Based on the letters of Earl Philip Reinhalter (1922-1953). Edited by his son, Earl Philip Reinhalter (1950-).

<- PREVIOUS LETTER February 7, 1943
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Feb. 7, 1943
Hello Ma:
      I received your package the other day - thanks. The candy is practically gone already (the other boys helped me eat it), but I haven't cut the cake yet. I sent Buddy a postcard. I haven't gotten those negatives back yet of those pictures which I sent you. I can't get any more of those cards of "Uncle Sam's Peace Terms." The person who gave it to me only had one to spare.

      Ma, I am plenty surprised to hear that you are working. I still cannot understand why Daddy doesn't try to get a defense job. This would at least be good until after the war, at which time his regular business would pick up once again. If you need the money, take it out of my desk drawer. This money is not doing any good just lying up there, and I don't need it myself anyway. You can finish paying for the jeep if you want to. If however, you do sell the jeep, Daddy can use my Plymouth.

      I won't be able to get a furlough until after four months of service are up.

      In regards to Officer Candidate School: Before I can fill out an application, I have to present my birth certificate along with three letters of recommendation. Maybe I could get a letter from Mr. Wheeler and one from Mr. Chelton. [Mr. Chelton was Frederick Pembroke Chelton. He owned a company of some sort, and Phyllis ("Phus") was his secretary. I recall that when I was a child, after Phyllis began working elsewhere, Mr. Chelton would sometimes bring work for her to do on a freelance basis. He always used to carry documents in a thin briefcase, which he would set on top of his car as he was unlocking the door to leave. One time, Phyllis told me, he drove all the way downtown, realizing upon arrival that his briefcase was still on the roof! He is also referred to in other letters as F.P. Chelton or simply F.P.C. - Ed.] I haven't thought yet where I can get a third letter. Maybe you can. There is a lot of "red tape" connected with getting into O.C.S. I'll also have to take a special physical examination for this school. If I pass, I will then have to go before an examining board consisting of high Army officers. If I should happen to pass all of this, I will then have to wait until I am called. For how long, I don't know.

      How does Yvonne like her new teacher? Did her boyfriends get in her class? I received Phus's letter. I also, too, received her Reader's Digest sometime before. No, I haven't had time to read that book which Kitty gave me for Christmas. I don't have much time any more, working seven days a week at from 6:00 A.M., when I get up, until 5:00 P.M., when I eat supper. Sometimes we go back again at night and work if necessary. This isn't usually the case, however.

      Another one of our airplanes crashed. Nobody got hurt this time. The airplane took off from here and attempted to land at Washington D.C. Something happened to the landing gear, and so the airplane just skidded in on its belly. It was only slightly smashed up.

      In another case, when one of our planes went up for target practice, one of the boys in the armament ground crew forgot to put the safety device on the upper gun turret. This device prevents the gun from firing when it comes in line with the rudder. So, when the shooting began, part of the tail assembly was shot away. The airplane landed O.K.

      Another airplane ran off of the runway and smashed up in a ditch.

      The other day I sat in the cockpit of a P-52 airplane (the R.A.F. Mustang) [P-51 - Ed.]. The speedometer reads up to 800 miles per hour.

      One boy got shot. It seems that he was standing on the wrong end of a .30 caliber machine gun when it was fired. He is in the hospital and is getting along O.K.

      Today, our assistant crew chief had to go to the hospital. He was chopping wood for our bonfire when the hatchet slipped. It made a nice clean two-inch cut right through his right shoe. It must have been kind of deep, as the blood poured out in a steady stream. He was O.K. again after he had it sewed up in the hospital. He won't be able to walk for quite a while.

      I haven't yet heard from that girl in Columbus. Oh well, maybe I didn't mean anything to her anyway. Besides, I am going with another girl from Georgetown [identified in later letters as "Margie" - Ed.].

      Also, enclosed in this envelope you will find some postcards. You had better keep the picture of the Capitol.

            Until later,


The Kindle book includes the letters; all 23 issues of the unit’s wartime newsletter “The Squadron Pulse,” which was originally edited by Leonard Stringfield; all 12 issues of the “Pennant Parade” newsletter that Stringfield published while sailing home after the war; complete text of the U.S. government booklet “Pocket Guide to Australia,” which soldiers heading Down Under were given to read; more than 200 photos; pre-war and postwar family history; and over 700 explanatory endnotes.


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