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

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC09620.166 Author/Creator: Stone, Robert L. (1921-2009) Place Written: Mariana Islands Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 17 March 1945 Pagination: 4 p. : envelope ; 24.6 x 15.6 cm.

Addressed to "Dad + Bee." All of his family's letters have been coming in regularly and they are very appreciated. A package of food arrived and he thanks them for some of his favorite "eats." He has completed thirty-one missions and he only has nine twelve-hour missions left. Everyone is constantly thinking about their last mission but before they get there, they've "been through the tortures of the damned" mentally. He was surprised to find the press release (GLC09620.161) that his father sent.

He hasn't heard from Barry for a while, but it's probably because he's too busy to write. "No news is good news" and they have to have faith that he's ok. He will let them know as soon as he hears anything from him or about his outfit. He and his brothers have been through a lot scattered across the globe, but his parents have handled themselves "beautifully." He's had a couple of close calls, but everything worked out. He says to always have hope.

The rainy season started again and they have eight to ten downpours a day.

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.

[draft] The Marianas
March 17th, 1945
Dear Dad & Bee-
Here's your Pacific Ocean reporter again with very little in the way of new developments from this theater.
All of your various letters have been coming through regularly and are appreciated, as always. This morning a box of food arrived and as you know, it was most welcome. A tasty snack always hits the spot between our otherwise drab meals. Many thanks for your thoughtfulness in remembering my love for good eats.
We finally broke into the home stretch and now have thirty-one missions under our belt. It may not seem like much to fly nine more, but each raid is twelve hours which is a long, hard pull. The last few raids are always the toughest (that is mentally) because every little thing is magnified way out of proportion. [2] The tension on a crew plays hell with you until you've finally flown your 40th. Once you have most of your missions completed, you're constantly thinking about flying the last few. Before a man has completed his tour of combat duty, he's mentally been through the tortures of the damned.
I was certainly surprised when you sent me that press release, Dad. I had no idea it would ever be printed. While on the rest leave our crew was interviewed, but we thought nothing would ever come of it.
You've asked numerous times if I'd heard from or about Barry. As yet I've had no word from him, but I know it's because he's too busy to write. You must have faith that he's O.K. and that no news is good news. Before too long the campaign ought to be over, and you can expect to hear from him but untill then you'll just have to wait and keep your fingers [inserted: crossed] [3] As soon as I have any word of him or his outfit, I'll of course let you know, providing it is within censorship regulations. I know that a war of waiting and hoping must be hell on you with five sons all scattered around the globe, but so far God has been kind and you've handled yourselves beautifully. We've all been through alot, but I guess it's been no tougher than for you who are at home. I've been through a number of close calls when at the time there seemed to be no chance, but somehow everything worked out for the best. It doesn't take long in combat for a man to become a real believer in God. Although it's been an unpleasant lesson, I've learned after several personal experiences that you should never give up hope no matter how black things are at the time. Often that's hard to do but it helps alot if you can force [3] yourself to look for the best. 'Nuff said or I'll be rambling for pages!
Once again the rainy season has started out here and we have from eight to ten downpours a day. Naturally we have to wallow through seas of mud wherever we walk.
That's about all for now so I'll say adieu until the next time I have to write.
Love to you all-
Bobby

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