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Feb. 17, 1942

Dear Folks,

Thanks for the letters and the birthday presents. Pa’s letter arrived yesterday, Ma’s today. I haven’t bought the bag yet, for two reasons—the two best places are expecting better selections soon, and last Saturday and yesterday I was too lazy to go shopping. Since I was expecting to buy a bag anyway, I shall incur any possible extra expense myself.

The golf balls will be especially appreciated if they are sent, along with my clubs. I still expect to get a good used set of woods, so don’t send any, but for the time being I think I’ll lay off the idea of getting a good iron set and save up for uniforms (1 greens, 1 blues, 2 khakis, 2 whites, coat, accessories, etc.—all needed besides what one will already have when one is not yet commissioned: 2 whites, 2 blues. Cost: around $300.00. Allowance: exactly $150.00!). Perhaps if I find myself land based, I'll then get some clubs. By the way my old balls would be acceptable too (not Pa’s. They’ll be needed up there). The Ponte Vedra course has several water holes and isn’t easy, though it’s quite well known.

Well now with more than a week of ground school over and first grades in, I can see what it’s like. It’s not bad, but takes too much time unless one wants to quit writing letters or relaxing over a book or magazine. On the whole the courses are pretty good. Some are so short as to have their final grades merged together, as did those on materials (metallurgy), construction (of wings, etc.) and parachutes, which produced a 3.33 for me and a 3.30 for P. Field! All Navy grades, including those for flying checks, are marked on a basis of 4.0 as 100%. I don’t know why. Engines, a much more important course, still continuing, netted a 3.65—a more staisfactory grade (over 90%).I’d like to keep well above average, but it may not be easy with my inevitable distractions and competition coming from “eager asses.” Engines has really been fascinating. They have old engines cut away so as to show what makes the wheels go round, especially with the help of an improvised crank in place of the prop. Other engines we “dissect.” Besides engines we are continuing on ignition and on aerodynamics from last week and touching on propellors and maintenance. As always instructors vary. The best are good, but the worst could be worse. Code continues, but last week I passed the requirements that are needed for checking out of the advanced class and will get excused from ordinary code taking if I do the same for four weeks in a row. This seems unlikely because I was lucky with the blinker (code by lights) and have been practicing sending code, perhaps too much. We have to check out on this too eventually and on code procedure, all code being in code, if you see what I mean (AR, for instance, meaning “end of transmission”). Enough of this. There will be too much by Friday P.M. since this is a tough week. Saturdays, though considered working days, are devoted to special lectures, demonstrations, trips to see something particular. Last Saturday, for example, we had lectures on oxygen use at high altitudes and on aviation duty with the fleet, then went to the A and R shop (repairs).

Again Phil & I went out to the Innlet. On Sunday I went for a bird walk, inland for a change, while he hit a 47 in golf in spite of a fever of 100°F. The bird list now approaches 90, about the latest addition being a song sparrow!

This morning between classes I finished, with much enjoyment, “The Sound of Wings,” which Gamidy sent me some time ago.

Yesterday for some reason we got liberty, but in spite of wanting to celebrate I decided against it because of the heat, a muggy 79°.

So glad you both got in your trips, to Me. and L.I. resp.



P.S. So all I got for my birthday was Pa’s letter, a T-gram from H & E, and a <illegible> at Ship’s Service from Phil. No hurry about the clubs, or rather no rush!

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