World War II;meteorology

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[Transcription begins]


January 19, 1944

Dear Bryant Service Club Members,

Thanks a million for remembering me at Christmas with that swell package of holiday candy. I remember well the time of its arrival for I was confined to my room with a bad cold, and rather at sword’s points with the world. But your gift with the Christmas cheer and the news of other Bryant fellows in the service made me feel one hundred percent better.

This is my ninth month here at Hamilton College studying Meteorology in the Air Force. I thought the course was tough at Bryant, but you should see this one.

The academic schedule gets under way weekly on Mondays at 8 A.M. and breezes along with eleven hours of fixed appointments daily or a nice little total 59 hours a week, this including drill and physical education which are thrown in along with mathematics, physics, English, history, public speaking, and cartography.

Mathematics, of course, is the big load; it comes at a rate of 28 hours a week, starting out mildly with college algebra and working into trigonometry, calculus, differential equations, and advanced calculus, all to the accompaniment of vector analysis and mechanics. Except that the emphasis is more on the practical and less on the philosophical -.

So much for the math. By comparison, the physics is easy. It takes 11 hours a week including laboratory, but in general is not much more advanced than work that would normally be encountered by a sophomore in college. Eight more hours a week go into cartography, which early in the year blends into world geography. The English is the equivalent of about one year of freshman composition. One hour a week is spent in class discussing assigned reading, while two hours are spent also turning out 500 word themes in a writing laboratory. The Public Speaking is about what I had in Bryant, with possibly more than the normal emphasis on extemporaneous appearances. In history we study some of the basic documents, and then look behind these documents to find origins in the philosophy of Voltaire, Rousseau, Locke, etc.

So much for the strictly academic side of the program which with meals, one hour of military drill, one hour of physical fitness (calisthenics, obstacle-racing, and swimming), and a whole half-hour of leisure just before dinner fills every chink of spare time from 8 A.M. to 9:30 P.M., Monday through Friday, and 8 A.M. to 3 P.M. on Saturday.

Taps sounds at 10:30, thus giving us a whole hour at the end of the day to catch our breath, bull session over cokes, write letters, shave, or simply stare at the ceiling.

But it’s taps for this letter too.

Remember me to the faculty and everyone else there at Bryant.

Irving W. Knight ‘43
Hamilton College
Clinton, N.Y. – Flight 12. [Transcription ends]