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An American Family in World War II

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Episode No. 92: An American Family in World War Two.

Date: January 22, 2010

Notes:  A conversation with Dr. Sandra O'Connell on An American Family in World War II.

According to the book description of An American Family in World War II, “On the morning of December 7, 1941, life for families across America was forever changed by events over which they had no control, but were to witness and play a part. An American Family in World War II is the moving story of one of those families — told largely in their own words. When Ralph “Lee” Minker Jr. entered U.S. Army Air Cadet training in 1943, he began a correspondence with his parents and two teenage sisters; letters that describe the rigors of pilot training and ultimately his life at “this air base I call home,” as he flew 37 combat missions over Nazi Germany. The letters from the family members to Lee bring a vibrant reality to the home front — rationing, bond drives, and the daily tension of war — through the people who lived it. Woven together with commentary by the editors, this is an intensely personal and richly detailed account of life in America during the harrowing days of WWII.”

Sandra O'Connell and Ralph Minker were married in March 1980. Reading the Minker family correspondence and a meeting in 2000 with WW II historian, Harry Butowsky, led inevitably (after five years of work) to An American Family in World War II. She was the lead researcher and writer on Ralph’s missions and the home front issues. Prior writing experience includes nine years as technology editor for HR Magazine. Sandra has a Ph.D. from New York University.

An American Family in World War II
Sandra O'Connell, Harry Butowsky Captain Ralph Minker  More Info

Captain Ralph Lee Minker, USA “was 18 when he entered Army Air Cadet training on his way to becoming a B-17 bomber pilot. He exchanged letters with his parents and two sisters throughout the war. After completing combat in 1945, he returned to Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1947. Ordained a Methodist Minister in 1952, Reverend Minker served eight churches in the Delaware and Maryland Conference of the United Methodist Church before retiring in 1990. In 2005 Ralph Minker was inducted into the Delaware Aviation Hall of Fame. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 1995, Rev. Minker was active in planning the book and proud when it was published. He passed away from complications of the disease on August 5, 2008.”

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