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

<- PREVIOUS LETTER July 8, 1944
Saidor, New Guinea

Somewhere in New Guinea

    July 8, 1944

Hello Ma:

      Since my last letter, I have received one letter from you, dated June 18th. Mail service lately has been rather poor and you can guess the reason why. Have you received any of the Yank magazines yet? Yvonne must be plenty smart to have been on the honor roll every month. Does Kitty like her new job? Is Daddy still sick? You asked me the name of that model airplane glue. Well, there are various trade names for it, such as Viscoid glue, LePage's glue, etc. But it's all the same. It is a mixture of banana oil, celluloid, and collodion acetate.

      Well, I am still at the same place. The first of next month, we are supposed to get beer.

      Enclosed are some more pictures. Send one complete set of copies to:

            Mrs. James H. Wooden,
                Upper Falls,
                    Baltimore County,

      The back of some of the pictures are numbered in pencil. Send me back three copies of picture #1. The three copies of that one picture is all that I want sent back to me. Picture # 2 shows me standing beside a bomber, the type of which Jimmy Doolittle bombed Japan with some time ago. Picture #3 shows me standing beside the airplane of which I am the crew chief or chief mechanic. Picture #4 shows my plane again with another boy standing beside it. Pictures #5 and #6 are just some more natives. I don't appear on either one of those. If you will look closely at picture #1 again, you will see two small Jap flags painted on the side of the cockpit. That means that the pilot of that airplane has shot down two Jap airplanes. I have at one time in the past seen a similar airplane with twenty-three such flags painted on it. That pilot, however, was later shot down by the Japs. One time previously, I told you about that, if you remember.

      A couple of days ago, Charles A. Lindbergh dropped in to pay us a visit. I don't know just what he is supposed to be doing. He is not in the Army, although he didn't wear civilian clothes. He was flying a plane which had in the past been flown by an American ace, Major Bong by name. Maybe you have read something about him. Twenty-seven Jap flags were painted on the side of the plane. Pretty good shooting. Twenty-seven Jap planes went down in flames. [Editor’s note: His blasé attitude about Lindbergh is surprising, given that Lindbergh was one of his childhood heroes. He owned a copy of the famed aviator’s autobiography We, as well as a Lindbergh pencil case (photo below). It was likely his interest in Charles Lindbergh that led him to take up flying. According to A. Scott Berg’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, Lindbergh did in fact make significant contributions to the war effort in the Pacific. He trained pilots to conserve fuel and thereby increase their range, and even flew some combat missions himself.]

      Last week, I took an overnight trip with my airplane to another base, much more civilized than my own. The next day on the way back, the pilot let me fly it about 150 miles of the distance. After an hour at the controls, my two feet went to "sleep" due to the vibration on the rudder pedals. The pilot landed the plane at my home base after buzzing the field the entire length of the airstrip. I thought that the propeller at one time was going to start biting into the ground. We were kind of low, you see. We were only traveling at about 200 miles per hour at that time. The control tower flashed by on our left as we began a steep climb upwards.

      On the night of the Fourth of July, all of the anti-aircraft cannons and machine guns were fired. Some of the boys in my squadron made two bombs. Each consisted of about four pounds of dynamite. At about twelve o'clock they threw them into the nearby river. Another outfit camped farther down the river and near the riverbank was suddenly awakened as the bombs were washed against some big rocks near that particular camp. I guess they thought that the Japs had returned again. We got some fun out of it anyway, even if the other outfit didn't.

      I read the Baltimore Sun copy and clipping which were in your last letter. Thanks.

      Well, that's about all for just now. So, until next time -


P.S. Did you receive the 42 pictures yet?

Earl's Lindbergh pencil case. From the family archive.

Earl's childhood airplane shirt. From the family archive.


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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