Frank Gartz is transferred in early August to Miami Beach, Florida, where he’ll begin his official training as an Air Force Cadet. Like so many young men at the time, he’s seeing parts of the country he never could have afforded to visit on his own.
Unlike the men in infantry, Army Air Corps Cadets have a long period of training before being sent overseas. His first stop is warm and beautiful Miami.
Read on to get a young man’s first-hand view of his new digs and impressions of the exotic surroundings.
In case I can’t get to a telegraph station before this letter gets to you this will have to do. As I thought, I came to Miami Beach, Fla. I’m living in a nice hotel right smack on the Atlantic Ocean. I’m about 250 feet from the water. We had to take off our stripes and air corps patches and the piping from our flight caps and my name is now “mister.” It used to be “Hey Soldier,” now it’s “Hey, Mister.” I’m going to like it very much but it’s strict as all get out. I’ll be here from one week to 2 months and then I go to school–most likely in the Northeast.
I wish I could describe the scenery here. It’s beautiful. I’m in a room about 9’ by 12’ which has 2 beds and 2 bunks over and under. I sleep in the bottom bunk. We have 2 windows on the side of the hotel near the front. I can see the ocean from the desk I’m sitting at. We have 2 dressers with a drawer and a half to ourselves. One of the dresser drawers folds into a desk on which I’m writing.
Each room has its own bathtub, shower, toilet and washbowl. We have one large closet. Looking out of the window I see big leafy palm trees and grass next to the street all the way to the sandy beach which is about 75 feet wide and then that big green body of water which right now sounds like a great monster breathing heavily. The waves roll up on the shore making a hissing noise.
There are so many rules and regulations that I’m bound to forget some of them. How is everyone at home? You should have seen the sunset last night. It was beautiful. The sky was pink and the clouds were red. It silhouetted the tall buildings in Miami and had a wonderful effect. We are off from 6 to 9 in the evening and I’m going to make the most of it while I’m here. Town proper is 3 blocks away. The name of my hotel is Crescent. Its decorations are all moon-shaped.
My new name and address is as follows:
Q/AC Frank E. Gartz
409th TRG. GP. B.T.C. #4 Sqdn B
Miami Beach, Florida
Well, I’m running out of things to tell you but here’s one more thing. There are 3 new men in this room and an upper classman who seems to be a damn nice guy. Well Love to all and I hope you and Dad enjoyed Madison and Vera as much as I have.
Till I write again, I remain your Loving son
Note the cancel stamp: “BUY WAR SAVINGS BONDS and STAMPS”
Frank (Ebner) wrote this in a triptych manner. Pages 2, 3, & 4 are posted first (sorry they are vertical, but I had to choose between a readable size and vertical horizontal). Below that, pages one and five are together, along with the original envelope, posted horizontally, but that required a smaller file size to fit on the page, making it harder to read.