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August 1, 1986

V-Mail: Letters of a World War II Combat Medic (Pfc. Keith Winston)

Author Affiliations

USAF USAF Hospital Bitburg, West Germany

JAMA. 1986;256(5):658. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380050126043

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Somewhere in Germany, May 1986....

I stopped jogging on this cool Saturday afternoon, long enough to rest on one of the benches placed by the local citizens on the side of this Eifel mountain road overlooking the valley where we live. I can see the church rising above the houses and shops of picturesque Welschbillig. It is a good place to stop and think about the book V-Mail, although the scene is much more peaceful now than it was just over 40 years ago, when American fighting forces came through from France and Luxembourg, a few kilometers away. But one can feel the nearness of those events—perhaps because of the old stone barns and the generations-old farms that have endured unchanged.

"a quiet, home-loving insurance man converted to a combat medic, wounded and decorated for valor"

I was about 12 years old in March 1944 when Keith Winston, at age