By Clinton Frederick

In the sixty-plus years since the Allied victory in World War II, the veterans who fought and won the war have shared their stories of valor from the battlefields of Europe to the islands of the Pacific. But the stories of the over 400,000 Americans who gave their lives during the war have remained largely silent—their sacrifices honored, but the men themselves too often forgotten. Their voices were prematurely silenced, fighting in the most terrible war in the history of man.

Clinton Frederick never met Captain George Frederick—his father—who was killed in the Admiralty Islands campaign in March 1944. Clinton knew that his father had served in the war, but knew few details. In 2002, while rummaging through the attic at the home of his grandparents, Clinton opened an old trunk only to find boxes and boxes of letters—all from his father, written home to his family during the war. Suddenly, the voice of this one man, long lost, was speaking again.

George Frederick was a pilot with the 5th Army Air Corps assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division to provide air support when it went ashore to expel the Japanese from tiny Pityliu Island on March 30, 1944. During his earlier training, he met and married a young girl by the name of Cleo—Clinton’s mother. George and Cleo lived together for only three months before he was deployed. Clinton was barely four months old at the time of George’s death.

Sixty-two years after George Frederick’s death, Clinton Frederick gathered his father’s letters, and compiled them into the book, World War II: A Legacy of Letters, One Soldier’s Journey. Here, we reprint several of these letters home, in an attempt to let one fallen soldier share his story, and as a tribute to all who did not come home.

The Admiralty Islands campaign, also known as Operation Brewer, began with the Allied assault on Los Negros Island on February 29, 1944. George Frederick was with the 1st Cavalry Division as it made the attack. On D+1, he encountered several Japanese, and ordered them to surrender. They refused, and he shot them dead. George picked up the Japanese soldiers’ weapons, and noticed 14 notches carved into the stock of one rifle—an indication of the number of men they had killed.

A few weeks later, George wrote home:

22 March 44
Dear Dad:

I finally discovered a letter with your address on it so I don’t have to wait until I return to headquarters to write you. I sent two letters to mother addressed to Laurel Springs because I forgot her address, but I figured you both would be wondering what happened to me unless you figured I was down in Sydney having a good time and not finding time to write but I was far from there, in fact, I guess we are the furthest North of any troops in the Southwest Pacific area.

Guess you can notice I am using a Signal Corps typewriter, it is part of our 299 radio equipment and since things are rather dull at the moment I am taking time to catch up on my typing and letter writing at the same time.

We sure had a hectic time here for a few days. The day we landed we had plenty of fire from the shore but after we reached shore the surprise was so complete that the Japs couldn’t organize resistance until about four o’clock in the morning and then it really began. I can’t tell you much of what happened but I think I can say that I was really wondering whether we would last the night out but we did because the Lord was with us. After I get home I sure will have some stories to tell especially how I got two Japs the first hour we were on shore. As a matter of fact the commanding General of the task force has recommended me for the Silver Star but I doubt if I’ll get it because in my opinion I was only doing my job and you don’t get medals for that. I did get a commendation from General Whitehead. My boss, and the entire crew, got a commendation from the General commanding the task force and they really deserved it because any praise that I got was only due to them doing such a good job under difficult conditions which included no sleep for five days and nights because the Japs were infiltrating our position at night and during the day we had so many planes in support that we were in constant touch with them directing them to targets. It really was an interesting, if tiring job, and we got little rest even after the rest of the force arrived and relieved the tension a little. One night the Japs pulled a bombing raid and one bomb fell 15 feet away from our dugout which only was about 2 feet above the ground and had a log and sandbag roof which protected us. We were shaken up but that is all so that is another case where the Lord sure was watching over us.

On the 15th of this month we went out on another phase of this operation and again were in the first wave to land but it was mild compared to the other one and we have now completed our job and have returned to task force headquarters where we are merely waiting for transportation back to our own headquarters, and this time I really expect to get leave.

I can’t tell you where we have been but you have been reading about it in the papers and I saw General MacArthur that first day. I’ll give him credit for really getting out on the front because the place I saw him we lost that night and didn’t recover it for four days, so no one can say he doesn’t visit the front line troops. They were really impressed too, to think that he would visit them and talk to them.

Well, guess that’s all the news. I’ll be surprised if the censor doesn’t cut some of this but it seems to that it doesn’t reveal anything the Japs don’t know already.

Hope you are well and get the assignment you want and a promotion. Write when you can, I’ll probably have a few letters when I get back as I haven’t received any mail since being here and that was February 29th.

Love, George

On Monday, April 10th, George’s young bride, Cleo, wrote to his mother, telling her of a letter she had recently received from George.

Hiattville, Kansas
April 10th, 1944

Dear Mother,

I just mailed your letter a few minutes ago but I got a letter from George since. Told me to write you. I’ll just quote most of it.

“I can’t tell you where I am but I have been on an important operation and left for it on a notice of 12 hrs. I was supposed to go on leave but guess it will be a few weeks now. I don’t care as it means ending this war sooner.

Incidentally, I can say now I took part in the war for sure. I was in the assault wave and immediately as we landed I rushed out with another officer and we got credit for the first two Japs killed. I got them both and have some souvenirs off of them to remember the occasion by. We had a hectic time but I am ok.

I may not be able to write again for awhile as I am going out again in a few days so don’t worry about it as I am OK.”

That is all he says in regard to his work. Said he won’t be able to write very often, so I won’t get too uneasy if I don’t hear as often. Incidentally, the letter was dated March 13. The paper which he wrote on was borrowed and it had Jap writing on it or something of that nature.

I surely hope when he finishes with that he’ll get to come home afterward. I know he more than deserves coming back or leave.

I am rather uneasy until I hear again, but I trust the Lord to take care of him & bring him back. I am very, very proud of him.
Clinton is growing some hair now. Think I’ll clip some off & send it to George. It is the same color as mine.

George said he hadn’t gotten any mail since Feb 27th but would have a lot when he returned.



Eleven days earlier, on March 30, American forces were fighting the last battle of organized resistance in the Admiralties. Captain George Frederick volunteered for a mission on the island of Pityilu to clear out the remaining Japanese. There, at 1400 hours, he was killed by a sniper bullet. He was scheduled to leave for home only a few days later to see his son for the first time. It was not until April 14 that his family received the news.

The previous summer, George had written a letter to his wife, to be sent to her in the event of his death…

New Guinea
July 21, 1943
My dearest sweet Cleo,
When you read this letter I will either be missing in action, killed or captured, and the last possibility is very remote because if I have any fight left in me, I will give my life to defend not only my country but the principles on which it was founded.

I want you and our child to be able to live in freedom, as you want, wherever you want, and to do what you want. I want the opportunity for our child to be able to grow up and be kind, gentle and Christian, not barbarian like those we are fighting. To me, the Japs are worse than a pack of animals, because even so-called dumb animals have a sense of fairness.

I want our child to be able to go to school and to college to learn whatever profession he or she wants to learn. If a boy, I want him to grow up and be a better man than his Dad. I want him to marry, if he chooses, a wife as kind and sweet as his mother. If a girl, I know she will be as fine a wife to some man as you have been to me.

You will wonder why I have written this. I wonder myself, but last nite I lay thinking, what if I should be killed? Would Cleo know what my mind was thinking as to our future? I have no premonition of being killed and am trusting in the Lord to watch over me and keep me safe, but when He calls, I will be ready.

It is a nice feeling, darling, to know that whatever happens to me, I will meet you again someday, but in a home that will be far nicer than any we could ever have had here on earth. So don’t grieve, just think that I have gone away for a little while and I’ll see you again.
There is one favor that I ask. Back home, at my church, there is a plot of three lots that I had pictured fixing up someday as a children’s playground with a tennis court, badminton court, swings, miniature golf and a sand pile for the little ones. I was hoping to be able to send enough money for that purpose from time to time so that when I get home I could fulfill my dreams, so, darling, if you will find out how much it will cost to do that and send the money to the church for that purpose if they want it. Of course, the whole lot will have a fence around it. Don’t forget that.

One other thing comes to mind. You are young and beautiful and no doubt will meet several nice fellows that will want to marry you. The way I look at it, we said we were married until death do us part. Well, when you get this, we will have temporarily parted, but that won’t prevent you from marrying again. In Heaven there is no marriage and no death, so we’ll all be together anyway. Therefore, if you meet a nice young man who is willing to take you and provide a home for you and our child and probably some of his own, then you have my blessing and God be with you. All I ask that you make sure he is a Christian, because if he is, he will be kind and gentle and loving to you.

I have tried to be a Christian. I have sinned, but praise God, I know that He will forgive me my sins because I believe in Christ Jesus as my own personal Savoir and He watches over me always, until He is ready to take me home to Glory.

Farewell, my darling, until we meet again,

WWII: A Legacy of Letters is available from Zonicom Press LLC, and can be ordered through bookstores and Visit for more information.