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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Letter from Catherine Katopes to Dena and Jimmie, 1942

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Object ID: WV0122.4.004

Description: Katopes' describes activities at basic training at Fort Des Moines to her sister and brother-in-law, including her company escorting a visiting female English officer, parades, flags, attending OCS graduation exercises where the WAAC director spoke, attending class in air defense, and being filmed on parade for a Joan Crawford film.

Creator: Catherine Katopes

Biographical Info:

Catherine G. Katopes (1912-1979) served in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps and the Women's Army Corps from 1942 to late 1945.

Collection: Catherine G. Katopes 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 Dena and Jimmie:

This has been one hectic day. We were kept going from 7:00 this morning until 5:30 tonight.

Major General Knox from England was visiting the Post with Colonel Hobby. General Knox is a woman and head of the A.T.S. (Auxiliary Territorial Service) in England. She's a tiny woman and lovely and the girls said she had a personality plus. They saw more of her because our Company was chosen as her Escort when they arrived yesterday. I was on K.P. or rather had just come off but didn't have time to change into uniform and so couldn't go. I would have liked to have been there but we can't have everything. Several of us girls missed seeing her yesterday.

However, today we paraded early this morning and she reviewed several companies. As we were parading the sun began to rise. It was just like a round yellow ball.

Then after the parade we attended the Graduation Exercises of the Officer Candidates where Gen. Knox and Colonel Hobby both spoke. They both had lovely speaking voices.

Gen. Knox gave each graduate her certificate and saluted and shook the hand of each girl. About 125 of them and her salute and handshake towards the end was just as firm as it was in the beginning. She said something to each girl, and was so charming.

Then we had a class and it was time for noon mess.

Then we had a class in Defense against Air Attack and we were out in a field for that lesson. I think we were outdoors all day today except for a couple of hours.

About 3:45 we paraded again. For the benefit of the movies. It seems Joan Crawford is making a picture "Women in Uniform" and so they took pictures of several companies. Who knows but what we may be in a moving picture. I believe they will pick the company that marched the best and there were some companies that have been here four weeks who might be the ones selected but we shall see.

Then they took movies of Retreat.

We have three flags here on the Post. One kind we fly in stormy weather. It is small. Then a larger one for every day. For rare and special occasions we fly the Garrison Flag which is very large and made of silk. It's a beautiful thing and had only been flown a couple of times up until today.

The first time the flag was lowered it caught in a branch and so evidently they wanted a retake because we stood Retreat twice.

We were a little tired at the end of the day but we didn't mind because after all it was a bit of an honor to parade today and to see the exercises as all the companies didn't go. Just some were selected.

We think our Company is pretty swell and of course we should think so.

We now have to be in bed by quarter to eleven instead of at eleven. It's awful the way time flies.

I had a letter from Charlie today which I am enclosing. He was promoted again. Now is a Technical Sergeant.

I'm getting sleepy and so better stop. The next letter I write will be to Contillo and George. Give them my love.

Regards to all

Love, Cathy

P.S. I sure like the pen & pencil very much and again. Thank You.