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

<- PREVIOUS LETTER May 6, 1943
Camp Stoneman, Pittsburg, California

May 6, 1943
Hello Ma:
      I reached my new California base [Camp Stoneman at Pittsburg, California, about 45 miles east of San Francisco - Ed.] at 9:30 P.M. Sunday May 2nd after leaving my former base at about 4:00 P.M. the previous Tuesday. This and all of my future letters from here will be censored, so don't be surprised if this letter should have pieces cut out. I believe, too, that your letters will likewise be censored. [This turned out to be incorrect. - Ed.] Only write on one side of your paper. This is because if something is torn out of your letter, whatever is written on the back of that same sheet will of course have been destroyed also.

      On a Monday, a week before I left, I again started working on the "line." My crew was assigned to make various repairs and changes on a Martin B-26 so that it could be used for __________. On the following Wednesday, we finished the airplane and it was inspected and successfully test flown. So, my crew and I were given a 48-hour pass which began at 7:30 Thursday morning and ended at 7:30 Saturday morning. So, that Thursday I slept until about 10:00 and then after lunch went to a movie in town. The next day, Friday afternoon, I went to the ____________________ [Pacific Ocean? - Ed.] by bus. There wasn't hardly anyone there, and those who were, were not in swimming. It was altogether too cold for this and besides the water was muddy. Saturday (my pass having just ended), it was my turn to be barrack orderly for the first floor. So, I finished sweeping the floor in about a half hour and then spent the greater part of the day doing nothing but eating and lying in my bunk. Easter Sunday, I had the whole day off and spent most of the afternoon walking around "exploring" the town. I went back to camp and after eating supper went out again and drank beer until about 12:30 that night. Monday, I helped load our packing boxes on the freight cars. Tuesday morning, we spent getting ready to leave and, as I said before, we left that afternoon at about 4:00 o'clock.

      Well, I passed the physical examination for warrant officer. I was to appear before the board at __________ on the __________. Just before we left, I went up to the base headquarters and got all of my papers, including my picture, application, letters of recommendation, and the physical examination report. I am going to try to go before a board out here if they have one. If they do happen to have one, I will have to find out when it meets. Maybe by the time that this board meets, I'll be gone from here also. Maybe I will have to wait until I get ______________ before I can get a chance to appear before one of these examining boards. They have them over there, too. My physical examination will be good for six months. Well, so much for that.

      In regards to my train trip, there is not much that I am allowed to say, except that there was of course a lot of scenery. When we passed over the ____________ I was doing K.P. duty on the train. It was my turn that day. This only makes the second time that I have done K.P. since I have been in the Army. We lived on that same train for the entire trip. I cannot mention the cities nor the states through which I passed. There were, of course, quite a few.

      I wrote to George Hummel before I came west and received an answer. It seems that he rides a horse along the Atlantic coast, guarding a shore strip 10 miles in length. The nearest town, he says, is about 50 miles distant.

      Well, I too am not allowed to say what I am doing here at my new base and I can only tell you that it is "somewhere in California." My new address is on the envelope. "A.P.O." stands for Army Post Office. [According to internal documents from two other Army units, the time at Camp Stoneman was typically spent in additional training, physical exams, revising insurance policies, and multiple "show down" inspections to make sure that each man had in his possession all of the necessary clothing and equipment. - Ed.]

      Yesterday, I took out an allotment. That is, every payday now (once a month) you will receive $25 dollars [about $371 in 2020 dollars - Ed.]. I don't need the money. For overseas duty, there is an increase of 20% in pay. Enclosed with this letter, you will find a money order [amount: $50 - Ed.]. This month, I collected a lot of debts that were owed to me. You can buy yourself a Mother's Day or Easter gift. Do what you want to with whatever is left over. Like I said before, "I don't need the money." [According to his sister Yvonne, his mother put the allotment money away for him to have when he came home from the war. - Ed.]

      Did you receive the picture from Columbus, Ohio, yet? Tell Phus that I got her letter. How did Chelton's case turn out? [Frederick Pembroke Chelton - Ed.] Has Kitty learned to type yet? How does "WAAC Sargeant" Marion Tieman like the Army? There are over ______ WAAC's here where I am. No, I don't go with any - have been too busy so far for night life. I wrote Fred [Roussey] a letter, but haven't gotten an answer yet. I received your Easter card. Also, one from Kitty and another from Phus. Yvonne's hand-drawn and colored card was good too.

      Well, that's about all that I can think of just now; so, until sometime later -

Editor's note: On May 17, 1943, the 3rd Airdrome Squadron sailed away from U.S. shores. Their overseas service is counted from this date, not when they reached their destination.

Earl at Camp Stoneman, Pittsburg, California, May 1943.

Earl (right) and his friend John Hutchins at Camp Stoneman, Pittsburg, California, likely in May 1943.

Earl (right) and his friend John Hutchins at Camp Stoneman, Pittsburg, California, May 1943.
On the ground in front of them is a case of empty Grace Bros. beer bottles.


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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