Dear Mom & Dad,
Will get a line written this afternoon while things are pretty slack. Got two letters from you yesterday, those of the 9th & 21th of Jan. I imagine I’ll start getting mail through this apo here pretty soon.
Things seem to be running along pretty smoothly am still flying quite a bit, but don’t mind that. Flew again yesterday. Only two hrs. time. We started to take pictures in our new areas. My section was clouded over so all I could do was go over, take a look & come back.
Quite a few of the boys went back to Germany this morning to start for home. “Kandy” was one of them. You know, our engineer. He has the same amount of points I do, but being an enlisted man, he’s eligible for discharge immediately. I guess they really through a party last nite.
I was out with an American USO girl, so of course I didn’t get involved in the spree till after I got back. The only reason I did then was because they were in my room.
Lechfeld is about 35 miles as the crow flies, NW of Munich. it’s just a little town & of course the airfield being near it, is given the same name.
Ordinarily I fly as co pilot sometimes & pilot others. Now under the present set-up I fly as 1st pilot all of the time & I rather imagine it’ll stay that way. At present I’m trying to arrange so that Jim Middledorf will fly for me as co-pilot.
Mout, Stan & Bob are all roommates of mine, at least they were at Lechfeld & St. Trond. Bobs the 1st pilot & Mout is navigator & Stan is the Bombadier. They’re all one crew. Bob’s Dad is in Berlin at present, so he went up to Germany today to see if he could see him.
Oh heck yes, before I forget it, I got a package from you about three days ago. I guess it’s the one you mentioned in your letter of the 7th. Thats really unusual for the package to get here before the letter saying it was being sent.
I know of at least three boys that belong to the Lodge. Every so often somebody else comes along that I’ve known for some time & I find out he to is a Mason. As to whether I wear my ring or not, I think you know the answer to that. I told you I chipped off one corner of the stone, didn’t I?
The Cols. name is MacDonald. Till just before I came down here I’d never spoken to him, nor he to me. That morning he came along as I was walking down to the line, & picked me up in his car. He greeted me with, “How are things going Warren?” Needless to say I was surprised, for I really didn’t think he knew my name.
That was quite a story Esther told. Don’t believe I’ve heard it before. I wonder just what Bobbys & Clares version of it is.
I’ll be looking for those other packages. Had a snack last nite of dried beef, dill pickle & salad dressing. That was the best meal I’ve had in a long time. At least it tasted that way to me. Send all of that salad dressing you can.
On that p-47 deal, they dropped the requirements on flying it to 200 hrs. 1st pilot time, instead of 400. It all came about I believe, because I gave them such a hard time about it. I’m not changing over to fighters, I just wanted to fly it in my spare time course as I’ve already said, they shipped me down here before I could fly it & naturally there’s no such a thing around here. I only want to fly it as sort of a diversion from flying a B-17 all of the time.
Think I’ll close up shop. Have another date again tonite. You don’t know how good it feels to be able to date an American girl again. Suppose she’ll be going in a day or two. Darn it.
Worlds of love,
Excerpt From Richard Warren’s Autobiography
I had only been there a week or two, when who shows up–Ed Mauch! (Rowe’s crew was assigned to Tripoli!). About the same time I got a new Co-pilot and Navigator. Jim Middledorf, who came from Mt. Clemens, Mich was the Co-pilot and H.K. Smith (Not B.K.) another southern “boy”, was my new Navigator. I hit it off real well with my new crew–particularly Jim!
Each flight line we flew, we were supposed to start at the Mediterranean and fly inland, then return to the coast and start another run. The idea being, that doing that, you could pretty well establish where you were at the coast, but there were little or no land marks inland—the only problem–like at the “Iron Curtain”–that meant you had to fly twice as long and twice as far!!
I’m afraid I didn’t always follow those instructions!! Most of the time, when you got 75 miles inland, it all looked alike–sand! Sand! SAND! After we had finished a line, the Navigator would give me estimated wind speed and direction and say, “Give me a mile and a half turn to the left (or right). I’d pick out a spot, that looked about a mile and a half to me, and depending on the wind speed and direction, make a tight or wide sweeping turn and head back for the coast. Surprisingly, very seldom, when we got back to a point where we could really determine our position, did we ever have to make even a minor correction! I never had to fly a line over again, so maybe the photo analysis people couldn’t tell “one grain” of sand from the other, any better than I could!
I think my crew photographed almost all of the eastern half of Libya–a desolate area, if there ever was one! It was often 5 or 6 hundred miles, just to get to the area we were to take pictures and with the 4 or so photo lines and returning, we were often in the air (mostly at 185 mph) from 8 to 11 and sometimes 12 hours! A long day at the controls of a plane!!! All photography was at 25,000 ft, and even though we seldom had to worry about too much cloud coverage, except along the coast,—inland–with the sun beating down on the sand, we usually ran into a lot of,–strong updrafts (thermal currents) that tended to bounce the plane around too much for the auto pilot to hold the plane within the tolerances for direction and altitude!!