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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Letter from Catherine Katopes to family, 9 Aug 1943

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Object ID: WV0122.4.010

Description: Katopes notes the distance limit for travel away from Fort Oglethorpe has been increased, her detachment won a blue ribbon for marching, the outcome of a girl who went AWOL and the WAAC’s lack of penalties for such action, and her pride at being a WAAC.

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 Charlie, Dena and Jimmie and Johnnie:

Here it is the 9th of August and I am four letters behind in my correspondence resolution which was to write one every day. Am waiting for Dottie Coughlin, our acting supply sergeant, to finish up her work so that we can go to the post movie.

Well, today in the Daily Bulletin it said we could go 150 miles on a three day pass and I was so pleased. Ever since I have been down here I have wanted to go to places like Atlanta and Birmingham and Nashville but we were restricted to 100 miles distance. Now all I hope is that I will stay here awhile so that I can take advantage of this lessening of the restriction.

One of the funniest things that happen since we were sworn into the Army is that when we phone some offices and what was an Auxiliary answers the phone, she says, "Private Carter" etc., we can't help but giggle. It really sounds funny. We have been using Corporal and Sergeant all along but never Private and when you apply it to a female you can imagine how funny it sounds.

A lot of girls got out of the WAAC. Some I believe regret already the action they took. Others I believe will be sorry as soon as they have been home a few weeks.

This is Tuesday morning

Hello again Family,

Johnny, I had your letter yesterday and you sure are working hard these days but I don't believe you will ever catch up to the hours I have put in. For a long time I came to work at 7:00 AM and didn't quit until late at night and with about half hour off for mess. I never minded it. Imagine though working beyond bedcheck which is sometimes at 11:00 PM. Was I tired then? Now I am beginning to wonder if it was worth it all.

Oh yes I forgot to mention that our Detachment won the blue ribbon for some darn fine parading on Friday, the day we were sworn in. The Major General from this Service Command, General Bryden, was terribly impressed by our marching - said he had never seen the equal and that's really true. I only regret that the majority of the Civilians can't see our parades here on the post. They would soon change their tune about the WACs. It's there you can feel the pride the WACs have in themselves and when you see them stepping out with heads held high and with a sincere, steady look on their faces as they go by, you can see and feel that they are here for a purpose. I don't believe you ever see a smiling face in a parade--it's something that just never occurs to anyone to do.

The Colonel (Colonel Brown, our Commandant) presented us with the ribbon and also sent a letter of commendation to our Commanding Officer and that is really something.

We just had a girl come in who has been AWOL for a couple of nights--she just casually walks in and wants to see the Section Officer--calm as you please. She is one of these girls who is going out of the Army and so she didn't give a darn. I am sure glad she didn't take the oath the other day and then decide to go AWOL because she would then come under regular Army rules.. In the WAAC we couldn't do much to a girl who went AWOL--in fact sometimes a girl was punished more if she broke a small rule than if she went AWOL but that was because we didn't have anything covering AWOL.

Must stop this meandering and get back to work.