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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Letter from Lt. Jenny Lea to Mary Kate Bonds, 1942

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Object ID: WV0415.4.001

Description: Letter from WAAC Jenny Lea, then stationed at Fort Des Moines, that convinced Mary Kate Bonds to join the military, dated 14 September 1942. Lea had just completed Officer Candidate School, and describes the difficulties and rewards of OCS, marching, and graduation festivities. The letter on on WAAC letterhead.

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Collection: Mary Kate Bonds Papers

Rights: It is responsibility of the user to follow the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Materials are not to be reproduced in published works without written consent, and any use should credit Jackson Library, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Full Text: Dear Mary Kate,

When I got home tonight, your wire was here--Thank you! For getting these gold bars meant more to me than anything I've ever done. It cost me more hell than I ever thought I could bear, but now I've made it I'm so D___ proud of it I could die. You should have come with me. I'm getting crazy about the whole thing & you've got so much of what they want. I didn't like some of the things but I'm too shy & self-conscious to get up in front of 2000 people like these people do. You could really go to town on the parades counting cadence & it is no small accomplishment to do it.

There are 3000 of us here now--our graduation was [delovely?]. We marched in our last parade & I'm sorry for that. The parade field is 7 blocks long--green & lovely--all those women marching in formation, the music--its swell fun--when you catch on to it.

The 1st class gave us a tea--we [unclear] the [celebrities?] down for [grad?]--then spent the night at the Des Moines Hotel going from one party to the next for two days. Having our bars pinned on--being kissed by the Company Officers, which is a tradition & paying out $1.00 to the first non-com that saluted us. Our bars added 2500 people we have to salute. My arms are in a sling. I'll be here for several months, though one never knows what next. I want to go abroad but so does everyone else. This morning we all bathed & went to a breakfast given us for graduation by one Des Moines CyC--very nice--Some one bought us some roses which we could only wear on the uniform--but were lovely.

Please write me the news from school. I've been in such an awful state of mind thinking I'd never make it, but since I have I feel much better. I often think of you all & hope I can come back soon on leave.

Love to all & best wishes, Jenny Lea