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Interview with Anna Marie Hulick [5/7/2003]

Judith Rosenkotter:

It's May 7, 2003 and this is the beginning of an interview with Anna Marie Hulick, maiden name was Voylan (ph), and we are at her home at 524 West 15th Street in Grand Island, Nebraska. The zip code is 68801. Anna Marie Hulick is 82 years old, having been born on August 16, 1920. And my name is Judy Rosenkotter and I will be the interviewer. Anna Marie's relationship to me is through an organization that we have locally here in Nebraska called the Mid-Nebraska Veterans' -- Women Veterans' Organization. And I went to some of the meetings. Unfortunately, I have not been a good attendee, but I met Anna Marie there and many of the ______+ are also members of that organization. Anna Marie, could you state for the recording which war and branch of service you served in as well as your rank and where did you serve? Just a short encapsulated --

Anna Marie Hulick:

Well, I started out in the Woman's Auxiliary Army Corp. and, later on, about several months later, it was -- became the Women's Army Corp. And I served at -- everywhere from Pfc right up to tech three and I was in -- had my training at Fort DeMoine, started out in what they called stable role.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Okay. What prompted you to enlist?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Well, I was working in a small town, Rushville, Nebraska, and all the fellows in town -- the population was about 1,100 people. All the boys were either being drafted or signing up. And I was 23, 22 years old and I thought I can't do this. And I was working for the government and I found out that the only thing I could do to save my job was to go into the service. They guaranteed that I would return to that position if I wanted it. Or I could be sent to Colorado to the main office.

Judith Rosenkotter:

So what service branch did you join again?

Anna Marie Hulick:

I went into the Army.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Into the Army. And is there any particular reason you chose the Army?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Well, I actually picked the Navy first because I liked the uniforms. And I wrote and asked them about it and they told me I had to go to Kansas City, Missouri, take all the tests and everything else, and pay my own way. Well, from Rushville, Nebraska, which is practically in South Dakota, that was a long way. And I wasn't that rich. So I went, asked the Army and they said come to Omaha, we'll pay for everything. That took care of that.

Judith Rosenkotter:

So, do you recall your first days in the service?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Yes. We worked hard, all the shots and everything else. I remember we took all kinds of tests. And I was a secretary. And I did not want to be a secretary in the Army. So when we took our shorthand and typing test -- I did take the shorthand because you just copied it out in longhand. But I failed the typing test. I sat there and I didn't really type. The typewriter wasn't any good anyway. So that was the way it worked out. And it turned out it didn't do me any good. They sent me to a place called -- well, no. First I had to go to Arkansas. And I was working as a secretary there.

Judith Rosenkotter:

What place in Arkansas?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Monticello. And it was a prisoner of war camp, for Japanese, had never been used, and they started it up as a sort of a small, basic training camp for women. And of course I went down. I was in the transportation department down there.

Judith Rosenkotter:

So what were some of your boot camp training experiences?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Down there? Well, of course, down there I was working in the offices. Because I had already graduated from boot camp.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Oh, well, let's back up a little bit --

Anna Marie Hulick:

Oh, back to boot camp?

Judith Rosenkotter:

-- and tell me something about your boot camp.

Anna Marie Hulick:

Oh, gosh, it's kind of hard to remember all that. We didn't have much in the way of clothes. This was so early. I can remember one of the first pictures, I was standing there with a man's army coat on, because this was January and it was cold, saddle shoes and some kind of cap on and that was our uniform. And underneath it I had one of these seersucker dresses. But it was a while before we had uniforms. And we just sort of took it in our stride.

Judith Rosenkotter:

And do you remember anything in particular about the instructor that you had for your boot camp?

Anna Marie Hulick:

No, not really. I guess we just sort of went with the flow. You know, just, everything was new to us so that's what we were gonna have. And --

Judith Rosenkotter:

So then they sent you down to --

Anna Marie Hulick:

Arkansas. As a matter of fact, we didn't know there was even anything down there for us. So we were quite surprised when we were sent down there. But it wasn't -- it didn't last too long. And from there we were sent up to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Judith Rosenkotter:

So how -- I'm getting back to Arkansas again. How long were you there?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Probably only about five months. Seems to me we went down there March. April, May, June. I'd say four, five -- about four or five --

Judith Rosenkotter:

Where there Japanese prisoners there at the time you were?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Oh, no. No. It was strictly just for the women. They had a basic training. And they probably only maybe put about one or two groups. That was all.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Then after that, you were starting to tell me where you went.

Anna Marie Hulick:

I went to Fort Leonard Wood.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Okay.

Anna Marie Hulick:

And there's where I took the tests and failed. And they called us all in and were gonna give us our assignments. I think there were about 20 of us. And she read off all the assignments for everybody but me. And I looked at her and I says what am I supposed to do? She says you report for KP tomorrow morning. Oh, what a disappointment. So I went to KP the next morning and the woman, the colonel in charge, came in and she told me, she said we have ambitions for you. We want you to eventually start working for the colonels or the general. I said I didn't pass my test. She said it doesn't matter. She said report to officer's personnel at noon time. So I went up to officer's personnel and I'm sitting there and I'm typing these cards and I thought I'll go out of my mind. I can't stand it. But, eventually, a couple of young fellows come by and said officer, do you take shorthand? And I said yes. Oh. So I started doing letters and stuff. The colonel come out one day in charge of personnel and says my girl is leaving. She was a civilian. He said I'd like to have you for my secretary. So I went in and I started to be his secretary. And after about a month, he said how would you like to work for the general? I said no way. Now, I had never even seen a general, you know, and here I am, a Pfc, thinking I can't work for a general. What am I supposed to do? He said you can do it. He said report down there tomorrow morning. I was terrified. You know, I was from a small town and graduated at 16. No ___ after that. But I went down. The aide come out and started giving me some instructions and stuff and I said officers are going to be coming by here all the time. What am I supposed to do? I'm supposed to stand up every time somebody comes by? He said no. The general I reported to was a brigadier. He said if a major general comes in, two star, he said I would stand. I said yeah, I would too. But there wasn't one on the post. Well, I hadn't been on that job 15, 20 minutes when the door opened and a major general walked by me. Of course I didn't move. I didn't stand, I didn't do anything. I just sat there with my mouth open, looking at him. But I worked for the general. He was ____+. I would say close -- in his 70s. And he was wonderful to me. We just got along beautifully. But he knew my one ambition was to go overseas. But, meanwhile, when I was working for the colonel, I had put in for OCS. And I had gone over and taken my test and everything else. And, meanwhile, I got the job with the general. And I told him, the aide, I said I don't want to go to OCS. I said right now I'm happy where I am. And he says well -- Meanwhile, we got a letter. They said they lost my papers, would I come back. So I showed it to him. He said just go back and tell them what you want to do. Just say you want to speak first. So I did. I went back in front of the board and asked permission to speak first. They said all right. And I said I want to withdraw my application. I guess that doesn't happen very often. They wanted to know why and we just sat there and talked and they said oh, fine, we'll see. Well, they didn't. They put me in the OCS school up in Fort DeMoine. So then, the general knew I wanted to go overseas. That was my -- all I ever talked about. So he finally released me. He called me in and says you want to go, he says I'll release you. So I found out that once I go, the OCS business is cancelled. And they called me from personnel and says you can't go until you're done taking the typing test. You're not qualified. But, anyway, I found out the general is retiring. And he told his aide, he said if I don't let her go, she'll never get off this post. And he wrote me the nicest letter. I still have it. After I got over there they said, you know, ______+ but I had the chance to ____+. So that was how I got overseas.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Where did you go overseas?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Well, of course we had to go to our overseas training thing in Georgia first. And when we left there, we didn't know. The first unit was starting to go over to the South Pacific. We had no idea where we were going until we woke up after we'd been on the train for overnight and found we were going west and that we were going. We were the second ones to go over. And we went to Brisbane. The first one went down to, I think it was Sydney. And then they ended up in New Guinea. But we went to Brisbane. And we were staying there until we got our assignments. And I was fortunate. I was one of the very ____+ women picked out of -- I think there was only about -- oh, there were probably about 300 of us. Seven of us were picked for general headquarters. So I was one of the seven, which was -- turned out to be Section 22, radio and radar recommigration (ph) unit, and it was -- with MacArthur, he said the women are here to serve. Where I go, they go. But I was in Brisbane.

Judith Rosenkotter:

I'd like to ask a question about General MacArthur. Did -- were you impressed with him or did you know --

Anna Marie Hulick:

I worked in the same building with him and never saw him.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Oh, I see.

Anna Marie Hulick:

Except when he rode by in his car or something. But yes, I was impressed with him. You know, where we were, and it's very strange but I've heard others say this. We had no newspapers, no radios. We didn't know what anything was going on anyplace. I think the only thing we ever heard was when Roosevelt died. But it was, it's -- we were just always in the dark. And as far as what MacArthur was doing, we just had hearsay. Except sometimes when the little newspaper for the Army came out then we got some news there. But most of the time we didn't know. But I thought he was doing a good job. I had no reason to believe otherwise, you know? So where do we go from here?

Judith Rosenkotter:

Well, you're in Brisbane.

Anna Marie Hulick:

Yeah. I had --

Judith Rosenkotter:

You've been told that where MacArthur goes, you go.

Anna Marie Hulick:

Yeah, but I had a very strange thing happen. You know, we couldn't tell where we were. They were much more secretive then than they are today. And anytime I wrote to my mother I just put "somewhere down under". And one -- the morning after we got there -- of course, on the way over, I helped put out a newspaper on board ship and everything else so the officers knew me. And the morning we got there, we all fell out ____, she said I want three volunteers for the newspaper. Well, nobody raised their hands. You had to go back and get into your A uniform without breakfast and everything else. So I'm picking three. Of course, I was one of them. And I had a picture taken with a Kangoon dog and it was in the newspaper there in Brisbane. And believe it or not, a young fellow wrapped up a package with that newspaper and sent it to a friend of his in New Guinea who had a tent made, tent mate from Nebraska. And he said do you know anybody from Greeley? My mother was living in Greeley at that time. And he said no, but I think my mother does. So he sent it to his mother. All of a sudden I get a letter from my mother, she said I know exactly where you are. She had the picture. So, you know, things down the line, it always comes out somewhere. But, anyway, after that, we got our orders. I guess it was in December. MacArthur landed on Leyte in October. And I was there the first week in January. There were only 30 of us, about 30, 35. We lived on a little old boys' school. Very, very rough conditions. They made us go to bed at 10:00 at night because we were up sitting by a foxhole that was practically filled with water from, like, 12:00 on. Two or three times, Tokyo Rose says we know that these women are living in that boys' school and they're going to have a present dropped on them. And one did come in on the tail end of a dawn patrol one morning and dropped the bomb but it was off in the field behind us.

Judith Rosenkotter:

How did that make you feel, though?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Well, for the ones that never got up to sit by the foxholes, after that, they did. Let's put it that way. It, it rained constantly and, of course, there was always snipers and everything else around there. But, you know, at that age, you never worried about anything. Never.

Judith Rosenkotter:

So what specifically was your job assignment then?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Still Section 22. I was a secretary. That's where we, that's where we were doing our work. After, it might have been about a month, I don't -- time limit. I should have kept a diary at that point. The rest of the bunch came up, the other two or 300, whatever. And we moved out into -- this was in Taclobin. We went out into a tent city in Tolosa on Leyte and we stayed there until he entered Manila. And when we went into Manila, they were fighting. We heard the guns at night. They were fighting five miles outside of town. Bodies lying in the streets, smell. Horrible. It was awful. Still snipers. But -- And I often wondered. You know, you talk about chemical warfare and everything else like that. I have had cancer. And I can remember when we first got there, we didn't have our own lunchroom or anything like that. We had to go down and eat with the men. Of course, it was crowded. It was only the one big one in the town of Manila. And I can remember standing out in line waiting to go inside with our kit in our hand and everything else and the planes flying overhead spraying the city because the flies were, like, the size of a small wren. And we're standing there with all this spraying going on over our head. And you just wonder, how many people standing in that line that ended up someday with cancer. No recent. Of course, cancer doesn't happen the next day. And you look back on it and you think, wonder. But it was -- it almost had to be sprayed. It was terrible.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Well, now, did the spraying happen frequently or was it just a one-time occurrence?

Anna Marie Hulick:

I don't remember. I just -- it was like a flashback, when I saw this stuff and I heard people thinking the stuff that was dropped in Vietnam, you know, doing all the shrubbery and everything else, gosh, I can remember those planes going over and spraying the city. But at the time it happened, we didn't think anything of it. Never even gave it a thought.

Judith Rosenkotter:

You just went on into the mess hall.

Anna Marie Hulick:

Yeah, right, yeah, and ate. So --

Judith Rosenkotter:

When you arrived in Brisbane, are there any particular kind of startling memories about it or when you arrived in Manila, anything startling that you remember about those arrivals?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Well, I remember when we got to Brisbane, had nothing to do with the war but most beautiful city. You know, you come from Nebraska, oh, the trees were even in full bloom. Of course, we got there, well, it was -- well, it was fall. Because we got there, I think, in June. But, oh, the flowers. Because Brisbane is equivalent to Florida. And I just couldn't get over the flowers everyplace. Even the roofs were in color and everything. That was my first impression. What a beautiful city. Because, as I said, I'd never been out of Nebraska. But I can't remember too much of -- I enjoyed life there. We used to -- we had -- I worked for -- Section 22 was an Allied office. And we worked with the WIMs (ph), the Australian women that were in the service down there. The plane that they had, of course, it was a plane that was used for the radar and radio recommigrations (ph). They dropped stuff, you know, for the recommigration. And most of the people on the plane were Allied. There was Australian, Canadian, American. And this is the way our office was. It was really very interesting.

Judith Rosenkotter:

_______+

Anna Marie Hulick:

I didn't hear you. No, we got along very nicely in the office. In fact, one of the -- that's where I learned to knit. Because they were great knitters.

Judith Rosenkotter:

The WIMs (ph)?

Anna Marie Hulick:

The WIMs (ph), they taught me how to knit. But everybody got along very nicely. There were no troubles. In fact, we had -- one of them invited us out to their home one night for dinner. And we just -- we used to -- we went to dances there, danced with the fellows, and it really was, it was a very nice city. We had a good time there, yeah.

Judith Rosenkotter:

You were talking about bombs falling. So, obviously, you were in a combat area.

Anna Marie Hulick:

Leyte was a combat area, and Manila, both of them were combat areas, yeah. I don't think the war was over in Leyte until May, something like that.

Judith Rosenkotter:

When this was happening and you had to be in your foxholes, did you actually ever incur any casualties?

Anna Marie Hulick:

No. No, never. Na-huh. Na-huh. There were a lot of sad moments. I'll never forget one time when we were getting ready to go overseas, in our overseas training down there, we had one woman that was with us, a beautiful redhead. I guess that's why I noticed. I mean I was just an all-American, freckle-faced girl. But she was so pretty, gorgeous voice. And we used to sit out at night singing and you could just hear her voice soar, you know, like that. And she was really quite eager about going overseas, hoping it would be the Pacific because her husband was over there in New Guinea. And she figured once she got over there she'd be a lot closer and everything else. And we did get overseas to Brisbane in Australia, and she just felt a lot closer. And while she was in Australia she got the telegram. Based on -- this is the honest to God's truth. They sent her home on a Section 8, which is, you know.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Explain what a Section 8 is.

Anna Marie Hulick:

Well, it's just -- she just sort of went off the -- around the corner or around the bend or whatever you want to call it. She just -- and we just all felt the same way. She was just so anticipating this place where she was going to meet him and everything else and then to receive that, that he had been killed in action, you know. Things like that you just don't forget.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Were there many women in your -- who you worked with that were married, military women?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Oh, yes, yeah, there were quite a few, yeah.

Judith Rosenkotter:

That's probably something that a lot of people don't know, that there were a lot of married women. Did you have means to stay in touch with your family? Did you receive packages, mail?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Well, not so much packages, but mail. My mother, they kept in touch. My sister. You know, all the time, yeah.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Well, this food you were standing in line to get, what was it like?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Well, actually, it wasn't too bad when we got to Manila. When we were in Tolosa it was pretty bad. Half the time you didn't even want to go to the mess hall. Pick up a candy bar instead. I mean there it really was bad, very bad. But they didn't have the food. And when we got to Tolosa, we had our own cooks. And then things did get better. You know, they -- But it was very strange that once in a while the word would come back and say they're having eggs this morning. And, of course, that was a long line. And I was not an egg eater. I didn't eat eggs and I still don't. So I was very popular. Let me stand next to you, you get the eggs and I'll eat 'em. But it's just things like that with food, you know. It's just --

Judith Rosenkotter:

Well, I have a question. Was there anything particular that you did for good luck?

Anna Marie Hulick:

For good luck?

Judith Rosenkotter:

_____+

Anna Marie Hulick:

Na-huh.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Did you notice anybody else in your unit with any special --

Anna Marie Hulick:

They probably kept it quiet if they did. No, I can not remember that.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Were there any professional entertainers that came to --

Anna Marie Hulick:

Only once the whole time I was over there. And it was Irving Berlin's -- what's it -- what was the name of it? Hell's-A-Popping? Was it Hell's-A-Popping? It was something and it was one entertainment only and that was when we were in Tolosa. And it was in connection with the Philippines becoming independent. That was what it was, yeah.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Earlier you said something about that you received news when President Roosevelt died. How did that make you feel?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Well, we felt bad. You know, it's -- We didn't even know that, you know, that he was having troubles or anything else. So it was kind of -- it was a shock, yeah.

Judith Rosenkotter:

And did you know his predecessor? Excuse me. Wrong term.

Anna Marie Hulick:

I was gonna say.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Successor.

Anna Marie Hulick:

No.

Judith Rosenkotter:

You didn't know Truman at all?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Na-huh.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Did that cause you concern?

Anna Marie Hulick:

No. You know, I was really too young. I was at -- well, I was 24 at that point. We were not as smart as the 24-year-olds are today. Absolutely not. We were naive. I can remember asking questions, they'd give us movies, showing us things about what was gonna happen and I kept asking questions, you know, like sex and everything else. Very naive. We were really a bunch of -- I don't know what you'd call us. But not like today. So we weren't as worldly and up on the world news and stuff as they are today.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Well, tell me this: Since you were so few women, so many men, did they play practical jokes on you or pranks?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Well, more or less pranks. When I was working in Manila with this bunch, I transferred from Section 22 -- it was getting sorta later in the war -- to the regular signal office. They only had one secretary and it was a man that took dictation and I transferred over to that. So I was working in this room with all these men, but -- well, like one day -- and it was so hot. 100 degree heat and 100 degree humidity. But I was working and all of a sudden one of them called me over, yelled over and says "telephone". And I went to get up to get it and I was tied to the chair. Everyone -- and of course we wore slacks. We had pants and, you know, they had the loops and stuff. I didn't even know they did it. Oh, they had the most wonderful time with that. And then there was another one. He knew I loved to get packages. Well, his father owned a store in Arkansas and sent packages all the time. He'd bring it over to me and says here, you want to open this? But they were good. You know, there was no -- they didn't -- they didn't bother you in the way that they say the men do today. They treated you like your sister. You know, it's just -- it was wonderful. They were so nice, most of them. I can't remember any man I ever met that ever gave me any problems.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Well, now that we've hit on something humorous, and I can't imagine, did you even suspect that you were being tied?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Not a bit. That was why it was such a shock. I suppose I was leaning over like this and I suppose the pants were gapped out a little bit. And how they came up and did it I don't know. But I really was shocked.

Judith Rosenkotter:

While you were there, did you form any particularly close friendships with U.S. personnel or Australian personnel or other Allies?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Not Australian so much but with the U.S., yes. I had a lot of nice women friends, yeah.

Judith Rosenkotter:

I suppose -- did you have a camera? Were you able to take photographs?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Oh, I have a lot of photographs but I didn't take them. I was sent -- when we were in Taclobin, I was sent on two -- what would you call them -- publicity tours for pictures for the papers in the United States. There were three women and three men. And I have pictures of all that. In fact, I have one sheet -- did I bring that out?

Judith Rosenkotter:

You've just shown me a piece of paper. Would you talk about that a little bit, Anna Marie?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Doing the Phillipines?

Judith Rosenkotter:

Yeah.

Anna Marie Hulick:

Well, I guess because there were just so few of us at that time in Taclobin -- I'm not sure if it mentions the number of women but I think it was only like 30 or 35 of us in the whole Phillipines, they wanted to do a story of the WAC over there. So they sent some boys over and they took us out in a jeep and we made a tour of the area. And it shows us travelling traditional Filipino style. We're riding a caribou, which is like an oxen. And we're standing around a piano with a Phillipine family and different things here and there. We're looking at -- shopping and knee deep in mud, stuff like that. It was very interesting. And it appeared in pictures throughout the United States. Several people really sent -- cut out a picture and sent it to my mother and actually were quite nice. Like, one gentleman said he thought her daughter was doing a beautiful job. Everything that came to her was always on the nice side. They weren't derogatory, saying what are the women doing over there and this and that stuff.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Well, I've already gotten the impression that you really were pleased with your fellow soldiers and your fellow officers. Is there anything special you'd like to talk about that?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Well, I don't know. I just -- we just all seemed to get along fine.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Earlier, you said you wished that you had kept a personal diary. Did you happen to start one somewhere along the way?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Uh-huh.

Judith Rosenkotter:

What prompted you that you decided to do that?

Anna Marie Hulick:

I don't know. But the first part of it has all the women I met, all the officers I met, and it actually shows -- I put in there, which I was kinda glad I did -- exactly the dates that I went to the different places. Do you want me to get it? ____+

Judith Rosenkotter:

Anna Marie, I see that you've gotten your diary out. Do you just want to read us a few excerpts from your diary?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Well --

Judith Rosenkotter:

Anything you're willing to share.

Anna Marie Hulick:

I entered stable role at Fort DeMoine and I was there one week wearing the traditional EM coats and receiving first lessons in drill. On Saturday, February 13th, we marched out to Boomtown and I was assigned to the 3rd platoon, 3rd company, 3rd regiment. And for four weeks then they had learning company administration and organization of army, etc. We had lots of fun during basic. I caught the GI cough and it stayed with me until I left Iowa.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Just what is the GI cough?

Anna Marie Hulick:

I don't remember.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Just a cough?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Just a cough. Then it goes on, just talks about going to Camp Monticello in Arkansas and the trip down. The camp was nice. It was set up as a Jap interment camp and it was brand new. We were the first bunch to arrive. And the weather was pretty nice after Fort DeMoine. I was assigned to transportation office, and then what, the next day we started to work for the adjutant. And from there, where do I go? We went to -- I was then told I was to understudy the master sergeant, who was regimental sergeant major. But at that time, they started to activate the fifth WAC training center so I didn't go into it too thoroughly. And from there we went up -- that's when I got my T5 rating, which was corporal. Then we came through to Fort Leonard Wood. And Fort Leonard Wood, I just -- not much. I think I've already told you about working for the colonel and then the general. I think that was in there.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Do you have written about that?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Huh?

Judith Rosenkotter:

Do you have written about that?

Anna Marie Hulick:

I probably did. So far here I am. Here I'm in Fort Leonard Wood. We arrived at Fort Leonard Wood July 1st, '43. We got in at night, didn't see too much. Of course, we saw more men than I ever thought I would see in my life. Watching them train was a pleasant sight. I'm gonna go on -- I do mention I reported to Colonel Jakitis (ph), director of personnel, and I worked for him five months. And then I made corporal from T5 so I wouldn't pull KP and then Colonel called me and told me to work for the general.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Did that mean that you didn't care for doing KP?

Anna Marie Hulick:

No, it's just that he didn't want me away from the office. So that way, by making me corporal, I didn't lose time off at work. Otherwise, you drew it, whether you want it or not. And then it tells about going to work for the general and I said I enjoyed it more than I ever thought I would. He was awfully nice. Oh, and I did testimony at several court martial cases. I'd forgotten about that. It's in here. The judge at ____ came to me one day and said you take shorthand? I said yes. He said would you sit in at a court martial? I said ____+. I was pretty fast with my shorthand. He said, well, it's cut and dried. He said but I have to have somebody there. He said they sent all my court reporters overseas. So I said all right, I'll sit in. Well, I sat in and everybody talked. I'm sitting there writing as fast as I can in my shorthand. And he knew and he'd tell them slow down, she's new at this. I'm not joking. I sat up all night in the latrine transcribing my notes because I was scared to death I wouldn't be able to. But he was satisfied. I went back two or three times more and sat in on court martial cases. It was very interesting. And I'd get paid extra for it, believe it or not. So that's -- then I mention all the good friends I had. I can still think of them. We had a lot of fun. It was all in the same barracks. And I was a bridesmaid at two weddings, people I never knew, never saw them before. And I still don't know where they are, whatever happened. I often wonder what happened to them. But it's just that I had stopped in at the chapel on my way home from work and they were getting married. Two different times. And something happened and the bridesmaid didn't show up or they couldn't use her or whatever, looked out and I'm sitting there, would you please be a bridesmaid? What else? I'm just looking at these. It was just the usual fun. We went to dances and went up to St. Louis on weekends. What else? I often think of some of these women that I knew so well. Once I left there, you lose track. You can't write so much and they all stayed there and I went on. You just lose track. And then I put in for OCS. I have that in here. I was accepted and placed in service command pool. When I got overseas, that was -- Oh, and there, that's when I made sergeant, straight sergeant. Believe me, in training camp, straight sergeant was -- the men showed respect. Because they were all basic trainees, you know, and there you are with three stripes. That was -- One time, because my general, it was an ___ retraining, replacement training center, and one day Comet (ph), the adjutant come over and said how would you like to go out on one of the training fields thing and eat with the group out there. Because I was typing up all their schedules and everything for this general. I said, oh, that would be fun. Well, one of the other women that worked for another part of it said the same thing. So the two of us went out one day in a jeep and spent the day out with these basic trainees, learning how to build bridges and whatever. Very interesting, yeah. That doesn't happen very often, someplace like that. So then I took my overseas training in Fort Ogalthorpe (ph), Georgia. And that was tough. Ten mile hike, full field pack, full sun.

Judith Rosenkotter:

And how much did you weigh at that time and how tall were you?

Anna Marie Hulick:

I was about five-four-and-a-half at that age. I probably was about -- I was solid. I was solid as a rock. I probably weighed about 130. But looked like 120. I used to fool everybody at the county fair. And the thing that was funny about it was it was six weeks training. They gave us one pair of coveralls for six weeks. Now this is going out on clay ground and doing exercise and going out on trips and everything else and it was so hot that if you tried to wash them, they wouldn't dry. We used to kid about well, stand your pants up beside you. Everything underneath was clean, but I'll never forget those -- and everybody was in the same boat. You just had to wear it and that was it. They wouldn't give you anything else. So from there we went up to -- we went out to Camp Stoneland (ph) before we went to the ship. And they took us down on a ferry to get onto the ship. And of course, being the name of Voylan (ph), I always was at the back end of everything. And on the ferry I was way around on the other side and didn't see when we pulled in. And they said we're getting off now. And we'd get off and walk down, and looking around it was like a big hotel. I said I thought we were going on a ship. They said you are on the ship. It was the Matsonia, which was the queen of the Pacific at that time. And that's what we went to Australia on. Beautiful. Of course, the women were down on the E deck, way below, and we were only allowed the sun deck in between. Because in between was all men. They really kept you separated in those days. We used to sit there in the evening, hanging over. You know, we were back and they were out and they'd be playing a guitar down there and we'd all be singing. It was a nice trip. I helped put out a newspaper while we were on board. I think it was 19 days. And the funny part of it was we got in like in the afternoon, went down to E deck and got settled. Of course, no windows, no nothing. We were told we were going to sail during the night. And wake up the next morning and quite a few people were sort of like seasick. We hadn't even left. So you see what your mind can do. Just, I'll never forget that. All these people going oh, I'm sick, I can't do it. And we had the prime minister of Australia was on board with us on the way down. Prime Minister Curtin was his name. I wouldn't have remembered that if it wasn't here. We had boat drills every day. And I said I never got seasick but my appetite wasn't very good. And one of the officers on board says you -- about food, that is a certain form of seasickness if you can't eat too well. Sunny Quesen, we arrived there. We had a band greet us, went out to a little place called Uranga (ph) Park and we lived in little huts. I think there were four or five of us in a hut. And during the sum -- during the daytime it was quite warm. We still had our winter uniforms. But at night it was cold. I never knew such cold. In fact, maybe I said it someplace here. Here it is. Five to a hut. And we almost froze to death at night. The kids would go to bed with flannel pajamas, sweaters, woolen anklets, canteens full of hot water on their feet between blankets, five blankets over them and still froze. And then during the day it got warm. But there were no windows or anything. You know, we just had a thing that opened up in your own -- and we had to take showers at night even though it was cold. Then we got our assignments. I went to Section 22, radar and radio recommigrations. The boys were lots of fun. And every Sunday we did something. While it was still cold, we went up to Mount Tamborine. And during the summer we went down to the beach. It was a truck that belonged to our particular group, seven women and the men that belonged to it. And that was where it quit, unfortunately.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Well, you have some valuable memories there.

Anna Marie Hulick:

Well, in the front, of course, I have all the officers that I met and all the women, my buddies in the service. And they all signed their own names and everything.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Is this -- the title on the front of the book, it says "My Life in the Service." Now, how did you get this book?

Anna Marie Hulick:

I don't remember. I don't know. Maybe -- I have no idea. Somebody might have given it to me. I can't imagine that I bought it.

Judith Rosenkotter:

I was wondering if it was an issue. But it was not issued to you.

Anna Marie Hulick:

I doubt it. I doubt it. Maybe one of my family gave it to me as like a present. You know, going away or something. I have no idea.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Well, this has been very interesting. Do you recall the day that your service ended, anything particular, memories?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Well, that was at the end of the war. I was in Manila on VJ Day. As a matter of fact, I had a very interesting assignment before that. Where I worked, as I said in the office of signal, there were only two of us that took shorthand, the fellow and myself. And we went to a meeting one day and the colonel in charge of signal took both of us and he said I'll put one of you beside me and as the meeting progresses, if I hear something interesting, I'll give it to you to take it down. Well, when we got there, commanders and admirals and everything else sitting around there. Of course I didn't know any of them, all high officers. And fortunately, he took the fellow first, fortunately. And I'm sitting there and I felt like a lump on a log with all these guys sitting there and me just -- the only woman in the whole room. So I got out my notebook and I started taking everything. I got to look like I'm busy. And when we finished, the colonel says I would like to have you transcribe your notes. And I looked at him and I said I didn't do that for transcribing. I did it to look busy. He said just put down what you have anyway. And, of course, I didn't know even the names of everybody. I put admiral, you know, the abbreviation for admiral, commander and what have you. And he did me a very big compliment afterwards. He says one of the best ___ things I ever saw. And it was Operation Japan for the signal corp., before the bomb was dropped. In other words, if it wasn't -- of course, we didn't know there was going to be a bomb. I often wondered if all those men in that room knew it. I don't know. But it was Operation Japan. In case it didn't work, and it was what the signal corp.'s job would be when they went in. So it was really very interesting. But that was probably one of the most interesting jobs I had before, you know. But on VJ day, it was -- my father was quite bad with multiple sclerosis. And my mother, of course, in Spalding, no nurses, no nothing, it's hard to take care of. And, of course, she was worried about me anyway. She never told me that, that she was sort of -- now the war is over, she sort of went to the Red Cross and said can't she come home. So I actually flew home. Everybody else came home by boat, but I was one of the first few to leave and there were like, only about -- We come over on a converted bomber, 16 on the whole plane, horrible trip, like three nights and two days. You know, they didn't travel very fast in those days. They changed pilots about three times. And one time, the cabin filled up with smoke and I thought this is it. You look out and the wing's above the water. You know, the cabin is below. But it turned out just to be air conditioning. But I was really scared and I got down on the ground and I said I'll never fly again as long as I live. Of course I have, thousands and thousands of miles. So I don't know. If the family had been in good shape, I probably would have gone on to Japan. But I had plenty of what are points. I had the most points, I think, of most of the girls in my unit. So I was eligible to come home first.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Would you tell us about the awards that your unit received and the awards that you received during your time of service?

Anna Marie Hulick:

During my term of service, you want my special service awards?

Judith Rosenkotter:

Yes, please.

Anna Marie Hulick:

I got the WAAC service ribbon and the good conduct medal, the Asiatic Pacific Theatre ribbon with two bronze battle stars and the Phillipine Liberation ribbon with two bronze battle stars and the district unit badge with two bronze oblique clusters. That's it, I think.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Oh, we were talking about when your service ended. You said it was VJ?

Anna Marie Hulick:

VJ Day.

Judith Rosenkotter:

VJ Day.

Anna Marie Hulick:

Uh-huh.

Judith Rosenkotter:

And can you tell how the reaction was around you or what was going on?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Well, it was -- we were living in Manila. We were living in a college. It had been pretty badly damaged at one time and when we got there there was still blood where they had sacrificed Phillipines in the place, you know, killed them and everything else. And across the street was a bar. And anytime that they had a fight over there -- they had a band -- they would start playing Star Spangled Banner and everything else so the fight would have to quit. Well, one night, one of my friends had had duty, CQ they call it, charge quarters. She wanted to go out on this date and I said okay. I wasn't supposed to have to draw it because of my rank. But I said I'll do it for you. I'm not going anyplace tonight. Well, that was the night that the Japanese recapitulated. And the noise started. Across the street first, the band, they started going into all of these American songs and everything. And I'm sitting there thinking boy, that's some fight they're having over there. That's all I could think about. I could hear this music. And finally -- I was going with a fella at that time and he called in and I said what is going on? And even he told me. Well, then the telephones started ringing. I can't get in, I can't get back. So finally, I called the officer on duty and I said there's no way you're going to do bed check tonight. He says no, I guess we have to forget it. The city went wild. They really did. That was my experience with VJ Day.

Judith Rosenkotter:

So when you got home, you said your father was quite ill and so you went home early --

Anna Marie Hulick:

Uh-huh.

Judith Rosenkotter:

-- to help your mother with your father. Do you feel that you can tell us a little bit about that experience?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Well, he was -- it was just that it was hard for her to take care of him. There were no nurses or anything else. And he wasn't, he wasn't dying or anything at that point. He did die from MS because back in those, they didn't know what it was. You know, they knew what it was but they didn't know what to do for it. But she just wanted to know that I was home safe. So she was -- she practically had a nervous breakdown herself from the work involved. Even then I didn't get home for quite a while. You know, by the time you got to California and you went across by train. END OF SIDE ONE, TAPE ONE: BEGIN SIDE TWO, TAPE ONE

Judith Rosenkotter:

Was this the same ___ that was --

Anna Marie Hulick:

____+ that night, yeah.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Okay.

Anna Marie Hulick:

And of course we didn't have any money. So that was where we were going to live so it was easier for me to go out there. And I -- it was in Roselle, New Jersey, which was just outside of New York City. So I started working in New York City on Wall Street. And I worked on Wall Street for 30 years.

Judith Rosenkotter:

What did you do?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Secretary.

Judith Rosenkotter:

You were a secretary.

Anna Marie Hulick:

Uh-huh. I worked -- most of those 30 years I was working for -- this sounds like I'm bragging but it's not. He was -- at one time he would be the managing partner, which is equivalent to the president, and then when they became a corporation he was the CEO. And I worked for him all those years as his secretary. I was more like an assistant.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Well, to obtain this position, did you have to go through an interview or were you just selected?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Actually, I just went to an employment agency. And when I went to this particular firm, I started in the utility department, which was just one man, and I worked for him. And then I transferred to the research department, which was a much bigger office, section rather. And while I was working for the research department, this president -- I think there was a woman, that she was a railroad woman, and she was very, very good. And I had done some work off and on for her. I think she told him. But he needed a secretary. He asked me would I like to work for him. Well, who's going to turn down the president? And that's how I got -- steps.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Did you get paid pretty well for that then?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Paid?

Judith Rosenkotter:

Yes.

Anna Marie Hulick:

Just the minimum wage, whatever it was.

Judith Rosenkotter:

After -- did you use -- earlier, we were talking about the GI bill. Did you use the GI bill at all?

Anna Marie Hulick:

No, no, I didn't.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Did your husband use it?

Anna Marie Hulick:

No.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Okay. You did have friendships. Did you continue any of those friendships after you got back stateside?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Oh, yes, yeah. As a matter of fact, I was -- one of my friends lives in Staten Island. She was my bridesmaid. And I wrote to several. On the way -- No, I guess I went on to visit my mother one time and I stopped in Chicago and I called up another one that I know. No, we just kept in contact for quite awhile, yeah.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Another question: I know that you belong to our area women's veterans group. Did you, after you got back from the war, did you decide to join any of the veterans' organizations?

Anna Marie Hulick:

I'm still -- I'm still a member of the Garden State -- I guess it's number 57. Yeah, I belong, and I still belong to it.

Judith Rosenkotter:

That's interesting.

Anna Marie Hulick:

That is just WAC, yeah.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Now, how long did this career on Wall Street, how long did you function in that position?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Down on Wall Street, it was 30, a good 30 years. And then my boss died. And he was the head of two big foundations and about 25 trusts. And a lawyer uptown, Rockefeller Plaza, took over. And I transferred uptown and I worked for five years up there doing these, because I was so familiar with them. ____+ Rockefeller Plaza and I worked there for five years.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Well --

Anna Marie Hulick:

And then I retired.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Anna Marie, what brought you to Grand Island, Nebraska?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Well, by that time, I had divorced. And my whole family's out here. All I had out there was a sister-in-law and her husband. Which I'm still very close to her. They're in Ohio now. But my husband's sister, we were very close. But other than that, that's why I come back here. You know, family.

Judith Rosenkotter:

I have another question. When you reflect back and you think about your military experience, do you see that it impacted your life in any particular way?

Anna Marie Hulick:

Not really. Except it got me out of Nebraska. I have a feeling that if I had not gone into the military, I would have ended up in Denver. I was working for -- I guess they called it the Firm Security Admin -- no, it was Mirage Flats in Hay Springs. And I had asked for a transfer to the office in Denver to get out of that area. And everybody kept saying oh, you'll go out there, you're small coming from here, they'll give you all the worst jobs in the world. That was when I decided to go into the service, when I heard all that. But, meanwhile, they had a big meeting in Hay Springs and I sat in, same thing like I done overseas, all these farmers and everybody else, and I took all the minutes and everything, typed them up, and my boss went to Denver and took the minutes with him. And while he was gone, I went to Omaha, joined the service. So when he come back and found that out, he said why did you do that? And I said -- he said I thought you wanted to go to Denver. So I told him what I'd heard. He said, well, I hate to tell you this, but the director read your minutes and said you come out, he wanted you for his secretary. So sorry, too late. But that was -- if I hadn't gone to the service, I would have ended up in Denver. Who knows what kind of life I would have ended up with.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Well, now that you've told us many, many things and I personally have found them very interesting, is there anything you would like to add to the interview that we've not covered? Any personal comments about the military or your own life or --

Anna Marie Hulick:

Well, I enjoyed the military service. People ask me what I did and I always laugh and say I danced my way around the South Pacific. I loved to dance, loved it. And, of course, when we were over there, all the Navy, they threw dances. That was where we got our best food, the Navy. But every dance. And when we were in Tolosa, we had quite a large tented area. And we threw dances there for the women. Everybody was allowed to invite two guys. And I knew every good dancer in the area. And I used to go down the row of tents that we lived in and say are you going tonight? Nope. Can I use your name? And I always had about at least 12 good dancers invited to it. And when the evening was over I can remember going back to the tent. And, of course, we wore khakis, pants and shirts, and it wasn't the soft stuff today. It was the heavy twill. And I would be soaking wet from my collar right to my -- to the hem of my pants from the heat. Because we had boots. You try jitterbugging in a pair of boots with rubber soles on a cement floor.

Judith Rosenkotter:

It sounds like you had a lot of fun.

Anna Marie Hulick:

I did. I really did enjoy it.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Well, I just want to thank you, Anna Marie, for taking the time and effort and energy today and setting aside this time to talk to us. It's been --

Anna Marie Hulick:

Well, I should think a lot of this could be cut out. It's kinda long.

Judith Rosenkotter:

I've got news for you. You still have more room on the tape. It could be as long as 90 minutes.

Anna Marie Hulick:

Oh, really?

Judith Rosenkotter:

But we're through. You really, really are -- I think you're a special person for having done this and we thank you a lot for this.

Judith Rosenkotter:

This is a footnote to the interview.

Anna Marie Hulick:

Only on the clothing bit. When we were sent from Australia forward, they took away our skirts, shoes, hose, everything. All we had were pants. And when we got up there, we had like three pair. And with the heat, forget it. So, actually, if you knew a good supply sergeant, you ended up with two or three pairs of pants that belonged to the men. But they fit good. And our CO says you can wear them on one condition; you take the fly out and put it inside. Well, that was easy. You just do that by hand. And when I came home and I was in California, I think it was one of the camps out there before they sent us further, they went wild over those pants. I never did come home with a pair of them. But when we were issued, right after -- close to VJ Day, it was right after VJ Day, they told us that we were going into skirts. Well, of course, a couple of women are bawling and didn't want to. But they issued us the skirts. And of course there again, Voylan, I got what was left over. And when they gave me the skirts, too big. And I sat down and we had a little old sewing machine that you turned by hand, and I took the waist off, the top off the waist, and ___ all the way down until they fit me, washed them, hung them on the line, and I got a call saying you're leaving in two hours, pack your bag. So I kept wearing the pants. But there were just so many little things like that that happened that you can't remember it all. There's no way. Probably after you leave I'll think oh, this is more interesting than anything I said.

Judith Rosenkotter:

Well, again, we thank you for all this information. It's just been great. Thank you, Anna Marie.

Anna Marie Hulick:

Yeah.

[END OF INTERVIEW]

 
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