There's not much to say here other than Ang flew his last mission on March 16, 1945, the day before his 24th birthday. A year earlier, on March 16, 1944 he was "Somewhere in South America" on his way to North Africa.
After the doc handed Ang a bottle of V.O. and told him "Finito la guerre", Ang started the wait to return home. He manages to write a few letters telling Betty he is finished and talking about plans for his return. Then in one last Catch-22, he gets wrapped in the month-long possibility of a captaincy, the 340th Bomb Group move from Corsica to Italy, and typical Army "Hurry Up and Wait" rigamarole.
Betty is still working in Los Angeles. She receives Ang's letter about Tom Cahill and she calls Tom's mother, but there's no indication she visits Mrs. Cahill again.
Friday, March 16. Rainy again today. Feel alright now. Dashed home and changed clothes and to Scullys for dinner. What a mess! Late.
THE LAST MISSION
Form 5. Mar 16, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 4:30h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #66]
#66. Mar. 16.
First time in Austria.
[Link to mission report about this mission, which was the first into Austria for the bomb group. From the mission report: "Today was a gala occasion with the squadron flying it's first mission to Austria and it's first mission with special equipment (SHORAN). Both missions were highly successful. In Austria the bridge attacked was definitely hit, and the SHORAN blew the hell out of an ammo dump at Spillembergo. Smoke went up to 12,000 Feet. All in all a very satisfactory day." http://57thbombwing.com/340th_History/487th_History/missions/031645_Brixlegg.htm]
[Transcription from scrapbook page above.]
No flak. All boxes hit.
First time in Austria---and about the longest mission yet.
At very beginning I got fouled up and almost led group over La Spezia Harbor. Thank God the clouds opened up just in time. I almost passed out when I saw the damn harbor right in front of me.
The rest of the mission went off well---no trouble finding the bridge. Very good results.
Chattie called me over right after the mission. He handed me a bottle of V.O. and said "Finito Le Guerre".
I guess he thought I'd had it. He sure was right.
[Letter. Obviously misdated. Postmark 3/17]
Start packing your bags and head for Chicago—your hubby is aheading that way right now—anyway in two-three weeks.
If this letter sounds a little screwy—don’t mind because I’m half drunk—and on only three drinks. When I got out of the plane (my mind made up) I went to see the flight surgeon—and he said O.K. He handed me a bottle of “V.O.” and I took three quick ones. Of course my stomache was empty—and now my head is going in circles.
It sure does feel good to be finished—in fact it feels wonderful—just think—no more flak. All I have to worry about now is the twelve oclock curfew in the states.
I know I promised not to drink too much anymore—but this is a red letter day in our lives. I’ll get drunk enough for both of us—and then some.
Please excuse this letter—but I had to let you know right away—I’ll give all the details tomorrow. Just pack and get to Chicago as soon as possible—within five weeks at the least.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
March 17 [Ang’s birthday] Had permanent in A.M. Mail from Ang! Met Mrs. Abel in evening—to radio show and Earl Carrall’s [Carroll’s?] home late.
[Letter. Postmark 3-18]
Happy birthday to me—and it sure is. All the details of my leaving are developing very nicely—and I might get off even sooner than I thought.
If everything clicked just right—its possible I might be in Chicago 25 to 30 days from this date—however it will probably be closer to about a month and a half. At any rate, you ought to have plenty of time to get there if you make the earliest possible connections.
Just one thing I want to get straight—I don’t want you to take a cattle car home—even if you have to wait a couple of extra days to get a Pullman. Believe me hon, you’ll have plenty of time—so don’t just rush straight out and grab the first thing that’s open. At the very minimum you have thirty days—so if you are home by the middle of next month you’ll be there in plenty of time. I’m sorry that its not possible to cable you—but these letters should give you plenty of warning.
It certainly does feel good to be finished—it takes a weight off the chest. I don’t mind admitting that I’ve been sweating these last ones out—especially since Tom went down—that made it kind of close to home. Oh well, as I’ve said before—Damn the war and all it stands for.
That may sound like I’m a little morbid—but I’m really not. On the contrary, I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time. I didn’t get as drunk last night as I thought I was going to—just feeling good—and I mean good. After all it was the eve of my birthday and also the day I quit. Come to think of it—it was a very nice birthday present—wasn’t it?
I’ve got another cluster to the air medal coming—but I’m going to tell them not to put me in for it. I’d probably get all tangled up like Arnie did and be around here for a couple of months. Seven clusters are enough anyway.
I’m going to write the folks as soon as I finish this and lay down the law—in a nice way of course. I want to get it all straightened out—so there won’t be any argument when I get there—amen! Again I say don’t do too much to the house—because I’ll be darned if I’m going to spend very much time in that attic. That isn’t much of a place for a second honeymoon—not to my state of mind.
You know what would be pretty nice—if we could rent a nice, small furnished apartment for about a month—especially if it was somewhere near the folks house. Ah well, we’ll see when I get there. Its either that or some hotel—probably the Chicagoan.
I think I’ll pack some of the things I wont need for awhile and mail them home—[?] etc. Then I won’t have so much to carry with me. Talking about clothes—I sure am going to have to buy quite a few when I get home. Most of mine are in pretty bad shape.
This is probably a heck of a letter, but all I can think of is home and you. I just walk around in a daze with a silly grin on my face. Ah well, such is love.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
March 18. To late Mass—lovely day. Wrote letters all day. Had a late dinner and listened to radio. Very lonesome day—sigh. To bed 11:00
March 19. Marian in late—so did not work very hard all day. Shopped at noon and later too. Bad news from Ang—T Cahill MIA—feel awful. Bed 11:00
Form 5. Mar 19, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 1:00h
[I assume this was a practice/training flight. I have no indication as to why he flew this and one more on the 25th. Perhaps helping out on regular training flights for others?]
[Letter. Postmark 3-21]
Sorry I didn’t write yesterday—but I just can’t think of a single thing to put down on paper. All I can think of is that I’m coming home and to you—which is plenty to think about——but doesn’t fill up much space on paper.
One of the favorite sayings around here is that while one is flying missions his life belongs to the govt. and there is no sense thinking about it—but once the Doc says finito—then its his own and he’d better start planning on what to do with it. There is plenty of truth in that. While I was still flying, although I naturally thought of coming home a lot and what we’d do, it was rather abstract—somewhat like our plans of the future when we were in high school. But as soon as I knew I was finished—it was just like getting the wire from you telling me you were on the way to L.A. to marry me.
If you get what I mean—one minute its all plans—and the next minute it slaps you in the face and is asking you what you are going to do about it.
Don’t mind me if I sound a little excited—because I certainly am. Even though it will only be a short time before I leave here—it just doesn’t seem like I’m going to be able to stand it even for that long. I walk around all day with a blank look on my face—with nothing to do——and my thoughts thousands of miles to the east.
I already have most of my stuff packed. For once in my life I’ve done a good job of packing—unfortunately—and I can’t even kill time by unpacking and packing it again.
Its not as bad as all that—but I must admit time is sure dragging along while I’m waiting for my orders.
I guess I best get down to more practical matters—although I can’t think of too many at the present time. First of all, I did write to the folks and lay down the law—I don’t think we’ll have too much trouble with them. I even hinted that we’d do some of our living at a hotel—just so they’d have some warning.
Darling, what would you like to do—or where would you like to go on a “second” honeymoon. Start giving it some thought. Its just a little idea of mine—nothing definite. I’ve had about all I can stand of “scenery”, “quaintness” and “quietude” over here—so I don’t think any of the regular spots such as Niagra Falls would do. Perhaps it be best if we just stayed in little old Chicago—but took off for a couple of days all by ourselves—not even call or see any friends or relatives.
We could rent a suite at one of the hotels—I could sure enjoy breakfast in bed—and bellhops who understand English. Then maybe we could rent a car so we could run around –take in shows—nightclubs—anything the curfew has left open. The more I think of the idea—the more I like it. Just act like newlyweds who have come to Chicago for a honeymoon—and don’t know a single person. Yippee!
I love you darling—Love, Ang
March 20. Called Mrs. Cahill today. Poor lady. A beautiful day. Wrote letters in evening. Bath and bed early.
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.