Based on the letters of Earl Philip Reinhalter (1922-1953). Edited by his son, Earl Philip Reinhalter (1950-).
In most cases, the date listed for each letter is the date that was written at the top of the first page. If a letter did not have a date on page one, I used the postmark as a guide, counting back several days to account for censorship delays, judging the time span by the dates of other letters and their postmarks from around the same time period. If there is no legible postmark, I referred to his mother’s notation on the back of the envelope, where she gave each letter a sequential number as it arrived, and from this numbering system the date of the mystery letter could be estimated as coming between the dates of the letters immediately before and after. Wherever the date was estimated, I have indicated this with an asterisk and a note.
Below the date for each letter is the location where it was written, as near as could be determined. Because of military censorship, soldiers had to be vague about where they were based. However, it was permissible for the writer to be more specific about previous locations. For example, in his letter of September 10, 1945, my father allowed that he was stationed at Saidor, New Guinea, “from Jan 1944 until October 1944.” Clues such as this helped in labeling earlier letters. Further confirmation came from an online source which listed the prior dates and “stations” of the 3rd Operations Support Squadron, the modern-day successor of the 3rd Airdrome Squadron in which my father served.
The photographs that my father sent home were placed in an album by his mother. The album is not in strict chronological order, since the photos (or “pictures” as he called them) were not always mailed in the order that they were taken, thanks to censorship delays. My photo captions were mainly derived from three sources: captions that his mother wrote in the album, notations my father made on the rear of the prints, and descriptions of the photos in his letters. Additional research helped clarify historical details.
I generally tried to leave every word as he wrote it. I made some revisions for readability, for example adding a comma here and there or breaking up an overlong paragraph into two paragraphs. I fixed most spelling errors, which I think would be distracting to the reader, but chose to leave his curious use of “sargent” or “sargeant,” which persisted even after he became a sergeant himself.
In notes which give today’s equivalent dollar amounts for prices mentioned in the letters, these figures were estimated using the U.S. government’s CPI Inflation Calculator.
NOW AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK!
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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This page established: October 6, 2020 Last updated: February 22, 2023
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