File #1120: "Wescott Interview.pdf"

Wescott Interview.pdf

PDF Text

Text

CIVIL AIR PATROL
ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW

WNHC 27.83-15
MS. DOROTHY GRAHAM WESCOTT

NATIONAL HISTORICAL COMMITTEE
Headquarters Civil Air Patrol
Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama

C I V I L A I R PAT R O L

ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM

Interview
of
Ms, Dorothy Grahm Wescott

b y
Lieutenant Colonel Lester E. Hopper, CAP

Date: I0 October 1983
Location: Manteo, North Carolina

~ 0 W ALL MEN BY THESE P~SENTS:

in ~n oral-magnetic-tap~ inte~iew with L~ /--~ ~.~ W- ,
covering my best recollections of events and experiences which may be of
historical significance to the Civil Air Patrol.
I understand that the tape(s) and the transcribed manuscript resulting
therefrom will be accessioned ~tothe Civil Air Patrol's Histori~ Hold~gs.
In the best interest of the Civil Air Patrol, I do her~y voluntari~ g~e.
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 ~ t , t i t l e , a n d ~ t e r e s t i n t h e m e m o . s
and remembrances contained inthe afor~entioned magnetic tapes and manuscript
to the Civil Air Patrol, to have and to hold the s~e forever, her~y relinquishing for myself, my executors, administrators, heirs, and assigns all
o~ership, right , title, End interest therein to the donee expressly on the
condition of strict observance of the follo~ng restrictions:

£

Z

/

Accepted on behalf of the civil'Air Patr°l bY

,

/

~ % ~ O ~
L.. 7"c.~

~ /

7

~ ,^

. ,

_ ONOR

~

Date~ IO I /I, IA~

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

Civ~l Air Pat~-'ol Oral History interviews were illitiated in early
1 9 8 2 b y L t . C o l . L e s t e r E . H o p p e r , C A P,
Pat.roi's Nat.ional Historical Co,,~]ittee.
these

interviews

is

to

record

for

of the Civil AI~"
The overall purpose of

posterity

the

activities

of

selected members of the Civil Air Patrol.

The principle goal of these l]istories is to increase the base of
m

knowledge relating to the early accomplishments of Civil A].r"
Patrol members who in their own urLique way contributed to t.l~e
d e f e n s e o f o u r g r e a t ¢ o u ; i % r y.

Certainly not of a secondary

nature is the preservation of thec0ntributions of individuals as
Civil Air Patrol continues its growth.

FOREWORD

The following is a transcrlpt~on of an oral history interview
recorded on magnetic tape. Since Only minor ememdations have been
rr, ade. trle l.'eader should cons:stently .bear in mind that he :s
reading a transcript of spoken rather than the written word,
h d d i t l o n a i l v, r i o a t [ e r u p t < o c o n t l r m t h e a c c u r a c y o f t h e i n I o r m a - t~on contained herein has been made, As a result, the transcript
~efiect.s the in/.erviewee's personal recollections of a situation
as he remembered it at the time of the interview.

Editorial notes and additions made by Civil Air Patrol historians
are enclosed in brackets. If feasible, first name. rank or titles
are also provided. Any additions, deletions and changes subsequently made to tile transcript by the interviewee are not indicat.ed. Researchers may wish to listen to the actual interview
tape prior to citing the transcript.

S U M M A RY O F C O N T E N T S

In

this

oral

history

interview

Dorothy

Gr'al]am

Wescott

tells of her |]ersonal background, her joil]in<[ Civil All'Patrol and subsequent ass.~gnmeJ~t to C~v]l A.~r PatJ:'o]
Coasta] Patrol Base i6 at Manteo, North Carolina.

8he

vividly

recalls

the

burning

of

many

ships

off

of

the

North Carolina coast and the dramatic r'edt~ction in th@
n u m b e r

o f

t h e m

Coastal

Patrol

s u b s e q u e l ] t

t o

operations.

t i l e

Her

e s t a b l

LHli

que

i s h m e n t
positioh

o f
afi~

sec~'etary to the Base Co,mnander enables l]er to recount
many

details

of

m o r e

d r a m a t i c

normal
e v e n t s ,

day

to

s u c h

day
a s

operations,

t h e

l o s s

o f

and

C r o s s

[.he
a n d

Cooper, and <he crash of Shieldsl

hdditional].y she provides information on the involvement
o f

t h e

C i v i l i a n

C o n s e r v a t i o n

C o r p s ,

t l ] e

A r m y

a n d

[ n e

Navy in the defense efforts during World War If.

With evident pride, she summarizes the overall wor'th of
the Coast.al Patrol operation and of the patriotic spirit
of the time.

GUIDE TO CONTENTS
Page

Subject

t

Personal Background

4

Joining Civil Air Patrol

5

Reporting in at Base 16

6

Meeting Base Conmlander James Hamilton
and Allen H..Watkins

7

Assignment at Base 16

7

Description of Skycoe Airport

8

Administrative Officer Bernice Barber

9

Description of Uniform

9

Dally Routine

i i

Air.craft Mechanic Polly Overcash

12

Black Out.

i ~

Ship at Sea Burning

13

Aircrew Training

15

Loss of Cook and Cooper

17

Crash of Pilot Shields

19

Nurse Lottie Sapp

19

Mosquito Problenl

2O

Civilian Conservation Corps

2O

Army Beach Patrols

21

Overall Evaluation

22

Base Management

23

Lack of Base Insignia

25

Base Closing

26

C A P Ve t e r a n s O r g a n i z a t i o n

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
Number
Ta p e d I n t e r v i e w w i t h :
Date of Interview:
Location:
Conducted by:

WNHC 27,83-15
Dorothy Graham Wescott
i0 October 1983
Manteo, North Carolina
.Lt. Col. Lester E. Hopper, CAP

H ~ [ ~ o r o t l ] y, s u p p o s e w e s t a r t o ff w i t h - - d o y o u w a n t t o b e

called

Dorothy or Dot?

W.

Well, they call me Dot here, because I thought it was cute

when

I left home--my family didn't let anybody call me Dot,

H..-

SuppoBe yo<~ start off wit.]] a little background about where

D o t c a m e f r o m , d i d s h e h a v e a n y m i l i t a r y t r a d l t l o n i n h e r f a m i l y,
her education, most anything you wan5 to tell us so we' ii know a
little bit about you.

W: I was born in Edgefield, South Carolina, in a family of four
g i r l s , t h e s e c o n d f r o m t l l e o l d e s t , a n d I h a d a v e r y, v e r y g o o d
childhood.

My father and mother were Christian people and

brought us up in the same manner.

After I f inishe<[ high

scl]oo]--I was in high school tied fo~" valedictorian of my class,
but since the young man who was tied with me was going to the
Citadel, I decided ]t would be worthwhile for hlm, moreso than me
at that time, to have that recognition and that credit to him at
the Citadel, and I thought that I would get a scholarship to
another college. Thit scholarship did not pan out. However, I
went to Asheville, North Carolina, and went in nurse's training
In a psycl~iatric hospital there. And this happe~]ed [o be a
p s y c h i a t r i c h o s p i t a l , a s I s a y. a n d I f o u n d - -

H:

When was that, Dot7

Wescott
W:

That was--I was graduated from high scrK<~l iz-~ 35. so thor

was appl.:OX]mat.ely early '37, I believe. It may have been a
little while before then. However. I loved the patients extl"erzlel y,

In fact I Jf, ttSt have loved them too well. I could ]'lOt

g~t

each

c a s e o ff m y m i n d , [ t o o k i t t o o p e r s o n a l l y, a n d I r e a l i z e d t h a t I
coLtld rlot continue in that work for that, reason, and they would
become attached to me, and I had a great deal of responsibility
spout people i cou]O not do anythlng about. I'm ,not going to go
~n~o detail about how they were treated in those days. They wel"e
t.l".eated remarkably well, Oecause ellis was a private hospital, but
as far as treatment, they did rlot have the shock treatments like
t . h e v ] ] a v e t . o d a y. T h e y h a d a c y p e o f t r e a t m e n t t i l e r w o u l d r e l i e v e
me from every case I was on to help them give this treatmer, t,
becau~:e they ~.*ealized I cotLld hat, die it after they had tried me.
They would put in3ections into arms. And patients would go int.o
CoTIvuI,~IOl],9 Afld SO we would ]]ave to keep them fFOm swallowing
t o n g u e s a n d t h o s e t h i n g s . I s a w m a n y, r n a ~ - ~ y c a s e s , w h i c h i w o n <
e l a ] ) o r . a [ . e o n . c u Y. e d b y t . l ] a < m e t h o d , i ] 3 e l ] e v e ~ t w a s c a l I ~ G
m e t r a s o l , I ' m n o t s u r e a b o u t t h a t . B u t a n y w a y, i t w a s r e w a r d i n g
work, but I couldn't sleep, because I couldn't change shifts and
sleep on one and then sleep on another, anc[ I couldn't get <,r[
fOtlF hours and sleep on a suicide case for the resu 09 the night.
and things like that. Due to the fact that I was not a~raid of
a~]y Of t.hem, and I c.ouid talk All day on the sub3ect, but I 'nl not
supposed to do tl]at. However, then I went out on a private case
in Ashville, for a lovely womal], she was I expect thirty years,
maybe older than I at that time, but through mutual acqualntances
and other people ar'ound in Ashville, I married a young man wl]o
was ten years older 'than I, from Logansport, Indiana.

He came

down for a v~sit and kept coming back. so we finally got married,
Then. after we'd been married fourteen months, he WAS _,unio~-char~~piol~ t.ennls player of the state of Indiana, had gone to
C u l v e r M i l i t a r y A c a d e m y, v e r y a t h l e t i c , I ' m t e i l i r l g y e l l b h , ~ t .
hi.cattY@ Of 5h~ ~t.i..ange t.hing~ in the way el: 1]ealth that you would
not anticipate

: - 3 o , w e ' d b e e n m a r r. i e d f o r f o u r t , e e r t m o t - : t h o a l - ~ d

i'd been out ot the hospital for three days and lie says you've

Wescott
g o t t o g o b a c k f o r e x p l o r a t o r y. H e w a s c a r r y i n g m e u p a n d d o w n s:ali-~s for- my meals, and we had a Dr. Mc:Quaid and his wife from
Canada visiting us. That night the dear lady who came and stayed
with us until I was able to take the house over again, ~ixed a
lovely dinner for us arl,a, we went [o bed ,~]]c~h.~t [ i : [30

~J-,~.ii'|~it

accustomed to being awakened early ir] the morn,ng in those days
with a cold washcloth in your face about 5:30 or so, an~ their
bringing

your

breakfast

at

8,

I

was

not

out

of

the

habit

of

waking that early, having been out of the hospital only three
days, I awakened about 5:30, and when I did something just told
me that sometl]ing was wrong with Max. His head was turned the
opposite direction than toward rue, and I put my head over and pout
my hanct on lois near[.. T got no beat. and I knew sometl]in<~ Immed)a t e l y, W ] ] e r ~ i p i t t : m y f e e E o l ] h i s ~ e e t , r l g o r m o r r i s ~ l a d , ~ 5 e t ~ , .
T h e n e i g h b o r s s a i d t h e y h e a r d m e s c r e a m , a n d I d o n ' t r e m e [ ~ t b e Y,
A , ~ y w a y, w e w e r e g o n e f r o m t h e r e . T h i s w a s L o g a n s p o r t , I n d i a n a ,
on September 24th of 1940--'41, I believe, or close in there. ,9o
I stayed in Logansport for a while, and then I decided the best
thing for me to do, I could not get over it, because I was having
nightmares every two hours every night, so Daddy and my sister
both came up to see me and stayed with me for a wh~le, so I came
on back to South Carolina where I was born and raised, wi[]~ my
m o t h e r a n d d a d d y, a s k i n g t h e m n o t t o s a y a n y t h i n g t o m e a b o u t i t .
l e t m e h a n d l e i t m y w a y, n o t g i v e m e a n y p r e f e r e n t i a l t r e a t m e n t .
Bu~ the same thing continued, My mother would come wake me up
every ~wo hours, finding me crying. So I dec~ded that before
and bury
January ist of the next year I had to go somewhere
m y s e l f i n s o m e t h i n g Ja n d g e t i n t o a n e w l i f e e n t i r e l y ,

before

I

would ever get out of t hls situation I was in. in a

situatior~

which was really unbearable. So I packed everything in the ca~
and I went. off [o Raleigh North Carolina, where ! had fr]end~,
al]d I got an apartment there with three otl]er girls. Then I went
to Business College, and I came out of Howard Business College
with all kinds of references and recommendations, and due to that
I was hired from the applications, I suppose, of 25, as office
manager of Remington Rand in Raleigh, which is Sperry Rand now.

Wescott
I had a--this is funny--I never heard of one before or since,
had all eII~cl~l~cy expe~-'t come down from Richmond to int~.rview all
of cls, anyway I got. t.he. job, And it soon became appar"ent t.o me
t.liali

i wa~ riot., going to be sati.efied there, .1 n~d to d,-, .~.~omeit: JOO/,.:~<[
r o y r n y c o u n t z - y, ] ; , e c a u s e e v e r y t : h i r l g w a s g e t t : [ r, : : [ ,

thing
iJ)<e

H:
Wi

L.O me, woY~e arid worse, arid I had to do my parL.

Tl]at was what, early '417

~or, lewhel:e along about that time. Well, I didn't stay with

Remington Rand over about seven or eight months. It was early ili
'41.

X;

The war- hadr~'t started.

W: Oh, yes, the war had started. This had to be early '42. It
definitely was.

Anyway, I wrote to my parents about it, and

talked to my parents about it on the telephone, that I felt like
I would like to go overseas with the Red Cross, and they objected. due [o the .tact. that they had beer] th~"ough a very tl-aum~t.l(:'
e x p e r i e n c e w h e n m y h u s b a n d d i e d s u c t d e l ] l y, a d d w h e l - ~ t l - , e y g o t t h e
[ e i e p h o r ~ e m e s ~ ; ~ g e , t h e y t h o u g h t : ] r r ~ q ~ e c t : ~ a t e l y i t Wa S l [ l e . b ~ 2 C d t l ~ e

flly

husband had never been sick, he'd played tt]lrsy-s~x t]ole,~ oi golf
t.he aftez'noon before he died, and they'd never had any reason to
tl~ink he was s~ck, but they did know I was sick, and they thought
the death message was about me. So I thought again, what can I do
to serve my country without going overseas anywhere. A tl]ought
came ~.o me that the Civil Air Patrol was an organlzation I'd
heard about, and the~"e happened to be a man In Remlngtor: Rated a[.
: . ] ] a t . [ i r fl e . ] 1 1 t h e o f fi c e w h e ~ " e I w a s m a n a g e r , w h o h a d . i o J n e d t;he
local

Civil Air

Patrol

group

there,

t

don't

hal/ova

tic

pal.'ticipat.ed in active duty in any bases, but I did know that

}]act
i t

d i d e x i s t a n d a g o o d t h i n g w a s g o i n g o n . T h e r e f o r e , I j o i n e d the
and
( ! i v i l A l l ' : P a t . l " O ] i n o r d e r ' t o q u a l i f y t o g o o n a c t i v e d u t y,
anyone who has ever known anything about Civil All" Patrol would
know what. tile quai~f~cat~ons would be, We }~act u.u have. tl~rty

Wescott
hours of meteorology, thirty of navigation, thirty of first aid,
thirty

of

open

field

drill.

I

can't

think

of

any

more

right

at

the moment, but I believe there were one or two more. So I did
qualify and did apply for active duty with the Coasta] Patrol.
There were two bases in North Carolina at the ~Jme an~J I wa~ tbet-.
]n Raleigh. and I chose Manteo, North Carolina.

I had never

heard of it in ray life, and I was accepted for active duty and
w a s g i v e n m y o r d e r s , w h a t y o u m i g h t s a y, w e w e r e u n d e r t h e A r m y
Air Force, which was more like sealed orders. I came down on the
bus from Raleigh, and when I got down to the beacl] and to Manteo,
tl]ought, well, what have I done to myself to apply to con~e to
such a job as tl]is ans to volunteer for sucl] a place.

H:

When was this, Dot?

W: This was in August of '42. August the seventh or August the
twelfth, I don't have my notes before me and my correspondence.
S o m y o r d e r s w e r e , I c a m e o n a S a t u r d a y, t o c o n t a c t t h e b a s e
commander immediately upon my arrival. So when I arrived at tl]e
bus station, I asked the driver where was the nearest hotel, and
h e s a i d , L a d y. r i g h t a c r o s s t h e s ~ r e e t i s t l ] e o l ] l y h o t e l , S o I
went to the hotel, and before I registered I called the oase. arid
the co,harder was not in at that tlme, aria whoever l]a(t heel] ol]
duty, I believe it was the Intelligence Officer, I am not certain, had told me 5o call the next mornlng. I told him who I was
and he was aware that I was to arrive. So, I registered at the
hotel.

There is very little need to go into the mlnute details

of my exper]ences before I got to the base the next morning.

H:

Well, that's an ]z]teres<ing--

Well, i did register .at the hotel, and all the plaster was
find some
falling off the walls, and I decided I've got to go
lobby and
place to eat. So I walked down to the desk in the

W~

asked them where the restaurant was. Well, the only
in town happened to be one right up the street from

restaurant
the hotel,

Wescott
and when I walked in, and after everybody had come to me f~onl
l~e|flingtorl Rand fron~ t~,e Charlotte o~f~ce, the Gr'ee~sboro of~ice.
the Richmond office, pleading with me not 5o come oown, no<
to--co stay with them. and they sald about mosquitoes down here
and all of tl]ese things. So I went into the restaural-tt where the
screens were torn out, and I sat in a booth, and they had the
little

nickelodeon

boxes

on

the

wall

beside

iz,

and

I

Put

a

nlckel In and pressed it down, and roaches went straight up the
wall in hordes. So I went on and ate my food, and after a wl]ile
I started scratching on my legs, what is this? Oh. tl]ose are
t h o s e m o s q u i t o e s t h e y w e r e t e l l l l ] g m e a b o u t . A x ] y w a y, i / L i d g e e
out to tile base the next morning.

H: Excuse me for a minute.

At that stage of the game, were you

]n uniform or not?
W~ No, because we were not given uniforms until we came on duty
a1ter we got to the base. We did not go Into u[tiform u|-~til tne,t.
~o t.}]ey came and picked me up the nex~ morning and t.ook me out:. to
the base and introduced me t;o everyone out tl~ere, i immediately
felt the sincereness of everyone's feelings in there, just like I
had a sincerity and a purpose, and it was a great relationship.

Hz

Who was your first contact out tl]ere, when you arrived that

next

morning?

W: It was the .Base Colmnander, James Hamllton. i believe he w~s
from Charlotte, North Carolina. Very shortly aft.or I came, h~
wel~t back to Chal-"lo'tte, and Allen H. Watkins from Greensboro
b e c a m e B a s e C o i Y ¢ , ~ a n d e r. . C a n y o u t u r n i t o ff f o r ' a m i n u t e ?

H~

It's all ~'ight., If you don't want it, we'll take it out,

W: O k a y. We l l , I t h o u g h t t h a t J a m e s H a m i l t o n - - I ' m v e r y l o y a l ] ~ - ,
my feelings--and I thought that James Hamilton had got some kind
of a dirty trick played on him, and i felt like he had.been put

Wescott
out for no reason that he should have been. $o I lzlade a i',er~~al')<
to some of tl]e personnel on the base, I know exactly who it was,
I better riot put this in there because lu might be read by
o f t h e m . A n y w a y, I m a d e t h e r e m a r k a n d t h e r e p o r t w e n t t o
new base con~nander that I was not going to take dictation
him. Of course I didn't mean that at all, but I just said
i n a f r i v o l o u s w a y. We l l , h e g o t t h e w o r d a n d h e w a s n ' t l o n g
calling me ix] to take dictation, and of course I took dictation.
But we did have a good time.

H:

Yo u c a m e o n b o a r d a s s e c r e t a r y t o t h e b a s e c o ~ m ~ l a n d e r . /

W:

That's correct. That was my assignment.

H:

Now, what kind of rank did they give you?

W:

Corporal.

H:

So you met James Ham:ilton, and how long did he

stay?

W: It was a very short time. I don't know. Paul Bridges could
tell you better than I, because he was here before I came. I know
him well still and I think the world of him. I came to be ver.y
c l o s e t o h i m a n d h i s f a m i l y.

H:

When you first arrived, where was the base located?

W: The base was located at a little place called Skycoe, and it
was then a two-story 'dwelling, and there was no way we could keep
the mosquitoes out qf that. The landing field was across the
little

dirt

road

from

the

office

building,

and

the

Civil Air

Patrol personnel had cleared it of deep undergrowth and big trees
and all this so we could use it for our flight field. Our Sel'Vice men, when they'd go out to service the planes would, have to
wear nettJlig over all their body that wasn't covered by clothes
to be able to tolerate the

mosqt|Jtoes.

"I'hose men llldde

jC, J~,es

told

Wescott.
a m o n g e v e r y b o d y, a b o u t t h e m o s q u i t o e s , h o w b i g t h e y w e r e , a n d
what they would say to each other and these things, like, you've
probably already heard or read: Shall we eat him ]]ere or drag
him off to the swamp. One service man was quoted as saying he
put

X

number of gallons of gasoline into what he thought was

number

five

airplane

before

he

realized

it

was

a

mosquito.

Anyway

we were all in it together and we were all running along

fi i ] e t o g e t h e r, , ] o c o m p l a i n t s , e v e r y t h i n g w o r k e d s m o o t h ] . y.

'i'he~e

was an administrative section head, there was an intelligence
officer, and then there were sub-heads, sub-officers above them.

H:

O k a y, n o w y o u w o r k e d d i r e c t l y f o r t h e b a s e c o r t ~ n a n d e F, t h e n .

H:

Yo u d i d n ' t w o r k f o r t h e a d m i n i s t r a t i v e o f fi c e r.

W:

Not at all. Bernice Barber from Greensboro was the admii]is-

t . F a t . i v e s e c t i o n h e a d , S h e a n ~ , I a r e s t i l l s t a u n c h f r i e n d s t o d a y.
I see her every January in'Atlanta when I go to the Furniture
Mal.:ket ~ale, because she is now in Atlanta and has been for many
years. So after I stayed in ]]ere about three weeks, I got a day
off.

I may ]]ave gotten a day off prior to that time, Dut I

didn't go anywhere. But I did go to Norfolk, Virginia, ariel" I
got the day off. In those days the sailors, of course, outr~umber'ed civilians, and it was disgusting to me to see signs oi-~ the
lawns saying "No Sailors or Dogs Allowed" and things of that
nature.

And I said: Good Lord, if you'l 1 take me back tu Man-

teo, I promise you I"ll never complain again, and I kept my pact.
I came back to Manteo .and was very happy to be here, after visualizing and having seen Norfolk in person.

H: I don't want to dwell on it, but were you in unlform at
t ime ?

We s c o t t
H:

Will you briefly describe the uniform fo1" me?

W~

It. wa~ a basic Army Air Force unifo1.'m except for the epaulets

and

the insignia.

H:

Yo u w o r e r e d e p a u l e t s ?

W:

Ye s , a n d t h e i n s i g n i a o f c o u r s e w a s d i f f e r e n t . W e h a d t h e

submarine, the bomb and submarine. Our dress uniforl~ls were the
forest green and our work uniforms, either skirts or trousers, in
khaki, and overseas cap.

H:

( _ ) k a y. E i t h e r s k i ~ ~ < o ~ - t r o u s e r. s , a t y o u ~ o p t i o n , r I g i J ( ?

H:

At any time, did you all wear culottes there?

W:
N

o

.

.

.

~

"

That's a specific question, because that was

orle

Of the

uniforms that was authorlzed, but nobody wore them.

W:

Ye s , w e l l w e w o r e e i t h e r s k i r ' t s o r p a n t s a t o u r d l s c r e t i o n .

H:

And you came back from Norfolk, glad to be back to Manteo?

W:

Very glad. Of course, I had done my duty to the best of
i

ability before, but I ~as more eager to do it later, after
that experience.

i-i:

Te l l m e a d u t y d a y. J u s t s t a . r t o f f i n t h e m o ~ n i n g , w h e n

you

got to the office, What did you do?

W:

Well now, after we'd stayed down at Skycoe for a certain

length of time, the Naval Auxiliary built an airport, wh{ch still

Wescott
e x i s t s

f o r

c o ~ n e r c l a l

l i n e s

a n d

p r i v a t e

p l a n e s

a t

t h e

n o r t h

e n d

of Manteo today, and then when the--

H:

Te l l u s a b o u t S k y c o e , t h a t t w o - s t o r y b u i l d i n g , a n o l d

dence, really.

W:

Well,

we

had

a

little,

you

might

say,

lunch

counter

place,

where we could have lunch, but that was all the facilities we had
:.here,

which

we

B u t ,

t h e

t i o n .

had

later"

r o u t i n e

on

d a y,

a

mess

y o u

hall

out

r e p o r t e d

at

f o r

the

d u t y

other

loca-

e x a c t l y

o n

t:me, and we naturally-'

Which was what? Seven, e~ght?

H:

W~

As

We'd
we

i

all

meet,

might

could

recall,

be

it

must

and

we

staying.

afford

in

have

didn't

We

Manteo.

all

were
I

been

eight,

have

on

$75

I'm

not

transportation

staying

was

but

in
a

private

month,

certaJn.

from

homes

and

that

where

where
way

we

we

were affording what we could ~,t that price. So we'd get room and
b o a r d .

I

d i d

i n

m o s t

o f

~ { L e

r o o m s

I

s t a y e d

i n ,

w i t h

l o v e l y

people from Manteo, and Manteo people that day, and perhaps tl]is
d a y,

i f

t h e y

d o l , ' t

l i k e

y o u ,

y o u

m i g h t

j u s t

a s

w e l l

g e t

o f t

o u t ,

because ll] those days you were cons:der'ed a spy, because they'd
been

completely

isolated

until

the

war

came.

WherJ

you

walked

down the street you knew, and when you went into their homes as a
boarder you knew very soon whether they liked you or. whether they
d i d n ' t .
f o r

A n d

y o u ,

didn't
, ~ n y

i f

t h e y

l i k e d

t h e y

w e r e

t h e

like

you,

r e a s o n ,

you

i t

y o u ,

fi n e s t

'might

m i g h t

b e

t h e r e ' s
p e o p l e

just

as

n o t h i n g
i r l

well

m i r ~ u t e ,

t h e

move.

b u t

i t

t h e y

w o u l d n ' t

w o r l d ,

b u t ~

Yo u ' d

w a s

a

d o

t h e y

it--

had

i f

tot

l o v e ] y,

l o v e l y

.t'.eiat].orLsl-:lp i llad W:Lth everybody (:lown l-Jere, and [[ en.]oyed beil~%=l
with them as well as being at th~ base, So at ,@kycoe. I bel]ev~
it

was

a f t e r

about
t h a t

w o u l d
when

D ~
1

eight

t i m e
t h a t

in

w e ' d
i

reported

the
a l l

w o u l d
in.

morning
b e

g o

Then

t o
if

c a l l e d
m y

we'd

go

o u t

f o r

b a s e

there

was

on

duty,

d r i l l ,

and

a n d

c o m m a n d e r ' s
any

dictation,

s]~ortly

t h e

r o u t l n e

o f fi c e

fi r s t ,

any

orders,

Wescott

out o~ the ordinary that i]ad come up for the day, he'd brie~ me on
t h o s e ,

a n d

needed

to

a t

d i f f e r e n t

see

in

his

t i m e s

office

at

h e ' d

t e l l

certain

m e

o f

tilnes,

c e r t a i n

and

it

wa~

o n e s
l~y

h e

dtlty

to tell the other people that he wanted to see them at a

certain

h o u r,

o n

a n d

h e ,

o f

c o u r s e ,

w o u l d

p u t

I t

o n

h i s

c , ~ l e n d a r

really.

<[aE.~. IE. was lnOl"e or less routine office work rot fILe,
taking

dictation

and

typing,

and

the

contact

that

you

b l ~

would

have

w]tli t lie pi.-esidel-it of a company it you were his secretary, witl]
otl]er people--kil~d of a coor dindtion between the base Coli~ilattdeY
and the other people as far as when he wanted to see them and in
s p e c i fi c

t h i n g s

o 9

t h a t

n a t u r e .

We

w o u l d

g e t

o ff ,

i

b e l l e v e ,

i t

was about eight to maybe i=ive or slx, I'm not sure.

H:

W :

Yo u ' d e a t l u n c h d o w n t h e r e a t t h a t l u n c h c o u n 1 ~ e Y ?

Ye s .

room

in

W e ' d
there

h a v e
that

t o

h a v e

was

set

a

l i t t l e

up

more

l u n c h .
like

a

I t

h a d

little

a

l i t t l e

kitchenette

of some type.

H :

And who did the cooking for you?

W: We did our own, whatever we wanted, soup and things like th<~[ .
Just

routine

lunch.

But

later

ors

then,

when

the

Naval AuxLlJary

bullt the landing strips where the present airport stal]ds l~et-e ]n
M a n t e o ,

t h e y

w a y s ,

a n d

side,

which

and

then

w e r e

t h e

we

we

l o c a t e d

C i v i l
did.

had

a

A i r
We

mess

o n

o n e

P a t r o l
had

a

s i d e

w a s

Let

t h e

a l l o w e d

great

]Jail.

o f

t o

a i r s t r i p
o c c u p y

relatiol]shlp
me

backtrack

with
a

a n d
t h e

the

little

r u n o t h e r

Navy.

bit.

i

remen~ber o~,e time, 'When we'd get together to come down to the
base

from

Manteo,

wl~chever

[]lace

it

might

be,

we

had

one

girl

wh,:~ was all ail-.|:,la]]e mechanic, Polly Overcash.

H:

Yo u a c t u a l l y h a d a f e m a l e m e c h a n i c ?

W: Ye s , s h e w a s a n e x c e l l e n t m e c h a n i c . S l l e k e p t c h a r g e o f
shop,

and

she

knew

every

part

that

was

in

there.

We

had

that
other

Wescott
mechanics, but she more or less had charge of the parts, and she
f

r.ode 8 motetcycle out to the base. One day she begged me that
would go with her, arid I went one time, but that was enough

i n

that sand,

i t

No more have I been on a motetcycle.

We made

safely, but I didn't have much feeling for it or liking foi

it

after that. ,90 when we moved over to that side of the base, that
was real coming up in the world for us, because we were living
t.hen,

We had comrr~on barracks type homes, barracks type offices

and things of that nature, and our hangars, and our. n~es5 ]]aii,
and we had a local lady who was cooking, two or more, cooking in
the mess hall.

H~

Did you kick in mor, ey for running the mess hall? How did

you

get your food for the mess hall, or do you recall?

W~ i believe t.hat that was taken care of somehow by the base. I
don't recall having to pay anything in, unless you wanted ~omething special. But these people around here are very good cooks,
and there wouldn't be much demand for that, I do recall when ti-le
ships, the planes, went home for anything, they paid people on
the planes for ilying down here, and I believe that they mds~
have i]ad, the relationship I believe they had was that. it was
could
understood that if they had to go home for something, of
get leave for something, they could use their own planes,

Be-

c a u s e I w e l l r e m e m b e r s o m e o f t h e m fl y i n g b a r b e c u e i n f r. o m f a r ~ l o t ~ s
places up around Rocky Mount and Wilson,

H

:

How about the mess hall, would they serve three meals a

day?

W~

Just. lunch, We were on our own for breakfast and dinner.

There was one hotel on the beach, that a lot of our--, I believe
the ent.]l"e hotel was tur.ned over. to the Civil Air, Patrol at. a
nominal rental at that time, because there were no people coming
down as far as tourists were concerned, due to the black-outs
that we had. We had to black our lights out, with ju,~t.a little

tiny squar"e ~n the center, and that was to keep from s].lhouetting
the ships at sea, And when we carrie down here, the famous night
spot on the beach was two stories and you could stand up there on
the dance fioo~~ o~] the second story and look out the windows, and
any number of nights, if you wanted to go there and look, you
could see two or three of our ships burning. And we were flying
these little Stznsons, and you probably know more about the names
of tile planes than I recoil, anyway they had two i00 pound depth
charges.

H~

Te l l m e a b o u t s e e i n g s h i p s o u t t h e r e .

Yo u s a w s h i p s , w h e n

you first got down here, burning?

W:

Ye s , s i r, w e s u r e d i d . M a n y !

H:

How long did that go on?

W[ Without many nights passing that you didn t see them. Well.
the beach over there, you could not walk on ]t for the lltteY
I:]'om the ships that had been torn apart, from the cases of fruit
and the cases of vegetables that had come in from our sl]ips, al]d
from sallors hats, and all these things, you could not walk on
the beach anywhere in Dare County at that time. And the people
who've never experienced thls and have never been t:old the story
of this do not realize how close that war was to our shores. But
OUI" pllOtS always flew in pairs, arid each one had on o]ae;el"ve~".
and they had two i00 pound depth charges. I'm sure that Carl
maybe will tell you that we know that they were more afraid of
our radlos than they'were of our depth charges. But they did go
t o a b a s e , I b e l i e v e i n H a c k e n s a c k , N e w J e r s e y, t o b e m o r e f u l l y
r.rained in the velocity of tl~e wind, as far as dropping the depr_.h
chsl:"ges was cancelned when they sigl]ted a submarine, and how far
15 took to submerge, arid everything tl]at they r~eeded to ~ihow it]
order to make a hit. Ai]d I on one occasion had the privilege of
r lylng out with tl]e base coff~uander when they had sighted a sub~,la-

h.

O k a y, I i - " e c e n t : t y s e n t H a i - ' ~ ' y a p l c : t u t ' e o 1 ! a g r o u p , : ~ f M a r ~ : e o

i : l e o p l e w h o w e r e a t ~ h a t s c h o o l a t A t l a n t i c C i t y, N e w , J e r s e y,

W,

O h , r ' e a l l y.
] [ j L t s r. . , c a m e a c y o s s ] 1 . : , j u s t a t a w w e t ~ k s

back,

,~<, you'] t

probably see somebody you know ~n it.

W:
H:

I r i o d o u b t w 11 ] - - - m c ~ s t < : , i L h e m .
Back to you]:~ involvement then, when you moved up

doubtedIy your office was mucl~ better at tl~e Naval
Station,

W~ it, was muc:h better, but by the same token we had sand slatms,
and
blew
arid

took
ir~

this literally happened :in the base co~rur~ander'~; ,,,,flit:<,,
sar~d b~tween the [:,ages of books, So we all had to ,fold
c..fo home,

:~..
up

S o t l e a n d I h a d s o m t i c h W O l " k t O d o o l - i D o o ] i s 1 2 t I d L We

t h e b o o k ~ t o h i s c o t . r a g e o n t h e b e ~ c h , w h i c h h e b u J l ' L t . h e y. e
' 3 7 , h e w a s o n e o f t h e t J z s t p e o p i e e v e r b L i i l r. , a c o t L . a , _ : r e , : m
i

i4ag',~; Head, ~nd so we wel]t the~-e and worked for the rest of the
d a y.

H:

Yo u s a y y o u h a d a l o t o f b o o k s , W h a t k i n d o f b o o k s ?

W: A lot of it was more like dictating and typing, 1 expect,
m m e t h a n b o o k k e e p i n g , a c t u a l l y.

H:

Well, you didn't have to do the financial records there

anyt.hing.

W~
< ) 111 ¥

N o , T h e c a d m j J : i J . s t ~ . - a t . . : i v e s e < ' . t i o r ~ h e a d d i d t h a t , I r e m e r, ] , ~ e r o n
[~llt-.' <',Cq','t;:Jl<)t~, <!Ii

]!~¢~l!]}3eY

2 3 r. c 1 . i t r n u , ~ l : t h a v e ] : , e e n , : , 1 7 ' 4 3 , i ~ .

l,¢y have been of '42 ag~lli, it was '42, we bad i~s

JJ. tt.~e game

of cards g,]int:l with 1:,1 lot~: and whoever" was wJ. th u~ at, the t,m,~, in

Wescott
the waiting

room,

I

guess

you'd

call

it,

for

tile

pilots

and

observers--

H~

That would be up at the main airport?

W:

Ye s , u p a t t h e m a i n a i r p o r t .

H~

DOyOU

F e<:all wher~ you moved from Skycoe Lip to ~he ma:~.t~

a i rport ?

W~

No, I do not. There would be others, perhaps, that would,

but I do not.

H~
W:

$oul]ds like it might have been early December.

It wasn't too long after I came here. but it must have l)eelJ

aloi~g el)out El]at [tlnle, but I do kl]ow [.l~at on December 2~h"d w~
were there, so it possibly was very early in December. But this
pal,-.t.lculaY day on December 2St.d, wl]at stays in my mlnd so vividly
i s t h a t i t w a s v e r y r o u g h s e a s t h a t d a y, a n d t h a t o u r " p i l o t s , a n d
our' head mechanic was a fellow by the name of Brown, and there's
no way that a plane was going off that line unless he was 100% it
w a s l - - i g h t . , s t r u c t u r a l l y a n d m e c h a n i c a l l y, A n d h e w a s a v e r y g o o d
mechanic, and i am sure to this day that one reason w~ cii<[~] 1.
I O S ¢ h ] O l " e m e n l l h a f ] w e d i d w a s b e c a u s e o f t h e ~ a c r. . t i l d e . ~ i " O w r, l e .
as we called him. was such a good mechanic and so strict aDou5
ier..<.ing a plane go out, However, they did go out on December
23rd. in pairs as usual, and one plane went down--very high seas,
al]d of course the o[her one radioed the problem, and everybody
went out to search, the Navy included,

H~

W:

Do yOU l.er~~erflbar what t.lrne of t.he day that was?

It was fairly late in the afternoon, it wasn't at. <[u.~;]<,

maybe 3use about dusk, but it was surely not near sundown,
because they did not fly at night, they did not fly aft.er dark.

H:

That would be Lt, Cook and--

W,

Lawrence Cooper, But I happened to be playing cards with

them just as they were called to take the flight. And of course
they never did find Lawrence Cooper, but Cook's body washed up or]
March the 23rd of the following year down near Beaufort, it] a
good ,<<,tate or preservation because the water was c.oict, But trmt
was a very saddenlng thln9 for us, and we exp~ler~ce tl-~a< ii-~ a[i
of life, ]gut the reason that our base was disbar~ded ls because
the Navy decided that they own, whic'.h I think t~hey ~.ec~lly do,
fl-"om the land out to patrol.

H~

Before we disband the base, let's talk a little bit more

about it. Now you say tl]e Cook-Cooper thing, since the CO undou£~t.ediy got notified ;li]m]ectiately when :it:. happenec{, were you
around when he was told.

H~ What was the reaction and what kind of plan was put into
effect?

W~

Of ,_-.'ourse we wer.e all very devastated, and they sent out

flights from our base as well as call~ng the Navy to .,3end so~e of
their planes out, which they very willingly did, and gla(tly did,
and

the Coast Guard. They were sent out. They had life ~-a~ts,

but

somehow they must not ]]ave been able to get into them, when

the

plane ]]it the w~ter, because no one could ever--but however,

the
been

wil-lds were,_,~,-~ h~'gh they may have bee;] in them and may have
washed out of them, or they may have been in them and they

couldn't

see

them

for

the

waves.

But

they

were

thoroughly

s e a r c h e d f o r, n o t o n l y t , h , ~ t a f t e r t - ~ o o i - i , k s I < ~ < < ~ . E ~ t . h e : % . ' . < u r e A ! < [ ; b i l ~ h
[.]]@ l]eXt day aJ]d I don't recall how many days d.f"te~, JL~LtI.: o£
course they were not found.

h~

Thc),~e were the only two fatalities you had.

W:

'f'ho~e were the only two that we had.

H!

HOW about c'a".a,~he~:, did you have any other crashes?

W: No, we had one plane that did go down, but it was neaT el-u)uclh
t , o r. , h e , t , h o l - - e t h a t t i l e p l i o t a n d o b s e r v e r w e r e a b l e t o c o m e ] n o n
their life raft by themselves unassisted to the beach,

H: l-)O you remember wtio they wer"e?

W:

I r e m e m b e r o n e o f t h e r e ' s n a m e w a s S h i e l d s . [ Ta p e c h a n g e . )

H~

O } ( a y : r O L l o a y y o u d o l : ' t . 1 . . ~ f fl ~ r fl ] : ~ ¢ Y. t . ] - l ~ c ~ ] : ~ . g e l . . v e Y. ' ~ , i ] a t fl ~ , , b i t e

the pilot's name w~s Shields. About wi-ter~ was that, do you re<::a i i "?

W:

: do not ~-ecall,

H:

That's a raatter of record that I can find.

W:

I'm sure of that.

H:

N o w, s o y o u r ( l a y, I i m a g i n e , u p a t t h i s e n d w a s p r e t t y m u c h

like it. was at Skycoe,.you just kept things going [o~" the Doss,

W:

Very much so. Same thing was routine, other than

and the flying facilities so far as runways.
i

fi: How about your personal living situation. Did it :reprove
after you'd been dowr,,here for a while? As fez" as your boardl~-:g
with people was p~obably better than a hotel.

W: It was a good r"elationsh:p, It was much Dettez, and it was a
good relatlonship w]th the local people Dec~iuse lt. bu~It tht'~r'
confidence i~-i us, and it dldn't take very long for them to cio
t h a t , a n d t h e l o c a l p e o p l e h a v e t o l d m e m a n y, m a n y t : / m e s t h a t

Wescott
b e f o r e t h e N a v y t o o k o v e r, t h a t w e h a d a l r e a d y, a n d I s a y W E w i t h
[Jl':]dO, all the people who volunteered, had already frigl]tened
t h e s e U - b o a t s a w a y, s o t h e j o b h a d m o r e o r l e s s b e e n c l e a n e d ~ ] p ,
according to tile local people and my observation.

H : Yo u s a y w h e n y o u fi r s t g o t h e r e , y o u c o u l d s t a n d o n t h a ~
that

~e(:'.ond story building and see the ships burning at sea, did
pretty much stop-after a wh'ile?

W~ It d~dn't <.ake too long for it to stop. And we hated to see a
moonlight night, as pretty as it is over thai. octal] wh~[] it
~]]]rfJfltl"s, but. this ~.ilhouettes our ships for' the U- boats. I
remember on one occasion we all were called back t.o the base oI]~

night, bec,'aume it. had been reported that landing craft had been
spotted. And we wouldr,'t da~'e strike a match of hardly ))t,.e~t,h~,
])Lit WO _~t.ayed at base all night and nothing mat.ei"ialized,
don't recall from what

source

i

that landing craft ~u[,po,~ediy w<~0

C O 1 ] i J T l g fi " O m , b u t i t w a s r e p o r t e d a n d a l l C i v i l A i r, P a t r o l m e m b e r s
w e r e c a l l e d b a c k o n d u t y.

H: DO you recall any stories that you picked up from the

pilots

about dropping of bombs or anything like that? Spotting

subma-

tines, or--

W:

Not in particular at this moment.

H: Let me ask you. Did you have to fill in in the plotting
room or anything like float at any time, or did you just--

W : To s o m e e x t e n t , b u t v e r y r a r e l y. W e w e r e a l l a w a r e a n d c o o r dinating all the management together. We were all aware of just
what each office was doing at all times, although we may l]ot be
really active in it, we were all very aware of it.

H : H o w a b o u t y o u r m e d i c a l f a c i l i t y. , a n d I r e a l i z e ~ h a t ' s a n
oddball question, but did they have a doctor?

Wescott
W:

No. We had a practical nurse, not a practical nurse, I beg

y o u r ' p a r. d o n , w e h a d a r. e g i s t . e r e d n u r s e w h o w a s a m e m b e r o f C i v i l
Air Patrol on active duty with Coastal Patrol, Lottie Sapp, she
was fron] Winsr~on Salem. And her husband was also

down here,

He

was, I doz] t remember, /Jeff muss have ]i,1i] a pilot, eit, l]el 0.
OY ai] Ob~OI'-V~Y

Q] lot

, Dtt[ I

bel levc he was u pz lot.

Ye s ,

i ~,

sure Jetf was a pilot. But as Id]f as tl~at, we didl,'t l]av~ ai~
]hl;].rliidlry as .~ucn, Dill Lottle would toke car'e cDl~ l~,]i]Or l]emds, drtd
unen we did have d local ctoctor.

~

What were the major problems, as tar as sickness

cerned? Influenza or any particular sickness.

W:

Nothing t1~ particular. We didn't get malaria or" anyt, hing

llke that

We d~d have one girl I felt. ilke was going out of her

mll]d because we would sit in our cars and r,oll the windows up,
and you could see all these mosqultoes blackel]irlg, l][el-ally
blackening the windshleld, and I thought she was going out of her
mind from seeing these things, because they'd bitten her so many
r_.]mes. But we didn't ]]ave any specific problems, we didn't have
a n y s p e c i fi c h e a l t h p r o b l e m s , l i k e i s a y, n o m a l a r i a , n o n o t h i n g
<hat you wouldn t ]]ave toddy .in oxd:Lnary file.

H: How about your spare time? Wi~at did you do in your spare
t i rne ?

W:

Well,

l i k e I s a y, t h e r e w a s t h i s n i g h t c l u b o n t h e b e a c h ,

which was

want, ed to

go there, we could go; we could go to each

If

about ,the only place in Dare County to go,

we

other's
]ivir~g

homes or rooms, or whatever, and play cards, play in the
l,,,,>olf~ of the horf~es where we were staying, or play cards,

perhd[.)/:

bridge or hearts or whatever it might come ~Ip to ]De Wlt.l1

some Of
peot.)l~

[ . i q e o t . h e i ' " g i ' - o u p w h e n t . h e y ' d c r, t n e d o w n , a n d a l s o w i t . } ] t h e
in the home, And we were invited out inSo the homes
bridge and things of that nature,

to

play

Wescott
H:

The local cor~mmnity pretty well ac:,eptud you all

W...

Ve l - - y d e fi n i t e l y. Ve ~ " y d e fi n i t e l y,

H: How about base pa~-t~es.

Did you all have any partle~: or

al-~yti~ii~g at the base?

W: We never had any base parties, as I recall, as such.
I t w a s i - J o t p a r t o f o u r a c t i v i t y.

)i~

Yo u p r e t t . y l fi t t c h ( : a l - r i e t o w o r k a l ] d w e n t h o m e , b u t y o u s o c i a l -

ized

b e c a u s e y o u w e r e a l l d o w n h e r ' e t o g e t h e r.

W l DOWI] )-t¢~t".e Icy d [_~i..tl"[)oi:@ alJd tl-l~. _(,..C ¢all]p,~l whl--e dowr] i-le,l'"¢~

at that t iIYie, ar~d the Army was c/own here at tt, at

H~

illfie,

(-q C
W a s i : h e _ ."l -~O . s t i l l w o r k i n c l ?

W:

They were still down/here and their' base was still active,

Ai-ld t.]-lel] w]-leri they moved e, ut of that. particular base and were
disbursed from this area, the Army werlt into those quarters, The
Al.-riiy patr<,lled the beach on foot at night.

H:

The Army or the Coast Guard?

W:

T h e h ~ l Y ~ y, I t " e r ~ , e m b e r q u i t e w e l l , b e c a u s e o n e n i g h t , I

penecl

n o t t o b e t h e r e , f o r t u n a t e l y. , b e c a u s e o n e r ~ i g h t a t

.Nag's

Head Casino,.whlch is a famous spot around here .in

days,

hapthis
those

t h e o n l y p l a c e " t o d a n c e o r a n y t h i r l g l i ] < ~ < . h a t . . r. . o g o , w h o e v -

er wa,~;

;tl~ cha~ge ,.:>f t)-)i¢; group was going to patrol the beach ti.h~t

l,~ght

took them into i:.t-,e casino, because he wa:s too early to do

ori duty, arid had them chetJ< their rifles, and they got a bit
much, I guess, but they went down and took the rifles and backed
everyDody irl there out of the second story windows. So, I'm glad
I wasn't there that night. I didn't go an awful lot, but it was
an interesting little place. We got a lot of communications with

Wescott

t h e

l o c a l

We

g o t

a

p e o p l e
l o t

o f

a n d

t h e i r

c l o s e

f e e l i n g s

a b o u t

r e l a t i o n s h i p s

d i ff e r e n t

t h e r e ,

w h i c h

t h i n g s ,

i s

v e r y

t o o ,

i m p o r -

tant. I can't stress too much ]-Low this place was :solated befor.e
World Wa~-" if came along and opened ~u tip. They )-Lad two wooden
bridges com]r~g 1~~ to here anti the rest; o[ it wan: l:e~-r"/

HOW about your finances? How did you survive on your

~ :

was

What

it,

five

dollars

a

day,

or

four

dollars

a

day?

W'

Well, we i]ad our uniforms that were issued, and in the war

d a y s

f o o d

w a s

s o

i n e x p e n s i v e

w e

c o u l d

e a t

s o

J n e x p e n s : v e l y.

.because two places. I :"ecall, where they turned ov~,~ th~i~ d]nlng
room

to

serve

Civil Air"

Patrol,

whoever

wanted

to

ea[

In

there,

r_hey se~.ved in qtldFitttJes and ]t w~s good foot/ but It. w~.~ ~ v~Iy
mirl]inum cost. Arid we didIl't edt a lot.

$0 yOU survived on i,t.

H:

W:

We

like

s u r v i v e d

people

who

o n

are

i t ,

in

We

r e a l l y

d i d n ' t

self-supportive

n e e d

a

missionary

l o t .

I t ' s

j u s t

work. As

Iollg

a~ yOU ]lave you~ shelter arid thirlgs lik~ that, you r~eal]y dol~'l:,
need a lot.

H :

L e t . ' s

consider

t a l k
the

a

l i t t l e

base?

a b o u t

Do

you

y o u r

o v e r a l l - - h o w

consider

it

was

an

e ff e c t i v e
effective

d o

y o u

opera-

t i on?

W:

Well, it.'s not. prejudic.e that I'm speaking from, and I

c e r e l y d o t l l i n k i t w a s a v e r y, ' v e r y e : u c c e ¢ : s f u l o p e ~ : g t i o t , .

~ :

.HOW CIO yOU [!]ea[;uze ~/:L~C:Ce~S,'

W :

W e l l ,

l i k e

I

t o l d

y o u

j u s t

p r i o r

t o

t h i s ,

b y

v i r t u e

o f

t h e

tact, most of these bombings ]-Lad stopped of our ships, before we
w e r e
that

d i s b u r s e d ,
lt

was

very

a n d

I

f e e l

effective.

l i k e

t h a t

i s

c e r t a i n l y

a n

i n d i c a t i o n

H:

How about rr~anagernent of t.he:b~se itself?

pl"et.t:y we] i managed?

W:

I l~ked the management. ,-~f it..

U n f o r t L l n e t . e l y,

]_ ~rn

more or

tess of a perfectionist, and if I should :see arlythlng

g 01 n g

w l - " o n g , i t : w o u l d b o t h e z " m e , a n d I f e l t i : t w a s r n a n ~ g e d v e r y,

very

well.

weli

And they seemed all the management to get along

together.

o f

It makes a difference, I think, in the life

a

volunteer group and the life of a drafted group, or the life of a
9roup that is much, much bigger than our' operation, because of a

o i l i e r,
few that

relationship there that. ear;}-, one looked out

for

the

I f s o r n e o l i e n e e d e d s o m e t } l i n g , 0 t i f t . h e c h : i i d r e r,

personal

of

th~

t:ne"

ba£:e

had children down here-- welt that wa.~ oi]ly

corr~~mnder., I guess, who had his three little boys down hcre,
they grew up like stair steps, and two of then, still live at
Devil

Hills

today,

So

I

sincerely

think

it

was

very

arid
Kilt

smoothly

r u n .

Hi

Y O L I o b v i o t b g l y i f J e t , y O t l l ~ o p e r a t . : [ o r l a l r. e q u J Ye r n e n L , , : : ; , ] : m { ~ , a n t h a t

you

made all your pat~ols.

W~

~=es, Of course ]f ar~yone got out of ]J.;le, the base con~uant-].eY

had

to discipline them.

[I~ Which did not necessarily make him popular, but it was necess a r y.

W: Right. It had to be. It had to be. I~: you get ~ pltot LhdL
goes out and gets too' much one night, you've got to re t} h~m, and
ezther lay him oft foz: a certain number of days or however.

Yo u

have to discipllne in whatever manner is effective, ar~<[ whabeveimanner is available. Also he can't do that again, i don't mean
that we had many occasions for that, beca~lse that was not, t.he.,
type g~'oup we had, but or, one or two occasions we did.

Wescott
H:

A few little specific things, Did the base as such-- some-

times an emblem or an insignia becomes an esprit de co~ps opalslion, yotl know--dld

the base ]lave any logo o~" symbol o~" any th~l-~g

they used?

W: Nothing speciai, The only insignia that we had,
recall anything special,

~t~

Just the regular' CAP insignia.

W : Ye s . W e h a d t h e l i t t l e b u t t o n s t l ~ a t w e n t o n o u r l ~ [ e l ~ C A P,
be~:ides the sleeve ]ns]g~lia on tl]e uniforms.

H:

O k a y. N o w, h o w a b o u t - - D i d y o u h a v e s o m e g u a r d s t h e r e a l s o ?

W:

Oh, yes. We had guards at all times.

H:

Yo u r g u a r d s , d i d t h e y w e a r a n y s p e c i a l i n s i g n i a ?

W~

I doo't, believe they did. I dorl'L l"ecall any o.[ t],mm weu~"~.~ig

any

special insignia,

i/~

That. ha,t, a poirit, that I'll tell you about afterwards.

W:

It was just the regular Civil Air Patrol uniform with the

t"egu 1 a r i n s i g n i a .

O k a y. D i d y o u . w e a r t h o s e r e d e p a u l e t s a l l t h e t i m i d , o t " d i d
you finally have a bu},ning party and get rid of them?
i

W~

We wot':e them alt the time, I still have mine,

intact. No.

We didn't have a burning party to get rid of them.

H~

O k a y,

Now you started to tell me about

down, wllen I interrupted you.

the base closing

Wescott
W: Well, I think the Navy was right, an,:] I think the informatJ<:,n
can ]3e found atnywhere, that the Navy should patrol
from the beach out, and we were pat~ollil]g thir+t/ rf!iles oLtt,
t.herefore they took over, and therefore the Army eropped us.

H:

When did they take over?

W:

Oh, dear. I need my notes.

H: Well. August the 31st of '43 was when t]]~ progi"al, closed
]:dse dow|].
W:

Weii, it had to be r ght then.

But a lot happened

in

that

y e a r.

H ~ D o y o t t ~ . . < . . ~ 11 a n y s p e c i a l l i t t l e s t o r i e s o r a n y t h i n g t h a t
happened during that period of time? Tile funnies, or ,_,~[I, either
one,

i f y o u t . o l d a r e a l s a d s t o r y, o b v i o u s l y - -

W:

Well, I recall something I did that was forbidderJ. We

were

made
~ t i ] l a t : , _ g k:y" . : ~ w h e n w e c h a n g e d b a s e c o r ~ n a n d e r s , a n d I h a d
" " <
that silly remark before I even met him, I was not going to take
diet.at.ion for him, knowing I didn't mean it, and knowing that if
I had meant it I'd have been kicked out of here or I'd have beert
whatever b-~..ause we were strictly military And so another girl
J .j
a n d I t o o ] < a b a c k r o a d o u t o f S ] < y u o e s o w e w ( ) u l d n t ~ -[ (~ = °'~ t } - t Y o t ~ g h
Lr~er+~
the gttal"d statiot"~, and gc, t stuck in the mud somewhere back

and stayed for a little
+

iertgt.h of time befoFe we could get out. We got out and wellt
right on back to the, base, naturally There weFe some fttt]l]y

l i t t l e s t . o r, i e s , I ' m s u r e , b e c . a u s e y o u d o n ' t j u s t l i v e w i t . ] ] a l i f e
of that type at all times of any life wit.hol.it, having these t.himj~
col]]e tip, but they evade rne at the moment.

H:

How about visitors., did you get

around here?

any visi t ing

<:~ ! gt't i t.~tt' i

Cg

[t:

Fl"om otiler bases, Earle Joh~son o~ Hdru"y Blee?

W: We got some higher otficials that would come f()r inspectioh. I
dun't recall if a Major Dawson, who wrote my papers. ],e was i~
Charlotte, as, I guess he was state con~nander of Civil A~ Patrol
at. that time, I'm not sur'e, but this can be verified however,
And I believe }~e came on occasion to inspect the st<tu~on, a~c[
i l - : , ~ p e C t t h e u n ~ f o l - ' m s a n d i , ~ s p e c t t h e p e ~ . ' s o n n e l a n d w a r, o h < , p t : r j
drill, open 2].eld dr:ill.

1i~

How about pilots from other bases, did they

C ollle .i I] very

often?

W~

~qot very o:[ter~. On occasion.

H : O k a y. S o t h e N a v y p ~ t y o u a l l o u t o f b u s i n e s s i n A u g u . ~ ; t
hi: '43, and yoi,.~ all lo]ded up. Did you stay h,::,re whi]e tt~<:,y
were closing the base down?

W~ Yes,

I stayed here and I stayed here after the base was

closed down, because I still wanted to be in somethir~g to do with
~ome pol."t.ion of the war effort

Therefore, I went to work for a

p l a c e c a l l e d G o r d o n a r i d C o m p a n y, a n d t h e y w e r e m a k i r ~ g p a l " t . ~ : 1 ~ , o , ~
5hit)s, made out of hemp and different things, and steel, and
different things of that nature, in down t.own MaRt.e(,,

And 1

~ t . a y e d [ . h e r e f o r s o m e L i m e . U r l f o r c u n a t e l y. M r. G o r d o n w o t ~ l < [
his metal allotments arid his

hemp

tctk.~

aliotment.s and thll]gs or ttll,~

nature w~th him when he'd go to tiue beparcment o[ i'ra~~spor'tat]ol~
and Army Engineers anct those people to glee 131~ coR[1-"aets, an<t I
nevei" touched those at all

I only kept books for him,

I

t h e r e a s a s e c r e t a r y, b u t h i s

C PA fi n a l l y t a l k e d m e ~ n t o

keeping

books, and that was my first experlence as re~lly keeping

went
bc~k.s,

However, I left him when they got a ratr~er thick book on n]ln arid
called me to come to Atlanta to

test]]y

d g d . t l l S t

l i l [ [ l

[ < ) r,

Ov~rtirdW--

Wescott
ing his allotment of certain critical materials. And ,..,t course
since I had never handled his allotment forms they didn't require
that I go. I got out of.goir~g. But I thought well I better get,
out of this, now this has gone too far. So I got out of that,
and I went to work for a lawyer in Manteo, who happened to be the
ul]ly lawyer on the island.

H:

So basically your CAP involvement stopped when

closed down.

H : Yo u d i d n ' t ] ] a v e m u c h t o d o w i t h C A P a f t e r t h a t , o t h e r t h a n
believe you were in the CAP Veterans Organization for a while,

.H:

Were you active in that o~'-' just a member?
:,

W: Just a member. And there was somet1~ing there at one time
about vet.er'al]s' rights for the actJve duty CAP members, but
bill was never passed,

H: it.'s been fought several times.

W :

Well, actually we were under the Army Air Force, and actually

it. woul~n't mean that much to me, I don't think, but
by the same token I.think it was justified.

H: I think so, but, Like I say it's been fought and lost. Well,
D o r o t h y, i n s u n m m r y, h o w d o y o u f e e l a b o u t y o u r o w n p e z " s o n a l
¢or~tribution and the contribution of people in general in Coastal
Patrol?
W: Well. my Pere:onal feeling abOUt mine, l'm very proud of it,
I'm very glad that I did it, and I think everyone had that same

Wescott
feeling. Every volunteer tlnat we had on our base, I believe
c:el"[.aillly had that same [eeling. They were very glad that they
gave their time and whatever to the war effort as any way they
cou i d.

H: It was the splrit of tile times.

Everybody at that time felt

I ike--

W ~ P a t ~ " i o t . i c u Y g e . Ye s . D e L : ~ n i t e l y. A n d w e h a d i a w y e r ~ , a n c ~ w e
had doctors, we lnad all types o~ people, all walks o[ llve, and
mec'.hasics.

We had a few you may call draft dodger's, but it

d i d n ' t p r o t e c t t h e m , t h e y w e r e d r a f t e d a n y w a y.

H:

How could you dodge the draft when you weren't protected?

W: Ye s , b u t t h e y m a y h a v e t h o u g h t s o . B u t t h e y w e r e d r a f t e d
OllyWay. But that was not the basic, primary feeling, or the
p~imary reason. The primary reason was to do everything we could
t_.O

hellD

~IUYiIiCj our war, Which was really our war', and right on

our back door.

H:

And you feel everybody was well motivated at the time?

W:

D e fi n i t e l y. I s u r e l y d o , b e c a u s e t h e r e w a s n o o t h e r

[.hey w o u l c l b e h e r e , T h e r e w a s t o o m a r l y o t h e r r e a s o n s t h e y
be elsewhere.

H ; O k a y. We l l , t h a t ' s a g o o d s u n ~ n a r y, D o t . I ' v e t a l k e d t o a l o t
of people about thi's thing, I think that's the cort,hion t.hl-.eac[
w i b h e v e r y b o d y, w h i , : h w a s , n u m b e r o n e , t h e s t r o n g A m e r i c a n i s m
spirit of wanting .to do something for your country, and the
personal sacrifice in deciding to go do it at an unusual operation, where they couldn't profit from all the glor'y of a Civil
Air Patrol base.

Wescot.t
W: Well, I really feel like I would not be happy wittu myself if
J had not done it, evel~ though I was ol:fered all kinds o~ thing~
t o . ~ t a y w i t h < h e c o m p a n y, a n d i w a s d o i n g w e l l i n t h e . l o b a r K ( h a < {
a chance o1: pr'omotiori al~<.[ thirlgs of that nature. ~nd i've never
regretted it.

H:

Well, we'll go off tape now.