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It Feels Fine to Be Sgt.

Posted by on May 16, 2015

August 30 & September 1, 1943. A couple of letters home from Dad while he is stationed at Topeka Army Air Base. He starts off with the news of another promotion, this time to Sergeant after being a corporal for only month and a half. He boasts, “How does it feel to have two brothers who are Sgts.?Tell papa to rub his muscles a little more as he’s got much more to back up now. …I understand I make $78.00 a month now which is only $2.00 short of the $80 I made at Interstate, but here I get my lodging and food.” The orders for his promotion are here.

He reflects that the promotion hasn’t changed anything in the short term except for one immediate benefit. “It feels fine to be Sgt. as K.P. seems to be a long way off. I have got work as usual to do and this week and next I will have to do S/Sgt. Mann’s work as he is on furlough and Ball as usual is gold-bricking.” He also comments, “When I get some extra Sgt. stripes, I intend sending a pair for Theresa Marie to wear on her bathrobe.

We also get an update on Womack, who seems to be quite a character. “This new guy Womack we have around here is the guy who was AWOL a few days and accepted company punishment in place of court martial. He was a Pfc. but got busted to a Pvt., and his mail comes addressed to him as Sgt.. Wotta guy!

In a previous letter Dad mentioned that the swimming pool on base was almost finished. Here we get an update, “The swimming pool here opens up on Sept. 4th and if they delayed it any longer, maybe we could have been ice-skating before they finally opened up the pool.”

Dad also writes that he got a close up look at the some of the bombers on base. “Two days ago I and another fellow were up at the “plane” place in the evening, and those babies that bring the bombs to Hitler are great machines. We looked in, out and around them. I’ve never been up in one yet but maybe someday I’ll get an opportunity.”

An excerpt from Dad's letter dated September 1, 1943 in which he describes getting a close up look at some of the bombers stationed on the base.

An excerpt from Dad’s letter dated September 1, 1943 in which he describes getting a close up look at some of the bombers stationed on the base.

Dad does not specify whether they were looking at a B-17, B-24 or B-29. From what I’ve found online, it is likely that the plane was a B-29 as the training mission of the 2nd Air Force started to move from B-17s and B-24s to the B-29 Superfortress in mid-1943.

a 1944 photo of B-29's being assembled in the Boeing Wichita production plant.

A 1944 photo of B-29’s being assembled in the Boeing Wichita production plant.

In other news, he follows up from his overseas physical “I still haven’t heard anything about my X-ray.” He closes his letter saying “I will write again whe I get more to say. For the present, God Bless You and Protect You.”

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