State Historic Site

Trail End

​​​We do not have a photograph of Mark Darling in our files. If you know of one and you'd like to share it with us, please contact us at trailend@wyo.gov.
​
I have not written before because in the first place writing time in the army is limited and besides they have been keeping us on the move so much that I have never known where I would be for a week at a time. We are now located fifteen miles north of Fort Worth, Texas. It is an ideal flying field, and the buildings are fixed in fine shape. It is a new field, only recently completed.


There we found the first barracks that I have been permitted to get into since I have been in Uncle Sam's employ. We had been living in tents until we got here, and it seems rather odd to again be living under a real roof, but it is much nicer and we have more conveniences.


I am with a regular squadron, and the report is current in camp that the squadron is permanent to this field. However, camp reports are not to be relied upon to any great extent, for an order might come any time that would change things all around.


Most of the boys here are anxious to go across, and I am free to admit that I share the general feeling. The sooner the orders come, the better we will be suited. At least I sincerely hope that we will not have to spend the summer in Texas. As yet I have not seen a great deal of the state nor have I had an opportunity to visit many Texas towns. I may not be a competent judge, nor do I want to slander the state, but what I have seen of it does not look good to me. I would not want to make this my permanent home. For that matter, the West is the only real country, and for me there is only one real state and that is Wyoming. 


I am much pleased with army life and like it much better than I ever thought possible, and I am mighty glad that I joined. 


A month later, Darling expressed some exasperation at still being in Texas, but overall, he seemed to be making the best of things.


Things are in good shape at this camp now, except that it is getting very warm. I am in another squadron now. It is sure a dandy - the best I have been with yet. The C. O. is a magnificent fellow, and the bunch as a whole are splendid boys.


My squadron is an overseas squadron, but of course we do not know how soon we are due to leave for France. It is rumored that we may be ordered to a northern camp. If my outfit goes, I surely hope that I can go with it, for I have had all of southern Texas that I want.


We are located fifteen miles northwest of Fort Worth. ... I do not like Fort Worth at all, but Dallas is a fine town. It is about thirty miles east of Fort Worth, and you can go over on the interurban.


Army life is all right, and I like it very much. However, the aviation section is not what I expected to find, but I guess it will have to do until the powers that be get ready to transfer me. A soldier cannot transfer out of it, but the authorities can transfer him if they see fit.


It is six months and over since I joined, but it does not seem that long, for time passes swiftly here. Have endured some hardships and at times have had things very easy. That is the way it is in the army as well as in any other kind of life.

A NATIVE OF Bedford County, Iowa, Mark Todd Darling lived in Sheridan for a brief while before the outset of the war. According to his draft registration card, he was employed as a shoe and clothing salesman for the Stevens Fryberger store (also known as The New York Store). 


During the war, Darling served with the 78th Aero Squadron at Taliaferro Field, near Hicks, Texas. Although he and his unit trained to go overseas, that didn't happen. While he was in Texas, he sent several letters back home to his friends in Sheridan. The first, printed in The Sheridan Post in May 1918, reports his arrival at Taliaferro Field. The second, written a little over a month later, is from the same location.


After the war, Darling did not return to Wyoming; he relocated to Oakland, California, where he owned and operated a small family restaurant. After his wife died in 1931, he went to work as a clerk for the Hotel Harrison. He died in Oakland in 1958.


Letters Home - Mark Todd Darling