Finding Aid for the John Homa Second World War correspondence 2019.045.wc.r

Andrew Harman
Center for American War Letters Archives
Leatherby Libraries
Chapman University
Orange, CA 92866

Contributing Institution: Center for American War Letters Archives
Title: John Homa Second World War correspondence
source: Skavinski, Greg
Creator: Homa, John, Lieutenant
Identifier/Call Number: 2019.045.wc.r
Physical Description: 0.01 Linear Feet (1 folder)
Date (inclusive): 1945 May 19 - 2002 July 23
Abstract: This collection contains one photocopy of a typed letter sent by Lt. John Homa during the Second World War. Also included is one color photograph of a military medal shadowbox that belonged to Lt. Homa.
Language of Material: English .
Container: Resource Copies 1
Container: 8
Container: 1

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Greg Skavinsky.

Biographical / Historical

According to the donor, the Homa family were Carpatho-Rusyns. They settled in Western Pennsylvania and worked the steel mills and coal mines. Most were Russian Orthodox. Lt. John Homa was the second oldest of five children; he had an older sister, two younger sisters, and a younger brother named Bill who was a Cold War POW-MIA. Lt. Homa lived in Jeannette, PA at the time of his death. He was only in his mid-30s. During the war, he served with the 9th Infantry Division, 16th (or 116th, donor unsure) Infantry Regiment, First Army.

Preferred Citation

[Item title / description; Box "n" / Folder "n"], John Homa Second World War correspondence (2019.045.w.r), Center for American War Letters Archives, Chapman University, CA.
For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.

Content Description

This collection contains one photocopy of a typed letter sent by Lieutenant John Homa, United States Army, presumably to his sister (based on the donor), during the Second World War. Also included is one color photograph of a military medal shadowbox that belonged to Lt. Homa.
The correspondence is a personal narrative of Lt. Homa's service, while an enlisted man and a squad leader of a machine gun squad, in the European Theater of Operations, written on May 19, 1945 from Fontainebleau, France after the censorship had lifted. He describes his current surroundings and then goes into the history of his service, including leaving New York aboard "The Ille France" and passing through Scotland and England by train. He describes going to Officers Candidate School through Paris, making mention of the bicycles there and the lack of cars. He also mentions looting some houses in Germany after they had captured the towns. Of note he briefly mentions a doctor's house in Zulpich.
Lt. Homa landed in Gouroch, Scotland, near Glasgow and went to Warminister and South Hampton in England. He describes seeing Omaha Beach in Normandy and how hard that must have been, before heading by truck to a replacement depot in Eccommay, France and then by train (called 40 and 8s, forty men and eight cattle could fit) to Hug, Belgium. He then joined a new unit in the Hurtgen Forest in the Siegfreid Line and describes a scare from German planes. Next, Lt. Homa went to a rest area in Elsenborn, Germany near Malmedy. While eating Thanksgiving dinner, a "buzz bomb" dropped near and killed or injured several men.
Later, his unit started to drive toward the Rohr River, during which time he says it was difficult with many casualties. The drive stopped in Hoven, Germany across the river from Duren. He goes on to describe his part in the Battle of the Bulge after the "German breakthrough," and the later drive to Bonn along the Rhine.
A Lieutenant Higgins convinced Lt. Homa to go to OCS, and at this time he does not find it too difficult. He ends his correspondence by saying; "I had quite a few close shaves and I can thank God I'm still here. I certainly hope the war with the Japs is over soon."

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Correspondence -- World War, 1939-1945
World War (1939-1945) -- France
World War (1939-1945) -- Battlefields -- France
World War (1939-1945) -- Germany
World War (1939-1945) -- England
Skavinski, Greg