Ang's time on Corsica is winding down and he's pretty bored and restless. He writes three letters and describes a few activities. He talks about going out to wave off "the boys" as they take off on missions; says he's now a member of the Lucky Bastards Club; and tells the story of his meeting with the group doctor. This is one of his stories we group up hearing as a bedtime story or around the dinner table. He says he receives his remaining clusters during a visit from General Eakers. I assume this was the 7th cluster and not the 8th, as I discussed in the March 16th "FINITO" post. In his files, I found a March 29th transfer order, "Transfer from 340th Bomb. Group to 7th Replacement Depot for transshipment to US by surface vessel." However, because it's the Army ("Hurry Up and Wait.") he doesn't finally leave for the States until the end of April. He's not the only one waiting to leave Corsica. The 340th Bomb Group was moving to Italy and Ang helps with that move in April.
Betty's time in Los Angeles is also winding down. She spends most of her time visiting friends and sewing an outfit for the Membership Tea on the 25th. I enjoy reading about her sewing because it reminds me about all the clothes she sewed for me. As usual, she works, shops, attends meetings, visits friends and gets to a couple movies. She closes the bank account on the 30th.
Wednesday, March 21. Rainy all day—ugh. Didn’t work real hard. Out to B.J.’s for dinner and Bd meeting. Very late - sure tired.
[Letter. Postmark 3-22]
Doggone—this just sitting around is sure getting me down—I’m as restless as can be. I kind of feel left out of things—and yet I have no desire to get back into them.
I watch the boys take off on a mission—and I get a funny feeling that I should be with them—even that I want to be with them—and yet if someone offered me a lot of money to go on one more, I know I wouldn’t do it. It sure is funny the ideas I get once in awhile—isn’t it?
Ah well, I’ll snap out of it when I see that good old shoreline of the U.S.A. It’s just that I feel so useless around here—have nothing to do except swing an occasional compass—and watch the boys take off and land. Now I know how a crew chief feels when he’s sweating his plane out.
I’ve joined the Lucky Bastards Club—its an organization of men who have finished their missions and are still in one piece. I’ll show you my certificate when I get home—its rather clever.
I sure take a beating around here since I finished—“Hey you non-combatant”—“Whats the matter, Adams, no guts” etc.
On the other hand I always go out to the ship before take-off and needle the boys a bit—“So long, boys, don’t spin in.”—“Don’t worry, those Jerry gunners aren’t so hot, they might miss you” etc.
No, darling, its not outright cruelty—it’s the accepted thing around here—most of the boys even consider it good luck. I always got a small dab of it before every mission—and kinda felt a little nervous if no one needled me at all.
By the way, I haven’t heard from you about Tommy, so I guess my letter was the first news you had of it. I’m glad, because it would have been a shock if his mother broke the news to you suddenly.
I love you darling—and I’m rushing as much as I can—Love, Ang
Keith Donovan, son of A.J. Donovan provided this to me via Facebook after I posted the Valor Certificate on Facebook (see below), asking if anyone knew anything about the Lucky Bastards Club.
His note: Here's the 340th Bomb Group's Lucky Bastards Club Certificate from my father's wartime album. The notes on the Certificate are my father's, and he says that he and John Styga (his tail gunner who went on to be a successful commercial artist) put this together with Bill [?]. The dark blob you see on the right is red sealing wax with strands of chaff used to embellish it. The calligraphy is beautifully done, but somewhat hard to read, so I'll attempt to transcribe it here:
We, of the benevolent order of "snafu's" do hereby admit into our brotherhood one T/Sgt. A. J. Donovan who on this 28th day of April Anno Domini 45 has achieved to eminence, by reason of having sallied forth no less than 67 times, and also by God's grace having returned in safety to his base, from each and every sally, at which time beaucoup tons of bombs, balls of fire, mines, petards, and other grievous burdens were rolled out onto Hitler and his evil companions causing them great discomfort. Be it said that Donovan (Bunky) was often a close companion of vino, capcorse and cognac, which helped ward off the beaucoup pitfalls of snares set before him by the foe, yet he did on each and every occasion, return unto his company with unsoiled linen crying forth to his companions, "Where's the Doc." To which the Doc oft replied :C'est la guerre.
March 22. Rainy all day. Shopped at noon and after work again. Worked hard. Sewed in evening on blouse for Sunday. Late.
March 23. Stayed home today and worked on blouse and hat. Picked up suit jacket and sewed all evening. Hope it looks OK.
[Letter. Postmark 3-26]
Here I go on this German typewriter again—I hope you don’t mind—I just like to practice once in awhile.
I had a rather busy day today; First of all I had to go to see the group doc. – he has the final say on our finishing up. I think I worked it just right—even better than if I had planned it. First of all he handed me a cigarette. I lit it, took two puffs and the damn thing went out. I lit it again, took two more puffs and the damn thing went out again. I gave him a sickly grin and tried to crush it in the ash tray. Not looking at what I was doing, I neatly missed the ash tray and used his desk.
By that time, he was convinced that I had it bad—and he didn’t give me any trouble at all. He just shook my hand and wished me good luck—and probably figured that I’d need it to stay out of the nut house. Boy, I sure can do the craziest things sometimes.
At any rate I’m clear with the group and my orders have gone to Wing now—and that means I should have my traveling orders about the time you get this—so you had better put your little hind end into gear and start heading for Chicago—pronto!
By the way, this is the last letter I’ll send to you in L.A.—from now on I’ll send them to Chicago. There is no sense in sending them there if you have already left. By the way, don’t get excited—I know that I wont get to Chicago before the middle of the month—probably a week or two after it.
This afternoon I had to get the remainder of my clusters presented to me. The big boss, Gen. Eakers himself, presented them. He was very informal—gave us a little pep talk afterwards. He said that the reason he hasn’t visited us very often is because he usually visits only the outfits that are in trouble and need help or a good chewing out from him, and so far our outfit has needed neither ---hubba---hubba!
He said that everybody from the President on down knows about our wonderfull bombing record, and appreciate it—hubba—hubba!
He also said that he had a deep interest in every one of us as individuals—and any time we wanted help or wanted something changed we should write to him personally—a fine time to tell me—ha! All kidding aside though, he does appear to be very nice.
I got a letter from George [Henthorn] today—plenty of poop. He said he knew two fellows from Chicago who had arranged to go to Santa Monica after their leave—so I think You and I can plan to spend two weeks out there. He sounds like he has been having a wonderful time out there. He is stationed at Douglass, Arizona now as an instructor. I guess that’s not too far from Las Vegas.
I guess I’ll sign off now darling and write to George and Bud.
I love you very much sweets—Love-Ang
[From the 340th diary: "Lt. General Ira C. Eaker, commanding the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces, visited the field yesterday in company with Major General Cannon, TAF commander, and General Knapp of the 57th Wing. When Colonel Chapman gets back to the base he will be very much chagrined; for at least the last six months he has been trying to get General Eaker to visit Alesan. The MAAF commander decorated several of our men during his two-hour visit."]
Certificate for Valor. This undated certificate was in Ang's files. In my research, I found that some people describe this as the "Lucky Bastards Club" certificate, but I wouldn't describe it as "clever" as Ang does of the Lucky Bastard Certificate. Maybe this Valor Certificate was presented at the ceremony on the 23rd? Transcription is below.
[Transcription of above Valor certificate.]
ARMY AIR FORCES
MEDITERRANEAN THEATRE OF OPERATIONS
It is with great personal pride that I present this certificate to 1st Lt angelo Adams, A.C. 0741438 Navigator
who, having been engaged in 66 combat missions in the Mediterranean theatre in air battles of great intensity, has gallantly and repeatedly carried the offensive again heavy opposition to the heart of the enemy and has, by his unfaltering courage, earned the gratitude and praise of his fellow-countrymen, as well as his Commander.
John K Cannon
Lieutenant General U.S. Army
March 24. Downtown with Margaret. Finished up suit and blouse. Dead tired. To bed late. The suit sure looks good.
March 25. (Ang’s Name Day) To early Mass. Dashed home and changed clothes. Had a lovely Membership Tea and my suit and hat went over big! Bed 11:00.
Form 5. Mar 25, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 2:20h
[A "practice mission," I guess. I don't know why, but a 2:20h flight seems long for a practice mission for someone who was supposed to be finished. The 486th diary says there was rain on the 25th & 26th and missions cancelled. But I guess the rain did not cancel everything?]
March 26. Had a new girl in today. Sure hope she works out alright. Ang has quit and is on his way. Happy day! Bed 11:30.
March 27. [no entry]
March 28. Met B.J. and Ruth for lunch. Worked all day. Had dinner out and then to “Harriett.” Very good. Bed late.
[Typed letter—addressed to 1911 N. Francisco St., Chicago, 47, Ill. U.S.A. Postmark 3-30]
Haven’t written for a couple of days—that was supposed to take up the time of the train trip to Chicago. By the time this gets to Chicago—you should be on your way to there—at least I hope you will be.
I got your letter of the 14th, and I must say you sound gay. That’s the way I like my little honey to be. Don’t mind me if I sound a little mushy in this letter—its your fault. Your mentioning the old school, and the time you were up there, put me in a drooling mood. Do I remember what went on—ha! Do you remember what went on out side the Commerce building one night? Do I remember—oh me honey, why do you bring up things like that. Its hard enough sweating out the next couple of weeks—and I have enough thoughts of my own without you bringing up things like that. You know I don’t mean that darling—you know I just eat it up—but I must admit it did certain things to me.
Your letter of the 16th didn’t sound so gay—I would say you were in a lousy mood. The club seemed to have gotten you down—I hope you were on good terms with them when you left L.A. You sure sounded like a typical club-woman.
Abel’s wife wrote since she met you—I mean Abel has gotten her letter since she has met you. She seemed quite excited about the meeting—raving on and on—about you—about the poop you gave her—the pictures you showed her—etc.
This letter has been interrupted for one day—and I’ve received your letter of the 18th.—the one dealing with Pat Abel. I didn’t figure you would be too impressed by her—so I wasn’t too surprised at your letter. As I told you, he is very young, about twenty, and I didn’t imagine that she was any older than that. (I sure am having a hell of a time—I always forget to double space.) He’s all right, except that he does get on my nerves occasionally with his kidish ways. His idea of heaven is when he can get someone to let him drive a jeep—that ought to give you an idea of his mental process.
He’s kind of ruined things for himself around here with his attitude. I put in a good word for him with the wheels every time I could—and he did get a good start—he’s a First already—and he has been training to be a flight leader. However, he has a funny attitude, and he’s getting the Major a little “p.o” at him. Oh well that’s his problem—I certainly am not going to worry about him.
By the way, it may take me a little longer to get home than I had figured on—nothing serious (maybe a week or so)—just another one of those things that I will have to explain when I get home. At any rate I think I can set my homecoming between the 20th of April, and the 10th of May. I’m pretty certain it will be between those dates—it should be.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
March 29. Shopped in AM. Worked in PM. Sewed in evening and planned for Tuesday. Bed pretty late.
March 30. Downtown late and closed acct in bank. Met Pat Able for lunch and a movie. Real nice time. Home alone all evening.
March 31. Worked until 1:30 Hot again today. Mr. S—out to dinner early. Met Martha and to movie in Hollywood. Bed 1:30.
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.