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Series 3, Donald E. Bolner correspondence, 1944 March 29 - 1945 November 26


Scope and Contents

This series contains 34 correspondence written by Lt Col. Donald E. Bolner, USAAC to family during the Second World War. Donald E. Bolner wrote the majority of this material while first holding the rank of Private First Class. He was later promoted to the rank of Sergeant during the Fall of 1945.

March 29, 1944 - Bolner wrote to his brother Sgt. Merrill H. Bolner about his training and daily life at Camp Walker, Texas.

December 6, 1944 - Bolner wrote to Sgt. Bolner from France. He shared an interaction he had with a captured German Officer who proclaimed that "we are going to drive you back to New York" in fluent English.

May 13, 1945 - Bolner wrote to his parents about his experiences in Southern and Northern France. He stated that "we spent Christmas [1944] on a hillside just south of [unintelligible] and we got the hell kick [sic] out of us at Trois Points. Our own Air corps bombed us at Malmedy [Belgium]."

May 24, 1945 - Bolner wrote to his parents about how "we were suppose [sic] to make five different combat jumps within a month but each time Patton over ran our drop zone." He also shared that "one of my best buddies got killed and he knew he was going to die, the boy next to me held him in his arms and (C.B. Jones was his name) C.B. said his prayers and it didn't help him out any."

July 8, 1945 - Bolner shared news that he was going on a seven day furlough in England but expressed suspicion about the political motivations for sending him away. He explained that his furlough coincided with the arrival of a new first sergeant from the US to ensure the least amount of tension between them. Bolner elaborated that as the most experienced member of the Company, he felt he was supposed to be promoted to Sergeant but lamented that this would not happen unless he got into the new 1st Sgt.'s good side.

October 17, 1945 - Bolner wrote to his parents and sister from Fort Bragg, North Carolina about daily life. He also speculated about being able to return home on furlough because he was close to earning 60 points.

November 8, 1945 - Bolner wrote to his parents and sister about the possibility of being promoted to Sergeant before leaving the Army. He explained that if promoted, he could return to military service as a Sergeant.

November 26, 1945 - Donald E. Bolner announced to his family that he was promoted to sergeant [previously held the rank of private first class]. He also responded to news that his brother, Thomas E. Bolner had become an "agent for Uncle Sam" and asked if he earned more money than when he was a private first class in the USAMP.

This series also contains:

  • 1 newspaper clipping with title "U.S. Paratroops Join in Attack on Luzon Japs" originally attached to correspondence from June 26, 1945
  • 2 newspaper clipplings from an unknown periodical [potentially "Yank"] originally attached to correspondence from July 8, 1945. Contains content written about Sergeant Bill Mauldin, including 4 illustrations. One page contains a Martha Vickers "Yank Pin-up girl" poster.


  • 1944 March 29 - 1945 November 26

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Lieutenant Colonel Donald Eugene "Don" Bolner, US Army Air Corps (1925 - 1995) was born in Kokomo, Indiana to Merrill L. and Gladys C. Bolner née Howard. His older brothers include: Merrill H. and Thomas E. Bolner; and his youngest sibling was Merval L. Bolner.

Donald E. Bolner served with the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment in the European Theater of Operations during the Second World War. After the Second World War, he "was awarded the Bronze Star Medal - with Valor Device for heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force on 20 September 1964, in the Republic of Vietnam." He retired from military service in 1973 with the rank of Lt. Col [unable to verify donor-provided information about this specific rank].

He married Vera Maxine Rhodes and together raised: Patrick, Dennis, and Douglas Bolner.


.4 Linear Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Repository Details

Part of the Center for American War Letters Archives Repository

Leatherby Libraries
Chapman University
Orange CA 92866 United States