Monday, July 10, 2006

22 January1955

Dear Folks

Well, I’m writing, like I promised. However, don’t expect it to be too long, as I’ve got to go to band later this afternoon. Ground school has been cut to just three weeks! Before it was eight or ten! So that means next week is my last week of ground school out here. I’m not exactly broken up about it, but it will be hard to have to take those finals so soon—I’ve got a Navigation quiz Monday, & I’ve got to get a good grade in it or else. We’ve dropped our Aerology course altogether & instead are having a recognition course. We have to learn practically every ship & plane in the United States or any foreign country. They have slides which they flash on the screen at 1/50 of a second, & we’ve got to tell what they are. 1/50 of a second isn’t very long—about as long as it takes you to blink.

I’ve decided that when & if I ever get out of the Glory Boys, I’m going to become a professional Collegian. I’ll go to school for three more years to get my degree in Journalism, then I’ll go four more years & get a degree in something else, & so on. That way I can become one of the most well-educated people in the world. Believe me, when I get back to school, my attitude is going to be completely different from what it was—after all, I’m paying them to go to school—they don’t own me. I can do anything I want any time I want.

The routine around here would probably be of very little interest to you, but I’ll tell you anyway. Reveille sounds at 0530. The COOD (Cadet Officer of the Day) goes on duty about 0500. He picks up the mike that is connected to both barracks, & says "Reveille". Period.

Now, most of the guys around here don’t like the squawk box blaring at them, so they either disconnect it or stuff it full of paper; so when the COOD calls reveille, nobody hears it. Everyone starts milling around about quarter of six, stumbling off to chow (which is just across the street, to the left). The sky is just beginning to get light in the east, over the hangers.

The routine in my room is somewhat different. We never get up until six o’clock. Since we have only one half hour until muster, I never eat, though the chow hall is so close—I don’t mind, though: it’s usually horrible anyway. Well, we all dash around, washing, dressing, making the beds (or "stacking" them—folding everything up & placing it in the middle of the bed). The floor is given a very hasty sweeping, someone runs out with the papers & trash, & there is a general air of ordered confusion. At 0625 or thereabouts, we tumble down the stairs, book bags & plotting boards under our arms, & out the front door. Directly in front of the barracks, which faces east, we have our muster—small groups of ten or twelve with one guy taking roll.

Then we all march the two & a half blocks to the main hangar. This is the center of all the flight operations. On the floor just as you enter through the huge sliding doors (which are only open a crack on cold mornings) is a painted copy of the Standard Field Entry pattern, which everyone must learn & obey if he doesn’t wish to end up running into or being run into by another plane.

In the center of the hangar is the operations desk, where you sign in & out. Large plastic boards tell who the instructors are, & under each instructor the name of his students. After each name is a large area divided into squares for each hour. If you are scheduled for an A-1 hop, this is where you find it & also what time. Also watches & lectures are scheduled on the same board, so that just by looking at it you know what’s going on.

On one side of the hangar are the numerous offices & mail room (stuck away in the Southwest corner, near the sliding doors). On the other side are the Officer-Students & Navcad Ready rooms, where you sit most of the day.

Well, muster is taken again at the hangars by classes—all band members muster by the Safety Notices board. Then, at 0645, we leave for ground school, which is located in barracks just about at the bottom left hand corner of the paper. At 1035, ground school is over. We go & eat dinner (I eat at the Gedunk—bottom right corner) because I’ve usually got a hop scheduled for 1115.
Then we go back to the hanger & sit around till either a) we go on our own hop, b) they secure us (which happens on bad days about 1:00), or c) until 2:30, when everybody goes home. I haven’t had a hop all week, & it gets pretty boring just sitting.

Enough for now—my handwriting is getting progressively worst!

Till next time, I am

1 comment:

Waldenron said...

Gedunk! Now there's a word I haven't heard for almost 40 years--since I left the Navy.

I'm really enjoying your entries, even though my experience was totally different. Some things are still Navy no matter what.