11: The Army Air Corps

Pennsylvania State College
April-May, 1943

The train ride from Atlantic City was a long one. We had no idea where we were heading, but it was clear that the Army was trying to mislead any spies as to our destination. We tried to track our course. For a long time, it appeared that were going south, but then we turned and came north. After some ten hours, we stopped. We could hear shouting from a distance- high-pitched voices cheering. It sounded as though we were victorious troops being greeted after a battle.

As we left the train and marched, we realized that we were in a city filled with women! They were Penn State College coeds, cheering us as we arrived on their campus. It was a most heady moment. As they yelled and screamed, we were marched to a gymnasium, where we stripped and were subjected to a thorough and intimate physical examination. Then out we came, to the yelling and screaming. We marched like victors, through crowd of cheering girls and across the campus, where we were assigned to empty fraternity houses! The girls had followed us and now they stood outside in the street, still shouting. There could not have been a more exhilarating experience other than the war itself ending.

We were back at college, taking those courses that the Army Air Corps felt that each of us needed. And while we were in uniform and there was a certain amount of continued drilling, for the most part, we were free to socialize and to enjoy Penn State’s various offerings. There were dances, plays, movies, clubs, and girls. Some of us would be there only four weeks, others for six weeks, others, longer. I was in the six-week class.

Our class work was fairly easy. I had a course in English Communications and another in Math. Finally, I had a three-week course in Physics. I remember that I got A’s the first two weeks, and an “F” in the last week, when we got into how electricity worked. Since marks were averaged, I somehow received a passing grade.

Unfortunately, our stay at Penn State was much too short. We had been badly spoiled by the wonderful living conditions, the good food, and the great social life. We knew that it would be hard coming back to reality. Reality meant the Classification Center at Nashville, Tennessee.

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Published in: on July 13, 2006 at 3:20 pm  Comments Off on 11: The Army Air Corps  
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