Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Stone, Robert L. (1921-2009) to Jacob Stone and Beatrice Stone

Order a pdf of this item here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC09620.065.02 Author/Creator: Stone, Robert L. (1921-2009) Place Written: March Field, California Type: Typed letter Date: 9 December 1943 Pagination: 2 p. ; 26.7 x 20.1 cm.

Summary of Content: Addressed to "Dad + Bee." He opens the letter apologizing for having not written for a while, as they just pulled in and have been extremely busy. The field is set up nicely, it's hard to get around as it is "so darn big." Living conditions are ok, as the field is older and has permanent structures. They were assigned a navigator, and will be on 24 hours a day for five days, and a 24 hour break on the sixth day. They'll be completing their training in two months rather than three, and will be shipped out the second week of February. He asks that his letters get passed around, and they keep writing to him. The letter is written on "March Field, California" stationary with a side view of a plane at the top, and it is dated as "Thursday Nite." "Letters in a Box" notes the letter was written on December 9, 1943. This is a typed copy of GLC09620.065.01.

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]
Thursday Nite - December 9, 1943.
Dear Dad & Bee -
I hope you'll excuse my not having written for so long, but since we arrived here late Sunday ...night we've been extremely busy. We pulled in here after an uneventful, yet pleasant trip from Wendover, which was a real relief to be leaving behind us.
The physical set-up of this field is quite nice although it's tough getting around from place to place since it's so darn big and spread out. This is a very old field and has a great many permanent buildings. Our BOQ is adequate - we live two men to a small room with a closet and a desk. It's nothing exceptional, but it's definitely O.K.
Both "Hap" and Ken continue to be real swell gents. Incidentally our whole squadron was assigned navigators last night. We have a kid by the name of Kamps and as yet we've passed no judgement on him - only time will tell
The schedule for the combat crews is no picnick [sic] out here. We're on call to go to school and fly for 24 hours a day for five days. Then on the sixth we're off for 24 hours. We have to stay on the post every night except when we have our day off. That's kinda rough on fellows like Hap and Ken whose wives arrived and are living in Riverside. Even though they only see them occasionally I still envy them.
We are working under a ground school and flying program that is designed to keep us busy all the time since they are trying to give us three phases of O.T.O. in two months, when ordinarily it is supposed to take three months. Right now they plan to have us leave for combat by the second week in February - that certainly doesn't seem far off and we have so much to learn by then!
We've run into one good break here when we found the chow to be A-1. It's really a treat to eat good meals again after half- starving to death at Childress this summer. We have a choice of three places to eat here and all of them are excellent.
Can't think of anything else to write now, although it seems as if so much has happened since we arrived on Sunday. Please write often because it's quite easy to get feeling blue when you're doing combat flying five and six hours a day or night, and mail does wonders to keep up the moral. I know I won't have a chance to answer half your letters, but I hope you'll understand and write anyway. It makes such a difference.

[2]
I must get to bed now cause sleep means so much when you're under a constant strain. S'long now.
Lots of love -
Bobby.
P.S. Please be sure to send my letters around to Don, Jim, etc. because I just can't possibly write them individually as much as I'd like to.
P.S.S. Don't remember if I told you or not, but I ran into Pete Hoyt (remember him?) the last day I was in Salt Lake City. He has his pilot's wings now and was being shipped out as a co-pilot. It was such fun seeing him again after all those months. It's almost a year ago we left for Hashville together.

Lt. R.L. Stone 0-696041
399th Bomb Group
Squadron 607
March Field, California
See More

People: Stone, Robert L., 1921-2009
Stone, Beatrice Hecht Marks, 1901-1962
Stone, Jacob, fl. 1894-1985

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

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

Sub Era: World War II

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources