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

<- PREVIOUS LETTER March 28, 1943
Hunter Field, Savannah, Georgia

March 28, 1943
Hello Ma:
      I received your letter, the Martin newspaper, and the picture of you standing on the porch [see below - Ed.]. I haven't gotten those pictures which I took at Camp Arnold back from being developed yet. I received Phus's letter, too. Must have been a pretty smashed up automobile after that streetcar hit it. How does Yvonne like my bed to sleep in? We turned in our Remington rifles and in return we received .30 caliber carbines. These carbines are only about 35˝" inches in length, weigh about 4˝ pounds, and hold 15 bullets in its clip. It can shoot almost as fast as a machine gun. All you have to do is to stand there and pull the trigger each time you want a bullet to fire. The gun is self-loading. Most of our sargeants received .45 caliber Thompson submachine guns. I sent you some of my things already. Did you get them? I still have some more letters, books, and things to get rid of. No use lugging them around every place to which I move. Do you remember that 980th and 988th M.P. squadrons that I was in for a few days at Lockbourne? Well, they were torpedoed in the Atlantic Ocean. 200 were saved. Maybe I was lucky to get out of that squadron. The other night in the movie newsreel, it showed the First and Second Airdrome Squadrons fighting in Libya. I don't think that I can get a furlough soon. Last week they got a little soft hearted or something and let a few boys go home. But these had not had a furlough in anywhere from 10 to 18 months. My turn will come sometime. If rumors are true, we will go soon to California. All of our packing crates have been marked Oakland, California. This is a P.O.E. (port of embarkation) for the Pacific Ocean. But of course, these may only be rumors so far.

      Well, the other day I had a good argument with a sargeant, a lieutenant, and the captain who is our commanding officer. So, the result is that once again I am to be reclassified as an aircraft mechanic and that I won't have to bother with the mail anymore. Tomorrow morning, the mechanics of our squadron start to work on the line here at Hunter Field. So, I just was in time to go out with them. We will work on North American B-25's. Now it will probably be possible for me to become something more than a private.

      In regards to warrant officer: I will have to have a picture of myself, shoulder and head type, no less than 6"x8" inches. I think that it would be a good idea to write to that studio in Columbus, Ohio and have them make an enlargement of that one which I sent you last Christmas. The address of the studio is stamped on the bottom of your picture. Maybe you can write to this studio and order a couple of these enlargements made of this picture. You can keep one for yourself. When I had this picture taken, the photographer said that he would always have the negatives on hand. Whatever the cost, I'll pay it.

      A lot of boys are beginning to get disgusted with this Third Airdrome Squadron because of no furloughs and because of too many restrictions. The first eight days we were here at Hunter Field, if you remember, we were restricted. Then we were allowed out for about three days. Then someone got measles and for seven more days we were restricted. Then last Friday, we were again allowed out. And the next day, Saturday, someone else got the measles. So, beginning Saturday, a restriction of seven more days began. A lot of boys have been asking for transfers to other squadrons, but all that I know of have been turned down.

      I got a letter from Fred Roussey the other day. He took a physical exam and the doctor ordered him to stay home and rest up for about a week because he had high blood pressure. So, he is supposed to be inducted on March 31st if he passes the final examination.

      I got another letter from Margie, my Georgetown girlfriend, yesterday. She wants to come down to Savannah. Of course, I am going to tell her not to, as I'll probably move again soon.

      That last Friday night that our squadron was let out, I went roller skating for the third time in Savannah. I must have sweated away a couple of pounds. It was plenty hot, although I did have my summer khaki uniform on.

      This coming Friday, if our restriction to the base is lifted, I am to have a date with a Savannah girl. I think that I have more or less developed into a "wolf first class" or something. It's a good pastime anyway.

      Last week, we all went through the gas chamber. All that they used inside of this chamber, which was a building about the size of a large garage, was concentrated tear gas. After we were in, we were ordered to remove our gas masks. Boy! How my throat and stomach burned. As we removed these masks, the door was opened and so we all dashed for it. I managed to get about seven feet from the door before I had to close my eyes. They burned worse than the time that I got 100-octane gasoline in them at Myrtle Beach. After we were outside, we were told to face towards the wind and not to rub our eyes. So, we all just stood there looking in one direction with tears streaming down our faces. After we were all O.K. again, they exploded bombs containing chloropicrin, mustard, lewisite, and phosgene gases, all casualty agents. It was a very weak mixture so we all smelled each gas - with our gas masks off of course. We are supposed to remember these particular odors so that in actual combat we will know at once when we are being under a gas attack. Well, that's about all for now; so, until sometime later -





      3/30/1943         [?]

SUBJECT:       Censorship of Photographs.

TO             :       Pvt. E. P. Reinhalter            
                        3rd Airdrome            

            1. In accordance with Memorandum, 60-5, paragraph 7, dated March 7, 1943, Headquarters Army Air Base, Hunter Field, this office has censored your photographs.

            2.       3       of your prints, together with the negatives, are being with-held by this office since they contain information of military importance.

            3. In the future it will be well for you to be more careful of the subject matter photographed, especially the background.

                  [ signed ]
                  CARL A. WARMKESSEL
                  2nd Lt., Air Corps
                  Base Photo Officer

This may have been the photo that his mother sent him.


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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