Hondo students learn navigation 1944

A typical day, hour-by-hour, in Navigation School at Hondo, Texas. (Learn more about the Hondo Navigation School here.) This letter from Frank to his brother Will (sometimes Will, sometimes Bill), again talks about Marjorie whom he met in California. Sounds like they had some serious interludes together. Given that he told his parents that Marjorie “had a lot more spunk” than Cookie, here he says something different. No doubt either confused about his mixed feelings or perhaps trying to reassure everyone back home, who adore Cookie, that he hasn’t abandoned her.

Frank gears each of his letters to be of interest to the recipient. His older brother, Will, a pilot, would be interested in the details of navigation school.




Dear Bill,

Well it’s about time I wrote to you, chum, and I think that this is an appropriate time. Things have been happening around here pretty fast so I had better start giving out with the news.

Today was a big day so I’ll give you an hour by hour description as it went by. Reveille at 0555 and the usual shave and general cleanup then for the day itself. At 0730 we were at the flight line in a small building listening to a lecture about the necessity of oxygen at high altitudes also the use of the chute and the different types. From this we went to the subject of life in a rubber raft. This was a good lecture and was given well.

Time 1000—a ten minute break for a smoke and a short walk to the auditorium and two movies on high altitude flying. Time 1120 and time to eat. Next formation was at 1220. We had our pictures taken for our Officers Identification Folder. They do all the conversion work before our course starts so no time will be wasted after we graduate. If we have a leave after graduation we can leave this way within an hour. I’m afraid this won’t be possible in my case but I think I’ll get a three day pass.

This is why it would mean so much to me if the folks could come down for my graduation. Well to get back to the picture, it was taken with bars on my collar and I didn’t feel any different at all.

At 1420 we went to cadet supply and drew our navigation equipment. This will really slay you. Here is a list of things we received. All in all the cost is well over $300.00

We received a swell sextant, an Elgin wristwatch, an Elgin stop watch, 3 different computers, a briefcase full of pencils, triangles, a divider and a score of books. Besides these instruments we got a bunch of charts, logs, and several different blanks that will be used in future navigation.

We took these objects to our classroom and sorted the equipment and checked the amounts missing. I was lucky to have only one book missing. At 1530 we went to P.T. and played a little softball (our team won!). At 1640 we took our showers and cleaned up for Retreat and evening mess. At 1755 we went to Retreat and mess. Then for a break of an hour and we were ready to go again. At 2000 we were due at our class room for an evening military lecture. It’s now 2130 and I’ll have to prepare for bed soon so I’ll cut out the military setup of my writing and get down to some chummy talk.

What’s been doing at your end of the line and how are the women treating you? I never did tell you about Marjorie have I? This gal was strictly slick. She was sort of thin but well shaped and [had] a wonderful personality. She has a sister who is looking forward to meeting you and it wouldn’t be a bad deal either. I’ll give you her address so in case you are ever in L.A. you can look her up.

Getting back to Marge. I’m glad I pulled up stakes and got out of there. She was getting under my skin and I do mean under my hide. She might come to Texas next month so you have an idea what went on. We clicked from the first meeting. Of course she couldn’t compare with Cookie but she was nice anyway. Enough!!

I’m in good health and would like to hear from you soon if possible. I’m sure you must be busy as I am most of the time but when you have a moment drop me a line. Till I get a chance to write again, I send my love to all back home and good health and prosperity.

Your brother, Frank

P.S. The ending sounds something like a New Year’s greeting card.

Original Letter