1940s Letter William Shepard to Lois Shepard

Written possibly early December, 1940s, talking about Puerto Rico.

Hello Darling:

Here it is, Friday night in Trinidad. Ill write the letter here
and post it tomorrow. We flew down early this morning, leaving
Boringquen at 08:15. It was my first over-water hop. Only 700 miles
but something new. I flew down with Capt. Corcoran. there are
sure a lot of things to take care of beofre a flight. I dont suppose
that I have told you a lot of thngs we have to do.

First after the need for a flight has been ascertained it has to be
passed by the A-3 or the operations division of the wing (here)[?]. Then the
pilot must get all the crew & passengers to accomplish a physical
inspection certificate (if flying out of zone). Then a customs clearance
is necessary if flight into other than US possessions is contemplated.
Then the pilot fills out a form 23. (clearance of aircraft). He has
to give information as to the people going (their ranks serial nos)
the route to be traveled, air speed, altitude, destination and
fifty other things. Then he has to go to the weather office, which
prepares a chart showing just what weather he will encounter.
After that is he ready to go? No. He has to inspect the airplane
and crew & passengers to see if they know bail out & ditching (landing
on water) procedures. After everyone is aboard are we ready
to go? No! some jerk always comes running out on the
line as one is getting ready to pull out. We have to pick him
up and change the clearance (1 customs, 2 medical, 3 flight) via
radio. Then are we ready to go? I think so so
we taxi out to the runway, run up the engines and call
the tower for take off clearance. Do we get it? No. The
radio went bust! So we taxi back and change planes,
clearance, cargo, temper[?] and stuff. Well it give you
an idea anyhow of why I get $125 a month extra!

[page 2]
Im off the subject.

I figured the course out before take off and we flew 4 hours,
over water, when we hit land we were about 20 miles
off but that suited me. It was a clear day and we could see clear [over?] the top of Triniday. We had Maj. Brown the base chaplain for a passenger.

Trinidad surprised me. It is very mountainous near
the north coast and through the middle it is flat & level
Very much jungle country. It was sultry hot when we
landed. My boys (telephone) has removed some equipment
from the exchange at Waller and we loaded it in the C-97.
Ready to take off when Capt Corcoran called & said he had to
meet a naval officer in Port-of Spain. So we are R.O.N.
Get used to the term. It means. Remain Over Night.
when we are expected back & dont get to go, we send a radio
message, if possible, to one base informing them we are RON.

Be happy we are not here at Waller. It has its
points, but Borinquen has more of them. It is undoubtedly
more social & friendly but. It is really hot here. And
I have never seen it rain so hard. Believe me it has never
rained that hard in Ohio! And it keeps up.

The base is spread out over 19,000 acres! One needs
not a car, but an airplane to commute with.

When we were to RON. I went to the base telephone
office and met all the enlisted men. We then examined

[page 3]
the plant. They have a pretty fair system, better than
Boringquen’s. Boringquen isnt my worry, bu the way, any
more than Waller, Jamaica, Gunia or any of the others.
We are responsible for the telephone plant in all of them.
The Boringquen exchange is under Capt. Vaden. “Dave”. I
have charge of construction & maintenance in the whole area. I
do get a lot of experience this way although it keeps me hustling.

As we were looking over the system, one of the spliciers
tells me that they captured a boa-constrictor 19 ft long
at the very spot we were! We left there; and then he
told me of all the hunting. Deer, boar, duck. Well
now I think I will have to make frequent trips down to
Waller to coordinate communication activities.

Its crazier than hell, the way they drive. British you
know! On the left hand side, and it worries one to death.
The population here is not only dark. They are downright black
Some of the most shapely black wenches I have ever seen and
no kidding. They arent coarse but fine featured.
not negroes as we know them [SORRY just typing what he wrote]. The VD rate is high!

The driver of the jeep I rode in was black and he carried his
pet bird, Tony, with him all the time. He had made a cage
that was beautiful out of jungle wood. It was a masterpiece
of artistry! The bird was smaller than a canary and I was
told that It changed colors with age.

It may be in the cards for us to move to Waller in a year

[page 4]
or so. In that case we will undoubtedly enjoy it. But lets enjoy
Boringquen. As soon as you car arrives we will travel all over Puerto
Rico and take a lot of pictures. It, like all the Caribbean has
much to offer to the sight-seirs. It is very rich in history (only)
when I get back to Borinquen Sat I will have a full week
end ahead of me. I will get all the issued material, furniture & the
bike checked out to us & installed in the quarters. The all I will
need is a family to fill it up. We may not have a fortune
in money but we do have a family in every respect.

I am going to continue writing until I receive definate
word as to when you are coming down. Remember, I can
receive telegrams quickly, but to send one, I must go to
Augudila and it takes about 2-3 days to get to you. Coming
down they are sent via army radio so I get them immediately!

Well Im tiring out. This is a good example of a long
letter, buy the way. Ouch. Get it? well dont feel so bad,
its just lately that I have written anything but a one pager!

In case this is before Xmas I want you all to know
that I love you. That isnt worth money, just what you
want it to mean.

From South America your latin friend:
Willamo Sheparado

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