Your letters have been as welcome as ever, which is saying plenty, though it may look differently. There’s something about the furious pace out here that is not exactly conducive to letter writing. Attractions ashore are usually more attractive than a crowded room with a strange room-mate. Did I tell you that one of the series of room-mates I’ve had was Charles Farrell, a former leading movie actor?
All your news, by the way, whether it’s about the weather, which, incidentally, must have been pretty tough this spring, on the vegetable garden or whatever has always been the most interesting. I don’t care for such news about people as about Lt. (j.g.) Putnam, but it would have been worse just to get the grim announcement! How about that sister of hers? Ma’s description or rather quotation of Aunt Edith concerning Nance was really killing.
Yes, the Invasion makes big news all right, and the Michelin maps must be just the thing. Doubtless the apparently rather small scale of things will quickly grow. I wouldn’t say that the Italian campaign is overshadowed yet. Notice that it approaches our furthest south in ’27. For me the Pacific war is even more exciting and interesting, naturally. A step as big as the one to Saipan seems almost incredulous. The latest news of the week, the first concerning any of these latest developments (invasion, etc.) arrived to-day, and from now on I expect to do each copy more justice.
Since last writing I’ve spent two nights at the Grays’, the night before and the night of my next to last day off, and I’ve decided they are as nice people as there are. A longish bike ride down the coast road from San Francisco beach and back featured that particular day — some differences from Florida with all the hills here. As with the whole west coast, the coast here is rugged, high banks, in reality ocean-worn hills, and rocky headlands in miles far outnumbering the beaches. San Francisco Bay is certainly one of the wonders of this coast and obviously as fine a harbor as there is in the World. A rough estimate from the map would put it at about fifty miles long northwest-southeast with an average width of nearly ten miles, and yet the Golden Gate is narrow enough for a suspension bridge, even if it does dwarf all others. A still longer bridge, as you probably know, crosses the bay to Oakland, next door to us here, but a small island in the middle helps. With all that goes on in and around the bay and with all the surrounding scenery including mountains up to four thousand feet, you can imagine what it is like to fly around here.
There’s one thing about scenery flying that often hits one in the eye on the ground, and that is seemingly short distances “upstairs”. A nearby mountain seen from the air for instance may turn out to be hours away by road and so hidden as to be completely out of one’s world on the ground.
A word of explanation about formation flying seems in order. A section is the smallest unit above a single plane and may consist of two or three planes. Next above is a division, which often consists of six planes, either two three-plane sections or three two-plane sections, but could consist of anywhere from four to nine planes. The number of divisions in a squadron depends on the size of the divisions and obviously too the size of the squadron. The air group of a carrier, and all I’ve described may be approximate for any air arm, but particularly so for a carrier, consists of several squadrons in the case of a large ship.
Here’s where I’ve been flying:
In training flights we most often operate in separate divisions, but as on “nav” hops may even as sections and could as single planes. In a real attack, however, or in practice the whole air group operates together.
Well, that’s about enough of my scrawl for a while.
Love to All
P.S. Bound Sat. for outflying field just east of Coast Range for 10 days to two weeks night flying.