That aerial target is so darn small



Thanks for the lovely letter, Mom, it’s so nice to hear from home.

We had another day of gunnery today. I didn’t do so hot either. Boy! That aerial target is so darn small. Some of the boys haven’t even hit it yet so maybe I’m not so bad after all. The instructors have bets on our scores amongst themselves. We are trying for our instructor but, I’m afraid he will be disappointed-the poor guy. Please excuse the handwriting-we have no desks in our rooms as yet. It is pretty hard to write on the edge of your bed but not impossible.

Pete certainly was pleased with his box of candy. That was so nice Mom-thanks. Pete really is a peach of a kid. I think he is one of the best pilots on the base.

Have you heard me speak of Bob Thomas? He is a friend of mine-the poor guy hasn’t hit the target yet. He feels pretty badly about it. He just left my room about 15 minutes ago. Oh, well, that’s just one of the worries of a pilot.

Your loving son,


Eleven more days!



Eleven more days!!! Boy! I can’t believe it. It seems that just the other day we were sitting in Santa Ana-gosh! You don’t know the silly things we worried about then. Will we get airsick? I wonder if we will wash out at primary. The washouts that returned to Santa Ana told us the weirdest stories. According to them nobody stood a chance. We thought they were experienced men-they had flown a plane-gosh!! Now when I look back-I can see why they didn’t make the grade. Most of them were braggarts-that’s something the army can’t stand-even if you are good. Many a good flyer has flunked due to his attitude.

We had another day of gunnery. One of our boys rolled up a marvelous score on Aerial gunnery. 25 hits in 100 shots is considered superb shooting. It seems that I am very lucky to hit the darn thing at all. It seems that all the way through I work darn hard before I get anywhere. Maybe that’s the best way-I don’t know.

Well, darlings, the hours are ticking by-your little son needs his sleep so until tomorrow-



It certainly is a lot harder than rifle shooting!



Thank you for the lovely card Jocie-it’s nice to remember your big brother. They don’t have valentines here so I missed out.

Our schedule now is much tougher than before. I can notice it because it is hard for me to find time to write. Gunnery is very interesting. It makes a guy feel powerful when those guns bark at your command. We follow two types of gunnery-Aerial and Ground Gunnery. Aerial trains us for combat in the air while Ground gunnery teaches us to strafe targets. Just yesterday I fired live rounds for the first time. It was mainly to become accustomed to the gun. Boy! It certainly is a lot harder than rifle shooting! There are so many things to allow for. When we dive on our target we must first allow for lead-then the line of sight must be perfect-then we must be sure the plane isn’t skidding. Also the wind must be accounted for. If we have a tailwind we must place the center of the site below the target. Headwind above.

Yes, darlings, I am beginning to realize why they washed cadets out because of poor coordination. If you can’t keep the plane flying straight and true you can’t hope to hit the target. I do hope I qualify-I don’t think they will wash you if you don’t but it is nice to say you are an expert aerial gunner.

Write soon-Jim

We started gunnery today



I didn’t have time to write yesterday because we were dead tired from our trip home. We had quite a time in LA. I bought another pair of pink trousers-$22.50-a beautiful hat $10 and the best yet is the $60 trenchcoat. Boy! It is really a honey-zip out lining and everything. It is a very light gray. I know you’llĀ  like my uniform. It may sound too expensive but, I figure you get what you pay for. I haven’t had time to get my clothes tailored perfectly but, if I do get a furlough I plan to have my whole uniform gone over again in Minneapolis. Please don’t think I have poor fits-you know how fussy I am about clothes. There are just a few wrinkles here and there that I must have removed.

Well, darlings, all the boys are hoping for furloughs now. There is a possibility but, I’m trying to stop thinking about it because if you were planning on something, then, if it doesn’t come it makes it just twice as hard.

Boy! Wouldn’t it be something to hop off an airliner in Minneapolis. I don’t think there is a thing in the world I want more than a furlough and those wings.

We started our gunnery today. Very difficult is all I can say. I never thought that firing a machine gun would be so terrific. Of course hitting a target while moving at approximately 200 mph isn’t easy. I hope I make out OK, but don’t expect too much. We aren’t going to fire live ammunition until we practice our traffic patterns some more. It is not dangerous when the rules are carried out fully.

Well, darlings, my days are much fuller now. None of those lazy mornings anymore. Just plain work all day.

Your loving son,


We were given a 48 hour pass



Please excuse the pencil but I am in a terrible hurry. We were given a 48 hour pass (which is the longest pass I have ever had in this army). We will finish night flying for good tonight so we can leave the post at 12:00 AM tonight. We plan to catch the 3:00 AM train to Los Angeles. I hope I can buy some parts to my uniform-also see some bright spots. The PX has some articles of our officers uniform that I like but the others are terrible. At least that’s what I think. Some guys buy anything but, not this kid. If I have to go to New York to buy the kind of hat I want-I will go.

The Air Forces have different types of uniforms that the ground officers cannot wear. I suppose you have seen the Garrison hats without the metal bands and the punched in tops. That’s strictly Air Force and, no one else.

Well, darlings, I will try to write but, don’t expect too many letters.

Your loving son,


I want to see action



Another day-another dollar. Twenty two more days until the great day. Gosh! It doesn’t seem possible. That will be the greatest day of my life. That is if I don’t get instructor. Instructor is OK if you are satisfied to teach but, I want to see action. Of course if we get instructor there is nothing we can do-darn it.

We flew again last night-we finished our night cross-countrys but, still have some nighttime to get so we shoot landings for our remaining hours.

Gosh, mom, your little son will have so much to talk about when he gets back. We will probably never get to bed. Did you know that your son burns up about 150 gallons of gas a day.

I’ll bet Dad wishes he could get those precious gallons but, it’s not wasted, believe me.

I can hardly wait until that graduation day. It will be the first class to graduate from this field so they are planning a big show. Wish you were here for it. I have worried so darn much I think I will collapse when they give me those wings.

Well so long,


that isn’t cheating is it?



Thanks a million for the box of candy. The boys really appreciate it. Say, mom, when I found out you couldn’t get batteries for my little radio I sold it to a guy for $16. Then I bought a general electric radio with the money. I got a good deal. It is a little larger but, it is nearly brand-new and has battery and cord. Don’t get vexed now. I didn’t tell the guy he couldn’t get batteries but, he didn’t ask me-that isn’t cheating is it?

We flew our last cross country last night. It took us nearly 3 hours. Boy! Your back aches when you sit in that same position for a long time. I’m getting these night landings down now. I can make three points nearly every time.

Everybody is talking of our furloughs-gosh! I hope we get them. The reason we have for furlough is that we haven’t had any weekend passes for quite a while. It would be so much fun seeing all my friends again.

So Eddie Beichlor came over for a visit. Poor little guy. Certainly would like to see him again.

Say, Mom, I haven’t had any letters from Bob Collard. Is he still stationed at the same base? I miss his letters.

Well, darlings, we have a period of drill coming up. Some fun!

Your loving son,


I wonder where they are now.



Sunday today-just laying on my bed and writing. Not very exciting but, I do like to receive your letters. Some of the boys don’t write at all. It’s a wonder their families don’t get frantic about them. I’m pretty proud of my letter writing so far. I never thought I would keep up my correspondence so well. All it takes is a little willpower. Lots of times I have been dead tired but still I wrote anyway.

Yesterday I played football with the boys all day. I am starting a good suntan already. I think after I finish this letter I will sunbathe for a few hours. Since we have been night flying we have a little time to ourselves during the day. Some fellows can sleep all the day, but I can’t so, out in the sun I go.

They are talking of furloughs again. Boy! Wouldn’t that be something. If I do get a furlough I’m going to hop the nearest plane for good old Minneapolis. I hope they grant us a furlough-I really do think we deserve one but, you know how badly they need flyers today. All I can do is hope, I guess. Well, darlings, I think it is Valentine’s Day today. Remember in school how many valentines I received from my friends? I wonder where they are now.

I bought a beautiful pink shirt yesterday-$12 apiece.

Your loving son,


Boy, was his instructor mad!



We flew again last night. We had our second cross country. This one was much longer than the first one and we had a bad wind to contend with. Before we start out we are given the direction and velocity of the wind-from that we figure how much to alter our course so the wind won’t blow us off course. A Wisconsin boy in the next room ended up in Palm Springs-That’s 300 miles off course. Boy! Was his instructor mad. He only had 10 gallons of gas left and the worst part is that in that section of the country there are mountains 12,000 feet-we were flying at 7,000 feet. He was lucky he didn’t run into them. Incidents like that make this flying game interesting.

I received a letter from Eric yesterday saying that he just about ate all of your delicious oatmeal cookies. Poor old Eric certainly has had a rough time hasn’t he. He is going to take bombers now-figures he will last a little longer then he can help out keeping his family going, if need be.

I also have a letter from Ned saying that he has been promoted to SK3C. I’m so happy for him. Poor Ned has had a tough time too.

So my pictures and class book finally arrived-the pictures weren’t too good but, I got them at a very reasonable price so maybe it was worth it. It will be fun look at my class books when I come home again.

Well, darlings, I’m going down to the line to look at P40s again. I am trying to learn all I can about those fast ships.

Love, Jim

27 days until graduation

jim winter 3


27 days until graduation-boy oh boy! Those days are rushing by. Gosh! I can hardly wait. Nearly nine months of worry coming to a grand climax.

I flew last night again-my landings weren’t quite as good as yesterday’s but, I brought the plane back in one piece-that’s the important thing. One of the boys in our bunch wasn’t watching his taxiing too carefully so off the runway he went-stuck in the sand. Boy! What a job it was trying to tug him out. When it gets dark out on this desert it really gets dark. As soon as you leave the ground you must depend on those instruments entirely.

Sometimes it’s pretty hard to believe those instruments because when a person is tired his eyes seem to play tricks on him but, we are trained to believe those instruments no matter how much we disbelieve.

Our schedule is mixed up now-we sleep in the day and fly all night. Tonight we are going to have our first night cross country. That will be fun won’t it-I hope.

I’m so happy to hear that dad’s business is doing so well. I guess these war workers are going hogwild again. I’m so glad I am serving my country in the Air Forces instead of working in a factory. I have heard that they still think they aren’t getting paid enough. Gosh! I wish they’d draft those guys. That would solve everything.

Well, darlings, I am hoping for a furlough now. I can dream can’t I?

Your loving son,