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

<- PREVIOUS LETTER February 23, 1943
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Feb. 23, 1943
Hello Ma:
      Don't send me anything else here to Myrtle Beach. Our squadron will leave for Savannah, Georgia, about Saturday. I have decided to apply for warrant officer as a technician specialist - aviation engineering. This is a better job than second lieutenant and the salary is the same, $1,800 per year base pay [about $27,684 in 2020 dollars - Ed.]. Besides, I won't have to spend three months training if I am accepted, as I would in O.C.S. This is more in my line anyway. How is that business concerning those three letters of recommendation? Instead of using them for O.C.S., I will use them for warrant officer, as I, too, will need those and the birth certificate. Unless you already did, don't send them to me here. Wait until I get to the next field. I think that I can get in if I can pass the physical exam. I am wondering about the eye test.

      Enclosed are some more pictures and some negatives. I had some of these pictures copied from negatives which some of the other boys had.

      The other night we had a forest fire nearby, at least it looked like it was close. Another boy and myself decided to walk to it. We left the barracks at about 8:00 P.M. We walked across the airport runways, to the control tower, and then through the woods, headed all the time towards the bright sky. After going about a mile past this control tower, we came to a barbed wire fence which bounded our post. There wasn't anyone around and it was dark, so we climbed through and then continued on. But soon we came to a jungle of briars and pine trees, some of which had been chopped down and which were lying horizontally on the ground. We could not yet even see the flames. Because of this, besides at that moment we were A.W.O.L., we turned back. When we again climbed through the fence, the other boy ripped his pant leg all the way down lengthwise. We were able to get back to the control tower as it was lighted up. From there on we became lost. The reason was that when we came, we pointed out certain airport boundary lights which we would use as landmarks in making our way back. It was plenty dark out and now all of the lights had been put out. That those lights had been put out, we didn't discover until later, however. We thought that we were way off our course, as we could not find any of these lights, nothing but darkness except for the lighted control tower in the distance. Soon a bomber circled low, and the next thing I knew, we were running. This plane was landing and we were in the center of the airfield. I discovered this when the landing lights on the bomber lighted up us and all of the ground. Just then, all of the airfield boundary lights lighted up on the ground, and we then realized for the first time that the lights which we had used as landmarks in coming were these and that they had been extinguished after we had gone by. So, we finally found our way back, having never reached the fire. When we walked in the barracks, we were immediately asked about the fire. Not wanting to feel like fools, we told them that we had reached it and we then went on to describe it. Our imaginations were working full force. It was then about 10:00 P.M. So, we had walked for about two hours, all for nothing; except, maybe for the exercise. We must have covered at least six miles.

            Well, that's about all for now,


P.S. I got Phus's card and letter. I haven't received either the Reader's Digest or the book called The Raft yet. Thanks anyway. I hope it gets here before I leave.


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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