This is the first of the Korea letters, written on January 13-14 and postmarked on the 15th.
It was written before I was three months old. I was glad to be mentioned, but, as he alludes to in a later letter, my father would never really know me. He says to tell my brother to take care of me, but that’s a mighty big job for a little boy, and I’m not holding him to it. He has done what he could when asked. It’s tempting to read old letters as if they have more meaning than intended, especially when it’s all you have from the writer.
What I immediately found interesting in the Korea letters was the tone of frustration, and, after having written hundreds of letters in WWII, that suddenly he thinks he doesn’t know how to write a letter. I think it sadly expresses how much he regretted being in the Korean War, or conflict, as it is properly called. More of that will come out in these letters.
A transcript follows the images. The video recitation following the transcription is possibly a version of the recitation mentioned in the letter.
13 Jan 1951
It has been so long since I have written a letter I don’t know how to begin, so I guess I’ll just ramble on. I know one thing—I’d better write smaller or buy a paper mill.
I am glad you “got right on the ball” and started taking driving lessons—the car certainly won’t do anyone any good
in t if it stays in the garage. I’m also glad to hear you are getting along so well with the driving. I just got your letter about an hr. ago, I can’t understand why it took five days to get here. It is quite aways tho, about 2500 miles I guess. I got my foot locker yesterday.
This is a (
typical) ( typical) I can’t spell, desert station. The ground is as flat as a table and one can see for miles and miles—There are mountain ranges visible in all directions, one range has a peak over 11,000′. They were bare when we got here but it snowed a couple of days ago and now they are really pretty. It didn’t snow down here however—It is really dry here. I like the climate this time of year but I’ll bet it gets hot in the summer—probably similar to Eagle Pass, Tex. I think I’ll like the place better when I get to flying—but it is so damn lonesome without you all around—It hurts a bit when you realize it could possibly be for a long time. Tell Sib I’m glad to hear that he is eating better and that even if he don’t like the vitamins that they will help him grow to be a strong man. I hope the kids get over their colds in a hurry, I hate especially to see a baby with a cold—I’m glad you called the “Doc” and got some advice. Let me know if Sib’s suits fit him—I just took a guess.
It makes a differance? when you’re not around to take care of me—All my underclothes and shirts are dirty—I neglected to take them to the laundry—Guess I’ll have to get busy. The snapshots aren’t too sharp—they are off center—otherwise tho they look pretty good. When Howard gets the ones he took printed I’d like to have some.
I should write a letter home and also one to John but letter writing isn’t one of my strong points—If you can think of questions ask them.
I am going to start working on my instrument card next week but no regular training until approx the 29th. It will give me time to concentrate on instrument flying however.
I’m getting a little hungry so I think I’ll go get something to eat and finish this letter.
Guess I’d better get started on this again or I’ll never be able to expect a letter from you.
I wish I could write better letters. I’m just not worth a damn at it—guess I’m just lazy.
Do you remember Lt Coleman—the guy who recited “Rex.” He is here and will be starting at the same time I will. He is the only one I’ve met that I knew before.
Tell Sib I said for him to take good care of Barbara Leigh.
Well— I’ll tell you—I’m going to sign off and mail this today if it is the last thing I do—It probably won’t go out until tomorrow, anyway.
I sure wish I could see you all
I love you
Kiss the kids for me
x xxxx xxx
Note: Is this the “Rex” recitation mentioned in the letter?