July 19, 1945
I am seven kinds of a damned fool! I'll agree with anyone on that. In the past I have done quaint and horrible things! I may even have been childish (grrr.) but even I learn why I'm wrong. So now let's be for getting things straight.
I honestly believed that your letters were tied up in the mail - I know that you had written! I didn't tell my mother to ask you to write. That's her own idea. I mentioned that your letters were lost in the mail. On second thought, I did say she should tell you to write to me here because I wasn't leaving. The way I explain things she probably got it mixed up. Even though I did it once before, that would be a pretty cheap thing to do. I didn't have enough money to call you or I would have. If I had any sense at all I could have made things more clear. Please don't think I was crying on my mother's shoulder. It makes me feel like a plug nickel. I believe in you Darling - so much that on doing some back thinking I get pretty ashamed of myself. I read all of this stuff all over and even it doesn't sound very clear. Gee whiz, you know how I feel. I'm a no good so and so and you shouldn't even bother to send me the boy scout knife.
Part two is some of my analyzing. There are a lot of "I's" in it and maybe it's a lot of hooey, but it's the stuff that goes on in my head. It's about what happened to me. If things had gone right, I should be on my way overseas. At the last minute something went wrong. I didn't have anything to do with it. All the big wigs admit that I got a bum deal and that I should have gone out instead of Mcqueen but there isn't anything that can be done. I wanted badly to leave with Buck and the gang. Aside from liking them and getting along together O.K., I had faith in the crew. I was willing to trust my life with them just so much as they were willing to trust theirs with me. That's very important in flying. That's one reason I wanted to stick with them. This next stuff is probably a hell of a lot of stuff to say but you're closer to me than anyone else so you can understand. I'm scared of the B-29. It's an amazing scientific wonder and all that. It's the greatest wartime airplane in the world. It actually performs miracles. But it isn't perfect yet. There are a lot of bugs in it. So I'm scared of it. It isn't just me. Everyone that flys in it is scared. I doubt if there's a man here that wouldn't rather be in B17's. We're all scared but that doesn't mean we're cowards. We'll continue to fly it as long as there's a war. The greatest percentage of 29 losses are due to operations, not combat. Every mission I fly in a 29 is flirting with death. What's the difference if it's here or overseas. It hits the ground just as hard on either side. All this is to explain another reason for wanting to leave last Tuesday. The sooner I get in overseas and get in all my missions, the sooner I can get out of 29's. Now I've got about 20 more missions here before I get into the big league. I'll sweat every one of them out.
The wind up of this analysis is right and wrong. I should be overseas by now. A man who isn't in combat isn't doing the country one damn bit of good. I stop to wonder about how many of the fellows that came into the army with me three years ago are still as safe and comfortable as I am. Even though it isn't my fault in any way, I feel guilty. I wonder what guys like Bill and Johnny think about it. They've done a job while I've been wasting so much time. How can I ever stand up against them? So that's another reason I wanted to leave. That's about all of my true confessions. I'm scared but I'm not yellow. I wanto do what I have to and I want to get it over with so I can go home to stay. I had to get this off my chest. What do you think about it all. I suppose you're pretty disgusted with me. I don't blame you much, I'm pretty disgusted with myself.
The latest news is if nothing else definite. I'm assigned to another crew. No. 2213. I go through the whole works all over again and am scheduled to leave Sept. 25th. I've only met the Pilot so far. He is Dana Hardy of Boston, a 1st Lt. I'm sharing a room with him and he seems like a nice fellow. He's been flying a long time so he should know his job. I'll probably meet the rest of the crew in a couple of days.
I've gone through a thermos bottle of black coffee while writing this. That little gadget is a great morale builder to me.
Ya want another lesson in B29's huh? O.K. our subject today will be speed. The air speed indicator on a plane registers the speed in miles per hour that you are traveling through space. Suppose we are going along at 200MPH indicated at 20,000 feet with a temperature of -10C. There's a lot of converting to be done to find true air speed and ground speed. You've got to know these things to bomb acurately or meet your fighter protection at the correct second. So here's what you do. There's a gadget known as an E6B computer that does all the figuring for you. You change your 200MPH indicated to knots. That would be 173. Then you place your alt. 20, 0000 opposite your free air temperature -10C on the computer scales. On the inner scale you find 173 and read opposite it on the outer scale. The answer is 243 nautical miles per hour. Changing that back to statute MPH you get 280 miles per hour. So, not allowing for wind, if your indicator measures 200MPH you're actually going over the ground at 280 MPH. The difference changes with altitude and temperature. The wind has a lot to do with your actual ground speed. For instance if we were heading along at a course of 270 degrees we'd be backing a head wind and would be going 30k slower or if we were going 90 degrees we'd have a tail wind and be going 30k faster. Also if we were going at 180 degrees we'd maintain the same speed but you can see that we'd be blown to the right. Our compass would point to 180 degrees but we'd actually be heading around 170 degrees. so to make good on our original 180 degrees we'd head the plane at 190 degrees then we'd be blown back to 180 degrees. This is known as drift and it's a hell raiser. Some of the winds over Japan hit 200 MPH. It may be hard to understand all this but if you have an E6B it's very easy and very accurate. Sometimes we get a ground speed of well over 300 MPH and sometimes it's down as low as 150. It all depends on altitude and wind. That's enough for lesson number 2. You've got me all confused now.
Did Bill get my little gift yet? Ya know he could become very attached to something like that.
That was a swell letter I got today but there was one thing lacking. This affair about Bertha with the sinus trouble! I'm dying with curiosity.
Do you have trouble reading my writing? I do!
Ask Myles what a flying (blank blank) is. He's get great delight out of telling you. I'm too bashful! This stuff is beginning to blue on me so mayhaps I'd better dry up.
I wish I were in Chicago so I could rub your tummy for you. I still don't know how you came out of the operation that wasn't an operation.
How's your Mom and her twinkle coming along? I'll bet she looks like a siren now. Do people ever mistake you for sisters? We'll have to start calling her Eileen.
I'm trying to work out some kind of a system so we can swindle someone out of a bicycle for Eddie. Don't say anything to him. I broke enough promisies to him about bicycles. Let's just plot silently.
Well, I've been windy enough for one day. I've got to go fight with a Captain about my ground school credits. Bye for now.
I love you