Transcription of Document FFDoc-0273.pdf

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Sherman, Joe

Shields, Frank

I received both of your letters and was tickled to hear from you. I hope you'll excuse me for not writing sooner. When I got your second letter, I felt like a heel. I was really busy. You'll understand it some, if you go in the army. You see I get letters from everybody and all over and sometimes they pile up on me and I get busy down here. By the time I start to answer them, I have a box full Well that was the case with yours. I had sixteen letters on hand and I kept getting more. I tried to answer my family's letter as they came along with as many of these as I could. I had an envelope addressed to you from about three days after I received your letter but I could not find time to write that letter. Yours finally hit the top of the pile yesterday, the same day I got your letter.  I'm really sorry I didn't write sooner. Well, now to write a nice newsy letter. Thanks for the Christmas card. It was swell. Now for that long awaited letter.

I was quite surprised myself to land in Cuba. I thought I was going on board a ship. I told my mother I'd probably be home for Christmas. I figured I'd get on a destroyer and pull in the Bklyn Navy Yard every now and then. Quite a few guys around the neighborhood did that. One of my friends is stationed down there now. You probably heard me talk about him - Eddie Johnson. Do you remember the day I was reading a letter from him to you and Joe Owens down in the basement of Royal right by the candy counter. Incidentially I owe that guy [candy counter] a nickel. Remind me to pay him some day. About four guys I know took part in the raid on Casablanca - Jimmy Kelly, Bill Lodge and a couple of others I can't think of now. Then three other guys I know real well are in the Pacific. One of the guys, Oscar Hildago, who is only 18 was wounded when his ship went down in the Pacific. I got a postcard and V letter - which never reached me - from another of the three who is on a ship around New Zealand. Then I got a Christmas card from a guy who has seen almost every bit of action there was in the Pacific. I get a lot of dope about all the guys in all branches of the service from a newspaper - "The Bridge" - The Road Home for Gowanous Servicemen. It's put out by a couple of fellows around the neighborhood who haven't been drafted, because of poor health or dependents. It's real good. You cann't beat the spirit in Bklyn. The Bklyn Daily Eagle also prints everything that goes in that paper and puts it in the "Service Section" or something. My name has been mentioned a couple of times. I like down here a lot but I would like to get some sea duty abouard an aircraft carrier or destroyer before the war's over.

I'll send you a postcard of Morro Castle. I'm find out how the other half lives. We go on liberty to the town called Caimanero. It's the most different from anything you have ever seen. It's an experience in itself to go to town. It's real nice down here. Anyone that has an eye for beautiful would really appreciate it. I find myself gazing over the blue waters of the Caribbean and at the surrounding mts, palm trees and cactus and really admiring it. I'm on a pretty good detail now. I'm in the beach crew. All we wear all day are bathing trunks and sneakers. I'm really enjoying this. We beach big flying boats. We handle rope and do work like you would expect a sailor. I might be able to get seaman first out of it in about three months. We move the planes around to get them ready. I'm sitting in the shade of a tractor writing this. I parked another one so It would provide shade but some took it to move a plane. It's a lot of fun. I'm learning how to drive pretty good. You say in your letter how your brother looks good like all service men. Well, I wish you could see me. Boy, I really got a swell tan and I have put on weigh.

I know we always had a swell times when we went out and I'm looking forward to a lot more. I felt kind of funny with that lousy haircut I'll never get one of them again. And in a place like that. Boy, that bring up about the gang getting pleasantly plastered as you put it every payday but that certainly brought up some pleasant memories that I won't forget.

Glad to hear that your brother is doing so well. I was surprised to hear that he was a sergeant. Boy, he's really right in there. He get what he wanted and is already assigned to a plane. I don't think the war will be over until April '44. I hope I'm wrong though. I'll be able to get flight orders by that time. It takes about fourteen months before you can become rated. Boy, that sounds like the life listening to the hit Parade at 13000 ft. I was in the forward gunner's position on one of our planes. Just looking around there seemed like enough room for me there but when I tried the tail position I was all cramped up. There's more to it then shotting a gun. Tell him if he is ever down this way to look me up. I'd be more than glad to show him around. Your cousin must be a pretty bright lad. I got your first letter Jan 2 and the latest one Feb 3. I had a swell Christmas and New Year's. Boy, they certainly treated us Royal. You couldn't have beaten the eats we had. We had Turkey and Ham and all the dressings to excess. Then we all got a bag of Christmas candy, bag of nuts, pack of cigarettes and a cigar. We had a very good U.S.O. show down here though there were no prominent stars. We had singing of Christmas carols Christmas eve. I was on guard duty when the New Year came in. The guys didn't get in until all hrs. A couple of them offered me a drink about 2 o'clock. They were really potted. I don't know how many times I met them while walking my post. I was dreaming up New Year's resolution all the time I was on. Most of which I have already broken. I have been promising myself I'd learn Spanish since I came down here. I bought a book on it Sp. in 20 lessons by some professor at the Univ. of Miami . after I was down here about two weeks but have never used it. My mother was the same with me she said you don't need anything you'll be in the service soon and I'm glad she was that way. I'm glad to hear that your brother got leave I bet youse had some time celebrating. I wish I could have been with you. Even though I only know Joe slightly I really liked him and took to him. He's an accepted member for getting a stew on with. Incidentially we have a little puppy for a mascot. We call him "Two Beer". I wouldn't mine hearing from Joe. I'm glad he liked my present so well. They are a real good bunch at Royal. Now to tell you about them all. Harry Pollack is still on the loose. Ken Soha is in Field Artillery, Ft. Bragg, N.C. Dan Miney[?] drafted Army Air Corp, Atlantic City. Marty Patches is in Army. I don't know where. I write to his house until he gets settled. Joe Owens expects to be called soon. Tony[?] rejected by Army. Taking a gov't course for a defense job. There's a good guy, if you ever met one. Bob Reinnagel in Field Artillery. That's the boy that was going in the Army Air Corp or nothing. John Hannon drafted to Army. Now at Oswego, N.Y. Nick DePola, Tony's brother was about to be drafted when I last heard of him. I imagine Dutch will be going soon. Haven't heard nothing yet. How's this for a team for a good time - Dutch, Tony, Dan, Ken, Joe, you and I. I got the same things from Royal Guard as Joe. My people are all O.K. My brother is getting ordained April 28 and my sister's getting married right after that. I hope to get home for that. Lights are going out. I tried finishing this when I came back from the movies. The lights are out now. So I close.

Anything else you want to know give me the word.

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