...notable excerpts from the personal letters of
Ralph L. Minker Jr.

Ralph L. Minker Jr.  - 16 JUNE 1924

Parents:  Ralph Minker, Edna Jones Minker
Sisters:  Shirley Minker Hunsberger, Bernice Minker Petit


Miami, FL - Cadillac Hotel
Monday (Morning) - 8? February 1943
TO: Dad

“Feeling both blue and happy, but am perfectly well.”
“Don’t worry, mother, with this [spinal meningitis].”

Miami, FL - Hotel Atlanta
Sunday (Noon) - 21? February 1943
TO: Dad

“It’s really disgusting - the inefficiency which is prevalent throughout this center!”
“KP was very monotonous.  Results - 41 bushels of potatoes sliced...Our mess hall, by the
way, has to feed 3,000 men in two hours time three times a day so you can gauge the
immensity of it all.”

Miami, FL
Friday (Evening) - 26? February 1943
TO: Bernice

“We march everywhere we go and as we march we sing as loud as possible.”
“[My voice] has become deeper.”

Miami, FL - 901st Technical Squadron
Monday (Morning) -  27? February 1943
TO:  Mother

“901st Technical Group had to turn out en masse to hear a rather insipid talk by Quentin
Reynolds at the Pine Tree Bandstand.  He seemed to hash over the old - American
ingenuity makes our army best, trust our allies, our equipment is good, and don’t

“This morning we were reviewed in parade by Secretary of War Stinson, the head of the
Chilean Army, and Air Corps Chief Lieutenant General ‘Hap’ Arnold.  It was very

Miami, FL
Tuesday (Night) -  9? March 1943
TO:  Dad

“Also, don’t  worry about my comments for I am just writing the situation as it is and
certainly you know how I like to criticize.”

“I still don’t know what ailed me or what caused the stiffening of my legs but I’m okay
now and will write again as I get settled.  Boy I’d like to return to Pennsylvania again!”

Miami, FL
Sunday (Evening) - 14? March 1943
TO:  Mother

“I wish you wouldn’t worry so much about me mother.  There is no need for if anything
happens to me the army will let you know about it.”

Miami, FL
Tuesday (Evening) - 23? March 1943
TO:  Shirley

“Tell mother to airmail all the letters and packages as you can....Rush me stamps, towels,
underwear, socks also please in my laundry case.”

Miami, FL
Thursday (Night) - 1? April 1943
TO:  Bernice

“It’s all very confusing but much easier than at first.  In fact, it’s really just monotonous
now although the bed is mighty welcome at night.  I’m yawning now.”

“I haven’t heard any good jokes down here at all...our jokes consist of laughing at our
‘plight’ or the army.  For example - you can’t put soap in the hotel soup cup, nor a tooth
brush in a toothbrush holder, or scrap in the waste paper basket, nor ashes in the ash

Lincoln, NE
Sunday (Afternoon) - 11? April 1943
TO:  Mother

“This morning we were told to get P.T. equipment, and as the local supply is nil and the
army is getting our shoes, I’d like you to send my gym shorts, T-shirt and athletic
supporter as quick as possible.”

“We’re living in the Don L. Love Memorial Library which is so new not a book has
gotten in.”

“Today was the first Sunday since I joined the Army that I have had a chance to go to

Lincoln, NE
Sunday (Afternoon), 18 April 1943
TO:  Mr. Henning

“I’m dropping you this letter to let you know how life is in the United States Army Air
Corps twenty-five years after the last war.”

“...and even now the training they are giving us seems a waste of time in that it is all
elementary material that most college men know or could have picked up by electing a
few essential subjects.”

Lincoln, NE
Friday (Night), 30 April 1943
TO:  Mother

“Pay Day!...$71.17 after saluting an LT and saying my name.”

Lincoln, NE
Saturday (Noon), 8 May 1943
TO:  Dad

“The news of the fall of Africa caused little comment here.  The general opinion is that
we have at least two years more of war ahead and that we’ll get in it anyway so what
difference does it make.  A big battle for the continent is expected in about 2 months but
everyone seems to regard Japan as our number one danger now.”

Lincoln, NE
Wednesday (Night), 19 May 1943
TO:  Dad

“Here is the biggest news that I have had since joining the Air Corps.  Two boys of the D
section have been transferred to the engineers.  As a result Captain Whiting selected the
top two men, academically as well as militarily of section C, and placed them in section
D-1.  Those two were Minker and Stillwell...Thus, you can see, I have had my training
advanced by almost a month.”

“Cramming for finals in all my subjects here.”

Lincoln, NE
Saturday (Noon), 22 May 1943
TO:  Mother

“I wish you would renew my [driver’s license] for me even though I have almost
forgotten what a car looks like.”

Lincoln, NE
Monday (Night), 24 May 1943
TO:  Shirley

“I’ve flown!...For forty five minutes I experienced a sensation that differed from anything
I’ve experienced before.  It’s hand to describe, but there seems to be nothing at all around
you- you’re floating in midair, but with the awful roar of the Franklin 65 H.P. engine in
your ears.  The ground looks just as if it were a picture by Stephen Curry.”

“It differs from driving a car in that there is no surface to ride upon and wind blows you
around....as a result I had an attack of air sickness.”

Lincoln, NE
Saturday (Noon), 29 May 1943
TO:  Bernice

“I have done everything that I will be allowed to do in a cub except spins.  I have taken
off and landed by myself and have done turns, eights, Ss, stalls, coordination exercises,
forced landings, rectangular courses, glides and climbs, etc.”

Lincoln, NE
Wednesday (Evening), 16 June 1943
TO:  Dad

“This is by far the strangest birthday I have ever had- away out here in Nebraska just
biding time until the government is ready to take me for further training.”

“I’m worried about my eyes.  If I wash out, I’ll probably have to go to Aviation
Mechanics which is a disheartening outlook to say the least.”

Santa Ana, CA (Santa Ana Army Air Base)
Thursday (Night), 24 June 1943
TO:  Dad

“But even still that queer tension that this military life brings gets even more intense.
Cadet classification, pre-flight and P-38 advanced training are carried on here and they
waste no words in telling us to forget all except killing JAPS and HUNS.”

“I don’t know how often I’ll be able to write but I’ll do it as often as possible.”

Santa Ana, CA
Monday (Evening), 27 June 1943
TO:  Mother

“I think I’m in.  Having finished my psychological, mental, aptitude, and physical tests at
3:00 pm this afternoon without any hitch I’m feeling rather cocky.”

“Notables stationed here:  Joe Dimaggio, Merle Hopes (All-American of Mississippi
State who out-hits Joe on the ball team), and Larry Adler (the great harmonica player).”

Santa Ana, CA
Thursday (Evening), 1 July 1943
TO:  Shirley

“Today we spent seeing movies and hearing lectures on military intelligence (secrecy,
camouflage, information) and “Why we are at war.”  That last named picture was a
masterpiece of news, travel, and commentary on the Axis Countries and what they stand

“The news of MacArthur’s new offensive caused a lot of excitement today.”

Santa Ana, CA
Tuesday (Noon), 6 July 1943
TO:  Mother

“I was classified as PILOT the morning at the auditorium and immediately took the oath
of an Aviation Cadet.”

“The Cadet Specials at the P.X. are really the greatest concoction I have ever eaten- and
for only 22 cents too.”

Santa Ana, CA
Monday, 12 July 1943
TO:  Mother

“From now on you will have to expect letters at infrequent intervals for from now on we
are supposed to talk, breathe, and eat military aviation - and so they leave little time for
anything else.”

Santa Ana, CA
Wednesday (Evening), 11 August 1943
TO:  Shirley

“Four hours of firing .45 pistol, .22 rifle, Thompson Sub-Machine gun, and .30 caliber
machine gun followed by four hours of the real beach.”

“Yesterday I got my dog tags at last.  I’m not used to them dangling around my neck yet.”

Santa Ana, CA
Saturday (Afternoon), 21 August 1943
TO:  Mother

“Yesterday we had finals in all our subjects so you can see what a strain we have been
under the last few days in trying to squeeze some study time out of our already
overcrowded schedule.”

“Tonight is the night of our party. I’m taking a UCLA co-ed.”

Santa Ana, CA
Wednesday (Evening), 25 August 1943
TO:  Dad

“Now that we are literally marking time while waiting to go on to primary school there is
a lot of complaining going on in the numerous bull sessions in the barracks.  We have
been in the army over six months and yet are just ready to begin actual training which
will last longer than most and in which 50% or more will wash out with no hope for job
or rank now that the Air Corps had been brought up to strength.”

Santa Ana, CA
Friday (Afternoon), 27 August 1943
TO:  Dad

“They are going to announce our primary schools in a hour but I have already seen my
shipping orders- I am going to Phoenix, Arizona- Thunderbird Field II.”

“I have rather mixed feelings on it all.  I don’t like the idea of being stuck in the Arizona
desert and being separated from most of my friends but Thunderbird is the best primary
in the country as well as the hardest.”

Phoenix, AZ (Thunderbird Field)
Tuesday (Evening), 31 August 1943
TO:  Mother

“Then we went through the usual routine- physical, draw bedding, unpack, get beds, get
goggles, listen to commanders talk.  Twelve of us in a room which is filled with fans.
Three rooms make a flight; two flights make a squadron.  There are now twice as many
cadets here as ever before.”

“Saturday we will get our schedules, planes, and instructor. Monday we fly!”

Phoenix, AZ
Wednesday (Evening), 13 October 1943
TO:  Dad

“At present I am in the midst of one of those periods in which maneuvers seem to
become worse instead of better.  Some of the reason may be that I have become
overconfident after proving that I could fly; some may be because of the normal leveling
of the out of the progress check curve; most of all though the disease of flight fatigue
brought on by homesickness after eight months and the ever stricter monotony of military
life tends to make me, and all cadets, sick of it all.”

Phoenix, AZ
Sunday (Evening), 31 October 1943
TO:  Dad

“This has been a grand experience.  I have been trained along heretofore underdeveloped
lines, have seen much, and have made many new friends.  In many ways I have grown a
little more mature...Naturally at times this life has been easy but there is a job to do and
this life is preparing me to complete that.”

“Yesterday I was Junior Officer of the Day and so I have weather and aircraft
identification tests for tomorrow morning.  The J.O.D. makes loud speaker
announcements and acts as office boy for the Commander of Cadets.”

Phoenix, AZ
Monday (Morning), 1 November 1943
TO:  Shirley

“Eight months have passed since I left home for basic training at Miami Beach.
Wednesday I am scheduled to move again; this time I am leaving primary flying school at
Thunderbird II for basic flying school at Pecos, Texas.”

Pecos, TX (Army Air Field)
Sunday (Noon), 7 November 1943
TO:  Dad

“Athletics strikes me as being especially fine.  Teams of fifteen compete in leagues of
touch football, softball, basketball, and volleyball for squadron, group, class, and post
championships during the nine week stay here.  The aim is to develop judgement,
coolness, and coordination.”

Pecos, TX
Thursday (Evening), 11 November 1943
TO:  Mother

“I have fifteen moments for a brief note.  Maybe this schedule will explain why.

0545 First Call  0615
0615 Breakfast 0645
0700 Flight Line 1300
1315 Lunch  1345
1400 Athletics  1500
1500 Showers  1530
1730 Formal Retreat 1830
1830 Dinner  1900
2030 Ground School 2130
2200 Taps”

“This doesn’t include time for G.I.ing equipment or self, for going to and from ,etc.”

“Yesterday I took the required parachute jump.  I leapt head first from a thirty foot

Pecos, TX
Thursday (Noon), 18 November 1943
TO:  Dad

“How is everything at school?  Has the number of boys been decreased by the draft or the
[economic] boom or has the lack of sufficient and experienced workers both at the school
and in the field resulted in a decrease in juvenile delinquency?  I suppose the budget is
rather tight these days but is there a prospect of a modernization program at war’s end so
as to provide transitional work for returning men and future security of their children?”

“With the continuous news of allied victories and the relaxation on aircraft spotting I
suppose your job as Coordinator of Civilian Defense is just about through except for
occasional rallies.”

“Professor Thompson once said, in Psychology class, that a child’s character developed
most from imitation of its parents.  I can truthfully say that my highest ambition is to
pattern myself after you.”

Pecos, TX
Sunday (Afternoon), 5 December 1943
TO:  Mother

“Two years ago, on a sunny and yet snappy afternoon, I was returning to Conway after a
good roast beef dinner and an hour of rearranging the furniture from the pledge formal of
the night before as Bill Virgin and I came up the walk Professor Fink rushed from his
house next door and shouted, “The Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor.”

“That moment changed the whole course of my life.  At first there was a period of
intense excitement and anxiety - What was going to happen?  After the New Years a
nervous calm prevailed but war became more real.”

Pecos, Texas
20 December 1943
TO:  Bernice

“Today we cadets were permitted to indicate our choice for Advanced Flying Training.
These choices will be weighted with recommendations by our instructor and the army
needs-of-the-moment in assigning us for future training.  I asked for the B-26 medium
bombardment, B-25 medium bombardment and Air Transport in that order.”

“I had an hour of formation yesterday and I must say that it is the most exacting as well
as the most fun of any of my flying so far.  Never must your eyes waver from the leader
and always you must keep the formation intact from the moment you take off to the
moment you land.”

Pecos, Texas
25 December 1943
TO:  Mother

“I must admit that I am a little blue on my first Christmas day away from home...but
wherever I may be.  You will be in my heart.”

Pecos, Texas
Sunday (Noon), 2 January 1944
TO:  Dad

“It scarcely seems possible that I am ready to start Advanced Flying Training - that only
two months away are a ten day graduation furlough, a pair of silver wings, and an
officer’s commission in the United States Army Air Forces.”

Pecos, Texas
Sunday (Evening), 30 January 1944
TO:  Dad

“Early this morning the Cadet Area was fleeced- wallets were taken from parts of nearly
everyone.  Because of the Cadet Honor Code suspicion centers on some enlisted
man...but the thief only lifted one pocket - the pocket containing my photo wallet with
my complete address book, pictures and clippings.”

Pecos, Texas
Monday (Noon), 14 February 1944
TO:  Mother

“Your proposed trip to New York sounds like a lot of fun but I would like to be in
Wilmington most of Sunday so that I may see friends who may get home over the
weekend and friends in church.  And I would really like to attend a beautiful church
service at Grace again.  Maybe Dad and I can visit Dickinson and Williamsport one day.
But most of all I just wish to live and rest with you all, visit old friends, see the Blue
Bombers maybe and so on.”

“The overabundance of such stupidity in the Army is disgusting.”

Pecos, Texas
Sunday (Evening), 5 March 1944
TO:  Dad

“Three times since going into active duty with Air Forces I have had an attack of the
jitters about the future:  1.  in Santa Ana classification;  2.  just before my first flying
check at Thunderbird;  3.  During the last ten days of Advanced Flying Training.”

Roswell, NM (Roswell Army Air Field)
Monday (Evening), 3 April 1944
TO:  Bernice

“Today I flew a Flying Fortress!”

“By the end of the period I was really wore out for during the constant maneuvering
every muscle in the body was at work and every pore sweated.”

Roswell, NM
Wednesday (Evening), 5 April 1944
TO:  Dad

“Today I received my first pay as an officer of the United States Army Air Forces:  a
check for $13.04 to cover travel expenses from Pecos Field to Roswell Field and a check
for $112.50 as my officer’s pay from March 12, 1944 to March 31, 1944.”

Roswell, NM
Thursday (Evening), 6 April 1944
TO:  Mother

“It hardly seems a year since I last took Holy Thursday Communion at St. Paul’s
Methodist Church in Lincoln, Nebraska or two years since I came home from Dickinson
to spend Easter with the family.  Maybe next Easter I will be home with you.”

Roswell, NM
Monday (Evening), 17 April 1944
TO:  Dad

“Tonight the world seems unreal to me for I am tired and lonely.  The constant pressure,
the lack of sleep and the always blowing dust is all that is felt except for the blazing
hatred of the damn truck we fly.”

“Roosevelt should be president again unless something breaks this summer; then Dewey
should represent the people.”

Roswell, NM
Sunday (Evening), 30 April 1944
TO:  Dad

“Two things grip me in considering the future:  1. that I have to fly planes that are a chore
to maneuver; 2.  that I will not participate in the European invasion.”

“I wish I could show you a Fort and take you for a ride in one.”

Roswell, NM
Thursday (Noon), 18 May 1944
TO:  Dad

“It cheered me up immensely to talk with you and the rest of the family Monday evening.
At times the military life gets extremely boring.”

“The alarm just sounded for a practice gas alert so I will close this letter and put on my
gas mask.”

Tampa, FL (Plant Park Fair Grounds)
Thursday (Evening), 3 July 1944
TO:  Mother

“The best news, and most important, tonight is that I received my shipping orders this
morning.  I will take operational training in Gulf Port, Mississippi, leaving here Friday
night of this week and arriving the nest day...I will have a chance to see yet another
corner of the United States.”

Gulfport, MS (Gulfport Field)
Sunday (Evening), 9 July 1944
TO:  Dad

“I am first pilot and plane commander of combat crew number 156 of the third flying
section of the 43rd training wing of the third army air force.  As such it is my hob to whip
a combat crew of great precision into being in ten weeks of operational training in this
replacement training unit for the eighth Army Air Force.”

“I hope that I can make a good leader.  Now is when it counts.”

Gulfport, MS
Friday (Evening), 4 August 1944
TO:  Dad

“The enclosed Free Dickinsonian impressed me.  As you can see the exit of President
Corson was most welcome to the student body.  The college needs a complete
remodeling though so as to be ready for peace by the fall of 1945.”

Gulfport, MS
Thursday (Evening), 10 August 1944
TO:  Shirley

“As is always the case at such a period there seems to be little noteworthy about which
write for training is now repetition with the idea that practice makes perfect as our motto.
Of course rumors fly thick and fast here as elsewhere.  The best advice is to plan for

“I wish that would stop thinking that you didn’t get me very much for my birthday.  I
think that this writing paper was a swell gift from two swell sisters.”

Gulfport, MS
Wednesday (Evening), 16 August 1944
TO:  Bernice

“The war is certainly moving in our favor in France.  Maybe victory will come sooner
than expected.  We have been primed for combat in the European Theatre of Operations
but we may be slated for some other theatre in some bigger plane if there is no need for
us there.”

Gulfport, MS
Friday (Afternoon), 25 August 1944
TO:  Mother

“While in B-17 operational training each crew is required to leg a minimum of 150 to a
maximum of 195 flying hours.  At present our crew had flown a total of 117 hours and is
high for the section.”

“We feel that we have trained enough;  we wish to help win this war.”

Gulfport, MS
Wednesday (Noon), 6 September 1944
TO:  Dad

“Do you realize that only three years ago this September I was entering Dickinson
College at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and that a year ago.  I was just starting Primary Flight
Training at Thunderbird Field, Phoenix, Arizona.  It seems much longer!  These years
have been a great experience...As yet, I do not know what changes have taken place
within me or will come when I return from the service.  I hope that I can make you proud
of me.”

Savannah, GA (Hunter Field)
Friday (Evening), 29 September 1944
TO:  Dad

“But my chief concern is an unparalleled disaster which hit me and my crew while
clearing Gulfport Field- co-pilot Lieutenant Arthur D. Rohl was stricken seriously ill and
Flight Officer Gordon B. Dodge (25, Duluth, Minnesota, married with a girl of two) was
assigned as replacement.  Losing Rohl was like losing my right arm.”

“From now on, I must take constant precautions as an officer in the United States Army
Air Forces to safeguard any information affecting the security of the nation for I will be
in or near combat with our enemy.  Don’t worry about me.”

Rattlesden, England (Rattlesden Field)
Wednesday (Evening), 18 October 1944
TO:  Mother

“Greetings from Merry England!  A couple of weeks ago I left Hunter Field, Savannah,
Georgia with my B-17 combat aircrew enroute over the North Atlantic Air Route of the
USAAF Air Transport Command for combat service against Nazi Germany.”

“The people seem much like Delaware folk with an accent.”

“It has been said that the airplane has caused the world to become smaller but I say that it
has widened world horizons.  By air one can travel great distances to heretofore isolated
outposts in a minimum of time.  As a result great are the problems to be forced as new
regions and resources are developed and new peoples seek a better place in the sun side
by side with established regions, resources, and people.”

“Please don’t worry-  I am in fine shape.  I think of you all often.”

Rattlesden, England
Saturday (Evening), 21 October 1944
TO:  Mother

“During the past few days I have been almost totally occupied with a concentrated
ground school introduction to the USA 8th Air Force, the ETO (European Theatre of
Operations) and air combat against Nazi Germany (oxygen, frost bite, air-sea rescue,
radio, engineering of operation, code, aircraft recognition, tactics, ditching, bail-out
gunnery, prisoner of war, escape, weather, security, briefing interrogation, intelligence,
first-aid, health and hygiene, combat (flight).”

Rattlesden, England
Sunday (Evening), 29 October 1944
TO:  Mother

“I am now operational- that is, my crew and I have been checked and found ready for the
air war against the axis.”

“The most striking difference is that here in England there is no fenced off plot of ground
reserved for the military- planes, personnel, equipment and buildings are scattered for
protection against possible enemy attack.”

Rattlesden, England
Friday (Evening), 3 November 1944
TO:  Mother

“Life here is routine - practice or actual bombing missions every day.  It is mighty hard
work but it will be worth it if as a result the world will learn to live in peace and work for
freedom, justice, security, and equality for all.”

Rattlesden, England
Sunday (Evening), 5 November 1944
TO:  Mother

“Last week B-17G 719 was assigned to crew forty-one of the 709th Squadron of the
447th Bomb Group of the 8th U.S.A.A.F. - my crew...After final checks it is now ready
for action against the enemy.  It’s name?  Blue Hen Chick.”

Rattlesden, England
Wednesday (Evening), 8 November 1944
TO:  Mother

“Somehow a presidential election seems to be in some other world of the dim distant past
with the folks we love and Saturday football games and real fresh eggs.”

Rattlesden, England
Friday (Evening), 8 December 1944
TO:  Mother

“Even though my letters take a month to reach you I hope you understand that I am
thinking of you always.  Over here one loses count of the days; the past home life often
seems far from home often seems far from present Army life.”

Rattlesden, England
Tuesday (Evening), 19 December 1944
TO:  Mother

“I sincerely hope that the weather clears up soon so that we can help the ground troops
break the German counter offense in France.”

“This will be my second Christmas as an Air Force soldier, and I hope, my last.  But the
enemy is strong and he may force our fight to continue past other Christmases.  I sort of
feel that I should with the 8th, at least until Germany is defeated.  But I will come home
and then we will have a real Christmas together.”

Rattlesden, England
Friday (Evening), 24 January 1945
TO:   Dad

“We have been flying in unimaginable extremes of weather and bombing by means of
master pathfinder equipment which makes possible bombing through clouds.  Here’s
hoping our efforts will join with the Russian winter drive in bringing a quick end to the
German phase of this war.”

“We must maintain a large Navy and Air Force and an Army large enough to form a
fighting and training nucleus if total mobilization is necessary.  We must have outlying
bases. We must uphold worldwide freedom of trade, press, speech, and religion.  We
must realize our responsibilities in the world.”

“Today - typical Army waste - the 447th Bombardment Group “stood down” while Major
General Partridge, C.O. of the 4th Combat Wing, Third Division, U.S. 8th Army Air
Force, inspected the base and personnel.”

Rattlesden, England
Sunday (Evening), 5 March 1945
TO:  Dad

“Most important news from here today, as I see it, is that my combat aircrew of the
Flying Fortress “Blue Hen Chick” has completed its combat duty of 35 missions against
Nazi Germany.  But I have decided not to return to the United States for there or four
months.  Don’t worry- I will be home to celebrate the Fourth of July with you.”

“Do my letters seem extremely short?  I often find it hard to know what to write you and
hard to concentrate.”

Rattlesden, England
Saturday (Evening), 28 April 1945
TO:  Dad

“Dickinson seems to be passing through the war in good shape but as yet there seems to
be no plan for postwar physical expansion, curriculum revision or soldier college return.
I definitely want to go back.”

Rattlesden, England
Tuesday (Evening), 8 May 1945
TO:  Bernice

“It is V-E Day at last!  You can probably imagine the joy, relief, and thanksgiving felt by
us here.  But we all realize that our war is only half finished; the peace is just to be won.”

Rattlesden, England
Wednesday (Evening), 16 May 1945
TO:  Mother

“As yet, no redeployment news has been received here.  The discharge point system will
have no effect on pilot officers, however, refresher training courses are in full swing until
further notice.”

“With the end of the war in Europe censorship regulations have been relaxed in the U.K.
Just don’t mention anything to the Japs...now I can tell you where I am located - East
Anglia, Rattlesden, Suffolk, ten miles northwest of Stowemarket.”

Rattlesden, England
Thursday (Evening), 24 May 1945
TO:  Dad

“I have been promoted to Captain recently by the way.”

“During my eight months and thirty-seven combat missions with the 8th Air Force, I have
taken part in the battles of the Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central Germany.  I have had
one special mission not included in a regular battle.  I have been awarded the Air Medal
and five oak leaf clusters.”

Rattlesden, England
Sunday (Evening), 27 May 1945
TO:  Mother

“I wish every American could see the utter ruin, so as to see, and realize, the real home
front slaughter of total war.”

Rattlesden, England
Saturday (Evening), 16 June 1945
TO:  Mother

“Today I am twenty one years old.  I do not feel any different today than I did yesterday
but I know that I have grown especially during the last twenty eight months in the Air
Forces.  I only hope that I am growing as you and Dad would want me to.”

Rattlesden, England
17 August 1945 (V-Mail)
TO:  Mother

“Peace has come at last - Thank God!”  You can probably picture the joy and thanks deep
in the hearts of us in the service.”

Rattlesden, England
25 August 1945 (V-Mail)
TO:  Mom & Dad

“I am coming home!!! When H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth next docks in New York I will be
cheering from the deck.  At last- it will be great to be home again.”

Back to the Home Page
Ralph L. Minker Jr.