First Class of WAVES, Norman, Oklahoma 1943
Military Postcards, North America, Postcards

Making WAVES in the Sooner State [1944 – Oklahoma] US Navy

Norman Oklahoma 1944, USNavy postcard image lg.png

A Naval base in the middle of Oklahoma? It may be hard to believe, but thousands of male and female Navy personnel spent time training in the wide open spaces of the Sooner State during World War II.

This post card was sent by a Navy service member stationed in Norman, Oklahoma, and depicts the hydroelectric Quanah Parker Dam to the West in what is now Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Perhaps the sender, Russell, found time for a weekend trip to this scenic part of the state during a reprieve from his hospital duties in 1944.

Just south of Oklahoma City, the U.S. Navy established a Naval Air Station, Naval Air Technical Training Center, and Gunnery School in the town of Norman. Construction on Navy facilities began in 1942, and the Navy developed a close relationship with nearby Oklahoma A&M, now Oklahoma University. The airfield, newly built by the university, was leased to the Navy for the duration of the war and was used to train Naval pilots (source). Machinists and aircraft maintenance technicians were also trained at the installation.  WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) and SPARS (US Coast Guard Women’s Reservists) were trained on Oklahoma A&M’s campus, and the college boasted the largest enrollment of WAVES in the country, at over 10 thousand during the war (source).

You can see an image of the dedication of the the Navy Hospital on the website of the Norman Museum. Another exterior photo, as well as one of an actress visiting a patient, allows us to peek into the world in which this postcard was written.  The museum also features an impressive number of fascinating historic photos of aviation and ground operations that took place during the war: https://www.normanmuseum.org/wwii-navy-bases.html. I recommend you take a peek.

Norman Oklahoma 1944, USNavy postcard message.jpg

Dear Betty,

Received your card sure was glad to hear from you. I may be home soon. How are things at the shop. Gee I sure miss you. Please write when you can.

Love Russell

From: R SAYSF USN Hospital, Norman Oklahoma

To: Miss Betty Pavler | Ecorse, Michigan

Postmark: U.S. Navy Aug 16 1944

 


Navy Operations in Norman, Oklahoma during World War II

NH 86160 Norman Oklahoma Naval Training School
“WAVES at the Naval Training School, Norman, Oklahoma, lower an airplane engine onto a block, July 1943.” Source: US Navy, Naval History and Heritage Command.

NH 95359 First Class of WAVES Norman, OklahomaThe featured photo of this post shows “Members of the first class of WAVES to graduate from the Aviation Metalsmith School, at the Naval Air Technical Training Center, Norman, Oklahoma, 30 July 1943.” Source: Naval History and Heritage Command.

 

 

Quanah Dam 4-1-17
Quanah Parker Dam today, by Larry Smith via Flickr

 

 

Postcard from Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky 1940s
Military Postcards, North America, Postcards

Lucky Strike and Major’s Pay [1942 – Camp Breckenridge, Ky]

Camp Breckinridge, KY 1942 WW2 Comic Postcard lg

I never cease to be amazed by the veritable explosion of construction projects and mass movement of personnel that characterized 1942 and 1943 across the United States. The creation of Camp Breckinridge in Morganfield, Kentucky near the Illinois state line provides a textbook example of this furious pace of military activity in many rural corners of the country. A testament to the swift construction of Camp Breckinridge, the buildings here were built in such haste that they were not properly insulated, a fact not lost on our sender who keenly felt the cold in December of 1942.

In this card, we meet Pvt. Louis Featherston who hails from Durham, North Carolina. His note recounts get-to-know-you conversations like so many of us have had when we’ve moved away and our hometown falls outside the list of top 25 most populous cities in the country. They go like this:

A: “So, where are you from?”

B: “Somewhere, USA”

A: Looks puzzled.

B: “… yeah, it’s near Important University, and the home of Large Corporation.”

A:  Nods with recognition. “Oh, yeah.”

This is exactly what happened to Louis. He rang some bells for his hometown of Durham, NC by mentioning Lucky Strike Cigarettes and Duke University. Ironically, he sent this card to a friend at The American Tobacco Company in Durham, maker the Lucky Strike cigarettes which had sparked recognition of his hometown. When he wasn’t studying or freezing his ass off, I do wonder how much money Louis may have won over a hand of cards from that Major in the cartoon image.

Finally, I am happy to report Camp Breckinridge’s heritage survives as an event venue and museum. Read more about it below.

Postcard from Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky 1940s

Hello Eugene, I hope you haven’t been Drafted by the time you get this card cause I’m so far away that the people here never heard of Durham. You have to mention Lucky Strike Cig & Duke U., then it all comes back to them. Wish you’d write & let me know how you all are getting along & all about the Y.B.M.C,– Leon Harris & Vostal[?] Taylor & a lot of boys you know are here. Have been so busy studying etc. that I haven’t had much chance to write. It is cold as HELL! here & snow is on the ground. See you later, Louis

To: Mr. Eugene Andrews | The American Tobacco Co. | Durham, North Carolina

From: Pvt. A. J. Featherston | Hq Co. 1st Bn. 391 Inf. – 98th Division

Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky

Postmark: Camp Breckinridge, KY – December 6, 1942


Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky

Camp_Breckinridge_Non-Commissioned_Officers'_Club

The James D. Veatch Breckinridge Museum & Arts Center preserves Camp Breckinridge’s remaining structures and the history of its impact on the region. Their website does not seem to do justice to the jewel of a structure that remains from the military post, the former NCO / Officer’s Club. It lives on as an event venue and features beautiful pastoral murals painted by a talented German POW while imprisoned here during World War II. The amateur video below gives you a taste of this installation’s glorious past and present.

Find some photos on Google Maps Listing for the Camp Breckinridge Center

Military Postcards, North America

Bathing Beauty [1943 – Fort Myers, FL]

Fort Myers, FL 1943 postcard image V.Andrews lg

Based on how it’s referenced in this note, I can only imagine how the stationary Virginia used in her previous correspondence to Bernice must have looked. Apparently duty in Fort Myers, Florida is not all sun-bathing and nights on the town. Working Kitchen Patrol all night, which is what I can only assume the sender means by K.P., does not sound like a pleasant way to pass the time. It seems Bernice survived the nighttime duty though. I hope he did get a glimpse of a bathing beauty before leaving the Sunshine State.

The place of origin for this card, expansive Buckingham Army Airfield located near Fort Myers, Florida was in operation from 1942-1945. Known for its “Flexible Gunnery School,” the installation provided a variety of new technologies for training aerial gunners including sophisticated gunnery ranges, dummy target aircraft, dummy ammunition, and high-altitude training. If you want to learn more about all of the fascinating military training methods that were pioneered at this airfield, I highly recommend the Wikipedia page. (Source: Buckingham Army Airfield Wikipedia)

For better or worse, little remains of the hundreds of buildings and runways that constituted Buckingham Army Airfield. It was closed immediately after the war, was purchased by a land developer, and became a residential area.

Two of the 8 runways survive as a private airfield called Buckingham Field.

Fort Myers, FL 1943 postcard message V.Andrews lg

Hi There Va.,

Here I am again and a very sleepy chap at that. I just got up after working K.P.  all night so you can guess how I feel.

That was some stationary you wrote on the other time. Where in the world does a person think up things like that. It’s straight stuff though. Here is the picture of the bathing beauty but she surely must be in some other part of Fla. I haven’t seen her yet.

Be good.

Bernice

Postmark: Fort Myers, Florida – August 7, 1943

To: Virginia Andrews | 410 Elizabeth Street | Durham, NC

From: Pvt. B. A. Smith, 712th F. G. H. S.

B. A. A. F. Fort Myers, Fla.

 

Buckingham Army Airfield, Fort Myers, Florida

 

“Photo of the motor pool showing E5 turret training trucks with mounted aircraft turrets used for training.” (Wikipedia)
“A formation of four AT-6 aircraft wing their way along the Caloosahatchee River above east Fort Myers to the Buckingham Flexible Gunnery School’s range over the Gulf of Mexico (ca 1945). The plane on the right carries the tow target. The gunners shoot from the rear seat of the planes.” (Wikipedia)

 

Buckingham Army Airfield – 1944

Buckingham Army Airfield - Florida - 1944.png
Source: Wikipedia

Buckingham Airfield – 2006

Buckingham Field - Florida.jpg
Source: Wikipedia
Military Postcards, North America

Leonard’s: More Merchandise for Less Money [1944 – Fort Worth, TX]

Fort Worth, TX jan1944 image lg

Apparently Leonard’s department store was quite a place to see in its heyday. This store, located in Fort Worth, Texas, was a modern marvel before its time, even including at some point an indoor monorail. I found out about Leonard’s by way of Pvt. Luis France who sent this from Texas to a friend in Durham, North Carolina.

Leonard’s is now home to a museum about its spectacular history.

Fort Worth, TX jan1944 image message

Hello Ruby,

I am on my way back to camp from furlough. I am sorry I didn’t go through N.C. I wished I had gone by that way. Was fine being home again. I had a swell time.

Will write later.

Love Luis

Postmark: Fort Worth, Texas – Jan 28, 1944

To: Miss Ruby Lou Atkinson | 515 Chapel Hill St. | Durham, N.C.

From: Pvt. Luis France 38439718

205th Ord. MMCo. Ft Dix, N.J.

 

Europe, Military Postcards, Postcards

Now quartered [1945 – A.P.O. Germany]

WWII Postcard Austria 1945 image lg

George found himself in a quaint alpine village in the late summer of 1945. The picturesque village of Reit im Winkl is a small German town near the Austrian border with a strong tradition of tourism. No rank or unit is given on this card, but the postcard was stamped at APO 527.

WWII Postcard Austria 1945 message lg

August 17

We are now quartered in this little Alpine village. We are really miles from no where. They say the snow here is terrific gets to 8′ deep in the village. Don’t you think the Alps look beautiful?

George

Postmark: U.S. Army Postal Service A.P.0 572 – 25 Aug 1945

To: Miss Olga Schleichen | 450 N. Pine St. | Indianapolis, Indiana

Image description: Reit im Winkl mit Keisergebirge 2344m


Reit im Winkl

An alpine community in the Southeast corner of modern Germany, to this day, the town has no rail connection (source), but remains a popular destination for winter and summer outdoor sports.

Reit im Winkl Tourist Information

Wikipedia

Military Postcards, North America, Postcards

Uncle Sam’s Scrubs [1952 – San Diego, CA]

1952 Comic Postcard Image - San Diego, California lg

This postcard was sent during the Korean War by what I assume was a junior enlisted sailor. He gives us no details about his assignment other than what we can see from the  the San Diego, CA postmark. Carl writes such an endearing note home to his parents in Tennessee. The handwritten names on the cartoon are my favorite part.

1952 Comic Postcard Message - San Diego, California lg

Dear Mother and Daddy

How are all of all there fine I hop. I went to church today. It not much to do here today so I thought I would write you a line. I will send you a picture this next weekend. by for now

Carl {?}

To: Mr. Mrs. J. T. Knight
308 Madison St. N
Nashville 8, Tenn

Postmark: San Diego, California – April 7, 1952

Save

Military Postcards, Postcards, United States

Reception Committee [1943 – Jefferson Barracks, Missouri]

1943 Comic Postcard Image - Jefferson Bks Missouri lg

Who is Sergeant Graves? And why is he after Dick Chapman? Why is the quality of the milk important information to share? Was Pvt Chapman a fabled milk man before he was drafted or enlisted to serve?

Also, I’m not sure how I feel about the artwork. Are they jeering or cheering? Both?

So many questions.

1943 Comic Postcard Message - Jefferson Bks Missouri lg

Dear Tyson,

I am a Pvt in the Air Corps. Sgt Graves hasn’t got me yet. Tell everyone Hello. Milk out here is good.

Dick

To: Mr. Felix Tyson / c/o Crescent Hill Milk Service / Gallatin, Tennessee

From: Pvt R. Q. Chapman, Sqd. A 24 L. G.
Army Air Corps
Jefferson Barracks, Missouri

Postmark: Jefferson Barracks, Missouri – March 23, 1943

Front Artwork: WWII Army Airborne Comic “They had a reception committee here to meet me!” made by Beals, Des Moines, Iowa

——————-

Related postcards

Also sent by Pvt. R. Q. Chapman:  If you don’t pull the string! [1943 – Jefferson Barracks, Missouri]

Military Postcards, North America, Postcards

I wouldn’t trade my place with anybody. [1941 – Ellington Field, TX]

1941 Comic Postcard Image - Ellington Field, Texas lg

Such a charming message with positive sentiment from this soldier who only left us his initials. Ellington Field (where this card was postmarked) was a significant military installation for the war effort in the 1940’s, offering advanced flight training for bomber pilots (Wikipedia).

Due to favorable weather patterns (well, at least most of the time) surrounding its location near Houston, Texas, Ellington Field has served as a significant aviation operations center for the U.S. Military since the First World War. It’s legacy continues as the present “Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base,” serving the Texas Air National Guard, Johnson Space Center (NASA), and other active duty units (source: Wikipedia).

1941 Comic Postcard Message - Ellington Field, Texas lg

August 18-1941

Dear friend

I just thought I would write you and send this card along at the same time. Everything on the other side pertains to me except the last line. I wouldn’t trade my place with anybody. Believe it or not that is a picture of me on the other side. I think I’ll get to come home next Saturday. Well this leaves me still a kicking and doing fine.

So long. RRH

To: Miss Martha Bolton / Buckholts, Texas

Postmark: Ellington Field, Texas – Aug 19, 1941 – 1 cent stamp

Continue reading “I wouldn’t trade my place with anybody. [1941 – Ellington Field, TX]”

Europe, Military Postcards, Postcards

I got your clock. [1954 – U.S. Army Air Force, London]

1954 U.S. Army Air Force Postcard - London Image lg

The postmark caught my eye on this one. Ray sent this card from a military post office, presumably RAF Lakenheath (APO 09179). It’s a military post mark, which reads: “U.S. Army Air Force Postal Service,” and apparently was still being used long after the separate “U.S. Air Force” was created in 1947. The U.S. Air Force, to this day, maintains a presence at RAF Lakenheath (http://www.lakenheath.af.mil/).

1954 U.S. Army Air Force Postcard - London message lg

Hi Folks.

I got your clock shiped it about 3 weeks ago. You should get it sometime next month. It is insured in case anything is broken.

Ray.

To:
Mr. Wallace King
Route 2
Crofton, KY

Postmark: U.S. Army Air Force Postal Service 179  – 27 October 1954

Image: London, The Houses of Parliament

Military Postcards, Postcards, United States

A Full House: Coastal Artillery [1943-Watsonville, California]

1943 Comic Postcard image - Watsonville California lg

Private Ellis jotted this quick and lighthearted note to a friend while stationed on the West Coast. Camp McQuaide was an active post during WWII which specialized in Coastal Artillery, and was located on the Pacific coast in Santa Cruz County, California. (source).

1943 Comic Postcard message - Watsonville California lg

Hello Sarg

How is Trisha[?] by now. As for me everything is OK. Save that da[?] for I am going to get that furlow sometime. I hope. Ha Ha.

Love Mart

From:
Pvt. Marvin H. Ellis
Btry C 102 Trng Bn.
Camp McQuaide, California U.S. Army

To:
Mr. Ed Mathis
Detroit, Michigan

Postmark: Watsonville, California – Jan 18, 1943 Continue reading “A Full House: Coastal Artillery [1943-Watsonville, California]”