Frank has arrived at Navigation School in Hondo, Texas, where he will be challenged as never before in his young life. He anticipates hard work—at least twelve hours a day.
Frank writes two short letters, first to his mother and another to his good friend, Ted Symon. I’m posting both here. He knows the school work will be tough, but Hondo won’t provide many distractions. Read on to find out why.
(No date on letter, but based on content, about 4/10/44)
I have little time this morning to do much writing but I want you to know that I’m well and happy as can be expected in a new camp. The training I will receive will be tough and much memory work is required. The course is 18 wks. Long and we will fly a great part of that time. I have a good room mate and I’m sure we will click as a good team.
I received your last package at camp in California and we found it delicious on our trip. If possible we would appreciate more of the same here in Texas. I don’t know what’s wrong with my letters but to me they seem very artificial and cold. It’s just the way the words come out and I can’t do anything about it. There’s an inspection going on in the barracks now and it’s very quiet so perhaps I’ll be able to make some sense in my writing.
You will be able to get my new address from the envelope so I won’t re-write it here. I’ll write as often as possible which will not be more than once a week soon. The studies will take most of my time as it lasts only about 12 hours a day. There is no such thing as a definite weekend.
Well till I write again I send you all my love.
Your son, Frank
Ted Symon was one of Frank’s good friends from high school. Ted shared with the Gartz family letters he had received from Frank, which my mother typed up and then returned to Ted.
UNITED STATES ARMY AIR FORCES
April 11, 1944
This is the first chance I have had to write to you and I haven’t much time now. You know what shipping can do to a schedule and letter writing. This is Advanced Navigation and will last about 18 more weeks.
I’m sorry to hear about the breakdown in communication but you have received a valuable education and a partial delay in overseas shipment which will prove valuable in itself. Education is something no one can take away from a person no matter how they try. I resolved to get as much of it as I can from the Army and I’m getting more than I ever expected.
The course is a tough one and I’ll have to put out a full time of effort to get through. When I write, which will be with weeks between, the letters will be short and brief but I’ll keep in touch with you.
We have our first personal inspection today and they will thin out as the studies begin. This is a good looking camp but when we passed through the town of Hondo we were a little discouraged [by] its atmosphere. It’s far too small to be of any value on a week-end.
Well, take care of yourself and I’m extending all the luck possible in your new adventure and a good assignment.
As ever, Frank
First to his mother, then to Ted.