Love Despite the War

Circe Olson Woessner

 In just a few days now, Phil and I have a second anniversary to celebrate –it doesn’t seem possible does it–and two happier years no one has ever lived, I am sure. Of course, we are both looking forward to, and planning for, the successful conclusion of this war, but in the meantime, we will both do our best to help just as much as we can. Fortunately, we have enjoyed and share just everything, so we have only happy memories in our past, and a very happy future to anticipate. Knowing us as well as I think you do, and appreciating the counsel you have given Phil, I expect you have many times wondered how we are “coming”. We’d like you to be assured, then, that you did a very thorough and happy job of hitching us that June 12, so you should have one more star in your already crowded heavenly halo….”

Reading this letter dated June 10th, 1942, from Betty Moore to her father wouldn’t seem too remarkable, if you didn’t know from where the letter had originated.  This letter, one of many in our museum ,was written by Army wife Betty Moore from Honolulu, Hawaii, a few short months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. She describes  her living conditions further and I am amazed at how resilient and happy she was– despite the harsh conditions.

In a 1944 letter from APO NY 464 (Rome), Sgt Fran Goshlin anticipated the end of the war in a wonderful letter to his wife, listing all the things he looked forward to.

“Things here are still the same. What news there is, is very promising. Soon Darling -soon. There isn’t a thing to write so I’ll just ramble on about things I want to do and see after I get home. I want to go on a picnic- eat rolls, chicken, etc.

I want to sit on the front porch in a terrific rainstorm and then perhaps go riding in the rain. I want to ride into the sunrise on Northfield Ave. again in the morning. I want to fall asleep in front of the fireplace again.

I want to go shopping again with you on Saturdays and I also want to go for the Sunday papers as I always did—only on a bicycle. I want to wear any kind of clothes except G.I. clothes. I want to sit down and relax with the Babe at my feet and with a glass of Brandy in my hand. I want to play every record we have starting with Intermezzo and Strauss until every one is played.

I want to brush your red hair until it gleams on Sunday mornings. I want to fry pork chops and onions on Saturday nights the way we often did. I want to buy you a room full of Mums the way I used to.

I want to wake up with you in my arms in the morning. I want to go to sleep listening to the tree toads and crickets singing as they can only sing in Livingston.”

I love reading these letters, because they show a snapshot into what people living in incredibly difficult conditions thought important. Despite being  at war in Italy, Sgt Goshlin was thinking to the future—one full of hope and simple pleasures.

As I walk through stores in January and February, I am assailed by huge displays of cards, candies, cookies and items in pink, purple and red. There are so many choices  to wade through to pick a card, it becomes overwhelming. Corporations sure are cashing in on love—and making some of us wonder how we can declare our affections to our significant other via card without squirming over the overt-sentimental sappiness—or minimizing our appreciation and love by buying a funny, jokey card. Or one allegedly from the dog. What will our partner think about our card choice?

On the front lines, there weren’t many options, and troops “made do”—as one creative soldier demonstrated in his V-mail creation:

In more recent wars, technology allows troops to share their observations and thoughts through spoken word recorded in “real time.” In an audio cassette “letter” from the early days of the Persian Gulf war, it is obvious that the young man  speaking is trying to be reassuring and optimistic to his girlfriend back home—but his voice quakes and he audibly recoils as he (and we the listener) hear the explosions in the background.

Again, he is projecting optimism and he shares with her the things he is missing—the everyday things they did as a couple, the songs they listened to and the friends they had fun with.

It is the simple, everyday things we do with our loved ones, that we miss when we cannot do them together, for whatever reason. We long for the simple, authentic pleasures, the silly notes, the little routines –the acts of kindness.

After almost 38 years of marriage, I truly cannot remember one of the commercial valentine or anniversary cards my husband gave me, but I guarantee you, if he’d ended a letter like young Fran did to his wife, I’d remember that forever!

“Until tomorrow.

Goodnight Dearest Wife,

Most Pleasant Dreams

I love you

I adore you

I miss you

Sleep in my arms



We have hundreds of letters, first-hand written stories and oral interviews in our special collections library at the museum.

DDT, Aerosol Cans and WWII

Pacific Paratrooper

With millions of troops moving into tropical and subtropical campaigns, WWII military leaders and planners sought ways to fight diseases endemic to these regions. Two WWII era innovations were combined to save the lives of many combatants during the war years. Malaria was the primary concern at the time.

Malaria was commonly avoided by prophylactic treatments with quinine. Larger doses could be given to those known to be infected. Quinine came from the bark of a South American shrub that came to be grown on commercial plantations in the South Pacific. The Japanese occupied these plantations early in the war, and substitutes for it were less effective.

In 1939, Paul Hermann Muller discovered that dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) effectively killed insects.. In 1943 tests showed it to be effective against the mosquitoes that carried malaria, and the US Military started using it. At first they used hand pumps that pressurized a canister…

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An old Jalopy can bring Joy to the museum

The Museum of the American Military Family& Learning Center has partnered with One Community Auto to promote vehicle donations that will provide additional funding for the Museum’s mission of preserving military family history.

Most “vehicles” qualify: cars, trucks, motorcycles, farm equipment, etc.


Donating a vehicle to help the Museum is easy, and costs you nothing. We accept donations from anywhere in the nation (ALL 50 states). Just call 505- 901-9510 or fill out the online form below. We provide pickup at your location, handle all the title work, and provide you a receipt. It is very simple. 

  • Towing: One Community Auto picks up your vehicle donation, running or not, at your location and convenience.
  • Easy Paperwork: One Community Auto handles everything: MVD and IRS paperwork is done quickly and efficiently. We handle all title paperwork, so you have nothing to worry about.
  • Fast Scheduling: Complete the form or call One Community Auto to arrange a convenient time to pick up your vehicle.
  • Income Tax Deduction: One Community Auto issues you a receipt for the IRS. 

It’s a lovely way to help the Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center

New Mexico families can support the Museum of the American Military Family when they shop at Smiths

The Kroger Co. Family of Stores is committed to bringing hope and help to local neighborhoods and organizations through their Inspiring Donations program. New Mexico’s Smith’s Food & Drug participates to give customers the opportunity to donate to local causes.

When you to link your Rewards card to the Museum of the American Military Family  (Organization IA946), Smith’s Food & Drug donates .5% of every eligible purchase. The more you shop, the more money the museum will earn!
If you have any questions, please email or visit their website at .

Here’s how it works:

1. Create a digital account.

A digital account is needed to participate in Smith’s Inspiring Donations. If you already have a digital account, simply link your Shopper’s Card to your account so that all transactions apply toward the organization you choose.

2. Link your Card to an organization. The Museum of the American Military Family is IA946

Select the organization that you wish to support. Here’s how:

  • Sign in to your digital account.
  • Search for your organization. (The museum is IA946)
  • Enter the name or organization number.
  • Select the Museum of the American Military Family from the list and click “Save”.
  • Your choice will also display in the Smith’s Inspiring Donations section of your account. If you need to review or revisit your organization, you can always do so under your Account details.

3. The museum earns. (Thank you!)

Note, if you are a customer, make sure you have a preferred store selected to view participating organizations.  Any transactions moving forward using the Shopper’s Card number associated with your digital account will be applied to the program, at no added cost to you. This is a very easy way to support the Museum of the American Military Family. 

A Christmas Tradition from the Pacific

Happy holidays!

Pacific Paratrooper

Soldier in Japan delivers presents as ‘Father Christmas’

After 71 years, a yearly tradition continued with the U.S. Army’s 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and 25th Infantry Division all joining forces on December 4 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, to wrap presents to ship to the Holy Family Home in Japan.

The 25th Infantry Division shared photos of soldiers taking part in the annual tradition, tweeting, “It’s a long standing tradition, and it just goes to show that it doesn’t matter what nation you’re from, in the bigger picture, people help people.”

4 Dec. 2020, presents for orphans, (pic by: SSgt. Thomas Calvert

On Christmas Day in 1949, the 27th Infantry Regiment “Wolfhounds” were overwhelmed by the sight of tiny, barefoot children living in the decaying Holy Family orphanage in Osaka, Japan. The soldiers accompanied a Red Cross representative to the crumbling home that was brimming…

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Thanksgiving from: Pacific Paratrooper

Pacific Paratrooper

Rakkasans of today.
187th RCT


US troops in Afghanistan give thanks.

Thanksgiving during WWII…

They’re celebrating Thanksgiving on this very day,

My thoughts are at home, though I’m far away;

I can see everyone, eating dinner deluxe,

Whether it be chicken, turkey or even duck;

The fellows over here won’t whimper or moan,

They’ll look to the next one and hope to be home.


Truly and honestly, from way down deep,

They want you to be happy and enjoy your feast.

These holidays are remembered by one and all,

Those happy days we can always recall.

The ones in the future, will be happier, I know

When we all come back from defeating the foe.

_______Poem by an Anonymous WWII Veteran


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MAMF has partnered with Community One Auto

About the Museum of the American Military Family

Pacific War in art – 1945

Pacific Paratrooper

I wish all of the distinguished artists of WWII could have been included – here is the final year of the Pacific War…

“Battle of Luzon” by: Yorozujiro Terauchi, 1945
Mandalay, Burma, by: David Pentland, Feb. ’45
Pacific Glory” by: Nicholas Trudgian

It is March 1945 and the P-38’s of the 475th FG are involved in a huge dogfight with Japanese Zeros over the coast of Indo-China. Flying “Pee Wee V” is Lt Ken Hart of the 431st Fighter Squadron, who has fatally damaged a Zero in a blistering head on encounter. The second P-38L – “Vickie” – belongs to Captain John ‘rabbit’ Pietz, who would end the War as an Ace with six victories.
Signed by three highly decorated P-38 pilots who flew in combat with the 475th Fighter Group in the Pacific theatre during World War II.

‘The Great Tokyo Air Raid’ by: Hashimoto Kimisuke, 10 March ’45…

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Pacific War in art – 1944

Pacific Paratrooper

As promised, here is an example of other works of art for the following year of the Pacific War…

USMC in the Marshall Islands, 31 Jan 1944, by: James V. Griffin


Truk Island, Carolinas, by: Frank Lemon


RNZAF, May 1944 with Corsairs


Saipan Jun-july 1944, by: Robert Benney


War Weary, by: Jack Fellows


Guam, July-Aug. by: Howard Gerard


Peleliu Invaded, Sept. 1944, By: Tom Lea


Avengers of the Philippines, by: John D. Shaw

November 14, 1944 . . . As smoldering enemy ships mark a trail to Manila Bay, Avengers and Hellcats of Air Group 51 overfly the isle of Corregidor on their return to the carrier U.S.S. San Jacinto.

With the misty mountains of Bataan standing as a silent sentinel, Naval LT (JG) George H.W. Bush pilots his TBM in one of his last combat missions of WWII. The valor of Bush’s…

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