Thursday, February 14, 2008


Going out to war is dangerous business. It could also be dangerous for those who stayed behind. What if the young family at home needed help? What if some tragedy were to occur? What were they to do? The Coast Guard had their young men fill out this form letter to send home to their wives or, as in William’s case, to their parents (pictured below).

Here are some excerpts from that letter:


Hold on to this letter; it will tell you a lot of things you may need to know while I’m away. The Coast Guard wants you to have this information so that you will know about, and be prepared to benefit from, the assistance and protection to which you are entitled.

First, there’s my service number:__________. Always use it when writing the Navy Department or other official organizations on service matters concerning me. Give them by (sic) name, rating (or rank) and service number, like this ___________.

I’ve applied for family allowance and you should receive each month $____.

(… Various allotments of money and information on life insurance . . .)

On the back of his letter is a list of my valuable papers and where to find them. You may be asked to furnish certified or photostatic copies of my birth certificate and (in the case of wives) our marriage license, so be sure to have them available.

Now for the “ifs” in life that might come up:

If you need advice on medical problems or hospital treatment, talk to your local Red Cross Chapter.

If you can’t meet any of our debts, or pay our commercial life insurance premiums when they are due, see the Chairman of your State Bar Association, the American Red Cross, or a veterans’ organization, about the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act.


If I am wounded, you may be notified, although of course I will probably be writing you myself. If I am disabled, and entitled to disability benefits after my discharge, these will be arranged through the U.S. Veterans’ Administration, Washington 25, D.C.

If I am reported missing, missing in action, or captured by the enemy, my pay and allowances will go right on. My insurance allotments will continue and so will any allotment for the support of a dependant, if designated as such.


If I should die while on active duty, you are entitled to six month’s pay in a lump sum. Claim blanks for this will be sent to you. If you do not receive them, write Headquarters. Settlement will also be made of any pay remaining due me, and any savings on deposit with the Paymaster. Claims are paid by Headquarters and the proper forms will be sent by them without request.


Remember the agencies that can help you – Coast Guard Headquarters, Coast Guard or Navy Relief Society, the American Red Cross, The Veterans’ Administration, and the welfare and recreation officer and chaplains at any Coast Guard or Naval Station, ready at all times to guide and assist you.


Rank or rate

Service No.


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