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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Letter from Dorothy Avery to Finnigan, circa 1944

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Object ID: WV0204.4.017

Description: Avery recounts a harrowing flight from March Field in Riverside, California, to George Air Force Base in Victorville, California, where they were the first WASPs ever to land. She describes their greeting, quarters, and the base, and ponders what she will do after the war.

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: Dearest Finnigan

Did you ever see it snow on the desert? Well I did. In fact right now it is snowing and has been off & on all morning. Course it doesn't stay very long though it did this morning on the roof just outside our window.

You see we finally got up here to Victorville yesterday morning. Anne & I were the only ones that made it. The other four ships turned back. We were co-pilots on the B-37's and managed to find a hole through the storm over the pass. How they ever cleared us is beyond me. After we got through the pass, by shear [sic] luck, we found ourselves over a solid overcast, 8,000 ft above the desert. After hunting for 10 minutes we found a hole about 20 or 30 mi [sic] So. of Victorville against the mt. but down a river bed. Boy we steered that ship on its wing tip and dove through the hole doing 280 mph and losing 4000 ft a min, we leveled off doing 280 mph 800 ft above the ground, where we continued, 650 ft above the ground till we got to Victorville Air Base. Its [sic] rides like that, that you don't forget, and you fully realize how ships stack up on mts. etc. and yet the thrill of having to contest with the elements, with man made machines, and battling your wits and training and winning is well worth it all. So now we are having a rest cure. As Anne and I say we came to spend a few days of rest at this resort or Country Club. The people are very nice and we have a lovely room with private bath, in the Red Cross bld [sic] of the hospital and nurses quarters. Modern furniture and everything. You would love this officers Club. All done in Knotty Pine with beautiful monterey style furniture done in exquisite smooth light colored leather upholstery. The most wonderful huge fire place with big logs burning. Sorta exquisite ranch style. We are quite the attraction, being the first two W.A.S.P.'s ever to be on this field, and have met more ranks that wanted to see us. Its quite a novelty for people to see real live W.A.S.P.'s after hearing that there are women pilots through out the U.S.

What will I ever do when we have to go back to everyday work a day world. Whoa [sic] is me. Guess I'll have to get me a major or Colonel but not a flier. It really is a wonderful life if you for this sorta stuff but I don't think I'll let it get the best of me, what do you think Finnigan. Have I changed any or should I say have changed much. Yes frankly what do you think, from the point of view of you knew me when, or something. I do hope you don't get swamped in this deluge, though the last time I crossed Santa Monica, the water line was pretty high. Take care and throw out an anchor when you leave "Charger" in the street.

Love Always, Dottie