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World War II letters, 1943-1945.
Collection Overview


World War II letters, 1943-1945
George Dein World War II letters, 1943-1945


Dein, George, 1920-1989, creator


The bulk of this collection comprises 138 holograph letters and 9 postcards, 1 photograph and 4 photo negatives sent by George Dein to his wife, Dolores. The letters date from Jan. 5, 1943 through Nov. 5, 1945 and were sent from Texas, California and Illinois where Dein was stationed during these years. Some letters are on stationery with insignia or photographs documenting Army life. There are two additional groups of letters: 8 from Dolores in Westwood to George, dated 1943 and 1945; and 19 sent to Dolores and George from relatives and friends during these same years. The collection also includes 20 family photographs and ephemera such as greeting cards, a jewelry store receipt, etc.
George Dein begins writing to his wife, Dolores, when he is sent to the Army Air Force Classification Center in San Antonio, Texas, where he is to begin his service training as an aviation cadet. However, on Jan. 25, 1943 he is reporting: "Today I took my medical "64", as far as my pysical condition is conserned, I'm in perfect health I believe. However I've been grounded simply because I told them my wife did not want me to fly. I know you will probably be glad to hear of it. However it does make me feel a little sorry I cannot continue with the rest of the gang here in as much as they are a regular bunch of fellows. I don't know for sure yet but I will probably be sent to another field sooner or later and be reduced from the avn. cadet rating to private." This proves to be the case and George is soon writing from Laredo, Texas: "Yours truly is now Pvt. Geo. Dein. It seems I've got placed in ordanance, that is, amo & trucks & the like. I'm going to be a greese monkey." The following letters plan for Dolores to join him and live and work in town so that they can be together. By the end of February when the letters for 1943 cease, he is expecting her arrival.
George and Dolores are together through 1943 and most of 1944 where there are only a few scattered letters. In early 1945 George is training at the Consolidated Aircraft School in San Diego while Dolores is in Westwood awaiting the birth of their first child. His letters from there mention classwork (including a session on hypnosis) and tell of social activities such as playing chess, ping pong, pool or poker, going to the movies (often) or on trips to nearby beaches. He is lonesome and often mentions things they had done together. He is also concerned about the coming child: "I'm glad to hear you are not too sick and that Jr. is showing signs of life. Take good care of yourself and do lots of walking providing of course your limbs aren't swollen."
George is soon writing from his next posting at Love Field in Dallas, Texas. There he puts new expertise to work: "Today I put in a good days work. I started out on a B-17 and then went on to a P47. I had to take out the actuating cylinder on the tail wheel and replace it with a servicable one. It may sound simple on paper but it meant worming my way 2/3rds of the way down the inside of the fuselage and working in the cramped confines of the tail for about 3 hrs." In May he enjoys a furlough with her; his letters after his return focus on the imminent birth of their child until on July 4th he writes: "Well darling it seems we have a boy and a good sized addition to the family. You've made me very proud and happy".
In August, George is transferred to Chanute Air Force Base, Rantoul, Illinois, where he is to receive more training: "I'm going to get to take the electrical course and I'm certainly going to make the most of it because it will be my last chance at free education." Later he adds, "I am enjoying school and I've really learned a lot in the past three days. Insidently we have a negro woman for a teacher and she is very good." Their class is the last to be conducted as the base is closing training operations and rumors are flying that early discharges may occur soon. In late Oct. he writes: "I may get out as early as Dec. so you can see why I'm conserned with the future. It is catching up with us!" He is full of plans and dreams: "We are going to have a lot of fun when we are our own bosses again and can plan our lives as we see fit. I still want a home and a work shop where I can work on things and you can keep an eye on me. I still think of making a sailboat and of going fishing and swimming from her. I want you to learn to swim and you can bet our son will be a fish. I guess you look forward to a home in which you can keep everything neat and have a nice stove and can cook us good meals. My darling it will all come to pass if we just work for it."


1943 (issued)


Dein, George -- 1920-1989 -- Correspondence
Soldiers -- California -- Correspondence
World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American
United States. -- Army Air Forces -- Biography


George C. Dein was born in Montana on August 30, 1920 but was raised and educated in Westwood, Lassen County, California. He worked as an auto mechanic and was employed as mill hand at the Red River Mill prior to entering the service in Sacramento on July 11, 1942. Before beginning his military career, he married schoolmate Dolores Mix on August 12, 1942.
Dein was assigned to the Army Air Corps where he served as flight mechanic and electrician, specializing in superchargers for B-17, B-29, P-38 and P-47 aircraft. He was based in Texas, California, and Illinois; often Dolores was able to join him until she returned to Westwood to await the birth of their first child in July of 1945. They named him Tommy after Dolores brother who had been killed in action early that spring.
When George was discharged in November of 1945, the Deins moved to San Pedro where George worked as a mechanic at the naval shipyard in nearby Long Beach. In 1946 their twin boys, Donald and Douglas were born; Douglas lived only a year, dying in May of 1947. In 1955, their last son, Chris, was born.
Dolores preceded George in death, dying at age 60 in Los Angeles on June 28, 1985. George died there at age 69 on November 21, 1989.
George Dein World War II letters, 1943-1945
Unrestricted. Please credit California State Library.



Physical Description:

1 ms. box (204 items) ; ill., ports.







Copyright Note:

Unrestricted. Please credit California State Library.