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Disbennett (Marion Thomas) Second World War Correspondence
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Series 1. Correspondence from Marion Disbennett to Margaret Disbennett 1943-07-1945-05

Scope and Contents

This series contains correspondence from Marion Thomas Disbennett to Margaret Disbennett written during his years of service in the Army Air Corps during the Second World War. The first letter in the collection is undated, but appears to be written before he started radio operator training. In it he tells of having been "eliminated from further pilot training" due to missing instruction while hospitalized and falling behind. Letters beginning in July 1943 are from Truax Field near Madison, WI and Marion is writing to Margaret in Indianola, Iowa. He boasts of the food "lots of milk and butter" and of an easy schedule with little work. After two weeks of "waiting around" Disbennett and others are sent to Philadelphia for training at the Philco Training School. They are assigned hotel rooms with maid service, go to school for eight hours, enjoy city life in the evenings and complain about having to pay 25 cents for a malt. By mid-September 1943 Disbennett is assigned to Smokey Hill Air Base in Salina KS, then to the Army Air Field at Pratt, KS. He writes about training to be a radio operator on B-17 and B-29 aircraft. He tells of studying aircraft recognition, meteorology, radio code, advanced first aid, giving innoculations and blood transfusions. He writes of training flights around the mid-west and to Texas and California, especially of flying over Los Angeles and Orange County. He is made a sergeant in early 1944 and writes of sending Margaret a greater share of his pay or "allotment." By March of 1944 he is stationed on the East coast though not permitted to disclose location, then soon to an undisclosed location in India in what he calls the China Burma India Theatre. His crew is making bombing runs to Japan, he gets "yellow jaundice" and is lonesome and homesick at night. By Christmas he writes of being quite homesick and lonesome especially at hearing the songs "Paper Doll" and "White Christmas" on the radio. During his training and deployment he writes several times of his and Margaret's favorite songs "You'll Never Know" and "You Are My Sunshine." In January 1945 he writes of receiving Margaret's letter telling him of his father's death and he writes of feeling "helpless so far away." By April 1945 Disbennett is back in the United States, at Scott Field, IL and anticipates orders to become an instructor for radio operator school there. In his last letter in the collection, May 13, 1945, he notes he has more than enough points for discharge and anticipates a visit from her.

Series 2. Biographical material

Scope and Contents

This series contains biographical material about Marion Thomas Disbennett and his service in the Second World War. It also contains a small amont of information about Margaret Mills Disbennett and mention of their sons Donald and James. Gravesite information is printed from www.findagrave.com. This information pre-dates the death of son James (Jim) October 24, 2012. (Yorba Linda Star, Nov. 1, 2012, p.14) Marion Thomas Disbennett's obituary appeared in the Orange County Register, Nov. 21, 2002. -- The series also contains information printed from Wikipedia about the island of Tinian. Marion Disbennett's bombardment group served in Tinian, but Disbennett did not serve with them there.

Series 3. Photographs

Scope and Contents

This series contains 11 photographs. Nine of the images are of Marion Thomas Disbennett alone or with family members. Two of the images are of scenery/buildings, one identified as a train depot in Bellflower, IL, the other of a house, trees and powerlines covered in ice or snow. The photographs of Marion Disbennett are images of him as an infant, toddler, young man and in advanced years. One photograph is a color portrait of Marion and Margaret Disbennett.