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Transcribed by James Fox, September 2004
from the Deposit-Coach Fox WW2 Letters Collection


John J. O'Rourke

also see photo of John J. O'Rourke and Ralph L. Carl

Pvt. John J. O'Rourke (letter 1/4)
Deposit C.S. Class of 1940
Army Air Corps
Ft. Myers, Fla.
Aug. 26, '42

Dear Mr. Fox,

I've been meaning to write and let you know how I've been making out but I kept putting it off. As you know Pete* and I went in together. We were moved form Ft. Niagara to Mitchel Field then I was sent here while Pete was shipped to Bainbridge, Ga. (almost on the Florida border).

A.A.F.F.G.S. stands for Army Air Force Flexible Gunnery School, this is going to be enormous. I understand when complete (for they are still building) it will be second largest in the world.

At present, I'm just waiting around to go to school as I'm not assigned yet. How I hate this waiting.

The weather down here is swell, Hot Sun but cool breeze.

I hear Justin B.* didn't go into the Marines after all.

Ft. Myers is a town of about 10,000 about 17 miles from the gulf and our camp is about 10 from Ft. Myers. All the land is entirely flat and all hard packed sand.

At first our living conditions were terrible but they have been getting better and better as the buildings are being completed daily.

The water down here contains sulphur unfit for drinking except when chlorinated.

I would like to hear from you at anytime.
Well I must close now.

Regards to all my friends.
I remain
John J. O'Rourke

*[Stephen "Pete" Judd, killed in action 3/8/44; Justin Buchanan]


A/C John J. O'Rourke (letter 2/4)
Lafayette, La.
Nov. 17, 1942

Dear Mr. Fox,

It seems a long time since I saw Deposit last but really been only four months. But in that short time I certainly have traveled. From Ft. Niagara to Mitchel Field, to Ft. Myers, Fla.' from there to Nashville, Tenn. and then to Maxwell Field, Ala, and to hear. I've been here almost a month now and am getting my primary Flight Training here. I fly PT-19A's which are Fairchild's, low wing monoplane. At present I have almost twenty five hours of flying time to myh credit, I soloed afgter eight hours. Besides flying I have classes in engines, aircraft recognition, structures, Theory of Flight, Meteorology and a few others and also Physical Training for an hour and one-half. On Monday we have a five mile course over which we run every Monday, with calisthenics the rest which includes dumb bell, wands and different co-ordinations. Right at this time of the year, all the sugar cane is being cut, I can always see these ig trailers hauling the cane to the mill to be pressed out.

Although Pete Judd and I came into the army together I have quite a start on him he is at present at San Antonio, Texas Pre-Flight School (9 weeks). I took mine at Maxwell in nineteen days. My class was more of a guinea pig class.

I doubt like heck if I'll ever get home for Xmas as we are scheduled to finish here just about Dec. 23rd and from here I go directly to Basic. We only get 60 hours of training here and at the rate I've been flying this past week it won't be no time before I'm ready to get my final ride.

Sincerely,
Jack.

P.S. Heard that Deposit won another championship. I guess we can't be beat!!


Lt. John J. O'Rourke (letter 3/4)
Egypt
Nov. 15th, 1944

Dear Mr. Fox,

This no doubt will come as quite a surprise to you, for it has been quite some tome since my last letter.

At present I am stationed somewheres' in Egypt. And if you look closely you can no doubt put a positive finger on my location. I visit Cairo quite frequently, same old habit and custom of visitors and sightseers. I've viewed the pyramids, sphinx, tombs, mosques and other high lights of Cairo including Shepheard's Hotel. I can honestly say that just once is sufficient. We have a large field here, well laid out, in fact as good as most back in the states. The weather here at present is the same as early fall weather back home, football weather. Oh, we havve a football team here but I didn't go out. Kind of busy here and the fact that most of the boys scaled around two hundred queered me. A light boy has no sense in getting out on a field with heavyweights although I honestly believe I could make the team.

Have you been hearing form the rest of the fellows at all, Bucky*, Hartz*, Buchanan*, Hick* and all the rest?

Would really like to hear from you.

Sincerely,
Jack
*[Paul "Bucky" Buck, Edward "Keith" Hartz, Justin Buchanan, George "Hick" Judd]


Lt. John J. O'Rourke (letter 4/4)
Somewhere in French Morocco
Jan. 22nd, 1945

Dear Coach Fox,

Just a few words to let you know I received your letter dated Dec 1st. It finally arrived and certainly glad to hear from you.

As you can see from this letter, I'm some'whars in French Morrocco but only for a short time, possibly two or three more weeks. Expect to make a trip down to Dakar in the near future and then back to Cairo for me, incidently that happens to be my home station.

Since my last letter I've been up on a trip to Russia, not too far from Moscow. Plenty cold but not much snow.

I saw a white xmas for I happened to be in Tehran, Iran on that holiday and spent New Years in Cairo. Wasn't too bad a week but I can guarantee that it certainly was far different than being at home.

In your letter you named a date for the Varsity "D" Reunion. It certainly couldn't have picked a better time but I'm afraid there'll be a few who won't be there.

I expect to be back in the States come this Sept. (If I'm lucky) so I will undoubtedly try like the devil to be there.

Write when you find time
Jack



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