Transcription of the last letter received by Andrew J. Speese' wife prior to his death:
Exp: Sgt A. J. Speese 38544452
Co 357th Rgt
A.P.O. # 90 c/o P/m N.Y.C.
Dest : Mrs. A. J. Speese
Way Side Drive
Somewhere in France
Monday afternoon 4:00 PM
July third 1944
I am lying out in the open ground (very close though to my fox hole) on a shelter half and drying out in the warm sun. It has been raining here for the past two days and is now drying up a little. There is an artillery barrage being laid on enemy positions and the firing has been continuous for many hours. An attack is in progress and I expect that we will be moving up later this evening, our objective is a town a few miles away. I should like to tell you more but security regulations don't permit the mentioning of towns or sectors until our unit (in this case division) has been disclosed as operating in a certain sector, at that time, I believe, we are permitted to mention towns etc.
Still no mail, but don't think I am kicking as I know its not your fault and that you are and have been writing faithfully, my morale isn't lowered either by the lack of it. A clear understanding of anything even battles and combats reduce the element of fear and apprehension, I am most glad in knowing I applied myself during my basic training. It's stand by me no end.
Incidentally, I am now a Sergeant and have heard rumors floating around that we are to be either combat or expert infantrymen but for the life of me have not found out what if anything it means ! When I do, I'll let you know. You can let Sandy wear the counterparts of whatever it is. I am entitled to wear if you want ! So far, I believe he can be a buck Sergeant and wear an ETO ribbon with two bronze stars and this new infantry ....(illegible)... and came October 16, a good conduct ribbon, for I have been a good G.I. Joe and expect to remain one !....
...Today is the 4th of July and I am writing this while shells are dropping in the next field. I did not get a chance to finish it yesterday afternoon and it's doubtful if I shall get it censored and mailed to nite. I am wearing a German officer pistol. I got it this morning, also a compass and a lot of other junk like a sub machine gun and a telescopic sight. I am going to try and send a lot of the stuff home. If it ever get there, save it for my home coming. I picked up in the enemy fox hole, a little watch, a broach and some German coins. I'll send them to you at the first opportunity. Darling I miss you like the very devil and constantly wish that I could be home with you to share the sorrows and joys of life and not cause you mental anguish by being overseas as a doughboy in a tough war.
See, if the kids could see this 4th of July celebration (just the noise and pyrotechnics) they would have all a youngster could dream of, but I hope they never have to see it up here ! Darling, I think I'll knock off for now and get back to my job of communications. So, I say ...(illegible).