Ang went to Cannes for another few days of R & R. It seems he really does rest and relax. As usual, he writes nice long letters telling Betty about his trip. With his mission on the 28th, he now has 64 missions and his letters are full of discussion about getting home and when Betty should return to Chicago. Betty continues with her normal routine, including a visit with George Henthorn and his wife. Betty's uncle Frank ("Frankie") comes through Los Angeles. He is the younger brother of Betty's mother, Margaret.
February 22. Home all day today & didn’t do much of anything. Did some laundry—then read all P.M. Wrote letters in evening. Bed 11:00
[Letter. Postmark 2-23]
Well, here I is—all I can say is—combat sure is rough—ha! Boy what a deal—the best hotel in town—beautiful rooms—and wonders of all wonders, private bathroom. I’ll bet this is the only hotel outside of the states with that feature.
It’s not as nice as Alexandria—people don’t speak English—but its not bad at all. You should see some of the villas around here—practically palaces.
I’m determined to make a real rest period out of this so I’m kind of taking things easy—eat a lot, drink just a little, and sleep all the time. Mmm—those beds are sure comfortable. Yesterday, we rented some bicycles and pedaled all over the countryside. Boy, I sure was pooped—its been a long time since really had any exercise.
I’m afraid I won’t be able to buy much for you on this trip—everything seems to be rationed. Anyway, I still don’t like French styles—they irk me. The women wear Carmen Miranda shoes—three inch soles. It seems to be the latest style—and it irritates me just to look at them. Their dress styles stink, and their hats are outlandish. I haven’t suddenly turned into a clothes expert, its just that all your recent talk about your new suit reminded me that you are interested in styles. I sure would give a lot to see you in your old black dress—or for that matter in any dress - - or - - oh never mind. Tch, tch—I should be ashamed of myself—such thoughts.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
February 23. Lovely day—to Margaret Tribbey’s in evening—did decorations for dinner. Home and bed by 2:30. Ugh!
February 24. To doctor’s in AM. Then to dinner at Rockheed [?] Nearly fainted when I was paged—and Frankie’s in town. To bed at 2:00—talked!
February 25. Late Mass. Mom and Frankie out. Henthorns over in PM! We talked and talked—out to dinner and a movie. Bed by 12:00. Wonderful time.
February 26. Very warm today. Off at 3:00—home, dinner and then JJ drove us to Long Beach. Had swell time. Swell letters from Ang.
[Letter. Postmark 2-28]
Well, back at the old joint—and feeling pretty darn good. As I said, I was determined to make a real rest trip out of this—and I did. Boy, did I sleep—and eat—and sleep—and sleep. I really do feel pretty good now.
There isn’t a heck of a lot more that I can tell you about Cannes—I mean I didn’t have many adventures or see very much of the extraordinary. I had to deliver a package to a certain lady for one of the boys that had been there before me. After puffing up a couple of miles of mountains, we finally came to the villa—or should I say palace. God, what a joint. The garden is about a block square—and about the most beautiful I’d ever seen. The house was a huge place of stone—oh heck, I can’t describe it. I took a picture of it, and I’ll send it on to you when I get it developed.
Anyway, the lady of the house was a charming blonde of about 35. We sat in the garden for awhile while the maid brought out some liquor—and we had a couple of slugs of that. The subject got around to the Germans—and did she get excited—man does she hate them. The fellow with me happened to remark that he kind of felt sorry for some of them (the Germans)—and she, in a refined way, really chewed his tail good.
It turned out she had to hide out in the mountains while the Germans were in France—and her husband was a member of the Marquis. The Germans took her father away—and she hasn’t seen him since.
She has two of the cutest little kids—one about 1 ½ yrs & the other about 4—and they raised hell all the time we were there. I’d brought some candy with me, and of course we were buddies immediately. They sure made me homesick—reminded me of old time. Gee hon, it sure was a pleasure to play with two nice, clean kids like those two. Up until now—all I’ve seen are the snotty, dirty little brats of Italy running around begging or trying to sell something. “Wanna woman, Joe?” Ugh!
Needless to say, I had the time of my life with them. They sure brought out some old memories—oh well! Finally she sent them off for a nap.
I happened to mention that she had a beautiful home—so she asked us if we would care to see the inside. What a place—really marvelous. Happened to notice a picture of her and her husband at the opera—and guess who was sitting in their box with them—the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Gee whiz, don’t tell me I don’t associate with the upper strata—ha!
I guess I fooled her though. She evidently expected Americans to stare at the picture and act surprised. I merely gave it a polite look and strolled to the window to look at the view, while the other fellow asked her all kinds of questions and acted properly impressed. When we went out into the garden again, I complimented her on her beautiful home. She said that she had heard that most Americans lived in small apartments—was that true? I said—No, we had a fairly large home—eight or nine rooms (hers only had seven). I could just see her mentally picturing a movie type home. As we were leaving, she asked me if my name was Adam or Adams. I said Adams—and we left. I’ll be she still is wondering if I’m the great-great, or the great, great, great grandson of one the former presidents.
I guess I’m getting catty, but some of these French people make me mad. She was so obviously waiting to be condescending in answering boorish American questions about the Duke & Duchess—that I was darned if I’d give her the chance of pulling that superior French manner. Ha! At any rate, I did like her children.
I love you my darling—Love, Ang
February 27. Rainy today. Ate dinner out—then to movie. Left early though—one last visit with Frankie. Bed by 12:00
[Letter. Postmark 2-28]
I’m enclosing a couple more snapshots for you. I guess I’m doing all right for you in the way of snaps. By the way, in answer to one of your questions—don’t send any more film—I really have plenty—seven rolls to be exact. and—yes, I will remember to carry the camera with me—and if you mention it one more time, you are going to get your little behind paddled. No, I’m not mad—but you sure can pester a man to death. I’m only joking, hon, I really love it.
Now, to get started on answering the seven letters I had from you when I got back. That’s the one nice thing about going away for awhile—there’s always a lot of mail when you get back.
The most important thing (naturally) seems to be my homecoming—when, where, how. I suppose by now you have your plans all made—whatever you decide is fine with me. I’m sorry, but I really can’t even give you an approximate date for my homecoming—I wish I only knew. I figure about the 1st of May—but that’s only a guess—it may be a lot sooner or a little later.
All I can promise you, is that you will have at least a months warning. By that, I mean a month from the time you receive my wire or letter to the time I reach Chicago. Your main worry seems to be that I’ll surprise you and you won’t be there to meet me. I promise that won’t happen—no matter what happens you’ll have a months notice. The rest of your plans are up to you—I’ll be darned if I know what to advise you.
Now as far as the Re-classification center goes—that’s got me stumped because I didn’t even know that they had one around Chicago. I was planning on asking for Santa Monica—stopping in Chicago for a couple weeks and then both of us traveling on to L.A. If I can work it, that’s still what I’m going to do. However Henthorns news kind of knocks the props out of the plan—that is if he has the straight poop. If what he says is true, then of course there is only one choice—Fort Sheridan. Damn it, things never do work out just right do they?
Anyway, the best thing to do is to plan to spend the whole leave in Chicago, and then if I can arrange it, we can go on to L.A.
I guess that should settle it—in a screwed up way. At any rate, you are perfectly free to stay in L.A. or got to Chicago—whatever you wish to do.
I guess that’s about all for now darling--
I love you—Love, Ang
February 28. Frankie left this AM. Rainy, but cleared up a bit. Dinner at LA Athletic Club---very nice time. Bed late-of course.
Form 5. Feb. 28, _____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:40h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #64]
#64. Feb. 28.
San Michele R/R Yards.
Heavy, Scant & Inaccurate.
Center of Bridge
8 O.L. Cluster
[This cluster was never awarded, though he put the "Recommendation for 8th cluster" in his scrapbook. See the "Awards" tab.]
Capt. R.E. Jardine
Lt. Col. Ruebel
Thursday, February 8. Hard day today. Finally got a letter from Ang and some pictures! Wrote letters in evening. Bed by 11:00
Form 5. Feb 8, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 2:40h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSTION #62.]
#62. Feb. 8.
Piacenza RR Bri.
Heavy, intense & Accurate.
3 ships holed.
Hit center of bridge.
Capt. R.E. Jardine, Lt. G.P. Rahatz
February 9. Very warm today again and windy. Didn’t work real hard. Had a lovely meeting of LAOWC—but hectic. Bed very late.
[Letter. Postmark 2-11]
Well I’ve got another boy heading for L.A. –and he swears he’ll stop in to see you—just like the other ten or so. I think this one will though—he usually keeps his promises. His name is James (Jim) D. Smith. I’ve flown with him—and he should give you plenty of poop. By the way, he’s a captain.
Talking about captains—I’ve got a little poop for you. Possibly Maybe (that’s easier) you’ll have to set back my homecoming another month or so. I got kind of an offer today—nothing definite—there are a lot of ifs and buts to it. If a certain person goes home in the near future—it will leave a certain opening which I can have which will make me eligible for promotion—providing the war lasts long enough for me to get enough time in the job to rate a Captaincy.
As I said, there are a lot of ifs and buts to it—and as usual, I’m not expecting anything until I get it. It’s a fine opportunity, but as usual, it has its drawbacks. It means I will have to spend one to two months extra over here—What a blow! However, I won’t have to fly any extra missions—it’s practically a ground job—so it won’t be so bad.
Now, don’t get excited about it—there are so many if & buts that the chances are only about 50-50. Don’t tell anybody about it—if it doesn’t go through I don’t want to have a lot of explaining to do. Don’t even tell Henthorn about it. I’ll keep you informed one way or the other.
And now to get to one of your very interesting letters. The one in which you are all excited about an addition to the family. Tch, tch honey—I never hinted at such a thing. All I wanted you to do was to get a physical so could be sure. Then—whatever our plans were—we wouldn’t have to waste time. Just to quiet the fluttering of your wonderful little heart—I’ll tell you that a baby doesn’t enter into the future immediate future of my plans—but you never can tell when I’ll change my mind. So you do what you are told—and no back talk—see! I can see where I’m going to have trouble with you when I get home—but such troubles I hope I have for the rest of my life—Amen! Mmmm—I sure do love you!
I think you’ll get a kick out of the enclosed article. All I can say is that the 321st is lying—we did beat them last month—and the month before that. Ha, I sure get a kick out of the rivalry around here—worse than a bunch of boy scouts--
I love you darling---Love, Ang
February 10. My day off—didn’t get up ‘till 11:00. Worked on Club’s books. Got things for trunk together. To movies—sewed in P.M. Bed 12:00
February 11. To late Mass—then down to Long Beach. Had a nice time—left early & home by eleven. Read—bed pretty late.
[Letter. Postmark 2-14]
Hi Hon: I just finished writing to Joe & Peg—and my conscience is much the better for it. I got a letter from Joe two days ago—and that’s what started the twinging of the conscience.
I haven’t gotten the letter from you telling me you loaned them any money or not—so I didn’t know how they were fixed. I hope you didn’t let them go without helping them out. At any rate, I kind of got the idea, from your letters and the one of Pegs that you sent—that they were running a little low. I sent them a check for fifty dollars as a delayed birthday present for Donny. I suppose they can use it, but I hope Joe doesn’t take it the wrong way and have his feelings hurt. After all, damn it, I guess I can send my nephew a present if I want to.
You write and tell Peg that if they need any money not to be bashful about asking for it. They might as well have as good of time as they can while Joe is home. I hope they don’t have any trouble cashing the check—I didn’t have much cash so I couldn’t send a money order.
By the way, I haven’t cashed any checks over here. I found out that I was better off than I thought—so I’ve been able to cover most of the Cairo expenses with what I had on hand. Aren’t you proud of me?
Now, what else is there to cover—oh yes, my coming home. Well, honey it doesn’t look as if I can promise anything before the early part of May. Isn’t that a blow? I hope I haven’t wrecked your plans completely. Boy, we sure do take a beating, don’t we? That should be a definite date though, maybe a little sooner—I hope!
I love you darling—Love, Ang
February 12. Didn’t get up until 1:00—sure feels good to sleep late. Marian took me out to Bekins. Wrote letters all evening. Bed 11:00.
February 13. Mr L out of town—thank goodness. Worked steady today. Out to Marg Haacker’s in evening. Bed by 12:00
Form 5. Feb 13, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:20h
[FROM ANG’S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #63.]
#63. Feb. 13.
San Ambrogio Landslide.
Heavy, Intense & Accurate.
All planes holed Lost 6-W & 6-Y.
Maj F.W. Dyer, Capt. V. Meyers
1st Lt. M.W. Knighton, 2nd Lt. J.C. Smith, 2nd Lt. E.C. Reseburg, Sgt. J.R. Long, S/sgt. A.A. Kropp, Sgt. R.R. Chappins.
1st Lt. R.J. Figler, 2nd Lt. J.V. O'Connor, 2nd Lt. R.F. Siman, Cpl. N.R. Lewis, Cpl. C.R. Chaflin, Cpl. J.R. Davidson.
[From the 340th Bomb Group diary, February 13, 1945: "The group flew an unusual mission today, a bombing attack on the rock overhang above the Brenner railroad near San Ambrogio. The idea of the mission was to jar loose the earth and rock and slide it down over the right-of-way. The mission failed. So did attacks at the same time directed against the San Ambrogio station yard and Calcinato rail bridge. Two planes of the 486th squadron flying in these operations were shot down by flak. They were flown respectively by 1st Lt. Roman H. Figler (Ship 6Y, “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”) and 1st Lt. Marshall W. Knighton (Ship 6W, “Idiots Delight”). (Pilots and crews of both aircraft all bailed out and were taken prisoner by the Germans.)"
February 14. Worked steady today & accomplished a lot. Mr. L. should stay away for good. Mr S for dinner—wrote letters. Laundry. Bed 11:30
[Letter. Postmark 2-15]
Hi Darling: Happy Valentines day. Ha, I bet you thought I’d forgotten—and to tell you the truth I guess I had. Thanks for all the cards—they were cute. I guess it’s terrible the way I always forget dates and holidays—but then we never did get very excited about Valentines day.
I got a big kick out of you telling me about your gold filling—until I happened to think of something. It doesn’t really stand out when you smile does it? I mean it doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb does it hon. I don’t think I could stand that—we’d have it changed to that white stuff they fill teeth with. I’m only kidding—I know you said it was just a cap.
Boy, Joe’s and Pegs letters really had me drooling with all their talk about the places they had gone to in Chicago. Oh me, oh my---ah well, our turn will come some day.
I suppose that by the time you get this, Henthorn will be home. I just thought I’d warn you about something—if he isn’t in a happy mood he’ll probably bitch a lot about this squadron and the men that run it. He figured that he deserved a Captaincy and he didn’t get it, so he’s a little bitter—and he’s probably got a right to be. However, things aren’t a tenth as bad as he thinks they are—so just don’t let him worry you. By the way, tell him that I’ve sent his things to him some time ago. And ask him where’s the letters he promised me.
I’m sorry, but my mind seems to be blank as far as anything to say goes, except--
I love you—Love, Ang
February 15. Didn’t work so hard today. Had last appt at dentist. Thank goodness. Out to Cahills in evening. Bed by 12:00
February 16. Typed all day today and got a lot done. Mr. L. in tomorrow and it’s my Saturday. Dinner and movie with Martha. 12:00
[Letter. Postmark 2-17]
I’m just getting your letters which you wrote when you weren’t getting any of mine. Gosh hon, even if it wasn’t my fault, I still feel like a heel. You’re so nice about it, even though I know you were worried sick. Well, I guess its just one of those things which just can’t be helped.
I’m enclosing a little poetry which I think you’ll get a big kick out of. It was written by a bombardier name Schmidt about 7-8 months ago, after he came down from his first mission. I think he does a good job. He has a couple of more floating around, which I’ll copy and send to you someday. I’m also enclosing a couple of pictures. The one of the beach is really beauty.
I got a letter from Johnny (A) today—I guess he’s about ready to ship out now. The way he talks though—he sounds like he’ll be on sub-patrol. He’ll probably go down to Cuba or South America which isn’t a bad deal.
I also got a letter from Jen—I sure get a kick out of hers. I know what you mean about her—and to tell you the truth I’ve been giving it a bit of worried thought myself. There isn’t much I can do about it now, but I’ll have a long talk with all of them as soon as I get back. As you say, something must be done—and done rather soon. Poor kid, she does take a beating.
Gee, I sure feel in an ugly mood tonight. For two cents, I’d go up and insist on flying the rest of my missions on the wing and getting started for home. I suppose I’d be foolish to pass up the slight possibility of getting a Captaincy when it would only mean an extra month or so over here, but tonight somehow, I just don’t seem to give a damn. Don’t mind me darling—its just a mood and I’ll be over it by tomorrow. I just haven’t been feeling too happy the last couple of weeks—someday, I’ll be able to tell you why. Don’t worry, its nothing really affecting me or us—its just one of those things—the fortunes of war---damn them!
I love you darling—Love, Ang
February 17. My Sat[urday] to work but didn't do much. Napped in PM - sure tired. Home alone all evening. Odd jobs. Bed late.
[Letter. Postmark 2-18]
Here I go again—this time to France and the Riviara(?). Don’t ask me questions that I can’t answer—all I can say is that it beats the hell out of me. I can make a pretty good guess, but - - oh well! I’m on the orders—so that’s that.
I can’t say that I really don’t want to go—but I would much rather wait until I was finished. Oh well, there is no sense argueing—this is the Army Lt. Adams. In a way it’s funny—I’ll bet I’m the only man in the Air Corps who bitches about going to rest camp too often.
I’m going to really make a rest period out of this one though—just see the sights and dozens of movies—it says here! All kidding aside though, I promise to watch my money, and try not to go over next months salary.
I know I can mail letters from there, so I promise to write often. This trip will be a lot shorter than the one to Cairo. Boy, I sure am getting to be quite a cossacker.
By the way, did I tell you that my new roommate is also from L.A.—or should I say South Pasadena. Before you get all excited, yes, I’m going to give you his wifes address:
1551 Diamond Ave
Tel: Blanchard 71300
His first name is Bob—and he’s a pilot. That should be all the information you need.
I sure get a kick out of you and your officers wives club. I don’t mean that as a dig either—I really am glad that you are in something like that. I think I’m more proud of you being elected to the job you hold than I’ve ever been of anything before. Really, darling, sometimes you amaze me—I think you’re wonderful. When I think of the worrying I did over you making your first trip out to L.A. I sure have to laugh. I guess I just never really did appreciate the wonder that was to become my wife. Honey, I stand before you (don’t I wish I were) with head bowed.
That kind of sounds like I’m drunk—but, really, I haven’t had a drink. Its just that since I’ve read your last letter (Feb 4.) I’ve been sitting here reviewing the past—and I really can’t describe my amazement. You must admit there is a wide gulf between the time ( is it eight or nine years ago) when Bud practically had to force me to go out with scrawny little girl so he could date up her girlfriend—to the wonder that is Elizabeth R. Adams. Gee whiz!
I love you darling—Love, Ang
P.S. The pictures I promised yesterday are enclosed today.
February 18. To late Mass. Did a little sewing. Mr S & out to dinner. Then to movie with Margaret. Bed by 12:00.
February 19. Didn’t work very hard today—rainy and cloudy. Had swell letters from dear Ang. To bed by 11:30
February 20. Nothing much doing today—Ate dinner alone & wrote letters in evening. To bed by 11:00
February 21. Worked steady today - but not rushed. Mr. S for dinner. I went to movies. To bed by 1:00. Tired.
Ang finishes writing about Cairo and tries to explain his expenses. There's a bit of a SNAFU about addresses for family notifications. Apparently Betty was a little put out that Ang's folks received a letter from General Cannon, instead of her. Oops. Betty doesn’t mention this in her diary, but clearly Ang heard from her about it. Ang also reports he has a new roommate and sends the photo of the general giving him medals from the December medal ceremony.
On the 6th he mentions “I got stinking-eyed drunk last night—in fact I was as looped as I have ever been. I had a good reason for it—but I can’t tell you what it was until I see you. That’s a dirty trick, but I really can’t.” We know now that his good friend Tom Cahill’s plane was shot down on the 5th. Reading these letters now, it’s easy to notice his irritation about people calling themselves heroes and why he tries to explain how the war was affecting people.
Betty is very worried at this same time because she still hasn’t heard from Ang in weeks — due to his Cairo trip. She is busy with her regular activities of work, movies, meetings and visiting. Her sister Peg calls from Norfolk and she hears from Ang’s old tent mate, George Henthorn.
Thursday, February 1. Rained all day today—ugh! No mail from Ang—ten days. Sewed on black suit—yum! To bed by 11:00
[Letter. Postmark 2-4]
No mail today—I hope the situation isn’t getting screwed up again. I’m not too sure I want to get any though, the ones batting my ears down ought to be about due about now. Boy, I’m going to be afraid to open some of them.
I got a letter from Johnny yesterday—sure glad he got home.
Talking about home, the way those Russians are going the war ought to be over by the time you get this. Those kids are really moving. I’ve got enough missions now so I don’t have to worry about being sent to you know where when this is over—so, as far as I’m concerned, it can end tomorrow—I hope!
Boy, when it does end—this is sure going to be one drunken brawl—let me tell you. I’ll even drink some of that Eytie crap they have around here.
And now to get to the bad part of the Cairo trip—the money. It’s the first of the month—and I’ve got to settle up. In real small print I’ll tell you what I spent-- $400.00—yep, 400 bucks.
Wasn’t it me, that not so long ago, said that we must save money. I’m sorry honey, but it just goes like water down there—even so, I spent 1 to 400 dollars less than anybody else.
I bought a pair of combat dress boots (35.00)—made to order—isn’t that awful. They sure are beautiful boots though. Then I had a combat jacket made—45 bucks—then your purse and trinkets—but that’s a secret.
Then of course I had to pay a little for experience—for instance: As we were riding along in a horse drawn buggy—a little Arab kid jumped on and tried to sell us all kinds of trinkets. With tears in his eyes he kept on showing us his empty wallet and begging us to buy something. We wouldn’t, so he really put on an act for us. Looking carefully all around him to make sure no cop was watching, he quickly slipped out one of the most beautiful rings I have ever seen. It had 3 large “diamonds” in it. Constantly looking around for the cops (very impressive) he gave us the story. He had found the ring, and he knew it was very valuable, but he had no way of selling it, so he’d give it to us cheap—only 50 £ (200 dollars). I told him to scram—but he shoved it in my hand—and as I said before it was very beautiful. As I examined it, his price kept on coming down. I scratched at the face of my watch—and it left a great big scratch on it. There was a little glass window on the side of the cab, and the “diamond” almost cut thru’ it. I got a little excited—got the kid down to 5 £ (20 dollars) and bought it.
To make a long story short, the next day, at the brazaar, I was attracted by a large display of rings—over 50 of them—and all looking exactly like mine—and they all cut glass. Oh well, such is life.
This letter is getting to be a novel—what I wanted to tell you was that I’ll have to cash a check for about $150.00 to pay what I borrowed. Forgive me darling, I’ll really watch my pennies from now on—this should be my last rest trip.
I’m enclosing a few more pictures.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
P.S. Charley is on his way home—I doubt if he gets to L.A., but he might.
February 2. Didn’t work very hard today—it rained all day! Sewed some in evening. No mail???
February 3. Alone in office today. Met Zana and Donna for lunch at LAOC. Also to Ambassador! To movies.
[Letter. Postmark 2-5]
I got as far as the “Hi Hon” yesterday, but just then my new roommate was introduced to me—and that ended that. He’s a new boy, so naturally I had to spend the evening showing him around and telling him all about “combat”—ha!
His name is Bob _ _ _ _ _ oh hell, I’ll sneak a look at his suitcase later on and let you know. He told me what it was yesterday, but you know me. I don’t know why I’m like that—it’s awful, isn’t it?
He’s a great big tall kid—friendly and inquisitive as can be. Of course he doesn’t have much trouble getting me to talk—so there went the evening.
I received your package with the Esquires and the calendar. You’re a sweetheart—do you know it? There sure are a lot of pictures in the Esquires for the walls—I’m really getting quite a collection.
I’m sorry darling—I’ve been trying hard to write a decent letter but I can’t do it. I’ve had a rough day—and I’m completely pooped. I know you’ll forgive me if I give up and hit my sack.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
February 4. Didn’t get up till ten—to late Mass. Wrote letters all P.M. Had dinner late—then did some sewing in evening. 11:15
Form 5. Feb 4, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:30h
[FROM ANG’S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #61.]
Ala RR Bridge
Heavy, moderate & inaccurate
Hit South Approach
Led: G.B Thabault, R.G. Woolcott
[From the 486th diary: "Mission today, results 90%. Good concentration of phosphorus on flak positions caused very little flak opposition."]
February 5. Very slow day at the office. Had a call from Peg—just wanted to talk. They’re on to Norfolk. To Marg Tribbey’s in evening
[Letter. Postmark 2-6]
Before I forget, I’d better put this business of your address and my decorations straight. As I’ve told you, I had the folks address as your permanent address—and I have changed it now. I’m sorry—it was very unthoughtful of me.
I don’t understand about these letters about my awards though. I didn’t even know that they sent such things until you told me about Arne’s folks getting one. When you told me that, I was really worried. If my folks had gotten that letter addressed to you from the government—they would have probably died, while they were trying to reach you to get permission to open the letter. So you see, in a way I’m mighty glad it was addressed to them.
However, it beats the hell out of me why it was addressed to them. On every piece of paper or card I remember filling out—I naturally, have you as my next of kin. Then at the bottom where it asks for parents name and address, I have the folks. Off of one of those cards or papers the general must have got the names and address to send the letter. Why he sent it to the folks instead of you leaves me confused.
Are you sure that the letter Eva got was addressed to her and not his folks. Maybe it’s the general’s policy to send stuff like that to the parents instead of the wife. That’s the only explanation I can think of—unless it was addressed to you and they took the liberty of opening it. If they did, don’t blame them too much—I can see why they’d rip open a letter from the government or army without thinking twice about who it was addressed to—can’t you?
At any rate it’s probably all my fault—and all I can say is I’m sorry.
As far as the Presidential Unit Citation goes—that really leaves me up in the air. I’ve asked everybody in the Squadron—and no one else’s parents got such a letter—no one in the group for that matter. I told you that we had gotten one a long time ago—but it wasn’t for 100% accuracy of bombing—it was for something altogether different. It beats the hell out of me—unless the President has awarded us the fourth presidential unit citation—and, although there have been rumors, no one in the group knows for sure about it.
Ho hum—I guess I’m getting to be quite a hero and don’t even know it.
I’m sorry honey, I guess there is something wrong with me, but I just didn’t realize how you and the folks would feel about these medals and decorations. What I mean is that over here the medals are practically routine with us. There I go, it sounds like I’m trying to sound like a modest hero—doesn’t it? What I actually mean is that it’s no great honor (in spite of what the newspapers and the civilians think) to get an air medal or a D.F.C. So many successful missions and we get the air medal—so many more and we get another cluster—and so it goes. As far as the D.F.C. goes—they are just looking for a chance and a reason to give that to us. The first little thing that a man does that’s a little bit extraordinary and will sound good to the general—and we’re in for it. Therefore, practically all lead men and some wing men get it.
The Unit Citation on the other hand really means something. It proves that, as a group, we’re pretty hot stuff and have done something a little better than the other groups.
I hope that clears up the award situation once and for all. I sure do leave you in the dark on a lot of things—I’m sorry—I’ll try to do better.
By the way, before one of those jerks at Wing sends you another letter and I find myself a divorced man, I got the sixth cluster to the Air Medal a couple of days ago. That brings you up to date. Boy, you were getting a little angry at me—weren’t you?
It sure took a lot of paper telling you all that—but I guess that’s what I’d better do on all these subjects that come up—that is, if I want to have a loving wife to come home to.
I guess I’d better not start on anything else—this is one of my longest letters as it is.
I’ve got 61 missions now—I’m not getting there very fast—but I am getting there—and that’s something.
I guess I’d better shut up shop now.
I love you very much darling—Love, Ang
Letter sent to Ang's father, Sam Adams about the Distinguished Flying Cross. While Betty apparently was upset it didn't come to her, I think it was probably good that it went to my grandfather. I'm surprised it survived in pretty decent condition. I can imagine my grandfather pulling it out and showing it to family, and maybe even strangers on the street!
February 6. So-so day. Am still thrilled about talking to Geo. Henthorn yesterday. Still nothing from Ang-? 2 weeks.
[Letter. Postmark 2-7]
Got your letter which told me your plans about quitting work—so I guess I’d better comment on it.
I still can’t tell you about when I’ll be home—because I really don’t know—and the army quite often changes its regulations. I know, unless the war ends, that I won’t be home for my birthday—but I probably will be finished by then or shortly after.
So your idea of quitting work around that time is probably a very good idea. As I’ve told you before, it’s up to you. If you feel that you’d like to stay with your mother as long as possible (and I have no doubt that she will be pretty lonesome all by herself.) it’s quite allright with me. As I’ve told you before, I’ll be able to give you plenty of warning. From the time I finish to the time I get to Chicago will be 5-6 weeks—so it gives you plenty of time. Again, as I’ve said before—it’s entirely up to you—just do what you think is best.
Now, in my crude way, I’d better try explain Joe’s attitude, which seems to be bothering you quite a bit. I really hadn’t given too much thought to such things—not until you started talking about Joe and the “disappointing” way he has been acting.
Wondering if perhaps my attitude, when I did get home, wouldn’t also be a little disappointing—and I’m afraid it may be.
I’ve talked to several of the boys who have been home and have come back—and its kind of given me an idea of what happens when a man gets home—and the reasons for it. The night before last a major who has just returned told me how he felt—and I think he put it better than I or anyone else ever could. “It’s funny, Adams,” he said—“when I left here, I said I was going home. But didn’t really feel like I was getting home until I got back here. I felt out of place back in the states—and the only time I didn’t feel that way, was when I was alone with my wife.”
I think that was Joe’s main trouble—he felt out of place—and I doubt if you or anyone else could have done anything about it. After all he had been gone for almost a year—leading a life almost entirely different from what he would have in the states—talking and thinking of things he never would have on shore—and was in constant contact with people like himself and no one else—certainly no one like the family and other people he had to deal with when he got back.
I’m not trying to make this sound like that bull that you’ve been reading in the papers and magazines. I’m just saying that there is noting wrong with Joe, and that he hasn’t changed his feelings towards Donny or Peggy or the family—he just feels a little strange and it will take him a little while to get back into the swing of things—so I wouldn’t worry about him.
I’m just telling you these things to protect myself when I get home. I told you [I] haven’t changed—and I haven’t, but I’ll bet you’ll think I have for the first week or so when I’m home. I got a preview of what it would be like when I was down in Alex. As I told you most of the people speak English and its pretty close being an American town. On Corsica the usual procedure at the table when you want something is to yell at the other end of the table “pass the _____ jam” in Alex it was “Please pass the jam.” We ate most of our meals at the Red Cross mess hall—and occasionally one of the Red Cross girls would sit at our table. Instead of making the party gayer—she seemed to dampen it. Immediately we would all go on the alert and start watching our step—and of course that ruined everything.
That’s just a small example—but it gives you an idea of why the boys feel strange—and as one of those screw-ball magazine articles put it: seem to draw into their shells.
So, darling, if when I come home, I act a little funny don’t get mad at me—God knows, it won’t be because I’m not happy to be there—that’s all I’ve dreamed of for 10 months. I doubt if you have anything to worry about though—you know how I am about sliding in and out of things—I can usually make myself feel at home in no time at all. I just thought maybe this would make you feel easier about Joe.
I can’t think of anything else that you have been asking. Oh yes—the film. Don’t send me any more—I got four rolls in Cairo and have all I’ll ever need. Please send me Esquire and the other magazines you send me. That takes care of the request—so you see I’m really trying to be a good boy.
I got stinking-eyed drunk last night—in fact I was as looped as I have ever been. I had a good reason for it—but I can’t tell you what it was until I see you. That’s a dirty trick, but I really can’t.
I sure am glad that Peg and Joe got over to my folks—that sure was a cute letter that Joe wrote. I can just see Dad shoving lamb chops on his plate.
I just read Jack’s letter that you sent me a couple of weeks ago. I had put it aside and forgot about it until then. Is that kid crazy—does he actually expect to believe the stuff he hands out? He either takes opium or he sees too many movies. Found two Germans sleeping—took their gun and drank their liquor—Good Lord—I give up. You know I usually ignore things and people like that—but holy mackeral—two Germans etc. Gee whiz—what a man! Oh well, that’s what the war does to some people.
I love you darling—Love, Ang.
February 7. Nearly went nuts today with worry about Ang. Called his folks and they had a letter. Thank goodness. Out with BJ etc.
[Letter. Postmark 2-9]
I don’t guess that the enclosed picture needs any comment—does it? I guess I just wasn’t made to do anything right. Regulations say that I should be staring straight ahead—so of course I have to be looking straight down.
It wasn’t altogether my fault though—the general was feeling in a jolly mood and he had to pick on me—that accounts for the sickly grin. He had trouble pinning the medal on, so I thought I’d sneak a look to see what the matter was—and of course the picture was snapped at that moment. Woe is me—everything does happen to me.
How do you like that triple chin—my goodness! Honest honey, I’m not getting that fat. I weighed in at 160 the other day—and that’s a lot less than I left the states with.
Take a good look at that mustache—because I have a confession to make. I’ve given it up. About two hours before I got your letter telling me not shave it off under any circumstances—I shaved it off. I’m sorry honey—but I just wasn’t built for one. It tickled me—and it bothered the daylights out of me—and it always got into my coffee.
I’m also enclosing an article. Show it to Henthorn when he gets there—he ought to get a kick out of it. Don’t let the underlined section get you all excited—as usual it’s very exaggerated—it sounds a lot worse than it actually was. We weren’t even shaken up.
I sure get a kick out of that picture though—every time I look at it I have to laugh.
I love you honey—Love, Ang
[Note: I believe the article he enclosed is the one I featured in the post for July 1-7, 1944. (Been Cossacking. And the story of "Kathleen.") Ang and George Henthorn were on the July 5th mission mentioned in the article. In fact, they flew together on many missions, on "Kathleen" and on other B25's as well. He tells Betty they "weren't even shaken up" so it's a good thing he didn't send her the photo of Kathleen showing the results of the crash.]
Joni Adams Sesma, daughter of Angelo and Elizabeth Adams. Ang served on Corsica with the 57th Bomb Wing, 340th Bomb Group, 486th Bomb Squadron. April 1944-April 1945.