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Katie Frankle    11 May 2012 16:41 | Chicago, Illinois
Ms. Katie Frankle of near Chicago, Illinois, was born at Field Memorial Hospital in Centreville, Mississippi, while her father trained at Camp Van Dorn. She contacted the Wilk-Amite Record newspaper in Gloster MS for help in locating information about her father who was killed during the Battle of the Bulge. The story we published is as follows. If you can help her, her e-mail address is, or you may e-mail our newspaper at or telephone us at (601) 225-4531. This newspaper can forward the photos mentioned to anyone who may have information, but they're not included in this posting. Thank you, and God bless the men of Camp Van Dorn and their families for their WWII service! Davis Anders, Publisher


Albert Litwak, called Obie by his family and Albie by football teammates, trained at Camp Van Dorn in preparation for WWII service in Europe. He was a young officer, probably a Lieutenant or Captain, and was most likely a part of the 99th Infantry Division. Obie brought his young pregnant wife here and found a rental house in or near Gloster.

The photo of Albert Litwak and his wife Esther shows them in front of their home in Gloster. The picture of Mrs. Litwak on a horse shows the house in greater detail. In the background of the first photo, there's a baby buggy. Katherine Frankle of Chicago, Illinois, was in that carriage, out of sight. She's now 68 and is known as Katie. Katie is one of us...she was born at Field Memorial Hospital in Centreville.

Obie went overseas in April 1944. Esther moved her Mississippi-born daughter to Ohio where both she and Obie had roots, to wait for her husband's safe return. Sadly, it didn't happen. Obie was wounded, spent time recuperating in England in a hospital, and rejoined his unit in time for the Battle of the Bulge. It was the German army's last great offensive. Albert Litwak was killed in combat on December 16, 1944.

Katie Frankle's mother remarried a couple of years later, and Katie was adopted by her new father. But Katie continued to spend time in the summers with her birth father's family and has known them quite well. Her father, though, was known only to her as a casualty of war, someone she'd never met in person.

Her mother died in 1996. Her adoptive father passed away five years ago. While cleaning out their storage locker, she came across a bound set of letters from her natural father to her mother, an almost daily correspondence from when he got on a ship to go to Europe until he died in battle almost eight months later.

Those letters from her father sparked a very different picture of him. She says: "In his own words, it was about life and hope ahead of him. That intrigued and pleased me very much. I wanted to know more about him. He wasn't just a fallen soldier any longer, but a real person I needed to get to know."

On April 25th and 26th, Katie Frankle and her husband will visit the Centreville-Gloster area. The Wilk-Amite Record acquainted her with the Camp Van Dorn museum, which she wasn't aware of. She'll visit there, of course. But Mrs. Frankle needs your help. She'd like to find the house in Gloster she lived in the few months after being born, in the remote possibility the home still exists; and she'd like to meet anyone who might have any memory of her father and mother while they lived here.

Any information may be passed on to the Wilk-Amite Record, and it will be furnished to Mrs. Frankle during her visit. Anyone she may talk to personally will be greatly appreciated.

Albert Litwak was a storied football player in high school and college. He was a quarterback and an outstanding blocker. His high school still awards a trophy to an outstanding player each year, in his honor. His daughter believes he played on a Camp Van Dorn football team during his short stay. That team may have won some kind of local football championship, probably in the fall of 1943.

The Wilk-Amite Record, on behalf of this community, wishes Mrs. Frankle good luck and God speed in this quest for information on her father, one of the many WWII heroes who made possible the quality of life we still enjoy.

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