"And Mama, what did you do in the great war?"
Red Cross Class Photo
Well my children, I was in it! December 1943 - December 1945 (2 years overseas). First the 8th Air Force (England) with the 56th Fighter Group and the 357th Fighter Group. Then , in October or November 1944, France, Belgium, Germany and Czechoslovakia.
In 1943, Ethel Hopkins (my good friend and wife of Roosevelt's close confident Harry Hopkins) suggested I join the Red Cross. I was interviewed and accepted for Overseas Duty! Trained in Washington DC that winter and met Phyllis Dobson and Dorothy Walker also in the Red Cross. We formed a three-some. Phyllis knew everyone in DC and we had a ball. After training - more - at Langley Field in Virginia, then Phyl sent to the Pacific - Dot and I to the "European Theater of Operation." From staging area in Brooklyn we board - at midnight - the "Queen Mary." 16,000 troops and 20 Red Cross Girls aboard! Australians - New Zealanders - GIs an Adventure! 8 days crossing in mid winter - all zig-zag and land at Perth of Clyde in Scotland. From there train to London and first assignment with the 8th Air Force.
Virginia served throughout Europe and with the 357th FG. She was director or recreational services at Leistion Air Field and helped maintain the morale of the servicemen. She and the other Red Cross members worked endless hours to provide the support needed to keep the war effort going. The service clubs and and ClubMobiles they ran were greatly appreciated by the troops.
Virginia Rado, Red Cross Program Director, Leiston Field.
Red Cross Dance
Buzz Boys, Leiston Band
Virginia in front of 357th Mustang "Betsy"
56th FG at Colchester England
Francis Gabreski, famous ace of the 56th FG
American Red Cross ClubMobile Web Site
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