2 years to the Pacific and back, a wife's letter finally reached her wounded Marine
By WADE LIVINGSTON | The Island Packet (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) | Published: August 8, 2017
HILTON HEAD, S.C. (Tribune News Service) — The letter followed him around the Pacific but wouldn't reach him till almost two years later on Parris Island.
According to an Associated Press article printed in The State newspaper July 9, 1944, Gunnery Sgt. Walter Schroder received the letter on the Marine Corps depot's rifle range – just 45 miles from where it had originally been mailed, in Walterboro.
The letter, postmarked 19 months earlier, was from his wife, who wondered if he'd received the "shaving outfit" she'd sent him earlier.
At that time, December 1942, Schroder hadn't – he was injured by shrapnel on Guadalcanal, after the landings there 75 years ago Monday, and on Tulagi, also in the Solomon Islands chain. The Battle of Guadalcanal would last six months. It was the first major ground offensive in the Pacific Theater after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
All told, more than 7,000 U.S. servicemembers, many of them Marines, died during the battle, according to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.
According to the AP, Schroder's stops between Pearl Harbor and Parris Island included hospital stays in New Caledonia and California, where he recovered from his wounds.
The letter followed him along the way, never reaching him.
When it finally did almost two years later on the depot's rifle range, Schroder could report that he had indeed received his shaving kit.
It arrived just a few weeks before the letter.
It was a birthday present from his wife – better late than never.