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Eggenweiler Interview.pdf

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C I V I L A I R PAT R O L
ORAL HISTORY PROGR~d.!

Interview

Ms. Marilou Crescenzo Eggenweiler

Col. Lester E. Hopper, CAP

Date:
Location:

19 May 1984
E 1 P a s o , Te x a s

KNOW ALL HEN BY THESE PRESENTS:

That I, ~, v-; ]o tJ ~. ~ a- e ~ ~ e//e r , have this day participated
J ~

in an oral-magnetic-taped interview with ~o/ / ~._~'*- ~°/f/<~J~PC'r ,C~4~P
J

covering my best recollections of events and experiences which may be of
historical significance to the Civil Air Patrol.
.

T understand that the tape(s) and the transcribed manuscript resulting
i

therefrom will be accessioned into the Civil Air Patrol's Historial Holdings.
In the best interest of the Civil Air Patrol, I do hereby voluntarily give,
t r a n s f e r, c o n v e y, a n d a s s i g n a l l r i g h t , t i t l e , a n d i n t e r e s t i n t h e m e m o i r s
and remembrances contained in the aforementioned magnetic tapes and manuscript
t o t h e C i v i l A i r P a t r o l , t o h a v e a n d t o h o l d t h e s a m e f o r e v e r, h e r e b y r e l i n quishing for myself, my executors, administrators, heirs, and assigns all
ownership, right , title, and interest therein to the donee expressly on the
condition of Strict observance of the following restrictions:

Dated

f /9o9 -

Accepted on behalf of the Civil Air Patrol by
Dated /~ /;~t p~ /.~ f--

.

C I V I L A I R PAT R O L O R A L H I S T O R Y I N T E R V I E W S

Civil Air
early

1982

Patrol's
o f

Patrol

t h e s e

by

Oral

Lt

History

Col

National

Lester

Historical

i n t e r v i e w s

i s

t o

interviews
E.

Hopper,

were
C A P,

Committee.

r e c o r d

f o r

The

initiated
of

the

Civil Air

overall

p o s t e r i t y

in

t h e

purpose
a c t i v i t i e s

of selected members of the Civil Air Patrol.

The

principal

goal

of

these

histories

is

to

increase

the

base

of knowledge relating to the early accomplishments of Civil
Air Patrol members who in their own unique way contributed to
the

defense

of

our

great

country.

Certainly

not

of

a

secondary nature is the preservation of the contributions of
individuals

as

Civil Air

Patrol

continues

its

growth.

FOREWORD

The

following

is

the

transcript

of

an

oral

history

interview

recorded on magnetic tape. Since only minor emendations have
been made, the reader should consistently bear in mind that he
is

reading

w o r d .

a

transcript

A d d i t i o n a l l y,

n o

of

the

spoken

a t t e m p t

t o

rather

c o n fi r m

than

t h e

the

written

h i s t o r i c a l

accuracy of the statements has been made. As a result, the
transcript

reflects

the

interviewee's

personal

recollections

of a situation as she remembered it at the time of the
interview.

Editorial notes and additions made by CAP historians are
e n c l o s e d
titles

are

i n

b r a c k e t s .

also

I f

f e a s i b l e ,

provided. Any

fi r s t

additions,

n a m e s ,

r a n k s ,

deletions

o r

and

changes subsequently made to the transcript by the interviewee
are

not

actual

indicated.
interview

Researchers

tape

prior

to

may

citing

wish
the

to

listen

to

transcript.

the

SUMMARY OF CONTENTS

Marilou Eggenweiler begins this oral history with the
telling of her personal background and her recruitment by Gill
Robb Wilson. She vividly recounts many details of living and
operating on the Civil Air Patrol Coastal Patrol Base 1 at
A t l a n t i c C i t y, N e w J e r s e y. H e r r e c o l l e c t i o n s a d d s i g n i fi c a n t
insight into the operation of this base from the time of its
inception until its closure. Additionally she provides
c o n s i d e r a b l e i n f o r m a t i o n o n h e r e x p e r i e n c e s w i t h To w Ta r g e t
Units 1 and 22.

GUIDE TO CONTENTS

1

Personal Background

1

The Beginning of CAP Coastal Patrol Base 1

2

Sinking of Gulf Pride

3

Hugh Sharp

3

Aircraft Types

3

Working Schedule

4

Description of Atlantic City Airport

5

Interest in Aviation

6

Grumman Widgeon

9

Attempt to Join Navy

I0

Airport D~scription

10

Living Accommodations

11

A n n A c k e r m a n , To w e r O p e r a t o r

12

Base Offices

13

Office Staff

13

Patrol Procedure

14

Colonel Harry Blee

15

Crash of Army Aircraft

16

First Crash at Sea

17

Eggenweiler-Chalow Crash

19

Recovery by Coast Guard

20

Loss of Ben Berger

22

Pay and Allowances

23

Ta n k e r P r o t e c t i o n F u n d

24

Rotating Base Commanders

25

Closing of Base 1

25

Purchase of NC322Y

26

T r a n s i t i o n t o To w Ta r g e t U n i t 1

27

Description of Hadley Field

27

Blee-Gresham Crash

28

Personal Background

29

Te n u r e o f To w Ta r g e t U n i t 2 2

31

Lady Pilots on Coastal Patrol

32

Overall Evaluation of Coastal Patrol

32

Father Devine and CAP

34

Relations with other Services

CAP ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW

Number:

WNHC 20.84-1

Ta p e d I n t e r v i e w w i t h :

Marilou Crescenzo Eggenweiler

Date of Interview:

19 May 1984

Location:

E 1 P a s o , Te x a s

Conducted by:

Col. Lester E. Hopper, CAP

H :

M a r i l o u ,

i f

w e

c a n

g e t

s t a r t e d

o f f

w i t h

j u s t

a

l i t t l e

b i t

o f b a c k g r o u n d a b o u t y o u r s e l f , f a m i l y b a c k g r o u n d , p r i o r t o C A P,
I

think

E:

OK.

it

would

I'm

a

be

well

native

to

establish

of Atlantic

that.

City,

which

was

the

home

of

Coastal Patrol I, born and raised there, graduated from
Atlantic City High School, attended Barnard College in New
Yo r k

City,

and

then

went

to

business

school.

While

I

was

at

the business school, which was called New Iersey College of
Commerce in Atlantic City, I was recruited by a very exciting
lady called Cecile Hamilton, who was secretary to a very
exciting gentleman known as Gill Robb Wilson, and it just
happened that they had opened a new patrol base at Atlantic
City

and

office.

So

were
a

looking

cute

little

for

a

couple

blonde

of

named

girls
Helen

to

work

Klimek

in

the

and

I

were

the two that were recommended and we reported to the CAP
Coastal Patrol Number 1 as the secretaries. CAP Coastal
Patrol

started

on

the

fourth

of

March

in

1942,

and

it

was

a

very interesting group of men that came in at the beginning.
They were very prominent men from northern New Jersey and New
Yo r k . A m o n g t h e m w a s a f e l l o w t h a t w e c a l l e d " Tu b b y " B u r n h a m ,
who later became a base commander. There was a man named
Harold Cobb, who used to be the skipper on our championship
boats in the Davis Cups. There was a man named Edgar Woodems,
who

was

the

chief

trainer

for

one

of

the

real

big

stables,

I

Eggenweiler

forget which one now, Jock Whitney or something like that.
There was Wynant Farr, who had a paper box works outside New
Yo r k C i t y, a v e r y w e l l - k n o w n b u s i n e s s m a n , a n d s e v e r a l o t h e r s
c a m e o n l a t e r. T h e r e w a s a p r o m i n e n t N e w Yo r k d e n t i s t , w h o
developed the mechanism so that our planes could pick up any
transmissions

from

any

source,

and

I

can't

really

think

of

any

more right now.

H:

I b e l i e v e To m E a s t m a n w a s t h e r e .

E : To m E a s t m a n c a m e i n , t o o . To m E a s t m a n w a s f r o m E a s t m a n
Kodak,

and

he

was

an

interesting

character.

I'll

have

to

tell

you a few stories about him.

H:

E:

Well,

The

w e r e

we'll

men

o n

a

be

came
l a r k .

interested

in

on

A n d

the

o n

in

them.

fourth,

t h e

fi f t h ,

feeling
t h e y

almost

r o u n d e d

like

u p

a l l

they
t h e

airplanes, and took them out to show them the route that they
w o u l d b e p a t r o l l i n g , f r o m t h e m o u t h o f N e w Yo r k h a r b o r d o w n t o
the mouth of the Delaware, and that was the end of feeling
like it was a skylark, because the Gulf Pride had been
torpedoed the night before, and the men looked down on debris,
fl o a t i n g

b o d i e s ,

l i f e

j a c k e t s ,

t h i s

h o r r i b l e

o i l

s l i c k - - i t

w a s

a very sobering experience for all of them. But they managed
to

maintain

hours.

They

Atlantic

a

were

City,

interesting

rather

cavalier

all

called

article,

holed
the

attitude

up

in

Hotel

which

you

a

on

small

Chelsea,
probably

their

off-duty

wooden
and

have

hotel

there

was

seen,

put

in
a
in

magazine about the first Coastal Patrol.

H :

E:

Back in contemporary period.

Ye s .

pictures

It

was

were

a
in

very

good

there.

We

article
had

and

quite

most

an

of

the

assortment

men's
of

very
Life

Eggenweiler

airplanes right at the beginning. We had a Sikorsky Duck,
which I think is the one that later went down to Rehoboth, and
the one Hugh Sharp was flying when he rescued a couple of men
in a very good sea rescue, for which I believe he got an Air
Medal.

E: We had a Fairchild that belonged to Major Farr. We had a
couple of little planes that we later had to discontinue
using--they were too light for the work. We had a couple of
big Stinsons, which turned out to be our workhorses, and a
couple of Wacos, which were all right for pilots that could
fly biplanes, but we had quite a few pilots that had trouble
with biplanes, and we were always cracking up the wings, the
l o w e r w i n g s o n t h e W a c o s , o r W AY- C O E S , s o m e p e o p l e c a l l t h e m .
The first day that we were supposed to report, they decided
since they needed the office open from six in the morning to
six at night, one of us would work six to twelve and the other
one twelve to six, so I drew the six to twelve assignment for
the first week, and on the seventeenth of March--every time
St. Patrick's Day comes around I remember that that was the
first day and send a card to my friend Helen, if she doesn't
send one to me-- I walked in the rain down to the Atlantic
City Airport, carrying my school books on one side, because I
was still going to business school at the time, and my
stenotype machine, and just as i came around the end of the
hangar, Gill Robb Wilson--I didn't know him at the
time--hollers: "Grab that wing!" So I dropped everything in
the mud and grabbed a wing and stood there for half an hour
holding an airplane down. (Laughter)

H: Let's regress just a moment, and I'm glad to meet someone
w h o k n e w G i l l R o b b p e r s o n a l l y. T h e r e a r e q u i t e a f e w s t o r i e s
about some unofficial operations out of Atlantic City by Gill

Eggenweiler

Robb and his wife and some other people before it actually
started as a CAP Coastal Patrol Base. Do you know anything
about that?
E: I don't know anything about that. I know that he was the
guiding spirit and the organizer and everything else of the
Coastal Patrols, but I don't know what he had done before
that. When we came on the airport there was a National Guard
unit from Maryland stationed there, who were doing a form of
patrol work, they were actually--had been thrown in there in
case of invasion or something, because they were trying to
protect all the airports along the coast. But how much else
had been done--I imagine he must have been coming in to scout
the territory because he had the routes all laid out and
everything else, when the other men got there. Atlantic City
Airport at that time was way past its prime. The three
hangars were three big tin buildings that had originally been
put up for the annual new car shows. Before the big
c o n v e n t i o n h a l l w a s b u i l t i n A t l a n t i c C i t y, t h e y u s e d t o t h r o w
these metal buildings up down on the beach to show the new
cars, and they had been put out at the airport as hangars, and
we always said we had the only airport in existence where
every time the wind blew we'd holler: "Get the planes out of
the hangar!" (Laughter)

H: Not the very best. The appeal for you to go down, and you
say you were recruited by Cecile Hamilton--was there any
military background or condition in your family that would
lead you to be interested in the military?

E: No, it was a job. We didn't realize too much what sort of
job it was. We just went in as secretaries. The early
p i c t u r e s o f u s i n t h e C A P, y o u c a n s e e w e w e r e s i t t i n g t h e r e
in regular dresses. Then one fine day we were ordered into
uniform.

Eggenweiler

H:

So

basically

looking

for

E :

l o o k i n g

J u s t

a

you

job

first

went

on.

very

patriotic.

went

or

just

f o r

Most

out

a

Most

the

of

patriotism

or

you

were

what?

j o b .

of

of

T h a t
men

them

w a s

that

were

t h e

o r i g i n a l - - w h y

came

over

in,

age

I

think,

for

the

w e

were

draft.

There were a few that were draftable. They were well-to-do
men. They had nothing whatever to gain from being there, and
still

they

and

H :

I

came

always

D i d

y o u

in

with

admired

h a v e

their

them

a n y

planes

and

terrifically

p a r t i c u l a r

put

for

i n t e r e s t

in

long

hours,

it.

i n

a v i a t i o n

p r i o r

t o

that?

E :

O h ,

time

I

y e s .
got

Ye s ,

home

i n d e e d .

on

I

s p e n t

vacation,

m y

sitting

c o l l e g e
on

the

y e a r s ,

fence

e v e r y

out

at

the

airport waiting for one of my friends who were in the CPTP to
g i v e

m e

silver
pair

r i d e .

streak

of

awful

a

airplane.

of

u s e d

skating

bright

lot

I

red

t o

jacket,

slacks

hours

Just--I'd

w e a r

in

the

go

so

a

an

c r a z y

old

they

air

o u t fi t .

aviation

couldn't

without

along--ride

ever

along,

I

h a d

helmet,

miss

me.

those

and

a

had

an

I

touching
in

a

an
days

we

flew Piper Cubs, which now look like match-sticks, and we used
to take them up in the air and open up the sides and do loops
hanging

out

on

our

seat

belts,

and

all

sorts

of

things

that

make my hair stand on end even thinking about it now.

H: Probably not your hair stand on end as much as the FAA
people these days.

E~

Oh,

yes.

H :

But

you

They

wouldn't

actually

didn't

have

been

have

any

able

type

to

of

stand

flight

it

at

all.

training.

Eggenweiler

E:

No. No, I just liked to ride.

H: Did you get to ride in any unusual aircraft other than the
Piper you spoke of?

E: I always think, my first flight was in a Curtiss-Wright
seaplane, believe it or not, when I was three years old. They
were the old seaplanes in World War I, and my second flight
was in a Ford Trimotor, which was sitting there in very rotted
condition when the CAP started--still sitting on the airport.
When the CAP was there, I had lots of flights. My main thing
was one of the big sturdy Stinsons, because I always figured
they could get in by themselves, no matter who was flying them
they managed to land themselves, and I flew in the Wacos, and
I was up in the ones they used to call the Biddies, the little
Stinsons.

H:

The little 10-A's?

E : Ye s . R i g h t . 0 - 5 . A n d t h e b e a u t i f u l F a i r l i n e , l i k e M a j o r
Farr had, I later owned one, Helen and I owned one between us,
had lots of hours in those. Major Farr's plane carried the
number 2302, which was one of the small ones, and ours was
3 2 2 Y, w h i c h w a s o n e o f t h e s m a l l o n e s . T h e n u m b e r s w e n t w a y
b a c k , t h e y w e r e h i s t o r i c a l n u m b e r s , p r a c t i c a l l y. A n d o f
course I flew in what we called our big planes, which were the
Grummans, the Widgeons.

H:

Yo u fl e w i n b o t h o f t h e W i d g e o n s y o u a l l h a d ?

E : Ye s . I s a t i n b o t h o f t h e m . T h e W i d g e o n o w n e r s w e r e b o t h
w e l l - t o - d o . T h e o n e w a s o w n e d b y To m E a s t m a n , t h e o t h e r w a s
owned by a man named Zellers, or Sellers, or something like
that.

Eggenweiler

H :

Z e l c e r.

E:

Z e l c e r,

was

the

H :

A n

t h a t ' s

pilot

on

i t .

His son-in-law, Johnny Haggin0

Ye s .

that.

i n t e r e s t i n g

t h i n g - - Z e l c e r ' s

a i r p l a n e

i s

s t i l l

fl y i n g

and I have been in correspondence with its current owner.
I t ' s

i n

A l a s k a .

E :

Oh,

isn't

H :

It's

the

one

E:

Ye s .

I'm

almost

that

wonderful!

we

can

best

sure

it

tell

was

dropped

that

one

--

that

dropped

the

depth charge.

H:

I'm

about

glad
six

to

hear

numbers

i l l u s t r a t i o n

h a d

you

confirm

apart.

a

l i t t l e

The

that.

The

artist

p r o b l e m

who

t r y i n g

NC
did
t o

numbers
the

are

original

i d e n t i f y

t h a t .

Just recently he wrote back and I found some records.

E:

Ye s .

the

bomb, so I'm sure it was his plane.

H:

Because

That's

w h o

really

b o u g h t

i t

Johnny

how

f r o m

we
a

flew

got

fl y i n g

it

the

plane

back

that

through

s e r v i c e ,

t h a t

went

his

out

to

drop

father-in-law

o r i g i n a l l y

h a d

i t ,

and the Grumman Aircraft people themselves are very much
i n t e r e s t e d .

I ' v e

on

too

a

the
v e r y

tape

h i s t o r i c

t a l k e d
much.

t o

But

t h e i r
you

did

h i s t o r i a n .
get

the

B u t

a i r c r a f t .

Ye s .

H:

We're going to put a plaque in it, some day.

r o d e

i n

g e t t i n g

opportunity

E :

I

I ' m

i t .

to

fly

Eggenweiler

E: Oh, isn't that wonderful.

It really was exciting, the

whole thing about that.

H: When you went to work at the base, did you join CAP
immediately?

E:

Ye s . W e w e r e t a k e n r i g h t i n .

We were given the papers

and

signed them. We didn't care.

We signed up. (Laughter)

H:

That would have been in March.

E : Ye s . A l t h o u g h t h e r e ' s n o r e c o r d . I t i s v e r y i n t e r e s t i n g .
When they gave the record of all the people that got put in
t h e C A P, t h e y d o n ' t s e e m t o h a v e m y n a m e o n t h e l i s t . T h e
rest of us are there, the ones that reported and that they
have reporting, but they don't have me on it. I don't know
why because Helen and I were together. I probably typed the
list and skipped myself.

H:

That's about it. How do you spell Helen's name?

E : K - L - I - M - E - K . S h e l i v e s i n N e w b u r g h , N e w Yo r k . I c a n g i v e
you her post office box. I've no idea where she lives. I
just write to a post office box.

H: OK, I'll get that later. There was another prominent
l a d y, I j u s t r e c e n t l y r a n a c r o s s - - t h e n a m e e s c a p e s
me--alledgedly Lady Astor's niece, last name was T-I-G-H or
something like that, who claims to have flown out of Atlantic
C i t y.
E: We had women pilots right at the beginning, we had a few
come in, but they weren't encouraged. It was a very macho
outfit.

Eggenweiler

H:

Well,

she

complained

about

this,

and

recently

someone

wrote a book, sort of a biography of her.

E: She might have very well been, but I don't have any record
of

them

or

anything

else.

Cecile

Hamilton

was

a

pilot.

We

just thought she was great--we thought she was the rat's
rubbers, as they used to say.

I

H: Now, what was her later married name?

think

that

may

have been a-

E:

That

I

don't

know.

It

might

be,

because

she

was

a

real

gung-ho pilot. She was Gill Robb's right-hand man.

H:

That

may

have

been

it. Actually,

you

went

in

CAP

from

a

motivational standpoint as a job, and then you got hooked.

E:

We

got

hooked,

right.

The both of us got hooked, badly

hooked.

Then

H:

it

became

over

patriotic

desire

to

do

the

job

right.

E : Ye s , I g o t s o h o o k e d l a t e r w h e n t h e t o w t a r g e t o n e w a s
breaking
a n d

g o t

stay

up,
u p

with

I

went

t h e r e

the

out

a n d

C A P. "

I

and

s a i d :
had

to

started
" N o ,
get

I
a

to

enlisted

c a n ' t

d o

release

i t .

in
i

from

the

Navy,

t h i n k
the

I ' l l

CAP

to

get into the Navy.

H: Oh, you did have to have a release from CAP in order to be
able to get in the Navy?

E :

H :

Ye s . E v e n t h o s e f e l l o w s t h a t w e r e d r a f t e d h a d r e l e a s e s .

L e t ' s

l i t t l e

b i t

g e t

o ff

a b o u t

o n

a

l i t t l e

A t l a n t i c

d i ff e r e n t

C i t y.

We ' l l

t r e n d ,
g e t

a n d

b a c k

t o

t e l l
y o u .

m e

a

Eggenweiler

Yo u ' v e a l r e a d y m e n t i o n e d i t w a s a t w h a t a i r p o r t .

What was the

name of the airport?

E :

I t

old

w a s

c a l l e d

mayor

Atlantic

B a d e r

of Atlantic

City Airport

Pomona--that's
d a u g h t e r

h a s

City,
until

inland

fl o w n

F i e l d .

A c t u a l l y,

Bader,
they

and

put

i n

t o

B a d e r

it

the

from Atlantic

i t

w a s

was

new

City.

F i e l d ,

n a m e d

the

one

a n

official

in

at

I

s o

f o r

guess--my

I

g u e s s

i t ' s

s t i l l

i n

use, but I think the main planes land at Pomona and come
across
a

in

little

island

Atlantic
water

small

City's

that

ones

right
on,

over
off

to

the

and

the

end

what

airport. And
of Absecon

they

separates Atlantic

City

call

the

from

it

was

Island,

stuck

which

Thoroughfare,

the

on

mainland,

the

flows

around it and goes down, and we had some very hairy, scarey
take-offs, when they wouldn't clear the city when they had to
fly

the

length

of

the

Thoroughfare

to

get

out

to

go

on

patrol

fi r s t .

H: How about your runways? Did you have crosswind runways,
or just one runway?

E :

No,

H :

Three runway operation. Grass or concrete?

E:

It

was

believe,
itself

it

was

the

traditional

gravel--sand,
black-topped

was

a

mess

of

three

actually,

or

sea

and

something
gulls.

runway-

the

like

That's

runways
that,

what

but

it

were,
the

I

airport

was.

(Laughter)

H: Gooney-birds! How about your office accommodations,
living accommodations?

E:

Well,

the

men,

Hotel. A little

as

later

I

said,

they

originally

moved

into

stayed

what

at

at

one

the
time

Chelsea
had

Eggenweiler

been a private club, called the Cosmopolitan Club, where they
had rooms. There was a big bar downstairs, they liked that
very much. And then aferwards we wound up renting a bunch of
apartments at a housing development right near the airport.
The men doubled up four to an apartment, except the married
ones, and lived there. Some of the men had private
accommodations.
in

of Atlantic
Helen

City.

was

Atlantic

was

living

at

Pleasantville

I

the

time,

So

boarding

City,

and

I

just

with

we

my

that's

family
an

sister,

about

commuted

a

had

with

awful

six

in

by

in

up

the

lot

who

was

miles

car

outside

every

Inlet

living

day.

district

of Atlantic

City

of

people

that were recruited into the CAP for airdrome work and as
guards.
tower

E:

We

had

peripheral

operator

That

looked

was

an Atlantic

was Ann Ackerman.
sort

of

like

guards

Rita

all

City

She

was

Hayworth.

around

the

airport.

The

girl.

a

beautiful

She

was

girl.

She

absolutely

gorgeous, and one of the coolest characters you ever heard in
your

life.

operator,

I

believe

but

I

Johnny

couldn't

Haggin's

swear

to

it.

wife
The

was
one

also
I

a

tower

remember

particularly, I know there were two, but the one I remember is
Ann Ackerman. She was quite well-known by everybody flying up
and down the coast, and it was a common saying that if I ever
go down, I hope that cold-blooded Annie Ackerman is up in the
tower

at Atlantic

City.

She

wasn't

cold-blooded,

but

she

kept

her head so beautifully in any sort of emergency. We had
planes ditching, we had planes cracking up on the beach, and
Annie's voice would come over so calmly: "Give your position,
please.

Send

in

the

clear." And

it

just

just to hear her, you know.

H:

S h e i n v e n t e d t h e C h u c k Ye a g e r d r a w l .

calmed

the

men

down,

Eggenweiler

E :

O h ,

s h e

w a s

j u s t

t e r r i fi c

a t

t h a t

j o b .

T h e

o n l y

w a y

I

c a n

describe her, and I mean it in a very nice way, she was such a
sexy

dame,

it

was

really

unusual

to

have

her

so

efficient

and

so good.

H:

For

the

most

part,

then,

you

didn't

have

any

living

accommodations on the air base.

E :

No,

H:

Now, how about your offices? What were they?

E:

we

had

Originally

none

they

at

all

were

on

just

the

air

little

base

rooms

itself.

around

the

side

of

the Number 2 hangar. Number I hangar was just about
abandoned. Number 3 hangar had the National Guard in there,
and we just didn't use that too much. Number 2 hangar was our
h a n g a r,
h a d

a

a n d

t i n

hot--long
have

w e

r o o f .

fi x e d
We

before

helped.

u p

b a k e d

air

The

i t

s l o w l y
i n

t h e

t h r o u g h

s u n .

conditioning--but

CAP

divided

it

off

I t

t h e

w a s

even

into

y e a r s .

I t

j u s t

t e r r i b l y

insulation

little

cubby

would
hole

rooms down the side, we made one into a stock room, one into
the Commander's Office, one into the regular office, one was a
place

for

the

airdrome

officer,

and

then

on

the

other

side

we

had a dispensary and a barber shop and a rec room for the
pilots. And

in

the

middle

there

was

a

division

across

and

the

main part of the hangar was the repair shop.

H:

E:

Now

It

was

about

just

your

one

specific

room

in

office?

the

What

thing,

and

was

it?

very

primitive

conditions. As time went on we got supplies from the Army,
but we started out with an adding machine that you had to
crank by hand, and typewriters that broke your wrists every
time you tried to type on them, and any kind of broken-down
office

equipment

we

could

round

up.

Later,

we

were

able

to

Eggenweiler

draw equipment from the Army, and then we had some pretty nice
stuff.

Yo u r

H :

E:

I

specific

was

job

originally

was--

just

one

of

the

two--we

started

out,

there was a Dr. Davidson in Atlantic City and his wife was the
technical section head, and the head bookkeeper was a woman
n a m e d F r a n c e s G l a s s m a n , w h o s e h u s b a n d w a s a C PA , a n d h e s e t u p
our books, and she was the head bookkeeper, and Helen and I
were the secretaries. And Mrs. Davidson left and Mrs.
Glassman moved up to technical section head and then I was the
chief bookkeeper, and then later on, when Mrs. Glassman left,
I was technical section head. And Helen was very funny
because when, after we'd been there a while, we were both
assigned as corporals, and she would never take a promotion.
She

said

Master
went

she

liked

Sergeant

up

to

Corporal

and

Flight

she

Klimek.

was

Officer,

still

and

(Laughter)

a

she

I

went

corporal. And

still

insisted

I

she

up

to

later
was

Corporal Klimek, she liked the sound of it.

H :

S h e

why

l i k e d

that's

t h e

good

s o u n d
logic.

o f

i t

b e t t e r.

(Laughter)

I

I ' m

n o t

might

g o i n g

establish

t o

s a y

that

I

am

one of those people whom you refer to as a chauvenist. How
a b o u t - - t e l l

u s

a

l i t t l e

b i t

a b o u t

d a y

t o

d a y

o p e r a t i o n s .

W h a t

happened when you got to work in the morning?

E:

Well,

dawn

the

patrol.

patrols
They

started

went

out

out
in

at

dawn.

groups

of

We
two.

had
Two

a

regular
went

up

the

coast and two went down the coast, and they flew until they
would meet Rehoboth coming up from the south, and the one up
on Long Island, outside Mitchell Field somewhere, coming down
from
could

New
take

Yo r k .
care

The
of

Grummans
themselves

flew
if

alone.

they

were

They
in

figured

trouble,

they
but

the

other planes flew by two in case one went down there was one

Eggenweiler

t o
a n

h o l l e r.
o f fi c e

T h e
g i r l

o f fi c e
a l l

a c t e d

m y

l i f e ,

j u s t

a n d

l i k e

i t ' s

a n y

b e e n

o f fi c e .

t h e

I ' v e

s a m e

b e e n

j o b ,

n o

matter what I've been doing. That was the same as anywhere
else,

except

e x c i t i n g ,

a

we

had

l i t t l e

a

few

m o r e

things

that

i n t e r e s t i n g

made

t h a n

it

a

m o s t

little

o f fi c e

more

w o r k .

We

were told that in case the enemy came up over the beach, we
were to shred our records and burn them before we left. We
were given assignments, in case the enemy came up over the
beach, we were assigned to airplanes to be evacuated to
Allentown Airport,

which

was

interesting,

because

after

I

got

married, I wound up living within twenty miles of Allentown
Airport.

We

crawling
we

H:

all

were

regular

were

investigated

over Atlantic

fingerprinted,
office

Kind

of

by

City

all

the

FBI.

We

investigating

that,

which

was

had
all

very

people

of

us,

and

different

from

work.

exciting,

too,

wasn't

it?

E: It was very exciting. When something went wrong, when one
of the men went down or something, it was really an
experience.

Yo u

just

couldn't

believe.

We

had

a

couple

of

very interesting things happen. Our National Operations
Officer, after things settled down, was a man named Colonel
Blee, and he had been a balloon pilot or a balloon observer, I
think he was, in World War I, so one day one of the Navy
blimps
w e r e

came

fl a s h i n g

over

in

t h e i r

the

middle

b l i n k e r,

b l i m p ' s

i n

t r o u b l e .

I ' m

blimp's

in

trouble."

So

ropes,

to

get

the

a n

of

a n d

o l d

down

in

horrible

C o l .

b l i m p

everyone

blimp

a

s a i d :

m a n .

went
the

B l e e

rain

I
to

They

" T h a t

k n o w

out

storm.

grab

t h a t
landing

storm. A fellow

named

Wallace, who was the man that trained everybody in Morse Code
and things like that, went out and he was looking at the
b l i n k e r.

C o l .

B l e e

s a i d :

" W h a t ' s

i t

s a y ? "

Wa l l a c e

s a i d :

"They say: 'What are all you damn fools doing standing out in
the rain?'" (Laughter)

Then another time, when Pomona

Eggenweiler

opened, it was in the War and it became a Naval air base,
i n s t e a d

o f

b e i n g

a

r e g u l a r

c i v i l i a n

fi e l d ,

a n d

t h e

fi r s t

planes were brought in by Marine pilots, and never in my life,
before or since, have I seen such maneuvering as they can do.
They were coming down on our big long runways, landing as if
they

were

landing

on

a

carrier

deck:

down,

wings

start

up,

plane goes off to the side, down, wings start up, plane goes
off

to

s e e

the

t h a t

out

for

and

side.
t y p e

a

they

We

o f

big

stood

p r e c i s i o n

brawl

were

all

at

just

the

there

with

fl y i n g .

hotel

incredible

S o

w e

where

men.

our

h a d

the

Later

mouths
a l l

men
I

met

open

t h e

were
a

to

p i l o t s
living,

bunch

of

incredible women. They were the women pilots who did the
ferry

work,

There's

flying

just

into

Newark,

something

about

when

I

pilots.

with

To w

They're

Ta r g e t

22.

incredible

people, that's the only way I can describe them.

H:

They do tend to be different.

E: They really are. We had an Army plane go down one time.
That

was

a

terrifying

experience.

It

crashed

and

burned

right

on our runway. The man was in trouble and he was trying to
get the plane dow~ and didn't make it, and our fellows went
out with our fire-fighting equipment--we had foamers and
things like that--the minute the foam would stop it would go
back

up

in

flames

with

that

high

octane

gas.

Then

they

had

to

run, I don't know how I got there, I wound up lying under the
tail

of

with
t h e

an

airplane.

tracers,
t r a c e r s ,

terrifying

I

The

guess

t h e y

bullets,

they

w e r e

experience,

were

fl y i n g

the
all

bullets,

e v e r y

absolutely,

magazines

w h i c h

just

to

went

but

we

the

and

could

d i r e c t i o n .
hear

off

I t

see
w a s

tanks

a

go,

hear the tracers going, they made a funny whistle when they're
going,
to

and

make

a

things

like

landing,

and

that.

We

flipped

had
over

another Army
on

its

back.

plane
The

tried

pilot

walked away from it. We tried to make him lie down and he
s a i d :

" N o .

I ' m

fi n e . "

T h e

d o c t o r

c h e c k e d

h i m .

H e

s a i d :

" I

Eggenweiler

t h i n k
died

h e ' s
on

a l l

the

r i g h t ,

way

to

b u t

the

I ' l l

t a k e

h i m

hospital. A lot

t o

t h e

of

our

h o s p i t a l . "
own

H e

planes

went

down. When they'd get in trouble they'd head for the beach.
But

unfortunately, Atlantic

that

part

of

beaches.

Jersey

They'd

have

try

to

City

big

beach

jetties

land

and

and

all

sticking

they'd

hit

the

out

the

beaches

to

hold

jetty,

in

the

so

we

had plane after plane go over on its back on the beaches down
t h e r e . We h a d a f e l l o w n a m e d C l i ff P o l e y f r o m u p N e w Yo r k
state,

little

observer

bit

in

of

with

a

man,

him.

very

The

wiry,

plane

and

flipped

he

over

had

a

and

great

the

big

observer

was hanging in his seat belt and stunned, and Poley picked him
up,

released

his

seat

belt,

and

got

him

out

of

there.

We

never figured out how he did it. We had a man who was the
h e a d o f B u ff a l o P h a r m a c e u t i c a l s i n B u ff a l o , N e w Yo r k , a n d h e
had

our

only

gull-wing

"Flat-pitch"

because

H:

Ye s .

he'd

We

always

fly

used

to

over

call

him

the--

Make noise.

E :

Stinson.

H e ' d

fl a t

deliberately.
in

H :

E :
but
up

the

p i t c h

i t

g o i n g

o v e r

t h e

c i t y - - j u s t

He and his observer were the first ones we lost

drink.

Who was he, do you recall?

I ' m
he
on

t r y i n g
was
the

t o

the

list

t h i n k
head

here,

o f

of

h i s

n a m e .

Buffalo

when

I

get

I t ' l l

c o m e

b a c k

Pharmaceuticals.
a

chance.

The

t o

I'll

m e ,

look

observer,

it

at

that time they were wearing Kapok life belts, which we later
got rid of, we got regular Mae Wests, the observer was a
lightweight man, he had his Kapok vest on and he got trapped
in
the

the

back

back

of

and

built

about

went

back

the
he

like
into

plane.

He

floated

couldn't

get

out.

went

in,

you,
the

he

airplane,

and

This
he

big,

was

released

he

out

the

was

trapped

great

big

himself,

fellow

from

in

man,
and
his

he

Eggenweiler

Kapok vest, brought him out and held him up until he got
rescued. Major Farr was our commander at that time and he
said he was so mad at him he could have killed him except he
was a damn hero. He saved his observer.

Do you remember his name?

H :

E:

N o .

H:

Those were the days of uncommon valor for a lot of people.

E:

We

I ' l l

had

l o o k

a

i t

u p .

couple

of

I

t h i n k

incidents

I

h a v e

that

h i m

I

o n

think

h e r e .

were

deliberate.

The pilots all looked at our big thoroughfares coming into
Atlantic City and wondered if they could land planes on them.
One day Maj. Farr, with his smooth-running airplane, had
engine trouble and wound up landing on the road. We were
always
very

sure

nicely

it

was

again.

get

off

withou~

H:

He

had

E :

Ye s .

n a m e

the

T h a t

o f

deliberate

i t .

I

It

was

getting

right

big

engine
enough

in--with

to

trouble.

that

to

land

type

He
on

took

and

off

you

could

airplane.

test.

w a s

t h e

F a i r c h i l d

h a d

o n e

a n d

h e

5 0 0 .

h a d

I

o n e .

c o u l d n ' t

t h i n k

I ' l l

t o

h a v e

o f

t e l l

t h e

y o u

how we wound up owning an airplane. Let me see. We had Rudie
and Eggie were the "Order of the Duck" and that was hilarious
because Rudie was--

H:

Te l l

t h a t

E :

us

t o

about

r e a l l y

We l l ,

I

b e

w a s n ' t

that

crash,

a b l e

t o

g o i n g

you

r e c a l l

w i t h

ought

to

be

close

enough

to

i t .

F l o y d

a t

t h e

t i m e .

F l o y d

h a d

a

girl up in his home town of East Mauchunk, Pennsylvania, and
t h i s
until

w a s

a t

after

A t l a n t i c
we

were

C i t y.

up

in

F l o y d
CAP

1

a n d
or

I

22,

d i d n ' t

g e t

one

those

of

t o g e t h e r
two,

up

in

Eggenweiler

Hadley Field. But anyhow, Rudie was Engineering Officer.
That meant he was the head mechanic, and Floyd was Assistant
Engineering Officer, the second head mechanic. And every time
we had a critique after a crash, either Rudie or Eggie would
say:

"The

behind

only

the

trouble

stick."

with

Every

that

time,

airplane

that

was

was

always

the

loose

their

nut

comment.

They were very proud of their maintenance. We had beautiful
maintenance. Our planes were really maintained. They came on
in bad condition. They got torn down before they ever went
o u t

o n

p a t r o l .

T h e y

w e r e

b o t h

s t i c k l e r s .

K u d i e

i s

s t i l l

a

m a r v e l o u s m e c h a n i c , a n d a v e r y h a r d - h e a d e d m e c h a n i c . Yo u
d o n ' t c o m p r o m i s e w i t h R u d i e , a n d m y h u s b a n d w a s t h e s a m e w a y.
So, anyhow, we had a bombing range, which was the old Gulf
Star,

or

something

like

that.

The

old

wreck

was

out

there,

and they used to go out to practice bombing on that. Rudie
wanted to get out of the shop and become a pilot, so he asked
permission to go out--he had his own airplane, his own
Waco--and he wanted to go out bombing and Eqgie went along for
co-pilot.
plane

So

went

they
in

the

made

about

drink.

We

two

just

runs.

The

thought

third

that

run

was

the

so

hilarious, because they had to have a critique, and the men
all sat there laughing and said: "What was wrong? Was there
something wrong with the plane, or was it the loose nut behind
the

stick?"

H:

What was determined to be the cause?

E:

They

(Laughter)

never

did

determine

it.

The

plane

belonged

to A1

Muthig, he was Wynant Farr's buddy, and he was my pet. It was
a

beautifully

maintained

Waco.

He

was

very

fussy.

When

that

plane was in, he wanted it done right. He was the Operations
Officer,

so

it

was

always

done

right.

That

was

the

one

that

went down in the drink, and the navigation lights stayed on
for about two days, down in the water.

Eggenweiler

When was that, evening, morning?

H:

E :

E v e n i n g .

I t

w a s

a n

e v e n i n g

r u n .

T h e

f e l l o w s

w o u l d

fl y

over it and they could see the navigation lights, and Muthig
k e p t
be

s a y i n g :

getting

t i m e .
still

be

p l a n e ' s

money."
s a y s :

They

" I t ' s

getting

s t i l l

got

so

d o w n

money."

i n

o p e r a t i o n .

much

t h e r e .

He

was

every

Yo u

really

I

s h o u l d

hour
s e e

c a n

of
i t .

funny

about

s t i l l

flying
I

s h o u l d

it.

Did they lose an engine? As the reason they went in.

H:

They never knew.

E :

They didn't say they stalled.

H:

E:

H e

" M y

They

said

because

he

knew.

the

was

It

was

propeller
out

the

of

stopped,

flying

funniest

but

position

critique

we

whether

or

what

ever

he

did

had

stalled

it,

we

it

never

because--

(end

of tape)

H :

--amusing part of your husband's crash.

E: The Coast Guards picked Eggie and Rudie up. My husband,
he wasn't my husband at the time, but anyhow he was so big his
wet

suit

s u i t s

didn't,

b y

t h a t

they

t i m e ,

couldn't
i n

c a s e

zip

it

t h e y

up.

w e n t

The
i n .

men

S o

wore

h i s

wet

w a s

a l l

f u l l

of water, and he was a 250 pound man to start with, who had
all

this

g e t t i n g

water
h i m

o n

in,
t o

and

they

t h e

had

l i t t l e

a

terrible

C o r v e t t e ,

time

w i t h

rescuing

a l l

t h i s

him,

w a t e r.

As soon as the Corvette came in, Dr. Davidson was waiting,
that was our Flight Surgeon, and he tried to get on the
Corvette and lost his balance and fell down and knocked his
face
t h e
o n

open.
C o a s t

i t . "

He

had

G u a r d s

A n d

h e

a

cut

down

the

s a i d :

" Wa i t

a

s a y s :

" N o

y o u

side

of

m i n u t e ,

w o n ' t !

his
s i r,

T h a t

nose.
I ' l l

s t u f f

So

p u t

one

i o d i n e

s t i n g s ! "

of

Eggenweiler

(Laughter)

H:

Typical doctor's reaction.

you

dare put it on me.

E:

Right. And

then

we

had

a

couple

of

tragedies.

We

had

one

fellow that, we didn't know what was the matter with Maj.
Farr,

he

wouldn't

airplane,

and

he

let

this

particular

wouldn't

let

him

fellow

go

on

go

duty

up
as

in

an

Officer

of

the

Day. We thought he was picking on him. We really thought he
was.

He

took

him

off

the

Officer

of

the

Day

roster

and

said

to keep him on the ground. So, one day our OD was playing
Ping Pong, and he asked this fellow to hold the gun for him.
In

fact

this

temporary

Officer

of

the

Day,

he

didn't

know

anything about the fellow not being on the roster or anything,
so

you

couldn't

barber

shop,

himself.
have

seen

plane,
pilot
The

So

blame

got

we

it

in

a

he'd

out

or

rest

of

us

Haj.

the

crack

crack

it

up.

didn't

So

barber

thought

coming,

afraid

him.

the

chair
Farr

pilot,
it

up

He

fellow

was

shot

very

afraid

to

We

just

in

himself,

put

evidently

it.

back

astute.

deliberately,

was

realize

and

went

him

or

killed

He

up

a

the

becoming
he

must

in

knock

thought

the

suicidal.
was

a

weirdo. Then we had another tragedy that we missed very much.
A young man from Denver, Colorado, an Orthodox Jewish boy. He
was

practicing

unstable

a

airplane.

takes

a

u p

t h a t

t o

in

really

Bellanca.
People

good

p i l o t .

H e

pilot
w a s

The

that
to

Bellanca

liked

handle

s u c h

a

them,

them.

n i c e

was

a

liked

Berger

f e l l o w.

We

very
them,
just

but

wasn't

w e r e

a l l

crazy about him.

H:

E:

Ben Berger?

Ye s .

building

He
a

cracked
new

road

into

the

thoroughfare

into Atlantic

City

and

where
killed

they

it

were

himself

Easter Sunday. We felt very bad about that, but we had so

on

Eggenweiler

many comments about that. We had to get permission to bury
him in his uniform, because he was Orthodox Jewish, and was
supposed to just be in a white shroud. And we had to have
permission to have him embalmed and all the rest of it,
because we wanted to take his body back to Denver. It was
interesting.

None

of

us

were

used

to

that

before. And

we

sent two men out with him, out with the casket. We had people
t h a t

I

m e t

y e a r s

l a t e r,

t h a t

s a w

t h a t

p a r t i c u l a r

t h i n g .

E v e r y

time the train stopped, our two boys went back and stood with
t h e

c a s k e t .

a b o u t

I t

w a s

r e a l l y

i t .

I

s t i l l

f e e l

was

such

a

nice

fellow.

him,

but

H:

E:

Was

Ye s .

it

v e r y

b a d

i m p r e s s i v e .

a b o u t

It

was

a

i t

y e a r s

shame

We

f e l t

l a t e r,

that

it

v e r y

b a d

b e c a u s e

h e

happened

to

did.

that

One

the

only

fellow

fatality

shot

you

himself,

all

and

had

one

at

the--

fellow

was

killed

in an airplane.

H:

CAP standpoint--

E:

Ye s .

H:

When you say you had a lot of accidents, do you remember

any

of the other sinkings, I mean other crashes at sea?

E:

No.

We

We

had

lost

~

lot

the

of

accidents.

gull-wing

and

We

we

were

lost

lucky

Muthig's

that

way.

Waco,

and

we had a couple that were washed out, but they were on the
land.

They

just

down

right

in

couldn't

the

be

repaired.

Thoroughfare.

They

We

had

pulled

a

Beechcraft

that

out,

but

was beyond saving.

H:

Do

E:

I

you

don't

recall

know

who

if

was

flying

Lankalis

was

it?

flying

it

or

someone

else.

go
it

Eggenweiler

Lankalis was the owner. He was a young fellow from Lansford,
J o h n

L a n k a l i s .

s h i p .

I t

w a s

A

a

l o t

o f

t h e

b i p l a n e ,

i n

m e n
t h e

w o u l d n ' t
fi r s t

fl y

p l a c e .

t h a t
A

l o t

p a r t i c u l a r
o f

t h e

fellows were not good on biplanes, and it was quite unstable
in crosswinds, and we had lots of crosswinds that came up
unexpectedly down there. But I really don't remember who was
i n

i t

was

H:

a t

t h e

all

Yo u

t i m e .

written

say

I t ' s

up

your

in

t o o

the

pilots

b a d

a l l

t h e

r e c o r d s

a r e

g o n e .

I t

records.

came

in

sort

of

like

a

lark

and

suddenly were sobered up, and became pretty highly motivated
after

E :

that,

Ye s .

didn't

T h a t

they?

fi r s t

b u n c h ,

Eastman stayed 'til
of

the

others,

and

s o m e

o f

t h e m

s t a y e d ,

l i k e

To m

Base 1 closed, and Mr. Farr and a couple
then

we

had

the

later

pilots

that

came

in

were mostly highly motivated, I would say. When they started
coming in from the other-- the CAP was feeding them in from
mostly Jersey, but we had them from as far away as Iowa and
p l a c e s l i k e t h a t . O u r b a s e w a s o r i g i n a l l y N e w Yo r k a n d N e w
Jersey. The Pennsylvania CAP Wing, which you would think
would have been Sent to Atlantic City, went up to Long Island
for some reason, and we later served with some of them in CAP
22, when they came in with us in CAP I.

H:

Te l l

me

about

the

close-down.

But

before

we

talk

about

the close-down, were there any other amusing incidents that
occurred

while

you

were

at Atlantic

City,

that

you

think

would

be well worth recording?

E:

Well,

that

we

base

had

some

developed.

funny
I

don't

stuff.
know

It

was

interesting

whether

you

are

the

way

familiar

with how people were paid or anything. The workers were all
on a per diem allowance. The office force and the maintenance
crews and things like that got $5 a day. The mechanics and

Eggenweiler

the observers got $7. The technical section head got $6, and
I

think

the

tower

operators

got

$6

a

day. And

the

pilots

got

$8, and that was all that was paid. The base had absolutely
nothing when it started. The airplanes were supposed to
get--there was a sliding scale, they got so much an hour for
insurance, so much an hour for maintenance and so much for
depreciation. And we kept the maintenance money in a
maintenance fund. We kept the insurance money in an insurance
fund and paid the premiums, the insurance was by the hour
flown and so was the maintenance was in a fund. And through
the years we gradually got enough money in that maintenance
fund

to

do

all

kinds

of

things

for

the

base.

But

when

we

first started out we had nothing and the government was very
slow

getting

the

checks

out.

In

the

first

place,

Washington

was a scramble, it took an act of Congress to get the checks
through the mail system down there, and besides that it was
just a general nuisance. We had to make out vouchers for
everything to send in to Washington, mail them in air mail,
and hope that the checks would come back. So the oil
companies were very interested in having us there, because
they were taking terrible losses in the submarine warfare, and
t h e y s e t u p a f u n d c a l l e d t h e Ta n k e r P r o t e c t i o n F u n d , a n d p u t
it

at

our

disposal. And

we

used

that

to

make

loans

to

the

fellows that were starving without having enough money to keep
going and -

H: That's when Major Farr made his famous run on the Sun
fi l l i n g

s t a t i o n s ,

w a s n ' t

i t ?

D i d n ' t

h e

g o

t a l k

t o

t h e

p e o p l e

at Sun Oil Company?

E:

I

think

When
basis.

the

there
base

There

were
first

was

a

a

bunch

started,
different

of

they

them
were

fellow

in

that
on

went
a

to

Sun

rotating

charge

every

Oil.

officer
week,

Major Farr was in charge, he was Captain Farr I think at the
time, he was in charge when they said: "We're going to have

and

Eggenweiler

one

CO

and

was

our

that's

Old

( L a u g h t e r )
t o o .

B u t

it." And

Man.
A n d

He

t h e

b e f o r e

was

he
a

o t h e r

t h a t

i t

was

our

CO

character.
o f fi c e r s

w a s

a

I

through.

loved

him

i n t o

t h e i r

f r o z e

r o t a t i n g

right

t h i n g .

He

dearly.
p o s i t i o n s ,

O n e

f e l l o w

would be CO, one fellow would be Operations, and then a week
later
with

they
the

would

Major

companies

into

all

when
it.

I

change. And

so

I

don't

they

went

on

that

later

was

just

as

to

know

talk

bad,

who

the

all

was

when

the

oil

because

base was closing, when Number 1 moved, we carried across from,
I t h i n k f r o m C A P 1 t o To w Ta r g e t I , b u t w h e n t h a t w a s c l o s i n g
down, I went on the Sun Oil run, I guess you'd say it, and
asked them if they'd turn that money to us permanently,
instead of taking it back. And then we used that money, we
divided it up among the airplane owners, according to the
number

of

hours

their

airplanes

flew,

which

was

very

fair.

The planes were taken back in excellent maintenance, most of
them were in better shape than they were when they came on.
There were a few exceptions, but a lot of them came in with
bailing

wire

holding

their

cylinders

in

and

things

like

that,

and went out beautifully maintained. But some of them just
flew

and

h o u r s

flew

and

flew.

i t ,

a n d

i t

o n

We

t o o k

had
v e r y

one

Waco,

l i t t l e

just

had

m a i n t e n a n c e .

incredible
I t

c a m e

i n

well maintained and they were good airplanes for that type
work. So they wound up with something like $2,000 dollars, or
something like that, and very happy, they'd been g~iping
before

that.

The

planes

that

only

flew

40

hours

had

whatever

40 hours would pay, you know. So the oil companies were glad
to

let

us

have

it,

because

we

really

did

a

major

job

for

them,

there's no doubt about it.

H:

Te l l

us

a

little

bit

about

the

bad

Sunday,

when

they

decided they were going to close down and let you all know."

E: Well, we knew there was something coming, but we weren't
sure what. We weren't sure how many people would stay on or

Eggenweiler

anything

else,

and

we

finally

got

the

notice

that

a

very

condensed outfit would be going to Hadley Field, New
B r u n s w i c k , a s a To w Ta r g e t u n i t , b u t b e f o r e t h a t w e h a d t h e
rumor that we were going to Oklahoma. We had a rumor we were
going

to

Sault

Ste.

Marie.

We

had

all

sorts

of

rumors.

We

were all packed. The whole base was packed up, and all our
suitcases

and

all

sitting

there,

waiting

to

go.

We

had

assignments, what airplanes we'd go in, which cars would go,
and

all

of

that.

But

there

we

sat

from

I

guess August

until

Christmas. And the base kept getting smaller and smaller as
they told us we'd have fewer and fewer people, and our boys
w e r e

g o i n g

o ff .

A n

a w f u l

l o t

o f

o u r

p i l o t s

w e n t

i n t o

A i r

Transport Command. Most of the younger fellows just went into
regular Army and Navy and stuff like that, and it was very sad
and

very

boring.

The

only

thing

interesting

about

that

time

for me was, that's when Helen and I turned into airplane
owners, because they decided that all our pilots should have
instrument training, and no one was willing to have his plane
equipped with a hood to learn instrument work, so 322Y was up
f o r

s a l e .

d u P o n t

w a n t e d

t o

" W h y d o n ' t y o u b u y 3 2 2 Y. "

g e t

r i d

o f

i t .

H u g h

S h a r p

s a i d :

And nobody wanted to buy it, so

Helen and I borrowed the money from the base maintenance fund,
a n d b o u g h t 3 2 2 Y, a n d t h e n w e p a i d t h e m a i n t e n a n c e f u n d b a c k
out

of

our

depreciation

money. And

all

the

pilots

were

t r a i n e d i n s t r u m e n t w o r k o n 3 2 2 Y, w h i c h w a s o u r p l a n e . A n d
then

when

f o r

q u i t e

H :

we
a

finally

n i c e

got

up

to

Hadley,

we

sold

it,

and

sold

p r o fi t .

G r e a t .

E:

I was never sure whether it was a legal maneuver or not,

but

the

base

H:

And

you

did

did

fine.

fine,

and

that

made

it

all

legal.

it

Eggenweiler

H: So it sort of just wound down and you say you went as a
unit,

E:

although

Ye s .

They

put

three,

four,

unit,

think,

I

smaller,

a

five,

few

six,

from

a

up

to

a

extra

men

seven,
group

To w

in.

eight

on

Ta r g e t

There

men

Long

unit?

were

were

Island

one,

sent

that

in

two,

to

joined

our
our

unit, but we were a big base, we had about 150 people, and I
don't have the pictures any more. We had, you know, those big
pictures

that

they

take

that

are

about

H:

In

long.

1 5 0 p e o p l e i n t h e To w Ta r g e t u n i t ?

H:

this

the

Coastal

Patrol

unit.

E : Ye s . A n d w h e n w e g o t d o w n t o To w Ta r g e t , w e w e r e j u s t a
l i t t l e - - ,

H:

E:

t h a t

w a s

a l l

t h e r e

w e r e

o f

u s .

Just a few.

Ye s . A n d

a

lot

of

them

were

fellows

that

hadn't

been

with

us before.

H :

Te l l

u s

a

r e a l

quick,

but

in

Ta r g e t .

To w

to

q u i c k

give

us

Did

a

t h u m b - n a i l ,
thumb-nail

Major

Farr

take

w e l l

n o t

sketch
you

of

up

n e c e s s a r i l y
your

there,

activities
still

as

CO,

or what?

E : Ye s , h e w a s s t i l l t h e C O w h e n w e w e n t u p a s To w Ta r g e t I .
We

were

f r o m

put

w h i c h

on

this

t h e

a i r

Hadley
m a i l

Field,

s e r v i c e

which

s t a r t e d .

was

the

T h a t ' s

original

field

h o w

a

o l d

field it was. It was right outside New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Eggenweiler

And our men there at that place were barracksed over on Camp
Kilmer.
half

They

of

a

had

a

barracks.

regular

barracks

We

a

had

funny

assigned

incident

to

them.

about

Well,

that,

too.

We had one lieutenant on base from somewhere in Pennsylvania
named Hoch, and Hoch was a perfect gentleman and never
believed in letting down his standards under any
circumstances. So it happened that they had a bunch of, I
guess they were called Rangers at that time, the rough, tough,
fellows

that

landing

at

carry

night

that. Anyhow,

knives

and

they

in

black

were

their

on

boots

their

assigned

to

and

do

faces

and

the

all

other

the

things
part

stuff

like

of

the

barracks, and they were having their evening entertainment,
attacking each other with knives and throwing each other
across

the

beds,

and

things

like

that,

and

in

the

midst

of

all

this Hoch came walking back from the latrine in robin egg blue
pajamas, with a robin egg blue robe with white tassels, and
said: "Good evening, gentlemen. Good evening gentlemen," as
he walked past, and they said you never saw such shocked faces
in your life as these Rangers watching this apparition going
down there. (Laughter)

H:

E:

That upset the toughies?

Hadley

equipped

Field
with

was

these

a

very

big

short

rigs

to

field,

let

and

out

our

either

planes

a

banner

were
or

a

sleeve, and we had some very, very tight maneuvers getting
t h o s e

p l a n e s

fellows

did

o ff

fine.

o v e r
But

t h e

the

t r e e s

day

that

o n

t h a t

To w

fi e l d .

Ta r g e t

1

B u t

o u r

was

closed

down and combined with 22, Colonel Blee and the new commander,
who was a man named Gresham from Florida, were coming in with
Gresham's ace pilot, and they turned the plane over on Hadley
Field.

H:

They

couldn't

make

it.

Blee survived the crash.

That's a new story.

Eggenweiler

E : O h , t h a t w a s s o f u n n y. H e w a s s u c h a d i g n i fi e d m a n . H e r e
was our new CO, our National Commander and the Operations
Officer from the new combined unit, and the airplane's lying
on its back, the wings out flat on the ground, and the door
opens. Colonel Blee adjusts his hat, and with great dignity
walks out of the airplane right down the wing, CRUNCH, CRUNCH,
CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH, right down the length of the wing.
(Laughter)

H:

W h a t w a s n ' t d a m a g e d , w a s n o w.

E: It was damaged then, yes. I was thinking of another
thing. This was during the lull, I believe, between CAP 1 and
To w Ta r g e t 1 . W e h a d a v e r y c o m i c a l m a n n a m e d R o s e n b e r g e r
f r o m N e w Yo r k C i t y. H e o w n e d a b o a t r e p a i r o u t fi t a n d C h r i s
C r a f t s a l e s o u t fi t o n C i t y I s l a n d i n N e w Yo r k C i t y. H e h a d
his own airplane and things like that, but he had somebody
else's airplane and flew on a courier mission up to, I believe
i t w a s o l d M i t c h e l F i e l d u p i n N e w Yo r k , f o r t h e A r m y, a n d w e
got a phone call that Lt. Rosenberger had cracked up at
Mitchel Field. And Major Farr said: "Oh, my God. Was he
hurt?" "No, he's fine." Major Farr said: "Put the son of a
bitch on the phone." (Laughter)

H : O K . N o w y o u m e n t i o n e d e a r l i e r t h a t i t w a s e i t h e r a t To w
Ta r g e t 1 o r 2 2 t h a t y o u a n d y o u r f u t u r e h u s b a n d d e c i d e d t o
become man and wife. Is that correct?
E: Right.

H:

How about a little background on that?

E: Well. I guess I trapped him. I don't know what else
you'd call it. Helen and I had an apartment in Plainfield,
which was right near Hadley Field, and Eggie was working on

Eggenweiler

something in the shop. They were building some kind of a big
frame. We were always building something or having the Army
build

something

t h i n k

i t

fell

w a s

over

for

f o r

and

us.

a n

hit

This

e n g i n e

him

on

was

l i f t

the

a

o r

back.

great

big

metal

s o m e t h i n g
He

was

l i k e

frame.
t h a t ,

complaining

I

a n d

i t

his

back hurt so bad, and I said: "Come over to the apartment and
I'll

give

you

a

back

rub."

So

he

came

over

to

the

apartment.

He never got the back rub. We went out on a date, and from
then on we went out on dates, and finally wound up getting
m a r r i e d .
i n i t i a t e
back

H e
i t ,

a l w a y s
I

m u s t

rubbed.

s a i d

s a y

I

p r o p o s e d .

t h a t .

(Laughter)

I

Eggie

I

i n v i t e d
was

d i d n ' t ,
h i m

six

b u t

I

a r o u n d

foot

two

d i d

t o

and

g e t
a

h i s

half

and about 250 pounds, and the men all said I was afraid to say
no to him when he proposed. (Laughter)

H :

T h a t ' s

w h a t

m y

fi v e

f o o t ,

v e r y

l i t t l e

w i f e

t e l l s

o u r

friends.

E:

H :

Oh, does she?

B u t

i t

w a s

r e a l l y

t h e

o t h e r

I

w a y.

was

afraid

not

to

propose,

E:

H :

Oh, yes, I'm sure.

B e c a u s e

you

dare

him

while

o f

tell

t h e

her

you

s i z e

that.

were

o f

h e r

b r o t h e r s .

(Laughter)

still

on

Ok,

active

you

duty

in

( L a u g h t e r )
met

and

uniform.

D o n ' t

married
How

long

d i d y o u a l l s t a y a t To w Ta r g e t 2 2 ?

E: Well, we were married in September, and right after we
w e r e m a r r i e d , To w Ta r g e t 2 2 , i t w a s c o n d e n s e d a l i t t l e m o r e ,
and they closed down Hadley Field and sent us to Newark Air
Force

Base,

at

that

time,

it

was

at

Newark Airport.

We

were

in the British Overseas Airway hangar at Newark. We no sooner

Eggenweiler

got there and got a place to live than than Eggie was assigned
down to Fort Bragg, where we were flying target missions for
the artillery, down there. He was sent down as a mechanic.

H:

H :

Was there a tow target unit number down there?

O h ,

i t

w a s

a l l

p a r t

o f

2 2 .

Well,

then

they

had

just

to

Sault

given

22 missions all over?

E:

Ye s ,

Marie

to

we

had

drill

three

them,

fellows
then

we

were
were

sent

out

flying

past

Ste.

batteries

in

New

Yo r k .

H:

How long did you all stay at Bragg?

E: He was at Bragg about a month. Then they sent a
replacement mechanic down for him. They said he was too
dreary. So we were at Newark until Christmas, and then we got
sent

to

t i m e ,

a

an

air

field

m i s e r a b l e

outside
a i r

Washington,

fi e l d .

We

h a d

D.

n o

C.,

h e a t .

at
I n

Christmas
f a c t

t h e y

brought the heaters in that they used to heat up the
airplanes,

H :

E:

those

big

pipes,

to

give

us

heat

in

the

hangar.

That was Christmas of what, '447

Ye s ,

sent

'44. And

down

to

then,

Baltimore

I

guess
to

the

about
air

February

field

at

of

'45

Baltimore,

we

were

and

that's where we were when the CAP was taken out of business.

H:

So

you

E:

Right.

in

I

effect

was

stayed

three

and

on

a

autive

half

duty

years.

from

'42

to

'45.

Eggenweiler

H:

Three

and

a

half

years.

Yo u ' r e p r o b a b l y c l o s e t o t h e

champion.

E:

I

don't

Rudie

know.

Chalow

There

came

in

were
right

a

bunch

after

us

did,

I

of

who

if

I

were

there.

remember

right.

Rudie was recruited, too. He was a CAP member in New Jersey.
But we needed mechanics so bad at the base, we had no
equipment, and Rudie'd had his own repair tools. He was just a
youngster, early twenties, somewhere. So they sent him in to
talk

to

the

major,

and

he

said

he'd

bring

his

equipment

in

if

they'd give him so much a day rent on the equipment. So he
came

in

very

shortly

after

I

did,

if

I

remember.

Ye s ,

he

came

in on the twentieth. I came in on the seventeenth and he came
in on the twentieth in '42, and he was with the CAP up to the
t a i l

e n d .

with

the

time

it

A 1

M u t h i g

group

closed

others,

I

o n e

o f

March

on

w a s

4th,

and

up. And

can't

I'm

remember

t h e

trying
any

of

fi r s t

he
to

o n e s .

was

still

think,

them

H e
with

c a m e
it

there
now,

that

at

the

a

few

were

right

i n

just

about rowed the whole length of it.

H:

That was a good long hitch.

E:

H e l e n w a s i n u n t i l To w Ta r g e t 1 c l o s e d .

H:

The

p i l o t s ,

rumor
w e l l

actually

E :

Ye s ,

our
were

situation.
s h e

w a s

fly

Coastal

I ' v e

s a i d ,

teletype
mostly

n o t

a

Patrol

r i g h t

operators,
the

Did

wives

a t
our

of

Helen
p i l o t .

and
D i d

some
s o m e

of
o f

the
t h e

other
l a d y

lady
p i l o t s

missions?

t h e

b e g i n n i n g ,

plotting

the

pilots

board
that

I

t h i n k .

girls

were

on

and

A n d
all

duty.

t h e n
that
They

came in with their families and we'd hire them and put them
on.

H:

Even on the female pilots, after a while they would not

Eggenweiler

let them fly.

E: No, if any of them flew it was in the first few weeks.
Just that first March, because they were out of it. There
w e r e a c o u p l e I s e e m t o r e m e m b e r v a g u e l y, a c o u p l e t h a t c a m e
in. There were a lot of women pilots, but they weren't
flying. They were on the ground.

H: How about, if you will to close out, kind of a summary of
how you feel about the relative worth and importance of what
you all were doing at the time.

E: Well, the quotation was made in that Readers' Digest
article that the Germans said what wrecked their submarine
warfare along the Atlantic coast were the damned little yellow
planes. I remember them as saying those damned little red and
yellow planes, but you know, it was an actual quote. We had
some beautiful citations from the Bomber Command, from the
Navy and everything else at the time Coastal Patrol 1 was
closed for the work that we'd done, not just the fact that
we'd dropped the first bomb on an enemy sub, but for
observing, pickin~ out wrecks in the ocean, very similar to
the work you do now in the search and rescue. We did an awful
lot of that. We even had some funny things. We had a fellow
named Crimm who was flying and saw somethin~ that looked weird
on the beach and went down and landed. It turned out to be a
bunch of scrap rubber, which he picked up and ~urned in
somewhere, and he got a citation for that, because scrap
rubber was very valuable. Really some odd stuff. I should
tell you about Father Divine, too, I guess, but that isn't
part of this. (Laughter) Father Divine, I guess you remember
him, he was in the hotel at Brigantine. Brigantine's the next
i s l a n d t o A t l a n t i c C i t y, a n d t h e y h a d a s m a l l r e s o r t h o t e l .
Atlantic City was terribly run down at the time that World War
II started and the Army took over all over, but Father Divine

Eggenweiler

had

the

hotel

at

Brigantine.

Our

pilots

used

to

delight,

every time they were having baptisms ceremonies out on the
wharf off Hotel Brigantine they would fly over and hedge over
and

run

them

g e t t i n g

all

off

c o m p l a i n t s

into

the

a b o u t

water.

t h a t .

So

we

were

( L a u g h t e r )

I t

always

w a s

f u n n y

a t

the time.

H:

E:

The Reverend Moon of the Forties?

Ye s .

Then

dramatic.
b e

It

t r a i n e d ,

end

of

firing

a

when
wasn't
a n d

very

live

we

I

went

as

To w

Ta r g e t

impressive,

t h i n k

short

on

i t

t o o k

cable

ammunition

at

with
the

a

but
l o t

this

work,

the
o f

or

wasn't

batteries

g u t s

sleeve

sleeve

it

t o

out

the

fl y

had
o n

there

target

as
to

t h e

with

going

them

along

in back. And some of those runs, when I read about the
helicopter disaster on that movie where the people were
killed, some of the runs our fellows made with targets and
sleeves,

it's

just

lucky

they

weren't

cracked

up.

They

would

ask them to come closer and closer and closer, you know. It
was really bad.

H:

If

it

hadn't

been

for

our

tow

target

people

and

some

other

little people that got overlooked, called WASPs, the tow
target business would have been knocked out.

H:

Most

E :

We l l ,

tribute

male

pilots

t a l k i n g

to

those

got

a b o u t
gals

better

t h e

that

sense

w o m e n
really,

than

p i l o t s ,
the

to

I

ones

pull

s t i l l
that

a

sleeve.

h a v e

t o

brought

p a y

the

planes in at Newark, before they were sent overseas. They
were

wonderful

precision

pilots.

pilots. And

They

while

never
we

lost

were

at

a

plane.

Newark,

They

were

the Air

Force

found they had a lot of excess pilots. They knocked the women

Eggenweiler

out

and

put

their

own

flight

men

in,

and

they

cracked

up

all

over Newark Airport. And we were so happy, you just can't
imagine how happy we were. (Laughter) They took our girls
off.

H:

We

showed

them.

I

guess

what

you're

saying,

Marilou,

is

that all of you felt like you had really made a tremendous
contribution.

E :

Ye s .

strictly

We

w e r e

part

of

v e r y

p r o u d

o f

o u r s e l v e s ,

the Army, Army Air

Force,

r e a l l y.
to

the

We

extent

f e l t
we

got in an awful ruckus one night when a fellow in the Marines
picked a fight with an Army man and our fellows jumped in on
the Army side and the Navy and the Coast Guard jumped in on
t h e

M a r i n e ' s

s i d e .

B u t

w e

r e a l l y

f e l t

l i k e

p a r t

o f

t h e

A r m y.

We were treated like part of the Army. We had very good
relations with the Coast Guard. They were down there at May's
Landing, right below us, Cape May, right below us. Course we
had Coast Guards back at Gardener's Base at Atlantic City. We
had

excellent

relations

with

them.

We

had

excellent

relations

with the Navy. We always had Navy liaison men with us. And
we had our own Army groups that were assigned to the bombs.
They were regular soldiers, but they were assigned to us, just
like an Army unit.

H:

E:

Just to handle the bombs.

We

same--

were

treated

Major

Farr

just
was

a

like
real

the Army.

Our

chauvinist.

fellows

He

didn't

had

the

believe

in women in uniform. None of the women were allowed to wear
uniforms after hours. We came to work in uniforms, went home
in uniforms, and then took them off. But the men were in them
permanently, just like Army men, and they had all the
courtesies and everything else, extended to them and mixed in
with Army

officers.

Eggenweiler

H : Yo u t o l d u s a h u m o r o u s s t o r y a b o u t y o u b e i n g r e f e r r e d t o
as Mr. Eggenweiler.

E :

Ye s .

O f fi c e r

T h e y

h a d

e x c e p t

n o

o f fi c i a l

M i s t e r.

T h e r e

d e s i g n a t i o n

f o r

a

w e r e

u s .

O n e

t w o

o f

F l i g h t
w a s

a

g i r l

named Upchurch. She was Col. Gresham's secretary from
Florida. She was Mr. Upchurch and I was Mr. Eggenweiler. Of
course my husband was a first lieutenant, but he was Lt.
Eggenweiler,

so

it

was

very

confusing.

If

they

asked

for

Mr.

Eggenweiler, they wanted me; if they asked for Lt.
Eggenweiler, they wanted him. (Laughter)

It was very

stupid. I didn't have to answer the phone, but Upchurch had
t o a n s w e r t h e p h o n e a n d s a y : " To w Ta r g e t 2 2 , M r. U p c h u r c h
speaking,"

H :

I t

in

w o u l d

unofficially,
unusual

her

very

b o t h e r
and

insight

let
into

feminine

p e o p l e .
me
the

say

voice.

(Laughter)

We l l ,

M a r i l o u ,

that

certainly

active

I

duty

period

l e t ' s

g o

o ff

appreciate
and

your

t a p e
your

startling

memory of some of the things that occurred during that period.
It

will

make

a

very

valuable

addition

to

our

archives.

Civil Air Patrol
Oral History Interview

WNHC 20.81-4

MS. MARILOU CP~ESCENZO EGGENWEILER

N AT I O N A L H I S TO R I C A L C O M M I T T E E
Headquarters CAP