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 Subject: Letter To The Lost
Author: Buddy LST 1126
Date:   6/30/2012 10:10 am CDT
Friends developed while serving in the Military lasts a lifetime. Like this one below. So many things you wanted to say or do gone with the friend who didn't make it.

May 25, 2012
Letter To The Lost
By Elmer E. Fralick, Sr.

PFC Charles Emerson Byers
21st Infantry Regiment
Fort Plain, New York
POW Chonui, July 10, 1950

Hi Charley,

I'm sorry I haven't written to you before now. But, you remember - I am not good at writing letters.

We promised each other that when we both got out of the Army that we would buy a small dairy farm, with help from the G.I. Bill. Well, New York Health passed a law which states that the milk must travel directly from the milkers, through stainless steel pipes and into a large stainless steel tank. Small farmers couldn't afford that so now there are no small farms in our home area upstate.

I have a mini-farm with chickens, quail, and rabbits. I have a large garden each year, and plant a "salad" garden each Spring. No cows, though! Still, you'd like it.

After you left us I felt very guilty that I survived and you didn't. It took many years and a lot of help to get over it. My wonderful wife, Rebekah, has really helped me. Charley, you would love her too.

I finally got in touch with Evelyn, thanks to my daughter, Amy, and "The Korean War Project." Rebekah took care of a plan to go to Dolgeville to see Evie. The last time I saw Evie was late 1946 or early 1947 when you and I worked on the Forbes Brothers' Farms. Evie was fostered by that family and worked in the Forbes Restaurant until she got out on her own. We had a great visit! We were both happy to see each other and agreed to stay in touch. I also had a nice conversation over the phone with your younger sister, Millie. I have to sadly tell you that she has terminal cancer. Evie is in good health for her age. I am in good health also.

Charley, in my mind's eye I can see you, my brother Barney and me in the hotel bar in St. Johnsville. All three of us were drinking beer (too much), and you looked at me and said, "Elmey, I'm feeling lopsided." We laughed so hard we almost fell off the bar stools. Enclosed is a picture of all three of us! I could write a book about the things we did together in our childhood

Remember going to school in Cherry Valley and the teacher accusing us of doing something wrong? We told him we hadn't done it, but he didn't believe us and sent us to the Superintendent. I couldn't see you because I was bending over a chair waiting for the paddle to strike when I heard the Superintendent say, "What are you doing?" Then, you said, "We didn't do anything wrong and you ain't gonna paddle us." You saved the day, Charley. Of course, we were still sent home from school, huh?

Charley, I will sign off now and try to write to you again. But, if I don't get to write you again, I'll be seeing you in heaven when the good Lord wants me. He knows how much I still love and miss you!

Your pal,

Elmer (Elmey)
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Buddy LST 1126 6/30/2012 10:10 am CDT
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On May 21, 2005 a monument was unveiled in Seneca, Illinois, dedicated to all the workers, who built 157 LSTs at the Seneca “Prairie Shipyard” as well as all those who served on any LST during World War II, Korea, and Viet Nam. The monument contains seals of the US Navy, the US Coast Guard, the British LST Association, and the sponsoring organization, the Illinois LST Association. The monument contains a sculpture of an LST on top of the gray marble center section. On the two flanking black marble sections are etchings of an LST being launched, an LST beached and unloading its cargo of tanks, and a woman shipyard welder. On the sides of the black sections all 157 LSTs constructed at Seneca are listed The monument stands in Crotty Park in Seneca, on property adjacent to the old Chicago Bridge and Iron shipyard. Approximately 500 people from all over the country and Great Britain attended the dedication. After the dedication, approximately 200 of those in attendance gathered together for a catered lunch. About 27,000 people worked at the shipyard during World War II. A number of those and/or their descendants attended the ceremony. They are rightly proud of their contribution to the war effort, as is the city of Seneca, Illinois, the home of the “Prairie Shipyard”.

During World War 2 there were 1051 LST's (Landing Ship Tank) built to carry troops and supplies to American and Allied troops fighting in Europe and the Pacific theaters. When WW2 ended most of the LST's were scrapped, modified, or given to Navies of other countries. Some remained in service and saw action in Korea, Viet Nam, and even the Cuban Blockade.

A few WW2 type LST's remain in service today, but not in the USA.