I have no idea where this picture was taken, but I’m using it here because — well, it’s just so perfect with his stories about driving a jeep on trips to Ile Rousse and Bastia. I wish I knew how much of his story in his March 9th letter was true. When I shared it with Betty, she said, “Don’t believe everything you read.” Anyway, the letter provides a great example of his storytelling and is one of my favorites.
In his letter, the story is that he went to help set up a squadron party on the other side of the island. He also tells stories in his scrapbook about trips to Ile Rousse and to Bastia. The 340th BG mentions a party at Ile Rousse in the March 1, 1945 entry so I wonder if that's the trip Ang is talking about. The postcards Ang sent are postmarked 3/16/45 so it's hard to tell if the trip he talks about was the same party or on the 7th as he indicates. In any case, it's great storytelling and it's funny, but it's also uncomfortable to read his descriptions of locals, especially women. (The scrapbook pages are at the end of this post.)
Ang flies his 65th mission on March 13th and flies two practice missions on the 14th and 15th.
Betty continues as usual with work and meetings and she does their income tax return. Her tonsils continue to cause problems. Her boss is trying to find a replacement for her.
Friday, March 9. Worked hard again today. Sure am getting disgusted with place. Club meeting—so tired I didn’t take much part. Late.
[Letter. Postmark 3-12]
Well, I’ve been cossacking again—not very far—just to the other side of the island. They have a very nice hotel over there—and I went over to arrange a party for the squadron—which took place the night before last. It turned out to be a very nice party—not enough women as per usual (2 Red Cross gals and about 10 locals) but the music was good and the liquor and food wonderful. As you might guess, it was a very drunken squadron.
However, it was the next day (yesterday) that really took the cake. Most of the boys left early and flew back. Four of us (the major, the squadron Doc., another character named Manns and myself) were going to stick around and drive home later. We went into the bar—locked the door—and several hours, dozens of dirty jokes and filthy songs later, we emerged on an unsuspecting island of Corsica—stewed stiff. Chatty (the doc.) decided he absolutely had to have a woman—so he took the jeep and went searching—so we went back to the bar. About an hour later he returned with a “woman” and somebody’s great grandfather. He must have been a great grandfather—because he was her father and and she was easily a grandmother—easily!
After quite a bit of arguing—it was decided that I was the most sober—so I became the driver. About two miles out I hit a beautiful curve at 55 and the old geezer decide he wanted to walk—so we let him walk. After we got started again the major insisted we go faster and I was just drunk enough to do it so---! Well, I hit a curve at sixty—twisted the wheel—the damn thing wouldn’t twist enough—so we went into the ditch. It was a very deep ditch—only about four feet deep and full of rocks. anyway, I managed to keep the jeep in the middle of the ditch until I slowed up and then pulled out. A survey showed only one skinned nose and a few bruises. The old bag jumped out, pulled up her dress and proceeded to show us her bruises. God—now I know why I remain faithful. Imagine pulling up a dress and seeing something like that pop to view—ugh!
At any rate she insisted that she wouldn’t ride with us anymore—so we bade her goodbye and watched her limp down the road. Then the argument started again—who was to drive? Again I was voted the most sober—and believe me, I have never been more sober in my whole life. That ditch made a Christian out of me—but good.
We finally got loaded and started up the mountain road. Man, I wouldn’t go thru that trip again for a million dollars. The damn road winds around and around the mountains –and there is nothing at all on one side except a very big drop.
We had to stop at practically every house for a drink for the other three (I told you I’d become a Christian)—and they were really getting drunk and playful. It was getting dark, and I tried to turn on the lights—but they wouldn’t work. There we were—no lights and still a long way to go.
Manns said he’d fix it—and caused a short and almost burned the jeep up. Finally, after pulling most of the wires apart he got the lights working—so we all piled in again. However, he’d screwed something up because the ignition wouldn’t work. The major got mad at the jeep and decided to roll it over the cliff. By the time we talked him out of that notion—Manns had pulled more wires out and somehow or other got the infernal machine started—so off we went. I think that was the craziest ride I’ve ever had. There were several shorts—and so there were sparks flying all over the jeep. About half way up ever steep slope the engine would stop—and Manns would have to fiddle with the wiring again. Up and up we went—and in no time at all we were driving thru the clouds—and I mean just that. I could see easily ten feet ahead of me—easily! Finally we got to the top and started down and after about a half an hour we were out of the clouds.
After that it was, comparatively, an unexciting ride down to the coast. Of course the boys were a little playful and insisted that we chase a cow down the road—orders are orders—so we did! And at one of our frequent “stops” we were almost murdered by a bunch of Frenchmen when the major tried to steal their dog. However, as I’ve said, it was unexciting—comparatively!
When we got to the town on the coast, Chatty started insisting that he wanted a woman—so I had to drive him to one of his “friends” house. He went up and came down with two bags. One was old—and disgusting—the other was young—and disgusting!
We finally got them packed in drove up to camp and up to the majors shack. By that time I was so cold, nervous and disgusted that I just grabbed the whiskey—had two quick ones—filled up a small water tumbler and staggered to my shack. I took off my clothes—climbed into my sack—drank the whiskey—relaxed and either passed out or else went to sleep remarkably quick.
The moral of this story is that it’s a heck of a lot safer in an airplane that in a jeep—at least its less nerve racking. The boys that flew took 19 minutes—it took me nine hours.
That, my darling, are my adventures of yesterday—and thank God something like that happens only once in a blue moon. I couldn’t take that twice in one life-time—God!
I rarely make a promise—that is the last time I leave this camp until I come home—and until I come home I will not have more than three drinks in one day. Believe me, that ditch made a Christian out of me—I think I’ll even go to church this Sunday.
The missions are child’s play compared that ride. As Bud said, with my luck I’m a cinch to die in bed—and that sure proved it.
Please don’t worry about me sweetheart—I promise to be good from here on in.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
March 10. Didn’t get up till late. Cleaned up and met Mom and Marian for lunch and “Life with Father”. Worked on Club books in evening.
[Letter. Postmark 3-12]
Now that I’ve given you all the details of my hair-raising ride—I can start commenting on some of your letters—and it seems I have quite a few to catch up on.
First of all, I’m mighty glad that you’ve finally seen the doctor—and that everything seems to be O.K. I hope I didn’t give you the wrong idea—because I still don’t think we should have any children until after the war. The only reason I really wanted to to be examined is that its been on my mind for quite some time—and besides its really about time we had some medical advice. After all, we have been married for some time now.
I’m well pleased with your report on what he said—all except the weight question. I don’t care what he says—102 lbs is dangerously low. However you’ve already stated that you planned to quit your job—and that’s the only advice I could give you. Just quit—and then take things easy until I get home—because I can promise you that you won’t gain any weight after I get there.
I really am glad that Frankie got out to see you. I got his letter today and he seemed to have enjoyed himself an awful lot. I hope he doesn’t get into too much hot water over it—he certainly deserves a few extra days.
Its too bad that Joe and Peg were separated—but I guess it was the smartest thing she could have done. I don’t think you are hard-hearted—I can see what you mean when I read her letters. By the way, I sent the check to the Silver Springs address they gave me—you’d better tell her so she can write them. Finally my procrastination policies have paid off. I had the Teddy Bear for Donny all wrapped and addressed to Silver Springs, Md—but I never sent it. Now I can readdress it to Chicago. Aren’t you proud of me—I’ll be you are!
I’m so darn glad that Henthorn finally got to see you—I think I’d have gone hunting for him if he hadn’t. So you finally got some poop on me—I can just see you eating it all up—I’ll bet you drained poor George dry. He really is a swell kid, isn’t he? We really did make a good team—at least we had a lot of fun together—even on the missions. He certainly is a good pilot—and he sure could wheel and deal that plane around the sky.
By the way—you never did say whether or not you approved my staying over a couple extra months for a Captaincy. From the tone of your letter in answer, however, you seemed rather cold to the idea. I’m still not sure, but I think I’m going to give it up. It kind of looks like I’m going to have to screw around a little longer than I expected to get it—and a Captaincy doesn’t mean that much to me. I’ll be sure in a couple more days, and then I’ll let you know for sure—and you can make some definite plans.
I wish in your next letter you’d let me know how our bank account stands—just so I can have some idea of what to plan for when I hit the states.
I think that idea of fixing up the upstairs rooms is a darn good idea. However don’t spend too much money on it (or don’t let the folks) because I plan on renting a suite downtown. That way we can spend a lot of time on our own—and yet when we are out at the house we can stay there some of the time.
Just so you can have some idea about my plans—here they are. The first day we’ll spend a couple of hours with the folks—then head for a hotel room and hibernate. The second day we’ll go to your grandmothers late in the afternoon, and after visiting for a while, take them over to my house for a party—and any and all relatives that want to see me will have to be there—because that is absolutely the last party of that type that I plan to attend—amen! After that we’ll take things as they come—visiting some, but spending a lot of time all by ourselves—and that I mean in spite of all the relatives in the world.
I’ll write all that to the folks—and let them know just exactly what my plans are—and in my cute little way let them know I am quite determined.
That’s about all I can think of tonight darling—I mean about coming home and being alone with you—woof-woof!
I love you honey—Love, Ang
P.S. Please don’t let yesterday’s letter upset you—I’m sorry I sent it. I really do plan on being a very good boy until I get home—I didn’t even go to the group party last night.
March 11. To late Mass—real nice brisk day. Did some telephoning and Income Tax in P.M. Home alone and wrote letters in evening. Bed 11:30.
March 12. Didn’t work very hard today. Mr. L. going nuts trying to find a girl—ha! Wally R. on way home! Bath and bed by 11:00
March 13. Feel terrible—got off early and to doctor’s. To bed with medicine and felt a bit better. These darn tonsils!
Form 5. Mar 13, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 4:45h
[FROM ANG'S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION #65.]
Perca R/R Br.
1st. Lt. Harbaugh R.M.
1st Lt. Allen D.
[Link to mission report where it's reported, "Missions on both yesterday's and today's targets got by with practically no opposition from the enemy, but were somewhat bothered by clouds. Nevertheless, the TNT was neatly placed where it would do the most damage." http://57thbombwing.com/340th_History/487th_History/missions/031345_Perca.htm]
From Ang's scrapbook. Mission #65 Perca RR Bridge: "Milk run---and do I love it. Can't understand why there was no flak---but who am I to kick. However, I guess the Col will be "PO-ed" at us---no flak and everybody missed the bridge. Just one of those things. I showed the bridge to Allen---he aimed but missed. I guess the other bombardier didn’t see it, because they hit way over into the town. I guess we lost a few more partisans."
March 14. Girl in today—but she didn’t want the job! Rain—to bed again when I got home. Feel much better now. Late.
Form 5. Mar 14, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 1:10h
March 15. Throat is much better—doesn’t hurt at all. Out to Glendale for dinner. Very nice club there. Bed late.
Form 5. Mar 15, ____ flight as navigator, B-25J, 1:25h
[Letter. Postmark 3-16]
I’ve neglected you for the last couple of days—sorry. I don’t know whats come over me lately—I guess its just laying around not doing anything.
Well darling, I’ve made up my mind at last—I think! What I mean is that I’m going to fly one more mission (a milk run) in one of the next few days—and if nothing comes up before then I’m going to quit and head for home.
It doesn’t look like that fellow is going to get his orders to go home for quite some time yet—and that leaves me out in the cold as far as that deal is concerned.
They (the wheels) are really very nice to me. What I mean is that they want to get me a Captaincy—the Executive Officer told me to stick around and they’d fix me up—but I don’t like the sound of that “stick around” business. I’d have to stick around until there was an opening—and then work at the job for a couple of months before I could get a Captaincy—and that would probably be six months or better. I guess I’m just not ambitious—because I don’t think I would stick around that long for a majority.
At any rate I’ll let you know for sure in two-three days—and I think the chances are I’ll be leaving for the states within a month.
By the way, perhaps the reason Bud hasn’t written is because he is preparing to come home. In his last letter he said he was planning on it happening soon—and we have even made a few plans where we might come home together. The chances are we wont—but there is a possibility. It sure would be nice—wouldn’t it? I can just see the three of tearing around Chicago—wow!
And now to discuss my roommate—Able. He is a great big brute (six-three or so) with the face of a baby. He is as affectionate and playful as a little bear—and his favorite way of greeting a person is to put his arms around him (the person) and playfully squeeze the breath out. I really do like him though—you can’t help liking him even if he does irritate me to death sometimes. I’ve done everything I can to help him—and I’m rather proud of him. He’s already checked out as a first pilot—and he’s starting to train to take over the lead someday. He was put in for his 1st yesterday. I think that gives you all the poop on him.
While I’m at it I might as well get my other roommate described—Capt. D.B. Pray. He’s the S-2 officer for the squadron—and he’s from Milwaukee, Wis. He’s a little older than I am (30), but his ideas are a lot younger. He has dozens of ideas for making a million dollars—and insists that I will be his partner. He is a good kid though, and a very hard worker—who knows, maybe we will team up after this war is over. He’s so full of ideas—a few of them are bound to be good. By the way he has a wife and one child.
So Tom has a mental disease—that certainly is too bad. However it can’t be anything too serious—at least I hope not.
I certainly got a kick out of Jen’s letter—she certainly is a screw ball. Remember what I told you—don’t do anything too elaborate on the house—we won’t be spending that much time there.
I love you darling—Love, Ang
[Transcribed from scrapbook page above.]
Went up with Moyer and Davis as advance party to arrange Squadron party. Had a better time before party than during it — oh those “B-25s.”
Mixture of B-25s
1 ounce Gin
1 ounce Brandy
1 ounce Red wine
1 ounce Soda.
a little ice — mix well — drink and pass out
3 drinks and Cooley took off his clothes and ran around the hotel playing hard to get. The single female of the hotel (Red Cross Gal) didn’t want him — so we threw him in a tub of cold water and then put him to bed.
Moyer had four drinks — automatically became a cave man. She didn’t like that either so I put him under the shower and then to bed.
I had five drinks — didn’t even know there was a Red Cross Girl — didn’t take a shower — just passed out in bed
Results of Crap Games:
Cooley won $70.00
I won $110.00
Moyer won $480.00
Squadron went home broke.
From Ang's scrapbook. "Ride Home from Ile Rousse." Left postcard is "Piana - Route des Calanches" which is actually south of Ile Rousse, but gives an idea of the roads. The photo on right is "Bastia - Vieille Rue". It is postmarked 3/16/45. He didn't write much except to say how hard it is to write postcards.
[Transcribed from scrapbook page above.]
RIDE HOME FROM ILE ROUSSE
Major Hack was drunk, Chattie was drunk & Chi-Chi was drunk — and I had to drive them home. Chattie had pig and her father along — he insisted that he take them home with him. Everybody else flew home — they were smart.
I hit one curve (see postcards) at 45 — and the Papa got nervous — so we let him walk. “Faster,” they cried — so faster I went. I hit a curve at 55 — slid into a ditch. Only damages were a scraped nose for Chi-Chi, a stiff neck for the major, and a bruised behind for the pig, which she insisted the Doc must examine. Goodness, don’t these people ever take a bath.
Then the argument started. She wanted to walk and after the brief examination even Chattie didn't argue — so she walked.
Hack wanted to drive; Chattie wanted to drive; Chi-Chi wanted to drive — so as a compromise, I drove.
I guess the ditch didn’t help the jeep, because the lights went out — the motor conked out 2 or 3 times on each incline — and sparks flew out from under the hood (a short.) Near the top, the clouds closed in and we had to drive thru them for an hour.
Every house is a bar, and so they had snorts all the way across the island (they wouldn’t let me drink.)
At Bastia, I had to stop and let them pick up two more pigs — then drove them all to camp.
The whole trip took nine hours — the boys that flew made it in 20 minutes. And people ask me why I went into the Air Corps!
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.