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WWII Vet writes home

S/Sgt. Leon (Jack) Frank Bowers, served during World War II

S/Sgt. Leon (Jack) Frank Bowers, served during World War II

By Judy Reed

Several months ago, Cedar Springs resident Jay Bowers shared some information with the Post about his grandfather, S/Sgt. Leon (Jack) Frank Bowers, who served during World War II. He is one of two living WWII veterans highlighted in this issue, and he gives us just a brief glimpse of World War II through a letter he wrote home to the local newspaper, The Cedar Springs Clipper.

Jack Bowers was born in Sparta, Michigan in September 1918. When he received his selective service notice in May 1944, he was farming in Cedar Springs. He entered active service in WWII in September 1944 at the age of 26. He had a wife and two children, Jim and Jerry.

Bowers served in the 227th Quartermaster Battalion, HQ detachment, as a supply clerk. He received the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Service medal, the Good Conduct medal, and the Sharp Shooter medal. He officially separated from the service on April 27, 1946.

While there, he wrote to the Clipper Girls, and they ran his letter in the paper. He has a clipping of it framed with his stripes, along with some clippings published about him and other servicemen on their way home.

The title of the piece was: PVT. Jack Bowers Writes from the Pacific, and below that was Mariana Islands. His letter reads:

Dear Clipper Girls: I thought I would write you a line. I am not very good at writing letters, so if you can’t make out this letter, call my wife. I am sure she can.

I haven’t received a Clipper since March. I sure will be glad when they start catching up with me. I am sure it is not your fault. I haven’t received any because since April 8 when we left the states I have traveled about 12,000 miles. We first went down to New Caledonia, then we left there and came back up to the Marianas, on which there are still a few Japs. There are lots of B-29s here.

There is an old slogan, “Join the Navy and see the world.” Well, I have a better one. “Get drafted in the Army and they will show you the world.”

I am sending you a Stars and Stripes paper, and also the Yank magazine, which I thought you would enjoy reading. It probably will take a month to reach you, but if it is like it is over  here, dates don’t mean much, just so it is news from home.

I remember an incident on the way up here. We stopped at an island they brought aboard ship some old newspapers and during the scramble to see if we could find a paper from home I came out with a paper from Monroe, Michigan. After all that was quite close to home. It was dated April 25.

I sure will be thankful when this war is all over, so we all can go home and begin our jobs where we left them and make an honest living for my family and take my responsibility as a Christian, and worship God the way we wish. And hope and pray that my boys won’t go through another war.

Yours truly, Pvt. Jack Bowers

When the Post last spoke with Jay, his grandfather was living in Texas with relatives, and he will be 98 years old in September.

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