Jack’s War

John Homer Woolsey (Jack) was born on July 14, 1923 in San Francisco. He moved to Woodland California when he was ten and he attended Woodland High School.

Jack’s college studies at U.C. Berkeley were interrupted when America was brought into the war following Pearl Harbor in December 1941. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps and on April 2, 1943, at the age of nineteen Jack left his family, his devoted dog, Toots, and his horses Koli and Lady.

He flew 35 missions over Germany as a Liberator navigator and then returned stateside to begin pilot training when the war ended. He was discharged in October 1945.

Jack wrote to his family on most Sundays. Each letter was preserved in an album by his father. These letters describe his initiation into army life, his basic and navigational training at various camps and reflect his thoughts and personal experiences along the way. Like many men away from home, he loved his packages of food and news from his hometown and family.

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Elizabet Woolsey Author - Jack's War

Jack's War

Jack Woolsey enlisted at the age of 19 in the Army Air Corps and flew 35 missions over Germany as a Liberator navigator. He survived and became  a member of the Lucky Bastards Club.

He wrote weekly letters to his family from the time he left California through his basic and  navigational training in Texas and Idaho, and continued the letters from his base near Norwich in the UK while he flew his mission.

His father saved all the original letters  and actual mission maps and mission statements in albums that became known to Jack’s family shortly before his death. The transposed letters reflect a young man’s real experiences and transition though the war.

There is no enhancement or editing of this collection of letters and photographs. This makes this collection historically significant. True WWII enthusiasts will appreciate the significance.Jack’s letters during basic and navigational training are rare.

Before he died, he read The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany 1944-45 by Stephen Ambrose. He said that book truly reflected his experience of military life. The letters support this sentiment. This is a must read for historians and descendants of WWII Liberator crewmen. This is how some of the “greatest generation” became a powerful fighting force.

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Jack's War

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John Homer Woolsey (Jack) was born on July 14, 1923 in San Francisco. He moved to Woodland California when he was ten and he attended Woodland High School.

Jack’s college studies at U.C. Berkeley were interrupted when America was brought into the war following Pearl Harbor in December 1941. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps and on April 2, 1943, at the age of nineteen Jack left his family, his devoted dog, Toots, and his horses Koli and Lady.

He flew 35 missions over Germany as a Liberator navigator and then returned stateside to begin pilot training when the war ended. He was discharged in October 1945.

Jack wrote to his family on most Sundays. Each letter was preserved in an album by his father. These letters describe his initiation into army life, his basic and navigational training at various camps and reflect his thoughts and personal experiences along the way. Like many men away from home, he loved his packages of food and news from his hometown and family.

Jack did not speak of these events until very late in life when he reminisced with his step-grandson, a pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force. That album of 140 weekly letters and another album that contained his original maps and mission notes were retrieved from the closet where they had remained for decades until his death in 2011.

These documents and letters are a valuable historical source for both his family and other families who may have also had fathers, grandfathers and uncles who serve in the Army Air Corps during WWII. They also provide historians with an incredible source of archival information regarding the missions that were flown over Germany during the war.

April 2nd, 1943 Leaving for Basic Training

1 – April 2nd, 1943 (on the train)

Dear Mother and Dad,

Had a marvellous trip so far. The Pine forests on way up to the summit with all the snow around them. Had a wonderful view of Donner Lake and the river coming out from there. Ate dinner (big one despite grievous advice as I am from Missouri) thru the pass into Reno Nevada.

The river looked inviting for trout fishing and the high rocky crags really made it beautiful. The Nevada stockmen are beginning to turn their stock out in the meadows but the feed is way behind California time. I am now sitting in the Reno station waiting to pull out. Will try to get this off. Going to have a big poker game tonight so don’t worry.

Jack

I hope you enjoyed the first chapter. You can find the full book on Amazon.
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