This letter was written by my mother's brother
at the age of 17 from basic training. He was just a kid from Brooklyn who answered the call, not knowing much about the world except how to charm girls with his good looks, love of dancing, and sense of humor. He had no idea that bombs would be dropped, that so many people would suffer from radiation
, that future wars would be protested, returning soldiers and sailors looked upon with disdain, nor that he would survive three years in the Pacific theater, only to die after dancing in a friend's wedding four months after World War II ended. I hold the bracelet he wrote of in the letter with his name on it, wondering if he wore it hidden under his uniform sleeve or the night he died. This is just a small tribute to the uncle I never knew, the one who stayed forever young
NAVAL AIR TECHNICAL TRAINING CENTER
It's getting hotter every day. Over every water fountain they have salt tablet dispensers to return the salt lost through perspiration.
By the end of July our course here is finished and after that I don't know where I'll be sent. As much as I would like to see you (all) I don't think it would be wise to make the trip down here. Jacksonville is one of the most filled up cities in the south and also one of the most unattractive. Not to mention long tiresome train ride with nothing but Georgia negroes waving at the train from the porches of their ramshackle, wind-tossed unpainted houses.
Your package came today. And thank sis for the bracelet. It looks swell. I like the "love sis" on the back especially. So far all of my weekends have spent them dancing on Saturday at the U.S.O. and swimming on Sunday at the beach. You should see me, brown as a nut.
Here at school everything is getting harder and out of our original class we've lost about 30. So far my marks have been good except code which ceases to be a problem and a new subject. Blinker which is all but driving me nuts. Nothing to worry about here! though It will come after a while.
Last Tuesday morning from 2400 to 0300 I stood a security watch. It was sort of thrilling to walk around challenging everyone with a forty five caliber pistol in working condition. There was no danger of any one getting hurt because for the first week of our stay here we learned their correct use and care also we spent some time at the pistol range learning how to fire.
Also during our first week here we fired 500 rounds of shotgun shells and for the next ten days my shoulder was still sore from the recoil of the gun. This all came under the title of Sentry Instruction.
This week we're learning how to use the 'direction finder', an instrument used to find the direction of a station. With the help of the "Direction Finder", the radioman has to find a station that's maybe one hundred miles away and ten thousand feet down. But its not hard after doing it for a week on the ground.
We haven't been up in the air yet. Flying is the last phase of our training and comes next fall most likely. At present the nearest we will come to flying is to sit in a wingless body of some old plane back from the wars, with patched up bullet holes and send messages as though in actual flight.
Did Jack leave for the Navy yet and have you Tom's address? I'll have to close now. Love to sis and Pop, Matt
P.S. THANKS FOR THE PACKAGE AND IF YOU CAN FIND MY CIGARETTE LIGHTER PLEASE SEND IT TO ME. LOVE MATT WOULD YOU RATHER I PRINTED MY LETTERS?