Sious Falls SD Tech school
Freezing temperatures, streets slick as glass, timed  Morse code tests. The pressure is on this 18-year-old kid to concentrate harder than he’s ever had to before. A lots at stake. This letter from Private Frank Gartz shows us the world of a young, wannabe Army Air Corps private, hoping to make cadet training and not the alternative. Read to find out more.
Army Technical School 

Dear Mom:

I had my reason for holding back this letter so please excuse the delay. The last 3 days I’ve been concentrating pretty hard and today I passed my first code check. I’ve been taking 4 words a minute and barely getting them and now I’m on 8 w.p.m. So it’s time I sent you a letter. Yesterday morning it started hailing and turned to rain and then ice. All of the streets are like glass and slippery as a skating rink. The temperature dropped to below freezing and snow fell all night. We woke up this morning and found a blanket of snow on top of our [streets.] (?)

 It wasn’t hard walking to school and I felt like turning back twice but I didn’t want to make a fool of myself. This morning I went to the side room and started taking down the code and did pretty well, so I stopped and went to sleep at my desk. I was determined to pass so I rested my mind. You’d be surprised how hard you have to concentrate on what you are writing. Then he announced over the speaker, “4 Word Code Check.” 

That’s all I wanted to hear. I stretched and started in.

You need only 40 characters in a row to pass and I got 83 and 15 others scattered around to a total of 98 out of a possible 100. This afternoon another fellow whom I’ve been palling around with passed his and sat in back of me. Now we can stall around a bit more and take it easy as this next check is going to be easier than the first one. I’m sorry, but I can’t send you the articles you asked for this week, but perhaps next.

I lent out $9.00 to a few friends who haven’t been paid since they left gunnery school 2 mos. ago. Heard  the other gunners are sergeants. Also when I finish this school I’ll wear 1 stripe for a first class private and then might be sent to gunnery school if I don’t pass my  physical for the cadet training.

Coookie sent me a box of things today. It was very sweet of her. I received chocolate chip cookies, a pipe, tobacco, candy, and a can of  oranges. I wish you would personally thank her for me. Does she visit you now and then? How is everything back home? I still have my watch and am trying to mail it home but I just don’t get a chance. The post office closes at 5:00 and we don’t get through calesthenics until 4:30. By the time you get dress and hike over there it’s closed.

Here’s a little note to Will:

MORSE CODE—see below in original

Well I have to write to LaVerne [Cookie, his girlfriend] and thank her for the package. Lil wrote me and told me your morning greeting to my picture. I hope that it will be bordered by one in uniform soon. Well, till I write again, I’ll keep as good as I can.

Love Frank 

Original Letter


Ebner LTRs 1943-03-16 to Mom-1


Ebner LTRs 1943-03-16 to Mom 2-2


Ebner LTRs 1943-03-16 to Mom 3-3