The United States had entered World War II on December 7, 1941, when Japan attacked Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor. LeGrand was serving his mission in Montana at the time.
The family had moved back from Montana to Logan in early 1945. LeGrand entered the U.S. Army in May 1945, just in time for the war to end. (It ended as he was completing Basic Training at Camp Wolters, Texas)
This photo was taken on September 30, 1945, a day after LeGrand’s 26th birthday. According to dates on his letters, he was able to stop in Logan or Dayton to see Erline and Walter Jr. on his way from Texas to Fort Lewis, Washington.
With the war over, Walt served in the Signal Corps of the Army of Occupation. His ship arrived in Japan on November 6, 1945, and he was stationed in Nishinomiya (between Kobe and Osaka). On December 23, 1945, he and other GI’s provided male voices for the chorus of Handel’s Messiah with the women performers at Takarazuka, a well-known all-girl performing troupe near Nishinomiya.
It was while serving in the Army that LeGrand began using his first name, Walter “Walt.” (In the Army they apparently call everyone by their first name.) New acquaintances generally called him “Walt” after that. (His parents, siblings and Erline generally continued to call him LeGrand.)
Second son William (who became known as “Bill” in junior high school) was born while Walt was in Japan.