Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Monday 2 May 1956

Dear Folks

Well, you can stop chewing your nails (if you were)—I’ve been granted a temporary reprieve---at least until the next check hop. However, I’m never going to worry about any other hop as long as I last in the program. Now that you’ve been alerted to the fact that there are termites in the structure, don’t be surprised if it collapses one day—in other words, don’t expect all to be rosy now that I’ve got one problem behind me.

Started acrobatics today—they seem like they might be fun. Tomorrow I have two solos, & will have a chance to practice some loops & rolls. I blacked out on a loop today—first you go straight up & then come straight down. Gravity does some odd things to you—it can make you weigh several times as much as you actually do. When you’re heading straight down & try to pull out of the dive, all the forces of gravity tend to keep pulling you straight down; all the blood is pulled down, too, & leaves your head—& you may black out. If you attempt to pull out of a dive too very fast, the gravity (or "G"’s as we call them) can tear the wings off the plane.

Get my card from Shreveport? That town is, I believe I said, as dead as a doormouse. No amusement parks, no good movies, no nothin’. Oh, well. We marched in two parades & played in one concert. Did learn something of interest, though. The people of Shreveport are Acadians—remember "Evangeline" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow? The Acadians were a group of settlers in Nova Scotia; they were driven out & their settlements burned by the British in 1755. I’d never given much thought as to where they’d gone, but it was nice to find out, anyway.
Louisiana is the only state in the Union that does not have "counties"—they call them "parishes".

We stopped at Barksdale Air Force Base while we were in Shreveport—in fact, that’s where we stayed. It is a huge base, lined with practically miles of B47s (jet bombers) & air tankers to refuel the 47s in mid air. Talk about security! They wouldn’t even let us go to our planes to return to Pensacola without calling somebody on the phone to get clearance. While one sentry was doing this, the other walked around our bus, looking under the body & behind the wheels—I haven’t the vaguest idea what they thought we might be trying to smuggle in or out, but they were taking no chances. Those air corps men almost broke their arms off saluting us until they finally caught on that we were not admirals. Someone mistook me for one of the Blue Angels, the Navy’s crack jet acrobats who were to appear there Sunday.

Well, I have six other letters to write tonite, so I’ll close now. Till then, regards to everyone.
See you soon, I hope

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