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Unless other wise indicated images are from collection of Barbara 'Boots' Vatter Pettingell.


We did the best we could in annotating these photos, if you can provide more accurate information PLEASE email us!
Click on any image to view a larger version!

'Boots' Vatter

Barbara Vatter, a.k.a. "Boots", in her official A.R.C. uniform, taken just prior to her assignment overseas.    Barbara was assigned to Yangkai, China.  Barbara, who was 26 at the time told me, "Frequently, early on, I had to remind the 'boys' I was a NURSE, not a "Red Cross girl"; by which they meant the women who staffed the A.R.C. morale and welfare facilities and service clubs.  In addition to her duties as a nurse, Boots was also the  Service Club Director  at Yangkai. initially assisted by Phyllis Dolloff, and later joined by others.


ARC Group arrives

She was one the first American women to arrive in China from "the States", these fourteen Red Cross workers arrived just weeks after the "flying nurses" of the Medical Evacuation Squadron.  Barbara and the others in her group arrived at Kunming 18 January 1944 after flying over the Hump aboard a Curtis C-46 'Commando.'.  This and the next photo, with the ladies in official Red Cross regalia were taken threen days after their actual arrival for press release purposes.

(Official USAAF photo, 16th Combat Camera Unit, Kunming, China.)


ARC Group arrives

This photograph taken in front of a "Flying Tigers" P-40 was used for press releases announcing arrival of the A.R.C. women in China.  They were:
(first row, l-r) Margaret Pfening (Columbus, OH), Lucille B. Young (Detroit, MI), Rita Pilkey (Dallas, TX), Majorie Grant (Berea, KY), Barbara Vatter (Auburn, NY), June Baxter (San Franciso, CA), Ada Pagenkopf (St. Louis, MO).
(second row, l-r) Naomi Thompson (Washington, PA), Margaret Lea (Manhasset, LI, NY), Phyllis Dollof (Detroit, MI), Julia Paris (Prarie du Chien, WI), Esther Conlon (Rochester, NY), Beatrice Decostas (Bath, ME), Margaret Walling Thompson (Manhasset, LI, NY).

(Official USAAF photo, 16th Combat Camera Unit, Kunming, China.)


Newly constructed Last Resort building

This wide angle shot of the A.R.C. center, 'The LAST RESORT', is believed to have been taken as it appeared in the final stages of construction/preparation, in the spring of 1944.&  Note the piles of dirt and the temporary sign to the right of the entryway. (Eugene T. Wozniak Collection courtesy of Ken Easdon, nephew.)


wide angle view of Last Resort front entrance.

An unobstructed look at the front of The LAST RESORT as it looked, circa spring 1944.

(Courtesy of John Mongell, from Robert Mongell
collection - 11th Bomb Squadron)


Last Resort's Theater

The theater area of 'The 'LAST RESORT'. Note the 'reserved' seating, as marked on the back of the benches.  Appears to this author that the officers were kept at the back, separated from the EM by Chinese guests and/or W.A.S.C.personnel.  The benches were easily removed to clear or service the floor area, or to provide seating for outside activities


Dedication of the LAST RESORT

Celebrating the LAST RESORT's readiness for use and its dedication, Barbara Vatter shakes hands with ??.  To his right is Chaplain Thomas Clare and then, possibly, Maj MacIntyre.  To Barbara's far left is fellow Red Cross Nurse, Phyllis Doloff, and between them are two Red Cross service workers.  Behind all of them are the men who, following completion of the building structure, contributed their skills, time and effort to finish, furnish and clean the facility.


Barbara Vatter with Clare and Dolloff on steps of Last Resort

Capt Thomas H. Clare, chaplain of the 22nd Bomb Squadeon which arrived at Yangkai in January 1944, poses at the top of the steps before the entry of LAST RESORT, flanked by Barbara Vatter (l) and Phyllis Dolloff (r).  Chaplain Clare was a major force in getting the center completed and open!  On 25 May 1944, Capt. Clare was aboard a B-24 Liberator that went missing over "the Hump" making a resupply run to Chabua, India and return to Kunming, China.


Following the dedication ceremony, many men of the 373rd Bomb Squadron, 308th Bomb Group, pose for a photo before being the first "customers" to enjoy the offerings of the 'LAST RESORT'.


Three unidentified 491st Bomb Squadron personnel pose for a photo in front of 'The LAST RESORT' sometime in late 1944, while others are exiting the doorway.

(F. E. 'Ed' Strotman, 491st Bm. Sq., collection)


"The Last Resort" entry as it appeared in the fall of 1944, showing the stage built on the front entry steps for the USO Camp Show of either Pat O'brien - Jinx Falkenburg or Ann Sheridan - Ben Blue troupes.   Can you help us identify the man?

(F. E. 'Ed' Strotman, 491st Bm. Sq., collection)



An unidentified Chaplan conducts Sunday service inside the Last Resort.

(Eugene T. Wozniak collection, courtesy of his nephew, Ken Easdon.)


1944 Chrismas Choir on stage, with leader standing on bench in front and accompanyist far right.  Decorated Christmas trees on either side of the stage, and overhead banner reading 'Gloria In Excelsis Deo.

Christmas Chorale in The LAST RESORT, December 1944. The choir, all assigned at Yangkai includes officers, enlisted men, a Chinese nurse, and a Flying Nurse hidden behind and to her left.

(Eugene T. Wozniak collection, courtesy of his nephew, Ken Easdon.)


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