Here is that oft promised letter. About finished here. I think Ill go to Enid Okla. in about two weeks. I have 58 hours now. I will have my acobatic check ride soon. It will be easy as acrobatics are easy for me: I seem to fly better upside down. I always was crazy. Ill be glad to get to a larger ship. Lately Ive wanted some more power on the nose. The new trainer has about 500 H.P.
We have a 39 Oldsmobile coupe or did you know? It sure is a nice car. I bought it from a boy in the Rainbow Division here at Camp Gruber.
It is a club coupe so we have plenty of room.
I wish I could go to Canada with you but it will wait.
Well Ill close for now.
P.S. Send Carls address
470 Base Hq &A B Sq.
Pendleton AAF, Oregon
December 24, 1943
Dear Mother and Father,
I always like to like to get a letter from you. It brings me back home if only for a little while.
I guess that dad about worn out by now, working so hard. Here I am laying in bed two thirds the time. However I hope to be completely ready for duty in a few more weeks. To tell the truth I havent been feeling very good, but that is only natural.
The weather has been foggy for a month here. Today is one of the few clear days. I can see the snow– covered Rockies from here. This country
is beautiful. It makes me so mad, when I think that you and Lois went home, then I came back to Pendleton. I almost tear my hair out. You cant make any plans at all in the army. Every time you think you have it straightened out it up and slaps you down. Suppose that my flight training will get screwed up somehow and Ill end up as a pencil pusher somewhere. As long as I can be busy I wont mind anything too much.
I hope that Louis can find a nice apartment there in Westerville. I dont want her to move away from there. It is handy, and you folks and Herman can give her some help if she needs it.
I expect to leave here in a
month or so. If I get in good physical shape it cant be too soon.
I received a basket full of cards from everywhere. Letters from everyone too. While I was in the hospital I wrote a lot of people, now the answers are coming in. It looks as if I would have to keep up my correspondence now.
Dont worry about me, mother. If I get sick Ill let you know. There is a lot of men who would trade me places Ill bet. They are having their tails shot off while the surgeon just nipped off a tiny piece of mine.
Wishing you and dad a happy new year, I will be
470 Base Hq & A B Squadron
Pendleton AAF, Oregon
December 13, 1943
As I am in hospital I can’t send the deposit slip. If they wont to business pay the extra five and get a receipt. When I get out I’ll mail you the deposit slip. Wrap the present and then put it in a large box, then wrapped the large box. Give it to her as soon as you can and let her guess.
I’m getting along fine and may be out soon if I don’t need another operation. If I do it will be a very minor one. It is good to know the situation is corrected. It wasn’t so pleasant but the longer one lets it go the worse it gets. The surgeon says I may never be troubled again.
I’ve been in bed about 10 days now and I’m fed up with it. Sleep eat read & then repeat. I do have time to write now and I’ve written everyone imaginable including Jack Hays. If I had Ruth and Johns address I would have written them.
I’ll be back in work soon and my call for flight training will come in the near future. I’m glad that it didn’t
come before now in a way because I would have had to have the operation at my flight training base and it would have put me behind in my work, so everything worked out O.K.
I never knew I had hemorrhoids until the flight surgeon examined me. He said as soon as I had the situation corrected I would be in perfect health and that would be no bar to my flying.
Well Pendleton is getting colder now. The leaves on the trees are falling and the mornings are getting crisp. Just like September in Ohio. It’s strange that the climate is so mild here.
Ill close mother and wish you all
470 Base Hq. & AB Sq.
Pendleton AAF, Ore
December 9, 1943
This is a letter of consolation to you. The war department regrets to inform you that your son
1st Lt. William A. Shepard Jr. 0570214
Was injured in the service of his country observers state that in a frenzy of patriotism, when the General yelled “shit on the jap”, he nobly pulled down his jeans and spread fourth and filth upon the yellow race untill he wore out his muzzle bore.
Seriously mother, dont worry a minute about my operation. Was one of those things. I had my choice of having it done now when there is less danger or later some 10 or 15 years. I choose now. I like to clean it up. The doctor is OK and
I’ll probably be out before Xmas and so don’t worry.
Dont let Lois worry either. After all we have a lot of these operations any more. I didnt know it till I came in. They are nearly all successful, even the bad cases. And it pays to have it taken care of.
Ill close now. Write please
P.S. I dont have a damn thing to do but read letters so that’s the extra reason for writing.
P.P.S. I think they changed my caliber I’m not sure.
470 Base H.Q. and Air Base Squadron
Pendleton Army Air Field, Oregon
November 21, 1943
Dear Mother & Father:
Arrived here safely, after much delay. Waited at Patterson Field for three days. Met some fliers I knew and had a ride home, but at the last minute the flight was cancelled and I had to come via airlines I was kicked off at Cheyenne and Boise and came in on the train, just making it.
As you have probably noticed, I have been transferred to another organization. You can address all mail to the above address until further notice.
It was nice to get home and probably will be the last time for a while at least. Although it will take me three monthes to pay you and Lois back.
Ill send you the money for Lois’ ring in two weeks. Get it wrapped and give it to her on Xmas eve for me. Ill send a note to put in with it. I can pay you back Jan & Feb.
Same old place out here. The weather ifs foggy. Im just waiting now. Ill write later.
301 Service Squadron
Pendleton AAF Oregon
September 19, 1943
Dear Mom and Pop:
Ill bet that you are having a good time. I only wish that I could be with you all. It wont be to long now. We should lick Hitler in another year, then beat the socks off Tojo. That makes two years., 1945.
I probably wont be around long. You know all soldiers have to go, sooner or later, and I have been here a year and one-half now.
When I go I want you to kind of keep an eye on my family for me. Make Lois take care of herself. Im makin out another alootment to her, so she will be getting enough to live
on. The goverment will send her 1 war bond each month and my insurance is paid automatically (my goverment insurance) I have $10,000 insurance. Lois has a power of attorney for me. Im making a will, what for I dont know, but its there just the same. All my personal affairs are in order.
Im sending a trunk home. In the trunk there will be some clothes and missceellaneous items. Lois can store them till I get back.
Please dont tell people about this. I guess best friends, mothers, fathers and sweethearts have sank as many ships as the enemy, because they let something slip. Its hard not to talk, but someone may tell someone and so on until (offensive image drawn) hears. That old promise “never to tell a soul” has cost and is costing right now, soldiers lives. I know I can trust you all. Ill write soon
301 Service Squadron
Pendleton Army Air Field, Oregon
September 11, 1943
Dear Mom & Pop:
Day off today so I have time to write. It was hot here yesterday, altho I think it was just Indian Summer. It will cool down and the snow will fly soon, And can it get cold out here!
How is the fishing now? How is the cabin? You know, next year I hope to go up with you all. The war cant last forever.
Im going down town and wrassel with a steak this afternoon, that is, if I can find one. When I get home Im going to have a few bulls around the house just like people have dogs, then when I want a steak we’ll just amputate one.
How is your arm coming along? Sorry to hear about the accident. How is dad? Slip me a letter if you have tie. Love
Sept 6, 1943
Dear Dick & Dad,
Labor Day. And a very wet one. We had quite a wind storm today at noon. We were eating and I started upstairs to shut windows when the dining room door started on a rampage – knocking me into a chair, about breaking my shoulder & did break my brassier strap. K. W. & Mary E. thot it quite funny. I came up home Thursday nite. Left everything under control as much a possible.
Friday we started in-picked red kidney beans & lima beans. About a bushel of each.
Then Mom & I shelled most of the limas & canned them. I have twelve pints of lima beans. Saturday we shelled all the kidney beans that weren’t to dry & I got five pints of them. Hope to dry & can corn last of this week.
Mary starts to school tomorrow. She is ready to go. Kenny has been having a grand time here on the farm. Sue crawled today. And I’m not kidding tho I don’t suppose you’ll believe it. She went about two feet across the floor to get her rattle .
I have had only one letter from Bill since you left tho
it was a large one. 10 sheets of paper & full. He even sent it in a large square official envelope. He wrote it because I said Herman had written Ruth a ten page letter. Nothing much of any news. Just rambling. He wrote it before he left Moses Lake.
It is time to put Kenny to bed so I’d better close. Received your cards Sat. Hope you are having a pleasant time.
301 Service Squadron
Pendleton AAF., Ore.
September 9, 1943
Received your letter today. Happy to hear that you are up in fish-land. Id like to join you, but I have my job and its a big one. One of these days we can be back to normal. Have been pretty busy. I think that Ill go fishing this week end and relax.
Oh yes I’d better tell you. My promotion came through
Sept 4, 1943. I am now 1st Lt.
No more news here so Ill close house.
Write & tell about the place
Dear “Dick and Dad”
Just a line to let You know I am O.K. As you can see we are in Newark N. J. at the last minute they changed the plans. We came over here from Paterson today. Newark is a much larger city than Paterson and only 8 minutes by subway to the heart of New York City. I surely have enjoyed my trip here and have learned a lot about the Wright Engines. We are going to the propeller school now and will probably finish there tomorrow night and then be on our way home Saturday evening arriving in Colo. about 5 AM. I called Ruth last night to see how things were at home she told me that you had planed to leave about 2 AM Wednesday morning. I hope you had a nice trip and also that you didn’t have any trouble getting thru. Did you stop at Hale Mich?
She told me that you had burned you hand I hope it is nothing serious. Better take care of it. Of course I know that “Cumminic[?] Lake” air will heal any kind of an injury, why I expect Dad to come home with a new knee. How are the Forders? Give them my regards and tell them that I surely am missing my trip this year. Im not there in body but believe me I’d really spend a lot of time pretending I was there. How did you find the cabin and all the surroundings is everything okay? I want you to write and give us all the dope. I visited several sport shops here while I didn’t have anything else to do and I found several nice trolling rods some of the banbo ones were as low as $2.98 and ran as high as $11.50 dollars and fifty cents for the metal ones. I didn’t buy any because I knew I couldn’t get one to you folks to use now and there wouldn’t be any use of me buying one to take home. So all I did was “Shop.” We have had a good time here, Lawrence. Kentucky and I have run around together and Lawrence and I have run on Kentucky all the time just about like I used to pestor Simon. He is a good sport and a clean boy.
Lawrence is sitting here reading a “Liberty” and just taking life easy. He is a swell fellow to be out with we all do a lot of dirty talking but that is as far as it goes. If someone would ever hear us talking they would think we were the worst. We had very nice rooms at the Hotel in Paterson and the one here is very cheerful I wouldn’t mind living like this all the time if someone would furnish the money. So far including airfare, hotel and meals I’ve spent about $130.00 The meals have run pretty high as I’ve tried about all the fancy things there was on the menu including a different cocktail for nearly every meal. Tell you one thing and that is, this N. J, air does not work the same way on me as the Canadian air I would
Have spent twice that amount of money.
Have you heard from Bill lately? I wrote him a letter and mailed it last Sunday night. I am going to try too write to him more often. You surely see a lot of servicemen around here I think most of them are here for embarkation as this is where the convoys are made up and etc. Tell dad not to overdo himself while he is up there and to leave some of the work for me to do. I hope he hooks onto such a large fish that he will have to overdo himself to land. What did you find out about”Trout” season when does it end. And I wouldn’t want you to get into any trouble, be careful and not fall in the lake and etc.
I expect I better close and get to bed as we have to get up at 5:30 AM in order to get to school on time in Caldwell at 7:30 Caldwell is about the same distance from here as Times Square, N. Y. but it takes an hour to get to Caldwell by bus and 8 minutes by subway to Times Square. So you can see the difference in travel. You would get a kick out of riding the subway.
Love to all —