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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Letter from Dorothy Avery to Eunice, 1943

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Object ID: WV0204.4.007

Description: Avery writes of the death of an instructor and student after a plane crash. She also notes they are swimming for PT to prepare for crashes into water. She explains where her nickname of “Sunny” came from.

Creator: Dorothy Avery

Biographical Info: Dorothy Avery (1917-1999) was a pilot in the WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots) from 1943-1944, then worked as an inspector for Navy-Lockheed Service Center.

Collection: Dorothy Avery 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 Eunice

Sometime, someday, I will get you close enough to a plane to take you for a ride. (So help me) Once you get started you'll love it. I know you will.

Boy did we have fun yesterday. We went swimming, instead of our P.T. period. There is a big pool in Sweetwater and we have it reserved three days a week just for our girls. So instead of P.T. & drill everyday we will alternate with swimming from now on. We all go in on the big Army busses [sic] they have here at the school-- Our new P.T. Lt. says all future pilots have to learn how to swim as they are loosing [sic] to [sic] many pilots from drownding [sic] when they crash in the water.

Speaking of crashes we lost a girl and her instructor last night or yesterday afternoon. They were on a crosscountry in a B.T. (Basic Trainer) They came in for a landing and banked to [sic] steep and spun in. Boy if you hold too much top or bottom rudder in a bank it spell disaster. Honorary Prayer period will be held in the morning and collection etc. It was tough but the girls carried on wonderfully, and life at Avenger Field goes on as per usual.

Hey wait a minute I was trying to talk you into flying wasn't I. It really is very safe "if" no its o.k. Course I'm a fatelest [sic] anyway.

I would like to send you a picture if we could only get some film. (620) [illustration] perfect fit

The name "Sunny" was derived years ago by someone at the field I used to fly at. So on the field they called me Sunny. Since then I have always had that word engraved on my crash bracelets if you remember. It is sort of an inspiration word for me. Everytime I look at my bracelet the word Sunny flashes through my mind and reminds me of Blue skys [sic] & sunshine and happiness so it is constantly keeping up my spirits because I always want to be happy and not get low or those around me in low spirits. Anyway the girls saw it on my bracelet and since there are to [sic] many Dorothys and Dotties they call me (Sunny) sometimes (Sandy)

Love, Sunny