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Casualty Letters  

Casualties sustained on D-Day
Killed in action:           4 officers, 18 Enlisted Men
 Wounded in action:  12 Officers, 55 Enlisted Men


John Morris Chase - KIA 6 June 1944

  • Born November 14, 1923, not far from Abilene, Kansas (his father and Ike Eisenhower were school mates)
  • Enlisted in the navy and sent to Farragut, Idaho for basic training in March 6, 1943
  • Sent to Signal School in Los Angeles June 10, 1943
  • Sailed through Panama Canal to Norfolk, VA. for amphibious school in late Nov. 1943
  • On Long Island, NY in late December 1943
  • Sailed for England January 8, 1943
  • The first mention of the 6th Beach Battalion in John's papers was March 1944.
  • He was married only briefly before shipping out, and his wife (Georgie) was from Wichita, KS.
  • A letter from Lt. Virgil S. Weathers described John's death - shrapnel in the lower abdomen as he came ashore.

June 1944

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Chase,

I wish there was some way which would allow me to help you bear the grief you feel as a result of John's death, but that isn't possible. My purpose in writing this is to tell you some of the things which you already know to be true. You know them because your son was no different here with us than when he left you. I felt you would be interested in a few of the details as to how John was actually killed, and as it happened, he was almost directly alongside me when he was hit by an enemy artillery shell.

We were off the ramp of a landing craft when they began to fire. Quite a few our men were hit at this time, including John. And I am sure there was no consciousness of suffering. There was no disfigurement at all of his face, and not very much of his body. He was hit in front pretty low.

I tell you these things not to remind you of the tragedy but to try to answer some of the natural questions in your mind. If there are others will you write and ask me? I shall make every effort to clear them up.

John was buried on the hillside of Normandy overlooking the very spot where our operation took place. Others of our group are there near him. Many others, as was my case, were wounded and had to be taken to hospitals in England.

My deepest heartfelt sympathy is with you. Every man in my platoon join in this feeling. John was very close to us all. We were a small unit and had been together so long that we weren't simply in the Navy together, we were friends. I am very sure if it ever becomes necessary for parents to sacrifice sons, such as John, in war, I pray that it will never happen again.

Most Sincerely,

Virgil S. Weathers

John Thomas O'Donnell - KIA 6 June 1944


4 July 1944

My Dear Miss O'Donnell:

It is with deep regret and a heart full of sympathy that I am attempting to answer your letter addressed to the catholic chaplain, 6th Beach Battalion, U.S.N.

Your brother, John Thomas O'Donnell, PHM1c, U.S.N. was instantly killed by heavy caliber enemy fire while approaching the French coast on "D" Day, June 6, 1944. His body was returned to England for burial. As yet, I do not know the exact location.

His personal effects will, of course, be returned to his family. I sincerely hope that his campaign ribbons were left on his clothing.

I have read your very fine letter to the members of my company who were all O'Donnell's shipmates. Le Marr has assured me that he will write to you.

O'Donnell served with me for nine months. He was a fine lad, a good sailorman and, above all, a good American who wasn't afraid to die that his country might live. Convey to your parents my very real sympathy and assure them that their son lived and died in accordance with the best traditions of the service.

Emmett V. Hall
Lieutenant, USNR
Commander, Company "B"
SIXTH Beach Battalion, U.S.N.

Morris Rickenbach - KIA 6 June 1944

August 30, 1944

Dear Lieutenant Hall,

I am Morris Rickenbach's brother-in-law, and since his mother is as yet unable to concentrate on writing a letter, I am taking this opportunity to answer your letter for her.

It is impossible to find words to show our appreciation for your most enlightening and beautiful letter. There is little anyone can do to heal the wound that Rick's passing has inflicted on his mother and father and the rest of us who knew and loved him, but the message of condolence that you and others, who served in the same company with him, have sent or delivered in person to us have been like a soothing salve that has helped us more than any of you will ever know to bear the sorrow which his passing has brought to us.

If you are ever in this vicinity and have the opportunity to pay us a visit, please do not hesitate to do so. It may be of interest to you to know that so far we have had the pleasure of seeing Lieutenant Collier, Dick Grewelle, Dennis O'Leary, Russell Dickinson, and Joe Wojnowski. The latter hitch-hiked all the way from Elizabeth, N.J., to bring Rick's mother his identification tags and a religious medal he had been wearing.

All these gestures of friendship and kindness, we can never hope to repay. All we can do is thank you- - - thank you all from the bottom of our hearts, and pray that God will watch over and protect all of you.

Sincerely Yours,

Robert Maycott

P.S. Your letter to Rick's mother and father was addressed to Camden, New York, instead of Camden, New Jersey.

Dr. John F. Kincaid, Jr. - KIA 12 April 1945

May 25, 1945

[From] Mrs. Nan Lin Kincaid Ellerslie Farm Leesburg, Va.

Lt. J. R. Davey, MC, USNR U.S. Naval Hospital Philadelphia, Penna.

Dear Dr. Davey:

Just one month ago today we received the distressing news about John. Today we heard from Comdr. of the Zellars. He said John was at his battle station in the wardroom and was killed during air strikes off Okinawa Qunto on April 12th. He was buried at sea.

John was very fond of you and often mentioned you in his letters from England. The letters you sent 'Betsy' helped us understand more about his duties.

I spent 3 weeks in San Diego when he married and met most all the officers on the Zellars. Betsy saw still more of them while in Seattle but we did not know the Comdr. The 'Skipper' we met was sick and this new man took over at Pearl Harbor. We hope to hear from some of the officers we knew later on.

We certainly appreciated your letter and feel you know at least, in part, what we are experiencing. If you know the address of his friends you might tell them. I know very few.

No doubt John did more good during his short life than many of us in double the years.

We just can't realize he won't be coming back with the other boys.


(Mrs. John F.) Nan Lin Kincaid

June 1, 1945

Leut. J. R. Davey U.S. Naval Hospital Philadelphia, Penna.

My Dear Dr. Davey,

I am grateful for your kind expression of sympathy and your thoughtfulness in enclosing John's last 6 letters to you, which has meant a very great deal. True, it did hurt but there from it we learned more about life aboard and it is some comfort and consolation to realize that he was most comfortable and enjoyed life as much as was possible under existing conditions.

Although our happiness on the coast was fleeting, yeh, I am both proud and happy to have been John's wife for even a short time - during which I well remember he spoke often of you.

If you are ever in northern Virginia or nearby it would be so good to see you and your family.

Your thoughtfulness is appreciated.

Most Sincerely,

Betsy R. Kincaid [Hamilton, VA]

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