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The Colonel, the Adjutant and the Sergeant

Bob Rosenthal and Horace Varian enjoyed harassing each other during the war, and that did not change until Horace’s death. In the 70’s, Russell Zorn innocently wrote Varian, asking the date of Glenn Miller’s visit to Thorpe Abbotts in 1944, which gave rise to this exchange, in which Irv Waterbury (at that time the President of the 100th Bomb Group Association) became involved.

Dear Horace:
Enclosed is a card from Russell J. Zorn, who requests information about Glenn Miller’s appearance at Thorpe Abbotts in 1944. Since you know everything, would you please take care of this.
Ever so ta, Rosie

My dear Colonel:
I referred Brother Zorn to you! Sure that your rich musical background and your well known (even then) interest in the Performing Arts, would have fixed the date in your memory. Coupled with this, you had little to do except fly once in a while with a competent co-pilot at your side, so you must have taken in this event along with all the other free entertainment the Government provided. I’m going to write a book about all the smart-ass people I knew in the 100th, who, 30 years later, write smug insulting letters. I see that even you congenial secretary no longer permits her initials to be used! Small wonder.

Dear Mr. Varian
Colonel Rosenthal wished to apologize for saying that you know everything. You letter obviously refutes that. He thinks you used to know everything but things are decidedly different today. Do you suppose that Irv Waterbury would have some insight into this problem. Perhaps the most charitable thing to do on this exchange of letters is to forget the whole thing.
Rosie (per one who knows)

At this juncture, the question was referred to Irv Waterbury, who had a friend who kept a diary of Glenn Miller’s war-time engagements. Irv had such friends for all occasions. Varian received a copy of Rosie’s letter to Irv, which follows;. doubtlessly to the delight of Rosie and Irv it generated one of Horace’s famous “zingers.”

Dear Ex-Sgt:
I felt confident that you would take care of that Zorn problem. It just confirms how things really got done back in the Big Trouble.
Ex-Offico, Rosie

Dear Ex-Flyboy:
I would guess that the comment above is based on the hoary account of the exam given a officer-candidate in which he was asked how he would erect a 100-foot flagpole. The correct answer, of course, was to say, “Sergeant, put up that flagpole.” There are, however, other answers to that question. I have some additional thoughts about what could be done with such flagpole and will be glad to submit them upon request. Perhaps the ex-Colonels and ex-Sergeants of this world could organize to solve even more challenging problems.
Humbly, Horace

Dear Adjutant
With regard to your thoughts on the flagpole, if you carry it out halfway, would it be half mast or half-assed?
Everlastingly, Rosie