Joye Kading Oral History
Interviewed by Kayla Bornman on April 26, 2011 in the Casper College Western History Center.
Joye Marshall was born in Nebraska in 1922, and then moved to Wyoming with her family. They lived in Gillette, Campbell County, prior to moving to Casper. She attended rural schools, graduated from Natrona County High School in Casper and was employed as stenographer for a public secretarial service before going to work at the Casper Army Air Base. She was employed at the Casper Army Air Base from its beginning until the base closed after World War II ended. In June 1945, after the end of the war in Europe as the Casper Army Air Base and others around the nation were beginning to close, she married Frank Kading, of Chicago, who had been stationed on the base. He later moved back to Casper with her and they ran an electrical contracting business together and raised a family.
From 1942-1945, she was secretary for the successive commanding colonels in charge of purchasing the land for, building and finally operating the air base. During her work with the officers and personnel at the base, she collected photographs of each. The following interview tells of her early years, prior to working at the base, and the years she continued to work for officers stationed at the base. A copy of the photograph album was made by Casper College, and the explanation of the photographs contained in the album is given during this interview.
Kayla Bornman interviewed Kading on April 27, 2011, at the Casper College Western History Center.
Editor's notes: I have added some reference footnotes to this transcript where I thought appropriate. In most cases I have deleted redundant ands, ers, uhs, buts, false starts, etc. If I deleted an entire phrase, I have inserted ellipses ... Where you find brackets [ ] I have added words for explanation or to complete an awkward sentence. Parentheses ( ) are used for incidental non-verbal sounds, like laughter, or to note when a word is unintelligible. Words emphasized by the speaker are italicized.
~Lori Van Pelt, assistant editor, WyoHistory.org, May 26, 2014
Kayla Bornman: This is Kayla Bornman, and I am interviewing Joye Kading on April 26, 2011 at the Western History Center. Do I have your permission to record this interview?
Joye Kading: Yes.
Bornman: First off, when and where were you born?
Kading: I was born at Nicholas Senn Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, December 31st, 1922.
Bornman: What was the town like back then?
Kading: I have no idea.
Bornman: How did you come to live in Wyoming?
Kading: After the Civil War and World War I, they gave the veterans permission
to prove up on homesteads in the state of Wyoming, and my parents were young and they thought that would be a lark to come out somewhere and build a new home. They had been out here and they did the necessary hospital care for my mother, when I was about to be born, and so their property that was proved up on was near Campbell County. Gillette was the town and so they took me back, my mother back to Omaha so that I could be born there, where they were originally from, and so I had, then we came back to the ranch.
Bornman: What was it like growing up in Wyoming, or did you grow up in Wyoming?
Kading: Yes, I have been here all the rest of my life, and it has always been a joyful and exciting time, I rode horses, and on the ranch and watched them build the highway into Gillette … from the front door of our ranch, we looked right out into that area and we had a very comfortable home, and my dad had been an entertainer in Omaha, singing, and my mother was secretary to the president of the Woodman of the World Insurance Company there. Mr. Frasier, who was the president of that company, is the one who inaugurated the life insurance policies for the military. That was a fun thing for me because when I worked for military I could tell them that.
And so, the folks then finished building their house and started their pastures and then they had a dairy. And we were close enough to town that people, when they knew they could no longer keep their animals, would drop them off at our house when we didn't know they were doing it because they thought they would have good food and everything. We had a bunch of dogs all the time and of course, some of them were our natural pets so that was a funny experience.
And then my dad decided he wanted to do something else, so we no longer had the dairy. He was an expert sales person. He could sell an icebox to an Eskimo. He went on the road traveling, and then I had two brothers that were born there and--
Bornman: What was it like, like with your siblings? Did you guys get along?
Kading: Oh yes, we got along fine. I had one brother, his name was Clifford Marshall, and the other brother was named Jack Marshall and they used to help out in the field when there were farming and watch the animals ’cause we had coyotes that would kill the little calves and little lambs of the sheep, if they could get into the pens and stuff like that, and we had, my dad would deliver milk into town and sometimes he would take me with him.
I was very, very shy, and I would cover my eyes with my hand, and he had to keep pulling it down so people could see me. They liked the name Joye so that was good. In that era, Joy was a boy's name, and my mother was so glad that everything came through with the problems that she had, that she put an "E" on the name Joy to make it feminine. So that is why I am called Joye.
Bornman: Well, that was certainly unique way of spelling it. What was school like back then?
Kading: When school started, see we lived on the ranch, and so they took me to Gillette to go to school. Mother would bring me in, and we didn't have a school bus at that time and I didn't particularly like being brought to town. What they did was find a lady who would let me stay with her during the week, a family, and then going in the weekends and back, so I could go to school.
So I went to live with this lady, and she said that she would furnish me with a room, and a little table and chair, where I could write. She said, “You can stay in there,” and when it [was] time for meals and stuff like that, well, I was used to getting outside, and I didn't like to be locked up into a room. So this lasted about three weeks and I ran away.
She got in touch with my folks and didn't know where I was. Mother came, they found me and found another family that would like to have me stay with them. The family had three boys, and the lady was very joyful and very happy and everything, and the kids were so glad to have a sister, 'cause there was no girls in the family. So they would do a lot of things for me, and when we went to school, the older one would come and get me and put me on his shoulders, put my feet in his pocket in his jacket to be warm and take me home. I got tired of that, too.
I told my mother that I didn't like that either, and so they talked with the school board. There wasn't a school in our area, there were a lot of country schools, but there wasn't one out there.
In the meantime, my dad had bought a lot in town, and he built a house there in town so we could live there in the wintertime and I could go to school. We just finished and decorated it—never involved in getting a school on the ranch. A lady came by, and she said she needed a new home. She had been up to look at that one and she would like to buy it. My dad said, “Well it's going to be our home.” She wanted to know why he built it, and he explained it. She said, “I understand that you are going to get a school on your ranch.” He said, “Well it probably won't be ready before school starts –getting property and the school building up, and we will have to start her in school again in town.”
He talked to the people in the school district, and they said they had [things] ready to go. It was about the first of August, I think, and school started in September. So they worked like the dickens to get the school started, and the lady bought the house in town. And so they got the school up, and they put it between a family named Ditto [spelling uncertain] had a ranch north of us and our property so her kids could go to school and the other kids could go to school out there. It was a one-room schoolhouse and heated with a stove. We had to walk to school. It wasn't that far.
I would do that in good weather, and then when the weather was bad, my dad would saddle and harness my horse, and he would ride to school with me. He could tie my horse there, and then he would come and get me and ride back. The reason for that was because there was a big pile of cinder rock—they are huge—and it was always filled with snakes. He didn't like to have me turn, go through in bad weather when the snakes were out and crawling around. I would ride to school. This family named Ditto were on the other property north of us, and they had a boy named Sam.
He and I were very competitive in school because he was, I think, maybe a year older than I, and we would compete in spelling and history tests and things like that. What was so funny, his mother was a schoolteacher, and my mother had been a top secretary. One would sit on one corner of a big fence and the other on the other fence to be sure that we were treated fairly, and he didn't out-spell me. That's the way she felt about her son. It was kind of a fun thing because we were the older students in this school, and it was quite an experience actually.
He also rode a horse to school, and the other little kids untied it one time, and his horse wasn't there and I said, “Well, I'll let you ride with me, and I'll ride you home, and then I'll go home.” He wouldn't have anything like that, you know, because we were always competing. We went to country school until, let's see, what grade was I in, must have been when I was in the seventh grade.
From Gillette to Saratoga
And then my dad took a job and a let's see, it was the summer when I was in the seventh grade, and he was the superintendent of a CCC camp. That’s the Civilian Conservation Corps that was established during the Depression years to try to help people to get employment, and work. The camp was located in Saratoga, Wyoming, so we moved down there. I started the eighth grade then at schools in Saratoga and that was a shock to me after being in a one-room schoolhouse all those years.
But the interesting thing was … the teachers in these schools would get together in the summertime, and they would have competition with the different schools on speaking and reciting poetry and telling stories and things like that. Our school [outside Gillette] was called the Marshall-Ditto school and it always won, and that pleased us.
When the winter was cold and we had a recitation, we had a potbelly stove in there, and we would stand by that stove and do our recitations. We wanted to do it real well because we wanted to stand there and keep warm. We didn't care about--(laughs). We had other families who had children there, too, that were tickled to death to have a school so near to their property.
I don't remember when, after we went to Saratoga, it still existed I think for two more years. The kids were all older, and they felt they could take them to town in a bus. A school bus was set up then to take them in to town. It was an interesting experience, and we would see the gophers and things in the pastures and stuff like that as we would walk to school. My brothers had started school and they, when we got to Saratoga, then they went to town school too.
Bornman: Was there ever a high school established?
Kading: In Saratoga? Yeah, I went there, let's see, only for the eighth grade and I was a junior in Saratoga [when] my dad was transferred to Casper with his unit of the CCCs. Then I started school here, and it had Natrona County High School. I went there my sophomore, junior and senior years and graduated from NC then in 1940.
Bornman: Wow! What was the high school like back then?
Kading: We had the biggest graduating class when I graduated from high school there that they had ever had. Of course, the rumblings of the war were coming on and the young men there were frustrated that they would be drafted or they should enlist and that kind of thing. We had some very, very excellent teachers.
We had very, very few problems with students. They were still engraved with sobriety and presence and good manners. The excellent teachers kept us busy over there with all kinds of projects and things. I played the piano, and I was the Wyoming State Champion accordion player. I also played the violin, and so I got to do a lot of things that other children might [not have] if they didn't have some outside help—things that they preferred to do.
We had piano concerts, and my mother would play the piano with me sometimes. We would have duets, and it was a lot of fun. Gillette wasn't a very big town, you know, but that school also was excellent. Saratoga's high school was fine. The first man teacher I had was in the eighth grade when I was in Saratoga.
What was so funny, if you wanted to go to the restroom, you would raise your hand and then you would show one, and then if you needed to be a little longer, you would point two fingers, and then the teacher would nod. You would go put a mark on the door as you went out and [when you] came back in, you rubbed it out. We started doing that when we were in Saratoga. I thought it was so funny, and I started to laugh and the teacher wanted to know what was so funny. I tried to explain to her how I felt, but she didn't appreciate it at all. (laughs).
Bornman: How did you come to work on the Army base? [Casper Army Air Base, in Casper, Wyo.]
Kading: I had, when I graduated from high school, I became what they called a public stenographer at the Henning Hotel [at First and Center streets in downtown Casper]. The hotel would have people there so tourists could get letters written and that sort of thing. The lady who had me come down and interview for this employment had been there for quite awhile. In Casper at that time, the Henning Hotel, that was the headquarters for the men who had sheep. At a certain time of the year, they would all come in and let people know that they were ready to sell their sheep. People from the East that bought the wool so they could use it in manufacturing would congregate there. She was very swamped, because in order to pay her rent for the space at the Henning where she had her office, she typed their menus and things like that for the hotel. … On the level of the main floor, we had a desk and stuff. Stairs go up to a little loft where we had mimeograph machines and things like that.
And so, I was working down there, and this colonel from the military came in to get some letters written. I did his letters for him, and there weren't any mistakes or anything, and they looked nice on the paper. He thanked me profusely and told the lady that he liked my work. She was pleased, because a lot of people liked to have me do their typing.
And so then a few days later, he came in and talked to her. He wanted to know what the situation with my employment was. … Her name was Harkins, and she said that she enjoyed having me because otherwise she was stuck there hours and hours a day and she couldn't go anywhere or do anything and the overload of this was getting almost too much for one person. He asked her about me, and she said, “Well, she is one of these people that pays attention to her work and she is very accurate,” and he said, “She spells beautifully and sentence construction is excellent, and he said that she is a single girl.” And he said, “I don't think that she is going to walk out on anybody.”
And she said, "Why are you asking these things?" And so he explained to her that he was there to find the property to build a big air corps base in Natrona County and he said that he needed a secretary. … She said, "Then you want to hire her away from here?" He said, "He said absolutely, he said yes, I will hire her away." He said, "I've talked to other people about her and they said that she was quick to adapt to changing conditions, it would be no problem for her." He told me what he wanted to do, and I said, "Well, I have to talk to my folks about this."
My dad was a World War I veteran. They thought it would be great because it would be a change and I would learn something different.
So they got the land located out there where the Air Base was to be built. They had a small building moved in there; he put a desk in there and everything. At first the offices, between, let's see, 7th and 8th on Center Street, they had a county building there and then we had a courthouse in town. When the new courthouse was built downtown, that building was empty and so they let us take the empty space in the other [older] building. We moved our offices in there until we could get something to work in out at the base. I have pictures, I think albums here, where this building is, and where we were standing in front of it [former Casper City Hall and courthouse at 8th and Center streets.]
Then when they got buildings out at the area where the base was, they had a couple of small (coughs) buildings out there where they could put a desk for two of us and telephones and things like that, and that is when we moved out there. The guys that worked out there liked to come in and visit with me. They would bring me rabbits and things that they caught, put them in cardboard boxes in the office so I could feed rabbits (laughs). And one of them brought in a rattlesnake one day, and I told him to get out of there or I would use it on him. It was a blast, everything was a lot of fun. Wherever I have worked I've always had a good time.
Bornman: ¨Well what were your usual duties on the base?
Kading: You'll have to speak up honey, I'll—
Bornman: Sorry. What were your usual duties on the base, like typical jobs?
Kading: Well, when we first started, we had contracts to draw between the military and the people in the county, and I typed up all those things. I took the dictation and typed those up, and I had enough experience as a public stenographer because I did all kinds typing for all kinds of people. I typed for accountants, and I typed for lawyers, and I typed for salespeople, and people that were staying at the Henning Hotel that would want to write letters home to their folks. It was easier to come down and have me type it than
sit there and write them. I had a lot of basic experience that most girls wouldn't have and that worked well for me because I had no fear of trying something new, don't you see.
While we were in the old City Hall Building there on Center Street, they departmentalized the different things that they were getting set up for, and then they would arrange to have the girls work for the different department heads out there. They would come in, and several of them would come in and want to talk to me because they weren't any more familiar with that than I was, to find out what I did and everything, and it worked out well.
And then when we moved out to the base, then they started the with buildings and the barracks and the officers’ club and the gymnasium and things like that to get those up before our troops came in.
The base was built to accommodate twenty thousand men to be trained. They would come out there, and they were trained to do the last of their training in the B-17's and the B-24's because they could go around the east end of the mountain and hit the zephyrs [west winds] to take them right up to the sky. The men who came out there were only trained probably, some of them, six weeks, some of them eight weeks, depending on where they had gotten their basic training.
[When] this war ended we had run through almost 18,000 men. That is quite an experience, it was a wonderful experience for a young boy, could not beat it. I'd do it all over again (laughs).
Bornman: Well, what kind of obstacles, was there any obstacles you guys faced with training 'em, like Wyoming wind, weather?
Kading: Oh yes, we had all of that. I imagine that we probably lost maybe twenty planes with wrecks. The fellows hit something in the wind that they didn't know how to handle, and they’d have a plane wreck and they were lost. A lot of our pilots were in training, and we had some of our planes [that] were wrecked in other states. I would guess there were probably, maybe, twenty planes that were lost in all those trainings. The soldiers’ bodies were then shipped back home to their families.
Bornman: Well, how did you meet your husband? [Joye Marshall eventually married Frank Kading in June 1945 near the end of the war.]
Kading: Well, that is kind of interesting. When the fellows were ready to go overseas, especially the officers. He was not in the Air Corps, [U.S. Army Air Corps], he was a quartermaster in the Army and so he was loaned to the Air Corps to be a quartermaster at this base. The quartermaster sees that they got food and clothing, and all those things. In other words, he was attached to the Air Corps.
His unit was to be transferred out of the Army Air Base in Casper. Every time the pilots and the MPs, [Military Police] and people like Military Police and people like that, if they are being transferred out, they wanted to give them their promotions, so they would have a new rank when they went to the next location.
So they were going to transfer him out, and he had come in to pick up his papers for his new rank. He had been sent in as a second lieutenant, and then they promoted him to a first lieutenant. And then he, and for some reason or other, he had been out of town getting materials for the base, and he was the last one to receive his notification of his grade and his raise in pay.
He had to get back to a meeting and as he stepped out of the commander's office, his papers had dropped on the floor. I watched him pick them up, and I said, "Now, you men who are being transferred, we have had some problems getting their promotions to them.” … I said, "We ask that they tell us whether or not they receive them, we want to know if they got 'em and we want to know if they didn't get 'em.”
He looked up at me, and he said, "Well, you know that’s really none of your business." And I thought, well, okay Buster, I'm going to make it my business. So he left, and it turned out that he was an exceptional officer. Our commander at the base said, "I can't lose this man." He said, "I want him to stay here." Of course, I knew about those things because I was the secretary to the commander, and I had to write the letters and everything so I thought …
He called him in, and he asked him what he thought of it. He said it was fine, he said it didn't make any difference to him, he said he joined the service to, out of patriotism for his country that he loved, and he would do whatever they wanted. I found out that he wasn't shipping out.
My dad was also working out there, and he was where they assigned the cars for the officers, and the buses and things like that for the men. So he had to go in early one day for some reason, and I didn't have a ride in, so I thought this is a good thing for me because I am going to call this officer. So, I called him, visited with him, and I said, “Did your promotion come through?” And he said, “Yes,”--real curt--and I said, “Well, I'm not calling about that. Do you have a car?”
And he said, "No." I said, "Well, I need a ride into town and I thought maybe you could help me out." And he said, "Well my friend has a car. I’ll see if he'll bring me over and he will take you to town."
So by golly, here they come, and so they took me to the house, out to my house, and in about a week, or ten days later, the commander called him in to assign him something special for him to do. Troops had come in, but their officers hadn't come with them, and they didn't know when they would get there. They told … troops then that this officer, Lieutenant Kading would be in their charge [i.e., in charge of them].
When they left, he spotted a couple of men out there, the … troops, and he called these two men in, and he said to this one guy, "What's your name?" He said, "Well, they call me Butch," and the other guy said, “They call me Charlie.” He said, “Butch, I'm going to put you in charge of your unit out here, and I'll see that everything military will be taken care of for your unit, … and when your new officers come in, I will no longer be part of your unit.” He said, “Well, if you have any problems here, you come to me and we'll take care of 'em. If you both can't take care of 'em, I'll be disappointed.”
And boy, this … fellow and this Butch and he worked awfully hard with those men, and my husband never had one bit of a problem with them. They saluted him and showed respect for him when they saw him. When these new officers came in, he turned them over to them and it took about, I think, three weeks for the officers that came in, to come in … here the quartermaster officer was working with the troops that came in and that wasn't his job at all, but that is what he was doing.
He had called me then and said he had a car and, “if you need a ride, let me know.” I thought, well, that worked out fine. My dad was going in another time, and I called Frank and I said, "You got space in your car to take me into town?" He said, "Yes. Several of us are going to the 114 Club tonight and relax." I said, “That's fine, I'll appreciate the ride.” We got up to the house and he said, [Joye pauses and says, "Where's my purse?] (noises while she is searching for her purse.)
He said, "If you would like to go with us tonight why I'll be glad to take you." That's exactly what I wanted. But he didn’t know it. So we went to the 114 Club, and we had ourselves some dates there and we had a very nice evening. When he wasn't on duty and he wanted to come in the house, why we visited, and finally, we became romantically inclined.
He was getting ready, they kept him there, and they were going to ship him to another base because they were going to have to close this one up. He had a lot to do to close it, and with so many bases closing then in '45, he said that he was very fond of me and that he thought we should get married so I could go with him wherever he was transferred. He inveigled his way so he could stay there. We were married in '45, and he was a great guy.
Building a life after the war
Of course, my family never smoked or drank, or my brothers or anything, and he appreciated that too 'cause some of the kids that he was associated with in the service could end up in the grave because they drank too much you know and stuff like that.
He said, “I want you to meet my parents,” and so we got married and went back to Chicago where he originated from. He said, "Now, you have never been anywhere out of the city limits of Casper. Let's go take a trip.” He said, “I don't have a job and you don't have one now either since the base is closed. Let me take you somewhere.”
So we travelled down to Florida and southern parts of the United States and went to different towns and met up with some of his buddies. We were driving around, we must have been five weeks, or six weeks, and drove all these places and stopped and saw things and and zoos, and it was certainly a surprise to me because I didn't know anything but horses and cows and ranches (laughs).
When we got back home he said, “I don't want to go to Chicago to live,” and I said, "Well, your folks are expecting that." His sister was also in the service, she was a nurse. He said, "I don't want to live in Chicago. He said I want to live in Wyoming." He was a master electrician, he’d gone to school, he had his papers and everything. He said, "I'll see if there is an electrical company there, maybe I can go to work for 'em."
There were two of them in town at that time, and he inquired. This one fellow, when he found out that he was really an electrician, he had been trained—because they weren't trained like that in Wyoming at that time. If a guy could use a screwdriver, put in a wire and tie it in, that was good. But he knew what voltage and things are required, and so he went to work for this fellow.
Everybody, when they hired him from this guy, they told other people. When he was working for this man, every time a job came in they would ask for him, come out and do their work. And the other fellows that were working in the shop were a little upset because, here Frank Kading was being called out all the time, and they weren't.
Finally he came in one day and he said, "What do you think about going into business as an electrical contractor?" And I said, “Well, we don't have any space to rent or anything, to start a business. You'll have to have employees.” He said, "Oh, we'll work on it."
At that time, when we came back, we had seventeen cents left in our pockets when we made this trip around the United States. I had to get to work right away, and he went to work as an electrician.
I had been working with some attorneys at that time. There were three attorneys in the office, and I was doing all of their work—their typing and everything that they had—and they said, "Well, we don't like to see you go." I said, "My husband wants to start his business." One said, "I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll write up all your corporate papers and file everything for you, so you won't have to do that." Of course, that was to keep me there a little bit longer. He wrote up the corporation papers, and I worked for this firm for a few more years. But that was a nice way and a credible way to keep me working, don't you see?
When I left, what was funny, it took three girls to do what I had done alone in this firm. They would call and say, "Well, how did you do this?" And I said, "Well, I paid attention, and I didn't make mistakes, and I didn't have to type things over, and clients liked me. You girls are going to have to knuckle down and do your work." But I thought that was interesting, that it took three girls to do what I did by myself.
Bornman: Well, you are obviously very intelligent, very talented with grammar, and composing and every—
Kading: Yeah, I had to be. But that was an interesting experience too. So then he went into business, and he decided to call himself Advance Electric, Inc., with his papers. He did that and we didn't have any, there weren't many empty places to rent for business. There was a little one-room building over on Elm Street here in town, and so he used that as his office. The fellows worked out of that until he could find something bigger, and he moved into a place, I think it was on CY Avenue, and that wasn't big enough either. Some little buildings were built on Second Street, in the fifteen hundred block, and they had four little office buildings together. They were big enough for him to store pipe and stuff, and so we moved down there and were there for years.
Bornman: Did the, is the business still going on today?
Kading: My son is a master electrician and also an electrical engineer, and so is our daughter, and he runs the business.
Bornman: So kind of a family legacy type?
Kading: So it was nice. And we became a union shop, and we had six and seven and sometimes eight electricians. They travelled all over the state. People liked his work so well and his electricians, and they just wouldn't hire anybody else.
Bornman: So what do you do with your time today, like what do you do in your leisure?
Kading: Well, I tell you we’d be here all afternoon if I told you everything I've done.
Starting the air base
This colonel then had me come out to the base while they were building it, and he was the fellow that accomplished acquiring the land out there and …people that had lived out there and had a few cattle and sheep and that sort of thing and he bought that land. Those people, he told them, "We'll buy your land, or we'll lease your land, or we'll take your land."
The people wanted so much to do something for the war effort, and it was a good thing to have a big base at Casper, in Natrona County, Wyoming, for finances because we were coming out of the Depression, and so they were glad to let the land go. When he built that base out there, and then after our first officers came in to take it over, then, that is the military.
This man was at the Corps of Engineers, that is this officer that bought the stuff, and when he left then, I thanked him for what he had done for me. He thanked me profusely. He said, "But this new commander out here wants to talk to you." I went in to see him and he said, "How much military are you familiar with?" And I said, "Just what the Corps of Engineers has been doing, why do you ask?" And he said, “Well, he recommended that you stay out here and you'd be my secretary.”
He was the base commander, and he was a pilot in World War I, and of course, they called all the officers back that they could get their hands on. He was a fine person. I went to work for him.
Then he said, "Now we've got all of these departments out here. Each one of these men is going to have to have a girl to work for him. If you have competent people that you have gone to school with, and if you know would [be] valued, why, tell them to come out to work." We did that. He said, “Now what I would like you to do—this will be a pool of the girls that work in the offices and headquarters.”
That is what we set up and it worked out well, and so I got to meet the girls. They were tickled to death that there was someone that had been in school with them at sometime or other and that they could communicate with. I said, "If you have problems with your job or something, feel free to come in and see me." The colonel heard me talking to them, so he got a chair and he stuck it in the corner by my desk. He said, "Now if you girls have a problem, come in and talk to her, it won't bother me." That's what we did. If I had problems with them, I could get him and explain that something should be done a certain way, and it worked out just very, very well.
It was a good experience, and as the time has passed by, this commander was transferred to Salt Lake and then to somewhere in Colorado, and then he was sent overseas. We got to meet a lot of fine young men, and so it worked out well for us. Of course, that's like I told you, that's where I met Frank, was out there. There were lots of parties and dances and things like that for the young people. It was comforting to know that everyone could get along so well.
Just about the time things [at the air base] were getting ready to be shut down, I had belonged to an organization, a business organization, and I had a man approach me who was the superintendent of the Texas Company Refinery. He said, "Are you going to transfer out of here with the military?" And I said, "No, I don't intend to." And he said, "Then … [end of tape and part of it wasn't recorded].
End of audio Part 1
Bornman: You worked a different kind of job, based on your …
The refinery business
Kading: And then I went to work for him. I took all the union negotiations for the people at the refinery. The superintendent from the Standard [Oil] Refinery called my boss, and he said, "I understand that your girl is very good with contracts and spells and everything, can we borrow her?" I would go for them and do theirs, and then Socony- Vacuum had union negotiations, and the fellows got to talking and so I worked for them. I was still was paid by Texas Company, and those guys paid them for me to work. So it was fun. I never knew where I was going the next day.
Bornman: So you just kind of transferred from employer to employer because they really, really liked you?
Kading: Yeah. After I left the Texas Company, I don't even remember why. That was a funny experience, the union men at the Texas Company had gone on strike because they had wanted something different from the way it had been done out there. I told the guys that evening, the nurse always picked me up and took me out to the refinery and brought me home. The next morning after this particular day, and they had been visiting back and forth on their negotiations, and I got out there. The strikers wouldn't let me go into the plant because they could keep me out.
Finally, the superintendent negotiated with them, and they let me go in, and they said, “She can help with the typing of the negotiations and things like that.” When it was time for me to go home, they wouldn't let me go home. I had to stay out there. So I called my dad and I said, “I'm going to sit up out here at my desk all night tonight,” and explained to him what the deal was. He said, “Well, you are not.” Pretty soon he was out there. He said, "I'm coming to get my daughter. She is going to go home with me."
And this one guy that was a little arrogant said, "No, we're in negotiations and she needs to stay here." He [Kading’s father] said, "Well, I'll tell you she won't." He started towards his car, and I don't know what they thought he was going to do, but they let him take me home.
When the union negotiations and everything was over, then I typed up all the things for the different companies that they had had me do. One of the fellows was an attorney that they worked with. When the negotiations were over, he said, "Are you going to work at that plant forever?" I said, "Well, not really. Frank and I wanted to take a trip." He said, “Come in and see me.”
He was a retired judge. I went to work for him, and I did all of his work when we took trials, negotiations and things like that. Then we needed more space, and he was going to retire, so one of the fellows that had worked for him approached me—his name is Barry Mahoney—and they had offices in the Wyoming National Bank Building. There were three of those attorneys. I went up there and worked for them and I did all of their work.
Sometimes lawyers procrastinate if they think maybe their situations will straighten out—their already legal problems—and some of the clients were getting a little irritated because some of their contracts weren't being written. I knew what they wanted in their contracts, so I would write 'em up. Lawyers would look 'em over and say, "Gee, that's great, just bring 'em in and have 'em sign them."
This one particular day, we had some negotiations with one of the attorneys and a client. They weren't getting along like they thought they should, so I typed up all the stuff and I had to take it down to the judge to see if it was okay and have him sign it. The lawyer, of course, he was trained to do those things. I took the contract, I went down to see the judge, and I told him what was happening.
He picked up the phone, and he called for the lawyer, the office, he said, "I just called to tell you that Joye and I are running your business." (laughs) And this guy was wide-eyed by the time I got back. He said, "What did you do?" I said, "Well, you didn't get this done, and this lady needs it because she is leaving town." He looked at the contract and he said, "You wrote it better than I did, and the judge signed it." And I said, "Yeah."
Bornman: You had quite a few skills.
Kading: Yeah, I had a lot ----
Bornman: Obviously, you impressed a lot of, a lot of lawyers and majors.
Kading: [noises like she was looking at the scrapbook]
Faces from the past
This is Frank. The man who came out to get the area that the base was built on was a lieutenant colonel, Carl Nordstrom. He was with the Army Engineers. [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers]. He was the first one out here that bought the property, and then, the Corps of Engineers came in to build that air base, and that man's name was Colonel Long. He was an engineer. He was the one that built highways in Florida when they couldn't get through all of the area down there because no one wanted to take a chance and to go into that area that hadn't been traveled in Florida, and he did that.
The first base commander was this man. His name was Colonel Moore. When he left, he signed his photograph, and he said, "To Joye, my first employee at the Army Air Base, Casper, and the last to be forgotten. James Moore, Lieutenant Colonel, Air Corps.” He was such a handsome man, and any civilian might (unintelligible) his photograph.
And these are officers that I have worked under while I was out there. This is one of the inspectors from the Air Force, and they were all very kind to me. We had a lot of good times, and they, of course, autographed all the photographs. This man's name was Haigler. He was our base surgeon. He was in charge of our base hospital. He liked it so much here, when he left, I mean when he left the service, he stayed in Casper and became a doctor here in town and was very, very fine. Name’s Dr. Haigler, and so he typed on here, "To Joye, a superior secretary, F. H. Haigler, Lt. Colonel, Medical Corps."
They would write me letters of recommendation, some of them were fine, and some of them weren't. This is one of the officers that was out here. He wrote ,"To my best quote ‘girl buddy’ unquote, Joye, with love." … So these are all good memories, and they are stories, that I am sure, that no one else has, anywhere.
Bornman: Not only that, but to have a scrapbook like that--
Kading: This fellow—his name is Gilbank [spelling uncertain]—and he was one of the officers out here. He wrote down here, "To the sweet little redhead, Arnold Gilbank, Captain, Air Corps.” He was our room administrative inspector out here. This guy's name was McCadish. He was our plant and training officer. In civilian life, you see the Whitman candy box that has all the embroidery pictures on it and everything, he was working at the company, in Whitman, that hired people to design that box. He was part of the designer for that candy box. They did things in civilian life that was a lot different from what they were doing [in the military]. He was our plant and training officer, and he said, "To Joye, here are all the plans that she needs for training."
This man was our statistical officer. His name was Leon Knight, and he was a captain in the Air Corps, and we had him out here for probably eight months and then he was shipped back, to go to another base. This fellow’s name was Terry, and he was our S4 officer, he was in charge of instructors, he had been an engineer and everything, in charge of construction. He had been an engineer in his private life, and he said, " To Joye, best wishes to you and yours and regards." See, these things were fading, so I typed these things on here so it would preserve them.
This officer was in charge of the civilian personnel out there, and he says, “A shipmate in the battle of Casper, George Smith, Second Lieutenant.”
Reading the bomb range records
And this fellow was our bomb range officer … Lined up the bomb ranges and everything. He was a fine fellow. He said, "To Joye, that saucy strawberry and a swell pal, with best regards, Black.”
They were going in recent years, people living out there in that area, and they got curious to what we put in the bombs to practice with and had certain materials in them. They were duds, of course, so the fellows could use 'em, but they wanted to know what was in 'em, so they called me and asked me if I remembered.
And I said, "I remember the incident but I don't remember of how much of anything they put in there." They had been checking our administrative records back in where they file all of this stuff, amazes you … that they couldn't find it. And so, I was looking, and I had a picture of him and his fellows in my album. I don't know if it is in here or not. There is a big map of all … all of the places that they fired and everything.
I got to look and down on the corner was this little emblem, and then it occurred to me that was what was in those bombs. So I called this man and I told him, 'cause he had turned them up out there, even you can find them now in pastures and things like that, bullets and things like that, and people bring that stuff in to me. This is the picture, so this is this big map that shows the bomb range and this is this little insignia down here. So I called this man, and I said, "I think I've solved your problem."
He came out to see me—this is his stuff—must be, maybe two or three years ago. He looked at the picture, and he said, "Well, I'm going to take that." And I said, "No, you're not." I said, "That's mine." He said, "Well, I need it." I said, "Where the picture goes, I go. If you take it home, I go home with ya. If you go to work, I go with ya, 'cause you're not going to have the picture."
So they got busy and took it down and he had it floor-mapped and it blew up well enough they could see the configuration of the count in this picture to find out what those bullets were filled with. They were floored that I had it. So one guy came and he said, "We'd like to pay you for that picture, and I said, "You can pay me but you're not getting the picture." They wrote me a thank you letter, and I don't think I've got it in here, but I didn't see any reason to give them my picture.
This man was a friend of Frank's, and he was the base operations officer and they were always good buddies. Sometimes we'd double date, and that sort of thing, go dancing. Frank was a good dancer, and I was a good dancer, and lots of times, we would go to places and dance, and everybody stopped and watched us. We'd be the only ones on the floor.
This is interesting there, I wish you could see this. This is headquarters, it says on here. Headquarters, WAAC. [Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, later Women’s Army Corps] … We had the Women's Army Corps out here. And the women soldiers. They were called "WACs," a nickname. And so it says, “Office of the Director, Des Moines, Iowa,”—that's where the headquarters was--and it says, "Subject, the draft. To Cleona Jerry Marshall, Army Air Base, Casper, Wyoming, in care of Lt. Colonel James A. Moore, Commander. Greetings: Of the thousands of gals in this hereby country, you have been chosen for the WACs." He was our base commander. “You will report to Major Frederick Haigler”—that's the doctor—“for a physical examination, Thursday, May 20th, 1943, at 21:00 hours. The good Major will be assisted by Lieutenant James Moore, who will be your new Commanding Officer. Be a good little WAC, and don't mess with the boys.”
You see, they could have a lot of fun with me, and they enjoyed it. It embarrassed the heck out of me sometimes.
This fellow was our officer, who came in to inspect us, and one of the fellows was signing pictures, and he said, "Well, I'm going to get a bigger picture and I'm going to give it to you." So he signed his picture and he said, "Your untiring efforts makes this base one of the nation's outstanding nests for young eagles." Isn't that sweet?
This guy, his name is Brush, and he was the commanding officer of the 15th Bombardment Ring—[corrected by Joye] Wing—and he was the one that saw that the wing went through their experiences. He was always called on their last runs to give them final approval. If he didn't think they did it right, then they did not ship out with the unit to which they had been assigned.
And as I told you, we had the Women's Army Corps out here, and this is the woman who was the commander of the WACs. Her name was Florence McDermott. I got a call from one of the MPs one day, the Military Police out there, and he said, "Do you know that some of the WACs aren't getting in at night?” I said, "No, I didn't know that, I don't know what was going on." And I got to investigating then, and it seemed that this officer was rather strange. She would keep the girls visiting at the hotel at night, and they didn't get in. So we had to get her discharged. Get a new officer in here.
And Colonel Moore had played with the officers. He liked to play ball, he liked to ride horses, and that sort of thing. We had a big parade out here, and so they gave him a white horse to ride in the parade while we were out here at the base. He had a lot of compliments on it.
And these are pictures of some of the young men that I dated while they were stationed out here. In the mornings, when the base first opened, they had kind of a tractor, a pickup or something, and they had a trailer of some kind that you could jump on and sit on a chair in there and jump off and go wherever you had to go. They would drive around to different … headquarters, and I would ride on that and drop off with the colonel's papers.
It was taking me so much time to do that, that I said to the colonel, “Why don't you get a motorcycle out here with a soldier on it and let him do this? And then I can keep up with my work.” They bought a motorcycle and put this little soldier on it so he would do that. It was good, and I didn't have to do that anymore. It was awfully hard to get nylon hose, and things like that, and you know we always looked nice--and jumping up and down off there and breaking heels on your shoes--and I didn't want to do that anymore.
The steno pool
These are some of the girls that were hired to work in these pools and they were my steno pool, these girls. If they had problems and didn't know how to do something, they would come to me. One day I decided that we should have a celebration and really get to know one another, so I arranged to have a picnic catered for them and took them all out on a picnic. They had such a good time, and these are pictures of them while they are eating. It was fun for 'em.
Annals of Wyoming
And I—let me have that Annals of Wyoming. [She is referring to Annals of Wyoming Vol. 64, Nos. 3 and 4, (Summer/Fall 1992), which includes a history of the air base and Kading’s article on many of the photos she discusses here.] This is a publication, I am sure you have seen this, a journal of Wyoming so this is the motorcycle we got, and the fellows wanted me to come out and look at it, they wanted me to get on it. I said "No, I'm a lady, I'm not going to get on that." So I sat on the edge of the seat.
This fellow was the fellow delivering the mail, and this young lady was named [Evelyn] Clemens and she was badgering me to get on the bike and I wouldn't do it. When they published the Annals of Wyoming there was a lot about what I did out there at the base. In other words, a nice story, it turned out to be very, very nice.
I was dating this officer, and he was shipping out and every time a crew would ship out, they would take a picture of the crew. This is his picture, with his crew, and so I gave 'em that so they could put it in here. And it is kind of an interesting thing to have to a young woman that they would do this [for].
And then we had what we called "V-Mail—Victory Mail." Your family may have some copies of it. A boy would write a letter on a sheet of paper this size, then they would reduce it down, and then they would put it in an envelope and mail it home. That was called V-Mail, and this is a copy of a V-Mail letter that was sent home from a soldier.
We had our ambulance out here. When you drive out there at the airport, because no one could touch that property out there for five years, and the airport was dying to grow because all they had was that little field north of there [when she speaks of ‘north of there,’ Kading is talking about what was then called the Wardwell Airport. Its former runways are now streets in the the Wardwell subdivision north of Casper] and so, when they negotiated five years later, then the [Natrona County] airport was able to acquire the property and build the building that is out there. They named it for the different men who worked out there during the war.
Then they had what they would call mock attacks. I was standing in base headquarters that day and this MP comes up to me, and he says, "You can't stand out here. You've got to have some kind of protection, and let people know that you are an officer." So he pins this gun on me and he says, “Now I'm going to tie that around your leg.” I said, "No you're not." ’Cause that is what they do, they tie the bottom of the holster on the officer's leg.
This is my photo album that the magazine [Annals of Wyoming] published, and I think that was nice. So then, people in Casper were never allowed out there. You had to have a pass to get in and out and so people were antsy because they would hear all these stories about the people working out there and what they did.
They finally decided that it was okay to have an open house at the air base, so this is a souvenir program at that open house. The colonel arranged for my dad's car to come through first. So all these people waiting for my dad to drive up there strung clear out to town.
Here, then, my dad's car is coming in, and they're closely inspecting it, don't you see, even though they knew he worked out there. This is his car, and I am riding in the back seat, and the guys are having a heck of a time tormenting me. This is Colonel Moore, and this the letter of recommendation that he wrote for me. These are the girls going back to work after their lunch.
When these fellows came back to train the other men, they would set up equipment for them to train, and they would come in. … They would have to crawl up inside of these units off of their ships, and they had to lock 'em there because the bottom of their bodies would be in here while they worked. When the guys forgot to lock it, then it would hit him in the head like it snapped … But you see what a treasure all of these things are.
Bornman: Definitely memory keepsakes.
Kading: And to think that they published a magazine, the state of Wyoming, with my story in it.
Bornman: That's an honor.
Kading: Bob Hope was out there, visited us, and this a picture of him with his program and our little newspaper that was published—the Scroll, the Dust Bowl. Then we changed the name of it to the Slip Stream. That is when Gene Autry was out here.
An ambulance for the base
They didn't have an ambulance out there and they couldn't get it, because it was delayed when they first needed it, but we were having people that would have to go into the hospital, and we had to have an ambulance. The ladies from the organization of the Eastern Star, those were the women who were wives of the Masons in the Masonic Order. They took up enough money in the state of Wyoming to buy us an ambulance for that air base. Here the lady who was the Worthy Matron of the local chapter is giving the keys to the ambulance to Colonel Moore. That’s when they gave it to him. We got photographs of all the people that were there for that.
And then, like I was telling you, Colonel Moore played polo on horseback. They were talking about building him a polo field, but he knew that he was going to be so busy commanding the base that he didn't have time to play polo, so they didn't get to do it. The guys would do cartoons and arts, they painted.
Murals in the enlisted men’s club
Just as the base was finished out there, the contractor came in to turn it over to the colonel, and this one contractor said to the colonel, he said, "You know, I've got a little money left. I'd like to build a building for enlisted men for entertainment out here on the base." The colonel said, "We don't have that in the military. We have an Officers’ Club." He said, "I want the same thing for the enlisted men, and I'm not going to charge you for it." And the colonel looked at him and he said, "You know, that's the best idea I've heard in a long time. I like it." He said, "You build it, and I'll take the gaff."
So they built it, and we went over to look at it. It just looked like a big old empty barracks, and he turned to me and he said, "This has to be made more attractive before we even let the boys come into it." He contacted our officer that would take care of personal matters for the soldiers and asked if they had any ideas. He came over and looked at it and he said, "You know, I wonder if some of the fellows here would like to paint." And he said, "What do you mean by that?" He said, "I think they could paint the history of Wyoming in the inside of this building.”
So let's look at this pamphlet that you have there. They asked the boys that liked to paint if they would like to talk about this, and five of them all got together. It turned out that they were artists. They painted the interior of this building all the way around, starting with when the Indians were out here. The paintings go from the ceilings to the railing, and they are as beautiful today as when they painted them, and they are all in full color. You may have this if you would like it because this tells the story. And I don’t know if you picked up one of those when you were out there or not, but this tells you a little bit about the boys who painted the pictures. One of them wrote on here, "To the Marshalls, Wyoming's finest, David Rosenblatt, New York City, 1944."
And I still hear from his wife. His son is going to come out here and visit, he was going to try to get out here this summer, but we haven't seen him.
Carving a G.I. wolf
Here we are carving up a "G.I. Wolf." We, the fellows, young—eighteen, nineteen, twenty years old—wherever they went, they liked to date and dance, and they called them the "G.I. Wolves" because they were always looking for girls to dance with and everything else. The cartoonists in the newspaper would draw pictures of the men in uniform, but their faces would be wolves.
We got this guy in as a soldier, and he was an Okie. He had the biggest feet you ever saw, and they couldn't find shoes to fit him in the Army. So, he wasn't to be seen on the base with the rest of the people, but he had to work. They came in one day and said, "Joye, have you got any place you can keep him so we won't get caught?" It wasn't his fault, but he would still get demerits, and I had a space where I would keep office supplies and messages and books and things—another room—so I said, "Bring him over here and I'll keep him busy."
He was scared to death of women for some reason, he was just terrified, so I told him one day, “Come with me.” We went over to the mess hall, and I had him crawl up on the table. He said, "What are you going to do?" And I said, "We're going to carve up the ‘G.I. Wolf.’” Here we are with saws and everything, and here's the girl holding the salt and pepper shakers She is putting the salt and pepper on him. Here's the saw, and he thought we were really going' to do that. He was just quivering and shaking.
Paying in pennies
They had a furniture store downtown here behind the library and [the] furniture store was empty, so the boys who wanted to have a place to go in town, the enlisted men, they made arrangements to use that building for a downtown place. This is the bar that was in there. I was dating this guy, and he was a top grade enlisted man. That's a picture of him sitting at the bar when they were building that stuff. These two young officers had made a bet with the colonel and Dr. Haigler and he lost it. They told him that they had to pay this debt and how much it was, so what did the guys do, they went down and they took and got pennies, and they filled bags of pennies to pay these officers. They said, "We're not having that, we want bills."
Here they are out there with their guns on, on a block of concrete behind the office, and they are counting all these pennies. They made him take them downtown after they were assured they had the right pennies. They didn't even trust ‘em, they said, to put [the] right amount of pennies in there. They went with them so they could get paper money.
Now this is the fellows—you know, you have heard of the ROTC [Reserve Officers’ Training Corps] in high school—these fellows were the officers for the ROTC. So we brought 'em out there to put a drill on for them, and a program and everything. And then every one of those boys was killed in World War II, Casper boys.
Then Hap Arnold, you've heard of him, a famous general, [Major General Henry Harley “Hap” Arnold, chief of U.S. Army Air Corps in 1938, and chief of U. S. Army Air Forces in 1941 among a number of other honors]. He came out for an inspection. He is marching down the officers on either side of him … and those are pictures of them. They are saluting him as he goes down through the line. He was so thrilled with this base and how it was operated and how careful it was, and how congenial all the people were that were working with one another.
This fellow was our base inspector, and he shipped in here to inspect for us, and you can see all of his wings, and the ribbons that he has earned. Some of them he has earned two and three times. When he was inspector for the base and he came in and gave me his picture, and I felt that was kind of special, he didn't know me from Adam’s off ox but he did before he left.
My husband, before I met him, always liked to bowl. This is his bowling group, and this is Frank, here, my husband. This is his picture that they made when he received his captain's wings.
Ribbons for the girls
The girls in town were complaining because everybody had ribbons in the military, and they never got anything. So they wanted ribbons. So I said, "Well, send me a girl from every department, and we’ll see what we can do about it." So the headquarters, I was always in headquarters, worked up and made little ribbons that they could wear, but they made a special one for me that’s different from all the rest of 'em.
Here is the officer, pinning them on me, but he was about to be retired and he was cocky. He liked to drink, and he'd go over to the Officers’ Club, and he would get a little soused. He'd grab his trousers, and he would run around chasing the ladies all around.
So when I knew that he was going to pin the ribbons on the girls, I told 'em, I said, "Now you watch him because when he starts to pin that ribbon on you, he will probably try to take a little feel." And they just immediately just laughed their heads off. Then on my ribbon, they made it red, white and blue, and they had the initials, "O, U, Q, T, I, N, V, U." So that was a fun thing for me.
So you see this is … After we were married, this picture of us was taken, when we were married. So I think that is kinda special. So you see that, what a good time an education . . .
This is another inspector that came in to inspect and he was a brigadier general, and he was a very fine person. This is the colonel and his adjutant that were out there. These are a couple other Casper boys that I married and left to my old girlfriends because I didn't marry 'em … was put on there, "To Joye, with love, Bon." We had, this is one of our WAC officers, and she signed her pictures.
Cowboy duds for WACs
So I've got how their uniforms were and how they were dressed and these girls, all of these women, decided that they wanted to be in the Army so that is when they formed the Women's Army Corps. None of 'em [had been] out of their hometowns … and when they got to Wyoming, the first thing that they did when they realized that they were in this western state, they had to have cowboy boots and cowboys hats and tight trousers and everything.
Here is a picture of this girl, and this is all of the clothes that she bought. She wanted me to see 'em, so she came over to base headquarters. We had a new officer standing there and he said, "Who are you here to see?" She said, "Well, I wanted to see Joye." He said, “Well, who are you?” She said, “Oh, I'm one of the WAC officers.” So he [reprimanded] her because she was out of uniform, and she said to me, "What'll I do?" I told him, "I told her she could come over here, and show me what she was wearing. Leave her alone." So he didn't do anything to her.
This is one of the girls that was in the [steno] pool, now this is our very favorite Captain Healy. She was the commander of the women, and this is her uniform. She'd come and get me and we would go down to Frontier Days in Cheyenne, and we would just have a blast.
And this girl, that was dating a friend of Frank's, and he was shipped out. So he brought her picture over to me and had me send it to Frank and tell Frank to be sure that nobody bothered her and anything 'til he could get leave to come back and marry her. This the WAC compound that was at the base, these are all the WACs that were out there. They had their own beauty shop and everything over there for them, and they were at the entrance to the base as you came in. And this is when . . . who’s this? Can’t even remember their names anymore. Oh, that is Bob Hope.
And then this Officers Club downtown, this is their bar. I was dating this fellow, and he gave me his pass when he was shipped out because he wanted me to have his picture. And this is the picture of the guys, and then … At the downtown club, they gave me a pass to get into it, so that I didn't have to be escorted. …
These are the four [ROTC] boys that were from Casper, before they were killed. And there they are standing among our base officers 'cause they wanted their pictures taken with real military.
These are just various pictures. This is the entrance to our headquarters, and it had wings on it. The girls were standing in between the wings and had their pictures made, and this fellow was our base adjutant and his name was Robbie. He wrote on there, "To Joye, the best in the West."
And this fellow … was a sergeant major in charge of the crews, and this is his picture. … Then we had soldiers that would patrol that whole base, all night long, they would walk all along, all night long. There were three of 'em, and they were spaced in thirds. They had their dogs, so this is a picture of Davis with his dog after he came in from patrol.
This is a fellow that I dated, and that was his photograph, and then this Japanese soldier, wrote on there in Japanese, "I love you." His name was Ming Toy and this is the old colonel that I told the girls that they had to watch when he was there. He put on there "To Joye who helped fight the battle of Casper." Colonel Bowen. They retired him about a month after he was here.
And this is our base executive officer … this is that souvenir program and this where they are bringing my dad in, and of course, the guys wanted to tease him a lot. They held up the line, and the fellows were all lined up to get in to see this air base. This is where they are pinning the pins on him. These are various officers, and this is the fellow that was our base personnel sergeant major. He kept taking care of the civilian personnel record. And he wrote on here " To Joye, Wyoming's (unintelligible) Sgt. O’Brien.
This guy was our, what was he, classification sergeant. He was nice, and he would get confused sometimes with the assignment the colonel had given him. He would come up and I would help him, and so he signed it, "To a swell kid." This is our chaplain out there, and he was always checking all these guys I dated to see if they were okay.
And there is colonel Bowen again, and this fellow had joined. His name was Robert Stroke, or something like that, and he joined the Army as a civilian, and then he became a sergeant, and he wanted a higher rank. He didn't have the education he needed for something else, so that he could apply to become a warrant officer. He became a warrant officer, and from that then he could step into the military, and as he was discharged, he was a second lieutenant.
And this is a Casper boy, Colonel Moore. While he was out here he and his wife had a little baby and he [sent] a Christmas card, he said, "Hi, Squirt, a real Merry Christmas, from a tweet and his Ma and Pa." I thought that was nice. One of the napkins from one of the places, and there is a better picture of 'em pinning the things on us.
This is the fellow that replaced Colonel Moore, and his name is Burke, he was a nice fellow, and he wrote me the letter of recommendation, too. Said, "Miss Marshall proved to be an efficient, capable stenographer. She is a person of pleasant personality and possesses unusual initiative and ingenuity. I highly recommend her for any stenographic position. Her term, her services terminated in the office of the Director of Supply due to the fact that she was needed more urgently in another section on the base."
This is a fellow that I knew, and this is one of the girls in my steno pool. We had to have passes to ride the buses back and forth, but I never rode the bus. We worked seven tens. [Seven 10-hour days in a row.]
So my birthday's New Year's Eve and I told the colonel, "I'm not going to come in tomorrow. I think I need some time off." He said, "You have to be out here to work." I said, "I don't think so. It's my birthday, and I'm going to stay home." The next morning, he called me and said, "Are you comin' out to work?" And I said, "No, I'm not." Mother happened to look out the window of the house, and she said, "The Military Police are here. What in the world are they doing?" I said, " I've no idea." So she opened the door and they wanted to know where Joye was, and she said, “She's right here.” So this one comes in …
End of audio Part 2
For further reading
- Adams, Gerald M., USAF (Ret.). “The Casper Army Air Field in World War II.” Annals of Wyoming, Vol. 64, Nos. 3 and 4, Summer/Fall 1992, pp. 6-24. Accessed June 5, 2014 at https://archive.org/stream/annalsofwyom64141992wyom#page/45/mode/1up.
- Kading, Joye Marshall. “Memories of an Army Air Base: The Photo Album of Joye Marshall Kading.” Annals of Wyoming, Vol. 64, Nos. 3 and 4, Summer/Fall 1992, pp. 24-48. Accessed June 5, 2014 at https://archive.org/stream/annalsofwyom64141992wyom#page/45/mode/1up. Article contains many of the photos Kading talks about in this interview.and