Nov. 15, 1942
Well, here I am in Utah, about 17 miles southwest of Salt Lake
City. We got into Salt Lake City at 2:30 AM and were hauled out
to the field in trucks, about 36 of us. By the time we got our
bedding and made our bunks it was nearly 5 o'clock. We left Fort
Lewis at 5 Friday and went to Portland and then up the Columbia
and across Southern Idaho into Utah. We weren't allowed to get
off the train until we got into Pocatello, Idaho at 9 last
night. We slept in Pullman cars Friday night.
I was lucky enough to get into the Air Corps. We will be here
from 10 days to 6 weeks or so to be classified some more. We
will have lectures and tests to determine what we will be put
in. The fellow in charge of our barracks just told us that when
we left here we would be sent to school somewhere so I may get
into something good.
This sure is some country. It is quite flat, but there seems to
be mountains all around us. It was cloudy this morning. When we
got here last night there was about a forty mile wind blowing;
the air is full of sand when it blows. It gets in your eyes and
mouth. They told us Utah is noted for it's storms. It sure howls
around the barracks, just like you hear in shows. This morning
when we got up it started to blow again. About nine it started
to rain a little then it started to snow, plus a high wind and
it sure was miserable out, but the wind has died down a little
now, although it is still snowing some. Out side of the wind the
climate seems about like in Tacoma; it is about the same
temperature. But I guess it will get colder. They issued us a
pair of overshoes when we got here so we can expect a lot of
snow evidently. We will also get gas masks here which will come
in handy in windstorms.
Nov. 17, 1942
Today we had 5 tests, on radio-dot and dash, mathematics,
pattern tests, I think they are to qualify for sheet metal work,
common sense tests, and mechanical aptitude tests--it is to see
how good you are at figuring out how machinery works. We had the
first 2 before noon and the others after. After we were through,
they read off the names of about half of the group and they were
told to go to their barracks. After they left we were told that
they kept us there because we had passed the math test with a
fairly high score and were eligible for a test which qualified
us for clerical school, in which field there are many branches
in the army. I took the test although I am not interested in
that work. That test was on rapid calculation, grammar, spelling
and matching statements with proverbs or memorygems or whatever
they are, like "a stitch in time saves nine", etc., to
see how good a vocabulary we had I guess.
We will have interviews about Thursday and will be told what
schools we are qualified for. Each man has three choices of what
he wants, depending on his classification, qualification, etc.
It is real clear out although there is the usual 30 m. wind
blowing, and you can see the lights of Salt Lake City as if they
were only a mile away. We are on top of a kind of plateau here
and when it is clear you can see for miles, you can also see
Fort Douglas which is on the other side of S.L. City. After we
have all our tests we will have drill for the remainder of time
we are here waiting call to ship out to school. We have to use
wooden guns for drill but we are also to be taken over to Fort
Douglas for actual rifle fire instruction.
Also after we have been here over a week we have to go on K.P.
duty which is tough. We will have to get up at 3 in the morning
and work till about 7 or 8 at night. One thing I don't like...
is having to change clothes so often, you have to change from
fatigues to dress and then back again several times some days
and you must wear the correct combinations and obey orders or
else stay put and talk with the rock pile.
I can hardly wait till I get sent to a school, I sure am happy
to be in the Air Corps, the army isn't so bad after all now.
I just got back from interview and classification. The
Interviewer told me I scored among the few highest in the group
and was qualified for nearly all the schools, there are over 20,
and also for Officers Candidate School. You can't apply for OCS
though until after you have been to the technical school to
which you are going. I don't know if I will be interested in
that or not however.
We have three choices as to the school we want. I put first
Radio Operator and Mechanic, second Propeller Mechanie, and
third Airplane Mechanic. I am sure however of going to the
R.O.M. school. It is a 5 months course and you learn to operate,
repair, trouble shoot, etc. in fact everything about radio. I
guess you also learn code. Tonight there is a dance at Murry, a
small town about 7 miles from here. It is given by the War
Maids. They are all chaperoned; we don't know if they will be
Old Maids or what. So many from each barracks can go; they will
take us by truck and back also. I suppose the doors will be
locked when we get in the hall also. But anyway it will give us
a chance to dance and get acquainted with people around here.
We have fairly lousy chow here, and we eat out of our mess kits,
and wash them in 3 barrels of boiling water, I suppose you know
how that is done.
Yesterday we all had to march, about ½ mile to get shots, one
for Typhoid and one for Tetanus. They sure sock the old needle
Nov. 23, 1942
We had to go on K.P. duty today -- at 3 o'clock we got up, and got
to the mess hall at 4:45. We worked all day, until about 6:30,
and I sure am tired. I think we go on every other day this week
and drill all day the other day. It's going to be a little
tougher from now on.
Nov. 27, 1942
Well, I'm on the move again.
We were out on the drill field today at 2 o'clock when a guy
came up and called off some names, mine too, and told us we were
to leave in 1/2 hour. We didn't know anything about it till
then. We had to hurry and pack our barracks bags, change into
CD's and turn in our bedding in 1/2 hour. I was in such a hurry
that I left any writing paper in my barracks bag. After we
packed, we went and had a physical, then chow and then marched
up to the train, on a siding by the field. We finally pulled out
about 5:30. We have no idea where we are headed for, all we know
is our destination number but that doesn't mean anything to us.
It sure gets tiresome riding because you can't get off the train
at all and there is no place to walk or stretch and the cars are
so crowded that we have to sleep two in a berth.
Nov. 30, 1942
When we stopped in Denver our sergeant told us we were coming
here (Sioux Palls, S.D.) but wouldn't let us send any messages.
Sun. we laid over in Omaha, Neb. for 12 hours.
One of the squadrons back at Kearns had Scarlet fever when we
left so they put us in quarantine here for 2 weeks. We can't go
anywhere on the post even.
We will go to school here from 16 to 20 weeks, so it will be
around April when I graduate. About 25% of the graduates are
assigned as flying radiomen, a member of a bomber crew,
depending on their physical qualifications, and are sent to
gunnery school for 5 weeks after leaving here. I suppose I will
start school this week sometime. We will start on the graveyard
class, and change every so often; they run day and night. The
food seems much better here than at Kearns and there is no KP
duty here, all we do is go to school 8 hours a day. We have
about 1 hour calisthenics a day and a short period of drilling.
This camp is only a mile outside of the city of Sioux Falls,
40,000 population, which is in the southeastern corner of South
Dakota, I haven't seen a map yet so I don't know exactly where.
We came through Grand Junction and Denver, Col., through
Hastings, Lincoln, and Omaha, Neb., then into Council Bluffs,
Iowa and up into South Dakota. If I keep this up, I'll soon see
all of the US.
We followed the Colorado river over 209 miles. Colorado is quite
mountainous and hilly, something like around Grandpa's, except
there are no big trees; they are all small and scrubby pine and
cedar. We went the whole length of Nebraska and it was level
country all the way. There was very seldom even a small hill 100
ft. high. South Dakota is something the same but there is more
rolling country and low hills.
Dec. 4, 1942
We started school Wed. night at 10:20. It's kind of hard to stay
awake during class but I think I'll get used to it in time. We
get back to the barracks at 7 in the morning and sleep til 2:30,
so you can see we don't have much time to sleep. We have out
breakfast at 3:20 PM and at 4:15 we have an hour's calisthenics.
Then we have a study period and some of this stuff really has to
be studied. We eat dinner at 7:20 and when we get back to the
barracks it is sometimes possible to grab a little sleep if you
are up on your studies. The first half of the night we spend
learning Morse Code. Last night was the first night we really
worked on Code and I learned about half of the alphabet. The
instructor sits in front of the room and taps out letters and
they come over an amplifier system so we can hear them. We don't
learn to send til we can recognize all the alphabet. It is very
interesting, they teach us not to count the dots and dashes but
to recognize the letters by the sound each combination makes.
The second part of the night we have Radio Theory. We study
about electricity, wiring, etc. Later on we will work on radios
when we have learned symbols, diagrams, etc.
When we are done with school most of the students have a good
chance of getting flying time, either in bombers or some branch
so maybe I have some exciting times to look forward to.
Dec. 6, 1942
We have had 2 ½ nights of school so far and have learned 20
letters in code and will probably learn the rest tonight. I like
it a lot. I never realized how easy it was to learn. In theory
we learn formulas, etc. and practice up different kinds of
circuits so we will be able to work on radios, later on we will
get to work on electric motors, etc, too. It is just the same as
going to college, only it's free, which I like. There are a
number of school buildings and each one has many rooms in it. I
don't know how many. They are one story wood buildings and are
finished very pretty inside. In fact that's all this camp is for
is this radio school, and it's a big camp too. There seem to be
thousands of men here.
Dec. 15, 1942
Yesterday was my day off. We got out of quarantine and also got
a 24 hour pass so I went into Sioux Falls last night and again
today. It is a nice little town. They have about 8 or 10
theaters and a Montgomery Ward, Sears Roebuck, Wool-worth, and
Kress stores. I got 2 shots Friday, Tetanus and Typhoid. I have
3 more to go because the records didn't come from Kearns in time
and they went overdue.
I am still getting along alright in school. I am taking 10 words
per minute in code now. I went to 8 words Thursday and to 10 the
next night. I was on 8 only 4 hours. There were only 3 of us in
the whole class who went on 10. They keep raising 2 at a time
for a while now.
In theory class we have studied D.C. 4 days, A.C. 6 days and
tonight I start a circuit components class. I don't know exactly
what that is but I guess it is learning how to wire up and build
radios, etc. In a couple of weeks we have to build some kind of
a hetrodyne transmitter, then a receiving set later on.
8 hours of school seems like a long time but it goes quite fast.
We work an hour then get a 10 minute break. Then at 2:15 in the
morning we go to the mess hall and have a bowl of soup. Then go
to theory class. But listening to dits and dahs for 4 hours gets
monotonous at times; towards the end of the period they begin
sounding alike. We listened to them so long that I've got a code
in the head.
Usually we get to listen to a news broadcast for a while over
the head phones. There is an airport on the edge of this camp
and there are quite a few planes around here at times, B-24's,
B-18's, P-28's, Lockheeds.
Dec. 17, 1942
I went on 12 words a minute in code last night. I am several
hours under the maximum time allowed for a 100 grade. You are
allowed 50 hours to get to 10 words in and I am on 12 in 45
hours and I nearly passed the test to 14 last night 10 minutes
after I got on 12. When you get to 16 you start practicing
sending. So far it's been all receiving.
Some of the guys said that if you get quite fast in code in a
short time (about 25 words) you get shipped out of here ahead of
time, I don't know if that's so or not but I hope it is and
maybe if I can learn it fast I can get out of here and get a
furlough. That is a lot of wishful thinking but I hope it's
I got my hair cut this noon. It's the first time since I left
home. I had it cut about 2 weeks before I left. They only charge
40¢. There are two good theatres here on the post and I am going
to a show one of these nights, only 15¢.
They take 90¢ a week out of our pay for laundry whether you send
any or not. I think that is awfully high but there's nothing to
do but pay it.
I am going to miss hearing all the Christmas music this year. I
don't get a chance to listen to a radio here. No one in our
barracks has one. I was going to get me a little one when I got
paid and still am figuring on it.
Dec. 20, 1942
I sure hope I get put on a B-17. If you are on a bomber, you
have to man a gun in battles. If you want to go to gunnery
school after leaving here you come out of gunnery school a staff
sergeant with about $150 pay. You don't have to go to gunnery
school though, and if you don't they teach you shooting where
you are stationed.
We learn to send code by blinker lights later on. It will be
interesting in another month or so. We go on what is called
tactical procedure -- sending and receiving reports, being
heckled by static, etc. Tonight is the last night In circuit
components class. We learned about diode, duo, triode, pentode,
Variable Mu, and many other tubes. Tomorrow night we go into
circuit analyses class. We got our grades back on the AC-DC
test, I got 85, not very good, but with my code grade, 100, it
is a 92 average. I think I have to go to school Christmas Eve
too. That will be a little different than I am used to but I
guess I'll survive.
My watch has kept perfect time up til last week and one night in
theory class I tried to pick it up with a magnet before I
realized what it would do, and it magnetized it and now it loses
about an hour a day. I don't know how to demagnetize it.
Dec. 25, 1942
I went into town last night and went to a show and came home at
11 o'clock. We all got off last night, no one had to go to
school, and the buses were so crowded that hundreds of us had to
walk to town, about 2 miles. I started to walk home too but
caught a bus. We start school again tonight.
We go on different hours in a day or so. We go to school the
same hours but we don't go to bed in the morning. We eat
breakfast for breakfast now, then we have calisthenics for an
hour. Then we are off til about 11 or 11:30, when we have lunch.
We will sleep from 12 to 9 I think. Then we have supper. I don't
know how it will work out.
There is a rumor that the course here is being shortened to 14
weeks. I hope it's true then I'll be out of here in 10 more
weeks after this one. I passed the 12 word test wed. night and
will go on 14 tonight. It will be quite easy from now on because
by the time you get past 12 you know the letters automatically.
When and if you get up to 20 or over you use a typewriter
because there aren't many who can print over 20 and 25 is tops
for fast printers. We are studying radio circuits now and next
week we start building a receiving set that's supposed to work.
They issued us another head piece a couple of days ago. It is
made of fiber and is the inside part of the metal trench helmet,
the new style kind. They gave them to us because they are good
windbreakers and they figure it will cut down on colds.
Dec. 30, 1942
We are still in quarantine for measles and we'll be for a week
yet at least. And they won't let up go to school till we're out
so that will be two weeks later we'll get out of here. We have
been so used to being up nights and sleeping days that we have
been doing something til about 3 in the morning and then
sleeping til 1 or 2 in the afternoon. Usually they come in about
10 o'clock and make us turn out the lights so if anyone is
playing cards or anything they go out to the latrine and play.
It is also a good place to write letters or read. Monday night
another guy and I sat out in the latrine and played about 45
games of checkers, til about 2:30 AM. Then we went over to the
mess hall and had a bowl of soup.
It sure is awful though to be in quarantine. You can't go
anywhere except to chow and you have to stand in line til
everyone else is done.
Tomorrow is supposed to be payday and I sure hope I get paid. I
have 25¢ left and I lost it tonight in a little poker game.
Everyone is getting so broke that they bring back cookies,
oranges or apples from the mess hall and shoot dice for them.
We have grapefruit nearly everyday for breakfast and all we have
is tablespoons to use, and they make the grapefruit squirt all
over the place. So I wear my flight jacket and zip it all the
way up to protect my shirt and now my jacket is so spotted and
dirty that I have to have it cleaned. I guess I'd better get a
Jan. 3, 1943
We went over to school last night and finally got straightened
out. We missed several days so they set us back two weeks to
class 28-F.3. I used to be in 26-F.3. They start a new class
each week and graduate one each week so you can see they are
turning out a lot of radio men. We will still be in quarantine 4
or 5 days more. But the fellow who went to the hospital came
back yesterday and he said they found out he didn't even have
the measles. There are measles here though. There are also a
couple barracks quarantined with spinal meningitis. But none of
that stuff worries me, because I think I'm immune to nearly
Jan. 11, 1943
We got out of quarantine and all went to town Sat. Morning at
7:30. We didn't even get any sleep. Four of us got a room for
50¢ apiece which isn't bad. We stayed in town all night and got
back to camp at 2:15 PM Sunday. We went to a dance at the Y Sat.
night. It was nice to get away from camp for awhile.
We start our new schedule tomorrow finally. We have calisthenics
at 7:30 AM and stay up til about 11:3O or 12:00, I think, and
sleep til 8 or after. Then we have breakfast at 9:00 PM and
dinner at 2:15 AM, between classes. I am still on 14 words per
minute but I haven't had a check for 3 days. She room we are in
now has a different system for giving checks, and I never know
when they are having it.
Last night we started working on receivers. We are learning how
they are wired up.
Jan. 15, 1943
Tomorrow is our day off again. I am going to town tomorrow
afternoon sometime and buy a couple of radio books and go home.
I am not going to stay in over night this time. We are an our
new sleeping schedule now, I am finally getting used to it, but
it is hard to stay awake til noon, which is bedtime.
I got on 16 words night before last. It is coming easy now. I
didn't get a check last night so I will be on that awhile. We
learned how to wire a circuit this week, also how to solder.
There are a lot of guys who've never seen it done. Next week we
have to build a receiver complete.
They are sure getting strict around here now. We used to get
away with a lot of stuff. But now they are putting guys KP for
all kinds of things, such as straggling to chow and to and from
school, I haven't been hooked yet but you never can tell when it
will happen. One good thing about this place you never get extra
duty unless you get it for punishment. I have to do so little
that I am getting lazy. All the exercise I get is 40 minutes
calisthenics a day.
Jan. 20, 1943
I went on 18 words last night. We had a check tonight but I
couldn't pass it. However I hope and expect to be on 20 this
week. It is getting very fast now. Last night we finished wiring
up our receivers. The one I and another guy made wouldn't play
and we didn't have time to check it but we will tonight. It's
really not hard to do. All you have to do is follow plans, just
like making model airplanes, etc. We work next week on
We sure are having a cold spell right now. It started last Sat.
with a blizzard and has been zero to 20 or more below ever
since, with a wind most of the time. There are a lot of cases of
frozen ears and a few noses.
Jan. 23, 1943
I have been moved again. My new barracks is just across the
street from the old one. They shipped a bunch of aerial gunnery
graduates here to make them radio operators also. They are all
Buck sergeants so they are putting 2 in each barracks as
barracks leaders. Two beds in each barracks have to be vacated
for them and me and the guy who sleeps above me happened to be
the ones who had to move. We had a good place by a stove. It
made me mad because we were all just getting well acquainted,
but there is nothing to do about it.
This bunch I am with now seem to be good guys though. Some of
them told me some of their experiences at gunnery school. They
have some very thrilling times at school. I am going to be
disappointed if I don't make it. I hope it's a matter of choice
instead of being sent where the army sends you.
Today was my day off but I didn't go into town because I only
had 75¢. I waited til mail call then I went over to the gym and
got a pair of ice skates (free) and skated on the outdoor rink a
while, but it was too cold. So I went into a mess hall that was
feeding at that time and them I went to the post theatre which
was next door. I got back to the barracks at 9:00. They have a
nice service club here. Me and another guy went over there
yesterday. It has a cafeteria, ping pong, library, piano, radio,
lounge chairs, etc.
Jan. 27, 1943
I have the rest of this week and next week on the principles,
etc. of transmitters then we go into ARD for the remainder of
the term. That means Army Radio Division or Airplane Radio
Division, I don't remember which. We learn how to repair and
operate, trouble shoot, etc. I went on 20 words per minute last
night. I don't know if I can get much higher or not. However I
think I can make 25 which is the next jump. You start copying
press on 25, with a typewriter if they have enough.
Feb. 6, 1943
At 10:00 we have a personal inspection, clothes, shoes, etc. and
then I am going into town. It's my day off today. I haven't been
to town for three weeks.
Last night finished my 8th week of school. We had to wear OD
uniform to school all the time but starting Sunday we get to
wear our fatigues which will be a saving on the good clothes.
In about a week we will get different passes. If you have over
85 average I think it is you get a green pass which allows you
to go to town 2 afternoons besides your regular day off. You
have to be back in time for school though. If you have over 70
you just get your regular day off. If below 70 you get a yellow
pass -- no going to town at all. I still have 100 in code and I
think about 85 or 90 in theory which is about 95 or a little
under. We'll know our grades next week.
Feb. 9, 1943
I sure surprised myself, I went onto 25 wpm Sunday night. 25 is
quite hard and I don't expect to get off of it very soon. We
started ARD Sunday night and have 5 weeks of it after this week
and then only 10 days after that and I'll be done. In about
another week we'll begin working on some good sets, operating
etc. and the time will go faster than it has been which is fast.
They told us that the graveyard shift is going on the swing
shift in about 2 weeks. That will be bad because it will mean
less time off and also I am used to this one now and like it.
Feb. 14, 1943
Yesterday, my night off, I stayed on the post. I stayed in the
barracks til mail call at 11:00, then I went over to the Tech,
library for a while and looked around. They have lots of
magazines and books, etc. They have a great number of radio
books but I was looking for airplane books, aerodynamics, stress
analysis, construction, etc. So then I went to the service club
where they have books of all kinds and there I found the books I
wanted so I stayed there til 5:30 in the evening. I have been
dreaming again of making an airplane when I get out of the army
trying to figure some things out.
After I left the Service Club, I ate at a mess hall near there
then went to a show that was also near. When I got out of the
show I went to the barracks and finally went to bed about 10:30.
About Wed. the class I'm in was taken over to the theatre and
saw a show on aerial gunnery and also given a talk on what might
happen to us when we leave here. The lieutenant told us that
gunnery is not entirely optional because it depends on the quota
to be filled and they will only take that amount and the rest,
even if they want gunnery will be put someplace else. So I hope
they need a lot of them when my time comes up.
I am still on 25 words and expect to stay there for several
reasons, mainly because I don't think I can pass it and also
because if you get to be a high speed man you don't get so much
chance to be a flying operator because they need them in other
In about 2 more weeks we go on tactical procedure in code which
is learning signals, shooting bearings, etc.
Feb. 18, 1943
In school Sunday night we start in low power sets I think, and
after that high power. I expect to take aerial gunner exam next
week sometime. Some of the guys in this squadron and class went
They have a new commander in my squadron and he is starting a
new regime. We were told that this wasn't going to be a boy
scout camp anymore. And we have to clean up all around the
barracks, loose stones and all. We will have to wash windows,
Feb. 23, 1943
I was called over for aerial gunner exam this forenoon at 10:00
and just got back. I guess I passed everything. They turn you
down right there when they find something wrong. The exam took
about l ½ hours. They gave us the color blind test, balance,
coordination, blood pressure, etc. I really didn't think I'd
pass the exam though. If I'd have thought I could, I'd have
gotten some letters of recommendation and applied for flying
cadet because there is very little difference in the physicals.
I am going to think it over and may do it at my next camp
because you have to apply 6 weeks before leaving a place and by
the time I got letters I would have only about 4 weeks left
We are learning to operate the radio set that is in bombing
planes this week. It is sure some radio.
Feb. 26, 1943
Boy, I sure was surprised to pass the gunner exam. They'd better
send me to gunner school now -- or else! They tested us for
balance, etc. The color blind test is a funny thing. It has
several pages on which are little spots of different colors that
blend in together. I forget what they all were. In the middle
was a number or letter also made of colored dots that blended
into the background.
Feb. 28, 1943
We are sure getting ambitious in our barracks. We swept the
cobwebs off the rafters, polished the stoves, G.I.'d the floors,
washed the windows, shook out our blanket, etc. I used a pair of
shorts and an undershirt to dust with and they are absolutely
black now. I am afraid the laundry won't take them. The only bad
thing about the barracks is the cement floor. They are hard to
sweep because they aren't smooth and in the winter they are
quite cold. But you get used to them.
Starting tonight we study another kind of radio set for a week,
then next week we study the radio compass which is very
interesting I've been told. They say we are going on the day
shift in a day or two but I don't believe it til I see it. I am
so used to this shift now that I don't want to change.
March 5, 1943
Our grades for the end of 210 hours came out this week, my grade
was 88. I have fallen off a few points since the last ones. The
reason is the code. You have to have credit for 30 or 35 wpm for
a grade of 100 and there is only occasionally a genius who can
reach that. There are quite a few of us on 25 which gives you a
grade of only 80 at graduation time. But if you have a higher
theory grade it will give a higher average. My grade of 88 was
86th from the top in a class of 840 or so. That is not too near
the top though. I will try to raise it for my final grade.
We went on field rations Monday but it doesn't work any hardship
because it was only supposed to cut down the amount of food
supply used. Which means not so many seconds or such big
servings, but I have been getting plenty to eat. It doesn't
affect the variety.
March 9, 1943
It has been quite cold here for about a week, below zero. Today
it is below freezing and a little windy. And we have to go
outside and rake the frozen ground just to keep busy. It's
getting so you hardly ever get a spare minute to yourself.
That's the only thing that makes me mad about this place. They
forget that we have put in all night and we don't get off til
nearly noon, which is bed time.
This week we are studying radio compass, which is very
interesting. It is about shooting bearings, direction finding,
etc, how to find your location, etc.
March 14, 1943
We finished up with radio compass last night and now I know how
to shoot a bearing to locate your position if you are lost. It
is really quite easy because the radio compass does most of the
work and you just have to do a little figuring and plotting on a
map. Next week we study a British Command Set and that is all
the sets we study, 4 altogether. Then we will have two weeks of
maintenance and inspection then some time in blinker control
towers, two weeks I think, and then we're done.
March 19, 1943
We are also having rough weather here. For two days we had an
out door skating rink that was as big as South Dakota is, I
guess. It started sleeting and snowing and there was about a
30-50 mile wind which lasted for over 2 days. The roads were so
slick because they were so thickly coated with ice, that guys
were out ice skating on the camp streets. You couldn't walk
anywhere hardly because the wind would stop you or blow you
slowly off the road. Last night though the wind died down and it
started to snow and it still is snowing some and is about
4" deep. It is very pretty snow though. Very pretty
crystals. They look like lux soap flakes falling or bubble bath.
March 25, 1943
Our cold spell left finally and I think it is for good. Starting
today we can go without overcoats and knit hats. It sure gets me
to be told what I have to wear. Starting this morning we take
calisthenics outside. It is very enjoyable because it is just
getting daylight when we go out and we get to see pretty
sunrises. This morning we played touch football. That's the
first time since I've been here that I've played any kind of
Apr. 3, 1943
We had our last tests last night and will graduate a week from
Wed. I think I'll ship out within 3 or 4 days after graduation.
We have to march clear down town for graduation which will be
about 2 miles.
Apr. 8, 1943
These last ten days are all spent in the towers and mobile unit
and airplane fuselages. We use blinker lights and practice net
procedure, etc. The first night I spent 3 hours in a room where
they have six mockups of B-17 radio compartments; they are made
like a big barrel about 8 feet long and mounted in a frame by a
big coil spring at each corner. When you're in them the least
movement makes them bob around like you're in rough air. The
last half of that night I spent in a tower on a high power set
part of the time and on blinker lights part of the time. It is
very nice in the towers because you are up fairly high and in
the morning you can watch the sun come up.
The next night I spent half in a tower and the other half seeing
plane identification movies and also taking code. The following
night I spent 3 hours in the mobile unit which is a panel
delivery truck with radio equipment the length of one side. It
has a bench and three of us ride in it at one time. It was funny
trying to copy code or send while the truck was moving. The last
part of that night I spent in a room where they have a B-25
fuselage and two B-26's. We crawled all over in them, in the gun
turret, radio compartment, pilot's compartment, etc. We imagined
we were flying all over. They are very nice planes.
By the way I am a PFC now for about 2 weeks and didn't even know
it til just the other day.
Apr. 13, 1943
I only have two nights left now. We go to school til about 2
Thursday night and then get to sleep til morning, then march
downtown at 9:30. The bunch of guys I came here with from Utah,
and lived with til I moved to this barracks, were moved out and
split up among all the barracks in the squadron yesterday to
make room for some new arrivals. It was just like breaking up a
family because we were all well acquainted by this time.
April 17, 1943
I am all through, hooray!
Me and the other guy in my barracks who graduated were nearly
late for graduations. We weren't told when to be ready to march
to town and when we got over to the theatre at 8:30, we found
out that they had left at 8:00 so we hurried back to the orderly
room and got our passes and took the bus to town and got there
just in time.
I will ship out on Monday morning. I have to move down to the
shipping barracks today.
Apr. 22, 1943
I finally got here (Kingman, Arizona) at 3 A.M. I didn't get
much sleep on the train last night but I am too excited to sleep
now. We had a nice trip out here because the weather was so
nice, in fact in New Mexico and Arizona it is very warm,
shirtsleeve weather night and day. The barracks here are made of
very light material so I guess it is nice even in the winter.
New Mexico is an interesting state. We saw a great many Mexican
villages made up entirely of adobe mud houses and they all have
an adobe oven outside. It is shaped like half an egg and is
about 4 ft. in diameter and high. I don't know how they use them
or what they cook in them. Albuquerque is a very pretty town.
There are a lot of Indians there selling trinkets, etc. In
eastern New Mexico and western Arizona we saw Indians out
herding their little flocks of sheep and goats. And off a ways
you could see their houses. They are about 10 ft. in diameter,
made of stones and mud with an adobe mud top. They are only
about 5 ft. high.
One of the prettiest states though was Kansas. It is supposed to
be the flatest state in the US. It is very green all through. I
guess the entire state is farmed. The people there were also
very nice. Whenever we stopped in a town the women in certain
organizations came along the train windows with oranges, apples,
cookies, and candy bars. New Mexico was just the opposite. They
tried to sell everyone trinkets at too high prices and the
tracks were lined with Mexican kids begging for money.
This is a seven weeks course and I think we start in Monday. We
start in with B.B. guns.
Apr. 26, 1943
During the afternoon we went to the theatre for lectures and
movies on oxygen. This lasted til 5. We were told that we will
go to heavy bomber squadrons when we leave here, which means
B-17's or B-24's. Some time this week we have to go to the
de-compression chamber. That is to see if you can take high
altitude flying which is what we will do if we get through here.
They take you up to 38,000 ft. in the chamber, for 3 hours. If
you get the bends you are disqualified. Not many get them though
and I sure hope I don't. You don't leave the ground in the
chamber, it is done artificially. For 24 hours before you go in
it you have to eat lightly and nothing that will make gas
because when you get up high, the lack of pressure makes you
swell up because of the gas in you expanding. It makes you
We get a lot of good entertainment here. Bob Hope was here the
Tuesday before I got here and Kay Kyser will be here Wednesday
night. They also have girls from Hollywood now and then.
We have to get up at 4 every morning while going to school and
do calisthenics before chow. We keep going til about 5 at night.
Apr. 30, 1943
We went up in the pressure chamber today to 38,000 ft. It didn't
bother me or most of us (20) except 1 fellow who just started
fading out for some reason. We came down to 25,000 real quick
and they took him out. About an hour later another guy got the
"chokes" which affects the lungs, something like the
bends in the joints. It gives pains in the chest and a burning
sensation. We had to descend and let him out. Then after 3 hours
we went down to 20,000 and took off our masks and went back up
to 25,000 without oxygen masks. Just when we started getting
dizzy we put them on again. When we were descending my left ear
wouldn't unplug and it hurt a little but I finally yawned and it
popped. You have to work on your ears fast because they bring
you down from 38,000 in just a few minutes. You have to hold
your nose and blow, swollow, chew, stick your jaw out, or yam,
til one of them relieves you. One guy's belly swelled up til he
had to unbutton his pants.
Last night we had to go out to the range and watch tracer fire.
It is very pretty, kind of an orchid trail. It looks like you
could duck them, but the ones in between might bother. Every 5th
one in a belt is a tracer.
May 7, 1943
Most of our classes are fun and pass quickly. One is with B-B
machine guns and after we have fired our turn, we have to sit
and wait for the others. The range is outside--surrounded by a
high fence. We also have a couple hours a day turret drill which
is outside, so we get plenty sunshine, only we can't take our
shirts off during classes. We had 2 tests yesterday. I passed
them I think. The school work is very easy compared to Sioux
Falls. The main thing here is to learn to be a good shot.
All of us radio men have to take code 3 nights a week for 1/2
hour to keep in practice.
May 10, 1943
We had an inspection Sat., a very thorough one, and they found a
button undone on my fatigue shirt hanging in my closet so they
took my name down, with about 35 others in our squadron, and we
got KP Sunday; 14 hours of it. I am going to make sure I have it
buttoned next time. They got guys for various minor things,
dirty towels, untidy shelves, etc.
Going to school here is about like being at the Fair or at an
amusement park. We shoot B-B guns, etc., go round and round on
the turrets, play with model airplanes and gadgets and will get
all the thrills of a rollar coaster when we start flying.
May 13, 1943
We are shooting skeets (clay pidgeons) this week with 12 gauge
shotguns. We all have black and blue shoulders, 25 rounds a day.
The first day I only hit 11 out of 25 but yesterday I had the
idea better and hit 21 out of 25. They were tougher shots than
the first day. Only 1 or 2 guys in the squadron beat me, which
makes me feel good. Today we have to shoot doubles and I am not
expecting to do good.
May 18, 1943
We have just finished on the moving target range. That is a lot
of fun. We shoot at clay pidgeons like lasts week except that we
ride around a large course on a truck, about 20 mph. There are
25 houses around the track and each one lets loose a clay
pidgeon as you get even with it. We went around 3 times which
made 75 shots all together so my shoulder is a little numb
again. They say there are a lot of snakes here on the ranges,
etc, but I haven't seen one yet. I took a walk Sunday and all I
saw was a lizzard and a jackrabbit.
We have pretty curtains in the mess hall now. At first I thought
that they were some new modern design of cloth but when I looked
at them closely, I saw different. They are made of old tow
targets which are 6 ft. wide and around 16 or more long. They
are hung over a rod above the window and pulled back and tied.
The pretty design is made of bullet holes with red, yellow and
blue rings from paint on the bullets to tell whose hits they
were. Then when the holes are counted they are stamped with an
ink stamp about 3/4 " in diameter, so the curtain has many
spots and designs on it. The cloth is a kind of coarse weave,
greyish white. They have fringy ends too.
In about a week and 1/2 we will get our flying equipment. We
really get some fancy stuff. Parachute, real good pair of sun
glasses, a cross country bag which is really something, and
another canvas bag for flying clothes.
May 21, 1943
I sure had a bit of luck yesterday. We were allowed only 2
tickets for 20 guys in our barracks so we drew out of a hat and
I drew third from last and got a ticket, to Kay Kyser's
broadcast. It was very interesting to see the show. He gave 3
shows here altogether during the day. Everyone in the theatre
got a package of cigarettes.
I finally got to see my first snake, although it was only a bull
snake. We were on the moving base shotgun range and those of us
who weren't shooting had to go around the empty range (there are
2) and clean up the houses the birds come out of. The guy in the
house next to mine looked under the floor and there was a big
snake looking him in the eye. We called an instructor and he
brought a shot gun and killed it. Then I drug it out and we
found it was only a bull snake.
May 25, 1945
We started shooting hand held 30's yesterday at a moving target.
It is a lot of fun but they are hard to hit--200 to 500 yards
away. I only got 14 hits; most of them ran right around that.
One guy got 35. Today we use turrets and should get more hits
because you can follow the target smooth with a power turret. We
fired 200 rounds yesterday, some days we fire more than that I
think. This week we spend two hours a day in the Jam Handy
building. It has movie machines that throw airplanes on a screen
which look exactly as they will in combat, going by in all
directions. We have a gun, an electric rig of some sort to shoot
at them with. The machines are even sound effected. It sounds
like we are in a plane and when you press the trigger, it even
sounds like a machine gun.
May 28, 1943
So far this week in ground to ground I have fired 1400 shots.
450 on the 50 cal. hand held, and 200 on 30 cal. hand held and
the rest on the upper turret and lower ball turret. It sure is a
lot of fun too. The first day on hand held I only got 12 hits in
200 but the next day I showed them how with one of the highest
hand held scores on the range for a long time. I got 70 hits in
150 shots. But then the two days since that I fell down to
around 20 hits. We shoot at a target 200 to 500 yds. away and
going around a track from 20 to 40mph. Tonight we get night
firing; the tracers are real pretty. You can also see them in
the daytime but not so pretty.
May 31, 1943
We start flying this afternoon. One day we fly in the morning
and the next day in the afternoon. In the morning the air is
very smooth and in the afternoon it is quite rough. Today I fly
in an AT-18 (Lockheed Hudson). Tomorrow I will probably go up on
an AT-6 which is a small 2 place ship, and will get some
thrills--peel-offs, etc. In the 18 five of us go up at one time.
During the next two weeks I will get around 12 to 15 hours
flying time and we get flying pay for that time. We have to fire
2400 rounds air to air. We don't get issued our outfits until we
graduate. They used to give them out just before air to air
week. Now we just check out a parachute for each flight.
June 3, 1943
We were supposed to fly once a day all week but they got in a
hurry and we finished this weeks amount of firing in 3 days. I
went up once Monday in a Lockheed Hudson and once Tues. in an
AT-6, and fired 200 shots each day. Yesterday I went up 2 times
in a Lockheed and fired 400 shots each time which made a total
of 1200. So now I have to sit around til Monday and do nothing
but dodge details. We get a little calisthenics every day, and
are supposed to clean guns at night but we haven't had to yet.
The air sure gets rough here. You have to sit down or else hang
on to something if you're standing up in a Lockheed because they
sure get tossed around. Yesterday I was on my knees picking up
empty cartridges and the plane dropped so quick that I raised
off the floor about a foot and skinned my knee when I hit the
floor. The AT-6's are more fun to ride in because they are small
2 place planes and if you are lucky, you get a pilot that throws
them around a little. About the only thing that you can see from
the air besides desert and mountains is Lake Mead, which is made
by Boulder Bam. It is a long way from here; I think it is in the
southern tip of Nevada. We can't see the Grand Canyon though.
June 7, 1943
I had a little tough luck today and didn't get many hits.
Most-pilots will keep you within 200 yds. of the target but the
one I had kept me over that all the time and we were supposed to
be doing cross-unders. On top of that my gun wasn't working. It
would fire from 3 to 6 shots and stop and I would have to hand
charge it again. I charged it so many times that I have a big
blister in the palm of my hand. I had a nice ride though because
the air was very smooth. I will have to shoot straight the rest
of the week to make up my 10%.
June 9, 1943
We were very lucky today on our first mission. The air was very
calm because it was only 8:00 and the pilot was very good; he
never dipped a wing once and stayed within 100 yds. of the
target. There were 5 of us in the plane, one firing from the
turret and one from the waist gun at the same time. We each
fired 400 rounds, 200 in the turret and one from the waist gun.
None of us got under 160 hits out of 400 and that was way over
10% of 1200 total for the week right there. We still have a
target later in the day to be counted yet. We didn't do too good
on that one though. I am sorry we are done flying because it
sure has been fun, in fact it is getting to where it is
wonderful. We have 2 hours of school a day the rest of this
week, one of aircraft recognition and one of air tactics. Our
graduation exercises will be Monday and them I hope I ship out
June 12, 1943
We have had a very exciting day; just like little kids at x-mas
time. We drew our flying equipment this morning which is what
all the excitement is over--%750 worth. I am practically a
walking gold mine. We got a B-4 cross country bag, a canvas
parachute and flying clothes kit bag, a parachute, a winter
flying suit which is a beauty. It is made of leather and is real
thick wool-lined--coat and pants, a kind of gabardine summer
flying coveralls, winter wool lined helmet, summer helmet,
winter flying gloves, real expensive pair of sun glasses and
good case, oxygen mask, and one of those aviators life
preservers for being forced down in the water with. They are
called Mae Wests. We also got a pair of winter -flying boots.
They fit over the regular shoes and are thick wool lined.
We had our last class today and are all through except for
graduation Monday. Everyone in the squadron chipped in 50¢ and
we are going to have a beer party in the mess hall tonight for
June 14, 1943
Well, today I am a sergeant. It's been a long time but I finally
got there. I just hope I don't get busted very soon. We had our
graduation this morning. It wasn't much of a ceremony, just a
short speech and handing out our diplomas and the Dick Tracy
badge--a pair of silver wings. All members of a plane crew get to
wear them; you don t have to be a commissioned officer to get
them. We were told yesterday where we are going: to the 18th
replacement wing at Salt Lake City.
June 17, 1943
We left Kingman at 3 Tues. PM and got into Salt Lake City at
8:30, but by the time they put our cars into camp it was 11 and
we finally got to bed at 12:00. They made us march for about 2
1/2 hours this morning and then after chow about 11:30 we
started what they call processing and also finished it today.
They sure run things smooth and fast here. First we had a
shakedown inspection of all our GI clothes, and were issued what
we were missing. I also turned in 6 pair of holey sox so I don't
have to turn the toes up any more. I wore them 7 1/2 months. We
also got field equipment -- 1/2 of a pup tent, field bag, pistol
belt, tent pegs, etc. and two blankets so we are all set now. We
had a physical too, kind of a recheck. My service record is
marked "qualified for foreign duty" so I am all fixed
On our trip here we went through Needles, Cal. and over to
Barstow, Cal. and then went north through Las Vegas, Nevada and
up through Utah. We sure saw the worst part of California, all
sand and desert and no towns for miles and miles. There are
several army camps along the way on the desert, infantry I
guess, all tent cities. We thought it was tough at Kingman but
it was heaven compared to these places. I am sure glad I'm in
the Air Corps.
June 19, 1943
I did a full day of KP today. This is the best place I've ever
been in to do KP. The mess hall is very clean and well arranged
and the cooks are good to the KP's. The water is soft here so it
is easy to wash things. At Kingman the water was so hard there
was a coat of grease on everything all the time. We got plenty
of spare time off too. I layed down behind the table and slept
for 2 hours this afternoon. We got clone at 6:30. I don't have
any detail tomorrow but all of us who don't have to march into
town just for the walls. We have to wear our suntans and
leggings and field belt and canteen. We have to march to the
capital building and back I guess.
It sure is pretty here this time of the year. It is very green
and the mountains all around are pretty. They are green and
brown. Some of them are round and rolling and others are jagged
peaks with a little snow on them. All of Utah that I saw is like
that. There's also a lot of level farm land.
June 22. 1943
We finally got here (Gowen Field, Idaho) at 12:00 noon. The
lieutenant in charge of the train forgot to leave our orders
here when they dropped our cars off so that delayed us a little.
We will be here for the first phase, I don't know how long that
will be, 4 or 6 weeks. Then we move to another field for the
second phase, back east probably. I don't know yet what each
phase includes; there are 3 of them. We will fly in B-24's. Our
camp is only a couple of miles from Boise, which is a fair sized
town, and we can get a pass now and then.
We have a famous person in our squadron, Jimmy Stewart, the
movie actor. He is operations officer.
This is a pretty good place. We don't have barracks inspection,
etc. and can sleep in on our days off.
June 25, 1943
We haven't begun flying yet because we aren't assigned to a
crew. I guess we have to wait til our records get here; they
aren't here yet. We have been going to school quite a lot
studying more about machine guns and turrets, etc. Today we went
out to the shooting range and shot about every make of gun--22,
30 cal rifle, 45 automatic, 45 tommy gun, cal 50 machine gun and
skeet (12 gauge shotgun). That is a lot of fun.
One good thing about this place is that the chow hall I eat at
stays open 23 hours a day so I can get hungry any time I want
to. I am spending some of my spare time sewing sergeants stripes
on my clothes. It sure is a hard job to keep them straight, I am
having a hard time putting them on my sleeveless sweater. They
have washing machines here, 1 in each latrine, for us to do our
laundry. It is hard to get one because there are so many guys
but I will have to soon because all my stuff is getting dirty.
They don't have a good laundry system here yet.
I am making out a voluntary alottment which simply means that
the amount I specify will be held out of my pay and mailed home.
In that way I can't get rid of my dough in the usual soldierly
ways and means.
June 27, 1943
We had our physical yesterday, also typhus, cholera and tetanus
shots and I sure had a sore arm. I am glad I passed because they
bust you back to a private if you fail it. We will be assigned
to a crew soon now and begin flying, I hope. This is the first
camp I've been in that has lawns in it.
June 28, 1943
Starting tomorrow we go to school from 7 AM to 5 PM -- 2 hours
off at noon. If you miss a class you get busted. They threaten
you for everything.
We started flying Wed. and. they sure keep us radio men busy.
That was the last day of June and in order to get flying pay for
a month you have to get in at least 4 hours flying time so I was
lucky enough to go up twice that afternoon, which will make me
$39 more. I was up that night til midnight then I had to go up
again at 4 in the morning so I didn't get much sleep. We usually
get in 2 to 3 1/2 hours to a mission. I had to go up from 8 to
midnight again last night add got to bed about 1. There is a
scarcity of radio men and that is why we have to fly so much. I
was supposed to have gone on a high altitude mission toddy but
wasn't called, then I was moved up to a 4:00 mission and we
started up in two different planes but something was wrong with
them so I still haven't gone up. The bad part of it is that if
we don't go up at our scheduled time we have to sit in the radio
shack the 4 hours we would have been up and that gets tiresome.
At the end of this shift it will make 3 hours sitting here for
The country around here is sure pretty from the air. It is all
small farms and they are green. There are also rivers and a lake
July 6, 1943
I found out today that I am shipping out tomorrow morning. I
drew some more equipment today, steel helmet, first aid kit,
goggles, summer flying hat and a dandy knit wool pullover
sweater, I guess I have about everything now that I am supposed
to have. I met the crew today that I am assigned to, the pilot,
2 engineers, 2 armorers, and the other radio operator.
July 7, 1943
We pulled into camp here about 6 or a little after (Pocatello,
Id.) It was the shortest trip I've had yet. It was also the
filthiest, dirtiest ride I've ever had. We were in the end car
on the train. It was an old day coach that looked like it hadn't
been used for a long time. There was cinders and soot in the
window sills and everywhere and water on the floor for some
reason. We opened some of the windows because it was so hot and
in a little while the car was filled with a cloud of dust, etc.
We were all so dirty we looked like coal miners and that isn't
exagerating a bit. I got a lot dirtier than when I went to
California. I wore a dirty pair of pants because I have finally
decided that traveling is a dirty job, but I wore a clean shirt
because I just had stripes sewed on it. It was the first time I
wore it since it was cleaned, and you should see my clothes now.
July 9, 1943
Part of our crew started flying today. I guess we take turns. Us
radio men have to learn a new kind of procedure and signals
Today we had a long lecture on how to exist and escape if forced
down in enemy territory, etc. It was very interesting, however
it is all considered confidential or secret and we aren't to
July 12, 1943
I had a pretty good week end. Us 6 guys in my crew were all
broke and were figuring on staying in camp but our pilot came in
at noon and asked us how much money we needed. He said he would
give us whatever we wanted. He gave us $30 to divide up which
made 5 apiece. We went to town and stayed all night. I got to go
to a dance, which is the first time since I was at Sioux Falls.
Pocatello's population is supposed to be around 20,000 but it
sure looks like a small town. It just has one main street. We
also went up to the Y and swam for awhile. When we were waiting
for the bus the next morning, an officer came along and hauled
us out to camp. We just stepped out of his car and a guy in a
jeep picked us up and took us right to our barracks door.
July 14, 1943
They don't keep us quite as busy here as they did at Gowan
Field. We only fly one 6 hour mission a day and have to go to
school 4 hours a day. The flying comes any time though, the time
changes each day. One day we go up 6 AM to 12 PM, the next 12 PM
to 6 PM and so on. We sure have a good pilot. At Boise we went
up with pilots who were just learning to fly big ships and they
set them down quite hard usually, but our pilot lands a B-24 as
lightly as a small plane. You can hardly feel it hit. Yesterday
we went on a high altitude bombing mission which was quite an
experience. We went up to 23,500 and were only there about 1 1/2
hrs because we took off late, but that was long enough. We
didn't know ahead of time what kind of mission it was so didn't
have heavy clothes. All I took was my heavy caot and summer suit
and it was around 18° below zero. Next time I'm going to take my
heavy pants and fur lined shoes. We had to breathe oxygen from
14,000 feet up.
We get good chow here. We can get fried eggs right off the stove
and the way we want them when they are on the menu, also
hotcakes right off the stove. We get lots of lemonade, cold
chocolate, iced tea, etc to drink. Calisthenics aren't
compulsory but they tell us we have to get in 3 hours a week to
get a pass for the weekend. I don't know how strict they are but
I am going to do them and make sure. I did 1 hour today.
July 18, 1943
When I got back from town this morning I found that I am on a
list of radio operators who are going back to Boise tomorrow. It
makes me mad because I have a bunch of snapshots being developed
in town and I have a whole bunch of laundry that won't be back
til wed. I can have one of the guys on the crew go get
everything for me though and if I come back here I can get it or
if I ship to another place they can mail it to me. I loaned one
of the fellows $5 because he didn't get paid but he will pay me
payday. They are so short of operators that they have to change
their plan I guess. Instead of having two operators to a crew
there will only be one and one of the armorer-gunners will learn
enough about radio to help out. All of us that are on the list
will be put on another crew up at Gowan Field. I am sorry that I
have to leave these guys because we got along good.
July 19, 1943
Yesterday I was listed to leave my crew and ship to Boise but
when today came around we didn't leave and later on today we
found that my crew is leaving for Sioux City, Iowa. My pilot
checked up and I am supposed to stay with him and go with him.
We leave tomorrow morning.
July 21, 1943
We are still sweating out shipping. I think we will leave
tomorrow for sure now. We have been taking life easy since
Sunday. We just lay around and play cards and dodge detail
during the day.
July 24, 1943
We got here (Sioux City, Iowa) at 3:30 AM this morning. This
trip was another dirty one just about as bad as the last one. We
had a sleeper car but it wasn't air conditioned and it was so
hot we had to have the windows open and there was a cloud of
soot all the time. I took off my shirt to keep cool and when I
woke up I was black. We got into Omaha last night about 8 and I
went to the YHCA and took a shower but my clothes were so sweaty
and black I didn't feel much better. To make matters worse when
we got in here the air was real sultry and it still is. A guy
took us into a barracks where there were mattresses but no
pillows or blankets on the beds, then he left without saying a
word so finally we all layed down with our clothes on to rest
till he came back. When we were woke up it was after 8 and we
didn't get any breakfast so went hungry til dinner time.
An officer in our squadron just told us we are assigned to this
squadron permanently. Up to now we have just been attached but
we won't move any more unless the whole outfit moves.
July 26, 1943
I still don't like this weather. Everyone's skin looks greasy
and shiny all the time from sweating day or night. Every
magazine or paper I've picked up is as limp as a rag from the
moisture and cigarettes feel dampish. The air is cooler today
but it is still very damp. It stays like that all the time too.
The elevation here is only 1,093 feet and at Pocatello it was
4,400 feet. When you take clean clothes out of the barracks bag
to put on they feel dampish. This is supposed to be the best
corn state in the union but I would hate to be here all the
time. I went up for a 3 hour ride last night and it was nice and
cool up there. I think it was worth missing the sleep. We were
up from around 9 to 1. We flew down over Omaha which is around
100 miles from here and back in just a short time. And it took
us 3 hours to cover that by train. I was up again today for 1
1/2 hrs. and was nice and cool til we came down. We are right
next to the Missouri river. The Plane had a leaky gas tank or
something. The gas kept dripping down from under the wing where
it goes through the bomb bay so they left the bomb bay doors
open and I kept booking back in case a fire started, but
everything was alright. They are going to fix it before it is
flown any more. We were supposed to fly over to Caspar, Wyoming
this afternoon to get some parts or something but didn't get to
I may get moved back to Idaho again from the way it looks now. I
was supposed to go to Boise but came here instead and today the
communications officer said he got an order from some base in
Idaho to return 1 radio man from each crew soon, but then got
another notice to hold it up awhile. He said it wasn't up to him
to decide which was to go so we don't know what will happen yet.
July 31, 1943
Our crew was off yesterday. We had a 30 hour pass, 6:00 Thursday
evening til midnight last night. Our crew was nearly broke again
but we went to town anyway. Archie Sloman and me got a room
together and stayed in town all night. Yesterday morning all we
had left was busfare back to camp, not even enough for breakfast
but we didn't want to go back so early so we hitch hiked out to
Riverside park and ast around. An old man and two little girls
were fishing in the river and at noon they invited us to have
lunch with them so we did. Then we wanted to go swimming in the
pool so we spent our busfare for that. Later on we hitch hiked
to another park because we had to see someone there. They also
have a ball diamond there and it just happened that the Air Base
team was playing there last night so we got a ride back to camp.
Our squadron only has one plane now and it is still out for
repairs so we are not flying. The captain said it might be ready
today though. It won't be long til we will have a lot of planes
though, also more crews.
Aug. 4, 1943
Our squadron had a picnic yesterday at the park where I was on
my pass. We went out there about 10 and got home at 6:30. They
had food and several kegs of beer and we played ball and
football all day. That is the first time I've seen anything like
that since I've been in the army. All the officers and everyone
went. Our crew had to fly last night at midnight so when I got
home from the picnic I got a couple hours sleep. We went up in a
brand new plane that Jimmy Stewart brought in yesterday. They
say he is going to be in our bomb group here. We were supposed
to stay up til 6 AM but around 3 a ground fog started coming up
so we came down before it hid the ground.
Aug 9, 1943
We had a long flight Friday. We finally got a navigator so took
a trip. We went over to Yankton, S.D., down to Nebraska
somewhere, over to Des Moines, Iowa, up to Sioux Palls and back
to the base. It was cloudy most of the way. That is the first
time since I've been flying that I have been up in cloudy
weather. The top of them was a little less than 6,000 feet and
we flew a little above them all the way. Every once in a while
we could see the ground through a hole in the cloud. We covered
several hundred miles in about 4 1/2 hours. The planes usually
cruise around 160 or so because it is more economical. Our pilot
had it up a little over 200 for a little ways though.
Aug. 14, 1943
Thursday afternoon we had to go on what is called a model
mission. It is carried out like a regular mission in combat. We
were to fly over a lot of territory to several specified bombing
ranges and towns and on the way we had to keep posted at various
stations on the ship to maintain a watch. Before leaving we were
briefed like in combat, by intelligence officers, etc., telling
the targets etc. When we came in, a recon car pulled up to the
plane and we left our chutes and everything right by the plane
and hopped in the car and were taken to the briefing room again
to report everything, what we saw on the way, etc. most of our
missions will be like that from now on. While we were on the way
I got a message over the radio telling us to go up to Mitchell,
S.D. and land and refuel so we landed there and stayed an hour
or so, long enough to gas up and go to the PX for a coke and
Then our crew got a 14 hour pass that night for being on the
ball during the week so we went to town and had a good time, got
home at 4 in the morning. I slept til 9 then got up and monkeyed
around til noon. I took a walk up to operations to look at the
bulletin board and a crew that was going up was short a radio
man so I went up for the ride.
I was finally transferred to another crew yesterday too. I hated
to leave the other one though. This one I am on now has a good
pilot though and they are a good bunch of guys. I went up today
with them for the first time. We just flew around the base and
Sioux City and also took a run down to Omaha.
Aug. 21, 1943
I have been on the go the last few days, flying 10 hours every
other day, etc. They are getting good to us now, us combat crews
get an extra 15 hour pass a week besides our regular 24 hour
one. The only bad thing about our passes we always get them
after we are done flying. Yesterday we flew from midnight til 6
in the morning so didn't get any sleep that night although I
should have slept up til midnight. Then we are off til noon and
flew again til 6 in the evening when our pass started so didn't
get any sleep last night.
Aug. 26, 1943
It was cloudy and rainy this morning but the weather predictions
were for good weather so we took off. We were practicing 3 plane
formation and flew way up into South Dakota about 200 miles from
here. We were supposed to land at 5:30 but didn't get in til
nearly 7 and we are sure tired. Then we had to gas up the ship
and go to chow and it is now 8:15 and time for bed.
Sept. 3, 1943
I just found out that I made Staff Sergeant the 1st of Sept. I
think all radio operators and engineers made it. It makes me
very happy because I have been sweating it out for a month. Our
squadron is going to move up to Watertown, S.D. in a few days
for third phase training. It is a small field a little over 100
miles up from here, and there will only be about 300 men there.
We will be near a fair-sized town which will be good. We will be
the only soldiers around.
Sept 16, 1943
Well we are finally all moved and getting settled. It is quite a
bit colder here than it was in Sioux City. This place is about
80 miles north of Sioux Falls, S.D. which was plenty cold last
winter. This is a small base, only our squadron is here. There
are only a few barracks, a small PX, etc. We have a very nice
day room. It is big and has 2 good pool tables, and 2 ping pong
tables and lots of tables, chairs, floor lamps, and books. We
also have a nice mess hall and ae supposed to have better chow
than at Sioux City because they have a different system of
buying supplies here. We have a bunch of new planes. They have a
nose turret and a belly turret besides the other two. Most all
of the personnel was flown up here yesterday. They used nine
ships in formation and flew back and forth several times to get
them all hauled up here. We got here about 1:30 and I went to
We are going to have some interesting flights here, 1000 mile
cross-countrys, etc. also down over the gulf of Mexico, I think.
Sept. 21, 1943
We are on a bombing mission now. We are only up 10,000 feet but
it is sure cold up here. I have 2 sets of clothes on and my
sheepskins and am just comfortable.
We sure have to go a long time without eating now. We ate at 12
noon and took off at 5 and won't land til 1 in the morning and
then have to gas up the ship before we're through for the day.
We flew down over St. Louis a few nights ago, and it is the most
beautiful sight I've seen from the air, day or night. It is so
big and had so many lights and nicely arranged thoroughfares
I got Tokyo yesterday when we were flying around. They have a
news broadcast in English. Their version of things is sure
different than ours.
Oct. 1, 1943
We have been wording on our plane since yesterday noon. There is
a lot of work to do on a 130 hour inspection, change 112 spark
plugs for one thing and they are in tough places. We were
supposed to fly a mission to Gulfport. Miss. tomorrow and stay
48 hours but it is postponed til later on in the week.
I think I made Tech. Sgt. yesterday but there was a mistake made
on the orders, and I am trailing the proper authorities around
trying to straighten it out.
Oct. 8, 1943
We went on a high altitude gunnery mission yesterday and I had
radio trouble and was working the whole trip. Then we couldn't
find the tow target ship so didn't fire a shot. We fly over to
the western part of S.D. where the Cheyenne river meets the
I am sure glad we are flying overseas, I don't trust those boats
with all the submarines around. It will only take us a few hours
to get across, and then I won't get seasick either.
I am getting up a supply of laundry soap because I suppose we
will have to do our own over there. We had a class this morning
in what is known as ditching, which is abandoning a ship after a
forced landing at sea. It is very interesting and there is a lot
to it. We have to take certain positions and brace ourselves for
the shock of hitting the water and then get out of the ship very
quick and in a certain order. This will take practicing when we
are on the ground because it has to work smoothly, like a fire
drill sort of.
Our ship is finally through with it's 100 hour inspection and is
in good shape. We really gave it a going over. It is a real new
one. It only has a little over 100 hours on it. I don't know yet
what we are going to name our ship. Our pilot said he was going
to name it after his future wife though.
Oct. 11, 1943
This is the first day for a long time that I have had it easy.
No school this morning. We have 3 hours this afternoon though,
but we don't fly today, which is very unusual. We even had to go
to school yesterday (Sunday) and fly in the afternoon. But the
flying was more like a Sunday drive into the country or
something, because we didn't have gunnery or bombing. We were in
a 3 plane formation going to Kansas City, Missouri, and were
supposed to fly at 20,000 feet, but 3 of our engines were
heating up so we dropped down to 11,000 where it was warmer and
we didn't need oxygen so the trip was very enjoyable. We were
low enough to see things more plainly on the ground. We could
see cars running along on their Sunday driving through the
country. We didn't land at K.C. though, but flew around for
awhile and came back. I could see the railroad station and the
Servicemens club where we stopped over when we were going to
Arizona last spring. We also flew over St. Joseph, Mo. where we
stopped awhile last spring.
Oct. 19, 1943
I sure got a scare yesterday. We were going on a gunnery mission
and when I got done loading the top turret, I found my watch was
missing. I looked around and cussed around for a few minutes
then I decided to look up in the turret and there I found it in
an ammunition can. The buckle had broken. I got a buckle off an
old strap a guy gave me and have it fixed again.
Oct. 25, 1943
I went to town and got home at 12:30 yesterday. There isn't much
to do in Watertown on Sunday. I just wandered around town with
Our Captain told us the other day that a general somebody, I
forget his name, said that our bomb group is among the 3 best
trained and efficient, etc. to ever go through the second Air
Force. So we ought to feel proud.
I have been playing football about 4 hours a day for the past 3
days and I am so stiff I can hardly walk around. I haven't had
calisthenics or any exercise more than walking for a long time.
Our bombing group is composed of four squadrons. A colonel is
the commanding officer of the entire group and each squadron has
their own commanding officer. Ours is a captain.
Nov. 3, 1943
We haven't been flying for a long time now, in fact it has been
two weeks today. It used to get tiresome flying every day but
now I think I would give five dollars for a ride.
We have to go over to the base theatre at 1 and see some movies.
I suppose they are training films of some kind. We saw pictures
yesterday for about 4 hours. They showed us a bunch of sport
shorts too yesterday, and it showed some motorboat racing on
Nov. 7, 1943
Well we finally left Watertown yesterday and had quite a trip.
We were supposed to leave in the morning but there was bad
weather here and along the way so we didn't leave til 2 P.M. We
ran into quite a snow storm on the way but got through it after
a few minutes. Tommorrow is my anniversary; a year ago I got up
one rainy morning and went out to Fort Lewis. Tomorrow I have to
spend 7 hours in radio school so I am not going to town tonight.
Monday we get new clothes and equipment, also a new chute, a
chest pack this time. They are much handier in a crowded plane.
Our pilot got after the captain about our ratings so I should
make Tech. soon. We were told a few weeks ago that everyone
would get all stripes they had coming before going overseas but
about half of us combat crew men haven't yet. One of our gunners
threatened to quit so they kind of woke up.
Nov. 8, 1943
All we did this morning was go to a flight control class for 1/2
hr. and now we are off til 2:30. Then we have a clothing check,
when we get new clothes and equipment, including our heated
flying suits and a new type oxygen mask which is a cross between
the two I have, and is much better. Tomorrow we get route
briefing when they will tell us our route we will take. I am
quite sure we will go to England but I haven't heard for sure
yet. I hope so because you only have to put in 25 missions there
and it's 50 in the Pacific area.
We had a lecture day before yesterday by a radio Operator who
bailed out of a B-17 over France and escaped into Spain. He told
us all his experiences on the way and it was very interesting.
Nov. 11, 1943
We got our flying pay today so I guess we will go to town
tonight. We won't have many more chances to have fun in this
country. A sergeant who works in headquarters here told us that
the ratings in our squadron wouldn't go through because our
operations officers didn't turn them in soon enough. All the
other squadrons in our group got theirs. We are the only ones to
be gyped. It sure makes me mad too, when it was just due to
We got our new chutes day before yesterday and they are
something. The back rest zips all around the side and inside is
a million things; 2 boxes of concentrated foods, fishing line
and several flies plus several hooks, a bottle of ointment to
keep insects off, a compass, a kit of medicine and antidotes for
various things, a machette with a ten inch blade and folding
handle, an oil stone, a waterproof match case with matches that
can't be blown out. It is called a jungle pack. When we leave
here we get a 45 automatic and shoulder holster.