Posts in category "Army Air Corps"

Before GPS-World War II navigation with sextant

Before GPS-World War II navigation with sextant
This World War II navigator cadet sounds a lot more confident than a few weeks earlier when he felt he was failing — and worried about washing out. Discipline and tough courses were Frank’s daily fare, keeping so busy he hardly has time to write. The Army Air Corps needed young men who were smart... Read more »

Family rallies behind discouraged World War II navigation cadet

Family rallies behind discouraged World War II navigation cadet
In Frank’s last letter home, dated June 11th, he expressed fear about his course work. No matter how hard he studied, he was failing tests. He wrote: “I can’t write letters or eat right now because…it’s a constant threat to my existence.” In World War II, the fear of “washing out” from the Air Corps,... Read more »

World War II girl makes bomber carburetors; no boys to date!

World War II girl makes bomber carburetors; no boys to date!
World War II’s “Rosie the Riveter” comes alive in this letter  to Frank from a gal back in Chicago.  She’s working on a “beauty of a carburetor” for bombers.  I doubt many girls before the war even knew what a carburetor was. The World War II woman became versed in  previously male-only arcane knowledge. Another sign... Read more »
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D-day remembered by World War II Air Cadet in letter home

 D-day remembered by World War II Air Cadet in letter home
Seventy years ago today, June 6, 1944, the largest seaborne invasion in history took place: D-Day. About 6:30 a.m.,  24,000 British, US, and Canadian airborne troops landed on the beaches of Normandy. Thousands of young men lost their lives there, and their sacrifice eventually helped the Allies win the war. But without the efforts of the Allied... Read more »

World War II Navigator student worries about grades

World War II Navigator student worries about grades
Frank answers both my parents’ letters from a few days earlier (Click on the title to scroll down and read these letters: Memorial Day, and Home Front update). His concerns about his coursework are increasing: he’s now flunked two exams. Instead of “I’ll be all right,” as he wrote his parents, he now writes: ”I’m going... Read more »

World War II Bivouac results in misery: tick and chigger bites

World War II Bivouac results in misery: tick and chigger bites
Ticks and chiggers combine with a flunked test to make this twenty-year-old Air Corps Navigation student pretty miserable. I suffered from scores of chigger bites when visiting San Antonio when I was about Frank’s age. I could not stop scratching for days and sleep was impossible from the itching madness. I totally empathize with what... Read more »
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World War II Update from the Chicago Home Front

World War II Update from the Chicago Home Front
My mother writes Ebner a newsy letter updating him on the World War II home front––everything from the progress of his father’s knee condition to my parents’ leisure time activities. She also comments on the funny photograph of Frank seen here. Lucky thing that the two older Gartz brothers have deferments and can help with... Read more »

Memorial Day: Serving World War II America in combat and at home

Memorial Day: Serving World War II America in combat and at home
My Dad, Fred,  is working on a new oxygen regulator that his younger brother, Frank, may very well use at some time. (Dad had a deferment from military service because of his defense work.) He updates his brother on the improvements being made on this essential piece of equipment for airmen, or order to save more lives.... Read more »

High School teacher keeps her World War II "boys" in touch

High School teacher keeps her World War II "boys" in touch
Letters were special for World War II servicemen. That’s why Miss Hartley, Frank’s division teacher from Austin High School, made such an effort to write all her “boys.” She starts this letter (her eighth to former students) with a reference to listening to “Charlie McCarthy,” a famous Ventriloquist act that was popular, even on the... Read more »
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"Raising hell" for a Happy Birthday during World War II

"Raising hell" for a Happy Birthday during World War II
Today, May 14th,  is the 90th anniversary of my Uncle Frank’s birth — but back in 1944, he had just turned twenty. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, UNCLE EBNER! I’m posting these two letters together. The first is from Frank, telling my parents how he planned to celebrate his 20th in San Antonio with an old friend from... Read more »
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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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