Ollie Burtz papers  1944
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains 24 letters written by United States Navy Airman Ollie Burtz to his parents in Marietta, Georgia, during his training in Illinois, Georgia, and Tennessee. Though all but one of his letters are undated, they form a composite picture of his training throughout the summer of 1944, as he moved from Illinois to Georgia and Tennessee, where he took courses in aviation and flew training missions. He occasionally mentioned his performance on exams, and complained that he could not obtain leave despite his high academic standing. Despite frustration and boredom with his coursework, which Ollie compared to grammar school, he was on one occasion excited to hear a speech by an unnamed speaker, apparently the country's number two flying ace. Though he primarily focused on the weather and other aspects of daily life, he also shared his fondness for flight: "Flying," he reported, "is not any harder to do than driving a car -- you just have a few more indicators to watch." He also reported his fondness for his newly arrived dress uniforms, and shared two friends' insights into the different work levels in the Navy's boat training and flight school. Most of the letters reflect Ollie's ongoing interest in news of his family, and he frequently requested that they visit during his time in Memphis. Several letters reflect the Burtz family's efforts to sell their farm and move into a new house, perhaps near Atlanta, where his siblings worked.

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