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Two Landing Craft Tank Men Woo a Pretty Girl Back Home

By Andrew Carroll 
Originally published by World War II magazine. Published Online: June 02, 2010 
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Elizabeth Jane Kivell's feminine handwriting inspired a letter from two young navy men, shown in letters to her fiance.
Elizabeth Jane Kivell's feminine handwriting inspired a letter from two young navy men, shown in letters to her fiance.

It has been fun knowing you already and you haven't even answered us. Just think how much fun we'll have after you have answered us and we are old friends

After coming across a letter Elizabeth Jane Kivell had written to a high school friend, Charles W. Faust, two mail-deprived ensigns in Europe, F. Nye Moses Jr. and Bill Wilhoit, took it upon themselves to correspond with her as well. Although their letter is clearly tongue-in-cheek, it reflects a genuine desire among troops to connect with home and engage in a little playful humor against the somber backdrop of war. (The letter's original spelling has been preserved.)    

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Dear Elizabeth Jane,
This is a fan letter! You see, you wrote a letter to C. W. Faust on L.C.I. [Landing Craft Infantry] 540. My Executive Officer and I saw your beautiful and neat handwriting, smelled the sweet perfume on the letter and said, "Anyone who sends letters such as this must be more wonderful than Paulette Goddard, Lana Turner, Betty Hutton, and Ingrid Bergman all put together!" We then said, "Why not write her a letter?" So I (we) did, I mean we are now. This is it! How does it feel to have a "public"?

Before I begin, let me explain that we are two very lonely lads and our morale is very low. We have hearts of gold but girls never seem to bother finding it out after once looking at our comical faces.

My Executive Officer's name is Bill. He graduated from Georgia Tech in February. He's a "rebel" from way back. As for looks — well, he doesn't really have any. Your first impression of him is that Gargantua has arrived in England…. For ears, he has sort of curley protuberances that look like cauliflowers. He claims he was born with them that way, but I don't believe it. God couldn't make a man with ears like that.

Ensign Bill Wilhoit
Ensign Bill Wilhoit
I don't think he has any eyes, at least I've never been able to find them. He says he can see, so I guess that settles it — he has eyes. His nose looks like a large, very red apple. It is his best feature. At least you know he has a nose. His mouth is really a good looking one except that he has no lips. We are at a loss to explain why, he just has no lips. He hasn't any teeth either, but has very pretty gums — at least I think so.

I should stop here, but I won't.

His physique? Well, he has 26 shoulders and a 36 waist. His arms and legs are nice. They are only about the size of a baseball bat but are all muscle. He claims he had a girl once, but I doubt it. Anyway, every day he wishes he would get a letter from a girl, but he never does. Couldn't you surprise him with one? — just for the morale of the boys in the service?

Ensign F. Nye Moses Jr.
Ensign F. Nye Moses Jr.
Girls don't like me either, but I really am a swell guy. I am not good looking, but I think I have sort of an inner beauty radiating from my heart within. I cannot explain why others don't discover it. To begin with I have beautiful red eyes (at least you can see mine). I have a long, finely formed nose. Masters of ships have been known to take bearings on my nose mistaking it for a light house. I have the best looking ears. They are real big and they sort of stick out, but attractively. I think my lips are a little thick, but you wouldn't notice them much if I didn't lisp. (At least I don't stutter like Bill.) My best feature, though, is my dark bushy hair, which sticks up all around like I was a sample the Fuller Brush man leaves at your door. I am short and very round — just healthy looking. My name is Nye, and I never had a girl in my life….

Perhaps you are looking for a good upstanding young man to fall for. Well, have you considered falling for L.C.T. [Landing Craft Tank] men? "L.C.T." Men — don't the words alone just thrill you? We're heroes!! We fight in invasions and everything!…

Won't you write us a letter so we can see your handwriting and smell the beautiful envelope again? If you only knew how low our morale is, you'd rush right down and send a telegram, only we'd rather have a letter so please, please write…

In ending, let us say it has been fun knowing you already and you haven't even answered us. Just think how much fun we'll have after you have answered us and we are old friends. We know you won't let us down. Now don't forget:

First, fall in love with us.
Second, write us a letter.
Third, enclose a snap shot.

So until we hear from you, good by and we eagerly await your answer.
Bubbling over with unwanted love,

Nye (Pinochio) Moses
Bill (Atlas) Wilhoit

Although Miss Kivell did respond, she was in love with—and would go on to marry—a pilot named Dale Leslie French. Tragically, Nye Moses was killed on D-Day, but Bill Wilhoit survived the war and is alive and well today in Texas.

Andrew Carroll's Legacy Project (online at warletters.com) is dedicated to preserving and collecting correspondence from all of America's wars. If you have a World War II letter you would like to share, please send a copy (not originals) to:

the Legacy Project
P.O. Box 53250, Washington, DC 20009

Or: e-mail WarLettersUS@aol.com.



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