Summary

World War II Veteran

Birth:
24 Jul 1921 1
New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut 1
Death:
11 Jan 1995 2
Connecticut 2
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Personal Details

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Birth:
24 Jul 1921 1
New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut 1
Male 1
Death:
11 Jan 1995 2
Connecticut 2
Physical Description:
Height: 69 inches 3
Weight/Build: 162 3
Eye Color: dark 3
Hair Color: dark 3
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Birth:
Mother: Marguerite/Margaret Unknown 1
Father: Sam Nappe/Nappi 1
Marriage:
Marie Ioavnne 4
January 1946 4
Divorce Date: 04 Aug 1975 4

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Sources

  1. Letters from Frank Nappe to the Otto Koch Family 1942-1944 — Contributed by ekuhlens
  2. Social Security Death Index — Contributed by ekuhlens
  3. World War II Enlistment Papers — Contributed by ekuhlens
  4. Connecticut Divorce Records — Contributed by ekuhlens
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Stories

Letters from Frank Nappe

Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky and Evansville, Indiana

Frank Nappe enlisted in the U.S. Army on October 13, 1942 at Hartford, Connecticut. By the end of November he was stationed at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky.  After basic training was completed, he and his buddy, Earle Waldemeyer, would have overnight passes to Evansville, Indiana. The Otto Koch family of Evansville were involved in USO and Navy Mother's Group activities supporting the USO. As a veteran of WWI, Otto Koch and his wife would invide several soldiers home with them on Friday evening for a chance to be in a 'real' house and sleep on their floor or couch instead of the Armory cots or floor. Frank and Earl became frequent weekend visitors during their time at Camp Breckinridge. Otto Koch had a veteran's life license for fishing/hunting in Indiana and would take the soldiers with him.  The Koch's two teenage daughters looked up to and enjoyed the company of the soldiers. The family even hosted Frank's Mother and then fiancee when the two women traveled from Connecticut to see Frank. Frank and Earle would both write to the family after they left Camp Breckinridge for further training.

Aviation Cadet Nappe

March 1943-August 1943

At Camp Breckinridge, Frank Nappe (his parent's listed the last name as NAPPI in the 1930 census) was promoted from Private to P.F.C. to Corporal.  As a corporal he was selected to move to the Army Air Force for training as a pilot.  From March 1943 to July 1943/August 1943 his rank was Aviation Cadet Nappe. On July 24th, he wrote a thank you note to the Koch's for sending a card and a good luck silver dollar for his birthday, and he celebrated the fact that the silver dollar arrived on his birthday.  His letters from that time period are filed with tales of the many classes, exams, and practice sessions that filled his time. On August 13, 1943, he wrote a poignent letter to the Koch's, telling them that he had washed out of the pilot training, along with 65% of his class. In the exit interview he was asked for his preferences and he asked for overseas duty and radio-gunners school. Although he did wash out, he rejoiced at the end of the letter that he had been able to solo before washing out -and "it was wonderful away up there alone." Source: Letters from Frank Nappe to the Otto Koch Family.

Gunnery School Training

Las Vegas Army Air Force Base, Nevada

Frank didn't write between August 13 and September 1943, during those days he was thrown into new classes on gunnery and practicing from different ships (planes). From a biography written by Marie Mountain Clark, I know that a group of W.A.S.P. did some of the instruction at that base and flew the target planes that the gunners would practice on. Frank makes no mention of W.A.S.P.'s being involved in his training.  He does spend more time in these letters describing the scenery of the Las Vegas region, which was quite a chance from the New Haven scenery.  Included in his letters are several postcards, including one made of yucca cactus fiber.  The postcard has a painting of a Yucca Kachina doll which almost 70 yearas after it was sent, still holds its vivid colors. From here he was sent to Dalhout, Texas to wait the formation of the crew for a new bomber.

Eighth U.S. Air Force, Bomb Group 351

England

Somewhere in England.  Frank wrote only four letters, one of them in email that remain in the collection from this time period.  Those letters told only of the places he visited, Cambridge, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and little of his friendships or flights.  He did tell the Koch's that what his group was doing could be read about in the newspapers.

The last letter kept by the family was dated November 29, 1944. In that letter he says that he completed thirty-one missions over enemy territory and had been sent home because he had completed that many missions and because of battle fatigue. Frank included in the note that he had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 3 "oak leaf clusters' and 2 bronze stars to add to his E.T.O. Ribbon.  It is only in that letter that he tells the family of his brothers, the older a civilian with 2 daughters, and the younger who was in a hospital somewhere in the South Pacific.

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