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"I went to Mass one Sunday and the priest asked the mothers to please don't interfere if your daughters are willing to go into the military, to please don't keep them from going, because it's everybody's war." (Video Interview, 3:53)

   Eva Romero Jacques
Image of Eva Romero Jacques
Eva Romero Jacques in uniform [October 1943]
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army Air Forces/Corps
Unit: Far East Air Service Command
Service Location: Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia; Warrensburg, Missouri; New Guinea, Philippines; Pacific Theater
Rank: Staff Sergeant
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Eva Jacques came up a bit short when she enlisted to serve in World War II; she was 4'11", one inch short of the minimum height. But she had two great advantages: three years of college and she spoke Spanish and English, so the Army Air Force waived their height requirement. She spent two years in the Pacific Theater, 1944 in New Guinea and 1945 in the Philippines, as an administrative aide. Living conditions in New Guinea were exceptionally primitive, but the camaraderie among the troops made up for the persistent mosquitoes and absence of basic amenities. Though she was far from the action, she did escape disaster once, when a plane on which she was to take on a tour of New Guinea crashed in the jungle.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (10 clips)
»Complete Interview   (34 min.)
  Photos
»Photo Album (20 photos)
 Other Materials
»View List (2 items)
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»Hispanics in Service
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (10 items)
A junior in college when U.S. entered the war; she was one inch short of the height requirement; turned down offers to go to Officers Candidate School; sent to military administrative academy; shipping overseas to the Pacific Theater. (01:31) Was engaged before she shipped out; he was also in the service but went to Europe and was killed in a plane crash; why she enlisted; the urging of her priest inspired her. (01:13) The ride across the Pacific in a converted luxury liner with 9 to a cabin; slept out on deck; lights out after sunset; trip took a month of zigzagging; no stops; disappointed at the lack of civilized amenities in New Guinea; mosquitoes were "wild;" weather so hot they took three showers a day; no refrigeration, only dehydrated food. (02:50)
Worked for the base commander; translated mail written in Spanish and censored it; mail call once a month; had to wait out in the sun for their mail, which wasn't sorted; did not see any combat but heard snipers at night. (01:08) Meeting the natives in New Guinea; one soldier taught kids to sing an American pop song; a photographer friend took pictures of the naked natives and when Jacques took them home, her horrified mother burned them; everyone got along beautifully; there was a recreation hall with a juke box, they danced every night. (01:51) Her sister, stationed at West Point, sent her a box full of good soap; before she went overseas, she and a male friend would sign marriage certificates as witnesses for couples rushing to get married; kept in touch with him for 60 years; USO entertainers came by the island occasionally; there were no books or magazines available on New Guinea; they were told when they left not to pack any personal items beyond the essentials. (02:40)
Did not get on a plane touring the island and it crashed; three people survived and had to live for weeks in the jungle. (01:12) Dated a professional photographer who gave her pictures of some of the atrocities committed by the Japanese against American POWs and Filipino women in the Philippines; only time she saw Japanese was when they signed the surrender papers; a brief encounter with General MacArthur. (02:55) Had a gown made out of parachute silk in the Philippines; she still has it; met an Italian woman who was her virtual twin; when she enlisted, she had lived among diverse groups and got along with everyone; never encountered any prejudice in the service; was promoted four times in 18 months. (02:50)
Effect of serving in the military on her life and her outlook. (00:55)  
  
 Other Materials (2 items)
Photocopy of the surrender documents signed by the Japanese and American combattants Photocopy of a letter from Franklin Roosevelt 
  
 
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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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