World War II Navigator student battles heat, coursework, and roaches

World War II Navigator student  battles heat, coursework, and roaches
Letterhead for this letter

Frank's twentieth birthday is coming up on May 14th, and his family wants to know what gift he would like. He's practical, and asks for "sun tans," the light-weight uniform cadets wore in warm weather. Again, it appears each cadet had to pay not only for toilet paper, but his own uniform!

LOGO – United States Army Air Forces

19 April 1944

Dear Mom and Dad,

Another hot day comes to a partial stand still. We have been working hard in the class room these past 3 days since school started and have had evening classes every night from 8:00 till 9:30. I’ve learned more these 3 days than I have in the past months in Pre Flight.

I wrote an immediate answer to Lill’s question about a birthday present. My need for more sun tan suits is becoming more and more obvious as the days go on but I want to point out to you that what would cost me $6.60 here in camp would cost you perhaps $9 or $10.00 outside. Also I’m not allowed to wear gabardine. Well enough said about that.

There are many roaches in the barracks and I’m going nuts trying to get rid of them. I won’t be able to go to town for a few weeks as yet and wonder if you would send me some roach powder to get rid of them. Do what you can in this respect.

Enclosed you will find a photograph of myself taken in Los Angeles at the girl's house. [He's referring to Majorie, the girl he'd written about in a couple of previous letters,]. It’s a pretty good picture don’t you think? As you can see my face is pretty full and I’m in good health. I’ve been cutting down on my meals here and have lost 4 lbs., but I have about 10 more lbs. to lose before I’ll be in shape. The heat here will do that for me.

I’m going to like the course here no matter how hard it will prove to be. My instructor is a Lt. from Chicago and we have hit it off pretty good already. As I said before, the work is hard but these officers have a way of putting it over that you can’t help but like it. Well take good care of yourselves and tell Will to write me a long letter as soon as he gets a chance. I know he is busy but perhaps he will find a break in his work to drop me a line or two.

Till I write again it’s Love to All and many good wishes for health.

Your Loving son,

Next Sheet – Extra Read the other first

I just reread your letter and found some questions I didn’t answer. The food here is swell and the rooms are good. I have a swell boy in my room who comes from Texas and his is a good fellow. This is not gunnery school. I will not go to gunnery school but will pick that up after I graduate from this Advanced Navigation school. This deals with traveling from one point to another by instruments only without looking at the ground.

I received your package yesterday and it was very good. My roommate also says to thank you for the cakes. He too likes them.

I’m sorry but I was on the train all day Easter but we had a good big dinner in an air conditioned liner so it wasn’t too bad.

Ask Will if on that flight he is going to make in May if he could head down Texas way if he can. I’ll be able to see him if he comes this way. Good bye again.


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Ebner LTRs 1944-04-19 to Parents-1

Ebner LTRs 1944-04-19 to Parents 2-2

Ebner LTRs 1944-04-19 to Parents 3-3

Ebner LTRs 1944-04-19 to Parents 4-4

Ebner LTRs 1944-04-19 to Parents 5-5

Ebner LTRs 1944-04-19 to Parents 6-6

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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 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, All future letters will be posted on this blog. I'm an author, archivist and television producer. Please visit my website,, to see my published articles and an overview of my television productions.

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