Private Collection of the Sutherlin Family

About this Partner

The Sutherlin Family presents their collection of family letters to and from James Edgar Sutherlin, when he served in the U.S. Navy in WWII. He enlisted before he was 18 and served from 1943 - 1946. Official Navy documents, ship menus, Newsletters, and family photographs are included.

The collection provides a vivid story of military life in World War II and the personal feelings of the young sailor and his family and friends during this time. The loneliness, the not-knowing whether he would survive, his strength in prayer and the unending support of his extended family in Texas and Indiana. His feelings when meeting the eyes of the pilot of a Japanese kamizae pilot as he plunges to his death on the deck of the aircraft carrier as James Sutherlin is shooting him down from the deck of the ship.

Also, demonstrates the difficulty of returning to civilian life and his personal decisions that would influence him forever.