Physical Description: 0.05 Linear Feet(1 folder)
Language of Material: English.
Scope and Contents
This series contains correspondence from Lt. Douglass Nicklas, USA to his parents and brother during his service in the Second
World War. He wrote to his parents each at different locations - one envelope and v-mail indicates he was writing to his mother
in Baltimore, MD. Other corespondence suggests his father was in New York.
Correspondence begins in December 1942 with a letter to his father written from the University of Maryland "My plan, if I
am required to leave college, is to try to get into Adj. Gen. Dept. (in personnel or testing work). Of course that's a far-fetched
dream, but if I can't get there I am going in the Air Force (Army)." He writes about his school work, grades, roommates, his
interest in psychology and in film/moving pictures. March 9, 1943 he writes to his mother from training at Miami Beach, FL
"But first let me thank you for telling Dad about my engagement (don't forget to send me several clippings of the announcement).
March 25 in a letter to his father: "Speaking of the type of boys I associate with. They are certainly the Army's most intelligent.
Practically all of them are college men with two to four years of college behind them I guess they can be considered the cream
of the Army's crop."
March 29 he writes he'll be stationed with the 68th College Training Detachment at Augustana College, Rock Island, IL and
is very disappointed to be so far from home.
April 12 he writes "Mom, it's certainly some job trying to save money. Cadets are required to do so much more than a regular
private. Haircuts once a week, wear garters, clothes pressed and cleaned all the time, ... shoes... always in need of repair.
After paying for insurance and war bonds, for toilet articles, writing paper, cigarettes, cards, presents, pencils, etc.,
why you certainly don't have much left out of $50.00 a month."
April 28 he writes "My Easter weekend was glorious - My fiancee was here! My! did I have a wonderful time."
April 29 to his mother "Well, I finished my last hour of flying here (9 hrs). I asked the instructor how I had made out and
he said "average!"
May 3 - On his way through Texas to the Gulf Coast Training Area "The population in San Antonio is 85% Mexican - that's going
to be rich. ... Well, the next two weeks will determine whether I will be a pilot, bombardier, or navigator - or what I dread
most a common ordinary jeep (private) - like I am now."
May 19 to his mother "By now, I suppose you know that I've been classified as a PILOT."
July 3 to his father "Yes, I have noticed and heard too many men in the Army boast of their episodes with women. It seems
that this generation has lost all sight of moral conduct when in the presence of the opposite sex ... a great deal of the
fault lies in their home training." He writes about classes and training and how much he anticipates flying school.
August 28 he writes he'll be going to Sikeston, MO for training. "I am very happy because it means that Kitty will be able
to come and see me once and I can talk to the family by phone ... the paradoxical thing about flying is that even the man
without a pleasant personality, without morals, without ambition, can be the 'hottest' pilot on this earth."
Sept. 5 - "Friday we had our first flight in our new ships. They have three timee the horsepower of the ships we flew at college.
All in all they are swell to fly. They said we must not dive the ships over 190 m.p.h." There is a gap in the correspondence
until 1944. The next correspondence is v-mail written "At sea" as he crosses the Atlantic. In the v-mail to his mother he
makes reference to "my sweet wife."
The next letter in the series is written from "Somewhere in Belgium" on Dec. 22, 1944. He writes about his missions "Recently
we have seen much of German air forces - as yet I cannot claim my first enemy airplane. I have had only one chase after them,
but expect many more.... I don't know exactly what Germany expects to accomplish, but we're here to see that she doesn't."
Jan. 18, 1945 he writes "I am supposed to get my own airplane very shortly ... I also expect to be a 1st Lt. in a little while.
I now have 24 missions; the 25th will find me a fourth of the way through this lousy mess."
Feb. 13 - he writes to ask his mother to buy an anniversary gift for his wife.
March 24 he writes "As I said before, we are very busy. Today will go down in history as another D-Day. The final push! And
I might add, we are doing our part! To date I have 42 mission with promise of many more in the near future - neither my ship
nor I has been hit by flak yet ... I have tried to be both destructive and careful..."
April 1, 1945 - the last correspondence in the series - "I have completed my 49th mission which leaves me approximately half
way through my tour of duty ... there are many hours of sweat, fear and excitement tied up in those 49 missions, the likes
of which I never want to see again!" He tells his father how it is impossible for him to study for a future career or consider
one at all while he is fighting the war. "War stands in front of me like a brick wall, I can't see over it nor around it.
You can see my position; I live from day to day on my hopes and my loves!"