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staff sergent david j. lemal


WWII ~ A legacy of letters and reflections

Letters to Lida is an historical account of World War II in the words of B-29 tail-gunner, Staff Sergeant David Lemal. The story is based on 150 letters David wrote to his mother, Lida, during the war and his reflections, as he read those letters to his daughter, Charlene, nearly seventy years later.  

For the first time since 1945, Staff Sergeant David J. Lemal shared details of his World War II experience, 

including his combat missions over Japan. These compelling stories were omitted from the letters home.

David's daughter, Charlene, authored this war journey to honor her father who taught her the meaning of service by living it. It is a story of devotion, integrity, sacrifice, loss, optimism, humor and courage. 

Letters to Lida illustrates the fortitude of a vanishing generation and offers an inside glimpse into the harsh realities of a soldier’s life before, during and after combat.  In these pages are secrets many World War II soldiers never shared.

Letters to Lida illuminates the silent costs of conflict and the power of love to triumph over the indignities of war. It is a story told by a soldier and his daughter. 


"Letters to Lida is a book about devotion; about a brave airman's memories of war and the love of a courageous daughter determined to honor him."   - Kemp Battle, author of The Flame Keepers

More pictures, videos and current events on LETTERS TO LIDA FACEBOOK. 

Staff Sergent David J. Lemal

Reflections on first combat mission

"Our first combat mission over Japan was at night. We were told not to shoot any Jap planes because it would give away our position. I saw Jap fighters pass us. I saw the guys sitting in the planes. They were that close. They did not shoot us and we followed orders and did not shoot them. 

During the battle most Jap fighters stayed out of our range. They put on a show to make it look like they were fighting us, but they were terrified of the B-29's due to our precision.

When we were over top of our target, I looked out the window at the flak ~ the antiaircraft shells exploding. They looked like black flowers blooming in the sky. The whole sky was dotted with them. 

At that point I figured it was impossible to survive. As I looked at the sky full of flak, my destiny dawned on me and the 23rd Psalm came to mind and I recited that to myself. 

I was actually somehow relieved and resigned myself to my fate from then on. It was what I had signed up for. Each time I climbed in the plane I knew that was my last mission."


"S/Sgt. David J. Lemal represents a generation of impenetrable resilience and fortitude. He is one of a golden era of principles and hope that defines adversity as the opportunity to seek and find the brightest star in the sky."


Signed copy of Letters to Lida

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Purchase  a limited edition David J. Lemal  signed copy of Letters to Lida while supplies last.

Letters to Lida is available to buy online.


Barnes and Noble

Barnes and Noble

Barnes and Noble

Barnes and Noble

Barnes and Noble


Barnes and Noble


"Lida's heart went to war war with her son and sustained love in his."


"I was a Have. I was a Have-not. What hast thou given which I gave not?"

-Rudyard Kipling







         JUNE 7,8 AND 9, 2019