On August 25th, the 340th bomb group celebrated themselves with 2nd anniversary events. Ang sent Betty the commemorative booklet that they produced. You can see part of it in the posts for May and I'll scan and post the the pages under Official Documents. There were no missions flown that day or on the 26th -- I imagine there were many hangovers being nursed. According to the published squadron diary, there were other stand downs during these last days of August, either due to weather or because their targets in France were already held. Ang only flew one mission, on the 29th.
Betty complains about being bored at work and even says she's feeling low and in a bad mood. She sends cigars to Ang - he's been asking for them for awhile. It's probably a good thing he mentioned them in several letters because at least two of his letters won't get to Betty until October!
Friday, August 25. Another boring day. Golly I’ll be glad when things pick up. We stained the bookcase tonight. Just lazed all evening. Bath and bed 11:30.
[Letter. Handwritten on typing paper. Postmark 8-26.]
Big doings on this little island today. It seems that it’s the groups’ 2nd anniversary today—so we are having a little celebration. I am sending you the program they put out in a package—I think you will find it interesting. Trying to anticipate a few of your questions about it: Major Hackney is our Sq. Co. The little event mentioned in the fifth paragraph of the last page happened on my first night here. There was your little ole husband with no foxhole to call his own—and his helmet packed in the bottom of my barracks bag. What a life—a nice way to start (and almost end). You should have seen me the next day with a pick and shovel. I now have one of the classiest fox holes in the world—at least its one of the deepest.
Notice the last line on the last page “Of course, General, if you insist, we will go home!” Cute-eh?
I think the program is really nice—and they had the censor pass it so we could send it home
Boco generals around today. You should have seen Skeezix cleaning up this morning—scrubbed the floor and everything. As soon as he heard that some Generals were coming to inspect—he really got to work. I guess he was afraid that they would send him back to Sicily if didn’t have a sparkle on everything. What a kid!
By the way, hon, you don’t have to Air mail stamps on “V” mail. The only thing they do is send them faster to the place where they photograph them, and in your case, it's right in LA. When I send them, they are photographed here and are flown by Air to L.A. to be printed, so there is no sense in my wasting stamps either. Straight poop from Group P.O.
Also—the money I sent to the bank was 300 in one letter—and 200 in another. I thought I’d better tell you in case you got one receipt first. Let me know as soon as you get them.
I sure have been thinking a lot about you today. I’ve been laying here letting all kinds of things go thru my mind—past and future. Tch, tch! Gosh, hon, I sure do miss you. I see by Bud’s letter that I’ve always taken you for granted. I sure wish I was with you—so I could take you—for granted(?). Oh my goodness—I’d better close before I start drooling.
I love you sweetheart. Love, Ang
August 26. To doctor’s in A.M. but everything OK. Mailed cookies to Ang. Had a letter after the invasion. Out to dinner.
August 27. Sure was in a low mood today. Mother & I to movies after Mass. Did some odd jobs in evening & bed by 11:00. Sure warm.
[Letter. Handwritten on typing paper. Postmark 8-29.]
Well, its Sunday—and it actually does feel like Sunday. Maybe its because I went to church this morning.
Talking about Sunday—I’m going to put that cross I bought in this letter—I hope it gets to you. You can consider it as an anniversary present until (and if) I can get anything else. Its not much—but you know what they say. At least I didn’t forget it—surprise!
I had written to your dad a couple of months ago—but yesterday I got the letter back—not at that address…4300 Lindell is one you gave me—isn’t it?
We had watermelon today for lunch—it wasn’t much good but I made a pig of myself just on general principles. I’m sure glad we can get little things like that once in awhile.
By the way, did I tell you that I got the “T” shirts. Thanks a lot for the medicine—it was good for what ailed me. I’m sure making use of the “T” shirts. As Skeezix says—you’re a “bona spouse”.
I’d better close now—the fellows are yelling at me—we are going swimming in the blue Mediterranean. (I knew I could spell it).
I love you my darling. Love, Ang
August 28. Mr L back from vacation—didn’t work very hard. Had cosmetic woman up & stayed all evening. To bed about 11:30.
[Letter. Handwritten on typing paper. Postmark 8-29]
Just got your letter of the 16th—my, my-what a temperature! Don’t get excited about those news clipping—they probably weren’t in your papers. There were mostly in small & medium sized city papers—you know, local boy makes good, etc.
The clippings will never mention our group—just save all clippings that mention B-25 Mitchells in our part of the world. When I get home we’ll see which ones apply to us. I’m sending you a couple as an idea—and I guess they may be interesting to you even if you don’t know the fellows—because I do know them.
As far as my mention—it was nothing. Some A.P. correspondent was here and for the lack of anything better to do he wrote an article on nicknames. Because of my name he gave me the monicker of “Angel face” Adams—I was supposed to have got that because of the angelic look on my face as I led the bombers to the target and rained bombs on the German heads—or some such foolishness he got into his head. God, what imagination those boys have.
Honest, hon, no one ever called me that—what a ribbing I took when it came back. I’ll punch him in the nose if he ever comes back.
Arne just got the news that he’s the proud pappy of a girl—you should see him hopping around passing out cigars.
I love you darling—Love Ang
August 29. Not quite so warm today. Mr. S took us down to Long Beach for dinner and some drinks. A so-so time. Swell letter from Ang. Late.
Form 5. C-29, Combat flight as navigator, B25-J, 3:30h
[Crew sheet under Official Documents. The crew sheet lists Ang as bombardier.]
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #30.]
Verona R.R. Viaduct
2. Did not drop
Heavy, scant & inac.
August 30. Not much to do at the office today. Mr. S up for dinner again. Very lousy frame of mind. Wrote letters in evening. 11:30.
[Letter. Postmark 8-31]
I know that I have to write a letter today—but I’ll be darned if I know what to say—mind is blank. I didn’t get any mail yesterday—so I don’t even have your questions to answer—such is life!
I did get a “V” mail from the Folks—not much to say—just a “duty” letter.
I’m enclosing a small piece in the paper I found somewhere. I think its kind of cute myself.
I spent most of yesterday at the beach—this place is just ideal for it. You go swimming in the salt water & breakers for fun, and then swim in the mouth of a little river that runs into the seas to wash off the salt.
I must admit that the climate and the scenery in this part of the world are wonderful—its just these “foreigners” that drive me crazy.
We just finished teaching Skeezix how to sing “Lay that pistol down, Babe”. Boy, he’s really a scream. He gets the words all screwed up—and what comes out is shocking—tch. tch. its good for my morale to have him around—he keeps me laughing for hours.
I’m afraid I’m teaching him bad habits, though. The other night he gathered his Eytie friends and “introduced” them to an American game called dice. He won 30 bucks though—so I guess he isn’t so dumb. What a kid!
I love you darling—Love, Ang
August 31. Sort of busy today for a change. Mailed cigars to Ang. Pay day. Wrote letters all evening. Mom and I home alone for change. Bed 11:30
[Letter. Postmark 9-1.]
Gee Whiz, hon—I’m not making any suggestions against “V”mail letters—I don’t mind getting them—I’m just a little tired of addressing mine twice. I finally figured that it was a lot easier to write an extra page than all that work of addressing those “V” mail jobs. You just keep on writing them. I have nothing against them. (your letter of 8-18)
Thanks for calling the folks up hon. I’m sure it pleased them—and I know it made Mom feel a little as if her family wasn’t completely torn away from her.
I got a kick out of Margies letter. So the “Carribean commandos” are on their way to us. Well, well—I’ll be glad to see a few of the boys from Columbia. I’d love to see Elliot & Hoetling in the squadron. I’d give 50 bucks to see the looks on their faces as the first piece of flak nibbled at their pants seats. Gee- I sure do sound rather malicious—don’t I? I’m sorry—but the thought struck me as rather funny at the moment.
It sounds like the Schrickers are in solid with the wheels—“Major Goldsworthy and Steve Howbert[?]”.
And, Mrs. Adams, just what is the matter with Lana’s looks? Are you looking for trouble—just jealous and trying to undermine my secret love—that’s what you’re trying to do—ha!
I love you sweets—Love, Ang
August 19-24, 1944. "Lucky Streak"
When I wrote about my Dad for his funeral booklet (which you can read under the About tab) I described him as a card player, among other things. By August 1944 he's mentioned playing poker several times, mostly as a way to kill time. But here in August, he talks about his "Lucky Streak" and starts sending money home to Betty. This money became the stuff of legend in our family. In the end, I estimate that he sent $2500 to $3000 by the time he returned home.
He also sent home some "foreign money" in one of his four letters from August 19-24th..
Betty's schedule is as usual but she notes that she received the snapshots Ang sent and that she received his letter with the news about his promotion.
In his 8-23 letter, we get a glimpse of Ang's experience of would come to be called "Catch-22" which in Joseph Heller's novel requires them to follow all rules, even contradictory rules and even if they have fulfilled the previous version of a rule. Also, if you think you're crazy and ask to be grounded, then you're not really crazy. He tells Betty he may have to fly up to 70 missions, depending on "what kind of act I can put on for the doc about that time." The increased number of required missions is mentioned in the August 20th entry of the 340th BG diary. There was some "grumbling" about this new order.
Saturday, August 19. Didn’t work worth a darn today. Home and then out to Rowena’s. For dinner & home late. Martha over. 12:30
Form 5. C-19, Combat flight as navigator, B25-J, 3:55h
[Crew sheet is under Official Documents tab.]
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #27.]
Montfaucon Road Bridge.
1. Center hit
2. North end hit
Heavy, Mod. & Acc.
3 ships holed.
[Letter. notepad paper. Postmark 8-20-44]
8-19-44 No dateline
Gee whiz, baby, did I hit he jackpot yesterday. I hadn’t got any mail for a couple of days—but I didn’t expect a deluge like that. Eighteen letters and 5 packages—imagine that. Letters from you—Jen—the folks—Brother and Uncle John (Giovanni he signs it)—and practically everybody else. Boy, oh boy.
Several of your letters were long ones—and all complaining of my not answering your questions—so here I go down the line as I got them.
1. Yes, I am keeping up on my letter writing—in fact I’m doing so well I even surprise myself.
2. Charley Vail is one of the navigators—and my housemate.
3. You don't have to worry about my getting tight too often. Its just a method of relaxing and every Flight Surgeon will recommend it..
4. “Lead missions” means leading a box of planes to and over a target.
5. I have 26 missions now.
6. Yes I have been getting your packages—lots of them. I sure do appreciate them.
7. The doctors came to the conclusion that I had a fever—period. That’s all that was wrong with me—Thank God!
8. My interest in Kay’s living in a trailer was very impersonal. You should know better than to think I had any ideas.
9. I have been getting some of your letters in 8-9 days—how have mine been arriving.
10. Yes—I have been to Earl Carrolls—I enjoyed the Bar Ritz more. And what did you mean by “and that’s the last time I go out with a bunch of women.”
11. I hope you have no troubles finding the Wheelers. The initials are D.V.
I’m sorry if my method of answering questions looks a little abrupt—I don’t mean it to be. I really did owe you a lot of answers and it was the best way of answering.
I’m sorry if I don't answer all your questions—but really there is an awful lot I can't talk about. You’ll just have to restrain your curiosity until I hit home base again. Then I’ll talk to your hearts desire—honest!
Please excuse me now darling—I want to answer boco letters or I’ll never get around to them.
I love you my darling—and I am hurrying—Love, Ang
August 20. Tom and I to Mass. Just read all day. Had a late dinner and then to movies with family. To bed about 11:00.
August 21. Warm again. Ugh. Got some snaps in Ang’s letter today. Sure good to see him. Made some cookies. To bed about 11:00.
Form 5. C-21, Combat flight as navigator, B25-J, 2:10h
[Crew sheet under Official Documents.]
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #28.]
Parma (W) RR Bridge.
[Letter. Postmark 8-22-44]
8-21-44 [no dateline]
I got your Aug 10 letter today—and I was glad to notice that you seemed to be in a very good mood. To keep you that way—I have a little surprise for you. I’m sending $500.00 (that’s right—five hundred dollars) to Fort Sam for our account.
I’ve had a lucky streak this mo—but I haven’t said anything for fear my luck would turn and you might become slightly peeved if my “earnings” disappeared. I did promise myself that I would send it off if my earnings reached the five-hundred mark. The last two nights pushed them well above that mark so today I tooled over the the post office—and here it comes. I’m not saying how much that “well above” is—just in case! If that hits the five hundred mark though I’ll send that too. However, I’m about due for a little trip to Rome—and that “well above” should just about cover it.
I hope you’re not seriously thinking of making a trip to Chicago in December. At least not for a short visit. I plan on making a little trip that way myself about then or shortly after. So, if I were you—I wouldn’t make any plans.
I sure was glad to hear about Ann—especially the boy part. I’ll have to send her a short note.
Hon, the “Time” magazine is coming now--so you can stop sending it. The others should follow pretty soon.
That’s about all, hon! Guard that “five hundred” with your life. That and what else we can save will buy us a car when I get home—then we’ll never have to depend on anyone else.
I love you sweets—Love, Ang
Let me know when Fort Sam sends you the notice.
August 22. Good news today - Ang wrote his 1st came through. Am so glad for him. Had hair cut and washed. Kay to Seattle.
August 23. Worked steady but not hard today. Marian called & they took me for a ride. Awfully nice. Bed by 11:00
V-Mail from Ang to Ann and Bill Goodwin congratulating them on their new baby. (courtesy Ann Henderson Goodwin Family Collection)
[Letters. Handwritten on typing paper, but also a typed version of the same letter. 8-23 postmark on envelopes. Stamped inside October 18 on the handwritten version and Oct 28 on the typed. No clues about why two versions, delay, or why envelopes opened and stamped in Los Angeles. I have transcribed the handwritten letter.]
Notice the paper—I managed to pick up a little out of operations.
I received your big package a couple of days ago—the “T” shirts etc. Gee, they sure come in handy—they really make my comfort complete. You know, hon, if the army was like this in the states—I wouldn’t mind being in the army the rest of my life. But it isn’t—so I won’t.
Talking about packages—I wish you would send me the camera and a few other things. In case I haven’t “requested” them—I’ll do it now.
Please send me a camera—and all the film you can get for it.
Send me a box of cigars.
Send me some air mail stationary.
and plenty of envelopes
I guess that’s all I can think of. Send the camera as soon as possible—because I have plenty of opportunity for some beautiful pictures—and I do want some record of my overseas life.
Write me the film size—and I’ll write to Uncle George and Goldsmith and see if they can’t send me some film.
I see you’re confused by some of my vocabulary. I’m sorry—we use that language so much around here—that I don’t stop to think.
Boco—is Italian for plenty
Cossacking—means what is implies—going around the country—having a good time.
I’ve got 28 missions now—and going strong—that means I’m almost half finished. I’m afraid I’ll have to go about 60 missions—maybe even 70 before I finish. It just depends on what kind of an act I can put on for the doc about that time. The trouble is that I’ve always been so darn healthy—that I’ll probably have to go the full distance. So far there is no sign that I’ve “had it” (nerves). When someone drops a book, I only jump ten feet—in comparison to some others who are kept busy jumping from one end of the island to the other.
I guess that’s about all for now darling—I love you, sweets—Love, Ang
[Letter. 8-24 postmark. 6 cents postage due.]
Don’t mind this short letter—its just an extra for today. I’m just sending you some of this foreign money I’ve been trying to keep. All it does is fill up my pocketbook or else get lost—so I decided I’d better send it to you. Hold on to it for me.
Gee whiz—two letters in one day—what am I doing.
I love you hon.
August 24. Mr. Latimer in for a [unable to decipher]—Less busy than yesterday. Almost had a flat! Wrote letters all P.M. To bed about 11:00
Form 5. C-24, Combat flight as navigator, B25-J, 3:05h
[Crew sheet under Official Documents.]
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #29]
Marseilles Gun Positions
Pattern Right On Guns
[verso: "Led. Glade"]
You could write a book! Well, of course this could be said about every major event of the war. On this site, I'm covering what I know about Ang and Betty Adams during the days of the invasion of southern France. I'll supplement with quotes from the 57th Bomb Wing website in the group and squadron diaries of the 340th BG and Ang's 486th BS.
Betty's schedule was the same as usual usual -- writing letters, going to movies, working. We have one letter from Ang on the 18th.
Tuesday, August 15. To Mass this AM. Not as warm as yesterday. Mr. L in nearly all day. Mom and I home alone. K to San Diego. Wrote letters.
Form 5. C-15, Combat flight as navigator, B25-J, 4:00h
[Crew sheet is under Official Documents tab.]
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #26]
Avignon R.R. Bridge.
1 ship lost (3)
1 - north end hit. 2 - center.
Heavy, intense & acc. Red flak.
Six ships holed. 1 lost.
1st Hoscharr, J.P
T/S AD Alldredge
Cpl C.T. Henry
From the 340th Bomb Group diary:
"Besides the all-consuming landing operations which our air efforts supported, the day was also unique for these reasons: today the Group completed its 500th combat mission and today also marked 18 months of overseas duty for the Group. The Group also set a new high for itself sending up a total 1132 planes on 11 separate missions. The first ship took off at 0517 succeeded by 71 others. All these planes returned safely. At 1520 hrs sixty more planes took off with the Dreaded Avignon Bridge as target. The three bridges designated as targets were well hit but a price was paid. Three of the participating ships did not return and several of those returning were badly shot up....."
From the 486th Bomb Squadron diary:
"The Group sent 72 ships into the air and over the S France coast by 0730 this morning. Very few boxes dropped their bombs because of the damned weather which blanketed the coast. This was very disappointing, however, because little or no flak was observed; everyone returned safely and grateful for that at least. In the afternoon bridges at Avignon were selected as targets. This indicated the B-25s could be taken off ground support work and put back on semi strategic work. A French Major General and his aide-de-camp accompanied the invasion during the afternoon after being initiated about the Group by Col. Chapman. The mission was rough – three ships did not return and most were holed. Two went down over the target and one over the sea. Our ship, piloted by Lt. Hoschar was struck in the right wing flew apart and set the ship into a flat spin. No one was seen chuting out but chutes may have been overlooked because of the excited state of the crews due to the intense, and accurate flak. Some are inclined to believe several men may have gotten out safely and the writer is one who believes. On the return trip, pilots J.D. Smith and Morrison spotted a 488th ship going down and when the crew landed in the water they each dropped spare dingies and radioed fixes for air-sea rescue. The squadron was not happy and groups of men could be seen about the area in discussion, quiet and soberly talking about the mission. The Sqdn's turn for stand-down will serve tomorrow and so to help
forget about the mission."
August 16. Loafed nearly all day. Warm, but not too bad. Kay in San Diego still. Mr. S for dinner. To movies alone. Bed 12:00.
August 17. Worked in AM but just loafed in afternoon. Kay back from San Diego. Wrote letters all evening. To bed about 11:00.
August 18. Have begun taking my lunch - see if I can save money. Shopped and bought Ang some things. Mr. S for dinner and for ride. Late.
[Letter, small notepad paper. Postmark 8-18-44.]
Well, I said I wouldn't be able to write for a day or two—and I was right except for the reason. Shortly after I wrote you—the colonel called a meeting. "IT" happens tomorrow, he says. “IT” was the invasion of southern France. We had rumors and rumors about it—and quite a few bets and pools were made on the date. Of course most of the rumors were wrong—and nobody guessed the date—especially the Germans.
Boy, I guess the landing ships caught them with their pants down.
Honey, I have never seen a sight like the invasion in my life. The sea was filled with ships and the sky was filled with planes--and the Germans were sure catching hell. Boy oh Boy! Won't I have something to tell my grandchildren?
Anyway as you can guess the colonels little speech stopped my celebration party cold. His little pep talk was a corker. “Get in there and fight, men! I know you’ll do your best—crash that line—etc.” I’m just kidding—he really was very serious about it.
Have you gotten used to calling yourself Mrs 1st yet! Its no longer a novelty with me—but I still feel good about it.
Please forgive the short letter this time—I’ve got to hit my sack—I’m dead tired.
I love you honey—Love Ang.
If you would like to read more about the 340th Bomb Group's role in the Invasion, this link will take you to a page with more information and mission reports.
Another mystery here. Ang’s Form 5 lists a mission on August 9th and I have a crew sheet for that date with him listed on a crew. However he doesn’t have this mission in his log book. I’m not sure what CT means on the Form 5 notation. In his log book, there’s a penciled in notation about his promotion on August 9 but I don’t know when he wrote that. He doesn’t mention the promotion until the 14th when he says “Holy mackeral—I stepped out of the plane and they were waiting with the orders. You better rush those cigars—so I can pass them out.” You can view the scrapbook page with the orders and list of promotions under the AWARDS tab.
Ang doesn't mention anything about the rumors about the upcoming invasion of Southern France, but it is mentioned in the group and squadron diaries. He talks about food, pictures he's sending including the dog in one picture, and then his promotion. He predicts he won't be writing much because he'll be busy celebrating the promotion. He says he's "half lit" but must've recovered enough to fly for the Invasion on the 15th!
Betty notes the news from Chicago of a new baby boy for her Aunt Ann. Meanwhile Betty is helping her Aunt Kay with her young son Tom, while Kay is in California to visit her husband Herm. She takes him to the movies, and a nearby park where they have rides. They visit the San Fernando Mission. Visiting California Missions was always part of our activities for visitors when we were growing up.
Wednesday, August 9. Had a Spe Del from Peg today. Ann’s baby another boy! Tom and I to movies. Mom and K out. Warm again. Nothing new at work. Bed 11:30
Form 5. CT-9, Combat flight as navigator, B25-J, 1:05h
[This flight is not in his personal log and I don't know why it's coded CT on his Form 5. The crew sheet is under the Official Documents tab.]
August 10. Warm again—now we’re having some summer. Had dinner out—wrote Ang long letter. To bed about 10:00.
August 11. Golly, it’s turned warm. Had my hair washed after dinner. Mr. S. for dinner. Sat and talked all evening. Read - bed about 12.
Form 5. C-11, Combat flight as navigator, B25-J, 2:25h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG]
St. Raephel Gun Positions.
[on verso: "Led. Henthorn"]
[See the crew sheet under the Official Documents Tab. This mission was to coastal gun positions in Southern France. According to the squadron and group diaries, there was a weather stand down on the 10th and the missions on the 11th didn't go until the late afternoon because of the weather. Ang doesn't mention the weather in his V-Mail.]
[V-Mail. Postmark 8-21-44]
You are definitely a sweetheart. I just got the snapshot book—and I love you for it. I was just about to write you for one—and there it was. Thanks hon—and also for the pictures.
Just in case I haven’t told you lately—I’m still in fine shape. Conditions are getting better and easier all the time. The food is really good now—chicken and steak quite often—and boco fresh fruits and vegetables. We even had Joe Louis entertaining a few days back. Boy, what a life—who said war was hell?
Just listen to me—I do feel good today though—I love you darling—Love, Ang
August 12. Up about ten and then to park for while. Had lunch and then wrote letters all P.M. Folks to movie, but stayed home. Bed early.
[Letter- small notepad paper. 8-13 postmark. Stamped August 23 on envelope and on first page
I’m sending you a couple of pictures in this one—hurray—I know! Say, by the way, hows about that camera and film or didn’t I ever ask you for it. If I haven’t—please send me your camera and all the film you can for it.
In the one picture are the navigators of the squadron—that’s Charley Vail on my left in both pictures. The dog is Jocko—the favorite of the squadron. He is either the dumbest or the smartest dog I have ever seen. He looks dumb—but he never misses chow call.
Our biggest entertainment is watching Jocko try to “make” one of the females around here. God, is he dumb—Its really a scream. He has almost as many missions as I have—and he doesn’t like flak any more than I do so he can’t be too dumb.
I sure look nice and chubby—don’t I. I’ve lost quite a bit of that gut now though. I’m down to my fighting weight of 153 lbs.
I got all that candy you sent me today—thanks a lot hon.
I’m sorry this is so short—but it is better than a “V” mail and I can’t think of anything else.
I love you honey. Love, Ang
August 13. To 8:00 Mass. Picked up at 10:30 and stopped so Tom could have a few rides - did I get ill? Saw San Fernando Mission - nice. Home early.
Form 5. C-13, Combat flight as navigator, B25-J, 3:05h
[Crew sheet is under the Official Documents tab.]
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG]
La Ciotat Gun Positions.
[verso: "Laney, W.P. C.F. Anderson"]
[V-Mail. 8-21 postmark. Stamped August 31 on inside.]
I’ve been lying on my back for the last couple of hours talking myself into writing this letter. Gosh, I sure am getting lazy (did I say getting).
Well the 13th has almost gone and I’m still here—listen to me talk! Just as if I haven’t lived through about 300 of them.
Pardon this letter if it’s a little messed up. The Spitses are having a little practice dog fight—and its rather hard to concentrate.
Hon, please send me a box of cigars (the best—10 centers—ha!) The boys are always giving me one—and I never have any to give back.
I love you hon. Love, Ang
August 14. Ugh - very warm! Mr. L. on his vacation & Marian & I are really having a picnic. Wrapped Bud’s package—to bed about ten.
Form 5. C-14, Combat flight as navigator, B25-J, 3:00h
[Crew sheet is under Official Documents tab.]
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG]
Right on Guns
[Letter - small notepad paper, postmark 8-15-44]
Its happened—its actually happened at last—my goodness I’m excited. You may now address me as 1st Lt. A. Adams—and yourself as Mrs. 1st. Gee whiz—oh golly! I’ve been a second for so long—that the silver bar (it has been on for exactly ten minutes now) doesn’t look right yet—but don’t worry, I’ll get used to it.
Holy mackeral—I stepped out of the plane and they were waiting with the orders. You better rush those cigars—so I can pass them out.
Please don’t mind if you don’t get a letter for a day or two. I’m half lit already—and well on my way—and probably will stay that way for awhile. Just think of that extra $40 every month.
I love you—Love, Ang
[The page from Ang's scrapbook with the promotion orders is under the AWARDS tab.]
Ang did a pretty good job with his letter writing throughout August. During this first eight days he wrote several V-Mails and a letter. on the 8th. He flew 3 missions and one "Administrative" flight. He reports on letters received and from whom -- an old friend and Betty's Uncle Frank, both of whom are serving in the military.
He may have his dates mislabeled or confused on his letters. Or perhaps he finished writing the August 8th letter on the 9th. He mentions ham and potatoes for dinner but the 57th diaries include this note for the 9th. Those diaries also say August 5th was a stand down due to weather but Ang's Form 5 and his log list a mission on the 5th. He describes it as a "paper" mission which usually means they were dropping propaganda leaflets or pamphlets. His letter dated 8-6 mentions rain, and perhaps there was rain, but there was a mission. I don't have crew sheets for all these dates to use as additional sources.
I know from the group and squadron diaries, that there were plenty of rumors flying about the coming Invasion of Southern France. He doesn't mention that yet, but does mention that he's "sweating out" his promotion which he's expecting at any moment.
Betty packs and sends packages to Ang; notes more visiting with friends and relatives; and notes that Mrs. A (Ang's mother) might be very ill. She doesn't mention that again, so I guess she was OK.
Tuesday August 1. Shopped after work for Ang’s box -- odds and ends. Nothing happens in office so no news. Wrote some letters—bed about 11:30.
August 2. Warmish. Flo and Marge up for dinner. Packed box for Ang in evening. He got the first package—finally. Bed 11:00. Tired.
[V-Mail. 8-14 postmark]
Guess what—I got a letter from Wally—and a nice long four page letter it was. I guess this overseas business cures all the boys of not answering letters. He has a new address for awhile.
W. Reardon RDM 2/c
Air Center—Box #1
Navy 140—c/o FPO
San Francisco, CAL
I’m sorry, dear—but as soon as I finished writing that—It struck me that it was a good way of filling up space. I knew you’d think so—but really it wasn’t intentional.
Your letters come in steady as clockwork—which makes me very, very happy—I love you wifey
August 3. Packed two boxes for Ang - the bottle in one. Wrote couple of letters in evening. Home alone. Family to movies. Pretty warm today. Bed 11:00.
Form 5. C-3, Combat flight as navigator, B25-J, 2:05h
[Crew sheet is under Official Documents tab.]
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #20.]
[Note: A Chaff mission indicated that they dropped "chaff" in an effort to "confuse" the German radars. The crew sheet for this date (see under the Official Documents tab) shows Ang flying one of three planes dropping chaff, out of a total of 10 planes from the 486th bomb squadron. Written on verso "Glade. D.L. Phelps, T.H." Generally, when Ang noted crew on a mission, it was the pilot and the bombardier]
August 4. Worked steady all day. Sent box to Ang - finally. Kay and Tom with in-laws for weekend. Washed head and wrote Ang.
Form 5. A-4, Administrative flight as navigator, B25-J, 2:30h
[As usual, Ang does not note this Administrative flight on the fourth, in his log book or in a letter. I don't see anything about it in the 340th or 486th diaries either. However there were missions flown on 8-4-44.)
[V-Mail. 8-15 postmark and stamped Aug 26 on inside]
I got a letter from Frankie yesterday—not much news—just chatter. Say, my letter writing is really bringing in dividends.
In your last letter—you were worried about my hospitalization. It was nothing to worry about. I ran a little temperature—and they were observing me for malaria. I didn’t have it—so that was that.
Say, hon—I know what you can send me—a batch of Air Mail stationary. No cracks now! If I had it around—I might put out some long letters—ha!
I sure am glad to hear that Kay got to L.A.—I’ll bet Herm is a happy sailor.
I love you, hon—Love, Ang
August 5. Very warm. Did a little shopping after work. Bought some kitchenware. Mr. S for dinner and to movie. Bed about 12:30. Dead tired.
Form 5. C-5, Combat flight as navigator, B25-J, 1:30h
[I don't have a crew sheet for this mission. ]
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #21.]
[Chaff Mission crossed out]
[written on verso: "Laney"]
August 6. To 12:00 mass - then to Kay’s in-laws. Had a real good time - saw some lovely movies. Drive home and straight to bed about 11:30.
Form 5. C-6, Combat flight as bombardier, B25-J, 1:30h
[I don't have a crew sheet for this mission.]
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION 22.]
[written on verso: "Regan N.J."]
[I assume he means weather reconnaissance.]
[V-Mail. Postmark 8-15.]
Its one of those dull, drizzly days that make you ready to lay down and die. Its hardly good for the morale—and I’m way down in the dumps.
Oh well, the way the boys are going on the other fronts—the war shouldn't last too much longer. Gosh, I sure do sound miserable—its really not as bad as all that. I guess it[s] just the weather.
Charley [Vail] has been drunk for 2 days—and boy what a hang over he has. He’s really in sad shape—and the way he looks, doesn’t help my disposition any. Tch, tch!
Gosh hon, I sure do love you an awful lot—Love, Ang
August 7. Gee it was hard to get up this morning. Wrote letters all evening and feel a little better. Mrs. A very ill--??? To bed 11:00. Tired.
August 8. Nothing new at office today—mailed a large package to Ang. Warmish in P.M. Quick supper & to Schr[ricker or reiber]s. Bed by 11:30. Sure tired.
[Letter, written on small notepad paper. Postmark 8-11]
8-8-44 [no dateline]
I’ve been doing rather poorly with my letter writing lately—haven’t I. I’m sorry—I’ve been rather busy lately. Of course thats no excuse because I’m never that busy—I’ll snap out of it.
That last “V” mail of yours really slayed me. The last part, I mean. “Ang, I love you so much--Hurry home!” Gee, hon, my nerves are still aquiver—you shouldn’t do that to me. Holy mackeral!
It was nice of you to suggest getting something for our boy Skeezix—but it isn’t worth it. He’s got everything he wants now—about six or seven slightly used honest to goodness pairs of shoes. All they can get in Sicily is sandals—and those are about 25 bucks a pair. He’s got more clothes than all the rest of the Eyeties put together—and the food he eats sends him to paradise. We also take him for a practice flight once in a while—and that leave him with only one desire. The squirt wants to go with us on one of our missions. He really hates the Germans (He has good reason for it)—and he loves the idea of being in the plane that rains bombs down on them. Oh well, maybe some day when we have a milk run we’ll put him aboard.
If you noticed a pause—which you didn’t—it was me going to dinner. And, it was a darn nice dinner—Ham, pot., corn on the cob, and apple pie. Its quite a meal for us.
I’m still sweating out my promotion—its just about time for them to come back. Oh well, why worry.
Joe sent me a picture of you and the baby. You both look right pert—as I’ve said before just a bit too maternal.
Please excuse the paper—its all I have! On the other hand maybe its just right. I guess you’d prefer this to “V” mail. I think I’ll start using it.
I love you honey—and I am hurrying as fast as I can.
You may remember from previous posts that Betty's mother, Margaret Russell visited Chicago in May 1944. Apparently a reporter and photographer from the Herald newspapers came out to visit and a photo of five generations of the family were featured in an article in the Sunday American Weekly. I guess it was published locally in June and then nationally in October. These copies are from Betty's files. I haven't been able to find actual publication information from online sources. (This is something that only bothers a former library/editorial person like me. I'm hoping I will someday find a copy of the article, perhaps on microfilm at the Library of Congress.)
The article questions whether the women who went to work during the war would shorten their lifespans. Well, most of the women in my family were, and are, working women -- for at least some part of their adult lives -- and our life-expectency seems just fine. Great-great grandma Harrington lived another year after this article. Great-grandma Henderson lived another 12 years. My Grandma Russell and her daughters Aunt Peg and Betty, lived to their mid-80's.
The article was way off base but my family still loves having these photos. Seventy Two years ago. A moment in time. Five generations together in one place.
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.