Sunday, July 30, 2006

31 May - 1 June, 1955

Dear Folks

Sorry for the long delay in writing, but I haven’t had much of an opportunity, what with moving and all. I’ll star this letter tonite, May 31, but won’t guarantee having it finished before tomorrow or the next day.

Before I forget—I gave you the wrong address; as a result, I haven’t gotten any mail since I’ve been here. I suppose it will catch up with me eventually, but we’d better get it straightened out. My complete address is—"Me" Bldg 837, Rm. 117, NAAS Saufley Field, Pensacola, Florida. No BTU-2 at all.

Thank God tomorrow is payday. I honestly haven’t been this broke since college (my first year, at that). I have exactly eight dollars, & those I can’t spend because I’m saving them (they’re crisp new bills I got when I cashed my last few checks). Out of this pay must come $37.60 for car insurance. Also, I can get a used rear end & have it put in for around $80.00 I think. Looks like a lean period coming up. No, poppa, I’m not hinting for a slight advance in my defunct allowance.

In thirteen days I will have been in the Navy ten months. That is a long time, & a longer time will pass before I’m a civilian again.

About five miles north of Saufley is a paper mill which, in the daytime, is used by most flyers as a prominent landmark, which also shows by its billowing smoke which way the wind is blowing. At the moment, it is night, & the smoke is blowing due south, bathing Saufley Field not in haze but a stench not unlike Stormy can produce from an upset stomach.

Told you we were going to Miami last weekend. Well, some of us did, & some of us didn’t. The plane I was in was forced to turn back because of a bad fuel line in the left engine. After waiting eight hours to have it fixed, we were informed that we weren’t going to bother going, as the parade we were to march in had ended an hour previously. Many of the guys on both planes had their uniforms & baggage on the other plane, & mass confusion reigned, since nobody could go anywhere without their uniforms.

How the United States ever won the Second World War, or any other war, is a miracle, if the Navy’s speed & efficiency is any indication of the nation as a whole. I suppose it’s just as well I didn’t go to Miami—I couldn’t have afforded it anyway.

The headlines in tonite’s paper deal with the Supreme Court’s ruling on segregation in schools. The South greeted the edict of "as soon as possible" with great satisfaction—this means that they can keep it as long as they wish, which can mean forever. Georgia says it "will not be possible in the foreseeable future," & the other states are putting their Writs of Secession away again for awhile.

To answer poppa, Saufley is about seven miles from Corry—it is the second step in the training command after pre-flight. Cadets from both Corry and Whiting Fields come here. At the present time, there is a terrific backlog of students building up—as a result, it will be at least three weeks before I. can begin flying.

Here we learn formation flying, which sounds like fun but can also be very "hairy"—you must fly twenty feet from the plane ahead; at times even close. This is about twice as difficult as it sounds, because you must keep exactly the same speed and altitude as the guy ahead of you (at Corry I considered myself lucky to be within fifty feet of any given altitude, and ten knots of any airspeed).

Also here we get introduced to night flying, which I look forward to with no great glee.

Oh, yes—in the next two weeks or so I’ll be getting the Dilbert Dunker, which I’ve told you about before.

My camera is broke again, & the company that made it is out of business, so I don’t know what I’m going to do.

Here it is June—WHEN ARE YOU COMING DOWN?? Make up your mind now and let me know!

Enough for now—I’d best study a little Aerology.


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