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John E. Fitzgerald Letters

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MS 00068

Content Description

More than 200 letters from John E. Fitzgerald to his wife Carol. There are 30 letters from 1942-1946 during World War II, with the bulk written during the Korean War, 1950-1951. There is also correspondence between 1958-1974.

World War II (August 1952-March 1944) correspondence [typed and handwritten letters] includes mention of Dover Army Air Base in Dover, Delaware and an Army Air Base in Jacksonville, Florida; discusses Italy’s 1943 surrender to the Allied Forces; describes daily activities between flights. Immediately postwar, Fitzgerald is stationed at Kirtland Field Air Force while seeking an Air Force R.O.T.C. position in California.

Korean War (May 1950–November 1951) correspondence [typed and handwritten letters] includes mention of dependent travel as the Korean War escalates; discusses court martials; wartime experience in Tokyo; mentions incredible heat and living situations. Fitzgerald also discusses social life among American military personnel in Japan during the early 1950s: parties, day trips to the Island of Oshima, visits to geisha houses, and Japanese cuisine. Militarily, Fitzgerald narrates his wartime role with the U.S. Air Force: he builds and maintains airplane equipment, and participates in official transport and medical evacuation. Fitzgerald describes the September 1950 landing at Ichon by UN and South Korean troops. In October 1950, Fitzgerald first flies over the Korean peninsula in a sightseeing mission. Also in late October, he shares General Douglas MacArthur’s decision to halt travel to the United States. Fitzgerald also discusses personal matters with his wife Carol: the purchase of an investment property, plans for the family to reunite in Japan, their children, the acquiring of Japanese goods [clothing, fabric, accessories, and housewares], and the emotional toll of wartime separation.

1958-1974 correspondence includes Carol’s March–April 1966 overseas trip to Tokyo and Hong Kong, son Steve’s acceptance to St. Michaels, general housekeeping; 1972-1974 postcards and letters with U.S. Army post codes from son Steve to his mother and father, discussion of Steve’s travels in Europe: Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy.


  • Other: 1942-1974


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical / Historical

John E. Fitzgerald (Fitz, Jack) was a U.S. military pilot, flying for the United States Army Air Corps during World War II (with the 39th Bombardment Squadron, 520th Bomb Sqadron, and later the 479th Anti-Submarine Group) and for the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. He was a practicing Roman Catholic and an alumnus of Fordham University. His wife, Carol Beth (Remington) Fitzgerald, is the primary recipient of the correspondence and maintained the family's permanent residence in San Diego, California.

Fitzgerald was stationed at Dover Army Air Base, Delaware from 1942-43 and Kirtland Field Air Force Base in 1946. From 1950-1951, Fitzgerald was assigned to a U.S. Air Force base (possibly Haneda Air Base) in Tokyo, Japan.

Fitzgerald’s rank went from Captain to Colonel during the course of correspondence (1942 – 1974). In 1950, Fitzgerald left a position at Dayton (described as an unhappy job for him) and took a position flying transport for the U.S. Air Force in Japan. His family was to join him in mid-1950 but war on the Korean peninsula halted dependent military travel and the family's move was postponed to late 1951/early 1952.


1 Linear Feet



Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from The Book Shop in 2016

Guide to the John E. Fitzgerald Letters
Mariaelena DiBenigno, SCRC Staff.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository