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,


Section Leader


Dear Mother, Dad, & Jocie;

Hello darlings! How are you? You can see from my address above that my squadron number has been changed. It’s now squadron-41.

We were issued our uniforms yesterday and they are beauties. They gave us just three times as many different pieces as compared to my old St. Thomas uniform.

Our new CO (commanding officer) is plenty tough but, a regular fellow. Every button on our shirts, even when they’re hanging up in the closet, has to be buttoned. Our beds have to be flawless or else we will receive punishment tours.

I was appointed section leader yesterday. It is my duty to march my section to and from school classes everyday. I have to take roll at the beginning of each class and I have the power to give punishment for any misbehavior.

Well my darlings I haven’t time to continue but I will write as soon as possible.

Love, Jim.

P.S. Mother: you’ll have to excuse my spelling because we have such a short time to write letters. I will try to improve.

I have a gas mask now.

gas mask

Hello Jocie, how are you darling? I hear you and Thelma have been swimming lately. I certainly wish I could go with you.

I have the picture of you and Thelma taken at Excelsior. I think it’s very good-so good in fact that I carry it all the time so I can show my friends what a pretty sister and girlfriend I have.

I’m sending some pictures of me and my roommates. They aren’t so very good but, it will give you some idea of the place anyway.

I have a gas mask now, you know, we are only 4 miles from the ocean and they want to be prepared for anything. We have gas mask drill tomorrow for practice in putting our gas masks on quickly. We have inspection every day and they’re very strict about the way our clothes are hung, shoes cleaned, and beds made.

I wrote Rubymae a letter today and I hope you receive this as soon as she does. Sometimes the mail is slowed up in the office but it gets there eventually. Well Jocie give Mother and Dad and Tammie my best love and write to your brother.

Your loving brother,


I’m a pilot!

Dear Mother & Dad,

I’m a pilot!!! Well at least I’m classified as one anyway. That means I will receive my class A uniform. As soon as I receive my uniform I will have $150 worth of uniform. You should see it, it really is nice.

You know, I suppose, that we can’t get off of the base for 30 days. If I get off for a day or two I would like to see Betty Gunkle if it is possible.

Gosh I’m glad I’m classified as a pilot. Now we are considered as upperclassman. We get a little button to pin on our chest, which distinguishes us from the new boys.

I really have a tough course ahead of me now. We start school pretty soon. The courses we take up are the same as college Aeronautics courses. It means a lot of study but, I’ve made up my mind that I want to be a commissioned pilot.

The fellows are nearly perfect and I have made numerous friends. Well pater and mater it’s time to eat now so keep your faith in me.

Your loving son,


P. S. Write soon

P. S. Hello Jocie darling all the fellows are crazy about that picture you sent me.

Letters from the Air Corps


Dear Mother, Dad, and Jocie;

I received your sweet letter yesterday and enjoyed it very much. All the fellows in the barracks read Jocie’s letter and marveled at the wording and penmanship. I haven’t much chance to sit down and write out here because we’ve been on the go most of the time.

I almost forgot-I passed my flying physical!! My eyes were excellent, at least, that’s what the doctor said. They register 20-15 instead of the normal 20-20. If you have 20-20 that is good enough but the doctor said only one person out of 5000 has 20-15 eyes. I felt terribly proud and I hope you are too. I haven’t been classified yet but we expect to be in a week or so. I certainly hope I’m a pilot. I’m afraid they might make me a bombardier because of my good eyes, but I told them I wanted to be a pilot so we’ll see how it works out. Bombardiers have to have excellent eyesight, even better than the pilot’s. You see they have to hit the target every time with that new bomb sight. This requires excellent vision.

I really don’t care what I am just so I get my wings. You certainly can tell the difference between the air cadets and enlisted men. Everybody I have met so far has been very nice and very helpful, which is important here.

My experience at St. Thomas has helped me ever since I arrived. I teach the awkward squad how to drill daily. Some of these fellows are pretty dumb when it comes to drilling. I really am fortunate as far as having good roommates goes. They are really nice fellows–very easy to get along with and a all-around bunch of swell guys.

I get a little lonesome for you and Thelma once in a while but I really like it out here. I think all the exercises we do will really make men of us. Remember when I was worried about my weight, well the doctor said he has never seen such a difference between my shoulders and waist measurement before.

Well darlings I have to go to drill now so write soon and I will try to write back as soon as possible.

Love Jim.

Trip to U. S. Air Corps


Dear Mother, Dad, and Jocie;

We had a wonderful trip down here, but we went through the mountains at night, so I didn’t see some of the biggest ones.

We arrived here yesterday and did we work. We learned how to make beds, correct table manners, and all of the Air Corps customs.

The only heartbreaking thing about it is that Eric and I are split up. It could have been avoided so easily but, that’s the Air Corps life I guess.

I am with a swell bunch of fellows that I met on the train. We all work together on our rooms and I haven’t heard any griping yet.

Today I was assigned latrine duty (cleaning the toilet). It was quite a job but, we had a lot of fun doing it.

When we arrived we were hazed by the older fellows but, that’s all you can expect from the upperclassmen. They made fun of us in many ways. They asked us if we have brought our P. 38’s with us. The P. 38 is a type of airplane.

We have been issued our “zoot suit”. This is a mechanic suit. It is made a very good material and looks very neat. It fits tightly about the ankles to keep the Santa Anna dust out. The dust is terrible out here but, I guess everybody gets used to it.

Well dear family I miss you all and please do write soon.


Pinch Penny


Hello darlings,

I certainly put in a grueling day today. We started school today you know. We get up at 5:30-fall out for roll call at 5:45-eat breakfast at 6:00. After breakfast we are given a half an hour to clean our barracks after that is finished we go out for a physical drill until 8 o’clock as soon as we come back tired as the devil from exercises we have to dress up in our Class B uniforms then-off to school for four hours.

Well that’s just half of the day you can imagine how tired you are by 10:00 PM. I think they will build us up pretty well don’t you think. Say before I forget I have received my check and I thank you very much. I didn’t think we would have to worry about spending money. That $75 a month is a lot of baloney. By the time they get done cutting things off such as gym suits, schoolbooks, school paper, etc. You will receive about $30 if you’re lucky. I have been saving my money like a pinch penny and I hope it holds out for quite a while.

Say Dad that Bud Peterson is from Alexandria Minnesota, I don’t think Cliff knows him.

Well darlings I will try and make it longer next time. If you see Ned tell him I wrote him a long time ago and I will write him again.