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Letters Home From WWI


Frank E. Fisher

     Frank Fisher, son of J.H. Fisher of Wallowa, writes the following letter to home folks. His address is 13th co. 166th Depot Brigade, Camp Lewis, Wash.
     I am getting along fine. It is nice weather here now; it is warm in the day time but cool of nights. Have been out drilling some today. They gave us a talk in the forenoon and a while in the afternoon. We had to sing some too. They sure make some noise when they get about 2000 men singing at once.
     They keep a person busy most of the time. I have my uniform now and will send my suit case home in a few days, as I have no use for it. I wrote a letter to John and Alta at noon. I will write to the rest of the kids in a few days.
     I have to work in the kitchen tomorrow. The other boys say it is not very bad work. They have got quite a bunch in the guard house, but I have made it fine so far. As long as a fellow does as he is told he will get along all right. There seems to be a fine bunch of officers in this company.
     I have not seen any papers since I came here-have not had much time to read, but at the Y.M.C.A. there are all kinds of papers and books to read. Coming down the Red Cross met the train at Hood River and The Dalles and gave us apples and post cards and at Portland they gave us some more fruit.
     A fellow is supposed to take a bath every two days and wash his feet every night if he has time. I will probably be moved from here in about two weeks. It is hard telling whether any of us fellows who came from up there will be together when we change from here.
     When I get settled so that I know where I will be for a while you might  send me the Chieftain.

Enterprise Record Chieftain
September 26, 1918

Earl Fleener

     U.S. N. T. S., San Diego, Cal. February 18, 1918
    Dear Folks;
     Your letter received and was glad to hear from you and thank you for the money for it came in just right to buy my first necessary school material. Have been in school and taking one exam made 92 1/2 per cent and am sure proud of it. If I can come any ways near that all of the time I will be satisfied but I doubt if I can do that good all of the time for it advances into pretty stiff and complicated mechanism before you get through. 
     Mr. and Mrs. Sam Wade were out to see me Thursday and I was going down to see them yesterday (Sunday) but the Army and Navy played baseball and we all had to march to the Stadium and root so will see them Sunday if in town then.
     Talk about rain, why it simply poured here all night and all day and cold, why actually everbody stands around like a wet hen. They call this warm southern California but it puts me in mind of Eagle Cap if it had the snow to get it off. It is sure fine here in the day time but these nights are sure bad ones and everybody stands around bumped up of an early morning principally for the want of more clothes. These navy uniforms are very pretty when you see a line of men marching but when it comes to comfort and warmth they are not there. The Army has it over us that way. But there is talk of giving us different uniforms when we get out of school and at the flying school and I hope they do.
     As I have written all of the news of any interest at all will close. This leaves me well and I hope you folks are also. Tell all of my friends hello. With love to all. LE. FLEENER
     P.S. If you see anything of Karl Faucette tell him to write a line one of these days. I.E.F.

Wallowa County Reporter February 27, 1918


Earl Fleener

     Louis E. Fleener, as Earl Writes his name now, is in England in the U.S. naval air service. In a letter to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.C. Fleener of Lostine, he says:
     Just a few lines to let you know that I arrived safe, never had any counters with a sub, altho we had a few warnings. We were in a pretty good storm and I didn't know whether we would stay on top or go to the bottom. I was working in the galley all the way over and sometimes you would be almost walking on the ceiling. Some rough and I never got sick, but some of the boys were so sick that they would just as soon go to the bottom as not.
     This is a very pretty country, but in no way does it compare with the good old U.S.A. Their trains are little dinky ones, they are really a sight for sore eyes.
     We are in a nice station, sleep in tents at the present but will soon be in a hut. Have nice shower baths and a good place to wash clothes and also we have good war rations.
     It has been raining for three of four days, seems like Willamette valley. They say, "We have a bit of nice weather in the summer."
     I wish you would send my razor strop and my hair clippers and razor hones and you might put in some cans of tobacco and anything else that you see fit in the line of toilet articles.
     I will enter on my regular duties in a few days; am feeling fine and as fat as a pig and as there isn't any news to write, I will close. Tell all my friends, Hello, and if they care to, I would sure like to hear from them. The address is Louis E. Fleener, U.S. Naval Air Station, Killingholm, care of Postmaster, New York City.

Enterprise Record Chieftain
Thursday, August 15, 1918


Erie Fleener

     A letter from Erie Fleener came thru the censor's hands with some no doubt interesting portions missing, but his friends will be glad to know that he is well and still remembers Enterprise:
     With the A.E.F., somewhere in England, Sept. 1, 1918 - To the Record Chieftain:- As the wee hours of the night are slowly passing by, and the rain is pattering on the roof over head with a lonesome kind of a greeting, it brings my thoughts back to Enterprise and its good people, so I decided to write a few lines to one and all at the same time.
     I am stationed at one of the U.S. Naval Air stations and have been here two months, which seems like a very short time, but am in hopes that I won't have to stay over here two months longer, and I think you will all join me in the same good wish, but I hardy think it will come to a finish that quick.
     We have a very pretty station and it is located in a very pretty part of the country. It is close to some pretty good-sized cities, so we have an opportunity to visit them and some of the old abbeys and large castles and other places of interest to us Yanks as they call us. But we don't care what they call us, we will get there just the same.
     I am working in the transportation department; have been driving a big 6-ton Packard, and have been able to see quite a lot of country while on duty and have seen some very pretty places.
     There is one thing that this country has it over the U.S. in and that is roads-paved roads everywhere and running every direction, and if it wasn't for the sign posts and pocket maps we would surely get lost, but as it is we find it very nice to travel over them and release a little gasoline fever once in awhile. It makes a person think that he is back home once again.
     You ought to see these trains. They have little dinky ones, but speedy. Their freight cars hold from five to ten tons and all cars are coupled together with links and hooks. But if they had one of our big O.W. trains here it would smash this island out into the North sea and Atlantic ocean.
     At the present time I have charge of the garage at night, so I am not busy all of the time, would take great pleasure in answering all letters than any one would care to write - so friends get busy.
     I managed to get a few small souvenirs off of (deleted)
     It is cold and raining all of the time, with very little sunshine, and I imagine that the winters are real winters and will be some different from spending the winter in sunny California.
     I never felt better in my life only I am the least bit cranky; our tobacco supply has run out and there is no telling just how soon a supply ship will bring in some more Bull Durham.
     As I have written a good deal more now than I expect will be of interest to any one, I will ring off, hoping to see you all in the near future. I beg to remain your friend, Louis Erie Fleener, Q.M.2 C.U.S. Naval Air Station, Killingholme, Care Postmaster New York City.

Enterprise Record Chieftain
Thursday, October 3, 1918


Erle Fleener

     Paul Rutter has received a letter from Erle Flener, with the A.E.F., somewhere in England, which he wishes to share with other friends. It is dated Sept. 3, and says: As I sit here in the office in the wee hour of the night and the rain is pouring down as usual, for that is one thing that it can surely do in this place, and do to a finish, I thot I would take the time to write you a few lines and let you know that I am still on top and feel as fine as a fiddle string.
     I had a fine trip over riding the high ones of the Atlantic, and rode them to a finish. Never even saw a submarine, so consequently we had no excitement to amount to anything.
     We landed on the shores of old England and believe me it was good to see land once more. We are stationed in a nice station and it is one of the prettiest spots of England.
     I am working in the transportation department, and have been driving a big 6-ton Packard truck, but at the present time I am in charge of the garage at nights and have a pretty good position. Don't have very much to do unless old Bill takes it into his head to send over a few of his hostile Zeps and disturbs our slumbers. But they haven't been over for several days and I have a few souvenirs off of one of the last ones that undertook to crown us, but he had bad luck and run up against a hard guy.
     Well, how is everything in the old burg? I suppose you are working every day turning out lots of good old white flour, which is a very scarce article over here, but that will make it taste all the better when I get back to God's country once more.
     Give my regards to all my friends, L. E. Fleener, A.M. 2 C., U.S.N.A.S., Killingholme, care Postmaster, New York city.

Enterprise Record Chieftain
Thursday, October 10, 1918

L.E. Fleener

     U.S. Naval Air Station, San Diego, Cal., May 11, 1918: I wish to thank you for the Smileage book. They are not any good to us in the navy, but as I am going to Camp Kearney Sunday to visit Gib Taylor, it will come in very handy and I know that Gib will appreciate it fully as much as I, so in sending to one you have brought smiles to two, and therefore it will certainly do its bit.
     I have graduated out of the naval air ground school and made a second class quartermaster's rating and am now a full fledged petty officer, with a whole lot to learn, but am out for all I can get and if the opportunity comes for a try at the air, me for it with both wings, and I hope to wear the gold wings before I get thru, if there is any chance.
     At present time we are drilling every day, but it is only a matter of a few days before we will be shipped out and we don't know where to, but it is likely to be Italy, Egypt or the Azores. But it makes no difference: we all have ticklish feet and they are getting very anxious to go. This branch of the service is surely a good one and I am very glad to say that I am in it to do my bit.
     I just got a bunch of Chieftains today and I see a few more have joined the colors, and with the perspective army of 8,000,000 and the navy, they will wipe kaiser Bill off the globe and more than likely roll Berlin into the Rhine.

Enterprise Record Chieftain
Thursday, May 23, 1918


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