I've recently started reading a collection of letters that I am so in love with right now, I just have to share them. They were penned by a man named Carlos Bowar, or "Chip." Beginning in 1941 and ending in December 1945, they were written to friends and family back home as he trained to be, and served as, a bombardier pilot in the U.S. Air Force. He would eventually patrol the eastern coast of the U.S. and South America searching for enemy submarines, and earn various decorations for his fine work.
According to his wife's notes at the beginning of the collection,
The young 22 year old Chip was truly involved in high adventure with being admitted to the Flying Cadets. He was desperately anxious to not 'wash out.' Few people, perhaps 10 percent, had been in an aeroplane in 1941.And in an article in the Philgazette in December 1954:
The great love and concern within the Bowar family is obvious. You will read of the daily inconveniences of food rationing, gasoline, clothing, housing shortages.
In Oct. 1941, the 76th Bombardment Quadron was formed at Gunter in Idaho. All personnel remained intact for two plus years. Life-time friendships were formed. They called themselves the 'bastard squadron' because in those fearful times they were on the move constantly.
It was not until after the war and removal of censorship restrictions, that the dangers of his missions were revealed.What makes these letter all the more fascinating is that Chip is JP's grandfather. I never had the privilege of knowing him, but I feel like I am getting to know him through these letters. I even feel as though I have something in common with him, because he was also a journalist and talks about writing numerous articles for various papers during his time in the service.
The Bowar family as a whole were called a "champion war service family" in local papers, because all seven members of the family, including Chip's sister Maxine, served in the military in one way or another.
Chip's wife, Della Mae Bowar, or just "Grandma Dellas" to us, has given me permission to share pieces of this wonderful collection with you. Many of them have already been published in his hometown paper 60+ year ago. Chip didn't even know his sister was collecting and saving all of his letters over the years. Who knows what Chip would think if he knew his "chatty notes" were being shared on the internet more than half a century later. It was such a different time back then.
So this is his story, and mine, from January 1941 to December 1945. Another world, another time, but a wonderful life with Chip. Dellas
Chip and Dellas on their wedding day, February 14, 1942