Is This Walt’s Ruth-Less?

This image shows a P-39 named RUTH-LESS 2nd and its original pilot Lt. Col. R. W. Plahn. Is this the plane Walt talks about inheriting from a pilot who has been sent home, or did Walt inherit that pilot’s first plane? Walt doesn’t say anything about it being the 2nd, but maybe he will. You can see the photo and a description here: Ruth-Less

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He does specifically say he gets his own Mustang, not a 39, so it’s a little confusing.

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December 1944 Letters Transcribed ✅

If you ever read of P-51’s doing anything over here you’ll know it is us.

The December 1944 letters, and all of 1944, have been transcribed. Walt does a lot of flying in December, but his little group of four—Franklin, Garner, DuBost, and Walt—take a few hits. The year ends with Garner and DuBost on their way home with injuries, and just Franklin and Walt left to fly more missions.

Finishing out the year, Walt finally gets his own Mustang, which is already named Ruth-less, a sign he takes as lucky, since the previous pilot got to go home.

The unit is moving somewhere as December ends, and Walt hopes to get into a little fun, as he calls it. His mother, as he says, would call it devilment.

November 1944 Letters Transcribed ✅

The November 1944 letters are finished and it was an interesting month of letters. It begins with Walt having returned from a trip to Sydney, Australia, anticipating getting some flying missions where he can shoot down an enemy plane, but some of the realities of air warfare hit close to home.

J. J. DuBost

His friend J. J. DuBost takes a hit and loses some fingers, or a hand, depending on the storyteller, and is probably headed home.

By the end of the month, Walt has been involved in a friendly fire incident that shot down a US plane (he was able to recognize it first and not shoot). He is grounded for a few days during the investigation, but quickly returns to his anticipation of being part of some “hot” missions.

January through October 1944 Letters Transcribed ✅

It’s not as many letters as the post title suggests, with January, July, and September each having only one letter. October is a full month of letters, though, as are the next two months of the year.

October ends with Walt in a plane on his way to Sydney, Australia with his friends Charles Garner and J. J. Dubost, and a few others, for some rest and relaxation. Walt says they plan to eat until their sides bulge. Garner describes this remembrance of the trip in his letter written after Walt’s death:

We went to Sidney together on leave & got gloriously drunk & I ate a 1/2 gallon of whipped cream while so tight I couldn’t hold the container. Pitt was forever trying out some kind of new drink & would try & sell us on the idea. Sometimes he succeeded but by the time we got to liking his particular kind he would switch to a new one. This went on & on.

And then a day or two after Thanksgiving, 1944 J. J. got hit and lost a hand. Dec. 4, 1944, some few days later, I lost an ear.

 

April 1943 Pics

Photos with dates written on the back are few in the stash I have, but here are a few from that mystery year 1943. Remember that Walt’s little spiral notebook/diary ended in March 1943 with both Walt and Ruth arriving in Oklahoma City at Cimarron Field. These photos are dated 25 April, so they were probably still there when these were taken.

First, there are these three of Ruth walking toward the camera. Something is obscuring the upper left corner—Walt’s finger or the bill of his cap, maybe.

Then there are a couple of Walt.

Then they get someone to take a few of the both of them, trying to decide who should stand on the left and who the right.

Nice hat.