RED WING to HONG KONG

By

Peggy Seiz Turner
Rolf Turner





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Preface

This book contains 130 letters written by my brother Donald F. Seiz. They span from January 1940 to January 1945. Most of the letters are written to his parents. Some are to his mother or dad as individuals. Many of the letters are to me, his sister. I only mention this because there is a difference in tone and content, depending on the recipient.

When read in chronological order these letters tell a story of an average man from the time he was in college, until he was a naval aviator flying combat missions off the aircraft carrier the USS Lexington.

The letters are Don’s exact words. I have not edited the letters for spelling, grammar, punctuation, or length, so that you will get a clear picture of who he was. All of the letters I have from this time are included. The reason I point this out is, I want you to know you are getting the full story, and that I have not deleted portions of letters to show Don in a more positive light.

I find it remarkable that through disappointments and illness he had no complaints. He does not complain about the Navy, the heat in Texas, bugs in Florida, or the conditions while in combat. In the letters he doesn’t ask for anything. Quite the contrary, he mentions sending money home to his parents, sister, and grandmother.

Most people hesitate to include their shortcomings or failures in a letter. Don is humble enough to tell a story about losing a mock dog fight with an army air corps pilot. The army and the navy were big rivals, so being bested by an army pilot was a blow to the ego. Many men would choose not to mention the event or would be tempted to change the outcome when telling the tale.

From beginning to end, Don writes in a positive manner. He never speaks harshly of anyone. He may have been an average man, but in my opinion, he is an excellent role model.

Admiral William “Bull” Halsey said: “There are no extraordinary men... just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with.” Don served under Admiral Halsey in the US Navy as a pilot of a Grumman Avenger Torpedo Bomber.

Tom Brokaw, in his book, “The Greatest Generation”, describes the people that grew up during the Great Depression and who were adults during WWII as “the greatest generation that any society has ever produced.”

This book is a story about an ordinary man, from the greatest generation, that faced some extraordinary challenges.

Testimonials

"Red Wing To Hong Kong is the story of a Minnesota family. A collection of letters... are an uncommon portrait of patriotism, courage, and love. You will get to know Don Seiz by the letters he wrote. This is a very moving and enjoyable personal history story. I highly recommend it."

- Bill Kreul, St Cloud, MN


“In his letters home, Don reveals he cares deeply for others. Any woman dreaming of the perfect man should get to know Don Seiz. He’s good looking, sweet and daring to boot. Every woman will wish she had a letter from Don.”

- Jena Lee, Romance Novel Author


"Red Wing To Hong Kong is a heartwarming, and sometimes heart wrenching, story based on a series of letters between a World War Two Navy Aviator and his family. It pays tribute to the heroic efforts of those who defended our country and the sacrifices made by their loved ones at home. Their strong faith is exhibited throughout the book. It's a good read!"

- Father Ed Kraemer


"It is hard to capture all of the feelings and admiration I have for Don, his family and friends in a snapshot. A flood of Norman Rockwell images rushed through my mind as I read the letters to and from Lieutenant Don Seiz. This book wonderfully captures the images of an era, of Lt. Seiz and his family, and the devotions to each other, their faith and duty. ... the letters genuinely carry us through a challenging time ... aboard the USS Enterprise and the USS Lexington. This book of letters leaves you with personal level admiration of the WWII generation. This is a great read."

- John Rivisto, Captain, U.S. Marine Corps (1983- 1991)