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Interview with Mildred Darlene Axton [7/9/2003]

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay, we are on the tape and I will do a little introduction here, Mickey. Today's date is Wednesday, July the 9th of 2003. The place is at the home of Mickey Axton in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. The person being interviewed is Mildred Darlene Axton, her maiden name is Tuttle; however, she was married when she was in the war, so her name at that time was already Axton. The name of the person interviewing is me, that's Patsy Kuentz, and I met Mickey, so she is an acquaintance, but I had not known her before someone told me about her, so I just called her up to see if we could do the interview and she has graciously said she would. Mickey's birth date is.... Tell us again, Mickey.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

January the 9th, 1919.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay. And you were born in?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Coffeyville, Kansas.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay. And the branch of service? It wasn't actually in the service per se at the time, it was the Women's Air Force Service Pilots and Mickey will tell us more about that too.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

It was part of the air --

Patricia Kuentz:

It was treated --

Mildred Darlene Axton:

The U.S. Army Air Force.

Patricia Kuentz:

It was treated -- you were treated like you were in the army?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

We were treated as officers even though we weren't.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, okay. That was during World War II. And Mickey served in Pecos, Texas, out in that God forsaken West Texas area. Mickey, just sit back and relax and let's just talk. Now, tell me -- I know that you needed to have a certain number of hours before you could ever get in the program. So tell me what happened leading up to your joining the program.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Well, mine is very interesting. I have been so lucky all my life, I just feel like the luckiest gal in the world. When I was five, I saw an airplane in the ski and my mother said that's where I wanted to be, and when I was 11 in junior high, a barnstormer pilot moved next door and how lucky can you be.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And the barnstormer pilots mostly flew Curtis Jennies, that were the planes that the World War I pilots learned to fly in, and they sold them really cheap after the war and lots of pilots bought them. And there were three Inman brothers and they flew all over the middle part of the United States giving air shows and they flew different planes, and there were practically no airports, they just landed in pastures.

Patricia Kuentz:

Fields and what not?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah. And when they would be in Coffeyville, they would fly over town and everybody would drop everything and go out into the pasture to watch them come in. And my mother was very adventurous, I came from a very adventurous.... I had two grandfathers that was U.S. Marshals, one in Missouri and one in Coffeyville, Kansas, and my grandfather was the Chief of Police of Coffeyville from 1909 to 1918 and he was known as the fastest draw in that part of the country. He arrested lots of crooks and bandits but he never had to kill a man because they dropped their guns when he came into the room.

Patricia Kuentz:

Was he a Tuttle grandfather or was he --

Mildred Darlene Axton:

He was a Fletcher, my mother's.

Patricia Kuentz:

He was your maternal grandfather?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

My mother's on the Fletcher side.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

So I had a real background; my mother was very adventurous, and the people of Coffeyville, when the president was coming through on the train, took up a collection and gave my grandfather the first motorcycle in Kansas -- it was an Indian, 1910 -- and I have a picture that I show on my talks and the people just have a fit over this, the men.

Patricia Kuentz:

I bet.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Indian motorcycle, instead of riding horses.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

So I came from a very adventurous family.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Then I had my first ride with the Inman brothers in a Curtis Jenny when I was 11, and all I did is open the cockpit, drop cross there (ph), there was no parachute, and I loved it. And he said, "Do you want to loop?" And I said, "Of course." So they looped and rolled and did everything and we -- our brother (ph), we just loved it. So every time they were in town, they took us up first, showed the people the kids weren't afraid.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Then they had us sell the tickets for a dollar each, and then the people would go up and they would just fly straight and level, you know. But they told us later that we did this -- we did this for three years, all the time I was in junior high -- this shows my interest. Oh, I just wanted to grow up and be a pilot so bad. I took all the subjects, lots of math and physics and everything that I should, but I was just so lucky. And then I was lucky when I went to Kansas State, after I graduated from junior college at Coffeyville -- they had a very fine junior college -- I went to Kansas State, which is an engineering school, and I took all the subjects, I majored in chemistry and math. I graduated just at the right time in 1940 and they had started in 1939 to give the pilot training in the colleges, because they knew that we were going to -- they knew we were going to be in the war because all of Europe had practically fallen and England was having such a bad time and the Japanese had just rolled over everything in the South Pacific. And Jacqueline Cochran and Eleanor Roosevelt talked General Arnold into letting two girls in each glass in 1940 and this was just 1940.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yes.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And I will tell you this, before 1940 there were only 200 licensed women pilots in the United States.

Patricia Kuentz:

Is that right?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And at the end of 1940 when they stopped the program, because in '41 they knew we were going to be in the war and the men had to sign up for the Air Force so the women couldn't be in it, we had 3,000 women that had private pilot licenses, from 200 at the beginning when they were letting two girls in, and, oh, boy, it was an honor to get chosen.

Patricia Kuentz:

I'm sure.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And most all the girls had to be really good students in the senior class or graduates, so we had -- we all had really fine backgrounds, so we went from 200 to 3,000, and when the program started, Jacqueline Cochran had all these 3,000 women that had private pilot licenses to choose from and we were the ones that she contacted, so that's how I got in.

Patricia Kuentz:

I see.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And that's the background.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

When I read, in my book, that tells about all the lives, almost every one of the girls, when we read about the men, knew they wanted to be a pilot when they were a kid somewhere along the line, and they felt so lucky to get into that program because it was paid for by the government.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right. Wonderful training.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

There we were -- and we had the same training as the men -- and when we were recruited, they knew we could fly, we weren't going to go up and get sick.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

They knew we were healthy. We had to pass the Air Force physical, so they knew that they had good people to train and our training was going to be just the same, and I think it was even tougher, because those Air Force pilots did all the -- civilian pilots, men that the Air Force didn't want, they were older, they trained to teach us, and some women pilots were trained to teach us -- they were civilians -- but all our check rides were done by Air Force, and out of six in my bay, four washed out, and I had flown with all of them and I think they were just so doggone scared.

Patricia Kuentz:

Nervous.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Nervous, that they didn't pass, but they still said that we had just as good a record as the men.

Patricia Kuentz:

Uh-huh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And everyone -- I mean, we didn't have flight pay, we didn't have insurance -- they even cancelled the insurance we had.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, my gosh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I had 5,000 insurance and it was cancelled.

Patricia Kuentz:

Because it was a dangerous job?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

A dangerous job and they cancelled everybody.

Patricia Kuentz:

Now, you mentioned to me earlier that you are probably the only one who went in that had a child at the time. Why don't you talk a little about that.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I talked to everyone and there were a number that had older children.

Patricia Kuentz:

Ah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

You see, the age limit went from 19 to 28, and there were some of the older women that had children that they left that were older, but as far as I have been able to ask, I never found anyone that left a baby, and it was awfully hard --

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, I am sure.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

-- to leave my husband that I dearly love. We had known each other from the third grade and we have been in love since we were seniors in high school, but mother and daddy said -- of course they knew how terrible things were for my brother and how they were all getting killed --

Patricia Kuentz:

And your brother was?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

He was already at Guadalcanal.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And they went in to help the Marines and that was in September of 1942.

Patricia Kuentz:

And he was a pilot?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

He was a fighter pilot.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And he and the friends he graduated with -- and they didn't even have fighter planes for them. They took Douglas A-20s, that was an attack bomber, and they painted them black and added extra guns, and that's what they were having to go up against, very good Japanese Zeros that could way outmaneuver us.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And he wrote that 18 of the 20 had already been killed in that first three months.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And I had that letter and when they said they needed me, I could not have lived with myself if I hadn't gone, and my husband understood and my parents understood, so I joined.

Patricia Kuentz:

Now, you told me, too, earlier off tape -- so let's get this on tape -- that your husband was working for --

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Beech aircraft and they needed the trainer planes to train the bomber crews desperately because they needed lots more bombers, and he was an essential part of building the AT-11, or the C-45, and that was the one that they trained the bomber crews, the pilot, the navigator, and the bombardier, and those three stayed together whatever plane they were in.

Patricia Kuentz:

They were a team?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

They were a team. And when they changed to different bombers, they stayed together, and they were desperate for those planes. So Beech was able to keep my husband, even though he wanted to volunteer to be a pilot, but later when they were ready for the invasion, they had -- they needed them more and he was drafted into the infantry -- and I will tell you about that later.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

He was also a pilot; we were in the same class.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And my brother.... But even before I went in, four of my friends that I graduated in pilot training had already been killed because they were so badly outnumbered.

Patricia Kuentz:

Sure, sure.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Two of them were in the Navy and two of them were in the Air Force, so we knew how bad it was. Like I say, I had to go, and it wasn't easy.

Patricia Kuentz:

No, I am sure not.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And I cried myself to sleep a lot of nights, but I loved flying and I wanted to help.

Patricia Kuentz:

So when you left home, how did you get down to -- it was Sweetwater that you went to; right?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah, and I have a thing that says they came by boats and train and every way; we had to pay our own way. We first had to -- I had to go to Topeka to have a strict physical, and it was very strict to get in the Air Force, your eyes had to be perfect and you just had to be in really good physical condition.

Patricia Kuentz:

Uh-huh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And I had to take a train to Topeka to have my physical and I passed it, and then I took a train to go to Sweetwater and the trains were so crowded, most of the time I had a seat but sometimes everybody was just standing in the aisle.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, my goodness.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

When we got there, it's so flat and hot and barren and no trees unless you planted them, it was a God forsaken looking place. (Laughter.)

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Really, on the airfield, you know, and it was hot as hades.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, yeah. So now what kind of training did they give you there?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Well, our training was exactly like the men. We started out in a primary training -- trainer, and it was a PT-19A, open cockpit. In the Air Force we always had a parachute. Here's another thing, all the parachutes were packed by the women of the city -- they were trained -- of Sweetwater, and you came by and you picked up your parachute and you knew it was okay because we knew those women were conscientious and packed it properly.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And we didn't keep a parachute of our own anytime, we always just picked up a parachute. And in the primary trainer, we learned all the evasive acrobatic maneuvers that the men would come to learn in fighter training, loops and rolls and spins and snap rolls and lots of spins and everything had to be done correctly and when they said, "Do five spins and come out headed north,", you had to do that. You had to go practice. One thing I did to help secure my safety, when I had to go up and practice all the loops and rolls and spins and everything, if they said, "Go to 10,000," I always went to 12,000. If they said to go to 8,000, I always went to 10,000, they always gave us the field -- I will have to describe this to you.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

It was just like a huge asphalt and we would have between 3 and 400 girls there all the time in different classes -- this is another thing -- well, I will tell you about the field -- and it just had white lines and they were numbered, big numbers. And we had between 350 and 400 girls there all the time and they were flying day and night and the tower would tell you what number to land on, and they were all north and south.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, oh, okay.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

So we didn't have to worry about changing, so you learned to do a lot of crosswind landings which were pretty dangerous, because you had girls taking off and landing beside you all the time. Here I will explain something else that was ______ for us, the men had a primary field and they were all flying the same kind of plane off the same kind of field, and then they had a secondary plane, the PT-13, where they learned how to fly instruments, then, at night, and they were all doing the same thing. And then they went to fire and they were all doing the same thing, and they were in a bomber and they were all doing the same thing, but we were doing all four different kinds of things off the field at Sweetwater, so we were flying four different kinds of airplanes four different speeds, but we were all taking off and landing on the same field, so it was much tougher and, of course, the tower told us where to go and what to do and when we had our training, the field was divided big in a quadrant and you were assigned a certain quadrant at different levels.

Patricia Kuentz:

I see.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And like when you were in instrument training and you would go up at night, maybe there would be 20 of us, and they would assign us a certain quadrant at a different altitude and you always had an instructor or other pilot with you to be watching because you were under the hood and it was at night --

Patricia Kuentz:

You couldn't see.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

-- you couldn't see anything, you had to fly exactly and trust your instruments; that was scary. I always knew where I was but I wasn't always sure they were where they were.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And coming in for the landing was scary.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

While I am at it, I will tell you the worst thing that ever happened was I was at the flight line one night waiting for my turn to fly -- there were about 20 of us down there waiting our turn -- two girls came in and they stalled the plane and crashed, it exploded and burned and, of course, we knew they were killed.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And they made all of us fly that night, we went up with our instructors. One girl couldn't, she washed out right then.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I remember how horrible it was watching that because we knew they were dead.

Patricia Kuentz:

And there was nothing you could do.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Nothing you could do. They were there with the, you know, crash, the ______ ______, but we were right there when it happened and I don't think I slept that night. I cried and just thought about everything, you know, what am I doing here and everything, but the rest of us made it through, but you get the idea. But we had a tougher situation than the men because when they go to a primary field, everybody's flying the same kind of plane and it's different with the different planes because they had different landing speeds, they had different takeoff speeds and they had different problems because we had to make lots of crosswind landing takeoffs because they couldn't keep changing, all the fields were north and south and if the wind was strong from the west or something, you had to be able to land that plane in that strong wind and keep it in your lane so you wouldn't run into someone else.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right, right. And you said, too, that the women were trained on every plane, basically, whereas the men -- so the women had a lot more training than the men?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Well, we did, because, like I said, we had the same primary training in open cockpit where we learned all of our maneuvers and you had to do them perfectly. Then we went to basic training in a PT-13 -- everybody did the same in the Air Force, where you learned to fly on instruments. You had to have Link training, which was horrible, it was a metal box in a metal hangar and the temperature every day there in June, July, and August was over 100 and the girls would just faint, but they let them do more of their training under the hood, where they put a black hood over where you were and the instructor was in back or another girl, when the instructor told you you passed it. Then later when you were doing some time, when the other pilots could go, but it was hard to trust the instruments because it didn't feel right, but you had to trust them, and the test pilots had to make sure that the instruments were all working okay, otherwise the girls would get killed, and that was part of my job later when I was a test pilot.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, right.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But that was the part (ph). And then the men divided -- they had a choice because they needed both really badly -- you could go to be a fighter pilot and do lots of all the extra maneuvers, you know, and evasive, trying to get out of the way of the gun men, and they had really dogfights, they had it different than nowadays, but if you were going to be a bomber pilot, you were going to go to two engine, then four engine, and you had to be able to stay the course and it was a different kind of training.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But we had to have both, because we were going to go out and fly everything they had.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And we did.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right, right. Now, how many months were you in training, then, six months?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Six months.

Patricia Kuentz:

A total of six months?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Six months.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

that time when we were in, they were down to just seniors in high school of the men, and they didn't have the college education that we had, and they had to have a lot more education, they didn't have the subjects that they should have had in college, the math and physics, and they were younger, but they wanted the younger men because they are more daredevilish.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right. Right.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

They didn't want older men. Older men were -- are instructors. For fighter pilots, particularly, and some of them were too over-enthusiastic and they got killed because they didn't pay attention to their instructions. And I will tell you about that later.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Where the WASP had to come in and show them how to fly the plane. (Laughter.)

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Well, that's true, and I will tell you about it. The B-39 and the B-26, and even the -- the B-29 and the P-39 -- B-26 -- B 29, yeah, and the P-39.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Okay.

Patricia Kuentz:

Now, when you were done with the six months of training, did you go home or did you go on leave?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah, we had ten days leave and after each class we had a three-day that we could -- well, it was really five days -- you would have a day to get where you were going and you could have two or three days at home, and I took the train, so I was able to go visit -- my husband couldn't get off because they didn't have a day off at all. The only day that the men in all the factories and the women had off was Christmas, and they worked 11 hours a day every day. I don't know if you know that or not.

Patricia Kuentz:

Wow, that's amazing.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But I went home to see my little girl each time, and my parents, then I went back and when I graduated we had, I think, like, a week or ten days that we could go be with them, then I came right to Pecos and that's where I stayed.

Patricia Kuentz:

You got to Pecos by train also?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah, everything was by train, and the trains were just loaded with people, you know, because there were so many going to war and parents and going to visit ______ and stuff. But back then the trains were the main thing. You would just do the trains; they didn't have many buses or anything and no planes.

Patricia Kuentz:

So you went to Pecos. Now, what was it like at Pecos, tell me about that.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Well, when I got there it was pretty cold already.

Patricia Kuentz:

What time of the year was this?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

October, the last of October.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

November, December, January, and February. Anyway, we checked in at the engineering -- we were going to be engineering test pilots.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And that's where we met the engineering officers.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay. Let me ask one question, do you know how you got picked for being a test pilot?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I am sure that they went over our education.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And mine was excellent for being an engineer.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay, all right. Have you --

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I had all my math and physics.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right. Now, did they ask you what you wanted --

Mildred Darlene Axton:

No.

Patricia Kuentz:

Or did they just pick you?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

No, they didn't ask you, they just chose you.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And they went out -- from my class -- and that's another thing -- 43-W-7 was the first class that we did different things. Up until my class, they were all ferried pilots. They went to the places and they picked up the planes and they ferried them to the bases or to the points of embarkation, because they didn't have in-flight refueling, they had to ship them on ships and all the planes had to go aboard ship.

Patricia Kuentz:

Uh-huh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And sometimes they were sunk, and all the big bombers, the four-engine bombers, either flew up across Greenland over to England where they had stops along the way or they flew down to South America where they could fly a short distance across the ocean, then they had to fly up Africa and then up that way to get to England.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

The B-24s and the B-17s, the four-engine bombers.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

That was the route, and they were having the older men in the Air Transport Command do that, and our three Inman brothers that were giving us the rides.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

kids, yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

As kids, were in the Air Transport Command and one of them was killed, Rolly was the one that taught me.

Patricia Kuentz:

I will be darned.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

He was killed, but that was what they were doing. You see, they took the -- the Air Force wanted the young men for fighter pilots. The ones that were a little older they wanted for bomber pilots, they figured they were more settled, they had more sense, you know.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I mean, they tried to -- it's true.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, that makes sense.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And they didn't want them over about 25 years old at all. I am not sure exactly of that of the army but that's the way it was.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay, I have got us off-track. You arrived at Pecos and you checked in at the engineering --

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And we had to be checked out in the planes that we were going to fly. This is funny, when you get in a plane, you have a -- there is a card board there but you have to memorize it and it has, probably, 30, 35 different things you have to check in the plane before you ever take off.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And when you are in training, you have to memorize all that and you have to do it and call it back to your instructor, like you have to say, "The brakes are on," and so and so forth and everything, and you have to go through all of that thing before you ever take off.

Patricia Kuentz:

Without the card, you had to have it memorized?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah, without the card.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And so when I went down and went for my check ride, I started calling them out and he said, "You don't have to do that anymore, you have already graduated. You don't have to call them out." (Laughter.)

Mildred Darlene Axton:

You just go through them yourself, that was funny. He said, you know, I did fine.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But that was funny. And they were so nice to us, and the men we replaced, they were just tickled to pieces, and the one that I replaced, what he told me, he said, "I am so glad. I want to get to combat." He said, "I'd so much rather be over there helping win the war. If I get killed over there, I will get killed with a little glory." He said, "I will probably get killed down here and I won't have any ______ from killed in Texas; testing, repairing damaged planes, there won't be any glory in that." (Laughter.)

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And they were tickled for us to do that, and they were extra nice to us and the mechanics were extra nice to us too, and we were really nice to them.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

After we had been there just a little bit, Tommie had a forced landing but she made it back to the field. We decided we would take the chief engineer -- or the mechanic that was in charge of the inspection of the repairs, and have him ride with us, and we had authority to ask him to come. And in a lot of cases, they were washed out pilots that went. And that was another thing, if a WASP washed out, she couldn't stay in and do anything, she was sent home.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Nothing.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But in the Air Force, if he washed out, why, he could become a bombardier or a navigator or he could become a mechanic or whatever he wanted to do; they give them a choice but they stay in the Air Force.

Patricia Kuentz:

Uh-huh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And quite a few of these that were mechanics that were working on the planes were washed out Air Force pilots.

Patricia Kuentz:

I see.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

If we knew that, after we finished our testing and everything, well, we would let them do some flying and they just loved us to pieces for that.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, I am sure.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I mean, they thought we were wonderful.

Patricia Kuentz:

They got up in an airplane again.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And also add some time.

Patricia Kuentz:

Uh-huh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And they thought we were wonderful and we trusted them.

Patricia Kuentz:

Well, now, did you fly every day, then, basically?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Oh, yeah. Well, we had Sunday off. And we ate our meals at the officers club, we were treated as officers. But we had a horrible place to live, they didn't have a place for us, they just put us into some old army barracks that were just terrible, so we stayed at the officers club until it was time to go home and go to bed. We had cracks in the walls and the wind was so cold.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And we did have a Jeep to ride because it was about, oh, half a mile from the airfield and we couldn't walk in that snow and everything, it was so cold, we had to wear heavy equipment.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah. How many were there?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

There were just three of us.

Patricia Kuentz:

There were just three.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And I have the picture -- I have the pictures to go with all this.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I am giving those to you to do whatever you want to with them.

Patricia Kuentz:

Well, good, I can scan those in and send them in to them.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Uh-huh. Then other pictures that you want we will work out.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But you see how the situation was.

Patricia Kuentz:

Uh-huh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And I will tell you something, and the people will like it, but they can cut out what they want, but in my talks everybody likes the things I throw in.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

As soon as my father -- of course everybody then was a hunter or a fisherman --

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And I learned to shoot. I had my own 410 when I was 12; I never did kill anything because I didn't want to, but I always went hunting with him, but I was a good shot, the rifle.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

soon as my dad heard, he had been to Pecos, he knew what a terrible place it was, just miles from nowhere and just cactus and coyotes and banditos and everything, and he was afraid I would have a forced landing out someplace and I wouldn't have any protection at all, and he went out and bought me a brand-new Colt 32 automatic and when I checked in, why, I had that, and, of course, they said, "Well, you won't need this," and I didn't have it, but they gave it to me when I left.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, so they basically took the gun --

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But the girls that flew the latest planes, the ones that flew the ones with the Norton bombsight and the ones that flew the ones that were -- the ones that they would want information about, our latest fighters and everything, those girls learned to shoot 45 automatics and they had to wear those and if they couldn't get to an air base that was guarded, if they had to land at a municipal airport or they had a forced landing somewhere, they had to stay in that plane and guard it and shoot anyone that tried to bother them, so those girls did have guns.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But the rest of us that were at a safe base and we were staying there, we couldn't, but they gave my gun back to me.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And I have had it all the time. But just about six months ago -- and it's beautiful and they are worth a lot of money -- my daughter, I told her that she could have it. She said, "Mom, I am ready to have that gun, could I have it?" So I gave it to her. We taught her how to shoot it, and this was my original holster, but ______ had it ______ ______ of course, now he got it for me.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, how pretty.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

For World War II.

Patricia Kuentz:

Uh-huh, uh-huh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And when we would go to air shows, I take my helmet -- not my original -- but my helmet and goggles in the cockpit of a P-51 and let kids sit in them and they are just in hog heaven -- I am trying not to crush this. (Laughter.)

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I am going to put this over here where it's safe.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

They just love ______ ______. (The interviewee walked away from the mic.)

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

This isn't my original. When I checked out, when I had to go home, I had to turn it in, but my PAF bought me another one, my leather ______ Air Force jacket.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

______ has my original hats, my original ______ on it.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, my goodness.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And that's all Air Force wear, and when they tried to change it the Air Force said, "You can take the damn planes, but we are going to keep our Air Force jayjo (ph) jackets." (Laughter.)

Patricia Kuentz:

Now, tell me what we are looking at, for the tape here, is a beautiful leather jacket, but tell me about this little emblem on it, this little leather emblem.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Well, we had to -- everyone had to have a patch and that is a -- we called it Fiffella -- and it's a good little gremlin that was supposed to look over us and Walt Disney designed it for us.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, my gosh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

This one shows up better. And so that was --

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, oh, she is over by her flight suit and she is -- there is a little Fiffella on that, too.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

She is darling.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yes, she is. How does that --

Mildred Darlene Axton:

F-I-F-F-E-L-L-A.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, I see her.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

See her? Isn't she darling?

Patricia Kuentz:

And there is a little copyright or trademark on here, WDP for Walt Disney Productions?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Uh-huh.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

That's our patch.

Patricia Kuentz:

She is so cute.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And the patch on my leather jacket, that's the same as they wore in World War II.

Patricia Kuentz:

Uh-huh. The same as the men wore?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And when I had to resign, I had -- because of my mother's illness, I had to check mine in. But when I joined the Commemorative Air Force, which was the Confederate Air Force, 17 years ago, they bought me one.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, cute.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

So I had it.

Patricia Kuentz:

So that's this one. Now you have got one again?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Uh-huh, but it's just like all the rest of them.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And that's what all the Air Force pilots wear, except when they have to wear the winter flight suit.

Patricia Kuentz:

Heavy, heavier stuff, yeah. We can just leave it there.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

We will talk about it.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, we will talk about it. Tell me about some of the things that happened, then, when you were at Pecos. Were there issues with the planes that had been repaired? Most of these had been in flight and --

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Just once.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Every plane I tested was okay except one.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And I will tell you about this right now. It was a twin engine, UC-78, that they were taking the bomber pilots. Now, I want to tell you this first, quite a few of the girls washed out in twin engine because all of our flying up until then had been with a stick and the rudders and we did it with the stick.

Patricia Kuentz:

With your right hand?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

With your right hand. But when you got into the bomber, the twin engine, the UC-78, two seats, fuel -- over here you do the fuel with your right hand, and then you have got a cord if the engine is going right, you know, it's synchronized, and you had a wheel, a stick with a half wheel on it, so you had to learn to fly that plane and do all your maneuvers with a stick and a wheel, you had to --

Patricia Kuentz:

Using your left hand?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Using two things, using your left hand.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And that was really hard, and it seems like we had six hours -- I am not sure -- but they tried to give us enough time, but some of the girls just could not do it; they just could not. Then you had to use this (indicating) to regulate your fuel and then you had to have your engines going just the same and everything.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right. So it was tricky?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

It was tough.

Patricia Kuentz:

It was tricky?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

It was tough to do that, it was tough for me but I did it.

Patricia Kuentz:

Uh-huh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But everything was fine, and I had the head mechanic in the back. We had the pilot and copilot --, but we never had the copilot and he was always sitting in the back, the one that we took with us.

Patricia Kuentz:

So there was always a mechanic on board with you?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

No.

Patricia Kuentz:

No?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

We had to ask for one if we wanted it. We flew everything by ourself unless we asked, but we asked.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And we asked that man that was in charge of the repairs, and they were usually glad to go.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But, you know, they checked everything really and they damaged the planes quite a bit. I mean, flying crosswind, there were lots of ground loops, and in a ground loop they would tear up the prop and the wing and ruin the engine or they would run into another plane that was landing next to it or sometimes they would forget to put the gear down or they would just have a bad landing, they weren't just little minor things that they tore up, but they could still replace them because they needed the planes. So on this flight, after I had been about 300 feet in the air, I heard the engine sputter and I knew it was going out, the way it was acting up, and all I had time to do is I just did a quick prayer and I radioed the tower and told them that I was losing an engine, the right engine, and we all know that if you are in a twin engine plane and one engine quits, that plane is going to go immediately into a spin, that's just the law of physics, so I know my prayer was answered because if you have altitude, you have a thing that you can wind and trim the plane so you can fly it and bring it back, but at 300 feet I didn't have any time to do that, all I had time -- and I said, "I can't get clear around because I am losing altitude. I have got to come in crosswind and clear the field," so they were yelling, "Clear the field. Plane's coming in," and I could hear the ambulances and the fire trucks and everything, and I held that plane up and it came in. I came in crosswind and landed it and I didn't hurt a thing, and I know my prayer was answered because the laws of physics and everybody, the pilots I talked to said, "You were right, angels saved you."

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Because it just won't do that. It won't stay that way on one engine.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah. (Laughter.)

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But it did.

Patricia Kuentz:

Well.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And I got out and he couldn't even move. He was white as a sheet and they had to lift him out.

Patricia Kuentz:

This poor mechanic.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

He thought he was going to die. I didn't even have time to think about dying. I was just trying to get.... But they really cleared the field and they had the fire trucks and the ambulances and everything there and I didn't scratch it or anything.

Patricia Kuentz:

Hum. Did he go up in a plane with you again?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I don't remember if he did or not.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I tell that in my talks and people are very interested.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yes.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And I know that angels have been looking after my brother too, because he was shot down. He was never shot down in aerial combat, but he liked to go in in stray fields and, of course, they had antiaircraft and he was shot down by antiaircraft and had to bail out because his plane was damaged and out of control and he hit the tail boom of his P-38, and he was in the area around Guadalcanal, which is warm water with lots of sharks, 14 hours and bleeding and the sharks didn't bother him.

Patricia Kuentz:

And he was rescued?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah, he was rescued. He thought he was a goner because the ships weren't coming by. But a ship came by and a sailor saw him and he didn't even have his life raft. He hit the tail boom and it ripped his life raft off, all he had on was his Mae West in the water, 14 hours and bleeding, and he thought, sure.... but the sailor saw him. So later -- here is another one of my firsts. I was down in Corpus Christi and they saw an article in the paper about the WASPS, about me, I was the first woman ever invited to speak for the graduation of Navy and Marine pilots. The captain down there read the article and called and asked me if I would come and speak for the graduation of a class of Navy pilots. There were two women in it --

Patricia Kuentz:

What year was that?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

That was 1990, and I was just flabbergasted because I knew that they always had admirals and commanders of aircraft carriers and things.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Because we knew some Navy pilots back at that time, they would come to our reunion, and of course I accepted, and they invited me back and the second time they gave me a gold Navy plane.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

You see them up there (ph). And I am the only one of the WASPS to have those. They never invited any of the others.

Patricia Kuentz:

Is that right?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And they did invite all my friends in that area to come and be with me and they came the first time and I think there were eight or nine the next time, and they gave us a whole day of entertainment tours.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Luncheon, and then the big -- their graduation is really a big affair, all the city officials and all the admirals and parents and everything.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And it's a big affair and then they had a big dinner afterwards. But the second time I -- this is another thing, this is true -- while I was giving my speech, my talk, it was only a 10 or 12-minute one, but I put in all the main things that I was able to, and thanked the Navy for saving my brother's life, too, and they really appreciated that, and I got in all the main things.

Patricia Kuentz:

10 to 12 minutes is not a very long speech.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

No, but I got in the main things, and they liked me, they sort of wanted to adopt me. (Laughter.)

Mildred Darlene Axton:

We got really well acquainted with the captain and he and his wife came and went fishing with us. (Laughter.)

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And they invited us to their place, you know, we got along really great and they invited me a third time, but I didn't take it because the second time, part way through I felt like I was going to throw up, I was so nervous and there, again -- in front of all these people -- I mean, I was ______ their banquet, where they had their dances and parties and that, ______ ______ and there is no way to get out without running right past everybody.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I just said a quick prayer and Wayne was taping it and they were taping it too.

Patricia Kuentz:

Wayne was your husband?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Uh-huh. And he ran it and I said, There, nobody would have noticed it. Nobody noticed it, but I knew right where it was; it probably was just a few seconds and I was okay. And as soon as the whole thing was over, I said, "We can't stay for the banquet. We have got to leave," they told them I was sick.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

soon as we got out of there I was just as sick as could be and I was sick all that evening. There was another time when I was saved.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, a little angel on your shoulder.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Really. You know I wouldn't make up a story like that.

Patricia Kuentz:

No.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But then I wouldn't go back anymore. They invited me a third time and I wouldn't go.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But I have never had any trouble like that since.

Patricia Kuentz:

Isn't that odd? Well, maybe you were kind of sick to your -- maybe there was a little virus or something?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

No, I don't think so.

Patricia Kuentz:

Do you think it was just nerves?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Well, it was waiting so long. They had a big class and they do all the -- I had to wait so long.

Patricia Kuentz:

Uh-huh, before you could speak, yeah, yeah. So now tell me, any other interesting stories about Pecos, while you were at Pecos? How long were you there?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I was only there three months, but that's when my mother got sick.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, yeah, okay. Well, then, let's talk a little bit about, you know, how did you find out your mother was sick?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Well, of course, they telegrammed.

Patricia Kuentz:

It was a telegram?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

It was real bad and she couldn't take care of my little girl, so I wired Jacqueline Cochran that I had to resign and they let me resign, and they flew me up to -- and this is when -- I didn't never check out of testing, the B-25, that's where -- they had some B-25s there, some of the better students, they were letting them fly them and -- because that's what they were going to go into, the B-20s or B-26s and I had had -- (End of tape 1, side 1.) (Beginning of tape 1, side 2.)

Patricia Kuentz:

And he let you --

Mildred Darlene Axton:

He let me fly it up there.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, so that's how you got to fly the B-25?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

So I have flown the B-25 and I have flown the B-29 Feefee through the Air Force --

Patricia Kuentz:

Since then?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Oh, yes.

Patricia Kuentz:

Afterwards?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

When I joined the Commemorative Air Force, well then I got to fly almost anything I was in. And at that time I was in my 70s and I had high blood pressure, I couldn't pass the physical, so I couldn't take off and land it but I was in the plane I got to fly it. We had a beautiful Beech C-45 twin engine; I got to fly it a lot.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, fun. Fun.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I have ridden with General Ersler (ph) in a P-51 in an air show and that was.... And then I was invited to fly -- we just had one B-29 in the whole world.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And I got to fly it about 100 miles from Garden City to Wichita and I have pictures in there for you.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And I have pictures in my plane. I have a lot of good pictures that you can take with you.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah. When we finish the story, then we can go picture by picture, kind of you can explain in your own words.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah, and then I want to show you around.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, yeah. So you took the train home and I think we were off-tape when you told me a little bit about what you did once you got home, so maybe you can tell us what you did when you got out of the service.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Then I -- I went out to Boeing which was making the B-29s.

Patricia Kuentz:

And that was...?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

That was in 1943, February 1943.

Patricia Kuentz:

In your home --

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Uh-huh, yeah.

Patricia Kuentz:

That was the Boeing plant?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah, that's where my husband was working. So I went right out there and when I was interviewed, well, they sent me right up to an experimental engineering flight test because I came with an Air Force flight test engineer.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And I also had a college degree.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And the chief of the engineering flight test was tickled to pieces and they just made me a flight test engineer and on this one time -- and I don't say anything about it in any articles other than just my home town or something, but they had the two girls come to teach the men had to fly but that was in July, but while I was at Boeing on May the 5th, 1944, they ______ ______ was a chief flight engineer Alton Rowley (ph) for ______ had me crawl through the tunnel and come up and I got to fly the B-29 for about 20, 25 minutes.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And I have the papers to prove I was the first woman to ever fly it, but I didn't fly it the same way they did, but I still was the first woman to fly a B-29, but I don't make a big deal about it because we are the ones that he brought in to show them how to do it properly because they were afraid of it, so many deaths, and it was catching fire and stuff, they just weren't paying attention to do it correctly. He just shamed them into it. I will also tell you that the same thing happened with the really fast B-39 and the B-26, it had real unusual characteristics. Now, you know how to fly but every different kind of plane has different characteristics.

Patricia Kuentz:

Sure.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Different airspeeds and different characteristics to fly, how long you have to hold it on the ground and everything.

Patricia Kuentz:

Uh-huh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And so many of the P-39 pilots were getting killed the first time they took the plane off, that they -- the WASPS had been flying them successfully for months and months, that they sent a WASP in to fly them and just shamed the men into paying attention in their classes and paying attention to all the characteristics of the plane.

Patricia Kuentz:

That might be different than what they were used to.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And when they did, they started flying them okay, and it was the same with the B-26. I talked to a man in our OX-5 Pioneers and he had been restoring planes, and during the war he was in a B-26 ______, the Martin Marauder, and they had lots of crashes. And he said that when he was down there with all the planes flying, they had a little song they used to sing: One a day in Tampa Bay, because the bay is full of B-26s until they took the girls down and they had been flying them without any crashes at all and they just weren't paying attention and flying them right. Just the same with the B-29, they were too anxious to get off and the engines would heat up and they didn't get to proper procedure.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And General Tibbits got two girls that had been flying the B-24s four-engine successfully and trained them how to fly the B-29 and Boeing was sending them out engineers too. I had heard that from friends at Boeing, that they were sending them out to places to teach them how to do it properly.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, they had more experience, or good experience because --

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah, oh, yeah, because Boeing engineers had to test them before they let the Air Force have them.

Patricia Kuentz:

Sure.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But that was back before the Air Force even had them.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And they were working like mad to get them ready by June the 1st, so they could fly them -- teach them that so they could fly them to India to get ready to plan to bomb Japan because they had to have the long range ones, it was going to take six or eight months to train them to do that and get it all ready and they were working like mad. And on this one flight, Alton Rowley (ph) -- and like I said I have the papers to show that they said I flew it, and I have got the list of the crew and I have got a big paper ______ ______ -- when I flew Feefee later -- and I can tell you when Liz and I do something, we get articles in papers, but there are so many men they don't....

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Right down here it says that I was the first woman to fly the B-29, and I have the papers that were on it.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, that's neat.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But that was in 1991 when they let me fly it about 100 miles.

Patricia Kuentz:

That's great.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

It was also for a Boeing open house and they sent their top photographer, and I will show you ______ at Boeing, all my big pictures are out at Fleming Field, I have six great big posters that I put on easels because I went out to Crystal and it was so hot I just couldn't stay and I didn't have time to take them and I just left them for the people that sell the books to let the people look at and use, so I don't have them here right now but I have the pictures.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

In my -- in this that I use in my talk.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay. Let's talk a little bit more about your time in the service, then we can get to --

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Okay.

Patricia Kuentz:

I just love it, you live so much in the present, you know, that it's hard to keep you talking about the past.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah.

Patricia Kuentz:

When you were in the WASPS now, how did you stay in touch with your family?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Oh, write letters.

Patricia Kuentz:

How often did you write?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Well, I wrote all the time.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I wrote to Wayne every night and I wrote to mom pretty often, mom and dad.

Patricia Kuentz:

Now, did they send you pictures so you could stay in touch with how your daughter was growing up and everything?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah, I had some pictures.

Patricia Kuentz:

Uh-huh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And, anyway, the -- we did not make many phone calls because we didn't have much money.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

It was hard to do that.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But I did get to see them between classes.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And after I graduated, and then, of course, when I went home, why, we had her with us, and a really nice lady lived with us and took care of her.

Patricia Kuentz:

How did you --

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And then we were only there -- I only worked five months, then they drafted Wayne into the infantry, where they were getting ready for the invasion.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And they were taking everybody and putting them in the infantry.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And he did real well in that and it saved his life probably because he went in in June and in December was the Battle of the Bulge where we had lower loss of life than any battle.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And his class graduated that he was in right then and they -- he did real well and he had a lot of college and they kept him to be a sergeant to train more and -- but he didn't want to be an officer anyway, because a lieutenant in the infantry, they said they lived about 20 minutes because they had to lead them in and they picked them off right away.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

That's why so many sergeants were immediately made officers.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Then they got picked off.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But we were real lucky we all survived but I had that -- well, I guess it was really only about three months at Boeing. Anyway, now, what were we doing?

Patricia Kuentz:

We were talking about your husband had to go into the service and we were talking about -- well, we started out talking about how to stay in touch with your family. Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Well, we didn't talk much.

Patricia Kuentz:

So, now, did they feed you pretty well while you were in the service?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yes.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I will tell you that's one thing. Those women down -- yeah. Can you wait a minute?

Patricia Kuentz:

We can stop the tape here (Going off the tape.)

Patricia Kuentz:

We are back on tape and we were talking about food.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Do you want more water?

Patricia Kuentz:

No, I am fine.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah.

Patricia Kuentz:

And you said the ladies of Sweetwater were good cooks?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

They sure were, and we could eat all we wanted and we were hungry too.

Patricia Kuentz:

So they cooked -- did you eat at the officers mess or --

Mildred Darlene Axton:

No -- well, while we were in training it was buffet.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yes, that's right.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But at Pecos, they were officers.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yes.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And we were treated as officers, and we stayed there until it was time to get ready to go to bed because there was nothing there but a little old bed and a shower and cracks in the wall and, gosh, we hated to take a shower because you would just freeze it was so cold.

Patricia Kuentz:

So you used it as a living room almost?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah, the officers club is really nice, and they had slot machines and music and you could dance and everything. But I was married and I never dated anybody but we had a nice time visiting.

Patricia Kuentz:

You could write your letters there?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah, write letters and just stay there. And we had a Jeep at our disposal, too, they did that so we could ride between.... The barracks were just like we had at Sweetwater, were just ______ they were so old but they were worse down there because there were cracks in the wall and it was so cold. But we were really well treated.

Patricia Kuentz:

Good. Did you feel a lot of stress or pressure at all?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Huh-uh, no, I never did. My nerves are shot now because all I have been through with all my family all my life but my nerves were really good and steady then and my health was excellent; it's still good, except for my blood pressure.

Patricia Kuentz:

Uh-huh, yeah. Well, did you do anything special for good luck, a good luck charm or anything like that?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

My good luck was just my prayers, I think. I sure said my prayers a lot. I still do.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Eight, ten times a day for all my family.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, yeah. Did the women pull any pranks on each other or anything like that?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Oh, yeah, they did cutup things that didn't amount to anything. We had some free time, in the books you can see pictures where they are cuttin' up and everything.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay. Being silly. What kinds of things did they do?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Well, we didn't do much cuttin' up in ours but later -- oh, I got a picture where we are on the table and with the -- ______ dark feet in there like we are flying upside down, you know, just cuttin' up.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But my friend Tommie, the one that was killed; I have to tell you about her because it's sad. She was older and she was the only one they haven't found. She crashed in ______ post in the Pacific Ocean, something was wrong with the B-51 when she took off; they never found her body. But Tommie had been married and her husband was killed. He joined the RAF, and he was killed and she was so in love with him that she spent her own money to learn to be a pilot so she could do something to help avenge her husband and help the war, and she and I were the only two to graduate out of the six in our bay. So we did -- when the girls would -- they didn't have any dances or parties with men on our base, men just weren't allowed.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But if they had a free day, like a Saturday night, they would bus them over -- there are lots of air bases around.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And then bring them all back, but we never did go because we weren't interested in dating, I wasn't and she didn't want to either.

Patricia Kuentz:

What was her last name?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Tompkins.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, Tompkins, that's why --

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And we would go to the movies, or we could go swimming when we had a day off or go hiking and get our hair fixed. A lot of times we visited some of the people, some of the people of the town would have us over.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

You know, to dinner.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, uh-huh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

They were real nice. A funny thing -- and you might -- they might want this because people get a real kick out of it -- when they changed from Houston, they first started at Houston --

Patricia Kuentz:

Do you mean the training was at Houston?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

For a few months, then they had to have bigger or more people. A young man, when I was down at Pecos -- I mean, down at Harlington, told me this story, because he was in high school when we came over, and they had to fly all the -- they had about 100 planes, they had to fly from Houston to Sweetwater to start the train there, and he said he was in high school and he said, Everybody in town was out there along the roads waiting for him and they were all making bets on how many would get lost and how many would crash.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, jeez.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

It was a big deal. They were having picnics and waiting for all these planes to fly in from Houston. People don't know this story because it was just told to me by this young man.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And he said that the planes just kept coming in and there was all the different kinds of planes making nice landings, everybody showed up and so many people lost their money. (Laughter.)

Patricia Kuentz:

Because nobody crashed?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Nobody crashed. Now, don't you think that's funny?

Patricia Kuentz:

That's a good story, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

You haven't heard that story?

Patricia Kuentz:

No, I have never heard that story, that will be on the tape, that's good.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

For people that are interested and listen to this tape, like my talk, they just come up and hug me and say, "Oh, it's so interesting, you tell us stuff. It's not just, you know"....

Patricia Kuentz:

We did this and we did that, it's the --

Mildred Darlene Axton:

It's all the really interesting --

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

-- things in it like my interesting life. I mean, my brother and I, we had real high bridges over the rivers, and that was one thing we loved to do was take off our shoes and climb over those big steel bridges, climb up, then walk across the top.

Patricia Kuentz:

Did your mother know you were doing these things?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Well, they were fishing down below and not paying any attention to us. (Laughter.)

Patricia Kuentz:

That's probably what she did when she was young.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah, yeah.

Patricia Kuentz:

Well, now, tell me, did you make close friendships, then, that you kept up over the years when you were in the service, in the WASPS?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Well, not right after the WASPS.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I, of course, bonded with Tommie, she was my closest friend.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And my others were washed out, the ones that you lived with that were your closest, because you weren't with the others very much.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Except in a big group.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But Tommie and I corresponded and it was just in December -- or November -- when I was home and it just broke my heart, because we were such close friends and we did things together --

Patricia Kuentz:

The group in Pecos, did you stay in touch with them or not?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Well, she was the one that was --

Patricia Kuentz:

She was in Pecos? Oh, I'm sorry.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah, she was in Pecos.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, I'm sorry. I was thinking she was --

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah, she was in Pecos.

Patricia Kuentz:

-- your roommate?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah, I will show you the picture, yeah. She was in Pecos, too, so we were together the whole time, and I am trying to help their relatives with information I have got and pictures and everything.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, my.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And I guess you know that we can now be buried in Arlington if we want to.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yes.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

That just came out, and the first one was and I saw that on TV and it's in our WASP newsletter, that we can now have -- where lieutenants can have an officer's burial, but I am going to be buried in Wichita by my husband where I already have it with my name, everything but the date on it.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And that's where I want to be buried.

Patricia Kuentz:

But what a nice honor to be able to.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

To be able to do it, but, no, I never, except Lucille Wise, except when she finally moved back from Washington where she lived, she contacted me, then she lived out west, but she come to Wichita and we would always go to lunch, so we were the only ones that were really very close.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay. Now, how did you -- were you in any kind of a veterans organization at all?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

No, but we started having our own reunions.

Patricia Kuentz:

When did you do that?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I didn't go to the first one.

Patricia Kuentz:

Uh-huh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I don't remember exactly when they did. They started having smaller ______. But the first one that I went to was down at Sweetwater and that was in 1986 and the -- that's also when the local squadron, the Confederate Air Force, put on the air show and I got real well-acquainted with them because I took my granddaughter and she was pregnant at the time and the three of them -- I have a picture of my daughter, I will show you -- invited us to go up and fly with them. The reason that we went out to the airport was because they were taking the girls out to some big ranch in big trucks to watch -- have a barbecue and watch, oh, a rodeo.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, uh-huh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And they told her it was kind of rough roads so she was eight months pregnant, so we decided to stay in. So we went out to the airport and the pilots were out there and they said, Well, we will take you up.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, boy.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

So one in a PT (ph) took my daughter, and he is now the commander of the whole thing and I went in a smaller plane. And Annette was standing there and she was so pregnant she didn't think she was going to get to go, and this man that had the plane came over to her and he said, "Honey, you come with me and we will just fly straight and level and you will be all right," then he turned around to help her in and she was already in. (Laughter.)

Patricia Kuentz:

She was ready to go.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And at the time they had left -- at the party they were downtown and they were having a parade and we buzzed the parade. (Laughter.)

Mildred Darlene Axton:

So we got acquainted with them real well, and I am still in correspondence, and they are the ones -- I thought it was all men, the Confederate Air Force.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

That's what I had heard.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And when we met them, well, they invited me to join, and my husband said, "Oh, that would be the best thing in the world for you and get you back with your airplanes flying and everything," it was quite expensive, but he joined for me, so I have been in for 17 -- well, for 17 years, longer than -- and at the time I don't think there were any other women in it, and they have just treated me royally. We didn't even have -- the next year -- that Ben Strom logo (ph) came down and organized one, so I was a charter member of the original one in Wichita.

Patricia Kuentz:

And then through that group, then --

Mildred Darlene Axton:

That's how I got to talking again.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I was a teacher. I went back to teaching for a while. I taught aeronautics and chemistry and biology and I also coached debate, that's why I am a speaker.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I am a debate coach.

Patricia Kuentz:

And where did you teach?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

At Wichita High School (ph), ______ we went back after the war, and that was our home all the time until he died.

Patricia Kuentz:

So you were used to getting in front of groups and speaking?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Oh, yeah, and just extemporaneous and impromptu and not a talk. So many of them will just read a talk.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Or something. But I just tailor it to whether it's little kids or rotary or school or --

Patricia Kuentz:

Veterans or whatever?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I am helping -- I talked twice with the Civil Air Patrol and I will have more and I have been talking for the aviation students up at St. Cloud University and they invited me to go to that big international thing with them. Imagine, those young people invited an 84-year-old lady to go with them. I had a ball. (Laughter.)

Patricia Kuentz:

Now, tell me which international meeting this was.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Women in Aviation International, it's the worldwide.

Patricia Kuentz:

Where was it?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

In Cincinnati, and it's 700 miles and we went in two vans and I was the only one that didn't take a nap either way. I have got pictures I will show you.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, cute. And that was just this May, wasn't it?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah.

Patricia Kuentz:

I'll be darned. Now I have two more questions and then we will go to pictures for stories about those.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Okay.

Patricia Kuentz:

How do you think your experience affected your life?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Oh, it's just made it absolutely fantastic and being able to be in the planes and, like I said over all this time, usually when I was in the plane I got to fly it some, even when I couldn't pass the -- get my license, when I started having high blood pressure, they absolutely will not let you have a license to take off and land.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But you can still fly a plane.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And you don't -- it's like -- pretty much like driving a car. I mean, each plane's different, but once you have flown a lot.... I went -- I wouldn't have any fear of trying to land a bigger plane now if it was necessary, you know.

Patricia Kuentz:

Uh-huh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

You don't forget something that you have been doing a lot.

Patricia Kuentz:

It's like riding a bicycle.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah, or swimming. I mean, if a plane were in trouble, I think I could bring it down without it crashing.

Patricia Kuentz:

Uh-huh. So being a WASP expanded your opportunities for you?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Oh, oh, just wonderfully, and they had -- I taught at Wichita High School East which was a large high school with about 3,000 students and I could -- in Eden Prairie and they didn't have an aeronautics course when they had me we were talking and I said, "Well, gee, I would love to teach aeronautics and they ought to have it." And I went out to the college where I had heard they had stopped their ROTC program, we didn't have any books, and they gave me all their college ROTC books to teach it from.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, boy.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

So that was going great guns. And a kid going about 50 miles an hour got -- oh, we were into it about three or four months and I got glider pilot training from my -- is that your phone?

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay, let's see. We were talking about how this experience had broadened your -- given you opportunities to teach. Now -- oh, you were talking about teaching aeronautics and some kid was going 60 miles an hour.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah, and, luckily, everything -- he ran a stoplight. Carol Normy (ph) rode -- she was a senior in high school then, rode with me, and when he hit me, that door that she was on flew open and my books and everything went out, and if she had been there, she probably would have been killed or hurt really bad but she wasn't. She rode with her boyfriend; he picked her up that morning.

Patricia Kuentz:

Hum.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I wasn't hurt really bad but my nerves were just shot and I was in the hospital a while. I had some injuries but nothing real bad. But when I went back and -- and I was coaching debate too -- and I had already coached it the first year and we started winning a tournament or two at the end but the kids were just doing great, they had already won three tournaments, I knew they were just going great, and here I was, and when I went back and tried to teach, I just couldn't do it.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Besides that, most teachers were just teaching one or two subjects and I was teaching three or four.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, yeah. That's a lot of preparation time.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And I had the aeronautics on the side and debate and I was driving them all over, eight kids in a station wagon, there was two seats and in the back they just sat on the floor and I was taking them all over to tournament on the weekend and I was just so busy.

Patricia Kuentz:

Uh-huh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I just couldn't, so I only taught three years there.

Patricia Kuentz:

Well, that's great that you were able to continue your aeronautics for a while, teaching it for a while.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

But quite a few people and organizations knew about it, so I was giving some talks but nothing like up here.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

The first one I gave up here, somebody found out that I was a WASP and they told them I was at Prairie View (ph) for older people, and they put the article and the picture in eight cities, it was the Sun Paper.

Patricia Kuentz:

The Sun Post or the Sun whatever?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Yeah, anyway, I went out and it had a good picture and a good article.

Patricia Kuentz:

And people started calling you?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Uh-huh, and from then on I just had all I could handle. And it just snowballed, and it snowballed to this place and expanded like.... I spent five days on the Cincinnati trip and the trip back and forth, and then I came back and had some air shows and some talks, then I went four days down to Charleston to the big reenactment and I get all this stuff and pictures from people and I try to answer letters and they send me things and I go get them. I spent a small fortune on copies to send to people.

Patricia Kuentz:

I am sure. Yeah, I am sure.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

All the color ones are a dollar and a half. I buy so many they let me have them for a dollar but all my colors, and not only that, my Coffeyville Junior College, my OX-5, my 99s, my junior college, and my -- I belong to the Jay Hawk Wing, I still belong there. I still send to the Lobo Wing. I belong to the Duluth Wing and my relatives, everybody wants the good pictures.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I spend a small fortune on them.

Patricia Kuentz:

Well, but, you know, some people golf and you do this.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I know it, and I just love it, but when you said you would talk to me, I said I was so tired.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And I can't take the heat, so I just told them -- I went twice and I had to turn around and come back and I had to leave my big posters -- and they are really great.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I have six of them put on easels.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Behind me so they can -- or in front, at air shows, then it is always so crowded around, but I am definitely going to be able to do it on the Duluth because it's cool up there --

Patricia Kuentz:

It never gets hot there.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

-- they have two -- the Air Force gave us a big hangar and they built two air conditioned rooms there.

Patricia Kuentz:

That's nice.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And I had the Blue Angels up there, so I can handle that.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

In the fall I can handle it, but I am going to not take everything.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I am going to mainly take the ones with the kids.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, that's nice. That's nice --

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Not over two a month.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, you hit a new generation on that.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Besides, I will be 85 and I don't want to (ph) stay alive.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, you need to keep your energy up, that's for sure.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

The college students and the kids and I will just eliminate a lot of the adult ones because I just can't do three, four, five a month anymore.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, yeah. I want to get to the pictures and what we will do is just talk about pictures until the tape runs outs, then I will just write down whatever else we need. Is there anything else that you want to talk about regarding your WASP experience that we haven't put on the tape yet? Did we miss any important points that you can think of?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Oh, yeah.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay. If we don't --

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Kind of let me show you.

Patricia Kuentz:

Well, now, can we get this on the tape?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Okay.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Let me show you this.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Here I am flying the B-29.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, is that fun.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Look at that. ______ ______ at that. I have got four -- (Mrs. Axton walked away from the mic.)

Mildred Darlene Axton:

-- of these things and ______ things. And this I was honored -- I was alumna of the year at my junior college, then I was one of ten in the National and I went to Kentucky -- no, Atlanta, there were ten of us, and I will show you being honored; one's an astronaut. And then last year I didn't even know that they had entered me in and I was honored in a coffee table book as one of the hundred at the hundred years of community and technical colleges.

Patricia Kuentz:

And that book is called, "A Century of Innovation"?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Uh-huh, I will show you. I have had just wonderful honors. Here.

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, sure enough.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And it's over on the next page. I will show you the big thing. It was fantastic, and I didn't even know they had entered. After the OX-5 made me their historian of the year, that's the old Pioneer pilots, OX-5, he just insisted that I give him information. I didn't think I -- that was a national honor, and then the junior college found out about that and they made me their alumna of the year where I graduated junior college at Coffeyville, and then I didn't know about that. They sent it into headquarters in Washington and I was chosen as one of 10 top alumnae in the nation.

Patricia Kuentz:

Wow.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And I didn't know anything about this, but the president of the junior college and his wife came over. They said, "We want to come over and take you to dinner."

Patricia Kuentz:

And they brought it to you.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

They brought it.

Patricia Kuentz:

Isn't that something?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

He entered it and I was chosen of one of 100 in the 100 year and I was the only airplane pilot. Now, that's ridiculous, because there were lots of men that did things but I am the girl that they are looking for.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And there were four astronauts in here and one pilot.

Patricia Kuentz:

My word.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Of the 100.

Patricia Kuentz:

This is fabulous, yeah?

Mildred Darlene Axton:

That's amazing, isn't it?

Patricia Kuentz:

That's fun. That's fun. Now, do you want to come over and sit by me and we will look at pictures until our tape runs out. We have got a little bit of tape left.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Those are -- I gave you a pretty good assortment.

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I will show you my pictures. I have got all these and they show you --

Patricia Kuentz:

Okay. Now, let me move this recorder here. And we had plenty of -- (Loud static moving tape recorder.)

Mildred Darlene Axton:

I told you. And they just love this picture about my grandpa, and the men always all recognize that as the unit (ph).

Patricia Kuentz:

Oh, my gosh.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And he was the one that was such a fast draw that he never had to kill anybody.

Patricia Kuentz:

This is Hal Fletcher, Chief of Police, Coffeyville, Kansas, 1910. He had the first motorcycle in Kansas and it was called the Indian.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Now, it's an Indian motorcycle.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, it was called the Indian.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Not a Harley Davidson.

Patricia Kuentz:

Right.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

And the men know what -- that is what they were.

Patricia Kuentz:

They go nuts over this, yeah, yeah.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

They go nuts, yeah, yeah. Now, let me, let me -- before we -- because we are going to do this until it stops, I just need to -- let me do my little wind up here. I have to say, Mickey, this has been an absolute delight to come and talk with you. I sure appreciate your doing this tape with me for the Library of Congress, Veterans History Project, so thank you very much.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Am I going to have a copy?

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, oh, actually, I will. I will get you a copy of this tape, of this tape.

Mildred Darlene Axton:

Oh, that's what I thought.

Patricia Kuentz:

Yeah, yeah. I thought I told you that before but maybe I didn't tell you this time. But anyhow, yeah, okay.

[Interview concluded]

 
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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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