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

<- PREVIOUS LETTER March 7, 1943
Hunter Field, Savannah, Georgia

March 7, 1943
Hello Ma:
      Well, I have been here almost a week now, and so far have not done anything of importance. I have been placed in that mail orderly job again. I guess that I will have to begin to argue my way out once again. Our squadron has been and will be restricted to this base until Wednesday. After this, I will be able to explore the city of Savannah, Georgia; that is, if something else doesn't turn up. Incidentally, the highest rating that I can ever get in that mail job is that of Private First Class. Oh yes, I weighed myself again on another scale. This time it read 150 pounds. So, I guess I do weigh that much now. This base is even better than Lockbourne. Within a block of my barrack is located a cafeteria, dance hall, bowling alley, and a movies. Also, a post exchange. Because we are restricted, no one is supposed to go to any of these. I, however, have been to all - haven't gotten caught yet. Oh, yes! I have to file an income tax return by the 15th of this month. I have all the papers here, including one which will defer my payment until six months after the war. But I will have to know just how much Glenn L. Martin paid me during 1942, up until the time that I enlisted. Can you go into my desk drawer and get all of my pay envelopes for that year and then count up what I made? Maybe Martin's will send you my pay record for that year. I have to know by the 15th. Did you get those letters of recommendation? If I apply for warrant officer, I will have to wait until this coming June. The examining board for this will not meet until then. If I get tired of waiting, I may apply for O.C.S. When we arrived here at Hunter Field, our squadron consisted of 415 men. A lot of men have been transferred to other squadrons down here. We have only about 270 men left. That boy [John] Hutchins who left for cooking school while we were up at Lockbourne is back in the squadron again. He finished school and came back. Ma, are you still working? The same place?

      Did I tell you about going fishing at Myrtle Beach? Well, one afternoon I didn't have much to do so, I and three others (one was a buck sargeant) decided to go fishing in the Atlantic Ocean. They had a rule at Myrtle Beach whereby they would not issue passes nor let you out of the gate unless you wore a full dress uniform (like the one I had my picture taken in). We wanted to wear our old clothes. So, a technical sargeant drove the four of us in a jeep to the barbed wire fence. There was a lot of woods around this section, so we all casually climbed through. Then we crossed the road and walked down to the beach.

      About a half of a mile up the beach, we found an old rowboat. It looked O.K., or at least the sargeant thought it to be, even if it did have 1/8-inch cracks in the bottom and sides. We found some rollers, and by using these we got the boat down to the water. Then two of the boys went to get the hooks and bait. After they came back, we shoved off in our boat or what at least was once a boat. I previously had placed tin cans and bottles in the boat. These I had planned would be used for bailing water out of the boat. The water became deep very gradually and the big waves (about three-feet high, the largest) were breaking about 25 feet off of shore. At this time, the water was about 6 inches deep in the boat. For paddles, we had these three 5-foot boards of the type used in hardwood flooring in houses. After we got about 75 feet from shore, we decided to throw the anchor over. The anchor consisted of a large flywheel off of a Model A Ford motor. We measure the rope on the anchor and it showed a water depth of 16 feet at this distance from shore. Then we began fishing; water inside the boat by this time had reached a depth of about a foot. The deeper the boat sank, the faster the water poured in because there were also large holes in the boat sides. We all jumped to the conclusion at the same time that we would have to begin bailing out water, but fast. After a few minutes, we got the water depth down to eight inches. Then we continued bailing, working in shifts - two fishing while two bailed out water. One boy got two bites, and other than this we neither heard, felt, smelled nor saw anything in the way of fish. This fishing and bailing out routine soon became tiresome, so we pulled up our flywheel, excuse me, I mean anchor, in preparation for returning to land.

      All went well until we reached that point 25 feet from shore, where those big waves were continually breaking. Here our obsolete boat turned broadside to the waves. We didn't have much control using our previously mentioned converted oars. Well, first of all our sargeant lost his balance and fell out. It was only up to his neck. In getting back in the boat, he slipped and again went under water. We all helped him back in this time. Of course, all of his clothing was soaked, including his heavy leather flying jacket. When he fell over, his shoes remained in the boat. These at least could have been kept dry provided they hadn't been knocked off the seat where he had placed them after removing. These shoes and another boy's pair were floating inside the boat from one end to the other. Our bait can had also upset, and shrimp was floating around inside the boat too. Well, we had just about got settled when a private stood up in the boat. He got hit in the face with a wave when he stooped to grab the boat side to catch his balance. He was knocked backward in the boat and landed in a sitting down position. As there was 15 inches of water in the boat, he was uncomfortably watered in the lower regions. One of our crew members was a barber. He was plenty scared because he couldn't swim. I, at least could float. When we got within 15 feet of the beach, the barber jumped out and waded in, plenty disgusted with the whole thing. I was rather dry from my knees up. After I emptied the water out of my watch, it ran and runs as yet as good as ever. We beached [reached? - Ed.] the beach finally. Then we started back to the base. The sargeant soon became covered with a light coat of sand. It seemed that the wind blew dry sand on his wet clothing, where it stuck. It was rather funny when he wrung the water out of his wallet. We again climbed back through the barbed wire fence which bounded our post. We hopped a command car and got back to the barracks just in time for supper. But the sargeant took a shower and then went to bed, skipping supper entirely. We were rather glad to get back, as we had been A.W.O.L. No one had missed us during our absence. The next day, we were all as good as new. We had a good laugh, even if we didn't get what we went after - fish. So, a good time was had by all.

      I was kind of glad to leave Myrtle Beach, even if I did have to say goodbye to my Georgetown girlfriend, Margie.

      Well, that's about all that I can think of to write about just now, so -

            Until sometime 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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