On July 30, 1942, my grandfather flew to San Francisco from Chicago. I am betting that this is probably the first time he ever flew on a plane. In his later years, he wrote that he had never left the boundaries of his native county until after he graduated from high school. I don’t know how far from Clay County he actually traveled before 1942. He definitely traveled to neighboring Terre Haute and to the University of Indiana at Bloomington where he received his Bachelor’s Degree and his medical training. He had possibly traveled to Chicago to visit his Uncle Wes at some point as well. But I doubt he had ever left the Indiana and Illinois section of the country until he was assigned to Norfolk in 1942. And I seriously doubt he had ever ridden in an airplane until July 30, 1942.
Since I have lived in California for almost 20 years at this point, and I consider San Francisco to be in my neighborhood, I am curious about the next chapter of the letters written while my grandfather was at Moffett Field. When he was ordered to report to California and Cub 13, the unit was still being assembled. Part of his orders included the direction “for duty in connection with the establishment of Cub 13”. Cub 13 was not planned by the Navy. Cubs 1-12 had been scheduled to be assembled throughout 1942 with 3 new cubs being established every quarter. My grandfather was stationed at Moffett for about two weeks before they finally shipped out to the Pacific. Moffett Field is located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay near San Jose. Moffett was originally constructed by the Navy but in 1931 it was designated an Airbase. When World War II erupted, control of the base was returned to the Navy. Moffett Field has had many designations over the years. Today, Moffett is the home of the NASA Ames Research Center and goes by the name of Moffett Federal Airfield.
If you are familiar with San Francisco, you may recognize the name of the hotel my grandfather stayed in his first night in the city. For a former farm boy from rural Indiana, I am sure San Francisco was quite the experience. My grandparents traveled to San Francisco many times together in their later years. My uncle John eventually grew up and made his home there, where he died in 2011.
Oh, and guess who also ended up in California with my grandfather?
It is not 9:00 P.M. here and I suppose and hope you are sleeping soundly. The plane was late leaving Chicago and they thought they might have to put me off at Omaha but they didn’t so as I said in the telegram we got here about 7:00 P.M. Then we came into town by air line bus and he had to deliver all over town and also when we got here my small bag was gone but now I have that
(page 2) all straightened out. Lentz was not to be found. He hadn’t been here so far as they were able to tell me at the desk.
And get this-The first thing I had to do was change into my blues. Just got them on and ready to get something to eat. There wasn’t a sailor whit who wasn’t in blue. Khaki was not no where to be seen on anyone but me so rather than be shot for a foreigner I thought I’d better change.
(page 3) I believe I like the train better. It was so rough I am jarred from head to toe I believe my womb[?] is down some (huh). I ate two meals on the plane but they didn’t fill very much.
Well when I come back from eating I may write more depending upon how tired and how far I have to go to eat.
Well ate and now about ready for bed-I’m plenty tired for some reason or other. Don’t know yet exactly what I do tomorrow about finding the place. I
(page 4) inquired and its about 30 miles out yet, but the bus goes past the past. I’ll probably have lots more to write you tomorrow eve.
I’m awful sleepy just now
So love Daddy
P.S. If you do write address it in care of Moffett field but you might hold off until you get tomorrow’s letter-Silly I guess the way I’m writing this but I’m sleepy.
If you didn’t catch the name on the hotel stationary, my grandfather stayed at the historic St. Francis Hotel at Union Square his first night in San Francisco.