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Excerpts From Mary Anna Martin Wyall's letters home

Letters from Avenger Field, 318th AAFFTD [Army Air Forces Flying Training Department], May 1944-December 1944.

Dearest Mother & Dad:

Gee, what a long day this has been. We came out in 2 huge semi-trailer trucks with benches arranged in the trailer, and have spent the entire afternoon marching here and there and in lengthy lectures from the chief of staff, the primary training (flying) officer, the flight surgeon and the physical training teacher. So far, I'm thrilled beyond measure.

Got a glimpse of the flight line when we went down to the hangers to get our flying "zoot-suits" (Army fatigues) and other flying equipment.


Just got back from getting the rest of our uniforms. The stuff has cost me only $15. This is everything I believe.

Betty Phillips met me at the hotel and has been over quite a few times today.



Dearest Mother, Dad, Louise, Grandma and Berney Dean:

Well I've certainly had a taste of Army life. It's really rugged. We hardly have time to see the inside of our bays -- Even our evenings are full of meetings and lectures.

We go on the flight line every day and I get thrilled about flying each time. Today they closed the PT flying during my period, hence, I didn't get to fly. Mr. Bingham talked to us students (5) for about 1 1/2 hours which was just as helpful as actually flying. The wind velocity gets very high here, that's why we didn't fly today.

I eat sand here all the time, but that's 100% better than battling with hot weather and insects. (I even like the snakes down here).

The other day I saw my first black widow spider. There are quite a few around here.

We had a fire drill last nite. It was quite complete. The fire engines even came around and hooked up the hose --- just to wash the sidewalks which [sic] we stood out in the field in formation freezing to death.

You've never seen such whiz kids as we are in our bay. This morning we were up at 6:00, cleaned up the bay, made our beds, dressed and were in formation for breakfast at 6:25. At seven were sitting in class. Ground school was over at 10:00. 10:15 we went to drill. Then we were free to read our mail from 11:45 - 12:00. We changed our clothes and reported for the flight line at 1:30. At 7:00 left the flight line and ate dinner at 7:30. After dinner we thought well, we can rest until morning, but the officer of the day announced "There will be a meeting of all trainees at 21:00". This is my day!! For the life of me I can't see where I've had the chance to gain 5 lbs. (I weigh 118 now).

Maybe Saturday I'll have a chance to mail my laundry bag back home.

Goodnight and love,

Mary Anna


Thursday, June 15

Dearest Dad:

Happy Dad's day! I've got some good news for you. I hope it will compensate for flowers or somepin.'[sic] I soloed yesterday. It was a wonderful feeling and made Mr. Bingham quite happy. Today I soloed again which makes my total solo time 20 minutes and total dual 9 hrs and 56 minutes. We have been really hep on flying this week. The instructors are all anxious to get his students soloed. Mr. Bingham's five were all soloed by today. It's a grand old feeling to be up there alone.

The most thrilling thing just happened a few minutes ago. Three B-17's (Flying Fortresses) buzzed the field in formation and then peeled off to land one at a time. A jeep rushed out to the planes and took the pilots to the O.D. [Officer of the Day] office. By that time everyone had rushed to the flight line to get the deal. Guess why they came. To pick up the girls from W-5 for a dance tonight. The girls in the graduating class were guests of honors. Wouldn't that be wonderful to go to a dance about 100 miles away in a B-17. I hope that happens to W-10 around in December.

I'll let you in on a little military secret (supposedly). Miss Cochran was here this week. She ate in the dining room with W-10 this noon. She's very charming and makes you at home.

Dad -- I hope you have a happy Dad's Day. I'll be thinking of you. Last Sun. it was Louise now it's Daddy.


Mary Anna

Courtesy of The Woman's Collection, Texas Woman's University

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