File 014 : Here follows a literal transcription of Nancy Osgood’s interview (440606, 1000-1015 EWT) which you can hear while listening to this audio file.
“The National Broadcasting Company continues its invasion coverage with a special program from Washington. We present - the wives of our invasion leaders will be interviewed by Nancy Osgood of the NBC Washington staff. And now, ms. Osgood.”
[MS. OSGOOD] “Now, probably there isn’t a person in the country today who would like to broadcast his own personal good luck message to our invade – invasion chiefs and their troops. But that of course is impossible. The NBC has arranged the next best thing. We have asked the wives of our invasion leaders to do it for us. Mrs. Dwight Eisenhower, Mrs. Harold Stark, Mrs. Carl Spaatz, Mrs. Allen Kirk and Mrs. James Doolittle. Their husbands are not only leaders, they’re also fighters. Men who will share with their troops all the hardships and dangers of war. Because we know these things, we feel that the wives of these men, the women who know these men so well, can speak for all of us in wishing the men their husbands command, a quick trip to Berlin.
[MS. OSGOOD] “We had hoped to present as our first guest today Mrs. Dwight Eisenhower, wife of the commander of our invasion forces. But she has found it impossible to be with us. This is more than D-Day to the Eisenhowers, because today at the graduation exercises of West Point Academy, their son, John Eisenhower, becomes 2nd Lieutenant John Eisenhower, United States Army. Mrs. Eisenhower cannot be with us this morning but she has given a personal message to us to broadcast for her. And these are her words: ‘This period of waiting for the invasion has been a great strain for all of us. We have been waiting and watching for the word which finally reached us officially at 3.32 this morning. We know now that our men are attacking our enemies. We know that they will be victorious. But we also know that they have many trying hours ahead. Hours in which we shall find it difficult not to be restless and unnerved. We’re eager to help in some big way and yet if we could ask our fighting men what they would have us do, they would tell us “Ours is the job to fight, yours to help”, [are?] remaining as cheerful and as busy as possible. So let’s have faith, cheerfully wish them luck and work a little harder than ever before, even if only to roll bandages for an extra hour each week. It will all count, all help to bring our men home soon.’ This has been a personal message from Mrs. Dwight Eisenhower, wife of the commander of our invasion forces. And now let’s hear from Mrs. Harold Stark. Her husband, admiral Stark, is in command of all our naval forces in the European theatre. What is your wish for the admiral and his men today, Mrs. Stark?”
[MRS. STARK] “My wish is the same as that of everyone else. May the troops have all the luck in the world so that victory will come quicker. But I want to add something more. In fact I think we all have the same idea in the back of our minds. There’s going to take more than just plain luck.”
[MS. OSGOOD] “Yes indeed, we do need more than an ordinary share of luck, but at least we know that we have the best of everything else: leaders, men and equipment.”
[MRS. STARK] “But we need more than that. Our troops are launching the biggest military operation in history. Naturally their success is our biggest concern. But we aren’t helping by just thinking about it. Our spirits will remain higher and the war be shortened if each one of us keeps just as busy as possible.”
[MS. OSGOOD] “Well, I understand that you yourself are a very good example of keeping busy, Mrs. Stark. But speaking of advice, tell us, have you ever given the admiral any instructions as to how he should take care of himself?”
[MRS. STARK] “Yes indeed, I have. Send him plenty of instructions, but carrying out those instructions is another matter. In fact, he has slept through several air raids.”
[MS. OSGOOD] “[laughs] Well, that sounds as if the admiral isn’t afraid of the Luftwaffe. And judging from recent operations it doesn’t look as if any of our high command is. However, the German air force is something to be reckoned with in the invasion. Mrs. Spaatz, who’s the wife of the lieutenant-general Sparks, commanding these strategic air forces in Great-Britain, should be able to tell us something about that. Mrs. Spaatz?”
[MRS. SPAATZ] “Happily, ms. Osgood. I’d rather talk about our own air force than the Luftwaffe. As an air wife I’m tremendously proud of our air forces. Especially the magnificent pre-invasion job they have done. That great softening-up job will be responsible for saving the lives of thousands of American soldiers and sailors.”
[MS. OSGOOD] “Well, that ìs true, Mrs. Sparks. And that thought, I should think, must be very reassuring to the families of those infantry men and artillery men and all the others who are today battling their way into Hitler’s Europe.”
[MRS. SPAATZ] “Yes, it mùst help to know that air power has made it easier for the others. And it should also be the greatest comfort and pride to the families of air force men, especially to those families who’s men are missing or have been killed in action. You remember prime minister Churchill’s famous phrase ‘Never have so many owed to so much to so few’. That’s as true today as it was in 1940. For the aerial supremacy which we so surely have, will [put down the] invasion casualties to an absolute minimum.”
[MS. OSGOOD] “We may have what will seem like very high casualties these first few days, Mrs. Sparks, but we know they’ll be nothing like we night have had without air superiority.”
[MRS. SPAATZ] “That’s very true. And you can be sure that we do have that air superiority, for the invasion would not have been launched without it. Never in history has a great military undertaking been so carefully planned. I hope all you wives and mothers understand that, everything has been thought of and done to give that man of yours the best chance possible of coming through this terrific action. You can be sure of that. And you can take comfort in it.”
[MS. OSGOOD] “Thank you very much, Mrs. Spaatz. As we send our good luck greetings to your husband and his air men today, we can also add our thanks for making it safer and easier. Now the navy too has a big job in this invasion. Everything, from our biggest warship to the smallest landing boat has a specific job to do. The man who’s in charge of the United States Naval Invasion Task Forces, admiral Allen G. Kirk, once summed up the naval responsibilities very well. Just how did he put it, Mrs. Kirk?”
[MRS. KIRK] “My husband has said that when American soldiers are to be landed on foreign soil it is the duty ànd the privilege of the American Navy to put those troops and their equipment ashore, keep them supplied and to protect the landings as long as may be necessary.”
[MS. OSGOOD] “That’s it. That’s what admiral Kirk and his men are really doing right now.”
[MS. KIRK] “You see, admiral Kirk and his staff have been in England many months, planning and preparing for this very thing. As you know, we’ve undertaken tremendous amphibious operations before, in Africa, in Sicily, in Italy and in the Pacific. We’ve learned valuable lessons from all of these landings, sometimes at great cost. But everyone of those lessons is being put to advantage at this moment. Consequently, we can be cèrtain that this, the biggest landing of all, will be the most successful. Here at home we can believe in success as well as wish for it. And I hope that everyone of you will put your confidence in our navy. They has a splendid and a terrible responsibility, but it’s one they will surely fulfill.”
[MS. OSGOOD] “And we do sincerely know that and we believe of course in success, Mrs. Kirk, for we know your famous husband meant it when he said it was up to his navy to land our troops on foreign shores and keep them supplied afterwards. Thank you so very much, Mrs. Kirk, for representing the thousands of navy families all over the country, in wishing their sons good luck and successful landings.
“And we have another mother here in the studio today, Mrs. James Doolittle, who has a double family interest in this invasion. Her husband, general James Doolittle, who led the first aerial invasion of Japan, the Tokyo Raid, is commanding the Eighth Air Force, and Mrs. Doolittle’s son, captain James Doolittle junior is flying with the Ninth Air Force. Mrs. Doolittle, this is a very important day for you?”
[MRS. DOOLITTLE] “It is indeed, Ms. Osgood. But then it is for everyone. It’s the moment for which we’ve all been waiting for. And now that it’s come, it’s still a long march ahead to ultimate victory. The boys know that we have complete con – confidence in their success. However, there’s even a greater job to be done and has taken place before. Not only on the invasion front but on the home front as well. We’ll need teamwork here, as well as there.”
[MS. OSGOOD] “Now, we certainly all agree on that, Mrs. Doolittle.”
[MRS. DOOLITTLE] “Our troops expect even more than on confidence, we need before, more than ever before, to show our courage. They expect us to give [here’s a word that I cannot ‘decipher’; A.L.]. We know that this invasion will be costly, but as Mrs. Starker said, ‘There’s nothing like work to take our minds of the dead and too, it makes our men happier. I’ve talked to so many of them when they’d come home from the fronts. And they’re much more contented when that they – when they know that their women are actually doing something. Anything. Ànything to hurry victory.”
[MS. OSGOOD] “I’m glad you mentioned that, Mrs. Doolittle. But I’m sure that all those women who are doing some kind of war work, feel a very special contentment and pride today. They know that they help make this invasion possible.”
[MRS. DOOLITTLE] “That’s right. And that’s why I like to say, especially to those mothers who have given so much toward victory. ‘Your sons are fighting to make that victory possible’, general Doolittle has said to me very often: ‘My boys are tops. They never stop to think what may happen to them, they just do their job.”
[MS. OSGOOD] “Thank you, Mrs. Doolittle. I think you’ve summed it up very well. For that is what thousands of Americans are doing today. Our soldiers, sailors and air men are all fighting. Fighting with all their might to clear the road to Berlin. They aren’t thinking of what may happen to them, they’re just doing their job. And behind them is a nation not only wishing them luck, but pushing them along that road with everything it has. The wives of our invasion leaders, they put it better than anyone else could possibly have done. The men have our prayers, our confidence and our support.”
That ends Nancy Osgood interviewing the wives of the invasion leaders. Osgood announces that at 2200 EWT the president will speak on the radio [she means the special D-Day prayer, preceded by a speech]. Then follow some news bulletins and a news analysis by Don Gutter, talking about how the invasion news has been welcomed all over the world.
original file name : CBD-440606_NBC1000-NancyOsgood