Marcia Bloom Zwecher

U.S. Army 1943–1945

 

Marcia Bloom answered the call for women to serve and spent 2 1/2 years in the Women’s Army Corps. A shy young woman, she learned how to handle herself in whatever assignments she was given, from drum corps to military police and even as part of a radar crew in Orlando, Fla. Many of her stories are humorous, although she did experience some discrimination because she was a woman. While in service she made many lifelong friends. Marcia talks about her husband, Otto Zwecher, who fled from the Nazis in Austria and became an interpreter for the U.S Army during the war, and about life in Natick after the war.

 

Marcia Bloom Zwecher at WAC graduation

 

Marcia Bloom Zwecher at Fort Devens, 1943

 

Training how to use gas masks

 

Marcia Bloom Zwecher, center, heading home, 1945

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Claire Maxfield White

U.S. Army 1943–1945

 

Marie Claire Maxfield White joined the U.S. Army Air Force in 1943, following in the footsteps of her father, a colonel in the Army Reserves, and two brothers who served in the Army and Navy, respectively. White became a radio mechanic, and served at the Big Spring Bombardier Training Base in Texas. A highlight of her service came when she fixed the radio on the plane carrying entertainer Bob Hope and his troupe.

 

 

 

 

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Catherine “Kit” Symonds

U.S. Navy 1944–1945

 

As a Yeoman 1st class in the Navy during World War II, Kit Symonds performed clerical work in Key West, Fla., and Washington, D.C. She talks about her role in helping to find housing for servicemen and their families in Key West and about her experiences in boot camp in New York, which included singing with the Ray Charles choral group for two months.

 

Kit Symonds at the annual Veterans Breakfast, Kennedy Middle School, Natick, 2011

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Roger Reidy

U.S. Navy 1943–1946

 

While still a student at Harvard University, Roger Reidy enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Finishing his studies as part of the V-12 Navy training program at Harvard, he would become friends with Robert F. Kennedy and encounter the future Academy award winner Jack Lemmon. Because of his background in engineering, the Navy sent Reidy to Camp Endicott in Davisville, R.I., to train with a construction battalion. With the 94th Construction Battalion Seabees, Ensign Reidy was stationed on Guam. He also served with the 76th and 23rd Construction Battalions. They helped prepare the island to be a base for the invasion of Japan and built Northwest Field and a breakwater in the harbor. Both are still in use today. While on Guam, Reidy was in charge of a group of Japanese prisoners, supervising a construction project. In this capacity he learned to understand the enemy the Allies had just defeated.

 

An airstrip

 

Roger Reidy’s Navy card

 

Roger Reidy on a beach in Guam

 

Roger Reidy’s Navy ROTC book

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Joseph C. Paruti

U.S. Air Force 1943–1945

While a freshman at Boston College, Joseph C. Paruti, along with many of his classmates, enlisted in the Air Force, and he and his crew, part of the 39th Bomb Group, were stationed in Guam. As a gunner on a B29 his tight-knit crew flew 27 missions, many over the industrial areas of Japan. He speaks fondly of his pilot, 1st Lt. William Brooks and the rapport they had with the ground crew. He also speaks of a crew member, Milt Jacobs, who was killed while on another mission. This made Brooks and his crew decide to fly together, and with no other crew. Joe recalls the fire bomb missions and the POW missions they flew, dropping pallets of food and supplies to the US and British POWs in Japan.

 
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