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March 18, 1942

Dear Folks,

These days are pretty sad as far as letter writing is concerned, though I can’t say anything too cheerful. For some unaccountable reason I checked for my solo after only three instruction periods, whereas some of the boys with considerably more flying experience ar e getting up to eight hours or so, and since the amount of instruction one gets between one’s solo and one’s twenty hour check is apparently about the same for everyone, I am put at a disadvantage except for being further along. I’d prefer to have more hours in back of me. My check flight, incidentally, was awful. Last week we got back from Lee Field around 7:15 P.M., which gave us no exra time at all since study hour is from 8:00 P.M., right after supper, until 9:30, still not long enough for me to do navigation problems, and taps at 9:45. My week-end consisted of seeing part of a movie Sat. night, sleeping and writing part of a letter Sunday morning, flying in the afternoon and trying vainly to do an “impossible” navigation problem before bedtime.

This week is a little better since we fly in the morning and get through ground school at 5:45. Last week lunch was about 11:30 and supper at 7:15. Now they are at about 2:15 and any time after 6:00 respectively. Next week will be back on the other schedule, which has too three fores instead of three hours of ground school. For the last two weeks navigation has been tough because of the apparent need for speed with accuracy which is fine if one can attain it, not so good if one can’t, and so far I can’t. That’s a two-hour course. The other two hours last week were radio code and radio procedure (code in code—a new language—NADX V A7Q AR, etc.—very dry). This week procedure is finished up.

The flying schedule is as follows: There are three hour and a half periods each morning and each afternoon, and one usually flies two of these, one day two solos and the next an instruction period and a solo period, etc., the remaining period being spent in trying to get in some radio code (3 hrs. a week on one’s own required) or standing watch. We are supposed to get occasional rainy days off, but this morning was very rainy, and when we started for the field, morale was not at a high point. It’s fair to say that it cleared in time for afternoon flying, but all we got was a couple of special lectures and a radio quiz. This week-end approaching, an alternate one with no ground school Saturday, should be more cheerful since Don Watson is throwing a party in town with his bride to be, Rosita Richmond, a former girl of Phil’s—more or less, and there will be two consecutive afternoons and evenings off. Unfortuantely Phil doesn’t get off when I do—just what I got last time.

From the air Florida looks rather more interesting than from the ground. In general around here there is practically no relief and very poor drainage. There is a higher percentage of forest here than even in Groton, but it is mostly not of high quality. Red gum, cypress, and tupelo occupy the swampiest places, along river bottoms and creeks. Live oaks, magnolias, etc., often border these on the drier sides. Badly-burned or scarred from naval stores operations the pines, similar in appearance and habit to our pitch pines, cover by far the greatest areas and themselves often grow in swamps too. On the drier sites fires, mostly incendiary, burn on every dry day. The only open land is around towns and buildings except for marshes. Farms are rare.

Already we have had hot weather, but nothing compared with what we will get. According to the Weather Bureau records, in the World Almanac, the average monthly temperature ranges from 55 in January to 82 in July, these of course including night and day. Boston’s for the same extremes average 28 and 72 respectively. Another comparison is in the precipitation, the extremes here being 2.0 in November and 7.4 in September, and in Boston being 2.9 in June and 3.6 in Jan., March and Aug. We shall get a very hot and rainy period beginning in May, if averages prove anything.

Time for navigation.

Distribute pictures as you see fit. After all they cost $3.00 unless I ever do get more Squantum pictures (lost guy’s name). Thank Jo and Ben for letters—quite a coincidence.

Love to All


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