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THE 6th BOMB GROUP LETTERS HOME COLLECTION

15 Letters Home & Back from Lt. Lloyd E. Rinne, navigator of the B-29 “Snooky,” 24th Squadron, 6th Bomb Group. These letters offer a more personal perspective on what it was like being on Tinian Island during the Pacific War. The letters have been made available by Lt. Rinne’s nephew, Steve Rinne.

 

I feel that they are a real-time, first person account of history and I have a strong desire to share with anyone who wants learn, study and make sense of the experiences the 6th BG faced. –Steve Rinne

On April 7, 1945,  Lt. Llyod Rinne died in a B-29 crash just after take-off from Tinian. He was a navigator on a plane called Snooky. The crew was assigned to Fortune’s Follies the night of the crash because Snooky was unable to fly on that mission. 15 letters home were provided to the 6th Bomb Group by Lt. Rinne’s nephew, Steve Rinne. These letters include the last letters sent between Lt. Rinne and his mother, and letters between family discussing his tragic loss. NOTE: These letters are the exclusive property of the authors and may not be reproduced without permission. All Rights Reserved.

The B-29 "Snooky"

Thanks to Anita Preston Schaezler, daughter of Cpt Clark Preston, A/C.

Snooky was the first B-29 to land on Tinian. Snooky was first flown by Cpt Clark Preston and his crew, and was named after his daughter Anita Preston. Tragically, Cpt Preston and many of the crew members were lost on April 7, when they were flying a replacement aircraft that had just arrived from the states. Following this accident, Snooky was then flown by another crew, names unknown.

WHAT HAPPENED

 

Capt Clark A. Preston. Photo courtesy of Anita Preston Schaezler

Capt Clark A. Preston. Photo courtesy of Anita Preston Schaezler

April 7, 1945: Night Precision- Nagoya, Mitsubishi Aircraft Co | Airplane #N/A . Serial #42-65347, Cpt Clark A. Preston, “Fortunes Follies,”  24th Squadron.  Shortly after takeoff, Victor 5347 of the 24th Squadron, crashed and exploded in the ocean about two miles east of the island. Sgt W. P. Ford, CFC gunner, Sgt. E. E. Birsner, radar operator, Sgt T. F. Wipperman, right gunner and Sgt J. A. Douglas, left gunner, were only slightly injured and were recovered by rescue boats along with the body of Lt Lloyd E. Rinne, navigator.  Listed officially as killed in action in the crash are Capt Clark A. Preston, airplane commander, and five other members of the crew in addition to Lt Rinne. Anita Preston Schaezler provided this additional information about the incident, which she obtained from Jack Douglas, one of the survivors:

 

“The plane that my father and his crew were in when they crashed on April 7, 1945, was not the “Snooky.” The “Snooky” was not ready to fly on this mission so they were assigned a new plane that had just arrived from the U.S. All were not happy about this new plane since it was not fully inspected by his maintenance people. This was plane number Victor 5347. Upon take off, just before lift off, one of the engines began to lose power. My dad told the crew to get ready we were going in. This did occur about 2 miles from the end of the runway when Jack and three others who were in the radio room were thrown free from the aircraft.

The crew of the Snooky, B-29 6th Bomb Goup

The crew of the Snooky

Those members of the crew who were in the middle of the plane, survived because as the plane hit the water, it broke in the middle allowing for some survivors. My father and 6 others did not make it. The loss of Captain Preston and his crew was particularly poignant because theirs was the first B-29 to land on Tinian: “On the 18th of January the first airplanes of the Sixth landed at Tinian. Three in number, the first to land was Capt Clark A. Preston of the 24th Squadron in Airplane No. 4825.” The men were memorialized at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, except for Lt. Rinne, who was returned home for burial.”

KILLED IN ACTION
Capt Clark A. Preston – A/C
2d Lt Donald T. Goodwin – Pilot
2d Lt Lloyd E. Rinne – Navigator
T/Sgt Eugene M. Arms – Engineer
Sgt Donald J. Parker – Radio
Sgt Marcos S. Duran – T Gunner

VIEW LIFE ON TINIAN ORIGINAL PHOTOS HERE: 6thbombgroup.com/life-on-tinian

 

1. Marianas | 2-24-45

Dear Folks:

I think there was a little misunderstanding about our being the first to arrive here. I believe I said we were the first plane from our Gp to arrive. There were several other groups here. I can’t go into detail about that sort of thing. I’ve seen the pictures they took of us when we landed here but it only concerned our group so I don’t think you’ll hear or see anything about it. “Snooky” is good as ever yet and everybody got here O.K. As to the number of planes here I naturally can’t tell you. We had a good air show here this morning and prior to the landings at Iwo Jima we really saw an eyeful of the Navy. I guess the boys are having a tough time of it up there. They’re taking that island will really mean a lot to us.

You asked if there are any snakes here – a lizard is the most there is in that line – very few mosquitoes. I think I’ve told you that I’m well satisfied with this island – it is about as healthful as can be. I guess the japs planted the sugar cane by hand – they have it in rows but the coral rock comes practically to the surface and they’d never have a chance with machinery.

To-morrow we will eat in our own mess hall. Up til now we have been eating in another sqdn’s mess hall. I believe we will probably have church on Sunday once again to-morrow.

We haven’t done much flying as yet. The other day they took “Snooky” up for a test hop. I was going along but they didn’t need a navigator and the main reason was that the ground crew wanted to get some flying time – and not over Tokyo – and also some SeaBees wanted a ride. So veterans like me stayed on the ground and let the boys get a thrill!

Everyone in the crew now has either an air mattress or a sleeping bag – except me. I’m not complaining – I’m still the best off because I had a SeaBee make a bed for me. It has strips of inner tube for springs and two large drawers under the bed to put my clothes in. It really is the most comfortable thing I’ve slept on in the army and when more sleeping bags or air mattresses come in, I’ll get one of those also. (I’m going to chow.)

I’m back again and I haven’t eaten – there is too long a line. I should be able to get right in if I go back in about an hour. Once we get in our own mess hall (tomorrow) we should have a lot more room and a very small line if any to sweat out. Some more good news – all our enlisted men got a promotion. Binsner, the radar man that was busted to pvt., now has his corporal’s stripes back again. Arms, the engineer that got his Staff Sergeant when we were in Puerto Rica, is now a Tech Sergeant. The rest of the boys that were corporals are now Buck Sergeants. As for us officers – something unusual would have to happen in order to get a promotion.

Your Son,
Lloyd

2. You Know Where (I Hope). Marianas | Tues. Eve. 2-27-45

 

Dear Brother:

I don’t know how much I can write but I must write to someone pretty soon or you’ll wonder if I went AWOL. Well, I went up Tokyo Bay and you should have a pretty good idea – whew. Yes, I’ve spent more than “30 seconds over Tokyo”, but darn it I didn’t get to see it. But I saw enough – I could write a lot about that but you’d probably just have a big hole in the paper after the censor gets a hold of this so I’ll just have to save all that. I can say that we’re all OK here and ‘Snooky’ really treated us right. I never heard 4 engines sound so good to me in all my life as they did over Tokyo and the long trip home, because there just isn’t any ‘landing fields’ once we leave here till we get back. So much for that.

We had a swell reception when we got back – Red Cross had cold beer, lemonade, cigarettes and gum for us. And the mess hall had fresh eggs – ‘the way you like them’ – ice cream, apples or rather a good meal for us although we were almost too tired to really appreciate it. IN fact, I’ve felt sleepy and punchy all day yesterday and most of to-day. You said we should be in better quarters by now – No, we’re still in tents and it looks as if we’ll remain in them for some time. I did add a new piece of furniture to my collection though – a bed – the best I’ve slept on in the army. I got it from the SeaBees for 2 fifths of whiskey. It’s a 2×4 frame with strips of heavy inner tube for springs and also 2 large drawers under it for my clothes etc. – a picture — side view. The top is just strips of inner tube as such – Rough I’ll admit but some idea of it anyway. It is really comfortable and I wouldn’t sell it for $50. All the rest of the crew now have either an air mattress or artic sleeping bag. If any more come in I’ll also have one of those but I’m still better off & more comfortable than the rest.

As to the topography of this island, I’d say flat to slightly rolling – enough for good drainage and cliffs along the shoreline to ruin a beach. It’s a prettier, more healthful place than any camp I’ve been in in the states. But there is no town to go to – no steaks, bars or real American women and that’s what makes the big difference. I’m more than glad to answer questions but as too the number of 29’s that flew over in our group, well I just couldn’t answer that but we did all get back over here O.K. As to see our pictures as first crew – we were first only of our group – there were more groups here already. I have seen several of the pictures myself and they looked pretty good. Maybe I can show them to you sometime—plus a lot more.

I went to the show again this evening but I came back early because I decided to write you rather than see “Shine on Harvest Moon” for the 3rd time – even if it was a good picture. I saw “Winged Victory” the other evening for the first time. It really brought back a lot of memories but was a bit corny from my point of view. Last evening we got our second ration of beer – 3 cases. I think we’ll get 5 cans per week.

To-morrow is pay-day again. I should really be able to save the money over here – in fact, I’ll have to if I want something when I get back. I’ve quit gambling (and I’m not money behind) and have practically quit smoking so the only money I spend is at the P.X. and that amounts to about two-bits per week for candy & gum.

How’s everything on the farm by now – do you intend to stay there this summer or rather this coming summer – it’s summer to me – when that sun gets directly overhead here, I’ll sure bake. I forgot to tell you that all our enlisted men have gotten a promotion. The flight engineer made Tech Serg. – the radar operator that was busted to private at G.I. got his corporal stripes back (he’s really been on the ball over here) and the gunners and radio man have made buck Serg. It really booster their morale. As for us officers – something very unusual would have to happen for us to get a promotion.

Did Clarence get married and if so, why the H— didn’t he give me an invitation? Or didn’t he think I’d care to come! I can’t think of much more this evening – in fact, this much is unusual for me so I think I’ll close. Thanks a lot for your big, interesting letter and I hope you continue with more when you can.

Your Brother,
Lloyd

3. Marianas | Wednesday Eve. 3-7-45

 

Dear Brother:

To-night’s as good a night as any to write letters I guess, so here goes a few lines to you. Received your letter of the 23rd the other day – also got letters from Leo, Ray & Clarence Beethe this past week. So you’ve been getting a bit of snow back there. I manage to get some ice once in a while to cool what beer and Coco-colas we get so that’s as much of the cold as I’m interested in right now. Not that I wouldn’t like to be there but I’m glad we don’t have the snow and cold here. We got cokes for the first time this evening – 3 per person. I haven’t drank any myself as yet – I traded a couple for some cans or beer. A couple of the boys in the tent don’t care too much for beer so I get my ration plus a few – we’ve been rationed 8 cans so far. We still haven’t done much around here except for the one raid on Tokyo which I told you about. I guess they’re saving us! As for the clipping you sent, I wasn’t on that one but the claim was definitely wrong. No planes were shot down. If I could write all about each of the raids, I could write a heck of a lot but as you know there’s very little that we can say.

We’ve been getting a little more rain again. It comes in showers and really pours but doesn’t last long. We had a show here last night put on by the jap civilians as natives here. Mostly dancers and songs. We couldn’t understand their language and the dancers were a bit primitive but at least it was something different. To-day we went town to Tinian town and did a bit of sight-seeing – got a few pictures.

The invasion here practically leveled the place. Other than that I’ve been doing a little reading to pass the time away. It’s beginning to get pretty monotonous around here. They had a picture tonight that I’d already seen twice so I drank a couple beers I happened to have and tried passing the time best I could. We are having 11 or 12 more movies and from then on we’ll have only 4 a week by order of Washington. Our group has the only band in the wing and from now on we’ll have band concerts once a week.

We may go up one a little test hop in the morning so that’ll relieve the monotony for a couple hours. There isn’t much else I can write about around here. Everyone around here is still as normal as can be expected – in fact, quite OK. I’m mighty pleased with your letters and glad to hear from you. I appreciate the clippings as well as the latest home front news and rumors. Write when and as often as you can.

Well, I think I’ll close and hit the sack.

Your Brother,
Lloyd

4. Saturday Even 3-10-45. 5 p.m. (Lloyd to Del)

 

Dear Brother:

This letter will or should sound about the opposite from the last one. In fact I don’t know where to begin. For one thing it’s my anniversary – 9 months as a 2nd Lt. And I really celebrated it and not in the sense that I usually speak of celebrating. Just look at the headlines in the papers. I never got so much satisfaction out of any flight as I did this last one. The main reason was the results – it sure looked good to see the biggest fires I’ve ever seen and to see them where they were. I thought our accomplishment was impossible before to-day. I haven’t had a wink of sleep since 8 o’clock yesterday morning and except for a few hours to-night I may not get much in the next couple days. I sure can’t complain about it being monotonous now. I’m also surprised at how good I feel (mentally & physically) – I’ll take that back about no sleep – I hit the sack about 2 this p.m. and slept till chow this evening at 5. My ass was rally dragging and I’m sure those 3 hours won’t bother my sleeping to-night. I’ve also never seen such friendliness and co-operation between the ground personnel and ourselves as I’ve witnessed just recently.

Enough of this old bull about me – I received your letter (the only one) to-day mailed the 3rd – just 7 days. I can’t say thanks enough for the letters I’ve been getting from you. I also really appreciate the clippings you’ve sent. In reference to the one I’m returning – Well I got a big kick out of it and I think I’ve expressed my opinion about the “Brain.” These newspapers give out a lot of information but they sure like to stretch h— out of the truth.

The receipts from the hogs and steers sound pretty good to me. I sure wish I knew what I’m going to do after this is all over with. I guess I’ll just wait till that time comes. Glad to hear that Delmar got another furlough. Well we got another ration of beer tonight – 3 more cans and I’m drinking them now but really, they have any effect on this letter!

I haven’t done any gambling for quite some time now. I lost very little if anything in the long run at gambling but decided there were better things to do and other ways of passing the time and I’m sure not bothered with any extra time right now. And that reminds me I think I’ll close and get some sleep while I have a good chance. I should write the folks also but there isn’t anything I have to write to them that I haven’t written you so I think I’ll just catch some shut-eye to-night and write them the next chance I have. They even have a stage show and a good movie to-night which I’m forfeiting for this letter and some sleep.

As far as the coral snakes that Delmar mentioned – there are no snakes on this island and as for the SeaBees they’re still doing what you asked about plus a lot more and they’re no WPA’s or work like the Army – they really get things done. Well I’m going to close now.

Thanks again for the letters and hope you appreciate mine just half as much as I do yours.
So long – Lloyd
 

5. Monday Eve. 3-12-45

 

Dear Folks all:

I should apologize for not writing more lately. I know I haven’t written as much as I should and I’m afraid this won’t be much of a letter for size again this evening. We have been very busy – I really never thought it’d be quite like this. Since Friday night I’ve gotten 15-16 hours of sleep and I’m afraid I won’t have a chance to catch up for another couple days.

I wrote Delbert Saturday night and am writing a few lines to you to just let you know that except for the sleep I’d say I’m feeling remarkably well. God has surely showered his blessings on our crew and the whole Group. “Snooky” hasn’t a scratch as yet and is really treating us right.

We managed to get in our church services again yesterday morning. I received a letter from Gerald yesterday and Keith’s letter this afternoon plus the clippings. Thanks and keep it up. I think I’m going to close now and catch a good night’s rest. I’ll try to write more in a couple days when I have a little more time and don’t need the sleep as much as I do now.

Your Loving Son,
Lloyd

6. Friday A.M. 3-16-45

 

Dear Folks:

Everything is back to normal again so I’ll try writing a letter. I haven’t received any mail in the last 3 days but I’ve written practically nothing in the last week so I guess I shouldn’t complain. I supposed you’ve got my last letter and you’ve seen the papers so you should have a little idea of what we’ve been doing. Our crew was one of the few that went on all 3 raids in a row – firs Tokyo, then Nagoya and last but not least Osaka. Osaka was the rough one for us and we were all plenty scared.

Another small item was that in less than 5 days we flew more than 45 hours and covered more than 10,000 statute miles (close to 9,000 nautical miles) – better than 1/3 way around the world – all over water or enemy territory. And “Snooky” still doesn’t have a scratch and really done us right. Well that’s over with and I’m rested up and feeling quite OK. Just wish we could go on the next one so I could bet my missions in. The weather has been cooler than usual – we also have a rain shower every now & then. I went to the movie again last night – first time in a week but wished I’d stayed and wrote some letters.

I’ll admit this isn’t much of a letter but I can’t think of anything else to write right now so I believe I’ll close and try to get this mailed yet this morning.

Your Son,
Lloyd

P.S. Rumors have it that we’re supposed to get the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) for these last 3 raids. I’d gladly accept it and feel I earned it. I’m enclosing a picture that was taken of us over here.

7. Tuesday Even. 3-20-45

 

Dear Folks:

I probably won’t finish this to-night but I must get a letter started to you. I don’t even remember when I wrote you last. We’ve made another little trip since I wrote last up to Nagoya again as you probably noted by the news. That’s one more long tiresome mission behind us. “Snooky” has really done a wonderful job – she’s gone on every mission the sqdn has flown. About the best record in the sqdn – General Davies was at the plane to meet us (as well as a lot of the other crews) when we got back from this last mission. He really seems to be a swell Joe. We also had our picture taken with him!

To-day was supposedly a holiday for the Group – Organizational Day anniversary or something of the like. We had extra rations of beer, ball games and no one had any duties except guards, K.P.s etc. It was really a break for the ground crew because they did a wonderful job and put in a lot of hours keeping our planes in A-1 shape. I received some bad news the other day from Milt Smith’s wife (the couple that got married in Florida.) I had written her to get Smitty’s address because I figured he was near here if not on the island. She wrote that he had been killed February 26th and had no details. She didn’t send his address or anything but I’m quite sure he’s over on (you know where!) So I probably won’t be able to check up.

I got your V-mail a couple days ago and received your letter of the 9th yesterday. You asked if I got my bed springs made – I don’t think I ever said anything about making any. I’m quite sure I did say that the bed I got had strips of inner tube laced both ways to act as springs. And that reminds me – I think I’ll stop here for to-night and make good use of my bed again. Everyone else is in the sack so I’d better get the light out and retire myself.

Well, the boys tell me it really rained last night – that’s nothing unusual because it rains most every night but I guess it really poured last night and the tent did a little swaying. I was too sound asleep to let it bother me. As yet I haven’t received any of the subscriptions but I have been getting the clippings you send along and thanks a lot for them. I don’t know what I’ll be doing with myself to-day but I believe I’d better close so this goes out in the mail this morning. What date is Easter this year? It’s not far off – earlier than usual, isn’t it? Do you know when Ray & Irma’s birthdays are – doesn’t Irma have a birthday next month? Oh yes, our chaplain, Pat Murphy, is leaving us for a couple months. He’s going back to Lincoln Nebr. As a witness for a court martial. He used to be stationed at Lincoln.

I’ll close for now and get this mailed.

Your Son,
Lloyd

8. 3-20-45

 

Dear Lloyd,

I really haven’t time to write much but feel I’ve just got to write a few lines once again. I should of stayed home last night instead of going to show. Dad wanted to see the fighting today and the other picture was Dinner for a Soldier. Oh yes, they were alright. I don’t much like the war pictures but still I want to see a little of what you boys have to do. I bet you’ve had plenty of it by now. Oh how I wish it were over and you back in the States. I don’t suppose it’ll be so long till Jerry will be leaving too. It’ll be sometime then till we hear from him again. Do hope you can keep writing if it is only a few lines. They sure mean a lot, but I’m just no good at it, it always takes me so long. I sure have the work if I could only do more. Glad we got that butchering done.

Sure had a time coming home Sunday, left farm at 3:30, got to Grupes 8:30. Got stuck east of where Albert Bartels used to live. Keith went to Emil’s and Leo came with tractor and got it stuck, then Leo went back for team & wagon They broke single tree, tore chair, tore harness but finally got out. Then coming home from Grupes I drove in a ditch and Wilma & car were gone so had to call Williams and have him & dad come and pull me out. That sure looked silly, and I can’t understand that myself, how I came to drive in there. Guess I was tired and let go of the wheel.

Think I’ll go along to Lincoln Sat. with Delbert and then on home with him. There’s so much to do there and Marilyn doesn’t have school next wk. Want to try and get one room papered and painted here this wk. Have paper for three. Garden is a little wet yet, but it’s getting time to get at that too when it gets dry. It’s a nice day out and spring began today. Say, I must close and get dinner ready. Dad & Keith will soon be here. Want Keith to mail this this noon. Hope you’re O.K. We’re like always.

With Lots of Love & Luck to You,
Mother

Trutes are having sale this afternoon but don’t think I’ll go.

9. You Know Where! Monday Eve. 3-26-45

 

Dear Brother,

I had begun to think that it was some time since I had written you last and also a while since I’d heard from you, so to-day I received two letters from you. Dated the 14th and the 17th, so I guess I’d better try to write a few lines or it’ll be longer yet before I hear from you again. It’s about time to hit the sack.

I went to the movies to-night and the enlisted men were up too when I got back so we had a bull session for a while, so I doubt if I get too much written this evening. I was going to do some letter-writing last evening but before I got started the place seemed to have gone mad. There was so much shooting and hollering going on I made use of the fox hole for the first time. A rumor started that the war in Germany was over so I guess the guys decided to let go a few rounds of ammunition to show their good feeling but I didn’t exactly appreciate everybody shooting their guns off even if they were pointed in the air. So as I said I soon found out it was a rumor so I had no reason to celebrate although the news did sound good while it lasted. And so as of now all our ammunition – officers and enlisted men – has been supposedly turned into supply!

Somebody just stepped in with some cherry pie – nobody seems to know where it came from but that didn’t bother me. I took a piece and it was really good. You see you never know what to expect. Oh yes, because of our blitz incendiary raids on the empire we were awarded the air medal and the AC’s (airplane commanders) got the DFC — The pilots are the heroes again!

We made another trip up Nagoya way Saturday night – the 24th and 25th – and for us it was something a little extra. We spent our share of time up there. We had to make a second bomb run because the bombs didn’t release on the first one which wasn’t exactly the most comforting feeling, but we came around again – laid the bombs on the target and got back safe and sound. It’s things like that that really make you sweat and do some thinking. It looks as if everyone else is in bed or ready to hit the sack so I believe I’ll close here for to-night and finish in the morning.

Well, it’s another day again and I’ll try to get this off in the mail this morning. I hope the censor don’t cut this thing to pieces. For one thing he hasn’t any right to because we can now write about most anything except future operations, tactics and the name of the island we’re on. You know the latter anyway. I’ve begun writing on both sides of the paper because I’m running out of paper and getting a surplus of envelopes. You mentioned something in your letter about Iwo. No, I haven’t seen it yet but only because of clouds or darkness. We’re flown over it several times and as you said it’s a great relief to know you have a couple acres of friendly land between here and the Empire.

‘Snooky’ has landed there though for refueling and it was from the raid you mentioned – on Kobe. That was the one we didn’t go on. ‘Snooky’ hasn’t missed a one yet. I have about a dozen good pictures here that I could send home but I’m still waiting for my albums to arrive and put them in there. I sent a footlocker of stuff from Kearney and it hasn’t arrived yet. I do have to prints of one picture though and I’ll send that one on along. I supposed the folks would like to see it also. In the lower front is Goodwin’s bed – then Al Hett’s bed – then Al writing a letter and in the background you will see me also writing. This was taken before I got my bed. You can see right on through the tent. I supposed it would be a bit cold if we pitched a tent and left the flaps up back there and then wear no more clothes than we do.

The SeaBees are busy putting up our huts and I supposed in another 3 weeks we will have a new home. Yes, I received your letter of the 3rd and I believe I answered it – at least I meant to. That was the extra big letter that you mailed in Lincoln. I thought I mentioned it that Archie and Sully were here with me. Zallner supposedly dropped in one day but we weren’t around. I know where he’s at but I can’t get town there to see him. The folks have probably told you that Smitty – the one you have the wedding picture of – has been killed – got it on his first mission I believe.

Back to the pictures. I told you I had a dozen here. The skipper made that many for each of us and has about that many more printed and so far, he has only printed in quantity those pictures that would get by the censor. He has been getting enough paper and chemicals lately – ‘by various means’. As I said I send all mu pictures home but I’m expecting the album one of these days and I want to fix that thing up.

I received a letter from Jerry the other day saying he probably wouldn’t be there long anymore. I also got a letter from the folks yesterday. It seems as though the P.X. has run out of its supply of beer. We had been getting two cans every other day. They more or less promised us that as soon as they get more in, we will get back rations. As it was, we were getting more beer than we were drinking and I think we still have a couple cans or bottles left. We (in our tent) put all our beer to-gether which was a very good idea because several of the fellows drink very little. Of course I never drank a lot but it was nice to have a cold beer or two every evening (that we were here.) We got some canned and some bottled beer. It consisted of Schlitz, Budweiser, Miller’s High Life and several other fairly popular named beers and it tasted about the same from cans as from bottles. I think we’ve only gotten 4 or 5 Cokes so far.

There’s probably more I could write but it’s 9 o’clock and I’d better mail this if I want it to go out to-day, so I’ll close for now and get this off.

Your Brother,
Lloyd

10. Tuesday Eve. 3-27-45

 

Dear Lloyd,

I really haven’t time to write much but feel I’ve just got to write a few lines once again. I should of stayed home last night instead of going to show. Dad wanted to see the fighting today and the other picture was Dinner for a Soldier. Oh yes, they were alright. I don’t much like the war pictures but still I want to see a little of what you boys have to do. I bet you’ve had plenty of it by now. Oh how I wish it were over and you back in the States. I don’t suppose it’ll be so long till Jerry will be leaving too. It’ll be sometime then till we hear from him again. Do hope you can keep writing if it is only a few lines. They sure mean a lot, but I’m just no good at it, it always takes me so long. I sure have the work if I could only do more. Glad we got that butchering done.

Sure had a time coming home Sunday, left farm at 3:30, got to Grupes 8:30. Got stuck east of where Albert Bartels used to live. Keith went to Emil’s and Leo came with tractor and got it stuck, then Leo went back for team & wagon They broke single tree, tore chair, tore harness but finally got out. Then coming home from Grupes I drove in a ditch and Wilma & car were gone so had to call Williams and have him & dad come and pull me out. That sure looked silly, and I can’t understand that myself, how I came to drive in there. Guess I was tired and let go of the wheel.

Think I’ll go along to Lincoln Sat. with Delbert and then on home with him. There’s so much to do there and Marilyn doesn’t have school next wk. Want to try and get one room papered and painted here this wk. Have paper for three. Garden is a little wet yet, but it’s getting time to get at that too when it gets dry. It’s a nice day out and spring began today. Say, I must close and get dinner ready. Dad & Keith will soon be here. Want Keith to mail this this noon. Hope you’re O.K. We’re like always.

With Lots of Love & Luck to You,
Mother

Trutes are having sale this afternoon but don’t think I’ll go.

11. ‘Marianas’ Friday A.M. 3-30-45

 

Dear Folks,

I received your letter of the 20th yesterday or rather last evening. I was rather busy yesterday again. We flew a longer flight then I ever dreamed we would of – 19 hours. We got a good look at Iwo. In fact we spent about 40 minutes there on the way back to refuel – just playing safe and besides, we were rather anxious to get a good luck at Iwo anyway. I’m glad I’m not stationed there – it looked plenty rough and I don’t think there was a green tree or bush on the island. We had some sandwiches with us that we hadn’t eaten and we gave them to some of the boys there. They said it was the first bread they’d had since – or just before – they landed there (Ed. Note -Feb. 19). Last evening (about 7) we had fried eggs and ham – the first and only meal in 26 hours. As I said, we had sandwiches with us but I wasn’t hungry in the plane so all I ate was a couple small pieces of candy. I was hungry last evening, though!

That was also one flight that I didn’t sleep except when I’d doze off for a few minutes at a time. And by the way, the Pacific Ocean has a lot of water in it. I stopped off here this morning because it was too late for it to go out in the mail anymore to-day anyway. I didn’t do much of anything except eat, read, play a little gin rummy and just loafing around. Things are rather quiet around here this evening because most of the crews are out on a little trip again. We didn’t go because we just got back from one. And by the way I don’t know what you think of it but we have been doing an awful lot of flying over here – this month more than I ever expected anyway. In fact, we have more than 100 combat hours already.

I went to the movie to-night and saw Together Again. I saw it at Grand Island but it was pretty good and I enjoyed it for a second time. They also give the latest war news at the “Starlight” theater and it sounds better every day to me. We got our ration of beer again this evening for a change so the four of us – the other crew is “busy” – drank our beer and talked about most everything – the past, present and future.

Sat. A.M.
Well, I’m going to try to finish this morning and get it mailed. As yet work on our particular quonset hut hasn’t begun but as soon as they start on it, we’re going to help them when and where we can because they are a bit short-handed. This will be officers of 3 crews to a hut and they seem to be pretty nice – a little more home-like than these tents anyway. As yet I haven’t received any of the subscriptions but I hear that the first ones are just now beginning to come in.

We are supposedly going to have an inspection of our tents and I’ve got to send my laundry out to quartermaster laundry, so I think I’ll close and “tidy” things up a bit. I just hope I can do better at this letter writing next time.

Your Son,
Lloyd

12. ‘Marianas’ Friday A.M. 3-30-45

 

Dear Folks,

I received your letter of the 20th yesterday or rather last evening. I was rather busy yesterday again. We flew a longer flight then I ever dreamed we would of – 19 hours. We got a good look at Iwo. In fact we spent about 40 minutes there on the way back to refuel – just playing safe and besides, we were rather anxious to get a good luck at Iwo anyway. I’m glad I’m not stationed there – it looked plenty rough and I don’t think there was a green tree or bush on the island. We had some sandwiches with us that we hadn’t eaten and we gave them to some of the boys there. They said it was the first bread they’d had since – or just before – they landed there (Ed. Note -Feb. 19). Last evening (about 7) we had fried eggs and ham – the first and only meal in 26 hours. As I said, we had sandwiches with us but I wasn’t hungry in the plane so all I ate was a couple small pieces of candy. I was hungry last evening, though!

That was also one flight that I didn’t sleep except when I’d doze off for a few minutes at a time. And by the way, the Pacific Ocean has a lot of water in it. I stopped off here this morning because it was too late for it to go out in the mail anymore to-day anyway. I didn’t do much of anything except eat, read, play a little gin rummy and just loafing around. Things are rather quiet around here this evening because most of the crews are out on a little trip again. We didn’t go because we just got back from one. And by the way I don’t know what you think of it but we have been doing an awful lot of flying over here – this month more than I ever expected anyway. In fact, we have more than 100 combat hours already.

I went to the movie to-night and saw Together Again. I saw it at Grand Island but it was pretty good and I enjoyed it for a second time. They also give the latest war news at the “Starlight” theater and it sounds better every day to me. We got our ration of beer again this evening for a change so the four of us – the other crew is “busy” – drank our beer and talked about most everything – the past, present and future.

Sat. A.M.
Well, I’m going to try to finish this morning and get it mailed. As yet work on our particular quonset hut hasn’t begun but as soon as they start on it, we’re going to help them when and where we can because they are a bit short-handed. This will be officers of 3 crews to a hut and they seem to be pretty nice – a little more home-like than these tents anyway. As yet I haven’t received any of the subscriptions but I hear that the first ones are just now beginning to come in.

We are supposedly going to have an inspection of our tents and I’ve got to send my laundry out to quartermaster laundry, so I think I’ll close and “tidy” things up a bit. I just hope I can do better at this letter writing next time.

Your Son,
Lloyd

13. ‘Marianas’ Friday Eve 4-3-45

 

Dear Brother:

I’ve really been tired these last couple evenings, I guess I’m just getting lazy because I really haven’t done a lot lately. I received your letter of the 23rd and thanks a lot. I’ll try to write a few lines this evening to make up for it. I suppose you’ve got plenty to do about now and are pretty busy.

We spent the day helping the SeaBees build our quonset huts. I hadn’t been doing much running around in the sun lately – without a shirt on. I spent all morning and a couple hours this afternoon work in the sun with a shirt on. To-night I will sleep on my stomach. In other words, my tan had faded away and now I have nice rosy-red complexion – especially on my back.

We still don’t know how to fly! So yesterday p.m. we flew a 4 ½ hour practice mission. We lead the Group formation and went down and bombed Rota – one of the Jap-held islands left in the Marianas. It was mostly to give the new crews a little practice and show them how the Sixth Bomb Group flies. Sunday, we didn’t fly for a change so we went to church and had the day off so it seemed a bit like Easter Sunday. We also had a very good meal Sunday Eve – we had some real steak and also ice cream. It was quite a treat.

Oh yes, I must tell you what I’ve been doing this evening. We had no movie but they did give us back rations of beer for last month which amounted to 4 bottles. So we just sat around ‘shooting the breeze’ drinking our beer or some of it anyway. And, well, writing letters and a little of everything. I guess I hadn’t told you about our mission last Thursday night and Friday. It was a search mission and lasted for 19 hours and believe me that’s a long time to be flying without any sleep and little or nothing to eat considering also the work we have just before and after each mission. Coming back from our search we figured our gas would be pretty low by the time we reached base so we didn’t take any chances and landed at Iwo for a few minutes to refuel. It would be bad enough to be stationed there – let alone be one of the guys taking the island. It looked plenty rough with all the bomb and shell holes and not a green tree or bush left on the island. It sure is a great feeling to know that that island is ours now though. And at the rate they’re going over here it shouldn’t be long before we
have another emergency landing field – much closer to Japan.

I can’t figure out why you thought I’d been on the Kobe raid. At the time I wrote that letter I don’t believe the Kobe mission had been flown yet. Osaka was the rough one for us during the “blitz” and Kobe is the only one of the five “blitz” missions we didn’t fly. We flew Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Nagaya all in just a few days there. As far as future operations – I know very little and can say nothing. In another month or so we should be ready for a rest leave though and that will be either Hawaii or Australia and I hope and believe it will be in Australia – Hawaii is just too crowded and besides, I haven’t seen Australia yet!

It’s about time for me to hit the sack so I’ll close for now. Thanks again for the letters, I really appreciate them.

Your Brother,
Lloyd

14. Saturday Eve. April 7 – 45. Ed. Note – This was the last letter that Lloyd wrote home.

 

Dear Folks:

It’s been several days since I’ve received any mail at all but I guess it’ll all come at once when it does come. Anyway it’s been several days since I’ve written you last so I’ll try and think of something to write.

The big thing here now is that after 3-4 days of work and sweat we’ve got our new home (quonset hut) built and have moved in. We’ve built a fairly large porch out front which will be nice to sit on in the evening. Our floor in here is made of plywood. We oiled it and it looks pretty good now. We won’t have all the dust and dirt that we had in the tents and it’s also a lot cooler. It has really been warm here the last several days. I believe yesterday was the hottest day since we’ve arrived and to-day wasn’t much cooler.

I now have a new coat of skin on my back due to a bit of excess heat from the sun. I have received one “Beatrice Times” date Feb. 22 I believe. They’ll probably be all coming in at once one of these days. The first planes are just now coming in from to-day’s mission. I of course don’t know any of the results of it but I think there was a quite large number participating. As you can see, we didn’t go on this one – in fact, we haven’t been on a mission since our search better than a week ago except for that practice mission. By the time this letter gets on its way we should be on our way back from one though. It seems as if there is a mission on Sunday our crew is sure to get it. I believe we’ve done more flying on Sunday than the other six days put together since we’ve been here.

Oh yes. I saw 8 real, American girls the other evening at a USO show here on the island. I think they’re showing it at our theatre to-night but I’ll probably be catching a bit of shuteye. The girls were from Hollywood. They had a couple pretty good singers and of course I didn’t mind seeing some white women again for a change.

I can’t think of much more so I believe I’ll mail this and get a little rest.

Your Son,
Lloyd

15. 4-10-45. Ed. note: Returned 4-20 marked “Deceased”

 

Dearest Lloyd,

Although there’s 100 jobs to do, I’ve just got to take time out and write a few lines. Rec’d your nice big letter of the 27th Sat. morning before we went to Lincoln, and sorry I didn’t get a chance to write any so sent you a sheet of a newspaper instead. I did manage to get a little written to Gerald there at the doctors. Delbert drove up. Eugene Bartels & Wilbur K. were with him. Think Wilbur wanted a little information about enlisting in the navy. In July he’ll be 18. I just bet he’ll wish he’d went to high school.

I took Marilyn along to Lincoln and got her a $7.00 pr. of shoes, that’s just awful, but I’d hate to see her get foot trouble like I have, so thought I’d get her the right kind of shoe once in a while. We had dinner here before we went and supper when we got back. The boys helped carry the heater out to the tool shed. Delbert has so much to do I feel I should help him more but I just can’t with this going to Lincoln twice a wk. and trying to clean house, make garden and of course I had to plant some flowers too today. Didn’t get to wash last wk. so had a big one yesterday. Ironed some and we put in garden last night. Last Sunday eve Knigges, Raymonds and us took our supper to Griefs. Aunt Clara’s birthday was Sat. and Aunt Minnie’s was too and Lowell Rathe guess he was 20. Clara was 60.

So if Jerry isn’t gone yet he’ll soon be leaving on the SS Panaman. Got on there last Tues., he had to take fireman job as they had already taken on 2 green oilers. Guess I won’t need to expect much more mail from him for some time. Believe me I felt plenty blue just hope they’re not too hard on you. It’s nice that Al helps you and that you can sleep. I’m sure I couldn’t do that. No I’m just no good for anything.

So Snooky had made 10 missions by then, so you wasn’t along once for sure. How many more do you have to make? Oh why does this have to be. Sure wish it were over and you back safe and for good. Is there anything we can do for you, anything we can send you? Haven’t you gotten the papers yet? Say your letter was opened but all there except the picture taken out. You probably got it back.

Albert hasn’t heard anything more about Alvin. Sunday they are celebrating Albert’s 25th wedding anniversary at Tecumseh community building. We had a card from Aunt Clara Beethe this morning inviting us. Keith says he can’t go to help Delbert Sat. as there’s a big FFA convention here in town. They’ve just got home from school, so I’d might as well be signing off. Soon have to see so Marilyn’s clean as this is the night for her music lesson. So long then keep well till we meet again.

Oh yes, Delbert showed us the picture of your happy little home. Also the letter he got.
Thanks for everything.

With Love,
Mother

We wouldn’t mind meeting Pat but haven’t heard anything about him but what you wrote. Maybe he went back by now. Supposed he goes by air. Have you gotten any details about Smitty? Don’t know what you meant, where he was at. Last Life magazine showed a B-29 crashed on Iwo. 469703 is some of the numbers on it – think there’s a number of two before that. Gerald’s add: SS Panaman % Postmaster American Hawaiian S.S. Co. San Francisco, Calif.
In the Carolinas

READ MORE ABOUT THE ACCIDENT + LETTER HOME FROM LT. LLOYD E. RINNE, NAVIGATOR OF THE B-29 “SNOOKY” HERE:

 Letters Home Part Two