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 Letter to Helen [10/20/41]

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Midway Island

Oct 20, 1941

Dear Helen,

You can tell Mom she doesn't need to feel slighted that I'm telling you where I am but didn't tell her. Just now got the word that we can tell the folks where we are at, but can't tell why we are , or for how long, or anything else. That secret isn't hard for me to keep because it is a secret to me and to everyone else in the squadron, including the officers. When we left P.H. [Pearl Harbor] Friday morning, we still hadn't got over the surprise and shock of learning on Thursday evening,less than twelve hours earlier,that we were pulling up stakes, folding up tents, etc and shoving of [sic] for places unknown. We were all, that is those of us who hadn't gone over onto the beach --it was payday--peacefully lying in our sacks doing this and that, playing acey-deucy, cards, telling sea stories and all the rest of it, when in came the Boatswain's Mate with the folling [sic] message "Everybody report down to the hangar immediately, and that means everybodywhether [sic] you are in the duty section or not"

Well there was much griping and questioninng [sic]. "Whats up. And what the Hell's the idea of working us when it is our day off. etc. But all the comfort the boats would give us. Was that there was only one way to find out and that was to go down a [sic] and find out. And so when we did go down it was to find out that we were going to work all nite getting the planes ready for a quick trip to Midway. So with the aid of floodlights it was done. The ones who had gone ashore began to trickle in,; in various stages of sobriety, from cold sober to snoopy drunk.

When an outfit is shoving off on such short notice and a lot of its men are ashore, it is broadcast that they are wanted immediately. And they have to leave immediately what they are doing and get going, and no argument.

It really was hard on two fellows. One of them was a newlywed of two weeks, the other a bridegroom to be in a week. That is where the single fellows have it all over the married ones.

I had a lot to say the other nite, like I usually do the first nite whe [sic] hit a new place, but I's all evaporated now after the ifirst [sic] newness is worn off.The I don't doubt that we will be seeing a lot of new faces before long, and if we do and if it's my turn to write and all the othere [sic] circumstances and factors are favorable I might be able to get hot and tell something really interesting about something.

Have done hardly a lick of work since getting here. The weather is nasty and they don't fly in nasty weather unless it is an emergency. Ive been all morn-in the plane here, fooling around on this and that and using the radioman's typewriter to write letters to people.

Last nite I had to stand a watch on a plane morred, I mean moored, out on the water. There were three of us, a pilot, a radioman and me, a mechanic. If the plane shoudl [sic] drag its anchor somebody has to be there to see that it doesnt come drifing [sic] in onto the beach. Somebody is also be awake at all times on the plane but it is hard to check up on them without going to the trouble of getting out a boat and going out [illegible, switches to hand-written text] find out. So the senior men said to the two of us "We'll stand our watches in our bunks tonite. And if anyone asks how we stood our watches you, Finn had the first one from 6 to 10, Thomas, you had the 10 to 2 and I had the 2 to 6. Now, good nite".

Are you getting some prints of those Mosgaard pictures?

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 Letter to Helen [10/20/41]

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