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Plenty of Fresh Milk

Posted by on June 7, 2017

August 20 and 25, 1945. Stanley writes two letters to Dad from “the heart of Texas,” Abilene. He writes that they left Sioux Falls on the 16th and arrived in Abilene on the 18th, traveling the entire way in air-conditioned Pullman cars. They had a dinner stop in Kansas City for “a meal…at Fred Harvey’s restaurant,” followed by a layover in Ft. Worth. Of Fort Worth he writes, “If the place wasn’t so hot I wouldn’t mind living there…it has some beautiful buildings and parks.” After the layover in Fort Worth, they had another 5 hours by train to Abilene.

As far as his impressions of the base, Stanley writes, “This place isn’t a bad place. It is small and you don’t have to sweat out lines either in the PX, beer line, cafeteria or mess hall….The field itself is about four blocks square. You can walk from one MP gate to the other in a few minutes. In the evenings this place is actually deserted. …Of what I saw of the town…it looks pretty good for a small city. …The streets have green lawns and a lot of trees and a lot of beautiful one family homes.”

A WWII era aerial photo of Abilene Air Field. USAAF Public Domain Image.

He goes on to detail that the base is “a small P-47 fighter base and they train Mexicans and some South American fellows as fighter pilots.” As far as the dress code on base, “At all times we have to wear a hat and have our sleeves rolled down and buttoned no matter how hot it is outside. If we go to town we have to wear a tie.”  He writes “This Abilene field is sure like an oven sometimes,” at times, “the temperature rises to 103 degrees.”

Republic P-47N-5 three ship formation. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Other than the oppressive heat, Stanley has a lot of good things to say about being stationed at Abilene. “Our food has been the best we’ve had in a long time. We get plenty of fresh milk and I sure drink plenty of it when I can. I have also been drinking about three bottles of beer each evening. …For dinner we had steak and it was really good. We have German PW’s doing K.P. serving on the line, cleaning tables and washing the trays.” He continues, “When we first got here the fellow on the GI bus taking us here told us how good and what not it was here. At first I thought he was bull throwing. But I guess he is right.”  

Stanley is working for the Orderly Room, but “Since they have no room in the orderly room here I work in the supply room office doing some typing for the orderly room. Occasionally I help Supply out a little.”  He suspects that he will either be staying in Abilene or will be sent to Sweetwater, Texas. Either way, he mentions that both bases are under the command of the same CO. He does not mention the name of the CO but relays, “He flew 73 missions in the ETO.”

Stanley takes time to address his hopes for his brother, “Well brother now that the war is almost at a close where you are, what do you think they might do with you and your outfit? I hope you don’t stay there as an occupation Air Force. Hope sincerely that you can come home faster.” He closes, “Well, God bless you brother and here’s hoping you get back quicker.”

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