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

Order a pdf of this item here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC09620.069 Author/Creator: Stone, Robert L. (1921-2009) Place Written: March Field, California Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 22 December 1943 Pagination: 3 p. : envelope ; 24.9 x 18.1 cm.

Summary of Content: Addressed to "Dad." Thanks his father for the bonds as well as the large check for his birthday. He's hoping to get a folder and send them to be deposited as soon as he is able. He and his crew had their weekly passes canceled indefinitely. He mentions that the crew he normally flies with got lost, and landed in Long Beach with only minutes of gas left. He was still on base as they weren't bombing that day. His crew is currently stranded in Long Beach waiting for the weather to clear up, which he hopes is soon so he can hear what happened. The letter is dated "Wednesday." "Letters in a Box" notes the date as December 22, 1943.

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]
Dear Dad -
The folder with the bonds arrived this afternoon and I want to thank you just loads. You were so darn over-generous in ...giving me the bonds as well as the large check. As soon as I get ahold of a folder I'll send you the bonds to deposit in my account.
This afternoon our squadron took a beating when our [inserted: weekly] passes were indefinitely cancelled. The way they treat the combat crews here is discouraging and somehow we always get the short end. The permanent party on this field are the only ones who get a half decent break.
Had quite a bit of excitement on Saturday night when the weather closed in and all the ships got back to the field except for mine. I didn't fly that afternoon because the bombing ranges were closed and so all bombardiers had to go to class.

When Hap called the tower they gave him instructions to go on and land at Long Beach. Well, from six until after nine we had no contact with them and they had all the radios buzzing and all the airway controls trying to reach them. It's such a helpless feeling to know that they were lost and not be able to do anything about it. Time [strikeout] went on and we'd given them up as lost since they only had about ten minutes gas left and we hadn't heard from them. A few minutes later a call came from Long Beach that a B-24 had just landed with only a matter of minutes gas left. They had been lost for hours, but they came out of it by the skin of their teeth.
When the call came the Colonel (the group commander) said to me "Lt. you and I are going over to the club for a few drinks." I wasn't dressed for the club so he got off there and gave me his car to go to my BOQ where I quickly got dressed. When I met him at the club I was [strikeout] [inserted:greeted] by the Col. with a drink in each hand. I stayed there until quite late, drinking with him and several of his pals. I felt

so important to have the Colonel buying me drinks. He's a swell gent - quite young, with lots of decorations. He's a pilot back from combat.
For the past three days my crew has been grounded at Long Beach waiting for a clearance to fly back. Since we've been out here it has been very rainy with a very low ceiling and quite bad for flying. I'm very anxious to see the boys and hear all about their experiences.
Again Dad, I can't thank you enough for the bonds and check. Once more, your swell letter was appreciated more than ever before.
You're a great guy, Dad.
All love -

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

Lt. Comdr. J.C. Stone
375 Park Avenue
New York City
See More

People: Stone, Robert L., 1921-2009
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