Hondo Air Base, 1942, aerial view.

Frank is flying more and more—obviously required preparation for his future on a B-17 Bomber. Even though he’ll be navigator, all men need to know how to fly. Frank’s mother had received the below letter from the Hondo Navigation School (note: it’s dated April 10th, so it took a long time to get to her!).


Grandma Gartz mentioned its high praise in her May 5th letter to her son (“As an aviation cadet, your son is a member of a very select group, chosen from the very best of American youth.”)

Frank’s response to his mother’s obvious pride reveals his innate modesty and understanding of the military. He also chides his father for not taking care of his health, a response to his mother’s letter in which she tells Frank of my grandfather’s seriously infected knees.


(No date but based on content it was around 5/5 or 6. He is responding to his mother’s 5/3 letter with news of my grandfather’s bad knee and other updates in the 5/3 letter.)

Dear Dad and Mom, [Dad]:

I hear you have been taking poor care of yourself. It’s about time you took things a little easy. Remember you aren’t a kid any more. I wish I could bet back there some way to help out while you are in bed and for God’s sake stay there till Kenny [family doctor and friend from my dad’s youth] says it’s O.K. to get up.  How the hell did you do it anyway?

Tell Mom that I feel swell and I don’t miss the meals at all. I’ve lost 8 lbs. and I look and feel 100% better.  I’ll watch my health and take it easy but I must lose weight. I went up for the first time yesterday in the morning and had a swell flight. We flew a 3 legged mission from Hondo to Waco to San Angelo and back to Hondo. We were up for 4 hrs and 15 minutes. We will fly again tomorrow morning at 0730 and will do the same mission all over again.

I’ve looked through all my possessions and I haven’t been able to find those negatives so they must be home. Look through the stuff I sent home in the last package. I think I sent it in that bunch. These are the ones – one of the campus with Alice and myself standing behind a large stone with the campus in the background. One of the river with a boulder marking the landing of Stevens who founded Stevens Point. And I think that there’s one of the dormitory. Please look again and if you find them, ask Fred to print up a few of each for me.

I hate to tell you this and disturb your beautiful thoughts but everyone who comes to advanced navigation school, that is, those who last this long, get one of those letters sent to their homes.

Thanks ever so much for the money you sent me. I couldn’t get the uniform as yet because they had everything in my size reserved for the graduation class. You understand Officers come first then cadets. Vivian Lund is a swell kid and lots of fun. We have plans to go to San Antonio next weekend to celebrate my birthday. I hope we have a good time. I hope that soon I’ll be able to send you a better picture of myself to keep in the living room but till I do I sent you the latest I had.

Till I write again take care of yourself and give that knee a chance to heal itself. Love your son, Frank

Original letter