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

<- PREVIOUS LETTER February 11, 1943
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Feb. 11, 1943
Hello Ma:
      I received The Martin Star [a magazine published by his former civilian employer, the Glenn L. Martin Company - Ed.] with your letter the other day and a letter from Phus and a card from Kitty - thanks. Also, I received the box of candy. The first layer was gone that same night. Rattling cellophane paper in the still of the night is like sounding a bugle. Immediately, you are surrounded by a group of some five or six who naturally have to come help in the eating. It's rather funny. You would think that everyone was asleep in their bunks, but, boy, how quick they spring into action upon the hearing of the familiar sound of a package being unwrapped. Talk about wolves!

      The captain gave a little speech today. He didn't say much, except that within six months our squadron would be overseas. I have an idea, too, that we are leaving Myrtle Beach soon to go farther south. I hope so.

      I know that today is your birthday. And I have been trying to find for the past week a suitable present. But nothing halfway any good could be found. No sir, not in Myrtle Beach. So, I'm enclosing a money order with this letter. [He sent her $50. - Ed.] With this you can choose a present to your own liking better than I can, at Myrtle Beach anyway. Likewise, I haven't been able to find any good Valentines so far; so, if I don't send any, you will know why.

      I don't think that there is any use of me sending a letter to Martin's [for their in-house magazine? - Ed.], as I don't feel that I have anything of importance or of public interest to report. Maybe, sometime later I will.

      I am sending you a small package. In it you will find four .50 caliber machine gun bullets, a .45 caliber slug, and a section of a bullet belt. These bullets are perfectly safe. I removed the gunpowder and replaced it with sand. The caps have been exploded. I think that they will make good souvenirs for you to keep. I polished them with emery cloth.

      Yesterday, I walked down to the airfield to watch our airplane (a B-26B) take off. It flew away O.K. About ten minutes later, a small airplane (like the ones we used to watch at Rutherford Field) attempted to land. The wind was rather strong. Well, it "cracked up" after bouncing along the runway for about fifty feet. Another fellow and myself were about a block away from where it finally came to rest on its nose. I don't know whether anyone was hurt or not, as we didn't go over to the plane because there was too much of a crowd around it. The fire truck and ambulance were there, of course. We left after they pushed it off the field.

      They just started a new system here for the boys who work on the "line" whereby we get off every other afternoon just after lunch.

      Very soon we will begin practice shooting with pistols, rifles and machine guns.

      Enclosed is a chemical warfare pocket reference card. Also, there are some more pictures of some of the boys and some negatives of those pictures which I already sent you previously. One picture is of me sitting in a cockpit of a P-51 (R.A.F. Mustang). [See photos below. - Ed.] The negative is there, too. Several of us boys who have cameras have a system which is this: Whenever we take pictures to get them developed, we have several complete sets of pictures printed. We each then take a set. This way, we all get a lot of pictures. But however, the negatives are kept by the person who takes the pictures. This is why you are not getting all of the negatives of the pictures which I send you - some of them not being taken with my camera and films. Incidentally, it's against Army regulations to take pictures of the airplanes. We take a chance whenever we do.

      Tell Phus that she can send me that book The Raft - thanks.

      Ma, do you still work at night? I bet it's beginning to become monotonous. Is Daddy's business still bad? Next time that I get paid, I'll send money to you.

      Well, that's about all for now.

Earl in the cockpit of a P-51 (R.A.F. Mustang) at Lockbourne Army Airbase in Ohio, 1942.

Earl (standing, second from the right) and friends at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, 1943.


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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