Frank writes to his Mom the same night he wrote to Will about how tough the training is in Miami Beach. He shares a very intimate thought with his mother, about his oldest brother that surprises me, but perhaps it shouldn’t coming from a sibling eleven years younger than his very obedient, high-achieving, driven oldest brother. As in the last post, Frank doesn’t give the details of exactly what comprises his training, but after this transcription, I share another Army Air Corps cadet’s remembrance. Frank’s original letter is at the very end.
U.S. Army Air Forces
I’ve been very busy the last three days. This cadet business is really a tough job and not to be taken lightly. They’re going to make you appreciate the gold bar they give you or die in the attempt.
As I was telling you, they are throwing the book at us. Last night, Friday the 13th, I was on guard duty and didn’t have any trouble at all. Tonight I signed up for C.Q.(Charge of Quarters) so I could get some letter writing done. It was raining tonight so I figured that this would be a good time to stay in.
This is Saturday night and a big night in Miami Beach, but I think I’d better catch up on my friends. I’m sorry I couldn’t be home when Frank [Von Arx] was there, but I’m glad he dropped in to see you.
Today we moved into a different hotel. It’s a block away from the ocean in a very nice place. I’m still with the same boys I was with before but many of the groups were broken up. In your last letter you mentioned just as a passing remark that Pop wanted to to take a trip down here. Don’t! The hurricane season is here and we might expect one any day or week. Besides, it’s hot as hell. Don’t think I don’t want you to come but it’s impractical as I’ll be leaving in a few weeks anyway.
How are you, Dear? And Dad? Tell Will I’m going to write to him tonight and tell him some things. The cadets from now on are going to have a tough job in getting through. I’ve told you about the 5 months college I’m going to get. Well, during that time, I may get some time off and I will come home if I’m not too far away from home.
The thing that’s going to make me complete this course is the one that I’ve always looked up to and never mentioned. I want to have the thing that Will has had in his nature that’s made him the man he is. I’ve never told him or anyone, but he is my ideal and I want to be just like him. If I ever get discouraged, I’ll always say to myself, “Will is counting on me,” and I know that will get me through. Well, Mom, I guess I’ve just been rambling on and dreaming as I’m writing this letter and I hope you don’t mind so I guess I’ll quit now and try to write to someone else.
I’m feeling fine and dandy and I’m going to keep that way till I see you again. Till then I remain your loving son,
P.S. Love to all
Here’s what another former Air Force Cadet wrote about his training in Miami Beach.
Our training took place on the city streets and golf courses and theaters. A typical day was up at 5:10 A.M. to fall out in front of the hotel for Reville, 5:30 back to our rooms to clean them, 5:45 fall out in front and march to breakfast 6:30 back at our hotel to make our beds and clean the room, 7:00 we marched from our hotel to the drill field (which is the golf course), We trained until 11:00 marched back to our hotel at 11:30. Now we got our mail, and at 11:45 went to chow (lunch), then back to our hotel to clean it up again. At 1:00 P.M. we march back to the drill field and trained until 2:45 and got back to our hotel at 3:15. We change to our bathing suits and walk across street for P.T. on the sand beach, finish P.T. at4:45 and go back to our rooms and put on our Class A uniforms. We have Retreat 5:15 and chow at 6:25. The rest of day is ours. Lights out at 9:00 P.M. and in bed at 10:00 P.M. We trained 6 days a week, Sundays off.