Harsh words with the sergeant equals trouble in WWII

Harsh words with the sergeant equals trouble in WWII

Frank was no trouble-maker. Oh, sure, he was a mischievous kid in high school, fun-loving, and an occasional prankster, but everyone who knew Frank found him warm and charming. In this letter Frank describes an altercation that ensues between him and a sergeant who accuses Frank of not performing his duty. Frank knows he's not at fault and argues back. Well, in the military, that doesn't fly. See what happens. I'm posting both Frank's November 6th and November 10th letters together here, as both deal with some trouble he's gotten into. The demerits are piling up. Look for his mother's response to Frank's troubles, to be published seventy years to the date it was written, on Veterans' Day, November 11th.


Dear Mom,

I’m writing this letter during my last hour of restriction and I hope it will be the last restriction I get while I’m here. This is how it happened. Last Wednesday during the calisthenics period I went into the gym and started playing basketball with the fellows who were in before me.

Well, the sergeant came into the gym and started to bawl me out for not having the men in formation when I was never told to have them like that before, so I told him and he didn’t have any come-back so he started to get mad and told me it was my duty to find out about those things, and I told him that he should have told me to do what he wanted me to and that it was his duty to do so.

Well, he got hot and so did I and we both said many harsh words to each other. He turned me in to the captain and I got 3 tours and a good bawling out from the captain. Now that that’s clear, I can go on.

A case of dysentery struck Steven’s Point and some of us fellows caught it. Well, I spent a day in the sick bay and was weak for about 3 days afterwards. Now I’m O.K. Again. The Dr. Wants to take out my tonsils and I told him NO! NO! NO! I was going out with a swell girl here and this week she went home to get married so I guess I’ll have to start hunting again. It won’t be hard, but I hate to do it all over again.

How is everyone at home and tell Fred and Lill that I’ll try to write to them soon. I know that it’s a hard thing to do but don’t worry when I don’t write. It’s because I’m too busy. I can’t be too sick or nothing can be wrong for I’ll always tell you when that’s the case. However, I’ll try not to have it happen again. Well, there’s nothing more to say now so I’ll quit now to write again in a few days.

Oh, before I forget, try to set aside December 4 & 5 and see if you can talk Pop to coming up here to our banquet and ball afterwards. I’ll find out more about it and tell you next week. Love to all

Your son


November 10, 1943 letter below: 


Dear Mom,

We had some more snow here last night and the campus looks beautiful. I’m feeling fine and just wrote out an application for a pass again, but I don’t think I can get it. We had a mix-up here last Sunday and out of 380 men and 342 were gigged [got demerits], me being one of the many. That’s five gigs right there and last Friday I received 2 gigs which makes 7 and that’s the limit.

Now yesterday, I got 2 more which means I’ll be walking again this week. I just can’t help it. The last 2 weeks I received more gigs than I have in all the time before while I was here. Well, if I can come, I’ll call you Saturday before I leave if I do! Tell Cookie that! And if I call you let her know. It’s a hard thing, this going home, and I haven’t much to say about it.

Well, I have some studying to do now so take care of yourself and send my love to all.

Your Son,


ORIGINAL 11/6/43  and 11/10/43  letters below:

Ebner LTRs 1943-11-06 to Mom-1Ebner LTRs 1943-11-06 to Mom 2-2

Ebner LTRs 1943-11-06 to Mom 3-3Ebner LTRs 1943-11-06 to Mom 4-4

Ebner LTRs 1943-11-10 to Mom110-1

Ebner LTRs 1943-11-10 to Mom110 2-2

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    Linda Gartz

    I was born and raised on Chicago's West Side, where the Gartz family lived and worked for most of the 20th century. After my mom died in 1994, my brothers and I poked around the the attic of my parents' home and discovered a trove of letters, diaries, documents, and photos that had been saved for almost a century. Taken as a whole, they focus a lens on the history of our city and life in another era, as seen through the eyes of regular folks. Go to Lindagartz.com where you'll find my blog, Family Archaeologist (a clickable link is on the "About Letters of a World War II Airman" page). There you can explore this historical treasure trove that illuminates history and our shared humanity. I started my blog, "Letters of a World War II Airman," on the 70th anniversary of the date my uncle, Frank Ebner Gartz, was drafted into World War II military service. You can see that first post and the first three months of 1943 letters at my website, Lindagartz.com. All future letters will be posted on this blog. I'm an author, archivist and television producer. Please visit my website, LindaGartz.com, to see my published articles and an overview of my television productions.

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