13 April 1951

This letter was written on 13 April 1951 and postmarked 14 April.

This letter marks the beginning of the combat flights and notes that a tour is 100 missions instead of a number of hours. I’m not sure about the number (177) after my father mentions his first mission, but it may reflect the number of missions previously accumulated in WWII.

This is the letter where he admits that I would be a stranger to him by the time he would have returned. Sadly, that remained true. He thinks my brother would still remember him and I hope that is true, or at least was for a while.

The recurring theme of wanting letters and pictures underscores how service might be different for a soldier with a family than for a single person.

Finally, I must comment on the closing. Calling me Babs is a little shocking, as my mother disapproved of any variant form of Barbara. Maybe he was trying out a nickname to see how it felt or trying to imagine something more personal than my full name. I can’t imagine that my mother approved. I don’t either, really. My mother told me that when I was named, the deal was that I would be called by my middle name, Leigh, but that never materialized. Barbara it is.

A transcript follow the images.

April13-1951

April13-1951-2

April13-1951-3

Transcript:

13 APR ’51

FRI.

Dearest Sweetheart

I’m going to write you a few lines tonight as I won’t be able to for two or three days. We are going to stage (fly) out of an advanced field for at least two days (Seoul)

They figure a combat tour at 100 missions now instead of so many hours.—I took off on my first mission (177 HA) today but had to return because of a rough engine so I start over tomorrow morn.

The weather has been very good the last couple of days—sun has been shining bright and altho it hasn’t been too warm my face is a little burned,—especially my nose.

(illegible) Shimp is writing to Terry—we’ve been sticking fairly close together lately in fact we’re flying the same mission together in the morning.

How are the kids—I guess by the time I get home Barbara will be old enough to be a stranger to me—Reckon Sib will remember me tho. Don’t forget to get a picture—if I could get a close up of them by themselves I would have a Jap painter copy the picture—I’ve seen some beautiful paintings they’ve made—really nice—painted on a silk parchment.

Be happy Honey—I’m going to quit now—I have to get up at 3:45 A.M. and will need some sleep.

I love you x xxxx xxx

Love to Babs and Sib.

Walt

 

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