In Italy, after the Allies took Naples and the Foggia air fields, my father's letter home included a separate birthday note to his daughter Ann, their only child, two weeks before her 4th birthday. He had also been overseas for her 3rd birthday and had written Bernice then, "Missing Ann's birthday is harder for me than missing Christmas, New Year's, Thanksgiving, and all other holidays combined." After the attached note for her 4th birthday, he would also miss Ann's 5th birthday as he was in the North Appenines of Italy. --Heydon P.S. Note the paragraph when he mentions having told her goodbye. At that time, he was at Ft. Dix, NJ, getting ready to ship out. Departure times were completely secret. Mother and Ann had an apartment off-post. Dad reported daily to Ft. Dix where they would prepare and often had practice alerts. One day he didn't come back to the apt. The 10,000 soldiers from 5th Corps Army had quickly transferred to New York and sailed out on the Queen Mary--her first voyage as a troop transport carrying Americans across the Atlantic.