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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Letter from Carol Goddard to her husband, 1945

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Object ID: WV0283.4.013

Description: Goddard tells of personally arranging for WACs and male soldiers to get furloughs and plane rides home. She also describes her recent activities, including watching a P-61 or Black Widow pilot perform, cleaning, ironing, and dining in the mess hall.

Creator: Caroline M. Case Goddard

Biographical Info: Carol M. Case Goddard served in the WAC from 1944-1945.

Collection: Carol Goddard 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:

Rapid City, South Dakota

July 25, 1945

Darling:

So much has happened these past three days since I saw you, I hardly know where to begin. Yes, I do, too. To tell you that always are uppermost in my mind and that no matter where I am I keep thinking of you and wondering where you are and if you are thinking of me. Everything I do I want to share with you, or everything I see. Today, especially, I had a real treat, and how I wished you could have been with me to see it too.

Yesterday, a B-17 came in from Galveston. It was to return at 7 A.M. today. The fellows were in the Orderly Room here, asking about bunks, and I overheard them say that they were taking a WAC back with them who was going on furlough. Furloughs have been closed, since the indecision and the 3rd Air Force took over, but Monday night word came out they were open again. I didn't know the WAC's name who was going with them, but I did know that Jackie Lester was planning to go last night at 10:30 on the bus to Mexico! I asked the fellows if there was room for another, and they said yes. I said I had a WAC friend who was going to Mexico, but who had a son in Dallas she would like to visit, and that since Galveston was near there, that she would probably like to go along if it was all right with them. You see when Col. Baez was here no WACs were permitted to fly, but now we are just finding out that WACs can fly when there is room and they have furloughs, etc. So I found out what was necessary to do in order to get her papers o.k.d so that she could go, and called the bus depot in town, asking them to call me there when she came to buy her ticket. She called, and I told her of the chance, but I said I wanted her to do as she pleased about it, that I wasn't urging her to. She should make up her own mind. She called the various ones I told her to reach, and the result was she didn't buy her ticket. She came back to the base, and started to get the necessary papers signed and furlough changed so she could go. Meantime, I found out who the other passenger was, and it was Madame Curry. She lives in Houston. The latter WAC did not appreciate the fact that another WAC was going along, judging from her actions, but Jackie decided to go nevertheless. Also, another one from Louisiana. We decided to let some of our boys go on furlough starting today, and in order to get them off I did their furlough papers late last evening up in our Orderly Room on a little portable. I had twenty papers to complete. While working on them I found two boys going near there, too, one to Dallas, and the other to Wichita Falls, Texas (to be married) so I called the 1st sergeant, and asked him to tell the boys, if he could locate them, that they could take the B-17 down to Galveston, with a possible stop-over in Dallas. The boys were located, and were tickled to think they could ride. I was until midnight getting their papers changed so they could leave this morning instead of tomorrow, but we succeeded. One thing in their favor, they were on flying status, so there was not as much red tape as with the girls. I had sprinkled several shirts and several skirts, and some pjs, so I stayed up and ironed after that. It was one or so when I finally tumbled in, and I was most too tired to sleep. I was up at 5:30 A.M. helping the girls off, even snapped their pictures, too. Madame Curry jumped the gun, though, and beat it off before the others. She wanted to get down there alone I guess, and pick up plenty of food on the way. She told me she had a big bag of sandwiches. Jackie and Ashy had two, each.

A jeep came for the girls (Jackie and Ashy) and I bid them goodbye, and said a few prayers (silently) that they would reach their destinations safely.

Then I went back to my barracks, cleaned my area, mopped and dusted, saw that clothes were all buttoned and hung properly, etc. and made myself respectable for breakfast. With little sleep I thought I better have breakfast to keep me going today. We had a good one, as our old mess hall opened up Monday noon. I had one fresh egg fried, 1 slice of toast, 1 bowl of corn flakes, and three tiny pieces of bacon, plus a small orange that I brought to work.

Then I walked to work and got here at seven-thirty. I came early as I had all the boys furloughs, 19 of them. One already had his. The second one we had lined up for the B-17 was undecided about going on it because of a lot of baggage he had, so he left his paper with me, saying if he went he would come for it. I had it all o.k. for him save for one signature. The plane was to leave at 7 A.M. but when I got to work I heard it wasn't leaving until 11:30 A.M. The boy came in and said he had managed about his baggage, and that he would go afterall [sic]. By the time he came, the fellow who had to make the final signature on his furlough paper had disappeared, so we were not able to get it done until about 11:15. Captain Moore was going to take him down the line, so I went along, too, and what a thrill.

There was the big bomber sitting there with all the little bags of the passengers sitting on the runway beside it. The passengers had gone for a bit to eat. The pilot and navigator were in town and had phoned out that would be out in half an hour or so. Captain Moore and I waited a few minutes, and were about ready to leave, when the pilot and co-pilot of the new P-61, or Black Widow came up and asked if Captain would like to go for a ride on one that had just come in from the 3rd Air Force, and they had to take up and try out. He declined on the grounds that he had to return to the Squadron for roll call (which was true) as this is his last day with his squadron. (Tomorrow they are all reassigned to Squadron D, combined with it I should say, and a new CO is in charge.) But we saw them take off, and what a thrill as they slowly started off, raising slowly, then shot into the air. They are red-lined for 430 miles per, but can go even faster! They are black, just like a black widow spider, really, and their bodies even resemble one. While watching it manouveur [sic] in the air, the crew and passengers for the B-17 came in. We had a lot of fun talking to them, helping them into their parachutes, etc. Meanwhile the black widow was performing in the air, rolling over and over, and going upside down for long distances. It was a thrilling spectacle. We still had to wait for the two dilatory ones, so Captain Moore came on back, but I remained to see them off as we are about all moved out of the office, in the noon hour. I missed my lunch, but worth it to see the planes.

Finally the two arrived, and what sorry sights. I am quite sure I would have a sinking heart, more than I did, had I been going, for the men had been imbibing, of course, and I doubt if I could have placed much confidence in their piloting of that craft. Jackie and Ashy felt the same way, but they were already on the plane. One, thinking I was going, said, "It is only fair to tell you that you take your own life in your hands, you ride at your own risk." When I said I wasn't going he laughed, and stumbled in. The look on Jackie's face and Ashy's was that they wished they had not decided to go.

However, they were all set to go and did. Curry was up right in back of the pilots, so "she could watch the instruments" she said. She told them a lot about how she like to get her hands on them, etc. She was sitting in there a long time before the fellows came, and Jackie was quite worried for fear she would monkey with something, though I doubt it. Anyway, a nother [sic] pilot was there with her most of the time while waiting, so I think it was al right. The girls all had to wear coveralls so they would have plenty of freedom with their parachutes. I closed the door of the bomber, and the motor was already warming up as I did, and as I did I blew them a kiss and called out "Good Luck".

Bye for now. Going home.