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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Oral history interview with Carrie G. Radnik, 2003

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Object ID: WV0269.5.001

Description: Primarily documents Carrie Gammel Radnik’s service in the Army Nurse Corps from 1942 to 1945.

Summary:

Pre-war topics include Radnik's high school education; the Depression; studying nursing at Touro Infirmary, New Orleans; and the attack on Pearl Harbor. She discusses her reasons for enlisting in the ANC, and why she did not initially tell her mother. Discussion of her first years in the service includes her general nursing work at Camp Livingston and adjusting to military life. She also mentions her unit’s overseas training and her voyage from New York to Australia.

Of her time overseas, Radnik discusses the layout and typical activities of the 42nd General Hospital in Brisbane; arriving at New Guinea; being stationed near the front; her friends Mary Murphy and Janet Froome; reuniting with family and friends; using V-Mail; leisure activities and living conditions on the island; and meeting her husband, Martin. Radnik briefly describes her marriage, discharge, children, and post-service nursing career. The interview ends with a discussion of some of Radnik’s personal photos.

Creator: Carrie Stinson Gammel Radnik

Biographical Info: Carrie Stinson Gammel Radnik (1919-2012)of Montrose, Arkansas, served in the Army Nurse Corps from 1942 to 1945.

Collection: Carrie S. G. Radnik 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:

[Carrie Radnik's husband Martin [MR] is alos present for the interview]

EE:

My name is Eric Elliott, and this is an interview for the Women Veterans Historical Project at University of North Carolina at Greensboro [UNCG]. Today is January 14, 2003, and we're in Greensboro today at the home of Carrie Radnik.

It would help if I had that correct. Mrs. R-a-d-n-i-k.

Mrs. Radnik, when we sit down and talk about this interview process, as I tell you, we try to get everybody started from the very beginning. Could you tell us, simply, where were you born, and where did you grow up?

CR:

I was born in Montrose, Arkansas.

EE:

Is that near Little Rock?

CR:

Yes, about 175 miles. Southeastern corner of Arkansas.

EE:

Is that where you graduated from high school as well?

CR:

Yes. I graduated from Lake Village High School. That's in Lake Village, Arkansas, about thirteen miles from Montrose.

EE:

Okay. Did you have any brothers and sisters?

CR:

Yes. I have an older sister, and a brother, younger. I'm the middle.

EE:

So, you're right in the middle then. Okay. All right. What did your folks do?

CR:

My daddy was an accountant, and my mother kept the house; she was a homemaker.

EE:

Were you somebody who liked school, growing up?

CR:

Yes, I liked school. I played a little bit, too.

EE:

Well, that's okay. You're allowed to do that. I've got two young boys, I'm familiar with both school and playing with it. Did you have a favorite subject when you were growing up?

CR:

I liked history and social sciences.

EE:

Okay. Well, you're already after my heart, then, if you're somebody who liked history. I guess the time you grew up, you probably remember when the Depression started. If your dad was an accountant, I imagine he was probably affected by that as well.

CR:

Oh, yes, he was.

EE:

What was that time like for your family?

CR:

Well, we were living on sort of a farm. It wasn't really a farm, but my dad helped out. He had to go up to Boydell, Arkansas, which is five miles from Montrose, and help my grandfather in the store. My grandfather had a store, but he had had a train accident and had been hit by a train, and he had a long recuperation, and so my father went up there and worked in the store with him and did some, say, gentleman farming, you know, had people helping him. That's what we did.

EE:

I was going to say, it probably was like a family affair, that everybody got bumped into that at one time or the other.

CR:

Yes.

EE:

Well now, was that something that went on all through the time you were in high school? Was he still up there?

CR:

No. I wasn't in high school then. I was in grammar school.

EE:

You know, North Carolina back in the thirties only had eleven years of high school. What was Arkansas? Was it eleven years or twelve years?

CR:

Twelve.

EE:

Twelve. Okay. So you graduated—

CR:

Nineteen thirty-seven.

EE:

Thirty-seven.

CR:

In May.

EE:

What did you do when you graduated?

CR:

Well, I graduated and then I was planning to go into nurse's training.

EE:

How did you go from being interested in history to nursing? Is there somebody that you knew was a nurse, or what got you into it?

CR:

No. I guess when I was in eighth grade I decided to go and be a nurse. I just wanted to help people, and I thought that would be a good profession.

EE:

Where did you take your nurse's training?

CR:

In New Orleans.

EE:

Now, that's out of state. Was that the first time you'd been out of state?

CR:

[laughs] Just about. Yes, really.

EE:

Because I know a lot of—back then, I guess even today, a lot of nurses are trained in hospitals and they're kind of around. How did you get connected with Touro? Did you know someone?

CR:

I knew someone and she had gone down to be a nurse, and she was from Portland, Arkansas, which was where I had gone to school when we were living in Boydell. Then we moved back to Montrose where I was born, and then I went to Lake Village. So I went to Lake Village in my sophomore year.

EE:

Okay. So you did a little moving around, more than a lot of folks at that time.

CR:

Oh yes.

EE:

Tell me about the nurse's training in 1937. Was it a three-year program?

CR:

Yes, three years.

EE:

Were you living actually at the hospital? Did they have dorm space and that kind of thing?

CR:

Yes. We had a nursing home across the street from the hospital.

EE:

Okay. And most of the women who were taking that training then were about your age, all coming out of high school?

CR:

Yes, probably. But some of them were older.

EE:

What was a typical day?

CR:

Well, I really enjoyed nursing. I was scared to death when I first started, you know.

EE:

Well now, you were both taking classes and working the floor. Is that how it worked?

CR:

Oh yes. Yes. We were probationers for three months. That was when you knew pretty well whether you were going to stay or not.

EE:

Right. Well, it must have been as good as what you hoped it had been, because you stayed with it and liked it.

CR:

Yes.

EE:

Was there a particular kind of nursing that you focused in on?

CR:

Well we had public health nursing, outside public health nursing, and I really enjoyed that. We went out into the homes and helped people, and helped with their babies, and took pacifiers out of their mouths.

EE:

Was that just one of the rotations was public health, or was that what you ended going into was public health?

CR:

No. We had three months of public health. We had so many courses. We had three months of surgery, three months on the medical floor, and just, you know, from the time we were in training until we graduated.

EE:

During the time you were in nursing school, I guess, is when the war broke out in Europe. Now you were, what, all of nineteen or so, I guess, when this was going on, maybe twenty.

CR:

I had graduated and I was living in an apartment, and I had been dating a fellow in the navy.

EE:

This was in '41?

CR:

Yes. And that day I hadn't turned on the radio or anything, and I was just reading. The phone rang and it was Joe, and he said, “Well, I don't think I'm going to be able to see you today.”

I said, “What happened?”

He said, “Have you had the radio on? You know about Pearl Harbor?”

I said, “No.”

EE:

So you found out about through your boyfriend.

CR:

Yes. And he said, “We're shipping out.” So I never saw him again.

EE:

Gosh. So that was your goodbye, that phone conversation.

CR:

Yes.

EE:

So he was stationed right there in Louisiana. You finished there at Touro Infirmary—

CR:

No. I just met him when I was in training. A bunch of us went ice skating, and he just came up and asked to skate with me.

EE:

But you were working there; you stayed there working in New Orleans. Is that where you got a job after you finished your training?

CR:

Yes. I worked there a year. I wanted to get a year's experience in nursing.

EE:

A year's experience, and then do what? Go back to Arkansas?

CR:

Go into the service.

EE:

Oh, you—when did you have that idea?

CR:

By that time—well, you know, we knew that there was going to be a war, but we didn't know when. We heard that nurses were going to be drafted, and we just didn't like that idea. So one of our assistant directors called us all in and talked to us, because she had been in World War I. I don't know. She was an older woman. And she said, “You shouldn't feel like that.” She said, “You should be ready to go and serve your country.” And she told us different things that had taken place with her. So then that made us feel completely relaxed about it. You know, if they drafted us, okay, you know, we would be willing to go.

EE:

Right. How did your family feel about you joining the service?

CR:

Well, they thought anything I did was fine. [laughs]

EE:

You were the apple of their eye anyway. Is that what it is?

CR:

Oh, my dad thought I couldn't say anything wrong. I was a nurse, and he listened to everything I said.

EE:

Well, nursing, that was one of those professions that you didn't have option—I mean, there's a potential that you could be in harm's way, and I just wondered if that had any pause for them in thinking about you going in during wartime.

CR:

Well, so much so that I couldn't tell my mother I was going, because my mother couldn't have taken it. Well, she found out by getting my last will and testament, and she about went to pieces, I guess. Of course, by that time I was in Australia. But I just couldn't tell her, because she just—she wouldn't even go to the train with me [to say goodbye when I went to Touro]. I had to get on a train and go to New Orleans by myself. I'd been on trains before, but not for that long a distance. I had been up to Little Rock, Conway, Arkansas, places like that. My grandfather lived in Conway, and I went to visit him. But that was close, New Orleans was the furthest away, and I knew I'd not see my parents for a year, because I wouldn't have the money to come home and visit them.

EE:

Well now, you joined in May of '42. Were you drafted, or did you just go in and volunteer?

CR:

No. I just went. I wrote and asked to [join]—I had a girlfriend that was in the service. She went first. I planned to go, but I wanted to get a year's experience [in nursing]. She started out in private duty nursing, and she didn't really care about nursing. So she said, “Well, I'm going to go in the service.”

And I said, “Yeah. Tell me how it is,” you know.

So we wrote back and forth, and she said, “Come on in. I think you've had your year's experience now. Why don't you come in and go?” She said, “I think you'll enjoy it.”

EE:

Camp Livingston, how close is that to New Orleans? Is that right nearby?

CR:

No. It's near Alexandria, and Alexandria's about halfway, I guess, from my home in Arkansas to New Orleans.

EE:

When you signed up, did they give you any kind of a choice, whether you wanted to stay stateside or go overseas, or the kind of nursing that you were going to be doing?

CR:

No.

EE:

You were just sort of—you made yourself at the pleasure of the U.S. government for the duration.

CR:

Yes.

EE:

You signed on for the duration, or for a particular term?

CR:

Well, just signed up, you know.

EE:

Okay. Depending on when they went in and what they were doing, different nurses I've talked to have a lot of different range of experiences on the kind of basic training they got, because when you go in as a nurse, you go in already as a professional capacity. What was basic training like for you at Camp Livingston? They give you much of a basic instruction?

CR:

No. We just started nursing. You know, I'd been nursing all the time, so, like for four years now I'd been a nurse. So we just went right to the wards. We had wards. They were buildings. There was a surgical building, and then you'd go, you'd have to walk next door to—finally they got it so that it was all together, sort of. You know, a path from one to the other.

EE:

How big a facility?

CR:

Because that was just a—well, one unit, we took care of patients from a lot—one of the units, I believe—I don't know if it was Pennsylvania. I think it was—who'd I tell you was the general of that? Arnold?

EE:

Hap Arnold?

MR:

No. He was in the air force.

CR:

No, he was in the air force. Who was that? But anyway, I just don't recall. But we had different ones coming in. You know, the engineers would come, cavalry would come, and we took care of all of them. That was a big field.

EE:

So you were getting these in waves as they were coming back from overseas.

CR:

Yes.

EE:

I know at different hospitals, some of them specialized. Was Livingston sort of like a triage kind of place, where you were first getting folks back and some folks had—or was it more of a general hospital rather than a specialty?

CR:

No, just general. We just took care, actually, of patients who would get sick from there, you know. Then they had an epidemic of hepatitis in Fort Polk, and that was down by St. Charles, Louisiana. So we would get a bunch of those to take care of. I'm going to show you a picture of that.

EE:

You've already been a nurse, been living in a dormitory with women you're not related to, for a couple, three years. How was getting adjusted to military life that first year for you? Did you have any trouble with it?

CR:

Oh, no. I enjoyed it. No. We had a very nice group of girls. We each had our own room, and the roommate where we had an apartment in New Orleans, the one I went into service because of her, she was next door. And then we just got acquainted with everyone, and it was just like one big happy family.

EE:

So you went in and had a buddy from the beginning, and you just kept making friends, is what it amounted to.

CR:

Yes.

EE:

Okay. You were there for about a year, and then in June—well, I guess you left in May of '43. Tell me about how you got the word that you were shipping out. And did you know where you were headed when you were shipping out?

CR:

Well, we heard that a bunch of nurses were going to be leaving Camp Livingston. So my girlfriend and I made a pact. If I was called, she would go, and if she was called, I would go. Well, I was called, so she came. She said, “Well, I guess I have to do it.”

EE:

Okay. So she was volunteering. She said, “Take me, too.” Okay. [Radnik laughs] Well now, did they tell you where—

CR:

They knew that's what would happen. You know, they would get the girls and then the other one would volunteer, so they wouldn't have to pick out so many.

EE:

Did they give you, at that point, any additional training for overseas, like how to bivouac or that kind of thing?

CR:

Oh yes, we had to go out and march, and we had to learn how to wear gas masks, you know, and get ready for overseas. We got footlockers.

EE:

Did you know at that point that you were headed to the South Pacific?

CR:

No. We had no idea where we were going.

EE:

So when you got on the ship, did you know where you were headed?

CR:

No. We were sent on a train. We left Camp Livingston by train and went to New York, and went to Orange, New Jersey—is where I think we were.

EE:

Right outside New York. Right outside.

CR:

Yes. And they prepared us, gave us our shots and everything. I remember the day before we left, we'd had three shots in each arm. [laughs]

EE:

So you're sore the first day.

CR:

The entire arm hurt. And here we were given a bag to pack and to have two days of clothing in that, and then a blanket that we would roll up around that, and then that was a backpack. We had to put that on our backs.

EE:

How much did that weigh?

CR:

Plenty. It about killed us, you know. We got on the Staten Island Ferry and we would just—you'd have to lean up against something just to take that load off yourself.

EE:

Just to get some support for your back, yes. I would imagine there might have been a kind of a mixture of feelings at that time—a little excited, a little scared.

CR:

Yes. Well, sure.

EE:

Nineteen forty-three, it's hard for us to—especially my generation didn't live through it, and folks who will be hearing this story—did you ever have any fear that we would not win the war?

CR:

Oh, absolutely not. No. We just knew we would win.

EE:

Okay. It's interesting, because most of the time, folks in their early twenties, they're pretty optimistic about the world.

CR:

Yes.

EE:

I guess that's what happened. Most of y'all were about the same age, early twenties at most.

CR:

Yes.

EE:

So, you get on this ship, and if you're in New York, my hunch would be you're headed to Europe.

CR:

We had no idea. We were not told.

EE:

But you left from New York.

CR:

We were given a lot of winter clothes and we were not told where we'd go until we got out. We were two days out when they told us we were heading for Australia.

EE:

From New York.

CR:

Yes.

EE:

Okay.

CR:

On the [USAT] Henry Gibbons. I'd never heard of it since. It was a small ship and it had not been converted, so we all had staterooms.

EE:

Okay. Because I know a lot of the transports were just passenger ships they had hung up hammocks in or whatnot. But you sound like you had better accommodations.

CR:

Oh, we had staterooms. It was very nice. And we went down to eat, and we'd have a choice of food, meat. It was something. They had a library onboard. You could go and read.

EE:

Now, was this just for the nurses' transport, or did you have other soldiers who were on there as well?

CR:

Oh, yes, we had pilots, young pilots. I think the P-40, were they?

MR:

I don't know what they were. You said Weeks was one of them, one of my classmates.

CR:

Yes. They were just young. Some of them were only eighteen years old. They were going to go out and win the war, you know. They got into Australia and started strafing. Half of them were killed before they ever got—before their unit ever got up to New Guinea. The strafing, you know. Hitting telephones poles.

EE:

Right. What was the general relationship between nurses and the enlisted folks back then? How was it? Some folks, occasionally we run into somebody who maybe would harass them. What was your experience like? Was it a good experience, generally?

CR:

Oh yes. I'd get awful tired of saluting some of them. They'd just go around the corner to make you salute. [laughs]

EE:

Well now, you went in, and because you're a professional, a nurse, did you go in as a second lieutenant?

CR:

Yes.

EE:

Okay. So you got a commission right from the start.

CR:

Oh yes.

EE:

I guess, therefore, you were not supposed to fraternize with non-officers, anyway.

CR:

No.

EE:

Okay. This trip from New York to Australia took a month. Did you have any kind of escort or anything with your ship?

CR:

Oh, yes. I think there was one in front of us, and two—one on each side of us.

EE:

Was that a nerve-wracking trip, or did you feel comfortable with those folks giving you coverage?

CR:

Well, we zigzagged, you know, and it was very comfortable. We stayed out on deck a lot through the daytime.

EE:

Ever see any enemy ships or anything?

CR:

No.

EE:

Okay. So you had a pretty good crossing, then.

CR:

Yes.

EE:

Did y'all go through Panama?

CR:

Oh, yes. Sometimes the ship would list, you know, back and forth. Well, then, some of the kids would get sick, but I was never affected, motion sickness is not one of my weaknesses.

EE:

Lucky for you. Not all of us are so blessed, I'll tell you that.

CR:

Yes. Though the girls that got sick, they said, “Wait till you get on a plane.” So we went down after we were we went down on leave to Sydney and they kept waiting for me to get sick on that airplane, but I didn't. I was enjoying myself.

EE:

That's great. You landed in Brisbane, and they assembled you all there. Was the 42nd General already in existence, or did y'all just come to make up the 42nd?

CR:

It was already in existence. It was going. We just attached.

EE:

Okay. General hospitals are the ones farthest removed from the front. Is that how it worked? Field station, then general?

CR:

Yes.

EE:

So you're getting folks there who have been moved back from the front, or who were coming in for other accidents or illnesses or whatever.

CR:

Yes.

EE:

You got a wide variety of folks who were there. How big a place was the 42nd?

CR:

It was pretty large. As I said, it was in a convent that had been made into a hospital. It was up on a hill. You could see all over Brisbane from it.

EE:

Was this fully staffed by American nurses?

CR:

Yes. I can't remember any Australian [personnel]. We saw some in New Guinea, but I don't remember seeing [any in Brisbane.]

EE:

Did you get a chance to see the Australian countryside and meet some of the Australian folks?

CR:

Oh, yes. We'd take the streetcar downtown, you know, in Brisbane, and go to shops, shop around; good shopping there.

EE:

How secure was that area at that time? You were back farther.

CR:

Filled with service people.

EE:

Filled with service people. All over.

CR:

Oh, yes. You'd walk down the street and, of course, we were all Yanks, no matter what. [laughter]

EE:

Was there a big solidarity back in those times?

CR:

Well, they were glad to see us. They were glad to see us. Oh yes, they were. They were happy, because the Japs got pretty close to them, you know, the Japanese.

EE:

I was going to say, how far down did the—

CR:

You have to say that. How far did they—

MR:

Well, the Battle of Coral Sea turned them back. I mean, they were trying to get around New Guinea, to land in Australia. They didn't make it. The Coral Sea put them back, and then they started coming from the north side of New Guinea down, and they got within thirty miles of Port Moresby, but that was only a few of them. I mean, you know, the question was did they advance. There wasn't very many of them, because that's a rough mountain and rough trail.

EE:

Right. But the psychological effect is, potentially they could be there. It's like terrorism today. You just make enough of a dent psychologically that you tried to get intimidation.

MR:

They didn't get around Milne Bay [Papua New Guinea], you know. They got past, and then that's when the [Battle of] Guadalcanal, the Solomons [Islands campaign] was taking place.

EE:

Right. Tell me about the work that you were doing after the 42nd General. What kind of work were you on at that time?

CR:

We took whatever patients that we had, you know, surgical, medicals.

EE:

How many days a week were you working?

CR:

I think we worked every day, probably, but Sunday. Then, of course, we had to work some Sundays. We had to alternate.

EE:

Regular shift or first shift, or was it a twelve-hour?

CR:

Yes, night shift and day shift.

EE:

You were not in Brisbane the entire time, though. I guess you were there for about six months? Or no, less than that—June to September, not very long. Then you were moved up. I guess you came out of Townsville?

CR:

On a troop train.

EE:

On a troop train, you went up the coast.

CR:

A lot of Australians were on that. And they didn't have any place for people to eat, you know. They didn't have any food on the train, so the train would stop at a station. Everybody would get off the train and go in and eat. Then we'd all get back on and go.

EE:

Okay. When you were doing this, you were going to, eventually, Milne Bay in New Guinea; would end up at the 87th Station Hospital in Doba Dura.

CR:

That was already there.

EE:

It was already there. So y'all were—were you going in as sort of like a relief crew, or did they take you in waves to replace folks out?

CR:

No. The doctors there and the enlisted men, they all went ahead of us and they had it all in place. They had built a lot of the barracks. I'll show you the pictures of them. They had screened—they would be wood up to a certain point, and then screened. And the natives would build them.

EE:

Up to the time you're in New Guinea, you've been in pretty formal hospital settings.

CR:

Yes.

EE:

Not exactly roughing it, by comparison. Then you arrive in New Guinea. Tell me about your impressions of New Guinea.

CR:

[laughs] Well, it was a jungle. That's what it was. It was a jungle. And they had just, you know, cleared it out. We had, I think it's the 3rd Group, Attack Group, or something, across from us. And we started working right away. We went right on duty.

EE:

What kind of patients were you seeing there? How was it different from folks you were seeing at those—

CR:

Well, we were getting patients from the air corps. They had patients where he [Martin Radnik] was, over in the 3rd Attack Group? 8th Squadron is what he was in.

MR:

Well, the time they got poisoned from the breakfast food? That was only small potatoes. I mean, we didn't have very many patients. The air force didn't get many patients. They died out in the field. I mean, I did bury two guys as we came back in the plane that were killed in the back. But we didn't get many casualties back. I mean, they died out in the war.

EE:

You are, though, considerably closer to the front than you have been before.

CR:

Oh, yes.

EE:

What kind of preparation did they give you in case the Japanese wanted to pull a maneuver? Did you ever see any—

CR:

Well, they built a slit trench for us, and told us if we heard those planes to get into the—a slit.

EE:

To dive into the hole in the ground.

CR:

But if you were on duty, you had to stay on duty, because they had it marked out that we were a hospital. Of course, they weren't supposed to bomb hospitals.

EE:

How close did they get? Did you ever experience—

CR:

Well, I thought they were pretty close. Several times they bombed us. Not really bombed us; they bombed a native village. But it was not far from us, and we could see all kinds of fireworks going. I was on duty, and sitting with patients. We were watching it. So, even maybe after you were gone, we still had planes come.

MR:

Well, they would bomb Oro Bay and the airfields. Yes. They weren't after hospitals, but you were close to—

EE:

Close enough. Were you ever worried? Just because you've got the big, red cross on the top of the building may not keep you from harm.

MR:

There weren't any Japs, per se, near us. I mean, 250 miles away there were Japs. There may have been some stragglers in the woods there in the jungle, but we never saw them.

EE:

So the 87th is attached to the 3rd Airborne? Is that how it worked?

MR:

You were at the 87th Station Hospital. You were attached to your stations, to your hospitals. You were in the vicinity. It was the 5th Air Force, the TAC force.

CR:

We just took care of the patients that they sent us.

EE:

September of '43, when did MacArthur start heading back toward the Philippines? Was that '44?

MR:

It was supposed to have been from the beginning, but the first year in that was a holding action, and it was only a cutoff point. We let some go through for the Solomons. You know, they'd come down across New Guinea, over New Britain, and then down into the Solomons. Our main duty was to keep them from going, too many. I mean, they didn't want the war to stop over there, but you let some go through, and they came to Rabaul. Well, Rabaul was their big base down there, and Wewak. Those are two points that were 500 miles away from us.

EE:

Kind of triangulate.

MR:

Yes, and then they go across, and Rabaul was their big base. We never did take it, I mean, per se. Put them out of commission, but—then kept them interested, and that was the biggest base they had, you know.

EE:

Your buddy that you joined the service with, that you went on with—what was her name, by the way?

CR:

Mary Murphy.

EE:

Mary Murphy. Did Mary head along with you from Brisbane to Doba Dura?

CR:

Yes.

EE:

Where was she from? Was she from Louisiana or Arkansas?

CR:

Yes. New Orleans.

EE:

Okay. Is Doba Dura where you met Janet Froome?

CR:

Yes. She came to be what they called chief nurse. She was a captain, and she wasn't with us very long. I remember we went to another hospital there, because 87th Station Hospital, I think, moved up, and we were connected with another group for a while, and I don't remember the details.

EE:

We've interviewed about 200-plus folks, and there might be two or three whose paths crossed during the war, so it's very interesting. Janet Froome was one of the earliest people that we interviewed, and she recently passed away up in Brevard, but it's nice to make connections back with folks, fifty, fifty-five years later.

CR:

Well, see, when I was at the luncheon, I saw her name on the paper, and I said, “Well, she was with us.” She was sent—we had several people, you know, nurses who would come in to be the chief nurse, and then they would be moved somewhere else. But I think she was the last one that I can recall that was with 87th Station Hospital.

EE:

Any time during the service, you run across a whole host of different types of folks from different backgrounds, all parts of the country. They throw you in together. You had a common, stressful situation. Any particular personalities or characters come to mind?

CR:

Well, my uncle, who was a doctor at the time—he was a doctor and he went in the service. He came to visit me. He was from Conway, Arkansas.

EE:

He came to visit you in New Guinea?

CR:

Yes.

EE:

Oh, my goodness.

CR:

[laughs] Yes. We had a nice reunion. And then I met up with a fellow there that I had graduated from high school with.

EE:

In New Guinea?

CR:

Yes.

EE:

Funny meeting you here. How much contact were you keeping up with home folks? I know V-Mail was the popular way to communicate.

CR:

Oh, yes.

EE:

I guess you couldn't really tell them where you were, could you?

CR:

No, no. No, we couldn't say anything like that.

EE:

Did either your sister or your brother, were they in service?

CR:

Yes. My brother was in the Navy, but he never did get out of the country. He was so upset. He said, “They send my sister, but they won't send me.”

EE:

That's pretty good. And I guess the thing is, is that your folks back home, I guess, were flying the two stars in the window then. Did they get a chance to do that?

CR:

Yes.

EE:

Yes, okay. So you did get a chance to keep up with the folks. Funny stories? I mean, other than meeting this fellow, which I'm sure has to have a funny story with it.

CR:

Yes, it is.

EE:

Any funny thing happen to you, that you could share?

CR:

Well, for a while, when we were not getting patients, we were getting bored. So I wrote home and asked my mother to send me some home permanents. And I wound up giving a bunch of permanents and cutting hair, and well, we just did whatever we could find to do, to pass the time away, because we were out in the jungle. There was nowhere to go.

EE:

Did you have any sort of entertainment? Did USO [United Service Organizations] shows come through?

CR:

Oh, yes, yes. In fact, remember the one that came through?

MR:

I remember when Gary Cooper came through, and Una Merkel and Phyllis Brooks, I think was her name. The three of them came.

CR:

Yes.

MR:

We had a dance over at task force. I remember sitting next to Gary Cooper and talking about what's going on in the States.

EE:

That's pretty good company.

CR:

Yes. And so when we got there, his group had invited the nurses to come. They had an officers club, and so they invited us to come over there.

EE:

When did this fellow show up in your life? When was this?

CR:

At that. I met him that night.

EE:

You met him that night, at this social function?

CR:

Yes.

EE:

And immediately there was attraction?

CR:

I'm not sure. I had already met another fellow, so, you know, I wasn't really thinking about—really, what I wanted to do, when I got back home I was going to go to Peabody [Institute of the John Hopkins University]. I wanted to get a nursing degree in public health, and that's what—I was going to be a career person. That's what my ambition—

EE:

You were already thinking of this in '44.

CR:

Oh, before I ever went in.

EE:

Before you even went, that was what you were going to do.

CR:

Yes.

EE:

So your time in the service didn't incline you to think about being a career military person.

CR:

No. I wanted to do public health work.

EE:

August of 1944 is when you leave New Guinea. Is that right?

CR:

Yes.

EE:

I assume at some point during that time, you all had decided to stay in contact after August of 1944.

CR:

Oh, yes. We were writing.

EE:

Okay. Had he proposed at that time?

CR:

No.

MR:

When you got home, I proposed.

CR:

Yes. After I got home.

EE:

By letter, he proposed?

CR:

No.

MR:

No, in person.

CR:

No, he came to see me. I had already gotten leave and I had gone to visit my sister in Memphis, and my brother, who was in the navy, was also in Memphis. But my sister was working outside of Memphis, and I'd gone out to spend the day with her. Then I came back to my brother's, and he said, “A Captain Radnik called you.” And so I was really surprised, you know, because I didn't have an inkling that he was doing it, but he got some kind of a deal to bring a plane to Memphis, and he came over to see me. And that night, he proposed to me.

EE:

Wow. And this was September, October? When was this?

MR:

In August.

EE:

August of '44, that month when you came back. But you were still in service?

MR:

Oh, yes. We were both in service.

EE:

Both in service. You were coming back, through with your overseas tour. You still technically on your overseas tour, or had you come back stateside?

MR:

No, I was stationed over to Charlotte. You know, when I came back, I was in Columbia first, and then in Charlotte, and that's my experience in the Carolinas. This is after I came home. I came home in March of '44.

EE:

Okay. So you all were doing some serious correspondence.

MR:

No, not really.

CR:

Not really.

MR:

One time I sent a letter and I cut out a lot of words, and it made it sound like, “Well, what's he talking about?”

EE:

You were playing censor just to see what she did. Okay.

CR:

Well, I wrote him and said I really thought he was a great pen pal. I really liked corresponding with him. So then I got a letter back from him. He said, “I hope I'm not turning my wheels too fast.”

MR:

I didn't want to be a pen pal. [Radnik laughs.]

EE:

Yes, that's pretty funny. Let me ask you, before we leave New Guinea and get onto him, because you've done a life with this fellow afterwards, the soldiers that you met along the way, any of them stick in your mind, patients that you'd take care of? Was there anybody who shared anything with you, or you learned about, that kind of sticks in your memory of those times?

CR:

No, not really. I just enjoyed all of them, you know.

EE:

You'd never had any trouble with malaria or jungle rot yourself?

CR:

No, but we took care of patients with dengue fever. And, you know, there was no cure for it, because we didn't even have penicillin then.

MR:

Didn't you take care of a bunch of those paratroopers that you had to put them in cages or something like that? Some of the paratroopers were overactive or hyped up or something.

CR:

Yes. They were sad.

EE:

You came back and y'all were married in November of '44. There in Arkansas?

CR:

No, in Chicago. He was from Chicago, and we went to Chicago and got married. We couldn't be out of uniform, so we wore our uniforms.

EE:

You did not have to automatically leave the service. What led you to getting a discharge in March of '45? Did you start applying for one, or did they—how did your time in service end? How did it come about?

CR:

Well, I was expecting.

EE:

That's usually when they say, “It's time to step aside.”

MR:

They'd get them out of there in those days.

EE:

That's the biggest difference, really, between today's army and then is that then, it was when you're pregnant, it's time to go home. That's true, so that was a big change for you all. March of '45 the war—a lot of things happened right quick. President Roosevelt passing, what do you remember about that?

CR:

Wasn't that when—

MR:

We were down, I think we got—

CR:

In Charlotte?

MR:

Yes.

CR:

Yes, we were in Charlotte. We had already left Chicago.

MR:

No, we were in Columbia when Roosevelt died. Is that what you're referring to?

EE:

Right.

MR:

Yes. I think we were in Columbia already. We went from Charlotte down to Columbia. I was in a training group. I was a commander of crews and we thought we were going to get some Chinese crews to train, you know. But there was all kinds of rumors flying around.

EE:

Well, and everybody assumed that the next big—because the war was wrapping up in Europe, and everybody assumed the next thing was invading Japan.

MR:

Yes, right. And we were going to train some Chinese crews, and then we were also going to be going down to Brazil and train crews down there. It was in a period of flux. But then when the war in Europe was over, really, then they started letting guys out, and I was in the first group to get out. I had 116 points. I don't know if you're familiar with points.

EE:

Right. The more points you had, the earlier you got out.

MR:

Yes, right. See, and I'd been in before Pearl Harbor. I was in cadet school.

EE:

So you saw the whole thing. Now, when did you get out?

MR:

I got out in June.

CR:

July.

MR:

No, no. I went all the way to September, I mean, because I had three months accumulated leave time to come.

[End Tape 1, Side A—Begin Tape 1, Side B]

EE:

—finish in July, and you're out in March, getting ready for the baby. What do you remember about VE [Victory in Europe] or VJ [Victory in Japan] Day? Any memories about the end of the war? What were you all doing those days?

MR:

We were in Columbia. And VJ Day we were home, I mean, out at Witch Hollow. I mean, the bomb dropped and boom boom, and that was VJ Day, right after that. I don't know. The days are—

EE:

In August.

MR:

—kind of combined.

EE:

So you don't have any distinct memories of either one of them, although everybody was happy that the war was ending.

CR:

Yes, wonderful.

EE:

Now, did you stay in the reserves after you got out?

MR:

Only moderately. I mean, I didn't go to any extra effort to keep my service up. I stayed, and I was officially discharged in '55. But those last years were nothing.

EE:

So you weren't called back for Korea or anything like that.

MR:

No. I mean, at the beginning of my air force career I had, you know, visions of staying in the military.

EE:

And what about you? Now, you went home and you had your son, I guess, was your firstborn, or who was your firstborn, then?

CR:

Ann was our firstborn.

EE:

And you all were in Chicago at that time. Did you go back to nursing after you had your children?

CR:

Eighteen years after.

EE:

Eighteen years later. Did you go back in public health?

CR:

No. I went right into hospital ward nursing, went back to work. But that was so Barbara could come down here and go to school. So I was a homemaker.

EE:

So this would have been in the early sixties.

CR:

You know, the PTA [Parent Teacher Association] and all that, you know.

EE:

Well, you were raising four, which takes a little time, a little effort.

Ann:

You were always the nurse of all the camps when we were growing up.

CR:

Yes, at our church camp.

EE:

Well now, how many people during those eighteen years knew that you were in the army?

CR:

I don't know.

EE:

Did you talk about it? Did your kids know about it?

CR:

Yes, the kids knew. But, you know, we never really talked about it too much.

EE:

If I ask you to name a song or a movie which when you hear it or see it takes you back to those days in '44 when you all first got together, what would it be?

MR:

Don't remember.

EE:

Not a lot of entertainment in New Guinea. Is that what you're telling me? You're telling me that perhaps it's Lilt Home Perms that would take you back to—

MR:

It wasn't a big romantic period there, before—well from September to the 1st of November is about the only time I had courted her, really. I mean, I'd go over to the nurses' place. She'd invite me. I'd go over there for an evening meal, you know. I mean, they had fresh meat. See, we didn't have that in the squadron. We had to eat—if we ever got any fresh meat, we'd eat it at lunch or at dinner, and then, so we didn't—

EE:

So, did she get the real eggs and you got the sulfur eggs? Is that what happened?

CR:

He would come over and go to church with me, and then we'd eat. See?

MR:

Oh, church with her.

EE:

So, you're telling me this relationship may have been built on food as much as anything.

MR:

More or less, yes. [laughter]

EE:

Yes.

MR:

After the 1st of November, then I was a squadron commander, and I didn't have any time to get over to see her. And then we moved from Doba Dura up behind Leyte and Nadzab, and that was the first of February. So I had November, December and January. Then I was the squad commander and I didn't see her at all. Maybe I talked to her or something, on the phone. I don't think it was a real romantic period, but we were acquainted.

EE:

Well, it's interesting because depending on how many creature comforts folks are exposed to, New Guinea wasn't known for its creature comforts.

CR:

No. You had to make your own.

EE:

When folks look forward to their next shot of aspirin, that kind of tells you what the situation's like, I guess.

MR:

We did have some creature comfort. When we built our officers club, we had his and hers flush toilets. That was in New Guinea.

EE:

Now, that's deluxe. That's deluxe.

CR:

Yes. That's what they told us, to come and see their flush toilets. [Laughs]

MR:

You wanted something humorous. When I was dancing with one of the other girls—I don't know who it was; Abby, I think—and I was talking about the flush toilets, and she asked me, “Do you have American paper?” [laughter] Because that Australian paper was pretty waxy.

CR:

And they had Cokes, you know. They had Cokes. We hadn't seen Cokes for a long time.

EE:

It's amazing the creature—now you're back stateside, you know. Because of rationing, creature comforts were greatly appreciated. But I know that if you're in the jungle, you just don't get a lot of stuff to take for granted.

CR:

No. We had Australian peanut butter, which tasted like a lot of lard. But the natives built us what we called a New Guinea Delicacy, and that's where we would go and have our snacks.

MR:

A hotplate.

CR:

Yes.

EE:

Okay. When you looked at the differences in the military and the way the world sees it, maybe this question's gotten different over the last year or two, since September 11, [2001]. How would you compare patriotism today to patriotism back in those times? Do you think we, as a country, are more patriotic, less, about the same, now?

MR:

You see, what happened at Pearl Harbor, that put everybody in one camp. But before Pearl Harbor, the country was not really—it was imbalanced. I mean, there were as many people against going over to war, or we wanted to help Great Britain, but we weren't in any active fighting. So therefore the population was divided.

But when Pearl Harbor came, wow, we were all on one side now. Patriotism was the thing. Before Pearl Harbor, you know, I was in cadet school, and all those months you'd wear civilian clothes in town and so could all the other military. But Pearl Harbor came. Now we all had to be in uniform. That was a big turning point there.

EE:

When you were in service, what women were allowed to do in service was greatly limited, compared to nowadays. We've got fighter pilots now who will be on the front lines, who have been on the front lines in Afghanistan, who would be on the front lines in Iraq. What do you think about the expanded role of women in the service? Is that a good thing for the service and for women? Or how does it strike you?

CR:

I don't know, because I guess it's just a woman's thing, you know. They think they can do whatever a man can do. And I just think that the Lord created us, male and female, and not necessarily with the same abilities, you know, that the man is always supposed to be the stronger. They're not ready—

EE:

So you think they're not ready for combat or things like that.

CR:

—let that be stronger. You know, they want to be right up there at the same as the men.

MR:

It's so much different. I mean, even for pilots, for the whole—the entire military is all different than what we did in World War II. I mean, it's a long time ago, sixty years ago.

EE:

And part of what we're doing in this project is to kind of see the changes that have happened in the experiences that women have had. I mean, how do you think your experience in the service affected your later life? What did it change about you? You had a chance to see the world. You did find a husband, so I guess that's a pretty big change right there. [Radnik laughs.]

MR:

She didn't know that over there, though, I don't think. I don't know.

CR:

I know. I even thought maybe you might be married. I didn't know. You know, we had nurses over there that would be engaged to a fellow, but how the Lord, you know, the Lord will—sin will find you out. Well, one night one of my friends was engaged, and he had to go in the hospital for something, and his record showed he was married. He'd already given her an engagement ring.

EE:

Well, that can kind of change your plans. [laughs]

CR:

Yes. That's sad, isn't it?

EE:

Well, it is sad. There's a lot of stress in those environments. I don't think we understand today the idea of total war as a society, like it was then. Did your experience in the service make you more independent?

CR:

I don't know if it made me more independent. I think I had to fight against my independence, you know. I just did not want to be so independent. I didn't think it was a good thing. Because I remember when, after we were married, I'd ask him to do something. He said, “I'll have you know I'm not one of your little ward boys.” [laughter]

MR:

I outranked her.

EE:

But you do get used to having somebody to help you do the things around the house. Well now, tell me, were any of your children in service?

CR:

Our son went to Vietnam.

EE:

Did your daughters ever have any interest in joining the service?

CR:

No, I don't think so.

EE:

If a woman came to you today, knowing that you are a veteran, and asked you, said, “I'm thinking about joining,” what would you tell her?

CR:

Well, in just the same way that I thought that people have to be taken care of, you know, that was my impression, and that they didn't have any choice, so why should I?

EE:

So if you're willing to make yourself fully available with that kind of service, you ought to do it. But you do have to be fully available when you're in the military, don't you?

CR:

Oh, you do. Yes. Young women. It's not easy. I mean, when I see all these people with children, women with children—they're leaving children, leaving their homes—that bothers me. I think that's—

EE:

So that may be one area where we need to work on.

CR:

Yes. I don't think that's a good thing.

EE:

Okay. You came back to this area in the early sixties as your daughter was going to school here. Is that right, to Greensboro? When did you come back to North Carolina?

CR:

Oh, we've only been here seven years.

EE:

Seven years. But your daughter came to this area to go to school. Was that right?

CR:

Yes. She came down. She transferred from Valpariso University in Indiana, down here to the nursing school at UNCG.

MR:

She already had three years, didn't she?

CR:

Yes.

MR:

She had three years up in Valpo.

CR:

A lot of her subjects did not transfer, so she had to go three more years here. She did, and then she had a child and then she went into home nursing and worked on her master's while Ann was going to school. Then she got her master's here at UNCG.

EE:

What I thought we might do is to take a few minutes off of this tape, or maybe I'll let the tape run in the background just in case we find some more information I need to get; maybe look through your notebooks a little bit. Is there anything I have not asked you about your time in service that you think might be important for folks to know about your experience?

CR:

Well, I know one thing is just to put your faith and trust in the Lord each day. I have no fear because I know that when I die, I'll go to be with the Lord, because I know him as my own personal savior.

EE:

Did that experience strengthen your faith?

CR:

Yes, it did. It would make anyone think, you know, where you'll spend eternity.

EE:

Sure. Well, thank you for sitting down and sharing with us this morning. I appreciate it.

MR:

If you would propose that our morals would be what they are today back then, I wouldn't have agreed with you. I mean, they have changed.

EE:

I teach Sunday school and I understand what you're talking about. [laughs]

CR:

This is the day we left [looking at her photo album]

EE:

This is when you were leaving for 87th—

CR:

For New York. Those are our dress uniforms.

EE:

This was in May of '43, leaving Camp Livingston for New York. All right, here's in New Guinea. Actually, here's where you're set up in Brisbane, isn't it?

CR:

Yes. This is Brisbane. It was called Camp Columbia, about ten miles out of Brisbane.

EE:

These tents have to be up off the ground because with the rains over there, you're just in Mud City if you don't put them up.

MR:

You had jungles beasts or rats or wallabies or whatever they were. I mean, you know, you had to get them off the ground.

CR:

We didn't stay there very long. Then we went out to this hospital there. I'll show you.

EE:

Now, why am I thinking of South Pacific, Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair? Now, this must be the convent where you were?

CR:

Yes. See how high up it was?

EE:

Oh, that's beautiful. Beautiful up there. This is right outside the city?

CR:

Yes. Well, no, this is not. This is not too far from the city.

EE:

This is the view of Brisbane from the hospital.

CR:

Yes. That's 42nd General Hospital. It's a temporary assignment. That's what we were there for.

EE:

I can tell you already, that you've got, in quality and in volume, a lot better pictures than most folks I've talked to. You're lucky about that. Well, a lot of people, you know, the only pictures they have is the formal headshots when they first came out. It's nice to have this.

CR:

That's Mary Murphy.

EE:

This is your friend.

CR:

Yes.

EE:

Now, is there a picture here of the two of you together, partners in crime?

CR:

Oh, yes, all through it.

EE:

All right. Let's see if I can find a good one of you two, because what I might do—these are in just with corners. I might go back and take a few of these after you get some shots.

CR:

Okay.

EE:

Now, there's that—they're wearing those—

CR:

We're wearing our white caps. And there's the hoods.

EE:

There's a sign that says “Nurses Quarters.” This is in—

CR:

See, we had nurses quarters apart from the hospital. We walked to the hospital.

EE:

I was going to say, this is like nice apartments over here. Yes. I was going to say, you all—

CR:

Yes. We didn't live right in the convent.

EE:

I was going to say, you all were doing all right.

CR:

Yes. See, when we got there—

EE:

Just the two of you were here?

CR:

—it was there—yes.

MAN:

Spin that book just a little my way. Rotate it around that way just a little bit.

EE:

Just so you get the glare out of your way.

MAN:

Just to have these pictures a little more upright for me.

EE:

Okay. This is you and your friend, Mary Murphy?

CR:

Yes.

EE:

This is you here on the left?

CR:

Yes.

EE:

And this would have been in '43, summer.

CR:

We landed in June and that is their, what winter they were going to have. That was their winter.

EE:

Right. Can I lift this out? Since you two decided to dare each other all the way to the South Pacific, we need to give her a little credit. Now, is that a koala in your hand?

CR:

Yes. Yes, I'm holding a koala.

EE:

I don't believe anybody went to Australia and didn't hug a koala.

CR:

Yes.

MR:

I didn't.

CR:

We thought they were so cute.

EE:

Every woman I've interviewed has hugged a koala, who went to Australia.

MR:

I may have hugged some woman that hugged a koala.

EE:

You had your priorities. That's great. You were talking about the fact that—now, here's you and Mary again, each holding a koala.

CR:

Yes. It's cold there, and we didn't have central heating.

MR:

June was winter.

EE:

I was going to say, June was their winter. Yes. I was thinking, when I said June is summer of '43, boy, they look awful overdressed.

CR:

New Jersey in the summer.

MR:

It borders on the subtropical, but not quite.

CR:

And this was where we were transferred to. We had like little buildings here, and this is where we were waiting to go to Milne Bay, before we got on the troop train. Here's the troop train.

EE:

This is where you're headed up to Townsville here.

CR:

That's a troop train, right there. And that's where all the people are getting off the troop train.

EE:

It's like all the men, every one of them smoked. You must have been taking this picture, because that's the only way you're going to get that many men to smile was to have a woman taking their picture. All right. [Reads] “Doba Dura-Tokyo Road. There are many roads to Tokyo. We won the [unclear] of them.”

MR:

President Roosevelt.

EE:

In other words, everybody's part of a team effort.

CR:

Right.

EE:

Oro Bay. That's not too far from that, isn't it?

MR:

No. That was our port. Everything that came in by ship came into Oro Bay, and we'd move it to Doba Dura.

EE:

This is some sunken ship here in the harbor, is that what this is?

CR:

I don't know why I have that there.

MR:

That was in Port Moresby there was one. We used to bomb it to practice, you know, strip bomb it.

CR:

See, that's a—

EE:

Is this where you all were at here?

CR:

Yes. Yes. That's where we were. We were in that little—

EE:

This looks like some kind of temporary bivouac or something, because you don't have the tents. I guess so.

CR:

Well, it was pretty crude at that time.

EE:

So, is this one of your friends taking that picture there?

CR:

I really don't know.

EE:

Somebody's playing basketball.

CR:

And that's our New Guinea golf, you see.

EE:

Okay. So this is where they would—

CR:

I tried to take a picture of him, and all he'd do was let me take a picture of his hand.

EE:

How were the natives—

CR:

And this was our barracks. We were way up off the ground.

EE:

Some of those cultures in the South Pacific, they're not too keen on you taking their picture. Is that the way it was?

CR:

Oh, no. They posed for us.

EE:

Did they? Okay.

CR:

I'll show you. This is our doctors, of the station hospital.

EE:

Is there a special food from New Guinea that you remember the taste? Did you eat anything new over there you hadn't eaten before, like tropical fruits, like papayas and mangoes and that kind of thing?

CR:

No.

EE:

Okay. Well, there's your pit helmet recruit over there. What is this? This is at some game or something? Y'all look like you're watching some kind of competition or something.

CR:

Yes. That's in—see, those are Australians.

EE:

You can tell by the hats.

CR:

[Unclear] those pictures. Just patients, yes.

EE:

Okay. This is actually—is this you over here, working with patients? That's great.

CR:

Yes, at the surgical ward.

EE:

Any time I can find pictures of people actually doing their job, that's great. So you're lucky. Now, most of these photos would have been from that 5th air attachment? Okay. This looks like church services.

CR:

Yes. And we had white shirts to wear, white blouses.

EE:

This is the whole hospital staff?

CR:

Yes. There might be some people who were—I was on duty that day, so I'm not in that. Some of them were on duty and didn't—

EE:

This actually says New Guinea Delicacy House. Okay.

CR:

Yes. See, we had to wear these slacks, and they had ties at the legs because we had rats that were so huge, they would just crawl up your legs. So I spent most of my time sitting on the desk with my feet on the chair. And you'd hear a bloodcurdling yell, you know, and you'd run back for your flashlight, because we kept flashlights because the patients were sleeping. I remember one time that I raised the mosquito bar and there's a great big old rat right in the patient's bed, but the light scared him and he went away. I wasn't trying to catch it.

EE:

This looks like one of those photo ops that the local men just dressed up.

CR:

Well, we went over to those villages. They would have been doing a dance of death. They were bombed and they would, you know, people would die, and that's—

EE:

This would be part of their ceremony, like a funeral ceremony for them.

CR:

And this is my husband's club. That was the—

MR:

Was there a tropical paradise?

EE:

Somebody did it kind of nice, all that inside, didn't they?

MR:

Yes. Tropical paradise. We rounded up some carpeting.

EE:

You've got a Persian rug on the floor.

MR:

Yes, we commandeered that.

EE:

I could hear the CB story behind that one. “Yeah, I didn't want to tell you where we got it from, but we'll just bring it in.”

MAR:

Yes. There are more refrigerators in there behind our bar, too. We commandeered one from each squadron.

EE:

Good gracious.

MR:

You got there early enough, you could get an ice cube.

CR:

You see how they would pose with us?

EE:

Oh, yes. Well now, are you getting any of these pictures here?

CR:

See, I'm right there.

EE:

Is he in any of these pictures?

CR:

No, he's not in those.

EE:

Okay. All right. You tell me when Martin's in.

CR:

I met him that night, but he wasn't in there. He wouldn't let me take a picture of him.

EE:

Oh, you have to be so self-effacing sometimes.

CR:

So I just got a picture of his hand.

EE:

Now, wait a second. Are these men here actually gambling, or are they just buying alcohol here? [Laughs]

MR:

They had that funny money, Australian money, you know, where a pound note was three dollars and twenty cents, and they were, you know, they'd play pound notes like dollar bills. And pots got pretty big that way.

EE:

I was going to say, that's pretty vast. Just curious. Where'd you get your film developed?

CR:

Goodness, I don't know. Where did we get our film developed? Well, we had someone that did that.

MR:

That was a political event.

EE:

You had to know somebody who could—

MR:

Yes, right.

CR:

That goes in with the other one.

MR:

You see, the one thing we didn't have was a lot of movie film, you know, in our plane. We didn't have much at all.

CR:

This was taken down when we went to Sydney, and that's some Australian nurses. And that's our dress—

EE:

Your dress uniform. Now, you've still got that—that cap's over here on the table, isn't it?

CR:

Yes.

EE:

Okay. You've just got—that's a treasure, right there, to have that from those times. That's great.

CR:

It was up in our attic.

Ann:

Mother, show them your wedding pictures.

CR:

Oh, okay.

EE:

What we'll do, especially since you had kind of said okay, I will take these if I can and get the university to copy them, and what we'll do is I'll just—if we took it to Eckerd's it'd be back in a week, but UNCG doing it, it'll take them a month, but we'll get them back to you.

MR:

[Unclear]

CR:

Doesn't matter. I had that taken in a studio in Brisbane.

EE:

I was going to say, that Lilt is a standard military one. That's a good picture.

CR:

I had just gotten a permanent.

MR:

That's what she looked like when I was courting her in New Guinea

EE:

I'd write her. [laughter]

CR:

And that, too.

EE:

Oh, yes, well, you know, you might like write back with that.

MR:

The kids are—I mean, that one was right out of—

EE:

That's a choirboy look right here.

MR:

Well, they called me St. Martin.

EE:

That's right. What else do you have?

MR:

My classmates.

EE:

That's great. Well, if you die I might take both of these, because I don't have two, you know; I used to have—

Ann:

Show the wedding picture.

MR:

Ann, did you know that? My nickname's St. Martin.

EE:

Oh, yes. Oh, yes. And this is right when you got married?

CR:

Yes.

MR:

How much taller I was. You know where I am now? I shrunk that much, you know, over sixty years. That's what she's done to me.

Ann:

Sit down, Father.

EE:

Here. Well, why don't you sit in this seat and let me take a picture of the two of you holding this picture? How about that? Would that be alright?

MR:

Yes, if that's what they need.

EE:

Well, I might get one with you both together. I think any time they can celebrate sixty years together, we need to do that.

MR:

Yes. Fifty-eight so far. Yes, those were the days.

EE:

Well, you know, quality lasts. You made an investment in each other, and it's pretty clear it's paid off. That's great.

MR:

One thing, you were asking about the difference between then and now. When I came home—I'm not bragging about myself at all; I don't have that problem—women here were man-hungry. I mean, they were already looking at me and [unclear] sharp, you know. And they turned me off. And I didn't care. And then she came home, and boom.

Ann:

There is something for your archives at the university. They both have these tapes that we put together for their fiftieth anniversary, that's actually film—tape of Father's squadron flying and also of them going in and coming out of their wedding ceremony, if that's something that you might want.

EE:

Okay. Yes, if you think you can get a copy of that. You know, we are evolving, especially as the technology, as I say—when we first imagined this, we just wanted to get the stories down. And now we've got a grant that will put these interviews online.

Ann:

Father, do you have the tape from the fiftieth anniversary?

CR:

No, Barbara has it.

Ann:

No, no, no.

MR:

The one we just saw—

Ann:

The one that I did. The one we just saw, you had that.

CR:

Yes. You had it.

Ann:

Where is that? Can you get that out?

MR:

Yes, I can get it out. For what?

Ann:

They would like that. They'll know what to look for.

EE:

Did anybody prior to this morning give you a copy of the book, Also They Served, the little book that describes this program? I'll send it to you, because it's a review of the first sixty interviews and the history. We were talking about that a little bit on the way over. That would be great, to have that.

Ann:

You'll give this back to us.

EE:

Oh, yes.

[End of interview]