In the performance of my menial job, I am required to examine Abstracts of Title to different properties in North Louisiana to determine the mineral and lease ownership of said lands. This afternoon I was examining a succession proceeding of a man who had acquired a piece of property in Sabine Parish. I discovered the attached letter filed for posterity in his succession proceeding at the courthouse.
Sgt. John Emanus died on June 6, 1944 (that is otherwise known as D-Day) while serving in the 82nd Airborne Division which had jumped into Normandy on the early morning hours of this historic day. The letter is written by the then Commanding General of the 82 Airborne Division, General Matthew Ridgway, one of our nation’s most able and courageous commanders in both WW II and the Korean War. I found the short, concise letter of General Ridgway to Sgt. Emanus’s father to more accurately reflect what being a combat soldier is all about more than any other explanation I have ever read.The letter reflects the greatness of the man writing it and his sense of loss, as well as the inspirational combat leadership ability of Sgt. Emanus. It caused me to reflect that for this nation to endure as we all know it, we must continue to produce soldiers like Sgt. Emanus to fight our nation’s wars and we must continue to produce great leaders like General Ridgway to lead them in the fight.
Headquarters 82d Airborne Division
Office of the Division Commander
A.P.O. 469, U.S. Army
2 August 1944
Dear Mr. Emanus:
It is with deep regret that I write of the death of your son, Sergeant John W. Emanus, 34235281, a member of my command who was killed in action 6 June 1944.
Your son was a member of Headquarters Company, 82d “All American” Airborne Division.
Sergeant Emanus was an aggressive, ambitious non-commissioned officer. His ability to lead men was an inspiration to all and won the admiration and respect of his company officers.
Putting aside family ties, the admiration, respect, and affection of comrades are a soldier’s most priceless possessions, because collectively these comrades are unfailing judges. These possessions I believe your son had earned in full measure. Death of such a man leaves with each member of the Division a lasting sense of loss, from which there comes to you a deep sense of personal sympathy.
Major General, U. S. Army
Mr. Steve Emanus
Route #1, Box 65