browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

Stanley’s Sky Suit

Posted by on June 19, 2014

May 2, 1943.  A letter from Stanley to Dad. Dad’s letters from Salt Lake City are finally starting to arrive in Ephrata, Washington where Stanley is stationed. He assumes that Dad is “alright in the Second Air Force. Well anyway we are both in it now. I had hopes that you would have been sent somewhere east, but I guess not. I can imagine how mama feels about it but you can’t do anything about it now.”

The subject of furloughs also comes up, with Stanley advising, “I don’t think you can get travelling time. I did hear rumors that the Second Air Force was going to extend furloughs from 7 days to 14 days. If it were so it would be okay.”  Being on an active base, Stanley writes “If I had a furlough… I could have gotten a ride in a bomber (B-17)…as far as Chicago. Some went there by plane to ferry bombers back.”

He also notes that “they changed the words K.P. – Kitchen Police to MA – Mess Attendant. It was an order of Lt. Col. Edward F. Galler – general mess officer at Atlantic City.” As if changing the name of the duty makes it any better.

The next page and a half of his letter gets very interesting. He starts with, “Here is a goofy idea I thought of. I still say it may be practicable. DON’T TELL IT TO ANYONE.” He goes on to outline the problem of enemy planes hiding in the clouds and how you have to “clear the sky of that menace.” He spends a full page laying out a proposition of having “someone on guard up there with machine guns.”  He proposes “some way of having heavy suits …made to hold hydrogen or helium or some gas like that, that would enable men to rise into the air and have some kind of gadgets to operate for different heights. Have also parachutes and…under the arms…wings so men could float around up there somewhat like a bird.” This detail is interesting as it is not unlike the wing suits used by 21st century thrill seekers. He proposes the outfit would “also have small oxygen helmets”  and that the sky soldiers “would look like men from Mars. By the time you know it you could have the whole army in the clouds.”  To get down “all he would have to do is release gas and drop with parachutes.” He proposes that “they could also easily attack some fortified place. Stay in the air when walking out of a plane and hide until the enemy doesn’t suspect anything anymore and the come down on them. Maybe in the future it will be made practicable. That is the world of tomorrow”

Stanley's drawing of the military sky suit that he proposes in his May 2, 1943 letter to his brother Anthony.

Stanley’s drawing of the military sky suit that he proposes in his May 2, 1943 letter to his brother Anthony.

A modern day wing suit in flight. Image credit

A modern day wing suit in flight. Image credit

He moves off the proposal and lets dad know that he is now with the 613th Bomb Squad (H) and 401st Bomb Group (H). It is a new group and he is one of only two men working in the Squadron so far, the other being a 1st Sergeant. He says “We have an old mess hall for an office. All four new squadrons and Group headquarters are in this mess hall. We are just getting organized.” He notes that “We won’t leave here until the early part of June.” In another part of the same letter he reflects, “I’m going to work hard to see if I can make Staff Sergeant that will be my goal for now. I think I may get it sooner or later as I will have seniority here.”

Before wrapping up he mentions that he “will go into town tonight to see the picture Who Done It” with Bud Abbot & Lew Costello.

Poster Art for the Abbott & Costello movie Who Done It.

Poster Art for the Abbott & Costello movie Who Done It.

Previous Post
Next Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *