Thursday, June 10, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: Dad's military personnel file, part three

I'm sharing the recently-acquired military personnel file for my dad, a WWII U.S. Naval aviator in the Pacific, a few pages at a time.  Click here to see what I've posted so far, and click on any image to enlarge it.

This week concludes Dad's initial application for Naval aviator training.  A great find was letters of recommendation from his minister, principal and assistant principal in Sulphur, Louisiana.

Rev. T.J. Delaughter of First Baptist Church wrote a nice letter, saying local men "speak of [Dad] as being a good honest boy."  The pastor, I've been told, would stop by occasionally to have coffee with my grandma Elia Legere Hall, whose biscuits he really enjoyed.  Somehow, I doubt many Southern ministers were thin with all the good cooks around back then.  They always had some little something ready to serve with coffee for unexpected visitors; that's just how it was done, certainly among my Cajun relatives.


Principal I.D. Bayne's letter.  Interesting to see what the Navy underlined in considering Dad for training: "honest, reliable and sincere" and "courteous, industrious and cooperative."

Asst. Principal John S. Whatley's handwritten letter, on older letterhead.  I like the old fonts.  The Navy recruiter underlined "above the average" and "very cheerful and willing worker," good qualities for a potential pilot.

What treasures! Wonder if other high school grads applying to the Navy required letters of recommendation or just potential aviator cadets?

Find out more about requesting military personnel files here.


  1. Did Elia convert to Protestantism? That must have been scandalous in a Cajun community. I guess marrying a Hall (non-Cajun) was pretty scandalous to begin with. I wonder if it was more acceptable for a man to marry a non-Cajun than for a woman to do the same. My great-great-great-grandfather, Theoville TRAHAN, married a German woman.

  2. I'm not sure if she officially converted, but she & the kids attended the Baptist church (possibly other Protestant churches before they moved to Sulphur in the early 1930s) after marriage (in 1918) because Grandpa Hall did not want her to practice Catholicism. I assume he got this attitude from his probably Irish Protestant roots or the prevailing prejudice among non-Cajuns at the time. Her marriage must have been a scandal because she taught catechism in Carencro at the time she met & married him! See this post for more: