April 1-11, 1944. "Ang is Gone Now"
In April 1944, Ang received his orders for overseas from Columbia SC to Hunter Field, Georgia (April 2 order); and then to Morrison Field, Florida (April 8 orders). Finally, they flew from Morrison Field Florida to overseas (April 11 orders) via Brazil.
Ang left Columbia on the 6th and Betty stayed to finish packing. After a few days, she traveled back to Chicago and took a job. It sounds so simple and if we didn’t have the records, letters and diary, we might think it was that simple.
There are two Individual Flight Records (Form 5) for April. One Form 5 lists 3rd Army, Hunter Field Georgia as the station, and only has a flight on the 8th for 3:10 hours in a B25-J. See the April 8th orders from Hunter Field. The second Form 5, lists the 12th Air Force, 57th Wing, 340th Group, 486 Squadron, with Alesan L/G, Corsica as the station. The first flight on the page is dated Mar 31; a 3 hour flight in a B25-H. This is followed by 15 flights between April 1 and April 21.
In any case, we know Ang left Columbia and then showed up in Africa! From his letters, we know that for Ang and his crew, the route overseas to the Mediterranean Theater was via South America to Africa. From Betty’s diary, we know that far as she knew, Ang left South Carolina on April 6. She wouldn’t know where he ended up for weeks.
Ang and Betty must have known that time was running out on them even while they might have wondered if Ang would ever really be sent overseas. We don’t get many hints about how they felt although Betty mentions how she misses Ang while he’s on overnight flights and she is clearly worried when she can’t reach him.
Ang had a pretty busy month with 11 training flights for more than 60 hours of flying time as bombardier or navigator. As usual there were movies, shows, and dinners at the base. Betty continues her sewing and letter writing. Where are those letters now?? She also mentions the "boys" go golfing on a day off. Now, I know Ang golfed at various times in his life, but it always strikes me a something so out-of-character. Wish I had photos of that! On the 16th, there is a 309th lunch. Luncheons for the wives were regular events on most bases. Funny that she doesn't mention Ang's birthday on the 17th, although she spends the day cleaning house and they host their friends, the Bylunds, for dinner. Arne Bylund is the pilot on Ang's "original crew" that flies overseas. She wears the green dress she has previously mentioned she was sewing. Ang was Greek, not Irish, but having his birthday on March 17 always provided him with an opportunity for a good Irish joke. Betty does have some Irish ancestry and perhaps she made her green dress just for this occasion!
On the 23rd she mentions that Killibrew's crew had an accident. The fact that she mentions this indicates how unsettling it was. I haven't found any information on this accident, but I know of several accidents during this time in Columbia. Killibrew is mentioned in Betty's 1943 diary, so I think they knew him from Hondo TX.
Betty’s aunt, Ann Goodwin and her husband Bill visited overnight on the 20th. Bill was in training with the Army paratroopers and apparently on his way to Florida. Ann was the youngest sister of Betty’s mother Margaret and the two of them were very close as they were only a year apart in age. The photo I’ve included is of Ann and Bill with Betty’s sister Peg and her husband Joe Fairchild. Joe was in the Navy.
As March ends, Ang is “on alert” for April 3, so they know their quiet life in Columbia, South Carolina is coming to an end.
Wednesday, March 1. Up about ten. To town and to Club. Ang didn’t show up so we came on home. He came home at 9:00. Bed 10:30
Form 5. March 1. Training flight as bombardier, B25-C, 1:30h
March 2. Had hair done. Shopped and home. Cleaned house a little. To base for dinner & show. Wrote letters. Ang had to fly.
Form 5. March 2. Training flight as bombardier, B25-D, 2:00h
Form 5. March 2. Training flight as bombardier, B25-G, 3:25h, night
March 3. Warmer. Washed & mopped kitchen & bath. Ang got home at 1:00 A.M. Had late dinner. Bath & to bed. Ang dead tired.
Form 5. March 3. Training flight as bombardier, B25-H, 2:15h
March 4. Downtown early to bank. Did some shopping. Ang home in P.M. Had dinner & out to Base. Saw show. Bed late.
March 5. Boys off all day - played golf and then a late dinner. Sat in sun for awhile - beauty of a day. Read in evening. Bed - 10:30
March 6. Rainy all day. To bank in morning. Read in afternoon. To Base for dinner & to movie. Home and bed early. Very dreary day.
March 7. Did some sewing and other odd jobs. Ang home for dinner. Wrote some letters and to bed early.
Form 5. March 7. Training flight as bombardier, B25-G, 4:00h
March 8. Finished sweater and sewed on green dress in afternoon. Ang not home for dinner - about midnite. very tired.
Form 5. March 8. Training flight as navigator, B25-G, 4:00h, night
March 9. Ang didn’t have to go out to Base until noon. Read all afternoon, cleaned up & to Base for dinner & show. Home & bed by 11:00
Form 5. March 9. Training flight as navigator, B25-G, 3:30h
March 10. Up early. Straightened up house. Wrote letters all day. Ang not home for dinner. Wrote some more letters in evening.
Form 5. March 10. Training flight as navigator, B25-D, 3:45h
Form 5. March 10. Training flight as 3:30 navigator, B25-H, 3:30
March 11. Ang on RON [Remain OverNight] to Boston. Rainy all day. Spent afternoon with Mrs. Bylund. Read and wrote letters in evening. Bed 11:30
Form 5. March 11. Training flight as navigator, B25-H, 4:25h
March 12. To late Mass and then to Bylunds for afternoon. To Base for dinner & show. Cloudy but cleared up. Bed about 10:30
March 13. Washed and scrubbed. Took nap in PM - had headache. Surely do miss Ang. Early dinner & to show. Read & bed by 11:00
Form 5. March 13. Training flight as navigator, B25-H, 4:30h, night
March 14. Ang home early - 3:00 A.M. He got home around noon again. Ironed & some sewing. Mrs Goldsworthy in P.M. Bed about nine - dead tired
March 15. Ang went out late today. Downtown to bank and shopped. Had hair done - ate dinner out. Wrote letters. Bed early
Form 5. March 15. Training flight as navigator, B25-G, 2:30h
March 17. Up early again today. Cleaned house thoroughly. Bylunds here for dinner & evening. Drove them to town. Wore green dress. Late.
Form 5. March 17. Training flight as navigator, B25-G, 1:35h
March 18. Up late and did nothing all day but write letters. Had dinner in. Ang home late & joined kids at Chatterbox. What a time. Late.
Form 5. March 18. Training flight as navigator, B25-G, 3:45h
Form 5. March 18. Training flight as navigator, B25-G, :45h
March 19. To late Mass - rained all day. Ugh. Everyone napped all day. Had dinner out & then to Ramsh....[?] for evening. Bed late.
March 20. Coolish today. Downtown early & bought few things. To Club for dinner & movie. Ann & Bill here for night. Ang late.
Form 5. March 20. Training flight as navigator, B25-G, :55h
Form 5. March 20. Training flight as navigator, B25-G, 3:40h, night
March 21. Ann & Bill left early for Fla. Downtown & to movie. Ang home for late dinner. Bathed and bed about 10:30 Cold still.
Form 5. March 21. Training flight as navigator, B25-G, 3:05h
March 22. Dark all day. Washed a few things. To Mrs. Goldsworthy in P.M. To Base for dinner & show. Rained all evening. Bed early.
Form 5. March 22. Training flight as navigator, B25-H, 1:55h
Form 5. March 22. Training flight as navigator, B25-H, 1:35h
Form 5. March 22. Training flight, B25-H, :40h coded “W"
March 23. Downtown early and then read all P.M. Ang home about 8:00 and dinner alone. Killibrews crew had accident!
March 24. Washed and thought it was going to rain. Turned quite warm. Mr A called. Ang home about eleven. To bed then.
Form 5. March 24. Training flight as navigator, B25-G, 2:00h, night
March 25. [?unable to read] half way today. downtown & shopped. Worked on Ang’s clothes. Dinner, show & dance at Base. Very late to bed. Dead tired.
March 26. Sick. To late Mass and home & rested - feel a cold coming on. Ang on RON to Memphis. Hills for late dinner. Bed about 11:30
March 27. Sewed on black dress all day. Downtown & shopped. No news from Ang -- storms between here & Memphis. Bed late
March 28. Ang alerted for 3rd & he’s still in Memphis. Surely do feel low. Just loafed all day. To show in evening. Wrote letters. bed late.
March 29. Rainy & cloudy all day. Still no word from or of Ang. Tried to call him but no luck. At Base all P.M. & home in evening. Late.
March 30. Still no word from Ang - weather cleared up. Stayed in all day. R…[?] in for evening. Bed quite late.
March 31. Clear day. Ang got home about four P.M. Sure glad to see him. Now the rush starts. Bed early - did a few odd jobs.
[Form 5 for April shows a March 31 flight as navigator, B25-H, 3:00h.]
Ang & Betty’s established routine continued through February 1944 with more movies, dances, dinners at the Club, and quite a bit of rain. In between their social activities, Betty stayed busy with household chores and her sewing. Ang only has 4 flights recorded, but it seems he managed to get to Chicago for one more family visit. I haven’t found any leave orders but Betty mentions it in her diary, so perhaps he hitched a ride on a flight, or else his flight on the 13th took him that far. It appears they returned on the 15th. She mentions a cousin from Ft. Jackson visiting, but I have no idea who it was.
Tuesday, February 1. Ang not home for dinner -- cousin from Ft. Jackson came in for while. Bed quite late.
February 2. To post for dinner and show - getting low on points. Home and bed early.
February 3. Downtown when Ang went. Shopped and paid some bills. Fellows picked us up. Home alone. Bed about ten.
February 4. Washed today and scrubbed bath. Cleaned up and downtown. Bot material & shoes. Ang home later.
February 5. No dance at Club so to Chatterbox and then to some joint. Had a good time though. Bed by 3:00
Form 5: Feb 5. Training flight as bombardier, B25-G, 1:45h
February 6. Ooh what a morning. Out to Base right after church. To matinee and then dinner. Home early & dead.
February 7. Saw “For Whom the Bell Tolls” - very good. Rainy today. Bed late again.
February 8. [no entry]
February 9. Rainy all day. Up early and to dentists. Home by noon. Cleaned up & to base for movie. Sure got messed up.
February 10. Chilly today. Ang home early. Cleaned up trunk and odd jobs. Did some sewing. To library in evening. Bed late.
February 11. Rained all day- had hair done early. Boys home for late dinner. Wrote letters all evening. Bed rather early.
February 12. Washed and scrubbed floors. Cleaned up and to town to show and supper. Bot Ang some shoes. Read in evening and bed early.
February 13. To early Mass - home & bed again. To base for matinee and dinner. Ang & Kem on R.O.N. [Remain OverNight] To town & another show. Bed pretty late. Tired.
Form 5: Feb 13. Training flight as bombardier, B25-G, 3:05h
February 14. Rained cats and dogs all day. Downtown late for dinner and then to a movie. Ang in Chicago. Bed about twelve.
February 15. Warmer today and no rain. To bank and then home. Kem home so to Club for dinner. Ang came in later. To movies. Bed about 10:30
Form 5: Feb 15. Training flight as bombardier, B25-G, 4:20h
February 16. Ang home about 10:30. We both slept all P.M. My throat sore. He was [on] alert so early dinner. Ironed and bathed. Bed early.
February 17. Still feel a little punk. Laid around all day. To late show at Base. Of course bed late.
February 18. Cleaned house today. Cleaned up and downtown for awhile. Ang called - is at camp all night. Bed late.
February 19. Ang home early with a sore arm. Read all day - rainy again. Dinner alone. Read some more. Bed about 10:30
February 20. To 7:00 Mass - home and bed again. Read all afternoon - to Club for dinner & movie. Home and read awhile. Bed about 11:00.
February 21. Ang’s late day. Down with him & got license for Ann [?] Shopped and home for dinner. Sewed a little & read in evening.
February 22. Had hair done early this morning. Dark & dreary. Ang home but out to base. Alert. Read and sewed. Bed about 12:00
February 23. Nice day - very warm. Out in P.M. to Base to see parade. Very nice. Dinner & then to early movie. Home & bed early.
February 24. Ang home very early this morning. Cloudy and rainy. Shopped. Had phone call from John. Bed about ten.
February 25. Washed this morning. Ang home all day. Did some odd jobs. Cleaned up & out to dinner. To dance at Club. Swell time.
February 26. Sick. Boys off all day. Played golf in A.M. Ironed all P.M. Cleaned up and to store. Picnic supper. Read awhile & to bed early.
February 27. To early Mass - got up about noon. Had the car - to club for dinner & movie. Very warm. Home and right to bed.
Form 5: Feb 27. Training flight as bombardier, B25-G, :50h
February 28. Up about ten. Cleaned and re-arranged bedroom. Downtown shopping. Had bath in evening. Bed about 10:30. Tired.
February 29. Sewed all day on green crepe dress. Read awhile too. Did a little ironing. Wrote some letters in evening. Bed early.
In January of 1944, Ang and Betty had been in South Carolina for five months and had settled in to Army life. Ang was still taking classes and accumulating hours in training flights in B-25 Medium Bombers. He logged 40+ hours in the air, including 3 long flights of 7 or eight hours. Betty spent her time cooking, sewing, reading, cleaning, ironing, waiting for Ang to come home from flights or from the base, and worrying. She mentions going to the club for movies, dancing, and shows. I assume that they did those things together for the most part.
There wasn’t anything particularly interesting about January 1944. Ang and Betty lived a routine Army life. Well, except they did not live "on base" as the on base housing was very limited.
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.