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Ilene Hall Joined the Army to Search for Her Husband During WWII

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
November 22, 2022 3:01 am

Ilene Hall Joined the Army to Search for Her Husband During WWII

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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November 22, 2022 3:01 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, when Ilene Hall enlisted in the Army WAC in 1943, she was following her husband, Edward “Ken” Hall to war. When her husband, to whom she was married in March 1943, finished his training and was about to be shipped overseas, the young Canton, Ohio girl decided not to put an ocean between them.

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Purchase all free clear mega packs today. To the CW app and CWTV.com on December 9th. This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories and we tell stories about everything here on this show. From the arts to sports and from business to history and everything in between, including your stories.

They're some of our favorites. Our next story, well, it's one about service, love, and sacrifice. Let's follow Eileen Hall's incredible journey across Europe as she searches for her husband in the middle of World War II. Eileen was a member in the Women's Army Corps or WAC. We got together with Eileen and her daughter Sherry who both live in Canton, Ohio.

Here's Eileen. I'm from Canton, Ohio. I was born in 10, 11, 23 and my mother and dad had a restaurant in downtown Canton and we had a hotel up above the restaurant and that's where I was raised. We lived right across the street from McKinley High School so all I had to do was walk to for high school was walk across the street and go to school. After my mother made it to my high school graduation and shortly after that she passed on and my dad remarried and I felt very uncomfortable at home with a different mother really. And you were working at? At the Kimkin roller bearing company so it's a long time that's 75 years ago you know so I'm trying to remember a lot of it I'll never forget but and there I met a girl and we became friends and we worked in the stationary supply office and she had a boyfriend from Galion, Ohio and every time he came up to see her he brought his brother so she said do you think you'd mind dating his brother if he brings him up and I said oh no well that was it because we just melded together and it's just worked out so but he was being drafted like all the that he was going to be sent to Oklahoma so after my dad remarried I just didn't feel comfortable at home so I said I think I always wanted to go to California so I said I think I'll go to California because I've always wanted to go there so I boarded a train and it stopped in Oklahoma and I thought well I'll just see you know him while I'm here so that's as far as I got we got married after I was there a few days we had to go through blood tests and it was really you know so and we were married in a parson's office and then it wasn't long after that that he was sent overseas so I thought well since I'm married to him I'll go back home and see what I can do you know so I went back home and I decided to enlist in the service so I went in downtown Canton where they had their recruiting office and told them I would like to join the army well the navy I really wanted but you couldn't get in that one until later so I decided to get in the army if I could so even though I was married I had to get my dad's consent because of my age I couldn't do it unless I had my parents consent so I went to where he worked and told him and he said well if I don't do this you'll do something else crazy so he signed he was a world war one veteran so he signed and I took it back and after that I got into basic training in Daytona Beach Florida from there I was I volunteered they said as we were being interviewed the girls that had already volunteered said you'll be sorry you know and so but I volunteered for everything so I always got the pick of things that I wanted to do so I thought that was a good idea from there I was sent to Fort Oglethorpe Georgia for driver training and I led a convoy through Georgia as one of our tryouts you know to see how we did and so and then we had to go in gas chambers and take off with a gas mask and stay for a few minutes and then go out and catch your breath again so and then we had to lay down and they fired shots over us you know to see how we'd react and then we had to go through other training abandoning ship we had to go you know to a top of the ship that would be and go down the sides and a couple of the girls were just terrified of doing it so I helped along with them and then after that was all done I was sent to Fort Lewis Washington and I was only there for a little while the the fellows in the barracks weren't used to having women there and boy every time we'd walk out everywhere there were guys walking with us so but anyway I volunteered they asked for volunteers to go overseas so I volunteered but there were too many so I wasn't going to get to go but at the last minute one gal dropped out and so I took her place and then it wasn't long after that that we were sent to Fort Dix of New Jersey and boarded the Queen Elizabeth and headed for France so on a ship that in peacetime would accommodate two people there were 24 whacks in one room and and then we went on and we landed at Glasgow Scotland in the Isle of Clyde and there we were met with the Red Cross and Salvation Army and they gave us food and and until they decided where we were going to go from there and some of us boarded a train and headed for Sutton Coalfield England that's where I was going to be stationed for a while and we've been listening to Eileen Hall's journey to find her husband in the middle of World War II a great backstory I can't wait to hear more sure you can't either when we come back more of 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wanted to be in the theater and volunteered for it let's pick up what we last left off some of us boarded a train and headed for sutton coalfield england that's where i was going to be stationed for a while so that's where i had to drive a jeep i i went through the motor course so i was allowed to drive a jeep and up to a two and a half ton truck so i drove the everybody in sutton coalfield in england had to list if they had a room available for gis because they didn't want the women staying in rooms they wanted the men to be there so that's what i did for a while and got them all done and and then i was sent i i drove a major there that four of four of us were drivers and i we all drove an officer so i drove a major so we were on call 24 hours a day for whatever reason they wanted us so but uh well i had to drive in the fog so bad that i had to put my foot up they drive on the left side on the curb so i would know where i was going and because of that my left leg is is not as big as my right one it took that much it froze you know and i had to go back to the barracks and they put me behind a bakery and so i could thaw out to my leg was so frozen from driving so we had gone through many air raids at night and and one of the gals said if i'm going to get killed i'm going to do it right here and so the rest of us decided we'd stay together so that was it because there were nightly air raids you know so after i left england i went to france and was with the post office there as a driver so every morning i'd drive into paris and you could there were the streets were empty except for people going through garbage cans trying to get something to eat people and dogs and that's something i'll never forget and as i drove to the post office that i was be at just as i drove in something cracked on the uh steering wheel and i couldn't steer it but i was already there so i was that i felt that was a blessing because if i'd done that out in the you know out on the streets it would have been something else i have faith and i i just felt i'd be protected whatever i did because i if i volunteered for something i felt that that's what i should do so i just i just had a different life than some of the other wax but the battle of the balls was going on then and they were bringing the wounded into the hospital in paris and our commanding officer was called from from the hospital and asked to send some wax down to help that wounded were wounded were coming in so fast so um our our commanding officer called me and said you know gonna take some wax to the hospital so i got a ton and a half truck and loaded it with wax and drove into the hospital in front of the hospital and walked in and here the gis are all laying on the floor and you could just walk sideways and so they we would kneel down and talk to them and take you know we all went and talked to each one and asked what where they were from and just got them calmed down before and then they finally found room for them all so but when i had time off i was allowed to take the jeep and i became acquainted with two fellows from iowa and one was had his left leg amputated below his knees so he was going to be sent home and he said he hated to see go home without seeing paris and i said well i'll see what i can do so i went to my commanding officer told her to the store and she says you take a jeep and show him wherever you want to go so where there were two whacks in the back and me driving and him sit beside me and i took him all over paris so he was you know excited about that and we kept in touch for years after i got home so but i got a letter from my husband saying he was going to be sent to the cbi that's the china berma and i thought and i started crying and the officer was below me and she came up and wanted to know why i was crying and i said well my husband's going to be sent to the cb area and i said i i'd probably never see him again and she said i'll see what i can do so she got me orders orders attached to mark clark's but he he never knew i was part of his service so but that got me to early airport and asked you know if anybody was going to paris and there there was a plane just out there that was going to be going to italy and i told my story to the guy at the desk and so and so he said that plane right there you can get on so they put down the bombay doors and i walked out and and they one on one side one on the other lifted me up and putting in where the gun turret is and that's how i rode from there to to italy and i got off of the plane and i was standing on the road and i didn't realize right in front of me was the tower of pisa because i didn't realize it was that big you know and so i walked out and i started hitchhiking and along came a british guy in a truck with three uh soldiers in the back and one was they were tending to one and i said what happened she said he got hurt but not by fire i don't know exactly how i got hurt and they're going into rome so they stopped for water and the driver of the truck had to come back and stand in front of me so i could lean to the back because the people just came from everywhere and they wanted to touch me and you know and i i didn't know what to do so they looked out for me and then we left and went on to rome to the red cross there and they put me up for the night the next morning was a sunday so it was church so i went down and went to church and after a little while before church started a fellow sat down beside me and he looked at my patch he says you're not from around here are you and i said no i and i told him my story he said i'll see what i can do so the next day he had gotten permission from his officer and he was able to take me from rome to milano and on the way it started to rain and the fella didn't know how to do the the top to the jeep so i showed him how to do that and he took me up and my husband was waiting for me waiting there so we had our honeymoon on lake como and i had our own villa attached to a regular one which is owned now by george cluney and i'm sure george cluney doesn't know it but i'm going to write a letter to him sometime if he ever gets it the villa ds st yeah so yeah that was the fifth army rest camp so we left from lahar on the eb alexander headed for the united states as we pulled into new york harbor all the lights came on and they took us off the boat and fed us the best thanksgiving dinner we ever had so and from there we had to go to fort dix to get released from the army and then i boarded a train for canton ohio and when i got to canton there there were my husband and my my dad and just welcomed me home he got home seven days before i did but other than that why i think my experience was something that not too many people have the opportunity to experience so that's my love story and i love to tell it so and thanks for the opportunity to tell it so that's it and that's it and thanks for the opportunity to let us tell it eileen and what a beautiful story about so many things particularly just a sheer sense of adventure off to europe to fight nazis searching for each other learning how to drive trucks and tanks supply lines to defeat one of the world's worst enemies in history eileen hall's journey to find her husband in the middle of world war ii her story here on our american stories our i heart radio jingle ball coming live from new york to the cw app and cwtv.com on december 9th with cheap caribbean.com you can get more food more drinks and more fun for less money on your all-inclusive beach vacation like bottomless margaritas yes and going snorkeling whenever i want yes and moonlight dance parties yes and loaded fajita nachos yes and all the daiquiris i can drink you can say yes and to everything when you take a next level beach vacation at parcello resorts in mexico in the caribbean with cheap caribbean.com t-mobile for business knows companies want more than a one-size-fits-all approach to 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Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-22 07:41:20 / 2022-11-22 07:49:06 / 8

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