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

<- PREVIOUS LETTER April 8, 1943 *
Hunter Field, Savannah, Georgia    

      * His 21st birthday.

April 8, 1943
Hello Ma:
      Well, this is the first letter in a long time that I have written. You remember that in that last letter, I told you that I was going to work on the "line" the following Monday. Well, I did manage to work out there Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. That Wednesday, my commanding officer sent a corporal out in a jeep to pick me up. So, I was again taken back into the headquarters section because as the captain said, "It is necessary for me to work there at the present." It seems that the jeep driver for headquarters was changed to driving larger trucks. Also, the corporal who I was helping in the mail job just started going to driving school. In addition, when I left that Monday to go on the line, this corporal in charge of the mail did not get another helper to take my place. So, now until things again get organized, I am doing the jobs of three persons. I have been promised that I will go on the line again just as soon as things get settled. While on the line those three days, I worked on a Douglas A-20 and about four North American B-25's. When you run the motors on those B-52's while on the ground, they hop up and down and sideways. It reminds you very much of a motorboat when you are sitting inside of the cabin. Boy! What a racket. I handed my warrant officer papers into my squadron headquarters to be approved before they can go to the base headquarters. They just posted an order in my squadron stating that no more O.C.S. applications would be accepted until after we get in "the theater of operations," or in other words, after we get overseas. I don't know whether this holds true for warrant officer applications also. That, I'll no doubt find out very soon. My squadron is still on the alert; that is, it is subject to call to the port of embarkation at any time by the port officer in charge of convoys. The base headquarters here at Hunter Field has issued orders stating that no furloughs would be issued except in case of emergency only. But there is, too, an Army regulation stating that everyone must have a furlough before being sent overseas. According to the latest rumors, we will probably be stationed on an island somewhere in the Pacific. But of course, so far this is only a rumor. Today, one of our lieutenants started reading to all of us about different lands in the Pacific and living conditions there.

      I received all of the birthday presents in that big beer box Tuesday - thanks. With the help of the other boys, one box of candies is already gone. Last night, I had my gold watch strap put on by an instrument technician who in civilian life was watch repairman. Yvonne's drawings were good. I haven't yet had time to read the two books. Wednesday, I received the birthday cards from you, Phus, and Yvonne - thanks. Also, I got another card from Aunt Kate. Tell her thanks for me. Phus's Reader's Digest and letter came too. Incidentally, how did that victory garden idea turn out? Today, I received The Martin Star [a magazine published by his former civilian employer, the Glenn L. Martin Company - Ed.] and the book, The Mountain Boys. Haven't read them yet.

      Do you remember those pictures that I took out on the range? Well, I turned them in here at Hunter Field to be developed and censored. So, the result is that I only got two pictures back, the others either being censored or not turning out. Both of these I am sending you. The other boy took the negative of his picture to make several enlargements. We have again received orders to send home all civilian things. So, in that box in which you sent me those birthday presents, I will send you my cap, belt, scarf, and whatever else turns up in the bottom of my barrack bags which I do not need. Last Sunday, I had off and went in to Savannah [at] about 2:00 o'clock. I went to the movies first and then roller skating. Monday night, I drank my first bottle of beer in over two weeks. Following this one bottle, I drank three 7 Ups, one Coca-Cola, and then finished up by eating a chocolate ice cream sundae. Felt O.K. the next day too.

      Again Friday night, I went roller skating. Tuesday, I went to the movies here on the base and saw a return engagement Wake Island. The other day while I was parked in my jeep at base headquarters, a small brown car of foreign make (at least it looked queer) drove up and parked beside me. On the car door was painted "Philip Morris." Do you know that little midget [more correctly, dwarf - Ed.] "Johnny" who on that radio program always yells, "Call for Philip Morris"? Well, he was driving it. Probably just an advertising stunt.

      Last week one time, I had to guard the "motor pool" from 6:00 P.M. until 10:15 P.M. with my carbine rifle. This is the place where at the end of the day all of our vehicles are parked. Funny thing, they wouldn't let me have any bullets for it. I guess if someone did come, I was supposed to either throw the rifle at him or else swing it like a baseball bat. By some queer coincidence, we had a ½-hour blackout while I was on guard. Airplanes (ours of course) were flying around, observing the situation. I sat in an ambulance most of the time.

      The other day, I went down to the hospital with some other boys to get my eyes examined for an extra pair of glasses to be used when I wear my gas mask. The frames are specially shaped so that the mask will fit over them. My eyes were found to be 20/60. They were only 20/100 when I enlisted. So, you can see that my eyes are getting better. When I put my civilian glasses on, I can read the 20/15 line or the one below the "perfect line" 20/20. So, with glasses on, my eyes are better than perfect. [Strictly speaking, 20/20 is not “perfect vision.” However, 20/15 is sharper than average, meaning that you could read a line on an eye chart at 20 feet which the average person could only read at 15 feet. - Ed.]

      Yesterday and today, all of the boys except about five went on a five-mile hike. I was one of the boys excused because, as the captain said, "We had important work to do." So, the other 240 or so went for a little walk. I average about 20 miles each day driving my jeep. Well, that's all that I can think of 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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