6/3/2016 Update: It’s funny that I don’t even know if anyone is reading this, but just in case, I’m adding this little intro. I realized that I didn’t add my usual summary at the beginning of this post in any of my three versions of this site. The big news was that Ang finally flies his first mission on May 22; a 4 hour 45 minute mission to Ferrantino. He finally tells Betty about it in his May 30th letter, in his typical joking way. I find it interesting that I’ve read similar descriptions in many WWII histories. They all talk about the fear and then they talk about the Red Cross coffee and donuts — and the shot of alcohol, or “medicine” as Ang says.
I’m always struck by how awful it must have been for both of them to wonder when the mail would catch up and yet they continue writing letters. Ang writes on the 28th that he’s finally received letters from Betty - 11 of them. Meanwhile, back in Chicago, Betty seems to be on a whirlwind tour, visiting friends and relatives. It seems that everyone is in Chicago, even her mother, Margaret, who has arrived from California, and her sister Peg with son Donny. Sadly, all these people died before I realized I needed to figure out what was going on in May 1944 that brought them all back to Chicago?? Later, we’ll see that they took advantage of the situation by getting an amazing and treasured “Five Generation” photo.
Tuesday, May 22. Stopped after work and picked up coat. John and Bea over in evening. Bed about twelve.
May 23. Threatening all day - and rained about supper time. Had permanent - very curly. Home to Adams very late.
May 24. Rained. Met girls but broke so just had a coke. To Kays for diner and evening. Falls up and took us home.
FORM 5: C-22, Combat flight as bombardier, B25-J, 4:45h
[FROM ANG’S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION 1. These can also be see under the "Ang's Flight Log" tab.]
1 5-22-44 Ferentino Road Block.
Made two 360's over target because of clouds 9/10 coverage
1 box dropped--missed bridge. 1000 lbs bombs.
[V-Mail, postmark 6-1-44, sent to Chicago, forwarded to L.A.]
Sorry, I haven’t written the last couple of days—but I’ve really been busy. I wish I could tell you—oh well, never mind.
In our spare time we’ve been building ourselves an officers club—and that means more digging and more work. I’m telling you, I’m liable to wind up with three muscles—maybe even four.
Last night we went to an Officers dance. There were about six nurses and umpteen officers—need more be said?
So I went downtown and got in a crap game. I won three hundred dollars—lost it—won two hundred—lost it—and wound up three dollars ahead. All well, whats money—just paper over here—and that’s no joke.
I love you darling.
Form 5. C-24, Combat flight as bombardier, B25-J, 2:00h
(Crew/Mission lists that are available can be seen under the Official Documents tab.) [Crew sheet for May 24, 1944. ]
[FROM ANG’S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION 2.]
2 5-24 Orvieto Road Bridge.
One box dropped.
Flak heavy, scattered & inaccurate from airfield.
Missed bridge—hit power plant.
May 25. Warmer, but rained in PM and cooled things off. To Adams for diner - then to Grams. Did laundry and to bed at 11:30.
May 26. Very warm today. Adele and family & Uncle Paul in. K & family etc down for dinner. Sure glad to see them all. Bed by 11:30
[V-Mail, postmark 6-5-44, sent to Chicago, forwarded to L.A.]
I finally got three letters yesterday—oh happy day. Two from you and one from the folks—yours date 11 & 12th & right after you got to Chicago. Yes, it does seem like the old days again—getting mail from Chicago. I guess now that they’ve got my range[?]—I ought to be getting mail pretty regular.
I guess you’ve been reading about this theatre in the papers lately, eh what! Those Jerries are sure catching hell—and we’re giving them all we got! I sure would hate to be in their shoes—or foxholes right now. We sure feel happy about the boys on the beach head—and I’ll bet they are delirious.
Say, dear, If you haven’t sent those light bulbs—forget about them. If you have, its O.K.—someone can always use them.
I love you honey. Love, Ang
May 27. Cooler today. To Adams after work but to Gram’s for dinner. Out with Donny. Called Mel. Ha! to bed about eleven.
May 28. Lovely day. No one here for dinner. Up to Joe’s aunts—Mr. M. up & Mom out to dinner. I put Don to bed—and myself by 11:00.
FORM 5. C-28, Combat flight as bombardier, B25-J, 2:20h
[Crew sheet for May 28, 1944]
[FROM ANG’S FLIGHT LOG. MISSION 3.]
3. 5-28 Bucine R.R. Bridge.
Heavy, scant & inaccurate.
Shot at from Elba on course--
Got a razzing.
[V-Mail, postmark 6-7-44, sent to Chicago, forwarded to L.A.]
Well, its finally happened—I got eleven letters yesterday from you. Boy, it was like Christmas—yahoo!
They were all jumbled up though—that is different dates and not as you sent them. For instance, I know you have a job—and that you meet a lot of society dames—but I don’t know where you work and what you do—please tell me in one of your letters. Oh well, I suppose the ones in between will catch up someday.
Gee, I sure feel swell about getting those letters—It made me feel good.
I love you darling. Love Ang
May 29. Very warm. Mother, Kay & boys--E M & Jr to Adams for dinner. Reyniers and Pat out later. Bed about 1:00. Dead tired.
Betty, 2nd from right, with Kay on right and Betty's grandmother. Ang's father, Sam on left.
Form 5. T-29, Training flight as bombardier, B25-J, 1:00h
[Training flights not recorded in Ang's log book.]
[V-Mail, postmark 6-8-44, forwarded to L.A.]
Well, I’ve just gone thru all your letters—again! And now a few questions. Your job—what is it & where. On the tenth you said a notice from Fort Sam Houston told you my allotment had gone thru—on the 27th you said you hoped the allotment had gone thru. What gives? I guess that’s about all—you’re a good little information as a whole.
About the silk stockings—really honey, they weren’t worth sending. The weave was wide apart. When the clerk picked them up and put his hand in it and spread it slightly apart—it just sprung apart and there was a run a mile long. Those Brazilian made stockings are not the U.S.A. kind.
I love you darling. Love, Ang
May 30. Up about 11:00 and up to Grams - just loafed all day. Washed head, did some laundry & ironed. Back to Adams. Bathed and bed.
FORM 5. T-30, Training flight as navigator, B25-J, 2:30h
[Letter on air mail stationary, postmark 5-31-44, sent to Chicago, forwarded to L.A.]
I know, I know! Its about time that I got a nice long letter off to you. I’m sorry darling, but there really is nothing we do to make a long letter possible. Its absolutely the same routine, day after day. If we don’t have a mission for the day—All we can do is lay in bed until noon or maybe get a few letters off. Then after lunch, we sit around and shoot the bull or play poker until dinner. Then we play poker or maybe go to the open air theatre until bed time rolls around. So you see, theres not much there to fill a long letter.
The only thing that could be of interest to you is about our missions, and since we can’t tell you about them—well! That is I can’t give you the details about any missions—but I guess the censor won’t be too mad if I told you how I felt on my first mission. Here goes!
When I first got here—I didn’t exactly know what to expect. It sure wasn’t like what I did expect. Everything was just—well natural. The fellows were just a normal bunch of boys—and really swell to the newcomers. They helped us unload our luggage and helped us set up a tent—and gave us plenty of advice on how to dig a fox hole—ha, ha!
Of course we closely watched the old timers to see how they acted—so we could know how to act too—copy cats.
Well, we weren’t around very long before the newness and tenseness wore off . There was no excitement about the missions—no good lucks, thumbs up—nothing dramatic about them. It was just like going on a practice mission to Lake Murray in S.C.
Of course when the time came for my first mission—that little excited, choked up, feeling came again, and stayed for quite some time. However, it wasn’t quite like anything I expected. I guess those bull sessions and actions of the old boys is a form of group psychology—it sure helped. When we got out to the ship—none of the other boys acted like they knew it was my first mission—they acted just as if I had as many missions as they did.
On the way to the target I kept my eye on the lead ship and lead bombardier. Boy, if you’ve ever seen a shadow operate--I was that lead bombardier’s shadow. When he smoked, I smoked—when he put on his flack suit, I put on mine—when he put on his flack helmut I did the same. I copied his every movement—that is until the flack came up. It was very light (I found out later as I pulled my body out of the helmut), but for every time he ducked, I can proudly say I had him beat to frazzles. I was out of sight behind the plating before he even thought of it.
Well that kept me up for awhile until we went on the bomb run—and then you're so busy you forget everything else—and the next thing you know, you're back at your own field. Well, that's No. 1—and you are a veteran—ha, ha!
Well, dear, as they say—the first one is the toughest. After that, there is only one thought in our minds—and that’s to get those missions off and get back home. That’s all you hear around here—only 10 more to go—only 20 more to go etc—and I go home. They don’t count missions as one, two, three—its 49, 48, 47 etc to go.
And talking about that, they sure don’t waste any time in getting those missions off. Don’t be too surprised if I’m eating the Christmas turkey with you and the folks. “Home for Christmas” is my motto. Don’t expect it, but don’t be surprised—that’s all I’m saying.
I don’t know as yet if I’m to be a Bombardier or a Navigator or both—the old question again. However, if its ever decided—it will be right here, so that’s something.
Well, sweets, for one not having anything to write, I’ve done pretty well,
Give my love to everyone—especially to yourself.
Don’t worry about my poker—what I get out of my salary takes care of it for the month—there is nothing else to spend it on—everything is free.
Oh, I forgot to tell you, when get down from a mission the Red Cross is waiting with coffee and doughnuts—and are they good. And we also get a double shot of “medicine”. Maybe that’s why the boys are always fighting to go on a mission. That’s the only way to get it over here.
I love you—Love, Ang
P.S. Give a nice donation to the Red cross—I don’t know what we’d do without them.
May 31. Rained real hard in PM but still warm. Pat, Dee, Is, Marge & Peg to Adams. Had a real nice time. Bed late.
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.