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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Letter from Constance Phillips to sister, 1945

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Object ID: WV0082.4.012

Description: Phillips relays to her sister the story of her travels fro Asheville to Des Moines. She is part of a work company until she begins Basic Training next week. She describes her days since arrival, which include a lot of cleaning.

Creator: Constance Cline Phillips

Biographical Info: Constance Phillips (b. 1924) of Concord, North Carolina, was an X-ray technician in the Women’s Army Corps from 1945 to 1946.

Collection: Constance Cline Phillips 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 sis -

Well, Mother just forwarded a letter from your informing the world that you had joined the infirmary forces. So...I figured that I'd better take time out of this strenuous life to write my little sis a light note. You'd better write me soon as mail call is sad without results! I sent you that change of address as a gentle hint.

Now, shall tell a story of travels. Started Thursday (Feb 7 or 8) from Charlotte - went to Asheville (changed), slept on pullman - Pause for tale. There were several returnees on the train and they were very happy. They stopped our gang (5) back on the way from the ladies john and serenaded us. Then we went to bed and woke up the next morning on the way into Cincinnati. Got in at 8 and got on a train for Chicago. On the way up I saw a steam boat, exciting, no? Around 2 we got into Chicago. Then got on another train coming out here. We crossed the Miss. at night, which made me very sad. Got in about 11, were in bed by 1:30. Next morning we got up at 5:30 and started and we haven't stopped yet. We've had test, mechanical, IQ, clerical; we've had shots, tetanus, typhoid, small pox; and we've eaten the three required meals per day. Incidentally this is good chow beats W.C. all hollow.

First we went to Receiving and Staging where they gave us our preliminary instructions, clothes, and parental advice. Now we're waiting for the co. to be completely formed and next Tuesday we start Basic. This week, however, we're not resting. We're what they call a work co. We do all the extra cleaning that's needed. As Col. Hobby visits this week we're very busy. This morning we got up at 6 and made beds, dressed. 6:30 reveille, (sp?) mess, cleaned our areas (swept), had an introduction to PT (nothing active), then drill, then mess. After mess we scrubbed our areas, lockers, closets, beds, floors, etc. Then we did special detail. Ours happened to be the latrine. We'd already done it once today, this time we cleaned. Worked until 4, then cleaned up and went to mess at 4:30 - now I'm back writing to you in the day room. In 5 minutes we have a movie, don't know what that will be, but I'm sitting and waiting. Tomorrow I go on special detail at 1:30. I bring a broom and report to the corp. Can't guess what for. I pushed one all afternoon and it's still in the blood.

Well that part of the story of becoming a GI. The greatest surprise to me is the disorder, but that's fast going. I'll really be thankful when we do get straight. And baby, they do it the hard way.

Now the show starts -

Write soon-