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  • Writer's pictureFlea Market Love Letters

May 3, 1943.



Hi Pappy: 


At last I’m getting a little time to myself again, now I can catch up on my correspondence again, and boy it’s sure high time I write, heck it’s more than two months since I last wrote you, I’ll bet you thought I had gone overseas or got shot up, ha ha. 


For the past two months or more I have been so dam busy, I didn’t get much time to do anything, I had as many as seven different jobs to handle, not all at the same time of course, but for several days I had to do three jobs at one time, I had to run the school and also do the work of my clerk and stenographer, they were both sick and boy did I have a time of it. 


I didn’t know half the job I had to handle, but I sure as heck learned them the hard way and plenty fast, ha ha. 


It’s a good thing I can type or I guess I would still be typing out my reports, ha ha. So many fellows were sick here that I had to go just about every job connected with my work and it was rugged there for a while. The boys are all back now, and all I have to do now is teach and supervise the student marching but thats plenty itself, boy the type of men we are getting for students now sure are a sorry mess, half of them are not worth the cost of the powder and shell to shoot them, they just don’t give a damn whether they learn or not, they just won’t try to learn. 


Lately about all we do is keep the place clean and in order and be on our toes for inspections and conventions, the school is rated the best in the air corps already and naturally its a model for others, officers from headquarters and other schools flock here for conventions and to inspect and observe our method, boy there’s always a mess of them around, that’s the “penalty” we must pay for making this the best school. A year ago this was a swamp and river, the river course was changed, the swamp drained, and work began, July 5th. Classes began in barracks and August 15th the school was completed and we moved in, so you can see we were on the ball to put this school on top in such a short time. 


I may be shipping out of here soon, there is a big “rumor” that all Scott Field men will be shipped out within the next sixty days, and it looks like that will happen, they sure are shipping the older men out fast lately. A good many of my buddies have left already and many more are listed to leave soon, some went to officers schools, others are operators on planes being ferried to the battle zones, and one of them was sent to Santiago, Chile to teach the Chilean army how to use our radio equipment, he was made a lieutenant in the army. Recently we lost the first man from our squadron, he was sent out to observe for the school and was killed in action. 


About two weeks ago I was called before an examining board for a special school, I don’t know if I made it for sure, but the officer in charge said I had excellent qualifications so I think I’ll get a crack at it. The way they do things in the army, I can expect to ship suddenly, usually you are lucky if you know you are shipping a day in advance, so I’m getting ready now then I’ll be set if they call me for shipment. I don’t think I’ll ship for a few weeks yet because we are short on instructors in my division, but as soon as they get enough instructors I’ll be able to be released for shipment. 


I was promoted to staff sergeant April 4th, now if I don’t make this special school and graduate O.K., I’ll have a long wait before I get another promotion, I must have two years service in to make the next grade. Things are not going so bad lately, except hat I can’t seem to get enough sleep lately, (and it isn’t a woman, ha ha.) we are on the night shift from 2 A.M. to 10 A.M. and the first few days were rugged, I had a tough time getting used to eating breakfast at midnight, dinner at 5 in the morning, and supper anytime from noon to six thirty in the evening (whenever I managed to get there), ‘m getting used to it though, we Boone boys can take it, what do you say Pappy? 


We now have planes right in the school rooms, where students can work under actual conditions and learn the location of the radio equipment and how to use it right in the planes themselves, we also have an overseas training section for ground forces, there everything is set up to duplicate a flying field near the front, machine gun nest, fox-holes, ammunition dumps, planes and radios hidden in the trees help train the men as fast as possible for actual combat service, so you can see that the men who graduate from this school are well trained. 


The weather out here is swell except for one thing, that is dust, so far we have not had rain this spring and the days are usually nice and sunny and everything is dry as heck, so we have plenty of dust, this prairie wind is nearly always blowing, and some days it blows so strong that takes doors and windows out of the buildings, for the past two weeks we had dust storms almost every day and boy its really bad at times, it just about chokes you. 


Sioux Falls is all set for a big day tomorrow, Capt. Joe Foss the marine ace is home, and the town is all set for a big celebration, he’s a farm boy from just outside Sioux Falls and him being the top America ace they are having a big time, I may go in to see the parade and things, I don’t know yet. 


Enclosed are the pictures I took down at your parents home, they are the only one’s that were good, I didn’t know enough about operating that camera and I messed some of them up, those other pictures were taken up here during a blizzard and after, those are our barracks and the theater is at the end of the street on the one picture. Our pal Woody was home on furlough early in March, he was so busy that he didn’t get to see the boys, he got married while he was home, by heck it looks like I’m the only “gentleman” left, ha ha. I guess I’ll have to get married soon too and join you boys again. 


We have more women around here than ever before, but I’m still safe, ha ha. I still haven’t bothered to date any of them up, although several virtually asked me, these women out here sure are man hunters, by hell the fellows sure are getting married right and left, so I think I had better play safe, ha ha. 


How are you and the folks getting along these days? I hope every one is well and getting along good, I guess the spring fishing fever has you by now, hasn’t it? Boy I sure feel homesick again, I miss my spring crow hunting and the open country again, boy I sure wish I could spend a few weeks back home now. How are you making out with fishing or didn’t you do any yet? I hope you at least caught enough to feed the cat, catch a few sardines for me if you go fishing Pappy. By heck when this mess is over and I get back, we will have to get after them and really catch a mess, what do you say Pappy? 


Snuffy is O.K. and getting along good, he was still in Florida the last i heard of him, he expected to be shipped to a new camp, but I don't know for sure yet, I didn’t hear from him for quite a while but I should get a letter any day now. My other brother was home for a thirty day furlough, he is in the marines and was fighting on Guadalcanal Island and got malaria fever, so he was sent home to rest up and recuperate, the old boy didn’t do so bad so far, sometime ago there was a write up in the Reading paper about him and according to that he and his group of men cleaned out a few jap machine gun nests, he was cited for it but he doesn’t talk much about the fighting. 


Well Pappy, I guess I must close for now, it’s getting late and I still have to catch  a little sleep before I go to school or I sure as heck won’t be worth a darn, ha ha . 


So long for now, and very best wishes to all, 

Red

Sgt. John Pounder Jr. 


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