The Rodney Letters: Love and Sacrifice in World War II
Ann Williams Warner
A Young couple very much in love finds their marriage dramatically changed in World War II. The Rodney Letters tells of Margie Ann and John Rodney Williams, a Louisiana couple caught up in world events. Drafted after two years of marriage, Rodney leaves his pregnant wife and his job as Superintendent of Williams Lumber Company to become a soldier. Letters over 70 years old tell of a period of 13 months during the War. These writings from Rodney and Margie and family paint a picture of how this time affects them.
Rodney, a superb marksman quail hunter, becomes a nose gunner on a B24 Long Range Bomber in the 307th Bomb Group, 424th Squadron, 13th Air Force. He serves in New Guinea in the Pacific with the forward advance on the enemy. His time in training and war tell of separation from his wife and new daughter and his many experiences as an airman.
The Yamato Mission of October 26, 1944, becomes significant in turning the Japanese fleet around from the oil rich fields and bases of the area near the Philippines. Rodney and Lt. Sutphin’s crew courageously contribute in this history.
I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from the experience of reading Rodney’s letters. They are simple, candid, heartfelt, and unpretentious, but they are built on the great American themes of honor, love, sacrifice, devotion, and faith. And they give us a portrait of a man whom I tell you all men should strive to be.
Rodney just wants the war to end so he can reunite with his wife and little girl. He is full of yearning, and he believes his destiny isn’t in dying. It’s in living. And yet the world has other plans for him.
Could Rodney have known that he was making literature? Of course not. He was simply describing the day as he found it—the beauty of a truck carrying lumber, the joy of catching a fish, the drudgery of attending to details that wouldn't matter one bit in the face a Japanese warship.
Rodney lives on in these letters, immortal on the page, forever the young man who left home and didn't come back. And that is why I wept when I arrived at the end of this book.
—John Ed Bradley
author of It Never Rains in Tiger Stadium
ANN WARNER, a graduate of Louisiana State University, has a great love of history, having taught American history for a number of years. She became a Louisiana artist in the 1980s and teaches classes in painting. She is represented by Taylor Clark Gallery in Baton Rouge. She and husband JJ Warner live on their family farm in Warnerton near Franklinton, Louisiana.
For more information, please contact:
32144 Hwy 25
Franklinton LA 70438
The Rodney Letters is a historical account of the life of a B 24 nose gunner in World War II . Letters over 70 years old written by John Rodney Williams and family reveal a time historians have rarely touched, the air war in the Pacific.
Drafted in 1943 Rodney leaves his pregnant wife and work at Williams Lumber Company to become an aerial nose gunner with the Long Rangers, the 307th Bombardment Group, 424th Squadron of the 13th Air Force.
The letters tell of great love and sacrifice in service and at home. September and October of 1944 were especially difficult times for the Long Rangers in New Guinea. In the Yamato Mission of October 26, 1944, Rodney and Lt. Sutphin’s crew help play a key role in turning the Japanese fleet away from the oil rich fields and bases near the Philippines.