St.
New Haven, Mich.
May 17, 1944

Hello Stan,
Finally got time to write you a few lines. It’s been beautiful out today. It hasn’t rained as much lately. Now I’ll tell you what we done Mothers Day. We three sisters Agnes Mary and I took Mother out for dinner. And then to a show. She was so happy. And we had pictures taken, will send some to you, when they get them developed. Johnny is gone to Doctors this morning, he has to go once a week yet.
We might go and stay on the farm a couple of months, till Johnnie is able to go to work. You know he can putter around on the farm, which he can’t do in New Haven.
Stan, I will write you a nice long letter in a couple more days. Hope you are well. God bless you and protect you, so long now, good luck, good cheer. Till we hear from you. How is our arm coming? Hope it is as good as new.
Love XXXX
Your Sister
Lucille
and Johnnie

Romeo, Mich. 5-16-44
Tuesday evening

My Dear Stanley,
Greetings from Romeo & home! How are you? It is coming on the third day that my vacation has started. I am spending it on the farm. Golly! it really is a glorious feeling to be away from Detroit for a while. I wish I wouldn’t have to go back Sunday, but maybe someday I won’t have to. Then I still won’t be satisfied. But I am now, you can bet, brother, yes sir.
Everything is fine here. This morning we ironed and then in the afternoon Mary & I went fishing. Remember those days you used to go. I only caught 3 fish 4 inches long at that so I just throw ‘em back in the creek.
Mary and I want to go to the school picnic to Rochester, Friday. So if possible well we will go.
Stan dear, how is your shoulder coming along? I hope fine. Now you’d think surely they would send you home. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
I was working in the flowers today and making the lawn look pretty. Now everyone is asleep. Except I and Mary wiggly in bed trying to go to sleep but can’t. I suppose tomorrow John will be working in the fields, Hamk helping him. Dad will be fussing in the garage as usual. Mom then cooking and doing this and that. Then for Mary & I, want to clean the closets out. There’s a big day ahead of us. Until we meet again, I must be saying So Long and May God help you with everything.
Lots of Love,
Aggie X

Henry Brodiacki
2690 Romeo Road
Romeo, Michigan
May 26, 1944

Hi Stan

Romeo, Michigan
May 31, 1944

My Dear Stan,
Mom & Dad got your letter Saturday which you wrote May 17 and that is the last letter we have of yours and we were as happy as ever to get it. Glad to hear you’re fine, hoping you are still the same. For I am. In fact everything is fine here.
You know Stan, your little sister is going to tell you a thing or two (maybe if you will listen). Finally John is leaving for the Army (June 8) to serve our country as you are. There was not a thing we could do about it. We’ll have to let the arm go (that’s all) unless you can come home now and take over. That would be O.K. for you know it will be three whole years that you are serving and that is a mighty long time, don’t you think. Although I’m very proud of all my brothers. This has to end some day and all we’re doing is waiting for that day to come and then everyone will come marching home to stay and I hope and pray it will be very soon, don’t you? For one thing if the war would be over I wouldn’t have to write any more of these letters. For you know I don’t like to write.
I’m still working at the same place but right now I’m taking my other week’s vacation. It certainly is good to be home. Well until again I must say God Bless You and take care of yourself and may we see you soon. So long for now.
Love,
Aggie

PFC Stanly P. Misiuk 36128228
2628[illegible] Hosp. Sea.
A.P.O. #6989 c/o Postmaster
New York, New Yor
k

Henry Brodacki
2590 Romeo Rd.
Romeo, Michigan
May 26, 1944

Hi Stan,
I am writing this letter 9:00 in the morning because at night I rather seem to be tired. Say, we just got a telegram a couple of days ago saying that you were slightly wounded. I think they are kinda late because you already told us all about it. I hope you will be well soon. We had our schoo. picnic last week. And I had the best time for a long time. Just when we were ready to leave it started to rain. But it didn’t rain whe we were there. So that’s all right. I went to market a couple of days ago with the neighbors, had 5 cases of eggs. Boy eggs are cheap now can hardly get $10 a case. By I got it by retail. It’s more work but what did I go there for eh? I sold them all but 25 dozens almost a case. So that wasn’t so bad yet. Say we are having nice weather in the last few days. So I better see if I can’t get something done before it rains. So long. Good luck and health. May the good Lord bless you.
Your Loving Brother,
Henry

Romeo, Michigan
May 31, 1944

My Dearest Son,
Once more I say, “hello Stan,” and again I ask, “how are you?” We received a letter from you Saturday and in it you said you are fine and getting along swell at the time–but that was quite a few days ago when written, so that’s why I ask again. Besides I want to know how you are and things like that, so when answering this, answer that question, will you? I know you always do–but you know me. And in case you’d like to know we are fine and so is everything else on this little farm. Even the weather is fine. It didn’t rain for over a week, so that gave the men a chance to get a few seeds planed, 12 acres of it, and he also planted cabbage seed, so I guess one can say we started at least. And speaking of John, takes meway back to this forenoon when the mailman went by. It wasn’t or rather isn’t good news, but I suppose you’ll know anyway, so I mys just as well tell you myself. He got his induction papers and as far as we know he’s leaving for the Army June 8. And there’s nothing we can do about it, in case you maybe thought there was. I know it’s hoping for a lot, but I hope this is over byt then. Although I boudt it. It would be a miracle and they happen but once in a great while, only nevertheless it’s a happy thought, huh? I know it’s going to be tuff around here without him, but we’re going to do our best for this year at least, and if it’s too bad, next year we’ll make an auction sale and move to town or something, so don’t worry we’ll bet by or at least try.
Now a little of what each of us are going tonight. It’s Wednesday nite so as usual John went to Richmond. Wednesday nites is one of the days when an unusual big crowd of about ten boys, more or less, get together. Boy, doesn’t that sound exciting–well that’s the way it is now though. And Hank at the present is combing Tom’s hair. Isn’t that cute? Sounds just like Henry too, doesn’t it? And Agnes at the moment is playing the accordian. Sounds like a pretty tune too. She can play the piano quite well, too. Perhaps you’re wondering why she’s home on a Wednesday nite…
Before I go on–Here’s a bulletin–Henry just reported it’s raining. A few drops fell on him and look what the kid begins to thin,. That’s a boy for you. Really though it migh rain, although I think the wind is too cool for that.
…as I was wwriting before that exciting event, I’ll now go on with what I was saying before it occured, well Agnes is home on a week’s vacation. With pay at that, so that’s alright huh? And as almost every evening Dad has his ear glued to the radio and I’m just sitting beside Mary as she’s writing for me So that’s how things are out here, tonight. P.S. Sounds dull, doesn’t it?
And if I make this letter any longer it’ll be dull too, so until some other time so-long and in the mean time be good to yourself. And I want you to know we’re always thinking of you. And my boy good-nite and God Bless you.
With lots of Love
Mother & Dad
P.S The picture of Agnes and I was taken on Mothers Day, turned out pretty good, so I’m sending it to you.

Romeo, Michigan
June 1, 1944

Hello Brother Stan,
Just a few lines to let you know that I got the corn in and I got 12 acres of it. And the oats is coming along good. And I also got my cabbage seed in and that is up good. And mother is got her garden and that also is getting fine. And I must say that the stock is all doing fine. And the most important that we all are in good health. And just think that I have to leave all of this behind and leave it up to the rest of the family, and I have to go to the Army the 8th of June and that is next week and boy oh boy how time does fly by, and I don’t mean maybe. Well, probably you remember how it was when you was going. (Yes No.) Say it sure is going to seem funny to me to go away from the good old home and go into a different kind of living. You know that I kinda had hope that they would let me stay around the farm till fall. Because I believe that I could of done just as much for our country right on the farm. But, I guess that the Army wants all of the young boys like me and lots of the others. Boy oh boy if they take much more of us boys there won’t be anybody left to work the farms. Say let me tell you that I hope that they leave the guys that are over 26 years of age and they can take care of the farms like we use to do. Say yesterday I was in town and I saw the Ottenbacher boys you know Frank and them. And we talked about the time when we had that party on you over to home and boy we all had quite a laugh over it, we all thought it was something good. Say you know that if I don’t stop writing for this time pretty soon, well I won’t have more to say, ha ha ha. But no kidding I just have to come to a close for now. So till I write again. May God bless you, and the best of luck.
Say probably if you write to me again will be a different address. So don’t write to me till you hear from me. P.S. I am OK. Sure do hope that this letter finds you the same.
Your Brother
John

Mr. & Mrs. A. Brodacki
2590 Romeo Rd.
Romeo, Michigan
June 7, 1944

Pfc. Stanley P. Misiuk 36128228
Co. D. 30th Inf.
A.P.O. #3 c/o Postmaster
New York, New York

My Dearest Son,
How are you today? We are all in good health and are hoping this finds you the same way. For the Month of June it is rather chilly today, in fact it has been like that for the past few days. It’s nice though–how is it out there? Everything and everybody is in good condition, even though John is leaving for the Army tomorrow. Of course it’s gonna be tuff without him, but don’t worry we’re going to do our best. Dad’s leg is alright now and he feels pretty good, too. So I guess we’ll get along alright. To finish this letter, I want you to know we always think of you, love you and pray for you. So my boy, keep praying and keep your chin up. Answer soon and God Bless You.
With all our love,
Mother & Dad

Mr. & Mrs. A. Brodacki
2590 Romeo Rd.
Romeo, Michigan
June 17, 1944

P.F.C. Stanley P. Misiuk 36128228
Co. D. 30th Inf.
A.P.O. #3 c/o Postmaster
New York, New York

Hello My Son,
I received your most welcomed letter yesterday & was most delighted to hear from you. We are all fine & hope we all hope you are too. Mary was going to anser this letter for me last night, in fact she started to but Norma came over, that’s her girl friend & so she went to show with her. And so this morning I made Henryanswer it for me & so he is.
It was so good the hear that you are all right but seeing it was your second time wounded I kinda expected they would send you home. I think you did more than your share already don’t you? Lucille & Johnny are staying here since John left for the armed forces & they are going to stay until Johnny can walk. Now since John is gone I think Hank has to work pretty hard. We have our corn & beans in & today Hank wants to put in the potatoes. Everything’s fine so far. Good Luck Good Health God Bless You.
Love,
Mother & Dad

Lucille  Mary off to work at the McAleer war production plant in Rochester, Michigan.

Lucille & Mary off to work at the McAleer war production plant in Rochester, Michigan.

June 19, 1944

Dearest Stanley,
A few days ago, we received a letter from you, boy it sure was welcomed. I mean it was so good to hear you’re alright and all that, but I didn’t like to hear you’re back on duty, after all I think you have done more than your part in this war, so considering that, I think they should send you home, don’t you agree? Anyway your letter found us in good health and here’s hoping this finds you in good health too. Lucille and Johnnie are fine too. Incidentally they’re staying here now, have been ever since John left. It is tuff around here without him, but we’re doing our best. And between Dad & Hank (Johnnie helps too) they get things done. Like for instance, they have the beans in and it’s up already and we have the potatoes planted, also the corn (which is up) that took most of the land, now all is left about 2 or 3 acres and we’re planning on putting cabbage there, providing of course if it isn’t too much work and then after that all the crops will be in. So you see there really isn’t too much work around her and since that is the case Lucille and Mary are working in the McAleers plant in Rochester. [Read more about McAleer Manufacturing and its operations during World War II.] They work from 7:00 A.M. till 3:30 P.M. and their jobs are somewhat easy, but like all jobs it gets foring, otherwise they like it alright.
I’m going to write again very soon, so until then be careful, huh? And I also want you to know we always think of you and pray for you, well good luch and God Bless You my boy.
Your Loving Mother & Dad
XXXX
P.S. Answer soon or when you find time. O.K.

Letter No. One
June 21, 1944

My Dearests Son,
How are you today? And how is everything in general with you? Here’s hoping fine and also hoping this finds you in good health. As for us, we’re all fine and so is everything else. Oh! we are somewhat busier now than we have been but during these times everybody has to work harder than ever, so we’re just doing our part. It’s hard I know, but then what you’re doing for us isn’t easy. So don’t worry about us, we’ll get by.
Well, today is the first day of summer and it was warm, but not hot like summer days usually are. I suppose it’s hotter than ever out there, for the Germans I mean. Or am I wrong about that?
By the way, have you received the pen and pencil set yet? Let me know, O.K.
We heard from John today, wrote a swell letter and very interesting. So far he doesn’t know if he likes it or not, because all he’s been doing is riding in trains and that does get tiring, you know. He wrote that letter in the state of Alabama, as to whether he’s still there, I don’t know. But I’m sure he’ll let me know soon. And I’ll write again soon, wo until then, be careful, good luck and God Bless and protect you.
With Love & Kisses,
Mother & Dad
P.S. Answer soon, huh? Mother
P.S. From now on I’m going to number, so when u answer let me know the number of my letter you’re answering.

Mr. & Mrs. John Kniffel
3156 Main St.
New Haven, Mich.
June 21, 1944

P.F.C. Stanley P. Misiuk 36128228
Co. D. 30th Inf.
A.P.O. #3 c/o Postmaster
New York, New York

Hello Stanley,
Well my dear, how are you way out there, we are swell. And everything out on the farm is wonderful. There is only 3 boys lacking and they are Joe, John & you. But we really are working hard praying hard–and wishing with everything we got–so this dreadful war comes to an end soon. Mother she is waiting for that day that her three sons come marching home–Oh! Oh! know how happy she could be. Mary and I are working in Rochester, we like our work very much–and we also help home when we get home at 4:30. So you see we have time to do work. Hope to find you in the best of health, and may the good Lord keep you. So long now and please write.
With all our Love,
Johnnie & Lucille
Love & Kisses XXXXXX

More to come, with gratitude to Uncles Stan, Joe, and John who risked their lives to protect their country and family from the evils of Nazism and the Holocaust.
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