Ang and Betty were married September 26, 1942 while Ang was still in Santa Ana, California. This is their wedding photo. For their anniversary, Ang sent roses and $50. Betty notes in her diary on the 22nd that she sent him a cable, which he mentions in his letter of the 27th. Receiving it scared him because cables were only used for emergencies! If you’re familiar with the Harry Potter stories, imagine getting a “Howler” and that’s what it must have felt like to read his response to the cablegram! Apparently she didn't receive this letter until December. Betty never mentions his response in her diary but must have in a letter because Ang apologizes for his response in his December 27th letter. Another reminder of what it was like to wait weeks for mail to travel. We expect people to reply to email within hours!
Ang hoped he’d be home in time for Christmas but learned they now had to fly 60 missions instead of 55--however the weather was preventing them from flying. He revised his estimate to hope for his birthday in March. Betty's routine remains the same but has added her Officers Wives Club activities. She mentions dinner at the Brown Derby with Mr. S, though she doesn't mention who else went. I assume her mother, Margaret was with her because Mr. S was Margaret's friend.
Tuesday, September 23. Awfully hot today. Downtown, but not much shopping done. Home and loafed all P.M. Packed boxes. Bed 11:00. Tired.
[Letter. Postmark 9-24-44.]
You won't mind if I shed a few tears—and pour out my sorrows in this letter. I’m down in the dumps but good—I guess you could call it homesickness.
Do you remember Bob Merkel? You met him at one of the dances at the club—the one that had gone to Lake View—remember? Well, he left for the States today. We spent all last night at the club—and I had to listen to what he was going to do when he got back to Chicago. He was going to the Bar Ritz and have them put out a bottle of “V.O.”—he was going to do this and he was going to do that. Finally I threatened to hit him with the table if he didn’t shut up. Woe is me! I couldn’t have stood it for another moment. Oh well, I guess my turn will come one of these days.
Don’t mind me, honey, I really don’t feel that bad today—although I must admit that last night I could have given Uncle Walt a head start and still won the prize in meanest disposition race—grrr! Bob promised to call the folks—and give Mom a chance to have a good cry over him and make her feel better—so that’s something.
Something is screwed up somewhere—I haven’t had any mail for four days now—and of course that doesn’t help my sweet temper any. I can’t even answer questions to fill my letters.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
September 24. Warm today again. To Mass and loafed rest of day. Ironed and laundry in evening. Bed about 11:30. What a life!
[Letter. Postmark 9-25-44]
Well, well—I finally got some mail yesterday—and of course all the news from you. So the Brandons’ now have an heir—what do you know? Where did they get the Jeffrey Alan—never mind—thank goodness, at least its not another Jr. Of course a Jr. isn’t so bad—it just makes fewer names to remember—and to me that’s a real blessing.
By the way, that Alan just made me think—how is Falls’ first name spelled—one or two “l”. I’d be kind of embarrassed if I spelled it wrong.
So Jack is in France now—boy he sure does get around.
Your mentioning Christmas brought something else up. Please don’t plan on presents or a box for me. I don’t know where I’ll be then—and I have my hopes of being beside you—so it would be kind of silly and I’d probably never get it—at least not for months afterwards.
I’m glad to hear that you have made contact with that club. It really will be good for you to go out and meet people and enjoy yourself. Even if you don’t have fun at the meetings, at least it will give you something to do—and pass the time away.
By the way, you sound like you are about ready to start your winter wardrobe. If you feel you’ll need it, that offer on the fur coat still goes. Just one thing, don’t buy something that you’ll have to throw away next year—get a decent one! The bank roll is yours, honey.—Just leave me enough for a car and a months binge when I hit the States.
I love you sweetheart—Love, Ang
September 25. Cooler today but still warm. Worked steady but not hard. Mr. S. and dinner at Brown Derby. Nice time and drive. Bed 11:00.
Form 5. T-25, Training flight as navigator, B-25J, 0:45h
September 26. What a wonderful day. Our 2nd anniversary. More cards and dear Ang sent me roses. I was so thrilled. He’s a dear -- always.
[Letter. Postmark 9-27. This letter and envelope were both stamped in Los Angeles on December 15!]
Boy, winter is really catching up with us around here. Nothing very bad—just continuously cool weather. I’ve felt a cold coming on for a couple of days—and this morning it sure got here. I’d give ten bucks for a box of Kleenex—Oh my poor, poor tender, running nose. Thank goodness its just in the nose—at least my head and body feel O.K.
This joint is really getting to be [a] mess since Skeezix left. We try to keep it clean, but somehow we don’t have the knack, or industry, of Skeezix. For instance, neither of us have the heart to get on our hands and knees and scrub the floor—and therefore, even though it is clean, it still looks like a mess.
And you should see my laundry—I’ll never catch up. It just piles up and I never seem to catch up. I guess that ought to be enough to get me some sympathy—so I’ll stop crying now.
By the way, in my last letter I asked Dad to send me a good Kaywoodie pipe. In every letter, he pestered me to ask for something—so I finally did. In fact he seemed to be getting mad at me for not asking. What a father, most of them are glad to see their sons grow up and on their own—but he gets mad. Oh well, I’ve got no kick coming.
I hope that camera gets here pretty soon—I sure am missing a lot of beautiful shots. Don’t forget to keep after all the film you can get. To make the request formal—Please send me some film for the camera you sent—I forget the size.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
September. 27. Worked hard today. Hurried home and changed clothes for Off. Wives dinner. Had nice time. Bed by 11:30. Cooler.
[Letter. Postmark 9-28-44]
I just got your cablegram congratulations—and I really do appreciate the sentiments behind it—but if you ever do it again I’ll paddle your little hind-end until you’ll never be able to sit on it again. I don’t want to scold you because I know you meant only the best—but--
Honey, a cablegram over here means to us a serious injury, death, or birth in the immediate family. I didn’t even know that one could be sent for other reasons. What I went thru in the few seconds it took me to rip it open and read it—shouldn’t happen even to Hitler. Flak won’t even faze me after that.
I’m sorry honey, I guess I’m just a crabby, old grouch. I just got the cablegram as I was getting ready to start this letter—and my nerves are still jangling. I really do appreciate the cablegram.
I wonder if I gave you anniversary greetings in yesterdays letter—If I didn’t, I’m sorry—I must have forgot—forgot to write them, not that it was our anniversary—that’s been in my thoughts for over a month now.
I got your letter of the 7th—with Shrickers & Mrs. Bylunds letters. Ev sure sounds happy doesn’t she—I certainly am glad that she is so pleased about everything. I don’t imagine having a baby with your husband at the other side of the world is very good. Oh well, such is war. I told Arne about Ev telling you how much she appreciated what he’d done—and even though he mumbled something about silly women—I could see he was pleased as punch.
I love you my darling—and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate having a wife like you sending me anniversary greetings—even if they do scare me to death. Did I ever thank you for marrying me—I do, a million times. Love, Ang
September 28. Worked hard at office. Did some laundry. Mother home late. Wrote letters all evening. Sure had a cramped night.
September 29. Another hard day at the office. Ugh. Called about apts - should have months ago. Packed two boxes and wrote Ang. Bed 11:00.
[Letter. Postmark 10-1, so Ang must have misdated his letter.]
Just got your letter of the 6th—and after reading it my hat size doubled. My, my—such praise—I’m not really as good as all that. Not that I’m suspicious, but after reading all the praise, I started looking for the part where you were going to talk me into something—but you didn’t—or does that come in a later letter?
The mail situation is horrible around here lately—and I’m afraid it will stay that way. Your mail takes 20 to 25 days to reach me. I guess the weather is curtailing the flying of mail and it probably comes by boat now. Oh well, such is life.
Of course, you had to tell me to hurry home in your last letter—just as I had decided that it would take longer than I thought. Don’t expect too many explanations—although since winter is now upon us, you can see that it will take longer to finish my missions. Also, I will have to fly 60 instead of 55—so that automatically cancels any thoughts of my being home for Christmas. I still think I will be home for my birthday—even if just barely. Lets act as if I will be home for sure then—and you can base all your plans on that. I’m sorry honey—it sounded to good to be true anyway.
Honey, I’m sorry I got so lit up in my last letter. I shouldn’t have got so excited—at least I shouldn’t have written a letter in that condition.
We made ourselves a stove today—and the heat sure feels good. Let me tell you, I sure am going to be a jack of all trades by the time I get home. It won’t be any trouble at all for me to whip up a little home and all the trimmings for us.
I love you sweets—Love, Ang
September 30. Worked hard for Saturday. Didn’t do any shopping. Came home & washed - sure tired. To dinner & to movies. Bed about 11:00.
Form 5. C-30, Combat flight as navigator, B-25J, 2:50h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #41.]
Magenta R.R. Bridge
Heavy Int. & Acc.
11 ships holed.
1 man injured
Glade, Satterthwaite, Woolcott.
[No crew sheet available. Target photo and crew list for 488th. 57thbombwing.com/340th_History/487th_History/missions/093044_Magenta.htm]
A note regarding September 23, 1944. Ang did not fly on the 23rd, but the 340th Bomb Group was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation for their efforts to sink a German ship in the La Spezia harbor. Sinking ships was not their typical activity. Their specialty was bombing bridges, gun positions, and German supply lines. The 340th diary describes the mission: "To prevent Jerry from utilizing the light Italian cruiser “Taranto” as a block to the port of La Spezia an 18-plane mission was dispatched to bomb and sink same where it sat in La Spezia harbor. The three boxes laid perfect compact patterns directly on the ship causing it to sink where it stood." This mission is described in Dale Satterthwaite's "Truth Flies with Fiction" and fictionally in Heller's "Catch-22" at the end of Chapter 35, and in his memoir, "Now and Then."
You can see the citation from Ang's scrapbook under the Awards tab.
In Los Angeles and Corsica, it begins to feel like Fall. On Corsica the weather impacts everything, especially the number of “stand downs” due to rain. Betty stays busy with work, movies, meetings of the Los Angeles Officers Wives Club, and packing and sending care packages to people like Ang, her uncles and their friend Bud. They both have their September 26 wedding anniversary on their minds. But the big news is the money Ang was winning playing poker. He sent most of it to the bank at Ft. Sam Houston. The story we grew up with was that after the war, he went back to college on the GI Bill and they lived on the money Betty earned and what they saved from the poker games on Corsica.
Thursday, September 14. Very fallish today. Brrr. Marian & I alone today and stalled as usual. Washed head and wrote letters - as usual. Bed 11:00.
Form 5. C-14, Combat flight as navigator, B-25J, 2:40h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #37.]
Rimini Troop Concentrations.
Heavy, moderate & inac .
4 ships holed.
[verso: "D.E. Glade Woolcott, R.C."]
[Crew sheet under Official Documents tab. Link to more info about this mission.
[Letter, Postmark 9-14-44.]
I hope yesterdays letter didn’t get you all excited—I don’t remember just exactly what I wrote—but I don’t imagine it was very sensible. I remember that the main thought in my mind was to get rid of the money before I lost it again—so I gave it to Skeezix to hide—and since I’ve still got it—I guess everything is O.K. and I’ll send it off today.
Not only that—but the few dollars I kept in my pocket—I invested in a game—and this morning I woke up with an extra 300 bucks in my pocket. Holy mackeral—drunk or sober—I just can’t lose lately. I suppose now that I’m so far ahead—I should quit playing—but I haven’t got the heart to quit while my luck is running so hot. I guess as long as I send my big winnings to the bank—I’ll do O.K. I never take more than a hundred into a game—that way I can’t lose very much.
I’ll send the money off this afternoon. Just to keep the records straight—that will be $1800.00 I’ll have sent to the bank this month and last month. Maybe you’d better buy some bonds—do whatever you think is best. Boy, that’s a load of dough—isn’t it? Gee whiz!
I’ve got our wedding picture on the table and a couple of the colored snaps around the edges. Gosh darling—I sit here looking at it—and it almost drives me nuts. Mmmm-you sure do look good enough to eat. Without blinking an eyelash—I’d give that $1800 just for a couple of hours with you right now. Honey, honey—I sure do love you a lot.
September 15. Had quite a day at the office - very routine. Went to L.A. Officers Wives Club in evening. Very nice group. Payday! Bed 11:30.
[Letter, Postmark 9-18-44]
I haven’t got any mail for three days now—not your fault, none has come in. Woe is me! I’ve been pretty luck[y] so far—I mean my mail has been pretty well distributed—one or two a day, instead of all in bunches. So, I guess I’ve got no kick coming if the Post office fails me once in a while.
I guess you can stop sending all the magazines now—I’ve been getting them all. Somebody always gets the Esquire too—and I can always see theirs. I’ve been meaning to thank you for the good care you’ve taken of me. You are a sweetheart—thanks a lot honey.
We are having another dance tonight—although I don't know why they insist on calling them dances. I’ve always thought there had to be some women at dances—and since there are not—well? I don’t think there is anybody who knows how to conduct a barn dance—or we’d be doing that. At any rate—the Col. picked up 500 lbs of steaks for the party—so we ought to enjoy ourselves a small dab. He said he had planned on having a pork barbeque—but the damn pigs hadn’t shown up. Ah well, such is life.
Its been a little cool lately—and its brought to a climax a little idea I’ve had for a while. On second thought—It just struck me that you don’t need one in California so I won’t mention it. But, if I didn’t mention it, you’d probably tear all that pretty hair out. Ah me, I also just remembered how nice it was to put my head on your shoulder and smell that pretty smell that came out of your hair. Why do I think of such things—my poor constitution!
Anyway, before I find myself a divorced man—I’d better finish. I was going to suggest that you invest some of that money in the bank on a fur coat—but since you are in California, you might as well wait and give me the pleasure of helping to pick it out. Of course, if you find something that you really like—go ahead and buy it and consider it a birthday present.
By the way, I sent an extra hundred—and that makes it $1,900.00 for the two months.
I love you honey—oh me, that wedding picture—Love, Ang
September 16. Alone in office and not busy at all. Xmas shopped all P.M. Out to late dinner & movie. “Mr Skiffington” Swell. Bed 1:00.
Form 5. C-16, Combat flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:20h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #38.]
Bologna Gun Positions
To clear path for bombing formations---used phosphorous bombs.
Approximately 20 bursts of flak before bombardiers picked up gun positions.
Must have got guns or scared gunners---no flak shot at main formation.
[Note: "Barney" was the bombardier, W.E. Barnard. Pilot on this mission was D.J. Satterthwaite. His book about his WW2 experience is "Truth Flies with Fiction: Flying B-25 Bombers into Battle during 1944." The crew sheet for this mission is under the Official Documents tab.]
September 17. To late Mass—very dreary day. Wrote letters—then out to see “Wilson.” Late dinner and then to bed about 11:00. Quite tired.
[Letter, Postmark 9-18-44.]
I got four of your letters yesterday—Aug 24, 30, 31 & Sept. 6. The one of the 24th explained why you were going to the doctors—I’m sorry I raised all that stink. I don’t know what else to write about so I’ll answer questions.
I’m highly peeved because you thought that I thought our anniversary was the wrong month—or isn’t that what you meant? Gee whiz, don’t you think I have a brain—and anyway you put the date in great big printing in my address book—so there.
Please don’t worry about my clothes—I’ve got more than I can ever use over here. The rest of my things came about a week ago—I’m glad to say that all of my stuff was in the bag except for the sheets—somebody took those out. Oh well, I’ve got one sheet and one mattress cover and Skeezix always keeps one clean for me—so I’m all set.
Yes we go swimming as often as we can—its one of the best diversions.
Don’t feel so bad about your letters, Hon—I’m not complaining. Of course I can never get enough of them—but I think you are doing quite well by me.
Now what gives you an idea I had a run in with Arne? We’re not on the same crew anymore—but we still are the best of friends. you should have seen him the night he got the telegram—was he a happy boy. He’s got more missions than I have—and he should be finished in about a month and on his way home. Don’t say anything to Ev, though—let him break his own news.
I don’t believe I knew a Cooper in Columbia.
I don’t know what else I can tell you about Charley. Since he was the other navigator here when I arrived—we naturally had things in common—and so we got together. He helped me get started and catch on and made things easier for me all around.
I did too mention that I was at Earl Carrolls—several times.
Honey, please don’t worry about money and bank accounts-etc. I don’t expect you to scrimp and starve—you know that. As long as there is money in the bank its all yours to do whatever you want with it—at any time without asking. Gee whiz—you make me feel like a Simon Legree when you apologize for something like that (Aug. 30).
Boy, if I’m going to have to explain how come I got “all that money” last month—I’m sure going to have trouble about this months. Its really very simple—I always was pretty lucky and I’m getting to be a 1st class poker player—I should be—I’ve played just about every night for the last four months.
Hon, you don’t have to send writing paper every week—my God, what will I do with all of it. Once a month is plenty.
I’m reserving my decision about your driving—you’ll have to convince me—if you know what I mean.
You are doing right about your deductions—its what I told you to do before I left.
Honey, in your last letters you seem to have started worrying about me a little too much. If you don’t cut it out you’re going to get a paddling when I get home. Really, your fears are ridiculous. You should spend your time worrying about the poor Germans instead—the poor jerks haven’t got a chance. What we do to them shouldn’t happen even to Hitler. Really—sometimes I really do pity them. Please stop worrying--
I love you—Love, Ang
September 18. A usual Monday - all day. Called the Adams - and glad to talk to them. Had swell letter from Ang about trip to Rome. Bed 11:00.
Form 5. C-18, Combat flight as navigator, B-25J, 2:45h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #39]
Followed cloud bank which ringed target---and then swung out and dropped bombs.
Surprised Germans did not have time to line guns on us---and first two boxes did not get a burst of flak.
3rd box (489) got the hell shot out of them.
Beautiful patterns. 96%
[verso: "Led. Barnard, W.E. D.J. Satterthwaite" / Fourth Cluster]
[I don't have a crew sheet for this mission but here's a link to the 57th BW site with more info about the mission. However I can't find detail about the 489th results that Ang mentions. He notes on the verso of this page that he got his fourth cluster for this mission. The "orders" are under the Awards tab. http://57thbombwing.com/340th_History/487th_History/missions/091844_Rimini.htm]
September 19. Everyone on edge today at office - ugh. Packed some boxes for Bud and Frankie. Listened to Bob Hope. Bed about 11:30. Dead!
[Letter. Postmark 9-20-44.]
Hi Hon: I got ambitious the day before yesterday and wrote Boco letters—you-folks-Johnny-Falls-Joe F. etc—but I must have overdid it a bit—haven’t felt like touching a pen since.
Besides I feel kind of blue—the orders came thru that we had to get rid of the Eyties—and so Skeezix is leaving us today. What a blow. Boy, I can see the mess this place is going to be in without him to clean up after Charley and me. Woe is us!
Oh well, such is war. I think his stay with us has done him a lot of good. If nothing else—he’s got into the habit of brushing his teeth—his family will probably think he’s gone crazy and throw him out of the house. He’s put on a little weight—and has learned about taking baths. he has plenty of clothes—and a bag full of food, candy & cig to take to his family.
I don’t know if we’ve completely reformed him though. Just a while ago he was telling us how he felt about leaving here. He felt very bad and was practically in tears—but then a bright thought lit up his face a bit. He said there was one good thing about going back to Sicily—“the signorina’s there were nice and fat—and he could get it wholesale—only five dollars for the night” The little punk—I should have wacked him good.
There’s not much else to write about—except that I love you very much—Love, Ang
P.S. by the way, I sent Mom a check for $25.00 for her birthday—mark it up will you.
[Note about "Skeezix" and the other "Italian help" who were sent home from Corsica per orders from 12th Air Force Command. No one was pleased with this order. It's mentioned in both the 340th Bomb Group and 486 Bomb Squadron diaries.
From the 340th diary. "The Italian K.P.s who have been with us since we were located at Pompeii A/D [Airodrome] have been ordered to pack up for they are being returned to their homes. A recent directive from XIIth Air Force made the Group's choice on sending them home a matter of following orders."
From the 486th diary. "The Italian help was returned to Italy and now a few Corsican lads are substituting in the mess."
In August, Ang's friend Tom Cahill mentions Carlos, Henthorn's Boy Friday who came by Tom's tent and sampled cookies sent by Tom's mother. Tom says Carlos "does all Henthorn's laundry, keeps his tent and area in good shape, shoes shined, etc., for his meals, a couple hundred lire per week (about $2)." (In "Dear Mom: A family finds its past in World War II Letters Home" by Michelle Cahill. https://www.amazon.com/Dear-Mom-Family-Finds-Letters-ebook/dp/B00ZVYZ9T2
I don't know if Henthorn's "Carlos" is the same person as Ang & Charley's "Skeezix" (Ang said his name was Carlos, when he got back from Sicily) but my guess is he worked for more than one tent.
In any case, the Italian/Sicilian boys were greatly missed when they had to leave Corsica and go home.]
September 20. Didn’t have much to do at office. Packed a couple of boxes and wrote letters all evening. Bed 11:00. Tired.
September 21. Had a swell letter from Ang today. He sent me $50 for our anniversary. Washed hair and wrote letters. To bed about 11:30. Tired.
[Letter. Postmark 9-22-44.]
I guess winter is getting about ready to hit us in this part of the world. Its beginning to get kind of chilly around here—and the weather isn’t so hot anymore. You know how it was in Chicago—rain for days on end. Oh what a life.
You remember how I used to tell you how nice it was in our house on the hill because of the cool breeze that we always got. Well, the breeze still blows—but its no longer cool but freezing cold. I guess we’ll just have to winterize—and put sides on our house. I sure hope I finish up and head for home before winter really hits here.
I haven’t had any mail for a couple of days now—so I don’t have much news for you. I sure hope I get a batch of it tonight.
Before I can mail this, I’m going to have to make [a] trip to the post-office for some Air Mail envelopes. I had about a dozen of them on the table when that “little” breeze I was talking about picked them up and carried them out into the mud. Woe is me.
I’m sorry, hon, I’m trying hard to make this into a real letter and I can’t—my mind is a blank. I promise to do better tomorrow.
I love you very very much sweets—Love, Ang
September 22. Worked hard today - for a change. Sent Ang a cable for our anniversary. Napped in evening and got box ready for Jack. Bed 12:00.
Form 5. C-22, Combat flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:15h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #40.]
Pavia (S Dona d. Piave)
(N. of Venice)
Left engine acted up.
Flew last 90 miles to base on single engine.
Chief made a beautiful landing.
[verso: "Glade Woolcott"]
[486th crew list for 9-22-44 is under the Official Documents tab. Looks like this list was originally for 9-19 but according to 57th BW diary there were weather stand downs on the 19-21th Note that Ang is one of several moved from one crew to another, ending up on 6A, known as Sahara Sue II.]
Ang's letters in early September are mostly about his trip to Rome where the AAC has provided a "legendary" Rest Camp. He does a pretty good job describing his experience to Betty. We grew up hearing the stories about how he met the Pope in Rome. He sends some photos, souvenirs from Rome and mentions starting a correspondence course from University of Illinois. I think that it was pretty crowded in the L.A. apartment with various relatives coming and going. Betty mentions that they "almost had an apartment." But mostly, she continues in her routine of working, shopping, writing letters, and going to movies.
Friday September 1. Very slow day - ugh. Marian & I alone - so! Hasn’t been very warm last couple of days Read & wrote letters in P.M. Bed early 10:00
Form 5. C-1, Combat flight as navigator, B-25J, 4:20h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #31.]
Piave Susagana Road Bridge
2. Short & center
[written on verso: "Led. Thab.”]
[Crew sheet under Official Documents. Pilot was G.B. Thabault.]
September 2. My day alone at office. Did some Xmas shopping in P.M. Mr S up & dinner out & to show. To bed about 11:30. Dead
Form 5. A-2, Administrative flight as navigator, B-25J, 1:00h
Form 5. C-2, Combat flight as navigator, B-25J, 2:40h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #32.]
Viareggio, Lucca, Rimini, Ravenna
Wind made it possible to stay on our side of lines.
Heavy, Acc. & intense at Rimini
2 ships holed.
[Crew sheet at Official Documents tab, noted as "Pamphlet Mission."]
September 3. To late Mass—Not very hot today. Re-arranged room—and read all P.M. Had dinner in. Wrote some letters & bed by 11:00.
[Letter. Postmark 9-5-44. Written in ink on front of envelope, "9-11". Perhaps that's when Betty received it.]
Well, darling, I’ve just finished doing it----what I should have done a long time ago—applied for a couple of Correspondence courses at the U. of I. Don’t ask me what caused it—I was just laying on my sack wondering what to do with myself—when all of a sudden I called myself a dammed fool and got up and sent an application to them before I could change my mind.
There really is no reason why I shouldn’t have applied a year ago. I could have had a semesters of credit by now at least.
We happened to be talking about what we were going to do after the war a couple of days ago—and someone mentioned the fact that practically all jobs which required any educational credits at all—demanded at least two years of college. And, when you come to think of it—its very true. And so I figured that my year and a half at Illinois was wasted unless I added another semester at least—so I’m going to. Gee whiz, don’t I sound ambitious—you’d think I’d seen the light!
Its Charlies birthday today—so I guess we’ll celebrate tonight—providing we aren’t flying tomorrow.
I’m sending you a couple of snap shots. One of them was taken at one of the fields on the way over here. They’d shoved a tent and a cot at us and told us to take care of ourselves. We set up the tent and all that piles of junk is our equipment and clothing. You sure can see what I think of the job ahead. Ha—I think its cute. The other one was taken here a short while ago—its pretty good except that my face is blurred—or is that what makes it good?
Say hon, I wish you would send one or two of these pictures to the folks on loan. Make them send them back though. I can only get one print and we aren’t allowed to send the negatives.
I love you my darling—Love, Ang.
[Note: The 57th Bomb Wing site and 486th BS diary note a mission on September 3, and there's a crew sheet listing Ang on 6A. However Ang does not have it noted in his log book and it's not listed on his Form 5. Another in a long list of unsolved mysteries. The 486th diary says the morning mission was "cancelled for standby" and "finally left at about 1500 hours", so it seems likely he was scheduled to fly but didn't. I have two crew sheets for the 3rd and they're both under the Official Documents tab.]
September 4. Didn’t get up until 11:00—very lazy. Did some odd jobs around apt—then met Mom & to show & had dinner. Bed 10:30.
Form 5. C-4, Combat flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:20h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #33.]
Sestri [should be Sesto] Calende RR Bridge
1. Right end hit
2. " "
3. Center hit
[verso: "Thabault G.B. Rahatz, G.R."]
[Crew sheet at Official Documents tab.]
[Photo from Ang's scrapbook, labeled "33" on the back. The link, below, to the 57th BW site doesn't have a mission report, but it has this photo and the crew sheet for the 486th BS showing Ang on 6L and Tom Cahill on 6Y. You can also see the crew sheet under Official Documents.]
September 5. Cooler today—worked steady—Dashed home & picked up mail and then to re-pack trunk. Lots of mail. To bed about 11:00 Feel grand.
Form 5. C-5, Combat flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:05
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #34.]
Solienano [Solignano] RR Bridge
1. Hit. 2. Hit. No flak.
1 ME 109 chased away
[verso: "Mell, J.R.” and "Rome"]
[Link to the 57th BW for this mission. Crew sheet lists Ang as Bombardier. Crew sheet also posted under Official Documents.
[Letter. Postmark 9-7-44]
Didn’t get any mail yesterday—but can’t complain. But—I did get some the day before—just after I mailed a letter to you—and I’ve got plenty to [be] complaining about. What do you mean by making a plain bald statement such as “Its my day at the doctors today.” And then leaving me hanging out on a limb about any details—are you trying to drive me nuts—or what? So help me—you’re going to get your little behind paddled plenty for that one when I get home. I’m trying to take it for granted that it was just a check-up—but you’d better explain in your very next letter.
And—talking about doctors—Mrs. Adams—have you gone to a dentist since I left. If you haven’t—you had better take yourself to one in a hurry. I’m telling you—if one of your little teeth is missing when I get home—you won’t be able to sit down for months.
If you don’t mind—I will indulge in a little self pity. What a wife I’ve got—In one letter she admits she now tips the scales at 101lbs and getting fat. In another letter she as much as admits that some doctor is scarring up her body with horrible operations. And then I remember that if she doesn’t go to a dentist pretty soon—she won’t have any teeth left. Woe is me!
I sure have troubles. The other day some general decided that all the Eyties would have to go home—and that included Skeezix. Woe is me! Of course we managed to work a few angles and he’s still here—but nobody knows for how much longer. Woe is me!
Well, I guess I’ve done enough crying—I will now dry my tears and try to carry on nobly—even if my heart is breaking.
Hon, don’t be too angry if you don’t get a letter for a couple of days—because I’m going to be off on a cossacking trip to the eternal city—Rome. I’ll say hello to the Pope for you.
I’ll write you all about it when I get back.
I still love you—in spite of that dirty trick you pulled in your last letter. Be sure and let me know about it.
September 6. Just a routine day. Mr. L out of town again. Another big batch of mail. Wrote letters all evening. Bot present for Bylund.
September 7. Very hot today! Washed hair & wrote letters all evening. Bed. 11:30.
Form 5. T-7, Training flight as navigator, B-25J, 1:00h
[I suppose this was the flight to Rome, but usually would be listed as "A" for Administrative. He says he's "going cossacking" but his later description of the trip sounds more like the famous Rome "Rest Camp."]
September 8. Very, very warm today. Marian and I loafed all day. Off at 4:15. Had announcement from Gail. To movies. Wrote Ang a long letter. Late.
[Letter, on American Red Cross notepaper, postmark 9-9-44]
Just a line from Rest Camp to let you know I’m still alive—even though I’m not every happy about it. God, what a “head.” Oh well, the “head” is only temporary—and I sure am having a whale of a time.
There is a sign in front of me that says I cannot tell you where I am right now—but I can tell you that I’ve been here. Since I’ve told you that I am here—you’ll have to wait until I get back to where I came from so I can tell you where I’ve been.
It may sound complicated to you—but to me—well, I can see it as plainly as I can see these three pens in my hand writing this letter. The price we mortals have to pay the morning after.
By the way, I sent you a package yesterday. A couple of souveniers—table napkins or something. One set is for your and one for your mother. All I could find to buy you for our anniversary is three pairs of silk stockings.
Ha—I thought that would make you take notice. I also sent you a bracelet—a souvenier affair.
I’m sorry I couldn’t get any more stockings. I imagine Peg and Mom would like a couple of pair—but I bought the last four pair. I sent the other pair to Jen.
I love you hon. Love, Ang
September 9. Up about 9:30. No mail. Downtown shopping. Saw “Going My Way”. Very good. Read all evening. Bed 12:30.
September 10. To late Mass. Had the strangest feeling all day - as though something was going to happen. Wrote letters all day. Home alone. Mom had date.
[Letter, postmark 9-11-44.]
Back again—and practically in one piece—I guess. Now that I’m back from where I’ve been—I can tell you where I’ve been. As if you didn’t know—I’ve been in Rome.
Naturally you want to know all about the visit—but I’m afraid I’ll have to do it in chapters. I’ve got so much to write about—that I’d have to make a package of this letter if I did it all at once. So, I’d better tell you the most important things—and leave the lesser things to later letters.
Of course the most important thing is—what did I send you—naturally! In the first package I sent you three pairs of silk stockings—a souvenir bracelet—and a souvenir some-thing-or-other (I believe it’s a napkin set). There are two of them—one for you and one for your mother.
In the second package are various souvenirs I picked up. One is a booklet with pictures of the various places I visited—I’ve scrawled my impressions all over it. You might find them interesting. Also a picture of me taken in “Broadway Bill’s” joint—and also a caracture (I don’t know how to spell it) drawn in the same place. Its really a beauty—what a profile—I think its cute.
Also several photos of the Pope & St. Peters. I meant to send some to your grandmother, but didn’t have her address so you can send them for me. There are also a few other souvenirs.
In the third package are two rosaries—blessed by the Pope—I’ll tell you about that later.
I sent a pair of silk stockings to Jen—and various souvenirs to the folks. I also sent a rosary to Gram Hend. and a cross to Gram Har. both of them blessed by the Pope. I thought they might like them for that reason. I had to send them in care of my folks because of the lack of address. By the way, one of the two rosaries in your package is for Peg.
And now to get to the “blessed by the Pope” business. I’ve always told you I would see the Pope for you—and so I did. We went up to the Sistine Chapel to see him. We lined up along the center aisle. He was carried in thru the back door and up to his throne in front. After giving us his blessings, he stepped down from the throne and came down the aisle blessing objects that people held out to him.
Occasionally he stopped and talked to someone. They say he talks 27 languages—and I believe it, because there was a variety of people and he spoke to them in their own tongue. He stopped in front of me and talked to me for a few moments in English. Our conversation is recorded in the booklet I sent you. He then blessed the rosaries and the cross I held. It certainly was a thrill for me—I wish you had been with me.
So, now when your priest gives you rough treatment at confession—you can tell him to watch his step or you’ll have your husband talk to the Pope. On second thought—if you have much to confess while I’m away—maybe I’d better talk to him about you.
There was a stack of letters when I got back—and I sure got a kick out of your being refused a drink. I told you what that dress did to you—ha! I sure got a kick out of it.
I also got the pictures you sent me—I think they are very nice. Herm sure looks cute in his uniform.
By the way, tell Mom & Peg that I’m sorry I couldn’t get any silk stockings for them—that’s all there was—and no more. Maybe my next trip. It’s a good thing I’ve been a little lucky—those things cost boco money—six bucks a pair to be exact. I hope they hold up.
I guess that’s all for now honey—I love you dearly. I only wish you were with me on these trips—we could really have a time. I’m always thinking of how much you would enjoy things that I’ve seen—Oh well, maybe one of these days.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
September 11. Had that feeling again this morning???? Almost had an apartment - but just a wild goose chase. Also had a warning from 502. Nuts.
Form 5. C-11, Combat flight as navigator, B-25J, 2:05h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #35.]
North of Florence
Light scant & inac
[verso: "Henthorn, G.R. Carroll, G.L."]
[I don't have a crew sheet. The 486th diary describes it as a "frag mission on enemy defense positions -- results--excellent."]
September 12. Work so-so today. Not so cool either. Mr. S for dinner - to movies alone. It’s very late so to bed.
September 13. Today almost like a fall day—quite coolish in fact. Read for while—but wrote letters for most part. Bot robe for Mrs. A. 11:00.
Form 5. C-13, Combat flight as navigator, B-25J, 3:20h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #36.]
Pavia RR Bridge
2. West approach
[No crew sheet available. In his 2nd letter of this date, Ang describes it as "screwed up" mission but I don't see anything to indicate problems in the Group or Squadron diaries. ]
[Letter, typed on typing paper, postmark 9-13.]
First of all—I want it understood that Im using a German typewriter—and I’m not at all certain what will happen when I hit certain key; I don’t even doubt that a booby trap will go off any minute now. Boy, what a screwed up contraption this thing is. Anybody that tells you that the Germans are efficient—you can crown them for me.
And now to get down to business. I got the receipt from Fort Sam for the first 200 bucks I sent them—I’m enclosing it; I guess the one for 300 will be here in a day or two. I’m sending them another 500 bucks today—I’ve been rather lucky again this month—If my luck holds out and I stay over here long enough I ought to be quite rich.
I am also enclosing a money order for 50.00 for you as a anniversary present. Buy something foolish with it—such as I would have gotten for you if I were home. Happy Anniversary Sweetheart—I only wish I was there to give you something else besides money. Oh me, why do I think of such things?
In your last letter I got an idea of why you went to the doctor—I never did get the letter telling me why. I’m sorry I got so excited—and I’m glad you finally went. Do whatever you think is best about your tonsils.
Yes, I do expect to be home in 3-4 months. I already have 35 missions to my credit—so it shouldn’t take too long to finish up. I doubt if I make it for Christmas—but we should be able to celebrate my birthday together for sure.
Yes I had heard that the wives can live with their husbands at rest camp—and I think I can arrange to spend mine at L.A. or there abouts.
Now to get back to my trip to Rome. The Air Forces have set up a Rest camp there—and its really a beauty. They have taken over three of the best hotels in town for us. They really try everything that’s possible for us to make us forget about combat for a few days. Clean sheets—inner-spring mattresses—a nice dining room—wonderful food and a small orchestra to play for us while we eat. Ho hum—what a life! They even have two officer’s clubs that set up in American night club style. The one I had my picture taken in was “Broadway Bills”—Its quite a dump! It takes up the whole basement of a big building—and its made up to look somewhat like the catacombs. Its rather novel—would make a fortune in the states. They have a band—and you feel right at home. The other place is the Apollo Club—its really nice and has a roof garden on top—with bands in both places. They even have a floor show downstairs. Honey you have never lived until you have heard some Italian babe sing “Pistol Packing Mamma” and “Merzi Doats” in Italian—its really a scream. I did enjoy it very much though.
You should see the Red Cross officers club—its even nicer than the one they have in Chicago—what a place! The Red Cross conducts two tours a day for the boys—and they show you everything they can in three hours. One could spend weeks in this town and still not see everything—the whole town is full of ruins. We spent about ½ an hour in the catacombs. They extend for 17 miles and you’d have to spend a week underground to see them all. Of course we saw lots of other things—but you can get a better idea from the booklet I sent you than from a letter.
Let me rave for a minute about St. Peters—I have never seen anything like it in my life—its stupendous. I guess it’s the biggest church in the world—and also the most beautiful. The beauty of the altar and the dome is breathtaking. You know that it takes a lot to impress me—but the inside of that church knocked the breath right out of me. They claim that on certain days there are over 100,000 people packed in—can you imagine that. You know how cold “art” leaves me—well I’m still gasping from what I saw in there. The statues of Michelangelo and the oil paintings by him and other old masters are beyond description.
I guess that’s it honey—I love you very much. Love, Ang
I hope you don’t mind the typing.
[Letter, postmark 9-14.]
Please excuse any screwiness about this letter—because I’m drunker than a hoot owl. I’ve had a screwed up rough mission and I’ve got good reason to get drunk---whoopie. The only reason I’m writing this letter is to inform you that I won another five hundred bucks last night. And, the only reason I’m doing that is so I won’t take it over and lose it tonight. Now that I’ve told you, I’ll have to hold on to it and send the M.O. tomorrow or catch hell. Please raise hell if I don’t send it. On second thought, wait just one minute and I’ll give it Skeezix to hide so I won’t find it. -- -- --
-- -- A pause for five minutes while I close my eyes and he hides the money. I saw the little jerk put it in my gas mask—but its safe because I would hurt his feelings if I took it out. What a kid!
I’m not so drunk that I don’t realize how silly this letter sounds—so I’d better close now while I’ve still got a wife.
I love you sweets—Love, Ang
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.