Based on the letters of Earl Philip Reinhalter (1922-1953). Edited by his son, Earl Philip Reinhalter (1950-).

<- PREVIOUS LETTER December 26, 1942
Lockbourne Army Air Base, Columbus, Ohio

Dec. 26, 1942
Hello Ma:
      Well, it's the day after Christmas. I won't be able to come home over the holidays, but maybe sometime later. I am still on the mail orderly job. I now have to get up at 6:30 A.M. for roll call, but I still don't go to work until after 10:00 A.M. Now that Christmas is over, this job will become easier, since there will be less mail and packages to distribute to the boys. The Army gave us a nice Christmas present. Yes, about 1:00 P.M. Thursday, we all received our second inoculation shots for tetanus and some other kind of fever. Naturally, our arms got stiff and sore and some of the boys got headaches and sick in the stomach. When I went to Columbus that night (Christmas Eve), I got a fever and started sweating. I thought that I was getting sick because of the Coca-Cola, beer, ice cream, and 7 Up which I had drank within that two hours. So, I went back to the base early (about 10:30 P.M.). But when I got back, I found that this fever was caused by the inoculations that afternoon and that I was not the only boy affected. One of the boys fainted in Columbus. Another got a 104 degree temperature. Christmas morning, hardly anyone got up early. It was rather funny when the cooks came around and begged is to get up. It seems that they, expecting a big crowd, had cooked a lot of stuff for breakfast and hardly anyone had showed up. We ate Christmas dinner at 12:00 noon at the base. It was good. Besides the turkey and other stuff, we each had a bottle of beer, two packs of cigarettes, and a cigar. (I still don't smoke.) Some of the K.P.'s who were giving out the beer got drunk.

      One of the sargeants received a request for two soldiers for a dinner engagement being given by some civilians in Columbus. One of my soldier friends agreed to go to this dinner, and he finally persuaded me to go with him. I didn't care to go, as I didn't know what I was getting into, but to please him I said O.K. So, right after our Christmas dinner at Lockbourne, we went to Columbus. We had about two hours to kill, so we decided to go roller skating first, which we did. After this (about 4:30 P.M.), we started out to find the place where this dinner was to be given. We had the address scribbled down on a piece of paper which the sargeant had given us. This place turned out to be just a block north of Ohio State University. Much to our surprise, our hostesses (or whatever you call it) turned out to be three seniors of the Ohio State college. The boys had their rooms fixed up real good. We ate a chicken dinner there and stayed until about 10:00 P.M. that Christmas night. We are supposed to get together with them again and celebrate New Year's Eve. It seems they are all going into the services soon. After eating that night, the boys showed us around the campus. Among other things they showed us an ice skating rink which belonged to the college. It wasn't frozen, however, at the time.

      Well, I weigh 140˝ pounds now. Pretty soon you can probably call me a "Mr. Five by Five." I got some more clothes last Monday (a Mackinaw jacket, long underwear, a wool hat, and a pair of heavy leather gloves). This coming Monday, I am going to be given instructions and a test for a government license for driving a truck. I guess that I will pass. Did you get those six pictures yet? Can you send me my camera and those magazines which you spoke of? How does Kitty like ice skating? I finally learned how to spin on roller skates - by standing on my toes. I received a letter which was "written" by Gus Fetting and "supervised" by Fred Roussey. Gus has received his questionnaire and expects to go into the Army soon. I sent that form back to the placement service filled out. I received the Christmas card from Etta Smith and another one from Roussey's family. I received Phus's letter. Did Yvonne like the deep snow? I guess it was kind of cold though. I also received Yvonne's card and your cartoons, Ma. I received another Christmas card from Miss Natalie Bartlett, but as I do not know her address, you will have to thank her for me. Last Friday, I went to the Palace movies in Columbus. Ray Kinney and his Hawaiian band was there for the stage show. It was the same exact show which I had seen at the Hippodrome in Baltimore before I enlisted. It was O.K. though, as I didn't mind seeing it over. The picture was O.K., too. That Saturday night, I stayed in the barracks because I had a cold in my right eye. I must have been lying in a draught all night because that morning when I awoke, I found the window down and my hair was blowing. I went roller skating again that Sunday and again on Tuesday. Monday, I stayed in. Wednesday, I went to a party in Columbus which was given by the U.S.O. service men's club. It wasn't any good though, so I left early. The civilians who sponsored it and who were there were all church people. There was even a priest present. I didn't even stay to eat.

      Well, as I said in the beginning, it's the day after Christmas. We started the morning out by again moving to new barracks. This is the fourth barracks we have been in since here at Lockbourne. Do you remember that M.P. squadron which I was supposed to have been transferred to? Well, they have already gone now. Did you get those presents for me, Ma, to give like I asked in the last letter? I have an idea that that letter reached you too late, however. But you can still get them now though - better late than never, as they say. We get paid on the 31st of this month. Yes, I am still a private. Haven't had a chance at going to school yet. I may apply for Officer Candidate School just as soon as I have been in the Army three months, which is one of the requirements. I have an idea that we won't be here in Ohio much longer. No, I don't know where the next stop is. Boy! You should hear all of the "roomers" as to where we are going next. If I had gone to all of the places mentioned, I would have traveled around the world three times - no kidding.

      I am having a heck of a time trying to keep my mind on this letter. A couple of boys across the room are having a conversation in their native language, which is Mexican [Spanish - Ed.]. They saw snow for the first time about a week ago, when their train passed through Chicago while on their way here. They were afraid to touch it at first, so say the boys who came with them. They said the snow burned. Well, I hope this letter is good enough for you to understand. While writing (or printing) it, I ate potato chips, popcorn, cakes, and 16 ounces of ice cream. How is Daddy making out with the tire and gasoline situation? When his tires wear out, he can use mine. No use letting them dry rot and becoming altogether useless. I wonder why Martin's gave a holiday for Christmas? I guess they are finally realizing that their workers are human beings and not machines, as they used to think when a seven-day work week was compulsory. Say hello to Uncle Ben for me when you see him. Did Pappy get that new job yet? Is Gordon still in the hospital? And, how did you all spend Christmas?

      Well, until sometime later,


“Mr. Five by Five” sung by Jimmy Rushing         “Mr. Five by Five” sung by Ella Mae Morse


The Kindle book includes the letters; all 23 issues of the unit’s wartime newsletter “The Squadron Pulse,” which was originally edited by Leonard Stringfield; all 12 issues of the “Pennant Parade” newsletter that Stringfield published while sailing home after the war; complete text of the U.S. government booklet “Pocket Guide to Australia,” which soldiers heading Down Under were given to read; more than 200 photos; pre-war and postwar family history; and over 700 explanatory endnotes.


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