July 10-15 1943. A few letters home from Dad. As he is writing his letter home on the 10th he is once again pulling QC duty. It gives him some quiet time to reflect and catch up on his correspondence while listening to The Barn Dance and The Hit Parade on the radio. He welcomes the day’s news about the invasion of Sicily and the Germans being stopped again in Russia. With the time on his hands doing CQ duty he is able to write a 3 ½ page letter, or as he calls it “a really long informal visit with me.”
He has yet to hear anything on his promotion to Corporal and admits that “the way I feel right now, it doesn’t bother me as I am getting used to KP” to the point where he isn’t even tired when he gets off his shift. He writes, “Now that I don’t care too much I wouldn’t be surprised if my rating came through tomorrow or shortly thereafter because I just seem to have a different attitude toward it. It is one of those things in the Army where certain action is taken and then you have to wait until everything melts but the lava and then when you the least expect anything, the fireworks begin and you just don’t know where to hitch your horse.”
He has not heard anything regarding his application to ASTP either, although he has “read in a Kansan paper that some schools were opening up along the lines of engineering …around the 1st of August…Sometimes I learn more about the Army from the outside by reading the papers than I do from being in the Army itself.” In answering his sister’s exhortations to take whatever advantage he is offered, Dad writes, “Whatever the ASTP offers I will consider carefully and see what I think I am best fitted for should I pass the ASTP Board. Any kind of education is better than none at all.”
He reflects that his niece is “growing up quite fast and when we get home she will probably begin to understand things and will be wondering what two strangers have entered the house and dare to sleep under the same roof with her.” Based on some comments in a previous letter from home, Dad comments that, “From what I hear she is building up quite a soprano voice as when anyone comes to her she gives off with an aria ‘There’s no Place like my Mama’ or “To Grandma I want to go.’”
His comments about the timing of his rating seems prophetic as by the 14th his rating has finally come through and he has been promoted to Corporal. He wasted no time sewing the stripes onto his uniform and is proud of his accomplishment. “I feel pretty good with these stripes and I’ll do nothing to lose them plus that $66 a month I’ll be getting now. It isn’t the money that I care about; it’s the idea that I have been recognized as a useful member to the U.S. Army.” Although he concedes that the news will probably not “make mama feel any better when she gets her last 3 remaining teeth pulled out.”
He once again addresses the reasons for the background checks. “They are investigating all persons around the 21st Wing because they cannot take chances on having a fifth column operating around here considering the job we have to do, and when the war ends someday and I still remember, you will then find out what work I have been doing. …I just want you to have the right idea that the investigation is not the result of my trying to go to ASTP, and I was I who gave in those three names as references in an application we had to fill out for the investigation and not the ASTP.
Yes, Dad even saved the orders which announced his promotion to corporal. You can download and view the .pdf of it by clicking here.