I am working as the “director” on the gun

9 Oct

October 5, 1943

Camp Irwin, California

Hi ya Zoot,

How’s the drapes coming along? Here’s a few more match covers to add to our collection. Some of the guys in this battery failed out of the Paratroops so I got hold of that one from Camp Toccoa.

What kind of planes are you building now? They still drill us on aircraft identification a lot.  Some crews have shot down their own planes in combat and they don’t want us to do that. I’ve got so I know most all the American planes but not the British and German.

I am working as the “director” now. The director turns the gun by remote control. There are two telescopes on it with cross hairs in them, one works it horizontally and the other vertically. I am on the vertical. Johnny Burkart, a drummer from South Bend, Indiana, is on the other scope. We get the target in the cross hairs and hold it there with handles which turn the box, which turns the gun. It’s very accurate and the gun’s not much good without it. We fire at a sleeve towed by a plane. The sleeve is 1/3 the size of a “messerschmitt” and it’s pretty hard to hit, but our gun section has made several hits since we’ve been firing out here.

We’re still living under field conditions in pup tents. Our Battery area is made up of two streets and we’ve named them Hollywood and Vine after the two main streets in Hollywood. We’ve named our tents after famous restaurants or places in our home town.  They’ve got the Riviera (New York), Ratskeller (Roanoke), Mayflower Lounge (Washington), Palladium (Hollywood), Brown Derby (Hollywood), and mine is the Cavalier after the restaurant in Roanoke. I’ve got a dry cell and as soon as I get the bulb from home I’m going to rig up a light in my tent. Even if it is pretty hard to live out here we have a lot of fun. They bring out drinks and candy from Irwin.

Guess I’ll close for now.

Signed, Tom, alias Zoot alias The Duke

P.S. I hope you get Eagle pretty soon. I’m trying to get Pfc myself. I was acting corporal for about a week before I got my new job but I like this better than that even if it doesn’t have a rating.




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