RICHARD C. WARD|
World War II
Memories and Biography
(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)
Daddy wanted me to send this to you. See letter at end. Hope and pray all is well with you and yours. I will be copying this to my two sisters and brother.
FATE AND DESTINY
December 26th, 1940 - Engineer and Line Chief.
Draftee Richard C. Ward will report to Albany, Georgia, the day after Christmas.
I got up feeling bad that day and when it was time for the bus, I was really in bad shape. I checked with out local Doctor and he told me I was going no where. He diagnosed mumps and instructed me to stay inside for ten days. He made a call to Albany and my day to report to Albany was changed to the 6th day of January 1941. The two men I was to report with originally were sent to the Pacific Theater.
They sent me to MacDill Field, Tampa, Florida for basic training, after which I was sent to Roosevelt Field in Mineola, New York, to aviation school.
We were free nights, and I remember one party that the local girls gave for the soldiers. One girl I could not keep my eyes off of. They served beer and I spilled beer in this girl's lap. It really upset her and like a fool, I told her that I would have it cleaned if she would remove it. What a mistake! I really liked her and how fortunate I was, because one week later I saw her again and we really hit it off (I believe in FATE and DESTINY) Rosemary Tafuro was only one month from finishing Nursing School and becoming a Registered Nurse and I was only one month from finishing Mechanics School.
We bought a Nash convertible car together. Two weeks later she came to Tampa with her letter from the Catholic Church and we were all set to get married. I flew almost every day and we frolicked at night. What a life! Boy oh boy would it change.
Captain McDonald (Pilot and Commanding Officer) was training all positions on planes during this time.
We were all set to get married and I finally got four days off. We were married, with another couple, outside the vestibule, in the Catholic Church in Tampa, Florida. This being the 6th day of December, 1941, we had a nice cabin in a place called Turkey Island."
Well, the 7th being Pearl Harbor," just after noon a truck came for me and Rosemary headed back to Westbury, New York, where she lived with her parents. We loaded our worn out plane, ordered to go to Savannah (not a gun on the plane anywhere). We were there all day and never got any orders, so we flew back to MacDill Field
Next we moved to Barksdale Field, LA and continued training. Rosemary headed for my home in Arlington, Georgia. The tires of the Nash car now were bald and you could not buy more. It was parked in my Father's cotton warehouse. One of my sister's (Betty) roommates, from college, came home with her and bought the car for three hundred more dollars than we paid for it. (her folks had tires)
May 11th, 1942, three planes and hand picked crews were placed on detached service from Barksdale Field, LA. These three crews were shown as assigned on a temporary basic and secret mission to the Pentagon's first mapping group, Boiling Field, Washington, D.C. Three B24's were dispatched from the 67th Squadron. In command was Captain Donald McDonald, our 67th commanding officer (CO). The other pilots were Captain Hall and Captain Gideon Warne. Maintenance crews were Sargent Ward (me), Curtin, Marsh, Gong and Bagley (can't remember the others).
CREW ON OUR PLANE Captain McDonald - Pilot; Lt. Long, Co-Pilot; Ward, Engineer; Eslocker, Radio. Also aboard our plane were Bernt Balchem and Col. Northorp. The Photo Officer on our plane was the real "Duffie" of the show "Duffies Tavern." He was lost in 1943.
These three planes were to fly 50 miles apart at 20,000 feet altitude and photograph the terrain East Canada Hudson Bay to the Arctic North Pole, U.S. border with Canada from North and South and East to West. It was also the same for Greenland and Iceland to try to find German Weather and Radio Stations, with which they advised their submarines, etc.
About this time our home base was Godthab, Greenland with a landing strip cut out of a mountain, one strip only. I cannot forget the looks of the ice cap. It looked so close and yet it was many miles away.
As we were finishing this job, we spent one day at Reykiavik, Iceland and coming and going, we spent several days at Montreal, Canada.
Now ready to go home, the other planes left before we did. Major Mac said something about waiting for orders (which did not come). As we took off and about eight hours later, he asked me how many miles from Dothan, Alabama was it to Arlington, Georgia? I told him 40 miles and found out we were headed for Montgomery, Alabama (his home). I jumped on a bus and about two hours later, I was home. My beautiful wife was there, and boy was I happy (she was now six months pregnant)
It's now four days later and we are headed for Boiling Field, Washington, D.C. Major Mac said to get your wives (if married), here by tomorrow night because we are headed to England the next day. We did as he said and what a happy bunch.
Well, nearly four years later I return (that's another story). I am happy to see my wife, Rosemary, and I am happy to see my daughter Carol for the first time. She knew her Daddy because my wife had shown her so many pictures (thank goodness).
I have repaired watches, clocks and jewelry since 1946. I closed my jewelry store after 40 years and retired I am now age 87. I presently have daughter, Madeline Carol.
Spurlock (age 60), daughter, Marie Elaine Jones (age 57), daughter, Georgia Anne Roberts (age 52) and son, Richard Christopher Ward III, (age 50) I have seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
While I was in service, I attended four schools, two in the United States and two in London.
March 22, 2003
I was in site 3 with another bunch of Master Sgts. I remember one time out on the line, we heard this strange noise, Looking up we saw this (Hitler's) V/I about 75 feet above us and sounding like a prop. Running off, everyone was pushing and yelling. Go, Go, Go!!! Thank Goodness, it did. It had no prop.
George Baccash and I went to London every chance we had. In 1946, my wife and my two kids were sitting on the front porch and this car drove up. It was George and we sat and talked for 45 minutes and we begged him to spend the night and he said he had to go. I never saw him again.
I did not know Davis very well. I knew Curly Nelson very well and was sorry to hear about both of them.
In 1947 we had a small get-together in a hotel in New York. Robert Ryan was supposed to come, but found out later he was cooking hamburgers for some outfit.
Well, that's about all I have right now. Afraid not too many of us left I am 87 and in pretty good shape. Hope you are the same
Wishing you the best,
Richard C. Ward
P.S. My beautiful wife passed away November, 1990.