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Stone, Robert L. (1921-2009) to Jacob Stone, Beatrice Stone, Don Stone, Jim Stone, and Barry Marks

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC09620.039 Author/Creator: Stone, Robert L. (1921-2009) Place Written: Childress, Texas Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 3 July 1943 Pagination: 4 p. ; 27.6 x 19.4 cm.

Summary of Content: Addressed to "Dad, Bee, Don, Jim, and Barry." A lengthy letter detailing the fifteen-hour work days they are subjected to. They are in class for most of the day, with lunch and dinner breaks, and an hour to themselves from 9:30-10:30 PM. The work is tough, but interesting and he has learned more in a week than he did "in half a year at college or prep-school." Has a "great bunch of fellows in the barracks" which helps with the stress. Asks to have his letters sent around to everyone, as he is surprised he found the time to write. Date on letter is written as "Saturday Nite." "Letters in a Box" notes it as July 3, 1943 and Bob mentions that it is the day before Indepence Day.

Background Information: Robert "Bob" Stone was a Bombardier in World War II and served in the Pacific Front. These letters, were compiled by Bob's wife, Sheila M. Stone, and Ali Adair into ...a book named Letters in a Box. This book details Bob's service to his country, and his life after the war. Bob's letters were donated to the collection by his wife, Sheila M. Stone, in 2017. It contains a variety of letters, postcards, patches, pins, photographs, and scrapbooks that relate to Bob's training and combat missions. See More

Full Transcript:
[Draft Created by Crowdsourcing]
Saturday Nite
Dear Dad, Bee, Don, Jim, and Barry -
With the week-end at hand I find myself with a few spare hours, which is unus [...insert: u] al for this place. This past week was the fullest that I have ever spent. I'll go through a typical day and every day is just alike.
Up at 6:20 with breakfast at 7:00. We go to class, where we each have our own permanent desk, at 8:00 and remain there working steadily until 12:00 when we go to lunch. Every hour we go outside for a ten minute smoke and stretch. At 1:00 we come back to class where we remain until 5:00 when we go to retreat. Following retreat we get into athletic clothes and go to P.T. for an hour. Supper is at 6:45 and then back to class at 7:30 until 9:30 when our day is over. We have one hour a day to do as we like from 9:30 to 10:30 when lights go out.
It's really some grind sitting at the same desk in the same room for 10 hours of class every day. This new plan of giving us six weeks

[2]
of navigation first is mighty rugged. Every day we have an exam that lasts about an hour and every Saturday we have a four hour exam on the week's work
The work is interesting, different, and absorbing. They throw it at us so [strikeout] darn fast that you've got to be on the ball every minute. I worked hard all week and did very well on the daily tests which count 1/4 of our weeks grade. The long 4 hour exam we took this afternoon counts 3/4. It included everything we did all week and you really had to know your stuff to do well. I have no idea how I did but I'll find out tuesday. Cross your fingers!
We have three instructors who teach us everything. They are all three princes to say nothing of being A-1 teachers. They were once cadets and they're young and can get the work across to us in a way that we can understand and appreciate.
The type of work we did had to do with plotting courses on various projections, mainly the mercator. The other main bulk of the work had to do with learning how to work a computer that figures airspeed, temperature altitude, calibrated altitude, and lord knows what all else. I can honestly say that I learned more this

[3]
week than I did in a half a year at college or prep-school. I can't impress you enough the amount of work that they give us in ten hours each day. You have to understand and learn the work as you go along since we don't get any free time to study things, if we miss them.
I must say that the work is interesting even though tough as heck. They keep telling us how the washout rate is going up and the course becoming tougher. If I get through it will be due to damn hard work and alot of luck when it comes to dropping the bombs. If I get my wings and a commission I can certainly tell the world I worked for it. That's the way we all feel and doff our hats to any men with navigator, bombardier, or pilots wings. It's a real pull.
With only an hour off a day you can see that we don't have any time to do any personal things at all. Our day is the fullest and busiest you can imagine.
The camp here has nothing to offer except alot of dust and warm weather. Actually it doesn't matter too much because we don't have any time to do anything except go to class. Our open-post (which hardly anyone uses since Childress is nothing) doesn't start until after

[4]
supper Saturday night until 12:00. You'd think we were back at grade school. Tomorrow on our great day of independence we've got to put on a parade for the townspeople in the afternoon. Then from 7:30 till 9:30 we have to go to class. That's no exaggeration and wouldn't you think that's taking things a bit too far? It ought to be a pleasant 4th, says who!
One swell thing is that we have a great bunch of fellows in the barracks. We really have the best flight in our class and the kids are tops. We all get on just fine and that's damn important when you're working under such a strain and tension as we are.
Guess that about takes care of all that happened this week. This was the first time I had a chance to write you and I'm sure you'll appreciate not hearing from me more often. Please be sure to send all my letters around to the various brothers. Hope you have a swell time at Alderbrook. Catch some big ones for me, Dad.
Loads of love -
Bobby
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People: Stone, Robert L., 1921-2009
Stone, Don, fl. 1925
Stone, Beatrice Hecht Marks, 1901-1962
Stone, Jacob, fl. 1894-1985
Stone, James, 1926-2007
Marks, Barry, 1926-1983

Historical Era: Great Depression and World War II, 1929-1945

Subjects: World War IISoldier's LetterMilitary CampMilitary ServiceAir ForceAviationMilitary EducationTexasTranscript AvailableCrowdsourced Transcript AvailableTranscript Project: Robert L. Stone's World War II letters

Sub Era: World War II

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