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

<- PREVIOUS LETTER September 5, 1943
Brisbane, Australia

      Sept. 5, 1942 [The postmark says 1943. - Ed.]

Hello Ma:
      I am now again on detached service. Me and about four other boys from my squadron are at another airfield. We were selected because we were familiar with the job. Part of the job consists of running the engines up for 15 minutes each plane. That I am doing. The work is very interesting.

      When we moved, I was given a half-hour notice to pack up and get ready. This wasn't much time, considering that I was sound asleep in bed when I received the notice. In my haste, I left all of my dress clothes hanging up on the clothes rack. Several days later, I had to put a wheel on a small light plane so that the pilot could fly the plane back to the field from which I previously moved. I got permission to go along with the pilot. After we got up to about 900 feet, I asked the pilot if I could fly the plane. So, the next twenty miles, I did the flying. After I made a couple of turns around the airport, the pilot took over the controls and we landed. After I got my clothes, I induced several of my friends to "borrow" a jeep and drive me back. I made pretty good time for the whole trip.

      Now about Officer Candidate School: Well, I went before the board. I don't know whether I passed or not. They keep the applications on file for future classes. If I don't hear anything by the end of three months, I shall try again.

      Well, tonight I am in a tent with no electricity. Outside it is raining. I am lying on the floor writing this letter. In front of me are five burning candles, having been fastened to the boarded floor with melted wax. Next to me one boy is looking over old letters and is singing to himself. Behind me another boy is waving a half bottle of gin around and at the same time yelling and singing. With the help of two "candle power," another boy is reading a Yank magazine. Still another writes a letter. Another is writing a poem. This tent wouldn't be half so bad if the floor didn't run downhill. The other day, one tent a little distance away collapsed. Probably too much liquor.

      I am glad you got the wing pin. A sargeant in the R.A.A.F. made it for me. It is made from Plexiglas, which is used in airplane windows.

      Before I came to where I am now, my squadron was working on a rush job. I worked a twelve-hour night shift for two days.

      I took two more rides in a glider last week. As it was a test hop, the pilot put it through all maneuvers. Two of my friends got sick and refused to go up anymore. Two Marines also got sick. After about the fifth vertical bank and dive, my head began to spin. We all had parachutes on.

      Every month I get three cartons of cigarettes. As I don't smoke, I sell them for about four to five times what they cost me.

      Well, that's all for just now; so, until sometime later -


      P.S. I weigh 147 pounds now.


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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