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Jimmy Ley Collection

James “Jimmy” J. Ley attended Grinnell College for two years before enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Force in 1942. Ley’s papers include an extensive series of correspondence written by Ley during his time at Grinnell and in the army air force, as well as personal items, photographs, and military documents.

grinnell:18697
Ley, Jimmy
Jimmy is still in the US, although the return address he uses will be his oversees mailing address. When he does go overseas he will have more training before going into combat. This letter does not include a written date but it is most likely from either July 17 or 24.

grinnell:18694
Ley, Jimmy
Jimmy is glad his father visited him before the squadron left Louisiana. He will be able to disclose his overseas address in his next letter.

grinnell:18698
Ley, Jimmy
The first letter that Jimmy sends from overseas is censored. He wonders how the war is going in Italy.

grinnell:18695
Ley, Jimmy
Jimmy sends v-mail saying he misses all his family and hopes Billy can stay out of the army.

grinnell:18679
Ley, Jimmy
Jimmy enjoys the comforts, accommodations, and level of freedom at Barksdale.

grinnell:18680
Ley, Jimmy
Jimmy describes a hike with practice gas attacks.

grinnell:18681
Ley, Jimmy
The squadron went on another long hike. Jimmy writes about recent correspondence with family and friends.

grinnell:18677
Ley, Jimmy
Jimmy just arrived at Barksdale Field, LA and has not yet been moved to a squadron. He praises the architecture and atmosphere of the Barksdale camp. On the way there, they got to stop in New Orleans.

grinnell:18682
Ley, Jimmy
Jimmy is having trouble getting a furlough. He is excited to start flying. He mentions a black-out drill and discusses the end of the war.

grinnell:18683
Ley, Jimmy
Jimmy enjoyed his first flight in a B-26. He writes that one of the other B-26’s in his squadron went down, killing all six members of the crew.

grinnell:18678
Ley, Jimmy
They have been moved to their permanent squadron. Jimmy describes what is ahead at the new field, including studying the B-26 and being assigned to a combat crew.

grinnell:18691
Ley, Jimmy
Jimmy enjoyed three days at home but he doubts that he will ever know why his furlough was cancelled.

grinnell:18692
Ley, Jimmy
Jimmy was pleased about his newly repaired and engraved watch. The group has been flying eight hours per day. Jimmy praises the crew and the pilot, Lernmond [partially legible].

grinnell:18693
Ley, Jimmy
Jimmy went on a picnic with his new girlfriend, her mother, and Bob. There’s a rumor that the squadron will be leaving in two weeks.

grinnell:18719
Ley, Jimmy
Jimmy thanks his family for gifts they sent and sends congratulations Betty and Ed’s new baby. He mentions a letter from a high school classmate Glen Klocke.

grinnell:18720
Ley, Jimmy
Jimmy moved into barracks for the new squadron.

grinnell:18721
Ley, Jimmy
Jimmy writes about the hardships in Britain around Christmas season.

grinnell:18718
Ley, Jimmy
The tents were upgraded by adding a floor and sides. He visited a Land Army girl and asks after Betty’s new baby.

grinnell:18722
Ley, Jimmy
After a visit to London, Jimmy has a furlough to look forward to but won’t be able to return home because he is overseas. He is suffering from a cold.

grinnell:18723
Ley, Jimmy
For Thanksgiving Day the mess hall had a turkey meal. Jimmy says the war news seems pretty good except for the Russian front.

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