Letters Home: John Aldridge, Balloon Man

From the April 4, 1918 Skidmore News, page 4:

Will Be Balloon Man

Fort Omaha, March 27, 1918

Skidmore News:

I received the paper this morning.  Was sure glad to get it as I can tell what is going on at home, because anything that happens in the U.S.A. is printed in the Skidmore News.

I was at Kelley Field, South San Antonio, Texas, two weeks.  The weather was a little too hot for me and I was glad they moved us to Omaha.

I will tell you of some of the things I saw down there.  The first thing you will notice is the flying machines.  They send up about forty or fifty and you see the new men standing around and looking up, with their mouths open.  That is one way you can tell the new men.  After I was there a week, a flying machine passing over had no more effect on me than a Ford going up the street.  Texas is all right for some people, but excuse me from Texas.  Missouri is good enough for me when I get back.

Well it is a nice place here.  We have a brick barracks and good eats.  This is a balloon school.  They teach you how to repair them and how to send them up; also send you up if nobody is around who is supposed to go up.  I have not been up yet, but several of my pals went up 1,000 feet and said it looked fine.

Well I will have to close, because this is all I know to write and it is time to put the lights out.

From your friend,

John H. Aldridge.  17th Balloon Co., Fort Omaha, Nebr.