I am learning to fly inverted now. The controls are reversed.

Howard shot this P51 with a Nikon D7000


Please don’t worry about my knee-it’s coming along fine. I’m flying like mad lately trying to catch up on lost time. I have 3 ? hours left.

I sent you our class book-the pictures are terrible but the poor photographer didn’t have enough time to take good ones. Some of the articles are pretty good. I wish they would let us take pictures on the flight line but, uncle Sam won’t allow it so that’s that.

Say, Mother, please take care of yourself darling, don’t work yourself to death. Gosh! I hope you get better-I think a lot of my Mother you know.

I’m flying so much lately it makes me as nervous as a cat. We are always under a nervous strain when we are up there. We are constantly on the alert. There are thousands of things to think about-especially watching for other ships.

Gosh-I am learning to fly inverted now. The controls are reversed. It certainly is fun but, very tricky. Have I told you I’m flying from the front cockpit now. It takes a while to become accustomed to the change, but, it helps for our basic training.

Well, darlings, Take care of yourselves-especially you Mother. I miss all of you terribly-



I can see Mother up on that ladder now.

Emily Eleen Jago


Your letter was swell, as usual, but, please don’t worry about my knee. I wear an ace bandage all the time now. It’s a little stiff but, I’ll get along alright.

The weather is pretty soupy now so we can’t go up solo, darn it. I need the hours too. Yesterday I began flying from the front cockpit. It’s quite a change but lots of fun. When we fly basic we fly from the front cockpit all the time so I guess they are training us for basic now. I have seven hours to fly yet so if the weather clears up I can fly them easily. I flew four periods yesterday.

Gosh! I laughed when I read about Jocie locking you out. That must’ve been something. I can see Mother up on that ladder now.

Say Mother, I don’t want you to work yourself to death now-just because Mrs. Driscoll is working at another job. I know how hard you work, darling-too hard. That goes for you too, Dad-you are the same way.

Well darlings, Take care of yourselves-I’m doing my little bit in the war but, after we win this war I want to see my loved ones looking much the better. I was quite a worry-as you know. I hope to learn my future here-I think Uncle Sam has given me a wonderful opportunity. $30,000 education is nothing to sneeze at.



My knee is getting much better



Had a pretty good dinner tonight for once. The food isn’t too good here. I hope our new place will be much better. All basic and advanced fields are army posts so they are run much better. The civilian posts, such as Rankin, are always trying to cheat poor Uncle Sam.

My knee is getting much better thank heavens-don’t worry about it darlings. They gave me a new ace bandage that makes two of them now. They cost $2.50, you know.

Gosh! I can’t imagine what snow would be like. It stays the same here. Hot in the day and cold at night. The one thing I like about California is the swell sleeping nights we have. No matter how hot it is during the day-you can always sleep with a blanket at night.

How’s Jocie coming in school? She’s a hard little worker-I never worry about her. We flew our cross country trip Saturday. The trip took about two hours. They wouldn’t let me fly solo because of my knee so my instructor went with me. He’s a swell egg. We made two stops during the trip-first at Lost Hills the Corcoran. Lost Hills has a 7000 foot runway. It’s used for a bomber base. Was it ever fun landing on that big mat with our little planes. We tried to stay in formation but, I’m afraid they weren’t so hot.

Well, darlings, think about me or I’ll get jealous-you know I love sympathy-

All my love,


I did so many loops I can’t walk straight.

Flying the loop


Here’s your little son reporting again—

I really had fun up there today-I did so many loops I can’t walk straight. A loop sounds like it would be hard but, it is very simple, much to my amazement. My instructor certainly can fly. I hope he can teach me just a little of what he knows and I will consider myself fairly good.

When we get to basic we are required to take another physical exam. Certainly would kill me if something went wrong now. You’re never free from worries until the wings are fastened on your tunic.

This coming Friday the upper-class (what’s left of it) are going to have a short cross-country hop. We will probably fly in formation to a designated airport by compass. If they let me lead the bunch we’d probably end up in Minneapolis.

Gosh! It would be fun landing at Wold Chamberlain Airport. I hope I get the chance someday.

Are you coming along in school okay Jocelyn? Work hard now, won’t you! Your big brother has never worked so hard for anything before his life.

I have nearly 60 hours now. If I did wash I could get my private flying license. Wouldn’t it be swell to take Mom, Pop & Jocie for a ride?



My knee is a bit swollen but, I think I can manage okay.



I got a letter from Dad, Mother, Thelma, and a package from Auntie. What a wonderful day. I am so happy when I receive your letters.

No flying today-weather 0-0. I can truthfully say that this is the first time I have actually rested since I’ve been here. I wanted to fly though because I need the time. My knee is a bit swollen but, I think I can manage okay. I don’t get the care I had at home but I’m used to that now.

Our class is going to get split up when we are sent to basic. 67 of us are going to Chico field and the remainder are going to Lemoore field. Pete and I will be split up, darn it. I am going to Chico field and he is going to Lemoore.

Chico field is by far the better of the two. It is situated in Northern California among the mountains and redwoods. The scenery around here is terrible- Lemoore is only a few miles from here. So I’m glad I’m going to Chico. I think it is pretty definite where we are going.

Well darlings I just got two packages of cookies from Mrs. Christiansen-oh! Happy day! I must thank them for their kindness. I guess we have a drill formation now-I knew this rest was too good to be true.

All my love,


I have been given a good ace bandage so I think I can manage



How are you- fine I hope. My knee is getting better thank heaven. I’m going to try to fly tomorrow. I have been given a good ace bandage so I think I can manage okay.

I’ve had some letters from some of my washed out friends. It seems that they have enough bombardiers and navigators now. So the poor fellows were made Buck privates. It’s just my luck to wash out in basic and then go out as an enlisted man. Gosh! I hope I can make it. At least they can’t say I’m not trying.

Your letter was swell. I can’t imagine Tam limping around. I wonder if the old boy remembers me. I suppose he doesn’t. My total time figures about 50 ? hours. I still have 9 ? hours left. We get 60 hours in primary, 70 hours in basic and 70 hours in advanced. When we get our wings-If we ever do-we have a total of 200 hours. They train us a little better than they did in the last war. I heard that they sent some boys up in the last war with less than 20 hours. I, now, can understand how little a man knows in 20 hours. I can’t see how some of them lasted as long as they did.

Well, darlings, I must get ready for tomorrow’s big inspection. Don’t work too hard Mother and Dad-when I come back-I want to see you just as I left you.



I just put my bad knee out of joint yesterday playing football.

jim winter


So happy to receive your wonderful letter today. It is so nice to hear from my loving Mother and Dad.

Well, darlings, I have some bad news for you. I just put my bad knee out of joint yesterday playing football. I didn’t twist it badly though but, I hope it will allow me to fly soon. I want to stick with all my friends. If it doesn’t heal pretty quick I might be placed back a class. That would mean another four weeks before they would send me to basic.

All I can do is hope for the best I guess. Pete had his recheck today on his 40 hour check. He passed it too. The check pilots he had the first time must’ve gotten out of bed on the wrong side that morning because, Pete is a darn good pilot.

One of the dodos banged up a plane pretty badly yesterday. I’ll bet it cost Uncle Sam three or four thousand to patch that baby up. His poor instructor darn near had kittens. That’s a common occurrence here though. These planes really take a beating.

Say, Mom, better tell Dad to take it easy around the yard-he would work himself to death if you didn’t stop him. I hope that someday I can live up to the ideals of my Mother and Dad.

Well, so long, and please don’t worry-I’m a man now.

Your loving son,


I learned to do a loop today-is it ever fun.


Dear Mother and Dad,

Your letters were swell, darlings. My new roommate Ralph Fleming, from Illinois, just passed his 40 hour check. I’m glad I had mine before. Some of my friends weren’t so fortunate-about seven go up for re-checks tomorrow. I hope they make the grade – they have washed so many guys from my class there won’t be many left.

It was nice of you to have some pictures printed for Thelma. She has been so nice to me, Mother. The poor Ericksons have too big a heart, I guess. They consented that the Ermans could stay with them with the understanding that Mr. Erman was being drafted. I don’t blame them for being angry about the whole thing. If I had a home of my own I certainly wouldn’t want another family moving in, and then trying to run the place.

I can’t understand this California weather. It doesn’t seem to change at all. It may surprise me someday, you can’t tell.

I learned to do a loop today-is it ever fun. I am really beginning to enjoy flying now. They say that basic flying school is the toughest of the three, if you get through basic you can start ordering your officers uniform. Now all I have to do is get through basic. I never realized what a tough grind it was to get these silver wings.

Thanks Dad for the paper-it’s swell to read the home paper now and then,

All my love,


This week my instructor is going to teach me aerobatics-hot dog!


Dear Mother, Dad and Jocie,

We just finished our weekly barracks inspection-I didn’t get a gig-that’s very unusual here. Some of my friends got as many as 19 gigs. When Horace (that’s our post commander) came in our room-the first thing he did was wipe his fingers on the floor. Luckily we had scrubbed the floor and then waxed it. All windows must be bon-amied.  Every little corner free from dust. Lockers open with everything displayed just so.  It takes us the entire night, previous to the inspection, to fix up.

We haven’t had much time lately to ourselves that’s why my letters stopped for a while. We have about two weeks left if everything progresses as usual. I am never too sure about anything.

I’ll bet Minneapolis looks swell now. I always did like this time of year back home. The weather hasn’t changed much here. Still hot, but we expect rain anytime.

We have changed our uniforms now. Instead of wearing our cotton sun tans we changed to the wool olive drab. The material is very good as compared with the enlisted men’s. I heard that Santa Ana is giving the enlisted uniform now  because, the cadets won’t get commissions anymore. Remember when I was scared to death about that warrant officer deal? I’m glad I enlisted when I did.

Well, darlings, take care of yourselves and don’t worry about me. This week my instructor is going to teach me aerobatics-hot dog!



when this war is won your little son will make a beeline for his home on 43rd Ave.


Dear Mother and Dad,

I passed my 40 hour army check-isn’t that wonderful? Gosh! That makes me feel good. Now if I can just stay on the ball I’ll be okay. Those silver wings seem a little closer now. If I ever get those wings-I’ll just sit and gaze at them-wondering why I worked my fool head off for an insignificant piece of metal. I just hope I continue my good work. As I have said before never feel too confident but, I just can’t help patting myself on the back once in a while. It seems so funny that some of my pals couldn’t make the grade. Some of them were better specimens than I. I always have wondered what you must be to be a good pilot. Some guys have got it and others haven’t-that’s my instructors explanation.

Gosh! I wish I could come home for a while-I certainly miss you all. I suppose if I did get home-knowing that my buddies were flying-I’d go crazy if I couldn’t fly. But, honestly, darlings, when this war is won your little son will make a beeline for his home on 43rd Ave. Let’s hope it ends soon. (Are you coming along in school Jocie-I can see you now drawing pictures at the writing desk. Those pictures you sent me are pasted on my locker door. I look at them every day.)