America at war! (1941--) -- Part 2

New air routes may open soon

Lines serving Washington await Army approval

Stimson raps WAAC rumors

Says they aid enemy, calls them untrue

Ernie Pyle V Norman

Roving Reporter

By Ernie Pyle

NOTE: This is one in a series of columns by Ernie Pyle reporting on his 13,000-mile trip into the heart of Africa, made before the heavy fighting began in Tunisia.

Somewhere in Africa –
In the tropical, legendary part of Central Africa which once was famous in the worldwide slave trade, there is now a fabulous American camp.

This camp is an airfield, and it is the biggest American aerial operation anywhere outside the United States. It has big shops and great warehouses, and it takes thousands of men to run the place and handle the planes that flow through here.

The camp is equipped to care for hundreds of flying transients every night, and traveling generals and ambassadors are so frequent you don’t bother to ask their names. The place is truly an aerial Times Square. Here men from England, America and India meet and shake hands as they step off their planes, none of them more than three days from home.

Lucky indeed is the soldier who fights the war in that place, for he is healthy, comfortable and comparatively safe.

Movies ahead of U.S. showings

He can surf-bathe on a beach which they say is better than Miami’s. his food is abundant and his bed soft. He is seldom too warm and never too cold. His mail comes from home quickly, and he sees American movies sometimes before they are released at home.

He wears light coveralls or khaki shorts at his work, and the typical sun helmet of the tropics. He takes quinine daily, but his camp is so clean that malaria is rare.

This American post is laid out like one of our modern government-built cities at home. Winding paved streets run all through it. There is some grass, and young trees have been planted. There are three churches, and the finest general store – the post exchange – I’ve seen in Africa. It has one-day laundry and you can get your shoes half-soled in less than two weeks – both of which are phenomenal in Africa.

There are tennis courts and a baseball diamond. There is an outdoor theater, with a movie every night. Sometimes visitors appear on the stage. Martha Raye played here, and took the boys by storm. When the performance was over, they presented her with a token of their appreciation – a baby crocodile. Martha screamed and his behind the piano.

Ernie’s stage fright silences him

H. V. Kaltenborn spoke to the soldiers there. So did Quentin Reynolds when he went through not long ago. I was there at the time, and the soldiers apparently had been affected by the heat that day, for they started yelling for me to get up on the stage, too.

It was one of the few times in my life when I really want to get up and say something. But that old phobia of mine – stage fright – took a firm grip and I couldn’t have moved if you’d offered me a million dollars.

At this camp, the soldiers live in pre-fabricated barracks. They sleep on cots under mosquito nets, and eat in mess halls.

The officers have rooms in permanent block barracks, made of concrete and stucco. A wide screened porch runs entirely around each barracks. Every room has a front and back window, and a front and back door, so there is plenty of air.

Just off the back porch is a bath for every two rooms. Some of the blocks ever have electric refrigerators, to provide ice for the late-afternoon cooling drinks.

A white mosquito net hangs over every bed. During the day, your houseboy hangs out all the bedding top be cleaned and dried by the sun and wind, and twice a week he puts the mattresses out to sun. it is so comfortably cool at night you use a blanket.

The weather is muggy there, although the annual rainfall is actually less than in Indiana. But things get musty and moldy very quickly. That painless spot on my typewriter, which has rusted so fervently in Panama and Ireland, has developed a new coat here that looks like a spot of brown fur.

At this camp, one officer is an old friend of mine from Albuquerque. He went away on a long trip the day I arrived, so I lived in his room while he was gone.

Light averts mold

The first night there, just before going to bed, I discovered the electric light on the back wall of his clothes closet was burning. It didn’t go off when you shut the door, as I thought it should. I spent 10 minutes trying to find the switch to turn it off, and finally gave up and let it burn all night.

The next day I mentioned it to an officer, and was amazed to learn that an electric light burns continuously in every closet in the block. It’s never turned off, day or night. It isn’t there for light. It’s there to absorb the dampness so your clothes won’t mold!

Millett: War wives stay on duty

Find new value of life, plan changed future
By Ruth Millett

Congressman urges jobs for soldiers

Federal investigation is begun into bloody zoot-suit rioting


Los Angeles, California (UP) –
Pachuco girls, female counterparts of the zoot-suited hoodlums who have battled uniformed servicemen in street rioting for six nights, slashed and beat a young woman early today.

A landing party of servicemen, unofficial but effective, had the zoot-suit situation well in hand in Watts, California, with clubs, pipes and bottles as weapons, until a shore patrol broke up the invasion.

Los Angeles, California (UP) –
Field representatives of Nelson Rockefeller, Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, began an investigation today into bloody rioting between servicemen and zoot-suited young hoodlums, many of whom are Mexicans.

Mayor Fletcher Bowron disclosed that Rockefeller’s field representatives here were preparing a report on the fighting, which was subsiding after raging for nearly a week.

Mr. Bowron made the disclosure after talking by telephone to the State Department in Washington. State Department officials called him after the Mexican Embassy in Washington received a report on the riots from the Mexican Consulate here.

No racial issue involved

The mayor did not disclose the nature of his telephone conversation, but said he assured the State Department there was no racial discrimination involved in the violence.

Meanwhile, Governor Earl Warren of California named a five-man committee to investigate the fighting, and asked the state attorney general to conduct a similar investigation.

He said:

Without regard to the basic cause of these riots, they promote disunity, develop race hatred, and create an unwholesome relationship between our men in arms and the citizenry.

They create doubts of our solidarity in our own minds and bring joy to the hearts of our enemies.

Police records showed 110 men hospitalized with serious injuries since rioting started. They included 92 civilians and 18 servicemen. They estimated 100-150 more were hurt more or less seriously but went to private physicians instead of emergency hospital to evade police questioning.

A mob of 150 sailors, soldiers, and Marines marched through suburban Watts late last night in search of the zoot-suiters who stoned three interurban cars of sailors last night, but found none.

Two girls attacked

Every available military policeman was on duty, and with the entire metropolitan area out of bounds for men under Navy jurisdiction, and most of it out of bounds for the Army, skirmishes were few.

Civilian law enforcement agencies were becoming more stringent in attempts to halt the outbreaks. A grand jury indicted 11 zoot-suiters on a charge of conspiring to commit statutory attack in the aftermath of a mass assault on two Mexican girls, each of whom was attacked seven of eight times in a lonely park area.

The girls were held in protective custody because of threats on their lives.

The city council, meanwhile, debated all day before putting up for adoption an ordinance to outlaw wearing of zoot suits.

U.S. Navy Department (June 11, 1943)

Communiqué No. 406

South Pacific.
On June 10:

  1. During the morning Marine Corsairs (Vought F4U) and Army Lightning (Lockheed P‑38) fighters intercepted and shot down four Mit­subishi bombers over the north end of Malaita Island. Three of the enemy bombers were accounted for by Marine Corsair fighters and the other by an Army Lightning fighter.

  2. During the same, day enemy positions on Vila, Kolombangara Island, were attacked by Army Liberator (Consolidated B‑24) heavy bombers and Warhawk (Curtiss P‑40) and Lightning fighters with un­observed results.

The Pittsburgh Press (June 11, 1943)

Surrender opens invasion path

Aerial occupation of isle by Allied troops takes only 22 minutes
By Reynolds Packard, United Press staff writer

Air assaults smother isle

Bombers crowd sky over Pantelleria
By Virgil Pinkley, United Press staff writer

Remove Duce, people told by Roosevelt

Italians given choice of new government if they yield

House adopts drastic curb on walkouts

Conference report accepted by vote of 219–129; veto is hoped

Italians remove Pasta man.

Roosevelt :

1 Like

Carrying razors –
‘Slick chicks’ join zoot war

Waitress slashed by girls in reet pleat skirts


Los Angeles, California –
Maj. Gen. Maxwell Murray, commanding the Southern California sector of the Western Defense Command, promised swift punishment today for all military personnel participating in street fighting with zoot-suited hoodlums.

Miss Betty Morgan, slashed by “slick chick”

Los Angeles, California (UP) –
Dark-eyed “cholitas,” packing razors in the tops of their black mesh stockings, took up today street fighting where their male zoot-suit counterparts were being forced to drop it.

The “slick chicks,” garbed entirely in midnight black, with an above-the-knee version of the hobble skirt, grandiosely vowed to carry the battle against servicemen and police “until one side or the other is wiped out.”

Three of them attacked a waitress coming out of a downtown tunnel, knocked her down, and slashed her with a razor.

Her assailants fled when an unidentified man ran to her aid. The victim, Miss Betty Morgan, 22, bore several cuts and was bleeding profusely. Taken to emergency hospital, she was hysterical.

There was no apparent reason for the attack.

The cholitas, auxiliaries of the zoot-suit gangs which for months have made walks on dimly-lighted streets a risky affair, stoutly insisted they would not be diverted.

Although servicemen have been ripping the zoot clothing from the male mobsters, such treatment of the female branch presented a problem.

A cholita advised police:

Nobody is going to take my outfit off me.

Previously taken in custody was a young woman who carried a pair of brass knuckles, and police said, “knew how to use them.” A 20-year-old girl was taken to jail for inciting resistance to officers attempting to make an arrest.

The county grand jury began an investigation of the riots, which had led the Navy to declare the entire city out of bounds and left the Skid Row district on the Army blacklist.

The grand jury ordered the investigation after District Attorney Fred N. Howser appealed for such a move admitting that:

Los Angeles is faced with the humiliating fact that the Navy has found it necessary to declare the city out of bounds.

Both Army and Navy authorities held an off-the-record session with State Attorney General Robert W. Kenny, here to conduct an investigation.

Neither Maj. Gen. Maxwell Murphy, commander of the southern sector of the Western Defense Command, nor Capt. Schuyler F. Heim, commandant of the naval operating base, San Pedro, would comment after the meeting. Kenny, too, was silent.

Another investigation by the Office of Inter-American Affairs was underway, but so far had not passed the “report” stage.

Attacks scattered

Zoot attacks, meanwhile, were scattered. In the downtown area, trouble was slight, with the Skid Row area virtually deserted in consequence of the military orders. In outlying areas, zoot-suiters staged a half-dozen attacks but there was no rioting.

At Pasadena, a mob of sailors and civilians pursued fleeing zoot-suiters through the downtown district, but halted at the doors to the police station, where the zoot-suiters fled for safety. Police took them home and the mob dispersed.

Police said the mob “appeared to be in good humor.”

Russell E. Foss, 32, was slashed on the throat by two zooters to whom he gave a ride. They were quarreling, he said, and when he ordered them out of his car, they attacked him.

One zoot-suiter wore overalls over his beloved drape-shape pants, but was given away by his ducktail haircut. Two sailors who spotted him and another zooter removed both the overalls and the ankle-chokers.

Waitress wants revenge

Mr. Howser said:

A state of near anarchy has existed in this county for the past several weeks. This condition has been brought about by the growth of gangster life in our community.

The attack on Miss Morgan by the female zoot-suiters was said by police to be one of the most vicious in the week of mobster violence. She said the three cholitas – one of them wearing a knee-length beige coat over her black blouse and skirt – had knocked her down, kicked her in the chest and slashed her with a razor.

Miss Morgan said:

I fought back and threw one of them off my back. One tackled me around the legs, though, and I lost my balance and went down. I would like to meet one of them face to face – it would be her or me.

The attack came after the cholitas, or “slick chicks,” had spread the word around Los Angeles’ East Side that the warfare with servicemen and police would be continued “until one side or the other is wiped out.”

One girl said:

We won’t quit. I paid $75 for my outfit, and nobody is going to take it off me, either.

She referred to the military maneuver known as “pantsing,” carried out by servicemen in many of their clashes with zoot-suiters.

New York (UP) –
The dubious distinction of having created the zoot suit belongs to a Gainesville, Georgia, busboy, in the opinion of J. V. D. Carlyle, fashion editor of Men’s Apparel Reporter, garment trade publication.

The February 1941 issue of the Reporter carried an “exclusive style flash” that depicted:

…the newest model, known in South Georgia as the Killer-Diller… coat length 37 inches, button top two… 26-inch knees… 14-unch bottom, requiring a shoehorn to get the foot through…

The trade was amused, Mr. Carlyle said.

The story pictured Clyde Duncan of Gainesville wearing the model he ordered from Frierson-McEver’s early in 1940 – complete with “drape shape,” “reet pleat” and “stuff cuff.” A. C. McEver, conservative half of the Gainesville combination, said he forwarded the specifications to the Globe Tailoring Co. of Chicago after futilely trying to “talk the boys out of it.” Duncan was adamant.

Mr. McEver disclaimed any credit for the creation, asserting the specifications were Mr. Duncan’s, so far as he knew. The suit cost $33.50.

Mr. McEver commented:

I thought it was crazy as could be and I told Globe Tailoring so in my letter.

Japs capitalizing on zoot-suit riots

By the United Press

Radio Tokyo Thursday seized upon the Los Angeles disorders between servicemen and zoot-suited young East Side gangsters to criticize U.S. Armed Forces.

Tokyo, heard by the United Press in San Francisco, blamed the soldiers and sailors for the demonstrations.

Tokyo said:

The fighting started when a group of gangsters beat up several soldiers and sailors for behaving in a loudly manner in all the public places.

No contract, no fine –
Miners balk at $5 levy, talk strike

Wage conference concludes in wave of doubt over portal pay
By Raymond Lahr, United Press staff writer

Hannah, on witness stand, denies Dempsey’s charges

Ex-Broadway singer climaxes story of mistreatment by saying she was a faithful wife

President’s grandson will face court today

Four Jap bombers shot down by Yanks

Ickes awaits authority on gas rationing

Nelson may decide today on transfer of power held by OPA

Food program threatened by poor weather