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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Oral history interview with Jaenn Bailey, 2000

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Object ID: WV0141.5.001

Description: Primarily documents Bailey’s childhood, family, and service with the U.S. Navy WAVES working with top secret messages during World War II.

Summary:

Bailey discusses the origins of her name; her mother’s independent lifestyle during her childhood in the Roaring Twenties; and her Native American heritage.

Bailey also talks about many topics related to World War II and her service with the WAVES from 1944 to 1946, including hearing about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, treatment of Japanese Americans, and being accepted into military service even though she did not meet all of the requirements.

Bailey describes adjusting to basic training and military life; her social life in New York and Washington, D.C.; and her top secret work decoding and filing messages. Specific topics include the weather and training in basic training; seeing Frank Sinatra, Tommy Dorsey, and Eartha Kitt perform; visiting clubs and museums; her living arrangements in Washington; how well she was treated by her commander; delivering messages directly to Presidents Roosevelt and Truman at the White House; Roosevelt's death; knowing war information before it was released to the public; the murder of three Coast Guard SPARS in Arlington, Virginia; and the degrading treatment of pregnant WAVES.

Personal topics include meeting her husband; her husband’s military experiences and their time at Chapel Hill in the late 1940s; her son’s service in and injuries from the Vietnam War; and her opinion of women in combat positions.

Creator: Jaenn Magdalene Coz Bailey

Biographical Info: Jaenn Coz Bailey of Sacramento, California, decoded and filed top secret messages during her service with the U.S. Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) from October 1944 until May 1946.

Collection: Jaenn Coz Bailey 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:

Note: Ms. Bailey's husband, Chuck Bailey (CB), was also present for the interview.

EE:

My name is Eric Elliott. I'm with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro [UNCG], and this is an interview for the Women Veterans Historical Project at the university. Today we're in Greensboro. It is January the 13th in the year 2000, and I'm at the home of Jaenn Bailey this morning.

JB:

Jay-enn.

EE:

Jaenn.

JB:

Jaenn.

EE:

Oh, so it's actually kind of two syllables out of—

JB:

Well, no. I'm named after a town in Spain. My grandfather came from Spain, and the town that he came from is Jaen, but right across the border—he named me, by the way. But right across the border is the French one, Jaenn, and my mother didn't like the “Haenn,” so she used the French one, Jaenn. Then my saint name is Magdalene.

EE:

You say your grandfather named you. He knew of that town because the family's from that area?

JB:

Well, yes. I mean, when we went to Spain, that was one of the reasons I wanted to go there, was to look up the place that I was named after. The biggest church, Catholic, of course, is Mary Magdalene. So he named me Jaenn Magdalene.

EE:

And how do you pronounce your maiden last name?

JB:

Coz. Actually, it was De la Coz, but when World War I came, it was not fashionable to have anything like that on your name, to be a foreigner. So they cut off the “De la.” It was just Coz.

EE:

That's “of” something. Is that a nobility?

JB:

“Of the Cross” [actually “Of the House of Coz”].

EE:

You were born in California?

JB:

I was born in Fresno, and we left there when I was four months old because they were building the California State Library, and my father had an electrical shop. He worked for his father in Fresno, but they were hiring all kinds of people to put up the Capitol. So when I was four months old we went to Sacramento, and that's really—

EE:

He was a contractor in Sacramento for the project.

JB:

Yes.

EE:

Did you have any brothers or sisters?

JB:

I had a brother that was killed by a drunken driver when he was ten.

EE:

He was older than you?

JB:

No, he was younger, two years younger than me.

EE:

What did your mom do? Did she stay home with you all?

JB:

No. My mother was always in college, always taking classes. Oh, she was a—what would you call her—always a very busy person. Oh, she owned a jewelry shop, she owned cosmetics, she was into everything. And my job was, when school was out I was to come home, do my homework, and read. That's the way we did. We didn't go out and smoke and shoot up and do anything. That's just the way we did.

EE:

Did she do all this stuff out of her home? Did she have a storefront for the jewelry store?

JB:

Well, at one time she had a jewelry shop. She remarried. After twenty years she remarried, and she married a lawyer, and he had an office in one of the buildings in Sacramento, and there was an empty office in this office. So she opened a jewelry shop. She designed jewelry and things like that. Oh, but that was—oh, she worked with a chemist and made cosmetics. I mean, she rode a motorcycle in the 1900s. In other words—she flew an airplane.

EE:

She was her own woman.

JB:

Yes. She was—

EE:

Kind of a role model for you, I would guess.

JB:

Well, she was of the—what do you call it—the Roaring Twenties. That's what she was.

EE:

She wasn't a flapper, but she had the attitude.

JB:

Yes, she was a flapper. Oh, yes, she could—oh, when I was little she taught me how to do the Charleston and everything. She and my dad would do it, you know, because that was the way it was.

EE:

That was the big dance.

JB:

Oh, yes.

EE:

You said, before I started this tape, that your father was in World War I?

JB:

My grandfather.

EE:

Your grandfather.

JB:

Yes. My [grand]father was in World War I.

EE:

You were in Sacramento. Did you graduate from high school in Sacramento?

JB:

Oh, yes. It's in there. When the war came, everybody was very patriotic, and the boys in my class all joined on the buddy system.

EE:

This was at [C.K.] McClatchy High School.

JB:

Yes. And most of them made it, and they all wanted to go together. See, this was a big spoof. Just like I say, you can see through me. I was, “Oh, boy, I—”

“Put down where you want to go.”

“Well, I want to go to San Francisco,” you know, ninety miles from home. Oh, yes, sure. I ended up in D.C. But they needed librarians. See, everything—and they sucked—all five of us were librarians.

EE:

All five in your class?

JB:

No, the girls in my unit. We had five girls and thirty officers, and these officers were sucked out of all the greatest universities in the country, mathematicians, and they broke the codes of the Japanese. They never broke the Russian code. We never got that. But the German, the Italian, the Japanese, they broke those codes. It was all totally top secret. We were buried in the middle of the Naval Communication Annex. We even had to mop our own floors. That's how top secret it was.

EE:

You couldn't have custodial help because they didn't want anybody in there?

JB:

Yes. Nobody could be in there. And if someone came in there, we had to immediately—we had a paper that we always looked like we were working on, but we weren't, to cover up the cryptography and all the things that we were recording.

EE:

When did you graduate from high school?

JB:

'43, I think.

EE:

So it was during high school that Pearl Harbor happened. Do you remember anything about Pearl Harbor Day, how you found out about it?

JB:

Oh, do I remember Pearl Harbor. This was cute. I was in bed. I liked to stay up and read, and it was one o'clock in the afternoon, and the doorbell rang, and my little boyfriend was at the door, said, “Mr. Coz, Mr. Coz, the Japs have just bombed Pearl Harbor.”

My dad said, “My God, where is Pearl Harbor?” And he got the map out. So being on the West Coast, if they had come on, they would have got us. So everything was blacked out. At night all the curtains were direct closed, everything, because we were afraid they'd come over in the planes and just bomb the heck out of us.

EE:

It kind of puts a crimp into a teenager's social life, I would guess.

JB:

Well, we didn't have any, really. You know, I had one boyfriend and he couldn't drive, so what we'd do is ride our bicycles together. What we did was, all of us—we were all Catholic. We all went to confession Saturday evening, and then we took the theater bus downtown to the movies. But I made a horrible mistake, which he still shakes his head at me. We're still good friends. I didn't have anything to confess one time so I told the priest, which was true, that Jack kissed me. He said, “Oh, my God, you're going to hell.” Blah, blah, blah. I mean, the priests, they gave you hell if you even blinked an eye. “Get up there and say 150 Hail Mary's,” which I did.

Well, Jack came in after me, and he kept saying to Jack, “Well, don't you have something else to confess? Well, don't you have something else to confess?” Well, being a boy, he didn't think—you know, I thought it was a big deal. He didn't. He said, “What?”

He said, “You kissed Jaenn.”

And he said, “Oh, my God.”

“Go up there and say 150 Hail Marys.”

And to this day—we're in our seventies, and when he sees me he just goes, “She'll just tell you everything.” But I was searching for something to confess.

EE:

[Laughter] He was in your class. Did he go off to join the service?

JB:

Oh, yes. But all the boys, they all joined on the buddy system—I got that in there—thinking they would be together. Well, Jack was six [foot] four [inches]. He went to boot camp in Texas, and the next thing he knows, he's an SP [security police] because he's six-four. Then some of the kids, they put them in the navy. And some, they put them—in other words, you didn't get what you wanted. Like me, I said, “I don't want to go until after Christmas.” Good luck. I was scrubbing mutton, crying my eyes out in Hunter College.

EE:

Well, you know, there wasn't a draft for women. How was it that you decided—you finished high school. How soon did you decide you wanted to join the service?

JB:

Well, I worked at the California State Library. I was in periodicals. I was assistant. I had worked there all through high school in the summertime. So as soon as I got out of high school, they had a job for me.

So Jack had gone and everybody had gone. They went even before they finished high school. In '43 they were gone. So anyway, I was walking down the street one night, and in Sacramento, the fog just comes down to the ground, and all of a sudden I saw this mail truck come by and Uncle Sam said, “The Navy Needs You.” I thought, well, you know, I'll just go in and see. I'm bored to death anyway. Of course, my God, they hopped on me like a hot potato. They gave me a test, and my God, it was a—guess what. It came out a hundred percent, and I knew I'd left some out. Then they measured me. You were supposed to be five [foot] two [inches]. Well, I wasn't. Then they weighed me, and you're supposed to 110, and I wasn't.

So he says, “Well, let's go downstairs and have a couple of beers.” So I went downstairs and we had a couple of beers, and he said, “By golly,” he said, “Do you know you've grown an inch.” And he said, “And you've put on ten pounds.” So anyway, that's how I got in.

EE:

So for you it was just out of the blue, out of the fog.

JB:

Yes.

EE:

The Navy appeared. Your family, were they in the navy before, the ones who had served in the war?

JB:

No, my dad had been in the army.

EE:

And you never thought of the WACs [Women's Army Corps] as an alternative?

JB:

Well, no, I never thought of anything.

EE:

You just said it looked right. And did you have any other girlfriends who had joined the service?

JB:

No. As a matter of fact, as it turned out, I'm the only one in my class that did.

EE:

What did your folks think about it?

JB:

Well, my parents were divorced, and I never told my dad because he would object. But my mother was always busy. She was always doing this and doing that. She was signing some papers. You had to be twenty-one, but I was twenty and a half, but anyway, you had to have a parent's signature. So I just threw a piece of paper.

She said, “What's it for?”

I said, “It's for an insurance policy.” So she signed it and I took it back with the understanding I wouldn't go until after Christmas.

EE:

This was in '44.

JB:

Yes. Yes. I was gone the 12th of October [laughs].

EE:

Columbus Day. You sailed the continent, I guess.

JB:

Yes. Yes, Lord.

EE:

Where was your basic held at, Hunter?

JB:

Yes, Hunter College.

EE:

So you go across the country. Had you ever been on a long trip before?

JB:

No. No. It was horrible. I'd never been [unclear] before. My God, we didn't have—we were all put on a troop train. You couldn't hardly get to the bathroom. You couldn't bathe. You barely got anything to eat.

EE:

Were you on there a week? How long did it take you to get across?

JB:

Oh, it took us five or six days. And half of us, by the time we got there, had diarrhea because it was just such bad stuff. And they took us off the train and put us on a bus, and, oh, God, I had diarrhea so bad. But they said, “Boy, if you let them know, you go to a hospital.” So I wanted to get out of there. So I hung on until I got to Hunter College and got something for it.

But oh, we all had our civilian clothes on. We're California girls. Here we come, stepping out of the train in three inches of snow in our little civilian shoes and our little California clothes. It was awful. That's why—I think that's one of the reason I got so upset. First, I wasn't supposed to go until after Christmas. Second, I was freezing to death, marching through the damned snow ankle-deep. But not only that, I'm ambidextrous. When I was a kid, in the twenties you had to be right-handed so they forced me to change. So I've always gotten my left and right mixed up. Well, when I finally got a uniform, the sleeves hang down to here and the coat was down to here. The tall girls went first, and they put the little ones at the back. But since I couldn't do anything I was alone at the back. When they'd say, “Right turn,” I had a chance to go to catch up with everybody. What was so funny, later on, when I got into headquarters, they said, “Oh, you're the little one that went behind with those clothes down to the ground, weren't you?” Not only that, the shoes didn't fit. You know, everything was supposed to be—

EE:

I guess you were in your civilian clothes for a couple of weeks until they got the clothes in?

JB:

Yes. We were in civilian clothes. We like to froze to death. But they didn't care, you know.

EE:

Now, you were living, I guess—was it apartments at Hunter or was it in dormitories?

JB:

No, we had apartments. And I was in a room with one girl, and she was—

EE:

So you weren't in a whole big barracks, then?

JB:

Well, no, but there were some girls—there were four to a room, but somehow I got in this room with this girl from Utah, and she was nuts. She made me get up in the top bunk. I could tell she was cuckoo anyway. So I got up there. Every night she would pull the bunk away from the wall, and I would turn over and fall down on the floor. I kept telling her, “You can't do that.” She was about your size. She'd just hover over me and say, “I can do anything I want.” But she got out of the navy. They got rid of her. She was cuckoo.

EE:

This is kind of a new experience with dorm life for you almost, isn't it?

JB:

Oh, yes. I was an only child. I always had my—and when they told me to do stuff, I thought, “What in the hell are you telling me to do?” Oh, this was terrible on me. I was rotten.

EE:

You didn't really realize the military part of it, did you?

JB:

No.

EE:

When you signed up, did they tell you, “We need somebody with your skills?”

JB:

No. No. No. I was just going for the fun of it. I didn't know I was going to get up here in you-know-what.

EE:

Right. Right.

JB:

No. But, see, they wanted that. And like I say, all the girls that had put down librarians, we were all sucked off. One was from Washington State. They were from all over the country. One from Cleveland. Because they wanted to set up this library. We were checked out, too. At the time, I was living with my aunt. My father was out-of-town foreman, and my mother had remarried for the—I don't know, fourth or fifth time. But anyway, she was scared to death. She said all of a sudden this car pulled up and these men got out and flashed this FBI, “We're from the FBI, and we want to talk to you about Jaenn Magdalene Coz.” Well, my aunt just about had a heart attack. She thought, “My God, what has happened? Is she dead?” They came in and just—

EE:

Grilled her, I would guess. Yes.

JB:

Grilled her, yes, to make sure who I was and I was born in here.

EE:

Well, I guess basic's what, six, eight weeks, something like that, that you're at Hunter. Did you go right from Hunter to this work in D.C.?

JB:

Yes. I was sucked out. I went from Hunter, and we went and sat in a big auditorium for five days, and we were interviewed.

EE:

This was in New York?

JB:

No. This was in D.C. See, WAVES [Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service—U.S. Navy] Quarters D was the biggest WAVE quarters ever. So they interviewed us, and then they went to our homes. See, they were wanting to make sure that we could work top secret, you know. So they even interviewed my high school principal. I mean, all of us were covered completely to make sure that we were clean.

EE:

You say you didn't have any special training on whatever library skills would apply to navy. I guess you came out of Hunter. What was your grade when you came out of Hunter?

JB:

I had one stripe. I finally made up—let's see, I can't—let's see. This is about all that. I came out first class. I was a first class petty officer.

EE:

You were selected, then, for this work. Let me ask you, before I totally leave Hunter, if you'd never been outside of California before?

JB:

Well, I'd been up to Washington and Canada and—

EE:

On the West Coast.

JB:

Yes. I'd been all up and around.

EE:

Had you been to Los Angeles?

JB:

Oh, I'd been to Los Angeles, yes, but I had never gone east. I had been up and down the West Coast.

EE:

Did you get a chance to take advantage of the nightlife and of the shows in New York?

JB:

Well, eventually. See, when we were stationed in D.C., then there was Rockefeller Center. They had free tickets to anything for the women in service. So we saw everything. At that time, Frank Sinatra was big.

EE:

He was with Tommy Dorsey, I guess, then?

JB:

No. I think he was with [Your] Hit Parade then. So we didn't miss him. I mean, we had leave once a month, and we'd go down and see him and drool over him. But before that, before he got on the Hit Parade, there was a 400 Club in D.C., and they always had entertainers. So every Friday night he sang there at the 400 Club, and I'm telling you, he was as skinny as the microphone. But every Friday night we'd go down there. You could buy a pitcher of beer for fifty cents, and there were four of us. So after four pitchers of beer, we would leave.

EE:

And you may not remember everything about that night, but it was fun.

JB:

Well, we remember him. Oh, God, I'll never forget the time we were sort of crowded in, and there was a general or somebody sitting next to me. You're crowded in. And I dropped my beer, and the foam went up on his head and his uniform, and he looked at me like he could have killed me, period. I'll never forget that. And of course we laughed. We were silly. We giggled, and boy, he could have—if we'd been under his command, we'd have been in the brig for sure.

EE:

You were at D.C. You had the five days of interviews. You were taken, and your day-to-day work, you tell me, was in the deep basement of—

JB:

No. No. We were not in the basement. We were in a special annex, in the middle of the annex. And nobody ever went in there.

EE:

This is at the Pentagon, the Pentagon annex?

JB:

No. No. This is the Navy Communication Annex, which was right across the street from WAVE Quarters D. We just walked to work.

EE:

You say there were five women librarians who were in there?

JB:

Yes. They sucked us out from all over the country.

EE:

What's your normal day? Was it 8:00 to 5:00? Did you work rotating shifts five days a week?

JB:

Well, that's why we're all crazy. Three shifts, morning, noon, night, afternoon. And now they find out that that's terrible. They don't do it for people anymore. But that's what we had. We were eating breakfast at dinner and dinner—I mean, you know, we'd go to the mess hall—

EE:

You'd work seven days on one shift then switch shifts?

JB:

No. No. One week we'd be mids. The next week we'd [be] day. The next week we'd be—no, it was just week after week. Yes.

EE:

It was seven days a week?

JB:

No. No. We got the weekend off, actually, yes. Because that's when the—oh, I lived in the Smithsonian. You know, I love history, and there was one of the presidents had a house, Jefferson. I used to ride a bike out there and sit on the lawn, and I could see the coaches coming up, and I could see Jean Lafitte coming up and visiting him, you know. I was a big day dreamer. And then we found Ford Theater, hunted it up.

Then I've always been a rascal. I heard that Eartha Kitt was singing. Back then everything was segregated, but she was singing in the black part of the town. Well, I loved her. So I would gather up clothes from everybody, because the shore patrol patrolled there all the time, and go down and hear her. But I didn't have any uniform on. I had the raggediest, the worst looking clothes. I fit right in with the people. I just died when she killed herself. I hated it. She had taken drugs and killed herself.

EE:

This job that you started in—I guess it must have been just before Christmas in '44, when you were down in D.C., wasn't it?

JB:

Yes. I think it was eight weeks of boot camp, and, let's see, October. We were still in boot camp in November because that was when I was really upset.

EE:

You were talking about on Christmas night you were marching through deep snow.

JB:

I was in D.C. then, yes.

EE:

And WAVE Quarters D, where I guess you were housed, that really was a regular barracks, wasn't it?

JB:

Yes, it was the biggest quarters.

EE:

Not much privacy, group showers, that kind of thing?

JB:

Well, no. [Discussion of personal hygiene redacted]

EE:

It makes you appreciate privacy, doesn't it?

JB:

Yes, and darn it, you had to work up to the bottom bunk rate-wise, you know. You were stuck in the top bunk until you made a better rate. Well, the first thing I did was get busy, and I made third class petty officer just as soon as it could pass. So the girl that was in the bottom bunk, I told her, I said, “You know, if you want to stay in this bunk, get upstairs.” She never went for anything. So she did, and we became great friends.

You know, the “0600, hit the deck,” that wasn't for me. I couldn't see it. So they wouldn't have known my signature if they'd seen it, because she signed me out the whole two and a half years I was there. She'd get up and put both of our names. I didn't have to be at work until 8:00. I'd come staggering across the street about quarter to 8:00.

EE:

So you were doing this job from the end of '44. When did you leave D.C., in '46?

JB:

It was in May.

EE:

May of '46?

JB:

Yes. I shipped over twice. I wanted to make first class. I had passed the test and everything, but the complement was full, and, darn it, I didn't get above second class, but I had already passed the test and everything.

EE:

There were five women who were doing this. And the work that you're doing is decoding, or are you collecting materials for these mathematicians to help write the code? What is actually your work?

JB:

Well, we were typing up what they did. Also, we set up a library, and everything was like dated so that we could just reach in and get something. They had nothing to keep stuff in before, and you know, the war was—what was it, '43?

EE:

Well, Pearl Harbor was '41. So I guess it was ratcheting up in '42.

JB:

Well, the whole thing was that nothing had been filed. They had been working at it, and it was just a mess to get in there and get everything in its proper order, and they decided to call in librarians.

EE:

Did you get your day-to-day assignments from a man or a woman?

JB:

Well, we didn't have any day-to-day assignments. We just went in there and sat down at our desk.

EE:

Okay. But you didn't have like a WAVE superior officer—

JB:

Yes, we had a WAVE superior officer.

EE:

Back in WAVES Quarter D, I guess.

JB:

No. We had one there. And then we had, oh, maybe thirty officers that we did all their work for.

EE:

Right. But the WAVES superior officer at the work place was the one that told you to do that type of work there?

JB:

No. She never told us anything. She just said—she just left us alone. I think—well, first, we were all older than her, just about. She was just a shiny little thing right out of college, and some of these ladies were—oh, I think one was even forty. I was probably the youngest one there.

EE:

You were one of the younger ones there?

JB:

Yes, because the two others were college graduates, one from Ohio and one from Utah, and then the other two, I think they were pretty senior librarians.

EE:

So you've got this core of five or six women that are working there, and the rest of the folks are men.

JB:

Yes.

EE:

Were you treated professionally? You know, some folks got static because they were taking over jobs that men had before.

JB:

Oh, no. No. No. All these guys were college professors. They treated us just like students. I know one day I came on the base whistling. It was a beautiful day, and I just couldn't stand it, and I was whistling, and all of a sudden this shiny new ensign came out from nowhere and said, “What is your name?” I told him. He says, “I'm putting you on report.”

I said, “What for?”

He says, “There's no whistling aboard the ship.”

So I went in, and I said, “Commander Hanson, the weirdest thing just happened to me.”

He said, “What, dear?” Because they treated us just like students.

I said, “Well, I was coming to work, and it was such a beautiful day I was whistling, and this shiny new ensign took my name and put me on report.”

He said, “Oh, is that so? Do you know who he is?”

I said—well, I had his name. It was on him. I said, “Yes.”

So he went to the commanding officer and said, “This blankety-blankety-blank has assaulted one of my WAVES, and I want him gone.” And Honey, he was on a ship on the way to the war, ka-poop! I mean, they didn't mess with it.

EE:

Well, that's great. Nice to have him stand up for you and know when somebody's trying to pull some stuff on you.

JB:

Oh, yes. Well, when they told us that we had to mop the floors, he said, “My girls don't mop floors.”

They said, “Well, it's top security. These people can't mop them.”

He said, “Me and my officers will mop the floors.”

EE:

He didn't want you doing the women's work, the old—he could have treated you differently.

JB:

Well, the sailors mopped the floors. No, he just said, “My girls do not mop floors.” And he rotated it. There were about thirty guys, all officers, and they all mopped the floors in our section.

EE:

And you say Hanson was his name?

JB:

Yes, Commander Hanson. Yes.

EE:

You say here in your notes that you were called a Specialist Q even though that wasn't really a rating.

JB:

That's right. Yes.

EE:

That's what you were doing, Specialist Q?

JB:

Well, there was no G4A. We were G4A, but there was no G4A. There was no Specialist Q that I know of.

EE:

You say that you could never go off of your base alone, usually went in groups of three or more, because three SPARs [Coast Guard Women's Reserve—from “Semper Paratus, Always Ready”] had been—

JB:

Hung in Arlington, by a tree. It was never on the news, and they never found out who did it, but the clamps were put on us, all the women in service: You don't go out alone. You have to at least be in two or three or maybe five. Yes, they were hung.

EE:

And these were women who had been working with secret stuff?

JB:

No. No. They were SPARs. They weren't even WAVES.

EE:

So they just feared that somebody was out to do some [unclear]?

JB:

Yes. Well, you know, there were more spies in D.C. than there were in Russia. I mean, it was crawling with spies.

EE:

I'm sure. I'm sure. Although most of the people that I've talked to, you know, I've had people who said that their job calls—you know, they had to work strange shifts. But they said everybody else was working strange shifts, and they didn't feel any qualms about going out at midnight to go to work because so many other folks were out.

JB:

Well, it was just right across the street, and we had Marine guards right there. Oh, no. I mean, we had—like I say here, when we were delivering dispatches to the Presidents, all these Marine guards had been shell-shocked. They were sent back to the States because they had been wounded, lost a leg, an arm. They were rehabilitating them there are guards. Actually, we were more afraid of those damned guards than we were the presidents. You know, we knew they were cuckoo, and several times—see, their quarters were right across from ours, right behind the communication annex, and gee, there were fights and all kinds of things going on there all the time. They were constantly sending them to Bethesda [Naval Hospital, Maryland]. That was the cuckoo place.

EE:

Now, did you personally deliver stuff to the White House?

JB:

Oh, we all did. Yes. We took turns.

EE:

But you would hand it off, I guess, to an attaché there at the White House? You wouldn't meet the president personally?

JB:

No. No. No. It was top secret.

EE:

You went right to the president?

JB:

Yes, sir, with two Marine guards on either side of us. Nobody touched that dispatch but the presidents. Like, we knew the war was over three days before it was. We knew so many more things than the public did before it ever happened, but the president didn't.

EE:

How much did you know, like this SPARs incident, that was not released to the public?

JB:

It was not released, no, but we were all hauled in at WAVE Quarters D, and there were five thousand of us, I guess, there and told this and said, “You will not ever go out alone.” And they said, “These three girls got hung, and there were three, and we don't understand it, and we don't know it, but you have to go in groups.” So that's why we went out in groups.

EE:

What was it like the first day you went over to the White House and delivered a message?

JB:

Well, it was very formal, very formal. President Roosevelt said, “Come in,” and of course, we saluted him. He was Commander-in-Chief. He said, “At ease.” And he read the dispatch and said, “Thank you.”

Now, when you went to Truman, when he took over, he'd say, “Hey, come on in here, girly-girly. How you doing?” You know, here was a patrician [Roosevelt], like, you know, a king, and then a friendly Southerner [Truman]. Yes. It was totally—

EE:

Totally different style.

JB:

Totally different. Yes.

EE:

And you were delivering these dispatches. I guess you didn't personally know what the content of the dispatch was, or did you?

JB:

Well, yes, we worked on it. We had worked on it, and every day it had to be taken to the president, directly to the president. No other eyes touches what was in that dispatch. Directly to him.

EE:

And you don't get to have a photograph with the president after all this. This was a daily briefing. I guess you all traded off in the office in making this delivery?

JB:

Oh, well, no. The whole thing was secret. Why should I have my picture with the president delivering this top secret package, you know?

EE:

Sometime after the war it would be nice. But of course, now, where were you when you heard the news that Roosevelt had passed away?

JB:

Oh, God, I was there. We were there. As a matter of fact, that night Truman was sworn in right across the street from the annex in secret. We cried. Oh, we cried. Everybody cried.

EE:

Did you go down to the Rotunda and stand for the parade?

JB:

No. No. There was a big parade—we were probably working. There was a big parade in D.C., and the streets were—everybody turned out as his coffin passed.

EE:

You talked about the manner and how he received the message. What did you think of him or Mrs. Roosevelt, for that matter, who was certainly quite a personality in her own right? What did you think of her?

JB:

I thought they were nice. I mean, that's just the way it was, you know?

EE:

Do you have any distinct memories of either VE [Victory in Europe] Day or VJ [Victory in Japan] Day?

JB:

Yes, sure do. Oh, boy. Our ensign, she was really neat to us, but we were good to everybody, too. See, none of our officers could get bacon or eggs or butter. All those things were rationed. So we'd go to the mess hall and tell them that we were going on a picnic or we were going to do something, and we'd get three dozen eggs and we'd get five pounds of butter and all the stuff that was rationed, and we'd take it to work and give it to our officers.

EE:

That's great.

JB:

Oh, we were crooks.

EE:

Well, you weren't the only ones, from what I heard. You say you found out the war was over in Europe before the public knew about it.

JB:

Oh, yes. That's what I was starting to tell you. Our ensign, we went over to their house, rode a bus, because we were going to do hot dogs in the fireplace. We got the hot dogs, the three of us, and she was there. We got the hot dogs and we got all the fixings and the messings and everything, and we were grilling hot dogs in her fireplace when, all of a sudden, all hell broke loose. Everybody was screaming and hollering and shouting. She had a basement apartment. “What in the world is going on?” The people were screaming, “The war is over. The war is over,” but we didn't know it was going to be released then. We knew it was over, but we didn't know it was going to—well, you wouldn't believe it. Of course, there was no transportation back to the base. We had to walk. My God, I don't know how—we didn't get back to the base until in the morning. She lived way across town. We walked out, and all these people, all these men, everybody ran out, set up card tables, and put up liquor, booze. There was whiskey everywhere. I mean, you couldn't turn around. Needless to say, that didn't help us walking home.

EE:

With everybody giving you a drink, it's kind of hard to find directions.

JB:

Oh, yes. Well, yes. But we had to walk. No streetcars were running, no buses were running, because the people just took over the town. Yes. A madhouse.

EE:

Now, that was VE or VJ Day?

JB:

It was VE, I think.

EE:

Because I think after VE Day everybody was excited, but then everybody figured that we were going to have to invade Japan the same slow way like we did Europe.

JB:

Yes.

EE:

Did you get early word on the atomic bomb?

JB:

No. No, we didn't.

EE:

So that didn't come through your office?

JB:

No. See, we were strictly decoding stuff. That must have come through—maybe [unclear] the president.

EE:

Right. I was going to say, you only decoded enemy or other ally messages, then?

JB:

Yes. Yes, we watched them all. And there were spies, too, because there was an English guy that kept coming in saying he needed to use a file or something, and we knew that he was trying to find out stuff. So he was one of the ones that, the minute he came in, we put our paper like we were working on. He never got anything out of us, but he got plenty out of somewhere.

EE:

Did you know that you were being watched in your off time to make sure that you weren't being a spy?

JB:

No. We had all been cleared, top cleared, and they'd gone all the way back practically to our birth and hospitals and everybody. No.

EE:

You stayed at this office decoding and coding messages through the rest of your time in the service, is that right?

JB:

Yes.

EE:

And you left in—it was '46, was when you left. When in '46?

JB:

Yes, May.

EE:

May in '46. I guess when you signed on, you had signed on for the duration plus six, like everybody else.

JB:

The duration, yes.

EE:

And you were one of the last ones to get out, I guess.

JB:

Well, I shipped over twice because I had already passed first class and I wanted that chevron. But the complement wasn't open.

EE:

Did you want to stay longer? Did you ever think about making a career of it?

JB:

No, because I had met a handsome navy pilot at the time [her future husband Chuck, an ensign].

EE:

That always happens, doesn't it?

JB:

Yes. Well, my cousin married a boy from Southern Pines [North Carolina], and he was a flyboy, too. He was Army Air Corps. His mother lived in Southern Pines. So my cousin visited there and said, “Well, you know, my cousin's in Washington, D.C., in the navy.” So she wrote me a letter and said, “Come on down any time you can.” So anyway, I started going down there once a month just to get out of the barracks and visit.

EE:

That's a pleasant place.

JB:

Yes, it was nice.

EE:

It's right there on the train line, too, isn't it?

JB:

Yes. So one day we were at the train station and Chuck was there. He was just back from overseas. He was a nice, shiny ensign with all these war things. She said, “Oh, there's a friend of Danny's.” And she says, “Come on.” And enlisted and officers do not meet, so I couldn't. She says, “Chuck, this is Danny's wife's cousin, Jaenn Coz—

[Begin Tape 1, Side 2]

EE:

—started first on the train.

JB:

No, I started up first on the train. And the conductor said, “Jigs to the right, something to the left.” Well, I didn't know what a jig was. How in the hell would I know what a jig was? And he grabbed me by the arm, and he says, “You can't go that way.”

I said, “Well, why can't I go that way?”

He says, “I'll tell you later.” But that's how we met. Plus, he had been drinking with some buddies, and he kept going to sleep and falling on my shoulder.

EE:

Making a good impression.

JB:

Yes, and I thought—I'd go like that, and I'd push him, and I'd push him. So anyway, they called up Suffolk or Norfolk or whatever it was, and he got off, and he said, “I'd like to come up to D.C. to see you sometime,” and I thought, “Yes, sure.”

I said, “Well, you can't because you're an officer and I'm enlisted.”

He said, “We flyboys don't pay any attention to that.”

So I did give him my address, but I thought, “Good luck. I'll never see you.” And I'll be darned if the next weekend I didn't get a call. There he was.

I said, “Well, I'll meet you in the hotel lobby.” It's the new hotel now that's just opened, but it was the big one then [Willard Hotel]. I can't remember what the—I know it, but I can't remember. Anyway, there were a lot of WAVES sitting down there in the lobby. So he came up, and I saw him come up, and I thought, “Maybe he won't see me.”

So anyway, this WAVE stepped up, and he said, “Are you Jaenn Coz?”

She says, “I'll be if you want me to be.”

He said, “No. I'm looking for somebody,” and he looked.

I thought maybe he wouldn't recognize me.

So he just walked all around the room. He said, “Oh, there you are.”

So we just became friends. But we were both engaged, so, you know, we were just going to be friends.

EE:

Right. And these were both long-term people you knew who were overseas or is that how that worked out?

JB:

Well, actually, I was engaged to my high school boyfriend.

EE:

Oh, Jack. Okay.

JB:

Yes. He was my sweetheart. But then along the way I had several other boyfriends that I wasn't engaged to, just dated them. But we were married four months later.

EE:

Yes. It doesn't take long.

JB:

Wasn't that awful? And he was still—

EE:

And were you still in the service when you got married?

JB:

No. I got out. That's when I didn't ship over. I had shipped over—

EE:

But he stayed in the service, didn't he?

JB:

Yes. Yes, he stayed [until August 1946].

EE:

And in fact, he made a career out of that, did he not?

JB:

Yes. He was in World War II and the Korean crisis and the Cuban thing. Then he was a weekend warrior. He kept up with his stuff, and we went to the University of North Carolina. He graduated there. See, he kept his time in.

EE:

You said that you were treated well by the folks in your office. Did you ever have anybody either say something good or say something negative to you as you were out on the street in a uniform?

JB:

Just that one ensign, and he went over to fight the war. And that was on the base [laughs]. No.

EE:

So maybe that word got around and nobody would mess with you.

JB:

No. Actually, we used to go to New York City. There was a place there we could stay, and we'd go to New York City for New Year's. And whenever I see that—

EE:

Ball coming down.

JB:

Yes, I think of the times we stood out there ankle deep in snow, freezing to death, but happy because every bar, Jack Dempsey's, every bar—we walked along there, we were in uniform—they would grab us and bring us in and give us a drink, as many as we wanted. And the restaurants would say, “Come on in and have something to eat.” So by the time we got back to our hotel we were feeling no pain.

EE:

That's nice. I've heard several people who know about that, that once you were uniform, people went out of their way to do something nice for you.

JB:

Oh, yes. Well, a lot of the policemen, if you asked a policeman a direction, he'd give it to you and then he'd say, “Is there anything else I can do for you? My son's in uniform.” Yes, because most of their kids were in uniform, too.

EE:

And I guess you got to put a star in the window back at somebody's home. Did you have a flag back home flying for you?

JB:

Oh, I doubt it. My mother was working on her what, fourth or fifth husband.

EE:

She was too busy with other things.

JB:

Yes. We never did know how many—

EE:

Well, you talked about going down to the clubs.

JB:

The 400 Club in D.C. was our mainstay, and then there was a fish place, Fisherman's Wash, that we ate in. It was wonderful.

EE:

If you heard Sinatra, are there some songs that—

JB:

He was in the 400 Club singing on the weekends.

EE:

Is there a particular favorite song that you have that takes you back to that time?

JB:

Well, I love them all, and I cry over some because they make sad because I'm not home [laughs].

EE:

Yes. Yes. I know that. It doesn't sound like, although you got this warning about being in groups, it doesn't sound like your work itself ever put you in physical danger. Were you ever afraid, being so far away from home and being in new places?

JB:

Well, I was an only child. I hated it, to be away from home. Besides, I wasn't supposed to go until after Christmas and I was supposed to be in San Francisco, and they screwed me [laughs].

EE:

Yes. That was the army, or the navy.

JB:

Yes, they did it to everybody. No, I adjusted. I adjusted.

EE:

Was that, or was there something else that was the hardest thing for you emotionally about—

JB:

Boot camp.

EE:

Boot camp?

JB:

That just tore me up. How dare they treat me like that.

EE:

Just the physical part of it.

JB:

Yes, and abusing it. And then, there was something else that the recruiter didn't say, that we were going to get ten thousand shots. We were lined up in, they called it a daisy chain, and you walked through, and on either side you got shot. And they'd say, “Go outside to faint. Go outside to faint,” because there was a lot of that going on. Well, unfortunately, one time I was behind—I think he was a seven-foot Marine, and they shot him and he fainted and knocked three of us down behind him. He took three of us out. Now, you wouldn't expect a Marine to faint, you know.

EE:

Well, you can't control it sometimes. That's something else. You have told me a number of funny stories already. What was your most embarrassing moment? Is there a particularly—you may not want to tell a telling story, but, you know, from somebody else?

JB:

I was trying to think. Well, I was frightened to death one time before the SPARs got hung. I went out alone to the fish place, and I had fish, and then I got feeling sorry for myself, and I started drinking. The bartender came over, and he said, “Those people over there are bad. Be careful.” Well, I thought, “I'd better quit and go home.”

Well, the woman came up, and she grabbed my coat and she grabbed me, and she said, “Oh, we're having a party over here. Come on over and join us.”

Well, there were three men and her, and I said, “No, I don't think so.”

They said, “Oh, we'll buy you a drink, and then we want you to go home with us.”

I thought, “Oh, my God, no.” I said, “I have to go to the bathroom.”

There were three BAMs [broad-assed Marines (women)] in there. I said, “I think I'm being kidnapped. Will you help me? They've got my coat, and I think they're trying to take me off.”

Well, these BAMs went up and said, “Where?”

I said, “Right there.”

They went up, they took my coat, they took my purse, and they took me out and put me in a cab.

EE:

That was good.

JB:

That was the scariest time, and after that, you know, we couldn't go out alone anyway.

EE:

And you didn't after that, I'm sure.

JB:

Oh, no, no, no. But that was a real scary experience.

EE:

I'm glad they helped to take care of you.

You're working stateside. Of course, you're in D.C. A lot of the people I've talked with, they wax nostalgic that we are not as patriotic now as we used to be, and then we were probably as patriotic as we ever were.

JB:

Well, we were in total war. I mean, that's different. This old—I won't say what I call it. We should have never—we were so mad at our son. Because we'd both been in service, he thought he had to go to Vietnam. He was in college, registered in college, and he went behind our backs. I told him, I said, “No. This is a no-win war. You cannot go up to a line and quit.” So he went behind our backs, he signed up, and then he told us. And he was wounded five time in Vietnam. Every time he turned around, he got shot. He had to do things that were horrible. He's like me: he's a very fun-loving, tender person. They would say, “Go into that village and kill every man, woman, dog, cat, chicken, animal, kill it all.” And it just tore him up. He has never married. I don't know whether he will ever marry or not. He loved to run. He was an athlete in high school, and he used to run up Market Street, and he can't even run up there at night because there's a Gook behind every bush. And this is many long years after Vietnam.

EE:

How long was he over there?

JB:

He was in four years. [You] mean, in Vietnam?

EE:

Yes.

JB:

Well, he was—this is sort of funny. It's not nice. My husband has a cousin that was way up in the Pentagon. Chuck caught him and said—you know, he was just out of boot camp. He said, “You know, Skip is going right to Vietnam now.” He was a Marine, too, this guy. He said, “He's just out of training.” Well, Skipper got to Okinawa, and he was called off the ship, and the ship left without him. So he spent thirteen months in Okinawa because Tom couldn't see it either. He just said, “He is not going to Vietnam.” So when he went to Vietnam he was older, he was a year older. But it was a rotten, no-good war. They would run across the border and reload and come back.

EE:

And you couldn't go follow them because—

JB:

No. No. And that is one of the worst shots that Skip got. He got a—well, the AK-47 bullet went through his buddy, but it went deep in his knee, and he thinks that he was over the line but he doesn't know. So then he spent five months on a hospital ship, but his legs are all full of shrapnel. He's still picking them out from all that mess that went on there. It makes me mad. He knows how to get a rise out of me when he said, “Why did you talk me into going to Vietnam?” [Laughs] “Oh, boy.”

EE:

Right. Well, even in those patriotic times, World War II, when everybody got together, there's still bad things that happen in any war. Did you ever know people who were afraid that we might not win in World War II?

JB:

No. No. We were going to win. I was with a patriotic group. I wasn't with any sissies or anything like that. No.

EE:

You didn't hear anything?

JB:

No. The only thing we were afraid of before it would end—now, I told you about being in California. We Californians knew, I mean, if they kept coming, they could take us all the way up to Chicago.

EE:

Really?

JB:

They could have. That was the only time that we were—any of us were frightened.

EE:

Did you know about the movement of the Japanese folks in California? Did you have any friends that were affected by it?

JB:

Oh, I hated it. The concentration camps were horrible. It is the worst thing that ever happened. Somebody that didn't even know them in Washington, D.C., or something made this edict. These were second generation Japanese kids. We grew up with them. We went to school. You know what my dad did? They were starving. My dentist was one, and my dad had a lot of Japanese friends. We were all friends. My dad made a run to the concentration camps once a month with coffee and sugar and—they were starving to death out there. They were not getting adequate nourishment at all. Once a month my dad and his friends would fill up a truck and carry food up there to them. That's the way we treated our—and they were our people.

EE:

They just had the wrong last name and the wrong—

JB:

No. It was an asshole somewhere didn't know what they were doing. They decided all Japanese were bad. Well, my girlfriend's grandmother, who came from Italy—

EE:

Right. Did we send all the Italians and the Germans to internment camps, too?

JB:

No. No. They watched them. They put them on—they put some kind of a thing in their window to designate that they were Italian and—my girlfriend's grandmother, who lived in San Francisco, she was taken down and questioned and everything. Of course, she never learned English. Well, see, my girlfriend's mother never spoke English. It was their language, and oh, my goodness, they were scared to death for the grandmother. It was terrible because these people were patriotic. But I hated that about the Japanese, and I'm glad they're apologizing to them now because they did wrong. But many of them, their hearts were broken, their china was taken, their houses were stolen. It was terrible, what happened to them. They can never make it up.

EE:

When you look back on that time, do you have any heroes or heroines, the folks that you were in service with?

JB:

Well, not really. You know, we were all about the same. We were all doing a job. I don't remember any man or a woman that I felt was any better off or hero-y than—I thought I was a hero [laughs].

EE:

Yes, you did, and I believe you probably felt at the end of the day that you contributed to the war effort, didn't you?

JB:

Yes. Yes, I did, after I got used to it, after I found out that I wasn't an only child anymore. Boy, I'll tell you, that was terrible. That was bad.

EE:

Your family led a military life. Most folks that I interview, their time exposed to the service world is only for a year or two, and they go back, and they have a civilian life, and you all stayed with it.

JB:

Yes, he's a hero. Oh, gosh. What did you do there? Did you pick up something?

CB:

I don't know. I probably did.

JB:

[Laughter] Why don't you sit down?

EE:

How your life has been different because of your time in the military?

JB:

I don't know. I went to the University of North Carolina. I don't know how it would have been different.

EE:

You went there on the G.I. Bill?

JB:

Yes, we both did, and then he was called back in several wars. What were you?

CB:

Just the Korean War and the Cuban Crisis.

EE:

And you had already started your family before Korea?

JB:

Oh, yes. Yes.

EE:

You all married in '46?

JB:

Yes.

CB:

Married in '46, and not very smart of us, but we started our family, and, of course, you were in Carolina.

EE:

As I and many of them tell you, sometimes it just happens that way, doesn't it?

JB:

Well, to tell the truth, I didn't want any children because I was an only child and I didn't think I needed them, but there was no birth control back then, let's say that, and unfortunately I married a guy who was one of nine.

EE:

[Unclear].

JB:

He thought you had five children. He thought you were supposed to have children.

CB:

So big families were a part of the—

EE:

Well, do you think the military made you more independent than what you already were?

JB:

No.

EE:

I'm going to ask you a couple of the general questions, then I'm going to ask you a few more because you're here together and you all did have a lot of time in the military. A lot of people, when they look at American society and they say what has changed in the last century, say, of course, the role of women has changed so much and it started changing because of a lot of things that happened in World War II. Because of the war time, you had women in the work force in places that they had never been before and nobody would ever have imagined they would be.

JB:

They didn't have a flapper for a mother. My mother was riding motorcycles, flying airplanes, driving cars, everything but—

EE:

That's right. She was way ahead of her time.

JB:

Yes. She was a real flapper. Like I said, we still don't know how many husbands she had.

EE:

Do you ever think of yourself as a trailblazer?

JB:

No. No. I don't think so. I'm just—

CB:

Well, you were in a way, I think.

JB:

Well, maybe.

EE:

Did your daughter ever express any interest in joining the military?

JB:

No. No.

EE:

If she had, what would you have told her?

JB:

I'd have said go for it, but I wouldn't have said no, because—in fact, my son, I said no, because he was in the Marines and that was a no-win situation.

CB:

And Vietnam wasn't a very popular war, either.

JB:

There was just no reason—

CB:

Unlike World War II, you know, I mean, the whole—

EE:

That's right. People could clearly see what was coming with that.

JB:

Yes.

EE:

At the end of '98, we sent the first female pilot into combat in Iraq on a bombing mission. Do you think there are some jobs in the military that should be off limits to women?

JB:

Well, I don't think that the services should be integrated, I definitely do not, because I know the girls got into enough trouble when they weren't.

CB:

You mean serving aboard ship and stuff like that?

JB:

No, I don't think they should be living together in barracks. It's too—and like I say—

CB:

Too tempting?

JB:

Yes, and in my WAVE situation, when we all lived in barracks, several girls got knocked up, and it was a sad thing because we all had to stand a captain's mast and watch as they ripped off her buttons and ripped off her chevrons and just humiliated her to death.

CB:

More or less drummed them out of the—

JB:

Yes, and we all stood there and cried, all five thousand of us, because it was such a damned sad situation.

EE:

And there wasn't an option for staying in once you got pregnant, was there?

JB:

No. No.

EE:

Actually, once you got married they asked you to leave, did they not?

JB:

I don't know. I don't remember. I don't think I knew anybody—they weren't married. I don't know anyone that was married.

CB:

It just wasn't done very much.

JB:

No.

EE:

You served in Korea and then you were in the Cuban Missile Crisis?

CB:

Yes.

EE:

Still mobilized then? And when did you actually go to Chapel Hill?

JB:

Oh, we went before.

CB:

'46 to '50.

EE:

'46, before the war started up. So you were stationed technically in Norfolk and then came to school in Chapel Hill. Or how did you—

CB:

Yes.

EE:

Were you living in Chapel Hill when he was going to school there?

JB:

Oh, I went to school, too. We got married while he was still in the navy.

CB:

We lived in Victory Village there.

EE:

I know where that's at, yes.

JB:

We lived in apartments with a lot of navy people when we were in Norfolk.

EE:

You were one of the few women that I can talk to who has experienced the military in almost as many ways as you can do it: as a participant, as a spouse, as a mother. What does it feel like going from being in the service to being the spouse of a military person?

JB:

Fit in perfectly. I understood. I understood all the duty. It was perfect because I had been in service and I knew the whole schmoe. I knew exactly what it was.

EE:

The first time that we met over at UNCG you handed me a card and it said that you were affiliated with Mabel—what was that? What's the Officers Reserve Association that you're in?

CB:

Reserve Officers Association [League, for spouses of the Reserve Officer's Association members].

EE:

And you're the secretary, or what's your affiliation with that group?

JB:

Well, let's see, there's the national level, and I have been a national historian. But then there is a state level, which I have held every job, and then there is a local level, which I have held every job except not the treasurer. I don't do money.

CB:

And this past summer she won the number one award for a newsletter nationally, for the newsletter that she publishes at the state level here in North Carolina.

EE:

You were on active duty to the early sixties. When did you go to reserve status?

CB:

Actually, I—let's see. I was in the Korean War, and I was in there from '52 to '57 on active duty. Then I rejoined the reserve squadron in Norfolk, and the squadron was called up for a year during the Cuban crisis, in about October '61 to October '62, somewhere in that area, and we were down in Cuba, flying out of Cuba [Guantanamo Bay].

EE:

And when you were called up in '52, had you been in a reserve status before, then?

CB:

Yes, right. I had been in the reserve while I was at Chapel Hill. It was a way to earn a little extra money on the weekends, you know. So I heard that they were establishing a reserve, I guess in about 1947, about the second year I was at—in the first year I was at Chapel Hill. There were a lot of guys walking around with flight jackets on, so the word passed, you know.

JB:

Yes. Well, I wore my uniform.

CB:

There were a lot of guys in khaki or flight jackets.

EE:

Almost every campus I've been to, everybody had a Veterans Village of some sort because there were so many people coming back, men and women that were coming back.

JB:

Yes, and we didn't have any clothes. So he wore his khakis. Now I'm trying to get my uniform together in case I kick the bucket, and I can't find the whole thing. I'm tearing up the house, because I wore my flights—you know, I took all the chevrons off and the jacket, and I wore my skirt. So there's nothing on that. So I'm trying to find my chevrons because I want to have a military funeral. So I'm trying—I've got one more closet to go through. But, you see, there's no Specialist Q. So, I mean, we had it. I've got one, but I don't have the chevrons. So I think I'll just make two, because I had—

CB:

I think I can pick up something at Norfolk that would do.

EE:

Fit the bill?

JB:

I don't know. I need second class petty officer chevrons.

EE:

When you were in Korea, where did you live? Were you living still at Norfolk when he was there?

CB:

No. Actually, after I graduated from Chapel Hill in 1950, we moved to the West Coast. We'd spent some time here so we decided to spend some time in her hometown of Sacramento. So we moved out there, and I went to work at an Air Force base as civilian personnel and joined the reserve out there. They were sending planes up from San Francisco up to Sacramento for us to fly on the weekend. So after about, I guess, a year and a half or two years there, they snatched me back.

EE:

So you all were living in California while you were overseas.

CB:

Yes, we were living in Sacramento. I was stationed in San Diego, so I generally—I moved my family down to San Diego as soon as I could.

JB:

Well, we went to—where did we go?

CB:

Well, down just a little south of San Diego, Imperial Beach.

JB:

Imperial Beach, yes.

EE:

If you all had to give advice to a couple today who was thinking about being a two-career military family, what advice would you give them? What should they know about military life as a couple?

JB:

Well, I don't believe in it. I don't believe that married women should be in service.

CB:

It's kind of an interesting thing. She always said that she didn't worry about me because I was a pro, but she worried about our son a whole lot.

JB:

I did.

CB:

He didn't have as much training as I did, but they make pros out of all of them pretty quick.

JB:

No. I never had the slightest worry—well, maybe it's because I was in service. I mean, he was an expert pilot. As a matter of fact, he had a perfect everything in the navy but came out here in the back yard cutting a pine tree and broke his back.

CB:

Shortest flight I ever had was straight down, twenty feet off of a ladder.

EE:

There's no good way to pull out of that one, is there?

CB:

The problem was, I was hit by another tree. The tree had lodged against some other trees, and when I cut it, it came down on my side of the tree which the ladder was up against and just treated me like I was a baseball and knocked me back into another tree and knocked me unconscious.

JB:

[Unclear]

CB:

So that twenty-foot fall to the ground was unconscious so I couldn't tumble, I couldn't roll, or do anything to protect myself or I might have had a better outcome.

EE:

I was going to say, consider yourself lucky you're walking around today. I know some folks who have not had as good an outcome from it.

CB:

Oh, I ran across [unclear].

EE:

Now let me ask you the last thing. Is there anything I haven't asked you about which you think that we ought to put down on this tape? You've told as many things about him as you can without him being around to hear about it.

JB:

Well, there's a lot of things that—you can't tell everything. There was just so many things. That's when I learned to gamble, go upstairs and play bridge.

EE:

It's addictive.

JB:

Yes. Well, we had nothing else to do. We couldn't go out. We didn't have any money. My God, we were making something like twenty-five dollars a month and my dad would send me a hundred so I could live.

EE:

And that's pretty good.

CB:

That's better than a lot of the gals had.

JB:

Yes, well—

CB:

I've survived on that twenty-one dollars a month or whatever.

JB:

Twenty-five. Well, that's another reason I immediately started studying and going up. I had to have more money.

EE:

Right. Well, on behalf of the school and myself personally, thank you for sitting down and doing this.

[Recording Interrupted]

EE:

I have a question for you. You told me that you were a Native American in your heritage.

JB:

Yes.

EE:

How does that factor into your background?

JB:

And I'm proud of it. My great-grandmother was from Carmel. Way back in the olden days, all up and down the West Coast, Native Americans lived there. She lived in Carmel. Well, it was a sad, bloody day when Father Sera sailed across and came over because they immediately indentured the natives, made them wear clothes, made them do all kinds of horrible things. These were peace-loving people that went out in the water and got a crab or an oyster. You know, they lived on the land and they were non-violent. All of a sudden, they were regimentated. Well, those that did not conform, we think 150 were run into a blind canyon an murdered. The women were put in convents. Well, my great-grandfather, he went to the mission and he said he was an honest man and he wanted to marry. So they raised this sheet up and they said, “Well, these are the young women you can marry.” So he walked up and down and he picked Maria DeJesus.

CB:

Now, he was Spanish.

JB:

Yes. He was Spanish.

CB:

Spanish like from Spain?

JB:

Yes.

EE:

So that was your great-grandfather who did that?

JB:

Yes.

EE:

And was there a name of the tribe?

JB:

Ohlone.

EE:

It's just like it sounds, isn't it?

CB:

Yes. I hadn't heard of that until just recently. I'd heard of a lot of the other Indian tribes, especially the ones, I guess, on the East Coast.

JB:

Yes, up here.

CB:

In this area. But that was a new one to me.

JB:

They were put in servitude. But some did escape, and that's why there are some more. But the majority of them either became servants or farmers or controlled.

EE:

Well, that's what I wanted to know. Thank you.

[End of Interview]