A carton of cigarettes is always welcome here


My darlings,

I received your carton of Philip Morris just in time. That was swell Mother and Jocie because a carton of cigarettes is always welcome here.

We have a new school schedule now-I don’t like it very much because we have classes at night. We are constantly on the move from 5:30 AM until 9:10 PM which makes it a very long day.

Our new subject is a very interesting one-Airplane Identification-it is called. We still have physics, math, and code along with it. Physics really has me worried-I’m trying my darndest to make good so if I don’t make the grade don’t think I’m lazy because I’m working and studying every minute we have. There are quite a few fellows in the same situation I am so I guess it isn’t any worse for me than it is for them.

Say Mother I can’t see Mrs. Thornquist because Long Beach is considered out of bounds for the cadets. Some cadets couldn’t act like gentlemen I guess so now none of us can go there.

Gene left for primary training I think-the lucky dog-so I won’t see much of him I suppose. His mother visited him quite a few times I guess. We have drill in a few minutes-if you think St. Thomas’s lines looked good-you should see our parades. A reviewing officer from West Point spoke very highly of our drilling after our last Sunday Parade. Everybody is here for a purpose-so everyone tries his darndest to do everything perfectly. I wish you could come up here for a vacation. I miss all of you very much-just to see you would pep me up 100%.

I wish we could get a leave for two or three weeks. I wish I could have seen Bob Bassamore in his summer whites.

This camp is pretty dead now here due to a large number of fellows leaving for Primary. We are considered the oldest men in the camp now. It’s just exactly 6 weeks we’ve been here. You should hear some of the questions the new men ask us.

Well, my darlings I will try to write as often as possible. I carry your pictures on me constantly wherever I go.

Your loving son,


Someday I’ll be back.

5044 43rd avenue south cropped

Hello darlings,

I found a few spare moments to write for once. The general chatter floating around now really has everyone on edge. The fellows think they are moving to primary. I think it’s phony so I don’t worry about it. We’ve just completed about three weeks of school. So far my average in all of the classes has been very good. Some poor kids are flunking left and right. One friend of mine from Illinois is really in a bad way. He has to go to special study every night from 7 to 9 PM.

We have just started a new course in physics-it’s pretty hard for me so I study most of my evenings away. We have a test in every class every day. You know how I worry about tests-I’m just about a nervous wreck. Our schedule has been changed for this week and I think it’s for the good. We have classes all morning from 8 to 12pm. Then in the afternoon we have our drill and physical drill. Our physical drill has been getting harder each day. They give us 10 sets of exercises that are really tough! I chinned myself more than anyone else in the squadron yesterday. The fellows think I’m going to kid now. They make us run the 880 yard run every day. It almost killed me at first but, lately I can keep up with Pete (Bud Peterson) for a short distance anyway. He was a long-distance runner at the University of Minnesota. He’s really quite a kid.

My job as section marcher is really a pip-I do all the work and the other kids have it pretty soft. As a rule the commander has the soft job. Oh well, my commanding officer likes me anyway. I guess it’s because my flight leader made a mistake during the Sunday Parade and I gave the right command that put the whole flight in step with the band. I’m not bragging mother-I hope you don’t think that!

I took some snaps the other day-it was the first I’ve had a chance since we started school. We have to keep on the ball around here so we can go to primary. I’d really love to come back for a few weeks so I could see the town again. I really miss my lovely home. Have you kept my same pictures on the wall and the beds made, because someday I’ll be back (I hope with a pair of silver wings).

Love Jim.

I spilled Coke on this patch. Have you heard the new law passed? Anyone that has enlisted after July 15-42 won’t get a commission-if he gets his wings he is a flying warrant officer. I’m really glad I joined when I did now.

I have to study like mad


Hello darlings,

I have found out now that this Air Corps is no nonsense. School is really tough-especially physics. Most of the fellows have had college physics so it’s easy for them but, I have to study like mad.

We have a new post commander now-and he really is tough. He wants to cancel all weekend passes and have school seven days a week.

I don’t mind school but, I think everybody should have one day of rest don’t you? I have been studying my physics for three hours and I think I have it pretty well now.

We had inspection yesterday by the Wing Commander. I cleaned my rifle for at least two hours-it paid off too-my commanding officer complimented me on my clean rifle. Our squadron won first place in the Sunday parade last week. Our commanding officer was as happy as a kid. He’s really a regular guy-everybody likes him. Some fellows are always complaining about one thing or another-they’re starting to drive me nuts. I guess there are a few of them wherever you go.

This California climate is pretty nice, cool at night-and sunny during the day. Every native Californian is as tan as Thelma. The homes out here are very beautiful-they remind me of low Spanish villas. I still think Minneapolis has them all beat. You should hear the arguments going on between we Minnesotans and the Illinois boys. They are really a nice bunch of fellows.

Tell Jocie I enjoyed talking to her and I will write her soon. I’m having some pictures developed and will send them soon.

Love, Jim

First weekend pass


Dear Mother,

We got our first weekend pass last weekend and Bud Peterson, Eric, Gene, and I had a pretty good time. People out here are very nice to us, especially we cadets rate I guess.

An elderly couple took Bud and I for a sightseeing tour through Balboa Beach. Dad would love to see the big boats tied up in the harbor-they are really beautiful Mother. The man told us that some of the boats cost as much as $200,000. Of course they were the big seagoing yachts. I know Dad would love to live out here amongst the boats and the sea. Bud and I had a swell time swimming in the ocean-as you can see we didn’t have such an exciting weekend but, we did have a grand time seeing all the new sights. Gosh-I wish Dad, you, Jocie and Thelma would come out here and then I really would have a good time.

Our school classes are getting much harder day by day but, I am still holding my own with the best of them. We started the new course in physics now. I never had it in high school but Bud, he’s had two years of college engineering said he’d help me when I needed it. The fellows are so nice out here-you can’t beat them Mother. The average run of them are college men but your son can carry on with any one of them-especially in code.

My tests marks averaged together gave me 99%-the second highest in my whole section. They’re  still washing kids out for physical defects. The flight surgeons watch each one of us daily, at physical drill especially. The rumor around here is-we are going to primary flight school but, I don’t believe we are ready for it yet. I have to cut it short Mother so goodbye and every minute I have I’ll try to write.

Love Jim

They mean business out here


Dear Dad, Mother, and Jocie;

I am terribly sorry I didn’t write for a few days but, you understand the training we are going through. It has reached it’s peak now I guess. Schoolwork is getting a lot tougher day by day and requires quite a bit of study.

So far my marks have been very good and, I hope to continue throughout the training. I am sending you a sample of our test they give us every day and each class. They mean business out here–

Say you haven’t congratulated me for my position as a section leader. It really is a responsible job–remember when I used to shirk responsibilities mother? Well, I am taking all I can now so I can make something of myself someday. Lieut. Munday, our commanding officer said I am doing very well and congratulated me for my commanding ability. Can you beat that! One kid tried to skip classes yesterday so I turned his name in. He moaned for quite a while for me to fix him up but, I didn’t. I remember dad’s words of wisdom–every man is for himself in this world–if I hadn’t turned him in and I got caught, it would’ve been my neck instead of his.

Well, enough of that bragging. I received a splendid money belt from Thelma and a lovely box of nuts and cigarettes from Auntie Ida–aren’t I a lucky cuss to have such wonderful friends.

Say Dad I will send some snapshots as soon as possible. By the time school is out it is pretty dark so I will have to wait for Sundays to take pictures. I received your lovely snaps yesterday and already have them pasted on my foot locker. I can look at them every time I open my locker now. Jocie my darling, please write to me soon and take care of Thelma for me.

Loads of love.


I’d give anything to be home


Dear Dad,

I’m going to write to each one of you separately from now on-unless a situation arises so I haven’t time.

Today is Sunday out here and at home also of course but, a Sunday out here is so different. They allow us to sleep an hour longer every Sunday. That extra hour really comes in handy when you follow the schedule we do. So far-I can’t complain at all-the food is good and the living quarters are also good. I’m glad they moved into barracks again because it was terribly dirty in the tents. You can’t imagine how this dust gets on your clothes.

We have to shine our shoes for every formation. That’s about six times a day. Our room-so far-has the best record of any in the squadron.

Every day the CO inspects our rooms and gives us the report of the condition he found our room in. Our room has had excellent every time except one so far, and we missed it that time because one of the fellows had his shoes a little out of line. In the first place our beds have to be made perfectly. The US insignia on each army blanket must face the foot of the bed and must be directly in the middle of the bed. If the blankets are folded loosely the bed is torn up by the inspector. We are told that our CO carries a ping-pong ball with him so he can test the tightness of the blankets. If the ping-pong ball doesn’t bounce when dropped on the blanket the bed isn’t made correctly. The next thing they look at is the way our uniforms are hung up. Our garrison hat (the peaked hat) must be placed on the shelf directly above our other uniform with the peak facing the inspector. Our dress blouse is the first in line. All of our clothes must face the door and every button has to be buttoned. The closed end of the hook on our hangers must face the wall so the inspector doesn’t see the open space. After the dress blouse are the OD (olive drab) shirts we have two of them. Then the sun tan shirts-we have three of them. Under each shirt we must hang a pair of pants corresponding to the color of each shirt. Then our gym clothes and our towels. Our uniform Dad is the best of quality. Say! I almost forgot-they issue us a short overcoat which costs about $40. All in all our uniform is really nice. Everything is made according to officers specifications. They don’t issue us the heavy shoes of the army. Ours are made by Florsheim shoes. Some fellows are always yelling about something but I didn’t hear one complaint about the uniform.

I hope you don’t care if I tell you about our camp life but, I think you like that sort of thing due to your army experience.

I really miss home Dad–I didn’t realize how easy I have it at home. I’d give anything to be home with all of you and Thelma once again. The way things look now in the papers I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if this war lasted another five years. I don’t mind it very much honestly because the kids are such nice friends. I have made many lifelong friends even in my short stay in the army. That’s what I like about this life–the friends you meet.

I saw Gene today. I think he’s going to leave for primary flight training in about a week–the lucky dog. I see Eric just about every day so it really isn’t too bad. Take care of Thelma for me Dad will you please. Give Mother and Jocie my love.

Your son,


Take care of Thelma for me


Hello Darlings,

I received your letters today. Around here we get everything at once. I’m telling you darlings we haven’t time to breathe around here. The hardest class is Naval Identification. We have to distinguish every type of ship afloat on the sea. We have to know the class, nationality, and type of each one. It really is quite a job. The instructor has a small picture projected upon the screen of a ship. They are actual pictures taken from 7 miles away at 10,000 feet altitude. You see we can’t sit right alongside a ship because we are in a plane, and the firepower from a ship will keep a single plane about 7 miles away. That is why we have to accustom ourselves to the looks of a ship at 7 miles distance. I suppose I have bored you dears but that’s all we talk about out here. I have about 10 minutes to get the lights out so I’ll turn in tonight after I finish this letter.

Say Mom and Dad I wish you would take care of Thelma for me because I really miss her and I know she thinks alot of us. Well goodbye my darlings I will write tomorrow, Sunday, Sunday is our only day of rest.


Algebra course in a week



I’ve been so rushed this week I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. Our school classes are getting harder each day. They are progressing so darn fast-well to give you an idea-we covered the entire algebra course in a week. It hasn’t been very hard for me as yet. I’ve had 100% in every test so far-pretty good, what? I feel pretty darn guilty about writing you so few letters but, my studies, drill, and work around here have really had me hopping.

Some fellows say we will leave for primary training pretty soon. We don’t believe any latrine (bathroom) rumors. If we did we’d go crazy in a week.

Gosh mother I’m glad to hear that Dad broke down and got you a fur coat. That’s really swell. I realize how swell you were to me now. But please don’t get the idea they’re mistreating me out here because they aren’t. I figure it’s good for me and someday maybe they will make a man of me. Honestly Mother I’ve tried to take snaps but by the time classes are over it’s pretty darn dark. I’ll have to wait for Sunday I guess so I can take some in the sunlight. Tell Jocie I received her letter and enjoyed it very much-I let the other fellows read it and they all remarked about her penmanship and wording.

After I leave this place I will have a college education and a good physical build. I think I’m pretty lucky. They figure the government spends $25,000 on each cadet throughout the entire training. I believe it too-well my darlings, I’m over at Eric’s barracks now and he wishes you his love and kisses.

Be a good girl, Jocie, and take care of our wonderful mother. You will really miss her if you ever leave home.

Love Jim

Excuse writing and wording. I wrote this in 15 minutes.

P.S. This has to be short. I will try to write a longer one next time.

I really miss home


Dear Jocie,

How are you darling? I hope you are coming along well in school. You know I’m going to school now too!

I am learning to identify naval ships, big cruisers, battleships, aircraft carriers. I have to know how a Japanese ship differs from our own. This is in case I ever get a chance to bomb one of them and I hope to someday soon. You should see me in my gas mask-do I ever look funny. We had to go through a tear gas chamber the other day to test our masks. Mine works beautifully thank heaven. You know Jocie we are only 4 miles from the sea. The Japs might have enough nerve to take a crack at us, but I doubt it because just 4 miles west down the beach we have two squadrons of new fighting planes ready to go up and fight at a moments notice.

I really miss home and you Jocie. I think you’re one of the sweetest little sisters a boy could have and I hope you think I am a pretty good brother. I had my uniform tailored today and I think it will look nice so I can send home some good pictures.

Well darling say hello to mother and dad for me and tell them I have received their wonderful letters.

Your loving brother,