We attended a lecture in The Combat Processing Center on our trip. The possible route of our trip and sex lectures regarding disease. Lord, how brutally frank they were. I’ll see those pictures to my dying day. We were also given a lecture on mails and the safe guarding of military Information. Then, two of our crews were alerted, the rest being allowed to go in to investigate the beautiful city of San Francisco. We were certainly sore about that. Our last chance to paint the town red, and we were chosen for the first alert. That caused plenty of grumbling, but there was nothing that could be done about that.
We also received our last physical examination and a showdown inspection of our equipment. The issuance of pistol ammunition was our first concrete evidence that we were going to war to kill or to be killed, as simple as that; but those words cause a lot of emotional feeling to stop the blood veins and cause a choking throat.
Shortly afterwards we were advised that our departure time was to be at 9:00 am the following morning. We were told that we’d fly as guests of the Air Transport Command. One organization named by the Army but consisting of civilian employees of United Airlines.
Tonight I placed a call to my wife, Bonnie, in Columbia, South Carolina, as well as calls to my father1 in Denver, Colorado; and to mother2 in Los Angeles. There was nothing I could tell them regarding our destination or time of departure. I could only sit in that lonesome old phone booth; and remain silent as to their questions. Feelings of sadness and emotions crowding the phone lines across the nation. My wife repeated over and over again that she loved me, as did the folks. That was the thing I wanted to hear; and my reply was in kind. Sleep was impossible that night as a result. I laid awake and ran over the days in my life sustained by the memory of the human kindness and the love and devotion of my wife of four short months. Short months crowned with pure living; and the fun of two people, madly in love; and without a semblance of anything mean or tawdry or cheap, coming between us.
Thank God for my wife.
Notes & Commentary:
1 Thomas Jason Gray (1894-1982).
2 Mary Gladys Searles (1898-1948). Wayne’s parents were divorced prior to 1929. His mother married subsequently Harvey Francis Ryning (1906-1988) in 1933.