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March 25, 1942

Dear Folks,

This is between flights, after an instruction hop the first period, trying to practice precision landings from a long glide and slipping to a landing from any of several positions around the field—from whichever one the instructor chooses to cut the gun. These two procedures are done at small outlying fields with 100' circles in the center—more or less as follows:

       diagrams of small-field precision-landing procedures

The above diagrams may be somewhat confusing, yet may still give an idea. In shooting circles we were allowed until yesterday to make “S” turns to help us get in. In small field procedure, which contrary to the circles we are not permitted to practice alone, we slip to lose altitude quickly if we are tending to over shoot. In the other we can dive a bit in the same case, but there’s nothing to do in case one undershoots except admit defeat, give her the gun and go round again. Our planes, Stearmans (sp.?) are not identical, but very similar to those navy built planes at Squantum.

Well it’s about time to get ready for my solo hop. One wishes sometimes that one went up for just one hop, since each is 1½ hours, and two may be tiring. To-day is windy too, so precision work is very difficult.

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Writing letters, Ma, I consider part or perhaps I should say all of my weekday recreation, and since I believe recreation essential to my welfare, I heartily intend to find time for them even if such isn’t exactly floating around.

Perhaps I overdid the descriptions of Ponte Vedra. It is indeed a haven of refuge, but we haven’t had any really good sun bathing days. Even a “Disgusting mixture of water and coal-ashes over a base of ice” almost sounds nice. Much of the weather has been of the in between type and because of the lack of warm clothing or blankets, as the case may be, has seemed cold. A while ago we had some sweltering weather too, but there hasn’t been any to speak of lingering around 70°F. April, however, should be nice.

You were asking for a description of the barracks some time ago, Ma. They are wooden, but permanent and I think three to each of the three battalions. There are two beds, two closets and a good wash basin to each of the approximately 11 x 17 x 9½ rooms. Phil makes a delightful room mate, incidentally.

My what a pleasant week-end the last was! It hinged on the Watson-Richmond affair of course. Don threw a magnificent dinner in town Sat. night, then, because of no Sunday flying, we all went out to the Innlet where some people by the name of King, friends of Mrs. Richmond, threw a champagne party that lasted until the wee hours. I hadn’t seen it flow like that for years and consumed quantities. Somehow something, said to be the salt air, keeps one from getting absolutely plastered, but everyone got delightfully mellow. What amazed me was that I seemed about the least affected and didn’t have a hangover Sunday, though the quality of the golf might argue otherwise. Don’s girl seems a charmer to say the least. The only other girl in the party, the very pretty daughter of the exiled Austrian ambassador, who sat on my right at dinner with Harvard men, cadets and ensigns, all around, unfortunately disappeared except for a moment early in the evening.

I can’t help smiling about the blackout, but don’t mind me.

I’d like to see “Carmen,” but even more should like “The Magic Flute,” though I don’t believe it’s as good as “Don Giovanni.”

About the socks, Ma, I don’t know that such could be used much since ensigns of the flying variety are provided with leather overshoes, but I’ll try to find out.

Thanks for regretting the wedding. I’m not sure I shouldn’t mind being one of the principles myself.

I’m all fixed for nail clippers thanks—a dull way to end a letter, but it’s about time.

Love to All,


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