Folder 2: Ralph L. "Lee" Minker, Jr., April 10 - June, 1943

Army Air Corps cadet Pvt. Ralph Lee Minker is assigned to training at University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska, after a brief stop in Sioux City, Iowa.

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Postcard from Ralph L. "Lee" Minker, Jr. to Bernice to let the family know he arrived.

Date: April 10, 1943 - view postcard
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Bernice Minker
Place: Lincoln, NE
Postcard from Lincoln letting the family know he had arrived.

 

Date: Tuesday morning, [April 13, 1943] - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Bernice Minker
Place: Lincoln, NE
Gives his youngest sister a description of the long train trip, their arrival, and living arrangements.  There are more than 5,000 soldiers at the U. of Nebraska.  Compare the campus to Dickinson College.  Asks for Julia's picture.

 

Date: Tuesday night, [April 13, 1943] - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Ralph L. Minker, Sr.
Place: Lincoln, NE
Detailed time schedule of training and classes, welcome letter from Bernice. 

 

Date: Wednesday night, [April 14, 1943] - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Shirley Minker
Place: Lincoln, NE
Letters received, classes, physical education test, sorority dance and film he is sending home.

 

Date: Saturday morning, [spring 1943] - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Edna Minker
Place: Lincoln, NE
Schedule, advice about the garden.  News of cadets using facilities at [Dickinson College]. 

 

Date: Sunday afternoon, [April 18, 1943] - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Edna Minker
Place: Lincoln, NE
Several days after the phone call.  Plans for first flight training in the Piper Cub, list of things he needs, asks that they now use airmail. New state capitol building, Don L. Love Memorial Library.  Excellent meals provided by home econmics department. 

 

Date: Sunday afternoon, April 18, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Mr. [George] Herring
Place: Lincoln, NE
Lee tells a friend of his parents about life in the U.S. Army Air Corps.

 

Date: Monday noon, April 19, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Shirely Minker
Place: Lincoln, NE
A package arrives, asks if they are getting mother anything for Easter.  Food rations are cut.

 

Date: Tuesday night, April 20, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Ralph L. Minker, Sr.
Place: Lincoln, NE
Package of food arrives, payroll, measles, flowers for Mother’s Day, swimming requirements. 

 

Date: Thursday afternoon, April 22, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Bernice Minker
Place: Lincoln, NE
Disappointment there will be no furlough for a year, arrangements for pre-flight training. Report of 13 cases of scarlet fever. Questions about home, asks for Sunday Times and Saturday (Wilmington) Journal.

 

Date: Sunday evening, April 25, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Edna Minker
Place: Lincoln, NE
Visit to Chancellor (Union College ) Schwartz’s house.  Schwartz was a friend of Rev. Minker referred to in a letter. GI haircut, Bob Hope movie.

 

Date: Tuesday noon, April 27, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Shirely Minker
Place: Lincoln, NE
Questions about home, new schedule for classes, their Miami Glee Club is singing and marching.

 

Date: Thursday noon, April 29, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Bernice Minker
Place: Lincoln, NE
List of needed items, plans to leave Lincoln for San Antonio on June 20 [later changed to Santa Ana, CA], their dorm “saturated” with Easter packages, general army life news. 

 

Date: Friday night, April 30, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Edna Minker
Place: Lincoln, NE
Pay day of $71.71, sending $50 home, “gig” system of demerits, Military Ball on May 15. 

 

Date: Monday evening, May 3, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Edna Minker
Place: Lincoln, NE
Boredom of guard duty, package from grandmother and letters from friends.

 

Date: Wednesday night, May 5, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Shirley Minker
Place: Lincoln, NE
Responds to her news of Senior Ball, questions about Blue Rocks [baseball team], new class schedule. Identifies boys in the pictures he sent home [see scrapbook].

 

Date: Saturday noon, May 8, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Ralph L. Minker, Sr.
Place: Lincoln, NE
Volunteered to set up at the Big Six Conference track meet, news of the fall of Africa.  Believes there will be at least two more years of years. Japan number one danger now. 

 

Date: Wednesday night, May 12, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Bernice Minker
Place: Lincoln, NE
Received many letters from home, report of the Dickinson [College]Enlisted Reserve Corps.  News of activities on the base, a dance, PT tests. 

 

Date: Saturday afternoon, May 15, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Shirley Minker
Place: Lincoln, NE
Reading the Echo [A.I du Pont school paper] which lists those in the service. Asks that they invite his favorite teacher, Mr. Yingst, to dinner.

 

Date: Monday night, May 17, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Edna Minker
Place: Lincoln, NE
Upcoming tests, recommends  the book He’s in the Air Corps Now by Graham and Kulack. 

 

Date: Wednesday night, May 19, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Ralph L. Minker, Sr.
Place: Lincoln, NE
Minker & Stillwell, the two top ranked men, are transferred to Section D-1, training is advanced by a month. Cramming for finals.  

 

Date: Saturday noon, May 22, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Edna Minker
Place: Lincoln, NE
I start flying Monday, report on next phases of training.  Report of “night I shall never forget” as E section marched off to the station singing.

 

Date: Monday night, May 24, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Shirley Minker
Place: Lincoln, NE
The excitement of the first flight, in a Piper Cub, comes across in Lee’s poetic description of flight.  He also provides technical details of what he is learning and the second flight.
Names: Jorgenson [Minnesotan, flight instructor]

 

Date: Saturday noon, May 29, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Bernice Minker
Place: Lincoln, NE
Four hours in the air, the most advanced student.  Report of everything he had learned – stalls, glides, climbs, etc. Comment about the mail, pictures enclosed.

 

Date: Wednesday night, June 2, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Edna Minker
Place: Lincoln, NE
No flying- hot wind. California-Pennsylvania mining dispute, reports from boys at Santa Ana.  Will not be able to write as often when he leaves Lincoln.

 

Date: Friday night, June 4, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Ralph L. Minker, Sr.
Place: Lincoln, NE
Was not able to get through by phone. Details of check flight with Jorgensen and doing spins. Plans for shipping out soon. Report of flying pay. 
Names: Jorgensen [flight instructor]

 

Date: Wednesday, night June 9, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Shirely Minker
Place: Lincoln, NE
Congratulations on her high school graduation (A. I. du Pont HS), corsage for girlfriend Julia [Taylor], no flying due to rain, shipping as much home as he can, including their letters.
Names: Wendell Wilkie

 

Date: Saturday morning, June 12, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Bernice Minker
Place: Lincoln, NE
Check flight, high washout rate in pre-flight, on alert for shipment, will try to call Monday night.

 

Date: Wednesday evening, June 16, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Ralph L. Minker, Sr.
Place: Lincoln, NE
The young soldier is lonely, away from home on his 19th birthday. Worried that problems with his eyes will wash him out of pilot training. Writes regularly to 25 people. Assesses various professors at Dickinson [College]. 

 

Minker finishes University of Nebraska classes, turns 19 on June 16, leaves Lincoln on June 19 for train trip to Santa Ana Army Air Force Base for classification.

Date: Thursday night, June 24, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Ralph L. Minker, Sr.
Place: Santa Ana AAB, CA
Details of schedule and training at the base.  Three days of tests and interviews to measure aptitude. Notes class prejudice of California boys against Japanese and Mexicans. Won’t be able to write very often. 
Names: Joe DiMaggio, Merle Hapes, [sports stars], Larry Adler

 

Date: Monday evening, June 27, 1943 - view letter
Writer: Lee Minker  
Recipient: Edna Minker
Place: Santa Ana AAB, CA
Finished tests, “feeling rather cocky.” Concerned about night vision and depth perception. Terrific tension, 9 of 84 washed out. Sunday review with 15,000 men. Questions about home.

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