Civil Air Patrol pilot, Will Gartz, Frank Ebner’s oldest brother

Frank’s oldest brother, Will, had always the most serious of the three Gartz boys. As the eldest in the family, he was motivated to be “good,” especially because he had to compete, with an upstart younger brother, my dad, born when Will was just twelve months old. As you might expect, my dad had to carve out his own persona, radically different from his older brother’s.

As this letter shows, Will has a hard time forcing himself to get out and have a good time—and looks upon a girlfriend as a “ball and chain.” Will and Frank/Ebner now have flying in common, but Frank’s fun-loving personality and Will’s workaholic nature made them opposites in temperament. Their affection for each other still shines through in this letter.


April 24, 1944

Dear Frank:

Spring vacation at the high school and so I managed to get off after a few long delayed words. Well now that you have the real equipment you’ll be getting in some right good navigating. Right now I’m in the process of explaining to my pupils the various types of aeronautical charts (the projections), chart reading, fundamental instruments, etc.

The weather up here has been terrible as far as flying is concerned—nothing but rain and more rain has kept the runway so muddy that sea gulls are hovering over head looking for fish in the pools of water.

Well let’s talk about your young lady friend in L.A., Marjorie Von something or other I believe was her name. I suppose you managed a picture of her to remember her, but what’s this about her sister? What per chance did you tell her of me and what is she like? You see I’m curious too, for it took me one half year to get up enough courage again to go Aragon way last Saturday and it felt good to be out on a dance floor again swaying to music.  

I met a rather nice girl there who comes from our kind of people and to top it all she is in with her father in some engineering business. I didn’t get the vital statistics about her but did manage her name with a little detective work I think I have her geographical location. 

In fact I’m planning on going up Aragon way again next Saturday in the hope of contacting her that way. Oh-oh there I go letting my emotions get out of hand – have got to watch that otherwise there may be a slip and a ball and chain. I have too much to do yet to have it hindered by such an occurrence particularly when this is over and you get back—boy for the high road.

A number of changes in flying regulations are getting into the scheme of things. There are plans for which they propose a simplification of the written examinations and a let up on the periodic medical examinations. They are also planning, how far they will get I don’t know, to ration flying to 2 ½ hours per month for students and 10 hours a year for pilots. Reason for this is cut down on gas consumption.

I haven’t as yet used any of your previous navigation work but the opportunities for application of it in the next two or three weeks. If you come across any other problems that seem applicable to our work send it along if it is possible. Say what are the names of the computers you use? Got any idea what price they are asking for them and if you can buy them? But don’t buy any because you have to consider that the air speeds to see that the range on the computer is within the range of light weight planes.

I’ll be signing off now so until next time bye now

Your brother


P.S. I am enclosing a little something for your birthday, many happy returns.

Original Letter