v-mail and photos

That’s not a typo. V-mail was a WWII secure system that was used to communicate with soldiers during the War.  My father contacted my Uncle Wayne via V-mail while Dad was somewhere in either England or Northern France, training for Operation Overlord.

Here is part of the story from my Dad’s sister, Ada, in her own words:

“Right after Pearl Harbor my brother Jim enlisted in the Army in December of 1941 and my boyfriend, Wayne enlisted in January 1942, but they didn’t know each other then.  Wayne came home on furlough in May of 1943 just before he was sent overseas.  He and I became engaged.  I wrote to Jim and told him.  Jim decided he wanted to meet the guy who was going to marry has sister so he started writing to Wayne and then Jim went to find Wayne and he found him in a fox hole.  Shortly after this meeting Wayne’s outfit went in to Normandy.  Wayne was wounded twice within a month.  He was shipped home to Rhodes General Hospital in Utica, N.Y. where he had to undergo 6 more operations.  He and I married on August 19,1945 and Jim was discharged and came home in the same summer.  Jim and Wayne remained good friends always.  Jim passed away in June 2000 and Wayne passed away in November 2001.  They were each two months short of their 80th birthdays.”

My Uncle Wayne kept one of those V-mails that Dad sent to him in 1943 and carried it in his wallet every day until he passed in 2001.  That V-mail, along with pictures of Dad and Uncle Wayne, are displayed on the wall of my study (shown above) as a reminder of two real American heroes who answered the call of their country.

We live in a time where we can’t stay long in our jobs, quit our marriages and abandon our children.  True commitment to anything or anyone seems to be losing ground on every horizon, mostly due to selfishness.  In contrast to that, my Uncle Wayne was a steady guy.  That’s something you don’t see much anymore.  He stayed married to my Aunt Ada, worked at the VA in Albany for his entire career, and carried that V-mail for all those years.  For him, I think that little piece of personal history represented friendship, family and the bond only combat soldiers can understand.

What are you carrying around in your heart?  Is it family?  A friendship?  Or is it something negative, like a grudge or spite?  Are you resisting a commitment that you know you should be making?  Take a lesson from my Uncle Wayne and become that steady, reliable person.  Your family and friends will thank you and you’ll be a better spouse, parent or friend for doing so.

King Solomon put it this way, “Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a trustworthy man? A righteous man who walks in integrity – How blessed are his sons after him” Proverbs 20:6,7

You can view my Uncle Harold “Wayne” Vincent’s entry at The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor by following the link below.  Trust me when I tell you that it’s worth looking this one up.  You can see from the picture that he was one, cool dude.

Purple Heart Hall of Honor


About the Author View all posts

Rick Gile

Rick Gile

Life is made up of stories. You may not realize it, but we relay our experiences to one another all the time. They can give our loved ones a sense of the past, our friends a glimpse of how we have reacted to life's changes. Or, tell a new acquaintance something about ourselves. Stories are really about the journey of life.

What you encounter as life passes are views of events that make up your past, while shaping your future. What you read here are merely a few of the stories that have shaped my life, so far.

Rick and his wife Olga live in upstate New York, close to their grandchildren. They work part-time with their sons after running a business for 37 years in the Albany area.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *