Based on the letters of Earl Philip Reinhalter (1922-1953). Edited by his son, Earl Philip Reinhalter (1950-).
Sept. 13, 1944
Received three letters from you - dated Aug. 27, 28 and 29th. One contained the letter of July 29th which Phus addressed to Los Angeles. Read the Sunday Suns and clippings. Yvonne's little letter telling of all the marbles, soldiers, tents, guns, etc. was very good. Does she like her new teachers and subjects? I distributed the three snapshots to the boys who wanted them. The picture of the Jap prisoner which I spoke of in a previous letter [June 24, 1944 - Ed.] was returned to me by the censor. I'll have to bring it home with me when I come. I would like you to subscribe to the Flying magazine and have the publishers send it directly to me.
Sunday, I took an hour and one-half ride in my airplane. We followed the coastline and headed south before turning back. I took fifty feet of film on my movie camera. We developed it the next night and it turned out pretty good. Most of the shots I'll have to bring home with me when I come, as they are restricted pictures showing the base from the air, plus military installations. I would like either you or Daddy to go down to the cellar and get one of my film reels. I would like you to make a drawing of it giving all the dimensions such as the shaft hole diameters, spindle diameter, spool width, etc. I'll then be able to make up some reels of film to send you. How would you like to see me on the screen just like we used to see Gordon's pictures of himself? I hope my 16mm projector is still in working order.
[Editor's note: Unfortunately, the movie films that he made during the war have been lost. According to Yvonne, one of his nephew's in-laws sold the films to a collector (possibly on eBay) for drug money. He later died of an overdose. There is, however, 34 minutes of color movie footage that was shot in New Guinea by Lt. Col. Ken Gerrish which can be viewed at the National Archives, also on YouTube. This was a different military unit, but there are plenty of pilots and planes, as well as footage of the natives.]
Incidentally, my airplane has gone north to be stationed at another base. Well, it was a pretty good job while it lasted. Now I am practically doing nothing worth mentioning - just putting in time.
Enclosed are some more pictures for the collection.
And - that's all for now, so cheerio until a little bit -
P.S. Four of the enclosed pictures are numbered on the back. [See below. - Ed.]
Picture #1 - Capt. Bong's airplane with 27 Jap flags painted on it. 27 Japs shot down, that is. [Bong had recently been promoted to major. - Ed.]
Picture #2 - Notice the 39 or 40 small bombs painted just below the nose window. That represents the number of bombing missions.
Pictures #3 & #4 - More Jap flags.
The plane belonging to America's top flying ace, Major Bong, in New Guinea, 1943-44.
You can see 27 "kills" painted on the side of the plane. He ultimately reached 40.
The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress called "Miss Em" (previously "Cap'n & the Kids") had 12 "kills" (Jap planes shot down),
8 boats sunk, and 89 bombing missions. See more info at the Air War - World War 2 blog.
NOW AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK!
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.
This page established: November 11, 2018
Last updated: February 23, 2023
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