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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 #: GLC09620.040.02 Author/Creator: Stone, Robert L. (1921-2009) Place Written: Childress, Texas Type: Typed letter Date: 8 August 1943 Pagination: 2 p. ; 27.6 x 21.4 cm.

Summary of Content: Addressed to "Dad, Bee, Don, Jim, and Barry." A lengthy letter catching everyone up on the past month at Childress. They get up at 5:00AM and work until 9:30PM. They've begun flying in "AT-11" twin engine planes, and he flew a "zero-zero mission." They're also learning how to bomb, by using a "bombing trainer." In training they now fly seven days a week, and it's "fun but rough." Two men have washed out, including one who asked to leave because he couldn't handle the stress. Asks that everyone keeps writing to him as he loves to hear from them, even though he can't write back at the moment. Letter is dated as "Sunday Aft." "Letters in a Box" notes the date as August 8, 1943. Typed copy of GLC09620.040.01.

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]
Sunday Afternoon.
Dear Dad, Bee, Don, Jim, & Barry -
It seems like ages since I've written you and so ...I've got lots to relate. As you can see I'm still here at Childress living one mighty gruelling life.
We now get up at 5:00 and work through until 9:30 at night. The weather has been so damn hot that sleeping is almost impossible. For the last three weeks the temperature has been up to 113 and 115 every day without a break.
Except for one bad week, ground school in navigation has been O.K. We've had three navigation missions so far. One to Chickasha, Oklahoma: the second to Roswell, New Mexico: and two days ago to Tulsa, Oklahoma. The missions have all gone well, and on the last one I flew a zero-zero mission -- that is, I split destination on my E.T.A. (estimated time of arrival). The missions work as follows: On the way out, one student is in the back of the ship and does Dead Reckoning. That is, he reads drift and the compass and directs the pilot accordingly. He's the primary navigator and gives all the directions to the pilot. The other student sits in the nose of the ship and flies pilotage which is flying by visible landmarks that he sees on his sectional map. It's really a heck of a lot of fun. We fly in AT-11's which are twin engine, twin finned advanced bombardier trainers. They carry ten one hundred pound practice bombs. They're ships that cruise around 160 or so. Only thing is they bounce around quite badly when you're in the back doing D.R. On our first flight 18 out of 26 in our flight were sick. It took quite a toll on our next two flights too, but I'm lucky enough not to be bothered no matter how rough it's been. Hope it keeps up.
About three weeks ago we started taking bombing in ground school. We had to learn all about the sight itself which is a very complicated gadget. We also studied all about bombs, fuzes, and racks.
For the past three weeks we've been spending four hours a day down in the hangar working on the bombing trainer. It's a platform rigged up 10ft. above the ground on rollers. One man drives it and the other bombs with the sight which is rigged up to simulate actual bombing conditions. We work down there so's to learn the bombing procedure before going into the air.
Tomorrow we go down on the line to fly our first bombing mission. For the first week we'll fly "dry runs" every day before we drop

our first bomb. From now on we'll be flying every day including Sundays. Fun but rough!
The grind is really something. Our flight has been lucky enough to lose only two men so far. One other is asking to be washed out because the strain is too much for him. A lot of us feel that way but we'd never quit until they forced us to, and I hope that will never be.
Aside from the work here, there is nothing to report because that's all we do. Weekends are a non-existent creation not made for cadets. It's really tough and most of the time seems like a futile existence. I won't start philosophizing or I'll be rambling for pages.
Please keep writing cause I love to hear from you all, even though I can't write back. I miss you all and only wish there was some way I could get home but in the cadets that's unheard of.
I've tried to reach you by phone the last few nights but haven't succeeded yet. I have another call in for tonight. Perhaps I'll reach you then
Love to you all -
P.S.: Please be sure this goes the rounds!
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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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