December 19
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The News Reaches Home

On Wednesday, January 12th at about 11:00 AM, Howard received a call from Dad who had just received a letter from Captain Faulkner's mother in Pleasant Hill, MO relating how both their son and Guy had been reported "missing" from a scouting mission on December 19th.

   January 10 from the Earl Faulkners
Pleasant Hill MO
Jan. 10th 1944

To the Parents of Guy Kemper: -
We have received an official telegram from Washington D.C. notifying us our Son Captain Lawrence M. Faulkner, has been found Missing in Action since Dec. 19th.
And are of the opinion you folk have received your official announcement that your son Guy is Missing also, on the same trip. We became acquainted with your son, last summer while visiting our Son & wife in El Centro California.
Were also well acquainted with Lt. Marshall that was fortunate to "come back" from the Scout trip which took our Sons. Expecting a letter from him sometime soon as we wrote and asked him for more definite information. As one parents to another we are sending our sincere sympathy and try to keep up Faith and Hope, & pray that our loved ones will yet come back to us.
Please accept our Deepest Sympathy.
Respectfully yours
Mr.and Mrs. Earl Faulkner
Pleasant Hill

Howard immediately called Mrs. Faulkner long distance. She said they had received their official message two weeks before! An extremely incensed Howard placed
Senator Connally
Senator Connally
another long distance call directly to the home of Senator Tom Connally in Austin. Senator Connally came to the phone and said, "Sir, do you know that you're interrupting my dinner?" A barely controlled Howard firmly explained the situation wanting an explanation as to why no notification had been sent to the Kempers. The Senator hastily apologized saying he would immediately look into the matter. Within two hours, a telegram arrived with the dreaded official message.

A phone call was placed to Roy who was then in Army Air Force training. Stunned, Roy indicated that until then, he knew neither why he was going to fight nor did he care who he fought, but now he did know. Mother and Dad then visited Bob Anderson's parents looking for any news from Bob, a fellow pilot in the squadron.

Overcome with feelings of numbing helplessness, the family spends the evening praying and hoping for Guy's safety. Thursday morning brings a blanket of snow and the morning paper with Guy's picture and the words, "MISSING", icy and cold, as was the weather outside. The epidemic spread of Guy's missing was met with a universal response of shock and disbelief.
Friends and relatives offer comfort and express concern sending cards and letters and coming by to visit. Mother's letter writing campaign intensifies to learn anything new about Guy as well as wrestle time away from a festering worry.

Mother's sister, Ida Mae Tune("Ikey"), her husband, Bud, and brother, Ray, all come from Cisco to visit. Ikey has been seeing a fortune teller in Mingus, Miss Hamilton, who had predicted Guy would be missing a year ago. Now, there's more from the fortune teller. Ikey and Howard consult the Ouija board searching for answers. Letters arrive from Lt. Martin's parents and Charlie Dublin, Jean's father.
   January 12-15
Wednesday, January 12
It was about 11:00 and Howard was sleeping because he had been up late and had fallen in the snow and ice as he stepped upon the porch and hurt his shoulder. The phone rang it was your Dad, he had just opened a letter from Capt. Lawrence Faulkner's mother in Pleasant Hill Mo. Telling us about her son and you -- Guy - being reported "missing" on a scouting mission Dec. 19th. I had been in bed for 7 or 8 days and your Mom had been keeping D.J. Howard went to work on the contents of the letter. He first called Mrs. Faulkner in Mo. They had received their official message two weeks before. Then he called Sen. Tom Connally and asked him to investigate. Within two hrs. we had the official message. Your Mom and Dad went immediately to see Mr. & Mrs. Anderson to see if they had heard anything from Bob. We phoned Roy. Until that moment he didn't know just why he was going to fight nor did he care who he fought. Now he knows. It was one miserable night for us all. But your Mom and Dad were as brave as could be under such circumstances.
Thursday, January 13
Today is the Birthday of Verla Joyce Kemper
Last night was spent in hoping and praying for your safety as there is nothing else for us to do, we felt so helpless. As we walked in this morning Howard said, 'Mother don't give up hope until I do -, because I haven't.' It seemed I just knew you were alive somewhere - and we would hear something soon. All day friends and relatives came by to see your Mom - they too had the same feeling we did. Though a blanket of snow covered everything and an icy cold wind blew --.
Aunt Ikey, Uncle Bud and Uncle Ray came from Cisco. It was a great shock to your many friends as they opened the morning paper to find your picture there and the word "missing."
Friday, January 14
Still cold and icy outside it didn't keep friends away. Another day your Mom's chin still up -- and hopes of some news soon. Aunt Ikey came back - alone. Why?
fortune teller
Because one year ago the fortune teller told her you would be reported missing. Two months ago she said 'the time is growing near -.' Today she told Ikey 'You've received the message. But he is alive, a prisoner slightly injured in his shoulder and he will come home. You'll get your official message by Feb. 20th.'
Thoughts ran through our minds. How did she know? Are we to believe a fortune teller who told us this would happen one year ago?
Another long night spent in wonder and prayers.
Saturday, January 15
Ikey spent the night. Your Mom was so glad to have her. Ikey and Howard played the Ouija Board.
The Ouija ('wee-jee')
They asked, "Were you a prisoner?" It said "yes." You were at your second prison camp. You were on the island of Papua and you would be home 11 months from now on the 14th day of that month. It was Saturday, a rodeo, and a busy day for the bus company. Ikey left late in the afternoon. Charity, Charlie and your Grandmother came down that night and Dorothy Jean cheered everyone up with a few songs. In the morning mail your Mom received a letter from Bob Martin's folks in Walla Walla, Wash. Thanking her for the clipping she sent them from our paper about Bob Anderson downing 2 zeros.

   January 11 from the George Martins
Walla Walla

My dear Mrs. Kemper;-

We most certainly appreciate your thoughtfulness in sending clipping and word in regards to our Some Bob and members of His Flight as that picture taken at Melbourne occupies a prominent place on our mantle. Bob wrote all the names, I might say body-size, as he started the names under the chin of each flyer and nearly ended up at the feet, and we feel that he personally knows each boy in that Group and getting your letter certainly adds to the History of said picture. Even the Mascot was autographed.
You seem to have an Editor in you town who is a little more interested in the Boys, and the Morale of the Home folks than he is in Commerce and Real Estate as this is all we get in our Home Town Rag, and Walla Walla is a town of 20,000. It mentioned the Marine Landing of Dec. 10th on Bougainville and gave the names of Major Morrell, Lts. Wilkerson, Marker, Martin and Marshall as being the first to land on said Field and you'd think Bob was an orphan as that was the only mention made at that time since but we received a letter dated Dec 25th Xmas Day, I believe in which Bob stated that in coming in from a mission on Dec 24th they were given some mail from Home (the first in weeks) also two cans of cold beer to celebrate Xmas and seemed to be thrilled over same, wish some of the Home Town folks could be thrilled that easy. On the 28th of Dec., he wrote and said he had paid Uncle Sam off as he had gotten off to a start, that is of sending one of his Little Brown Brothers to join his Ancestors and as it was our Wedding Anniversary, also remarked we could consider that a present.
Bob was a once year or third year student in Engineering at Wash State College and enlisted in the Spring of 42 and was inducted on July 6th of that year. He made Sand Point at Seattle, Wash, Pasco, Wash, and then to Pensacola and of course did his advanced work at Melbourne, FLa. Like all parents we are more than proud of him because at the age of 12, he came down with St. Vitus Dance, and for six weeks had to be fed and picked up if allowed to roll out of bed, so if all Marine Flyers are that tough and I believe they are, look at what the Japs are up against.
We have a second son in Navigation Training in the Army Air Corps at Hondo, Texas, and he should get his Wings about the last of February. He has now been in 11 mos. He too was a student of one hyear at W.S.C. We have a Third who will turn 17 in April and is now preparing for the same sort of Service, Flying. He is taking C.P.J. Training with his other college work at Seattle College, at Seattle Wash, but as he is in college after just 3 years in high school and a Chemistry and Math natural, he will land in a good job like Bob, anything below an "A" grade in school doesn't even interest him. Of course you realize those are the words of a bragging dad. We have a daughter in a Holy Names Acad. at Spokane Wash, and two daughters and two sons at home. When the four children left, it got too lonesome for Mrs. Martin so she took two school children in to room and board just to make it more like it used to be. We are in the Wheat Farming Game, as that is what you can call it these last few years. The weather and the price have both been good, as we can't kick too much although some of our wealthier neighbors with deferred relations seem to have lot of grievances.

Again thanking you for your letter and your thoughtfulness at this time and hoping to hear from you again.

We remain,
Anna Mae & Geo. T. Martin
366 Chase Ave

   January 13 from Charlie Dublin
Big Spring, Texas
Jan. 13- 1944

Dear Mr. And Mrs. Kemper:-

Charlie Dublin
Howard called me last night regarding the bad news you had just received. I have been so badly disturbed all day I am at a loss as to what to say in order to express my feelings also I don't know what to say that might console you – I am such a poor hand when it comes to expressing my feelings in writing – I just wish I could be with you. I don't know that you knew it or not but Guy was my pet over even my near kin and close friends who are in the Armed Forces, therefore this is a great shock to me also.

Until I knew my God, all during my life I could only see the dark side of everything in time of trouble. I mention this because in late years of my life I have had un-believable things proven to me and it was nothing other than God's Power which guides the destiny of all things. In time of trouble which I have had plenty, I live on pre-monitions and hunches. And being of this nature I can not give Guy up as being killed. I feel like he will show up in due time. You know those Natives really care for those boys when they are forced down over there, on the other hand Guy was a good clean cut boy of good Spiritual Morals – this kind of a man has God's care which will carry him through this awful ordeal. I would not mention this but know you are a God loving people so let's not let our trouble overcome us – let's live in hopes and keep praying for his rescue.

There's still a lot of consolation left for you even though things were to go against our Prayers and that is – you know he was a good Christian Boy. Lived a life that kept him ready to meet his God. In this case his reward would be the Greatest that we know of, on the other hand Mother and Dad Kemper – I hope you fully realize that you brought to this world one of the Greatest Americans who ever lived in case he gave his life in defense of his country against a foe who meant to destroy our Freedom, change the ways of our living and abolish Christianity.

In some way we, all of us are going to have to adjust our selves to these awful things this horrible war has brought to us, in order to preserve what these noble boys are fighting for. In the meantime May God Bless You with better news in the near future.

I am,
Chas. M. Dublin

   January 13 from Charlie Dublin to Howard
Big Spring, Texas
Jan. 13- 1944

Dear Howard:-

In a way I am glad you called me last night but on the other hand I am so sorry you conveyed to me the bad news. In a time like this I feel so small in trying to offer my sympathy and feelings for you and your Dear Mother and Father and of course Roy.

At this stage of time we know no more than the report we received and of course I have been very much disturbed all day and could not keep it off my mind. I might say to better describe my feelings that I am a man who all during my life have been guided by pre-monitions and hunches; and being of this nature I can't give Guy up as being killed and out of life. I have had a feeling he will survive this terrible ordeal and come out alive. These awful hours of waiting are going to be hard but since we do not know he has been killed let's live in hopes and Pray to Our God who guides the destiny of all of us that he be rescued.

This is not impossible as you know many of our gallant boys have been shot down – yet within given lengths of time they have been rescued by Natives or otherwise and returned to service.

But Howard old boy in case things do go wrong against us – I want you to know that Guy was my pet over all my near kin and dear friends who are in the Armed Forces. I have several good reasons for loving him – First he was so faithful to duty, worked so hard to prepare himself in order that he might do his part to defend his country in time of need against a foe who meant to destroy our Freedom, our ways of living and above all our Belief in our God who created us and elevated us to our present standard.

I might add that in recent days our Men's Bible Class have pledged themselves to buy a bond each for McMurry during this next Bond Drive – I dedicated mine to Guy. I did this because I was proud of him as a true soldier in defense of our country and a McMurry ex.

In case he has paid the supreme price let's live on having the consolation of knowing that he was just as Great an American that ever lived because it is a known fact that when a man gives his life in defense of his country, he is truly a Great American. I just wish it were in my power to say something that would lighten your load of anxious waiting and worry and since I can't I want you to know I await with you for more word and I Pray to My God that this word will be better than you now expect.
May God Bless you Howard and Your Dear People.
Yours As Ever,
Chas. M. Dublin

Guy in Hawaii Follow-up from the Marine Corps
Guy in Hawaii Letter from the Marine Corps

Guy's whereabouts remain the topic of conversation while the wait for any news continues. A steady flow of visiting family and friends, and cards and letters expressing concern and encouragement as does the snowfall which reaches a 30 year record. Guy's letters are read again and again, and he begins to appear in dreams. A long lost package from Guy finally arrives with photos from Hawaii and, also, a follow-up letter from the Marine Corps.
   January 16-22
Sunday, January 16
We had spent the night with your Mom and as we rose to start another day - you were still the subject of conversation. We were searching for any bit of news from the papers or the letters we had received hoping to find some clue to your whereabouts. We noticed in a newspaper dated Dec. 22nd that two fighters were lost over Rabaul. Now as we look back we figure you were one of these fighters. Your Dad went to the country to see about his lambs, the snow had been so deep. Deepest in 30 years the paper said. Howard drove the new bus today the 2nd day of the rodeo. Hope, Hoover, and A.J. came by for a while in the afternoon.
Monday, January 17
We had stayed all night again and when it was about time for the mail to come I took Czar with me to the bus station. He had a sore eye and your Mom had been doctoring him. There was lots of mail. A letter from Billy Earle's folks. Your Mom had mailed a clipping about Bob Anderson to all the boys folks in the picture we have of your flight letting them know where their sons were. In the afternoon your Mom wrote the boys in your flight to see if they knew any thing about you. We were so anxious to know if they saw you bail out or go down. These days kept us tense -- awaiting some news --.
Tuesday, January 18
I stayed at home today preparing to go to San Angelo tomorrow to see a chest specialist. Mildred is planning to go with me because your Dad is moving stock from Eskota this week and Howard will have to remain at the bus station. You could never guess who knocked at your Mom's door today --. Yes, Ikey again and Aunt Etta. Ikey had come down to get her glasses changed -- they only stayed a few minutes. Aunt Charity invited your Mom and Dad out to dinner this evening. It was good for your Mom to get out.
Wednesday, January 19
Mildred and I caught an early morning bus for San Angelo. I had an appointment at 11:00 and the results were good. No T.B. However, no definite cure for bronchitis and asthma. Back at home your Mom and Dorothy Jean went out to see your Grandmother who was ill. Today was very beautiful the first pretty day in some time. We arrive back in Abilene about 9:00, tired but very glad over my check up. 'No word yet about you or your whereabouts -- maybe we will hear something tomorrow --.
Thursday, January 20
Guy - I guess your letters have all been read time and time again. It seems they never grow old it's just like being with you reading them over. Mrs. Culwell spent the afternoon with your Mom talking about you and Jerry from when you were little boys on up. Uncle Jeff came in to stay a few days. I stayed around home - wrote letters and wandered over to the book store. Rita M. Bigony was over there. Rita was elected queen you know. Your Mom got lots of nice letters and cards today but no news about you.
Friday, January 21
Just another one of those days -- when the work must go on --. I cleaned house, your Mom washed, Howard worked at the bus station and your Dad was still busy at the ranch. Your Mom got lots of mail - a package from Tego --. A pair of 24 gauge Nylon hose something no one has seen in a year or two. As the afternoon became dull -- in walked the postman with a package for your Mom from YOU --. Talk about excitement -- it was really stirring. It was the pictures you sent her from Hawaii. Last night I dreamed you phoned us from San Francisco and said your coming home --. Maybe this will come true in time. Dorothy Jean said I sat up in bed and talked on the phone to you --.
Saturday, January 22
We were dressed ready to come to town when Mable phoned there was a letter from the Navy Dept. to your Mother and another addressed to the Parents of Lt. Guy Kemper from Nacona Tex. If the ole Packard ever ran fast it ran fast this morning down to the bus station. Mrs. Foote's letter said Bob had written information about you - and said she would send the letter. The Navy Dept.'s letter was only a follow up of the telegram we received the 12th. Mrs. Culwell had a letter from Jerry so she came down and stayed a long time. In Jerry's letter he said, 'It's really a shame about Guy - however knowing his resourcefulness, I haven't given up hope yet - not by a long shot! If you hear any information concerning him let me know!' You see Guy - we all had our hopes high --.
   January 18 from the Earl Faulkners
Dear Mrs. Kemper; -

Pardon me for answering you letter so soon - received it today.
We appreciated the clippings, and am keeping a scrap book about our son and His squadron. As time goes on we keep trusting and praying that we will soon hear from Him, or get some word from the boys in His squadron informing us they have had some recent news in regard to both our Sons.
The last letter we received from Lawrence was dated Nov. 27th. His wife received 2 letters Dec.7th and one Dec.9th.
He received a Christmas package from a club I belong to. We mailed it Oct 5th. We sent our Christmas package Oct. 7th and Oct. 26th another package (His birthday one) was sent and Nov. 8th we mailed another. He never did receive any of them. In fact in all his letters, He says "I can't get any letters or nothing from home.

Lawrence's address is the same as your son's VMF 216. The clipping enclosed will tell you about his different places of training and etc.
Our son is Flight Captain of the "Bull Dog" (216) squadron. He was 26 years old Dec 26th. It makes our hearts ache to think, how and where, he spent Christmas & his birthday. For last year he was in his home amid relatives & friends. Had a 30 day furlough. Had been over in the South Pacific 11 months.
We sure hope your son and Lawrence can be together and that neither one of them are badly wounded. We sometimes wonder if they are Jap's prisoners and that would be a fate worse than being out in the jungles
We have a full Group picture taken of the 216. Lawrence wrote every one's name on their pictures. We located all those mentioned in one of your clippings.
There is only one Marshall in the picture, it probably is the one you mentioned. (Lawrence just wrote their last names on their pictures See? -)
Your son Howard gave us telephone numbers where to call if we should receive any important news in regard to either of our loved ones.
Knowing the anxiety that is in all our hearts these War Days we will have to keep leaning and asking Our Lord for help & guidance for ourselves and all our fighting sons, for every day someone's are made very sad receiving official telegrams the same as you folk and us. Our family isn't a very large one, we just have the one son, a married daughter, a Darling granddaughter, and a Very Dear and loving Daughter-in-Law, (Lawrence's wife) who lives in Kans City.

Sincerely your friends
Mr. and Mrs. Earl Faulkner


Howard departs for Indiana to pick up another bus. Mother sees him off and is reluctant for another of her boys to leave. A long expected letter arrives from Lt. Robert Foote's wife with news from Bob confirming what was already known which makes the local paper. Roy prepares to return from Corsicana and makes his training's honor roll. Mrs. Foote stops by to visit and with word that Captain Faulkner had been promoted to Major. A letter from Lt. Marshall giving his description of the December 19th incident arrives. Also, there are encouraging letters from Lt. Robert Anderson, and Kae Olivadoti in Chicago.
    January 23-29
Sunday, January 23
Everyone stayed pretty close around home today. On days like this we just imagine you are out in the jungle all alone eating what you can and enduring many hardships. We always say - if you are not wounded too badly you are not starving nor are you despondent. We can just hear you trying to tell us 'Not to worry'. We are keeping faith and hoping we will hear of your safety soon. Your Dad went to the country and took Uncle Jeff along. Howard left this evening on the 9:00 bus for Indiana. Yes the 2nd and last bus is ready and he is going after it. He had driven the other one from the factory early in Dec. through ice and snow, with no heater in the bus and the temp two below. This time he took your flying suit. I'll bet he doesn't get cold this time. Your Mom went to the bus station to see him leave. She told him she hated to see him leave - it seemed she didn't want any one of her boys out of her sight -.
Monday, January 24
Dorothy Jean and I caught a bus to town to go shoppin' - . Your Mom was anxiously waiting for the mail - expecting the letter from Lita Foote giving us further information about you. Tears filled her eyes when the postman did not bring the letter. But there was very encouraging letter from George Campbell that cheered her up a little. Every day since we received the news about you your mom has received one to four nice cards or letters of encouragement each day. Several friends came by for visit in the afternoon. Uncle Jeff left for Big Spring on the evening train for a visit with the Andersons. I bought another pair of shoes today -- Wolf! Wolf!* Remember?

(* As in "wolf whistle")
Tuesday, January 25
Yes the much wanted letter came today from Mrs. Foote. It was a very interesting letter however it was just confirming the news we already knew about you. There as also a very nice letter from Jerry Culwell. Let me take time to tell you. Jan 18th started the 4th War Loan. It is really going good -. Washington received the news about our prisoners of war in Japan taken during the fall of the Philippines on Bataan. The Red Cross is not allowed to visit the Philippine Islands at all they say - because the treatment toward our boys is so terrible. These stories are told by our boys that escaped. The March of Death - and many horrifying stories. I think America should have known this all along it should not have been kept from us -. We hope & pray you are not mistreated if you are a prisoner.
Wednesday, January 26
We got up early - earlier than usual because we were expecting my Mother, Dorothy and my Aunt from Midland down for the day. They hadn't been here long when your Mom came out. Guess what she brought - an apricot-pineapple (pie). It would have won 1st prize on looks at any state fair and tasted twice as good -. But - you know her pies! It was very windy out bout we all went down town shopping. We bought an evening paper to see the write up about you -. They had printed Bob Foote's letters describing the raid you took part in. My folks had been gone only 36 min. when I noticed they had taken my asthma spray with them. Something I cannot go even down town without. Suddenly a strong wind blew up - and we had a short but very hard rain - . The couple from Ohio who lived next door sighed and said - "oh! This Texas weather."
Thursday, January 27
Sure enough I had asthma very light all night and did not sleep a wink. Then it hit hard -. I couldn't even phone - anyone - anyway I received my spray about 5 o'clock in the evening. And was I glad to see it-. I was as glad to see it as a drunk is to see his bottle -. In the morning mail came some very newsy letters from V.J. Remember you asked for a picture of Dorothy Jean and Judia well we made you some before Judia & V.J. went to Corsicana. V.J. sent them today. We'll keep them for YOU -. How'se about using one for a book mark in this book? V.J. said Roy was going to leave Corsicana for somewhere around the 8th of Feb. and she and Judia would come home until he was settled -. And last but not least Roy was on the honor roll with a 92 average. Did we throw out our chests?!!
Friday, January 28
Just another one of those days when there is no news around home so I'll take this space to tell you a good one on your Dad -.
You know he never did pay any attention to you boys -. Well let me tell you he really shows how proud he is of you -. No matter who he is talking to or if he is reading the paper about the Gilberts or Marshalls or Any place in the South Pacific he throws out his chest and says - "Yeah! I'll bet Brother was there!" He doesn't realize the great distance between Bougainville and all the other islands -. It really tickles us to hear him brag --.
He really shows he thinks you are super --!
Saturday, January 29
Dorothy Jean and I are staying with your folks while Howard is away. We were awakened by a knock at the door -. It was Jim with a special delivery letter from Leta Foote stating she had a ride to Abilene and would meet us at the Hilton about 11:00. She was on her way to Sweetwater to visit an Uncle. She told us she knew you well and had followed all you around ever since she and Foote married. She also told us Capt. Faulkner had been made a Major. Your Mom had pictures of the family in which she was very interested. We ate dinner together in the coffee shop and talked about VMF-216. We went with her to the bus station and after she had gone we had a very pleasant memory of one of the wives of VMF-216 - .

   January 22 from Jerry Culwell
Saturday, January 22, 1944

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Kemper -

Jerry Culwell
I have a little time off today - and I want to take advantage of this time to drop a few lines to my "other Mother and Dad" -- both of you!
Yes, I've heard the unpleasant news that you have received - and I assure you that no one was more concerned than I! I knew that you must be terribly upset, but for several good reasons, I'm quite confident that this isn't the final word. Knowing Guy as I do, knowing his resourcefulness, realizing his abilities and determination, I haven't given up - not by a long shot! Please share my confidence in Guy - believe me, he'll come through -.
I've been doing patrol and escort work with this squadron (ZP 31) for about five months now. The duty isn't bad, but requires plenty of patience! I fly once every three days - our flights are usually from twelve to sixteen hours in duration and we are usually pretty exhausted when landing time comes. Nevertheless, I like it!
I have a few tasks to tend to now - please let me hear from you - and don't fail to let me know when you hear from Guy.


   January 27 from Kae Olivadoti
January 27, 1944

Dear Mrs. Kemper,

Kae Olivadoti
I can't begin to tell you how this news of Guy has made me feel. You, being his mother, I know have felt the greatest pangs of sorrow. You certainly must be a wonderful woman to be so brave. There is no doubt in my mind that Guy will return. In every letter he wrote, he always had so much faith. Somehow in my mind I feel and know that he is safe. I'll never give up hope.

Mrs. Kemper, he is one of the finest boys I have ever known. The last letter I received from him was written on Dec. 7th, and it was such a wonderful letter. He was so determined – so determined to get this mess over with and come home. I think since the day I received that letter (Jan. 6th) I've read and re-read it at least a dozen times. I wrote, and wrote again, and when I hadn't received an answer I became very worried. I knew something must have gone wrong because Guy wrote to me very often. I missed his letters – I kept hoping he was all right, and that he was just too busy "letting them have it" to write to me.

I am so grateful to you for telling me about Guy. If it wasn't for your very sweet letter, I may never have known. That would have been worse.

Promise me you will keep your hopes high, and never, never, give up. "Missing in Action" can mean so many things, but I'm a rather optimistic person and I just will not be resigned to any other fact except that he is alive and safe somewhere.

Mrs. Kemper, I'll never forget Guy. I'll always remember the day I met him – Ray introduced me to him. It was on the campus at McMurry in June 1941. I have a snapshot of Guy kneeling on one knee in a "proposing" position with his arms outstretched looking up at me as I am sitting on the edge of that old wishing well at McMurry. Ray & Susie were with us and we were all acting very silly. I'll never forget that day. I always enjoyed Guy's company.

Mother and dad are very broken up about the sad news. You know, Guy was in dad's class during the summer music clinic, and dad was very fond of Guy. When mother met Guy for the first time when he was here last summer, she said, "Now there is a fine boy!"

Mother, dad, and I want you to know that we are all praying for your son's safe return.

Please Mrs. Kemper, let me know as soon as you hear anything more.

Yours very sincerely,

Kae Olivadoti

P.S. Yes, Guy had written to me about his promotion. I was so thrilled.

   January 28 from Lt. Robert Anderson
January 28, -44

Dear Mrs. Kemper,

Lt. Robert Anderson
I and the squadron,, we who flew, lived, laughed, and fought with Guy feel very deeply for his family. We all have the highest respect and admiration for Guy as a fine Marine officer, pilot, and friend. Our being from the same town naturally brought us close together and Guy's talks about you and my censoring of his letters make one feel that I already know you.

I did not fly on the mission Guy did not return from but I have talked with several of the boys who did. They were attacked and lost contact - consequently no one has any idea what happened to Guy.

The action was over enemy territory; over land or near shore and prevailing currents are toward shore. Searches were made immediately but no traces were seen. We do have coast watchers in that area and some of the natives are friendly.

He was last seen flying with Capt. Faulkner – who is also missing. Knowing so little, I would hesitate to give an opinion of my own. I will write you immediately if any reliable information turns up. I wanted to write you sooner but did not want to precede the War Department. It's against the rules. Mother has written me a great deal about meeting and visiting with you. I'm looking forward to doing that myself in the future, surely happier, days when we can lead normal lives again.

Sincerely yours,
Robert F. Anderson

   January 29 from Leta Foote
Excerpt from Lt. Foote letter to his wife, Leta Foote:

Lt. Robert Foote
... I know that you will regret to learn that we lost two pilots, Capt. Faulkner and Lt. Guy Kemper. On Dec. 19th they escorted bombers over Rabaul along with 5 other planes from our outfit. Major Morrell's division of four planes returned safely. Capt. Faulkner, Kemper and Marshall were in the 2nd division, one man short they were jumped by 10 or 12 Zeros. Marshall returned his plane badly shot up but Captain and Kemper never came back. No one saw them shot down so there is a slim chance they could still be alive. If they are, it will be nothing short of a miracle, though an intensive search was made in the area, no trace of them was found. It occurred over water so they may have bailed out, got in their rubber boats and made some island. We all feel a deep loss over this incident. I feel so sorry for Margaret, they were so much in love, such a wonderful couple. Kemper, I knew from the very day I entered Dallas E base. He was in my Class 8-A. We went all the way through together; he was from Abilene..

Harry Borders, a friend of Aunt Capitola's in Washington, D.C., sends a telegram with his findings about Guy she had requested. News breaks that the Marines land on the Marshall Islands, the first Japanese territory captured. An unexpected letter from Major Morrell arrives expressing his sympathy for the family and praise of Guy.

   January 30-31
Sunday, January 30
It's Sunday and we had one of those dinners that's worth crowin' about -. An all vegetable dinner with your Mom's hot corn bread and a beef roast from the frozen food locker. In the afternoon we all went to the country with your Dad. D.J. yelled "Gradad" one million times during the day - I know. Pap said - Your Dad lost lots of lambs during the snow. We saw 12 armadillos and lots of fine looking sheep. We hadn't been back long when Charity and Charlie came by and your Mom & Dad went out to see Hope with them. She was ill. Your Grandmother was out there she had a letter from Capitola stating a friend of hers in Washington D.C. had investigated all he could about finding out the same thing we already knew. "Missing in Action in performance of duty and the service of his country."
Monday, January 31
A big surprise came in this morning's mail - a letter from Major Morrell. Your Mom hadn't written him for information either - he just wrote because he wanted to. It was all in his own handwriting, too. Your Mom will always treasure this letter. Some very surprising news came over the radio today -. Japan said our forces had landed in the Marshalls. This was true our Marines landed and have set up our government. This is the first Japanese territory for us to capture. The 4th division took part in it and Jim Thorp's son is in that division. It said the Japanese were taken by surprise - there was no sign of the Jap's mighty navy -. Wake Island has also been bombed by our planes -. It looks like we are on the road to Tokyo -.

   January 19 from Major Rivers Morrell
Marine Fighting 216
c/o Fleet P.O.
San Francisco, Cal.
19 January, 1944

Major Rivers Morrell
Dear Mrs. Kemper,
I know that you are grieved and worried about the official notification concerning your son. All I can say is that he failed to return from a combat mission and must therefore be considered as missing in action. On that mission he was bravely carrying out his duty as a pilot and officer of the Corps.

We all hope that he is safe somewhere and that he will again return someday to us and home.

Your son has been in my squadron since its beginning and has always done his duty as befitted an officer of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Please accept my deepest sympathy in your anxiety and grief.

Very sincerely yours,
Rivers J. Morrell Jr.
Commanding VMF-216

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