September 4, 1943 – Masks all day, Rationing, Fall coming

This is the 39th letter P.f.c. Lester L. Zornes wrote home to Spokane, Washington while in the service during World War Two. By this time, he had been in the Army Air Forces for seven months and in Radio Operator and Mechanic Course at Army Technical School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

I have inserted the text below the images:

Saturday, September 4, 1943

Dearest Mom, Dad, and kids,

Well, here it is, Fall already, at least it seems that way from the weather. It’s cold and rainy today. Seems kinda swell though, at that. The nights as so a person can use both blankets comfortably, nice and cool, you know. I’ve got a feeling the winter is going to be nice and cool. It has a good reputation, anyway, -40º. Brrrr. I hope to be out of here by then, though.

I passed my 14 word check last night [Morse Code], so I’ll be working on 16 words per minute. We have to have credit for 18 words before graduation, so that means I have to pass two more checks.

Well there’s nothing new from here, except tonight is my last night of school for a while. We go on days tomorrow, Sunday.

Today is gas mask day. The first Saturday of every month we have to wear our gas masks all day. Gosh I hate to lug the darned thing around, even to school. We have to wear them, even to chow.

How is the old Buick? Is it still running? I miss having it here to overhall every other day. It used to be lots of fun. Maybe I’ll overhall it again, some day. Are you guys careing for the tires? They are precious things, you know.

How is the top of the Cad? Does it still leak? How is the Gas situation? How about the truck gas? Does the twin horns still work on the Cad?

I think I’ll be qualified for Combat Duty, ‘fore I get out of here. I wouldn’t mind it, being Radio Operator and Gunner (or as it is called, Radio Gunner) on a B-17 or something of the like.

Lots of others are going off to combat and are coming back. Lots of them have
gone over and came back, so why shouldn’t I be able to get back okay. Some times I feel as though I’m anxious to go across and help get it over with, but think of the extra money I’d get. I’d get my 20% over seas pay, and flying pay, with a Staff Sgts rating. Gosh I’d draw down way over $130 per month. But don’t worry about it though, that’s a long way off yet.

Thanks for keeping the Cad shined for me. Tell Betty if her Ford worked like a Radio, I’d fix it for her. I’ve forgotten how to hold a wrench, it’s been so long.

Well, I’d better close for now. Write real soon please, and if you see Harold, ball him out for me for not writing.

Bye for now,
Love as always
P.f.c. Les.
The Italy news looks mighty good, huh?

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