On Jan. 23, 1943, my uncle, Frank Ebner Gartz, (photo in uniform, above) reported to the draft board in Chicago to start his training for WWII. So began the correspondence between him and family & friends, comprising almost 300 letters going both ways. I’m posting many of these World War II letters, each on or near the 70th anniversary of its writing. To start with his induction, click HERE.

This blog began in Nov., 2010, when I posted a century-old love note from Josef Gärtz, my paternal grandfather, to Lisi (Elisabetha) Ebner, my paternal grandmother, and follows their bold decision to strike out for America.

My mom and dad were writers too, recording their lives in diaries and letters from the 1920s-the 1990s. Historical, sweet, joyful, and sad, all that life promises-- and takes away--are recorded here as it happened. It's an ongoing saga of the 20th century. To start at the very beginning, please click HERE.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

In charge of 200 men...

Mississippi. See detail at right for
location of Keesler Field
Frank's Mom wrote a desperate plea to her son, Frank Ebner to send her "some lines," i.e., WRITE! Little did she know the responsibilities he had already taken on. Before he could have received her letter of February 11th (posted yesterday, click My troubled heart), he had already written this letter from Keesler Field, near Biloxi, Mississippi. The War Department started an Aviation Mechanics school at Keesler Field, which was activated in June, 1941. "The first shipment of recruits arrived at Keesler Field on August 21, 1941. Many stayed at Keesler to become airplane and engine mechanics, while others transferred to aerial gunner or aviation cadet schools." (Info from "Keesler Air Force Base," Wikipedia)

Ebner was so busy that he had lost track of the date, thinking it was still Feb. 11th. 

Based on his stationery, Ebner was in Aviation Mechanics School, probably part of basic training here at Keesler, as he had just been drafted on Jan. 23rd. 

location of Keesler
2-12-43 (Misdated on letter as 2-11-43) 

Dear Mom,

It’s 10:15 now and I’ve been on the run all day since 5:00 AM and am dead, but I’m only going to dash off a line or two. This is not such an easy job in charge of 200 men because they all have to know about this or that. I may be able to do my work if they day was 50 hours long.

Well, tomorrow is Lincoln’s Birthday  and a leader we will never forget. My letters have been irregular, but I’ve been busy; very busy and it’s not only my flight whose number is 750, but my old flight and 5 or 6 new flights who ask my instructions and whose requests I can’t refuse.

I think that tomorrow I may get a pass into town. I’ve got my fingers crossed because I’ve wanted to see Biloxi ever since I reached my destination at Keesler. I made a mistake on the date for today is the 12th, but one day is like another, even Sunday. I’m getting sleepy and I still have to wash up so God bless you all and write soon even if I can’t write often. I received my first letter from “Cookie” today since I’ve been in the service.



P.S. Still address my flight as 684 and all in the same in the address. How about that picture of “Cookie.”


Marian said...

when my husband was in the Marines,he had 30 minutes to wash, shave, etc., and write if at all possible, also he was exhausted...things must have been the same for your uncle, 15 years earlier.

Candace said...

Loving these letters, Linda, and also thanks for the Valentines!

Chris Perrino said...

Te government must have been very impressed with Frank to give him so much responsibility in training! Great respect to him from me.