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June 1, 1942

Dear Folks,

Speaking of weather ours varies from pretty clear to very cloudy more often than not being one of these extremes rather than somewhere in between, but it has been almost continually hot and muggy. Every so often comes a rather violent shower, almost a cloudburst, but with little or no thunder and lightning. As summer comes on, the extremes of heat, humidity and rain will doubtless become more marked. Only once or twice recently have I been cold up in a plane, and this has always been in an open cockpit and lately minus any kind of jacket. Seldom, however, does one go above 5000 feet. As you may have gathered, things have moved along pretty fast and reasonably well of late. It was just two weeks ago that I checked out of Ryans, and I guess a week ago tomorrow that I checked out of SNJ’s. Powerful, fast and smooth compared with anything else of one motor around here they were really fun to solo and with their wheels up (cruising) pretty nice looking. We return to them soon for instrument flying. Our present planes, OS2Us, are slower, but easier to fly and so ideal for formations. One has two days of three plane formations and I guess two more of nine planes (if this isn’t confidential), and this is the second day of the former.

On our various rides one sees a good bit of country of course. There are good spots of farmland as well as the almost endless river bottom hardwoods, hammocks (upland hardwoods), pines and wet grassy areas, but south of Jacksonville they are in this vicinity much the exception. Perhaps I mentioned before that Florida ranks third, I think, after New Hampshire and Maine, in per cent of area in forest land of all the states. Far western states, it must be remembered, have without exception large areas of prairie and desert. Most of eastern Washington and Oregon are this way, for instance, and, as Ma has seen, the same is true of Colorado. Yes, Pa, you must get out west after the War’s over. The mere thought of it almost thrills me—but this is Florida, and while it is interesting, it is perhaps on the whole disappointing. The main trouble is of course not being able to get around to see more of it. Even when one occasionally might get time, there is no gas or tires. There will be busses to the beach to be sure, and before long I should be getting days off not spoiled by reexams, radio or demerits. I had two hours (my first) to “march off” yesterday, otherwise a free day, because of forgetting to sign in after a flight. Instead of going to the beach, which I haven’t seen for maybe a couple of months, I went for a long walk on the station and later went to town for a juicy steak (there is a favorite restaurant—Bizeu) and an amusing movie, “My Favorite Blonde”—well named since Madelaine Carroll is the heroine.

Many bits of spare time, now frequent, are spent on books (Cronin, Buchan, Van Wyck Mason, etc.—what next? Any ideas, Pa? There’s a library.), letters and magazines (Sat. Post—“Assignment in Brittany”—Life and Newsweek, principally), and now and then my dear old thesis.

Love to All


P.S. Come to think of it I might as well continue for a bit since I don’t seem to be scheduled for a morning hop.

Another thing I’m doing more and more is swimming in either of two pools, one a 25 metre, I guess—deep and with diving board—the other a nifty 50 metre job, new but only 6′ deep. It doesn’t take long these days to work up a glow. A little ambition should keep one from getting too flabby. At least on a grip machine the other day in town the guy said my squeeze was the best he had ever seen!

Yes, the submarine situation is rather desperate, isn’t it, especially when people stupidly say that we’re building two ships a day and soon will be building more, so everything’s OK, not realizing that far more ships are being sunk, that men that took a long time to train are being drowned and that undoubtedly more and more submarines are being built. We should be studying things like bigger and better depth bombs, more watertight compartments, new convoy systems, etc. They ought to experiment with huge supply planes too. Speaking of planes it looks as if Hitler and his boys have a few more things to worry about, but it’s all rather grim too.

Send my best to people at the wedding, especially Mary and Bobby (Tell Nance I’ll send her $5.00 if she’ll get me a present for them), and of course Molly, Gardie, Owie, Grandma, etc.

Just now found out my advanced training will be VO–VCS—catapult seaplanes attached to cruisers or battleships.

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