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Feb. 6, 1945

Dear Folks,

Glad to hear the orchid and photos finally arrived and were appreciated. Had it been possible to have them sent before our departure from where they originated, their arrival might have been more timely, but circumstances interfered.

I forgot to mention that a dance was given for the air group’s officers the other day, in the evening of course. They had tried to hold it previously, inviting army nurses, but only seven volunteered, so things had to be postponed until a ship-load of navy nurses arrived, sixty odd of the latter (no beauties) coming to our dance, which was deemed very successful by all concerned.

You asked me if I still had the same air crew man, and the answer is yes. His name is Ives (Leland R.), and he comes from Corinth, N.Y., near Troy, I believe. Here’s a picture of us taken in front of a well known hostelry on the edge of a better known volcano crater, and you can see what a nice looking little sailor he is. Young and enthusiastic, he makes a good air crewman, one of the best in the squadron, even if he is only an ARM3C (aviation radio-man third class, a lieutenant supposedly rating a 1C). I’m now flying in Doug Yerxa’s division, he being the man next to me in the other picture. The others are Walker, upper right, Chinn, lower right, and Matthews, lower left. The latter (first name Ward) is one of the few non-fliers, being assistant engineering officer. Son of a geology professor, he is, not surprisingly, more interested in things than most of the boys, and we’ve often gone on excursions together, looking for birds, shells, etc. Another good friend, while I’m on the subject, is Bob Bollinger, another former instructor and now a lt. on his first tour of sea duty. He’s from Idaho, Ward is from Texas (formerly Va.), Doug’s from Conn., my wing man, Charles Duss, is from Mo., so you can see how representative we are.

These days find us pretty comfortably established. I don’t need a mirror, by the way, but could use a razor strop if it could ever catch up. The book still lags behind me, as does a present, mentioned in a letter from Ham, from Great Neck. The H.A. Bull. would be nice too if it could bridge this gap more successfully, which, however, seems doubtful.

My books are all on shelves now, and somehow it’s a very comforting feeling to have them there. They are in considerable variety, too, though the “classics” and various volumes on Pacific geography are out of proportion to the others. Helen MacInnes’ “While Still We Live” (actually from the local library) is the present main attraction, but its more or less introductory chapters are having considerable competition from a terrific cross-word puzzle and frequent though usually discouraging games of Canfield.

The food now is excellent, another fine feature of our present set-up, and altogether we are well taken care of.

Things are looking up everywhere, aren’t they? The Berliners must be getting pretty jittery, and even the citizens of the various Ruhr cities can hardly feel comfortable. Just so long as our efforts in the West, fine as they are, don’t appear too puny to our friends on the opposite front! May we, in short, have much to say at the peace table, and may all those at the peace table remain at peace. Jubilant must be about the word for the people of Manilla [sic]! I almost forgot to mention, speaking of fronts, that we rode some time ago on a ship that took part in the invasion of France.

All for now; love to all! T.

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