Plank Owner Jack O'Connor

Hello Jerry,

Thank you for keeping Jack and me on your mailing list. If you remember, Jack had a terrible fall in 2005, striking the back of his head. His brain was injured, and he has been slowly losing his memory and thus his ability to speak and walk. I have cared for him at home, with the help of four male care-givers who work the hours from 8-8 during the day. He still knows me and can sometimes say a few words, but life is pretty hard for him (and for me). But I do thank God that I still have him with me.

I noticed in the Newsletter that you left Jack’s name off the living “Plank Owners”. I think that I sent you a thank you note when we received the name tag. I keep it on the breakfast table and we read it every morning. I really appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Although we cannot go to the reunions, I do read about them to Jack. He still seems to remember the Navy days. My care-givers take him for walks in his wheelchair in the afternoons. One who comes every weekend insists on his wearing his “Muliphen” hat. On their walks, people will frequently stop him to talk – and usually they will also add “Thank you for your service”.

I did not receive a Christmas card from “Linc” Lauch this year. I now know why. I have misplaced his latest address – do you have it? And do you know if his wife Tillie is still alive?

Also, we have never communicated with Cy Feldman. Jack and he must have been on the ship together because Jack was also there with Joe Rosenthal and witnessed the raising of the flag. We recently met the grand niece of Joe and she sent me a picture of a letter that Joe Rosenthal sent to his mother describing the scene at Iwo Jima. I would also like to write to Cy if you have his address.

One more request – are there still hats and shirts available with the ship’s name? Jack’s are very “tattered” and I would like to buy him new ones.

If you are still reading my long letter, thank you again for all you have done to keep those memories alive. It does help Jack (who celebrated his 90th last November) to recall his Navy days – the good and the sad days times spent when he was so young.

I hope I can buy those items which also help him to remember – even sporadically.

Keep up your good work,

Betty O’Connor

Note – Jack was in the engine room on the ship with Linc.


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