Frank may be the “little brother,” but he’s wiser about life and love than Will, older by eleven years. I’ve written before about Will’s “serious” nature, and difficulty “letting himself go.” Here Frank takes Will’s reluctance to get involved with a girl head on—filling his older brother in on what life’s all about.

Frank, at the tender age of twenty, already knows what he wants out of life—family and kids are definitely part of his plan. His remark about why kids are important is fascinating. At this writing, Will was closing in on thirty, not a steady girl in sight, and plenty of excuses that probably reflect a fear of exposing his emotions. Sad.

Frank ties his philosophies together beautifully, including the balm and comfort letters supply to a guy in the service. Read on for a down-to-earth dose of what counts in life. Also lots of good insight into the preparation to become a navigator.


30 April, 44

Dear Bill,

I received your last letter and was very glad to hear from you. So you are trying to put the charts to them back. I sent a good book home in one of my packages from Stevens Point, Wisconsin on projections and their uses and construction. Look it up and you will find less trouble teaching the subject.

Now about Zella Marie, the sister to Marjorie. She is the intellectual type (skip the spelling you know what I mean) and is a polished dancer. A swell companion! We were talking about Chi one night and the subject got around to my brothers. I thought of you and told her about you. As I was talking I got the bright idea of you taking a vacation and perhaps going out to Calif. What we saw of Cal in “40” was a bad impression of the place.  It’s really swell. I’m planning to make my home out there some day. Anyway you got into the subject and she thought she would like to meet the man of the world. Ahem!

Bill you ought to wear horned rimmed glasses and carry around a few books. When will you come to your senses and realize that the time has come for you to have more than dates? I may be 20 but even so I’m planning for a future and a happy home with some kids in it to make my wife and my self work harder. I’m not trying to marry you off but when the hell are you going to do it? You are at your peak of strength no– and from now on the years are going to add up. You watch, you will be counting them soon.

You talk about your emotions getting out of hand. Poppy cock! Let yourself go and live your life while you can. I can’t and I know it. When the big push starts in Europe a deferment won’t mean much because they’re planning already to get anyone that can crawl to help. It’s a good feeling to have someone back home to wait for you and someone you can depend on to write.

I’m afraid you don’t know what a letter means to you, [if] you get too many, but when the days go by and there’s always the same answer, “Sorry Gartz, no mail,” that is when you think you’re the forgotten man. Maybe I’m no good at philosophy but I hope you get the idea.

Now for something on the interesting side of things. Does this restricted flying affect you in the C.A.P. or is that only pleasure flying? 2 ½ hours a month isn’t very much time. We were supposed to fly last Thursday and it was pushed back to Saturday and now it’s Wednesday.

Our first mission will be mainly pilotage. 3 navigator students and an instructor go up in an AT-7 and take turns (that’s the students) as 1st, 2ndand 3rd navigator.  First navigator sits with the pilot and gives the pilot his magnetic heading. Then with the help of the pilot picks as many pilotage points as possible. He gets this from a sectional chart of the ground he is flying over. The first and 3rd navigators don’t keep logs, the second does. At the end of the first leg the 1st navigator has to positively identify destination.

Then he changes places with the second navigator who has been doing DR (dead reckoning). The 3rd now taking his place and the 2nd now taking the 3rd nav’s place. The second navigator has to keep a log and enters the following in it: all times, compass headings, indicated and true air speeds and altitudes, temperatures and drift corrections. At the end of the 2nd leg he takes the 3rd navigators place and does pilotage again but he just tracks the pilot. This will be our first mission.

They give you a million problems but I can’t send them until I graduate because I’m sure I’ll need them for reviews. I’ll send them to you then and perhaps I’ll be able to lose a computer by then. We have 3 computers or confusers as the instructor calls them.

The one we use all the time is the E6B and is a work of art. Its cost to me is a little over $10.00, but if you were to buy it, it would cost well over $30.00.

You don’t have to worry about air speeds.  It takes everything from 30 mph to 400. I’m telling you it’s not comparable to any other thing I ever imagined. I’m going to get one for our own use as the chance comes around. You won’t have to worry about that. I wouldn’t fly without one.

Thanks for the Birthday present, I can use it. I need a few more khaki uniforms and it will help me get one.

Will, I think I’ll write to Cookie now so till you get a chance to write again,

I’m always your little brother,


Original Letter