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July 14, 1943

Dear Folks,

With the kids now all gone things must be pretty quiet. I suppose Nance is around off and on. What is she going back to Des Moines for? A secret no doubt. If J.B. had only got leave a little sooner, it would have been pretty swell, but I gather he is well, which is the main thing—after some perhaps rather grim and close calls in Africa.

There isn’t much to report from this quarter. Summer thunderstorms have become common. They come from huge thunderheads that cover many square miles and frequently interfere with flying. From a distance, however, these storms with their cumulus clouds building up into tremendous flat-topped, anvil-shaped affairs are most impressive. I’ve still managed to get in plenty of flight time. Our squadron is now well along in dive bombing, has had one navigation hop (I chased and was embarassed to find my compass around 20 degrees off) and is about to begin gunnery. Sometimes we have a flight as early as 6:30 A.M. and sometimes one after supper lasting until 8:00 P.M., but they never give one both the same day. We usually have two one and one half or two hour hops, sometimes three, but lecturing before and after each as well as getting ready, etc., etc., takes a lot more time. Every so often I have to be the so-called “Ready Duty Pilot,” a twenty-four hour job, one P.M. to one P.M., but when flight operations are secured one can retire so long as one can be reached immediately at B.O.Q., the idea being to have a pilot ready for any emergency whether connected with operations from this station or not. It involves a lot of sitting around and trouble getting a stand-by for when one goes on a regular scheduled hop.

I’ve finally moved to what used to be the Junior B.O.Q., now the center for meals (large dining room) as well as quarters. All the rooms are doubles, but only student officers have room-mates, so people like me have lots of room. Recent Annapolis grads learning about naval aviation in a few weeks now occupy the other building. My walls are covered with National Geographic maps, 13 in all (continents, oceans, U.S., World, etc.), more than twice as many as I had at Lee.

Yesterday I played tennis for the first time in ages, and it felt pretty good. The new courts here are pretty good.

The Vero situation is well in hand or at least unchanged.

Tell Jack there’s a new Navy fighter, the F6F “Hellcat,” out—like an overgrown “Wildcat” with same motor as “Corsair.” I saw two at Glenview, but until now their existence has been secret.

Love to all,


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