Seventy-one years ago, World War II navigator-in-training, Frank Ebner Gartz, wrote to his mother about his hard work and some health trouble he was having, but I think primarily to reassure her he was all right and just too darn busy with school work to write. His mother's loving, prayerful response was written just four days later.
This World War II navigator cadet sounds a lot more confident than a few weeks earlier when he felt he was failing—and worried about washing out. Discipline and tough courses were Frank's daily fare, keeping so busy he hardly has time to write. The Army Air Corps needed young men who were smart and able to stand up to stress.
In Frank's last letter home, dated June 11th, he expressed fear about his course work. No matter how hard he studied, he was failing tests. He wrote: "I can't write letters or eat right now because...it's a constant threat to my existence." In World War II, the fear of "washing out" from the Air Corps, a common occurrence, and being sent to the infantry, plagued every young cadet.
Seventy years ago today, June 6, 1944, the largest seaborne invasion in history took place: D-Day. About 6:30 a.m., 24,000 British, US, and Canadian airborne troops landed on the beaches of Normandy. Thousands of young men lost their lives there, and their sacrifice eventually helped the Allies win the war.
Hondo students learn navigation 1944 (Maybe my uncle knew these guys!) Frank answers both my parents' letters from a few days earlier. His concerns about his coursework are increasing: he's now flunked two exams. Instead of "I'll be [...]