July 22 & 23, 1943. Two letters from Stanley to Dad. The first one is a short one-page note, and mainly serves as an excuse for Stanley to use some base letterhead that was lying around the office. He mentions that they had a group review the previous day. “We usually have it just before we move out of a place. Our six planes were flying awfully low right above our head. They were so low that the ground actually trembled and you could feel the wind of the planes as they went by.” In other news on the 22nd, Stanley mentions that he received a tin of 50 Lucky Strike Cigarettes from the Millard Fillmore Post 2930 of the VFW in Buffalo, NY. Since Stanley does not smoke he said that he is sending the cigarettes home for Eddie, who does. Finally, Stanley mentions that they will be moving to Cut Bank which is “on an Indian Reservation and is about 100 miles north of here…about 30 miles from the Canadian Border.” He mentions that Cut Bank is shown on the letterhead and that they will not be able to cross into Canada while in Cut Bank.
Stanley has a little more time and is able to write a longer letter on the 23rd. He writes of some entertainment that they had on base then goes into some detail on a lecture on the raid on Japan that was given by a Captain Watson. As I was reading Stanley’s account of the lecture and doing a little research, it became evident that the raid on Japan was the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo that took place on April 18, 1942. This was the first US military action against Japan of the War, occurring roughly 4 months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Rather than summarizing Stanley’s account of the lecture, I am including the full excerpt from his letter of July 23, 1943 in which he writes about the lecture. Much has been written about the Doolittle raid. Rather than getting into a historical discussion, let’s go back to 1943 and the base theater in Great Falls Montana:
If you are unfamiliar with the Doolittle raid, please take the time to follow the links above to learn more about it. At the least follow this link to learn about the Doolittle Raider Goblets and the tradition that the surviving veterans of the raid carry out to honor their fallen fellow airmen.