Fornal, Alma L. Newsom, 1st Lt

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Last Rank
First Lieutenant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 1051-Pilot - Two-Engine
Last AFSC Group
Pilot (Officer)
Primary Unit
1942-1945, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)
Service Years
1943 - 1945
First Lieutenant

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 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Women Veterans of America
  2010, Women Veterans of America

 Additional Information
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WWII women pilots are honored in Washington

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Alma Fornal 44-5

San Bernardino, California.  I was born on July 23, 1920 in Morgan, Texas, South of Dallas, Texas.  I was attending the University of Arkansas when I got my first chance to go up in a small aircraft.  After that I saved every penny I could to fly.  For the war effort in 1941, I decided to put my college education on hold in my 3rd year, and took a job at Keesler Field Air Force Hospital as Chief Clerk in the Registrar's Office.  I continued my flying at a local airport with an instructor, Lloyd Catlin, who gave me lots of confidence, and I soloed after six hours.

While working one day, not busy, I read in the newspaper about the WASP.  You had to have two years of college and a private aircraft license. I had both.  My friend and instructor, Llyod Catlin flew me to Dallas where I had an interview with Nancy Love.  I was accepted, told to report for class of 44.5.

After graduation, I was sent to Napier Field, Alabama to do test piloting on the AT-6s.  Then I was sent to Tyndall Field, Florida to towing targets with the B-26. The Officers Club housed us in a barracks with nurses and WAC officers. We ate at the officer's club restaurant, along with all the other bachelor men officers.  It was there I met Joe Fornal. Gene Raymond, the movie actor, was at our base one weekend.  He came to the mess hall and all of us WASP were giving him the eye.  Later at the Officer's Club, this Office, Joe Fornal, who looked just like Gene Raymond to me, gave me a big smile.  He came over and we got acquainted.

After deactivation, I stayed on by taking a job as Link trainer instructor along with several other WASPs, as none of us were ready to let go of the life we loved.  Also I had fallen in love by that time and wasn't ready to leave.  Joe and I were married at Tyndall Field, Florida on June 23, 1945.  He was an Air Force Captain, but not a flying officer.  We stayed there a while; Joe decided to get out of the Air Force.  We lived near my family in Gulfport, Mississippi where I worked as a control tower operator.  We didn't like the hours I worked so we moved to Northport, Long Island.  I got a job there at the Veteran's Hospital in the recreational department planning trips, parties, and working on a hospital newspaper for the veterans.

Joe worked for Republic Aviation on Long Island; they folded, then he worked for the Long Island Lighting Company.  After a few years he was offered a Permanent Officer's Commission in the Air Force.  He accepted and was sent to Albrook Air Force Base, Panama City, and Canal Zone.  I took a job at the Air Force Officer's Club as Chief Accountant.  We were soon blessed with our son John.  Next we were sent to Bitburg, Germany.  There we had our daughter Jean.  During that time we traveled all over to every country stating our life long hobby of traveling.  Next we were sent to the Pentagon and lived in Arlington, Virginia.  I attended George Washington University and majored in early childhood education.

When the children were in junior high, I stared teaching, mostly first and second grades.  I taught 16 years until I retired in 1982.  JoeÃ's last transfer was Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino and we have lived there ever since.  Joe retired from the Air Force and went to work for TRW at Norton Air Force working on the guidance system for missiles.

I resumed my interest in oil painting.  We spend four or five days a week at our condo in Carlsbad, California and the weekends in San Bernardino where we enjoy our two grandsons who live very near us.  I play tennis, paint; we go sailing.  We go on lots of cruises and enjoy polka dancing.  The WASP experience was great.

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World War II
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Overview of World War II 

World War II killed more people, involved more nations, and cost more money than any other war in history. Altogether, 70 million people served in the armed forces during the war, and 17 million combatants died. Civilian deaths were ever greater. At least 19 million Soviet civilians, 10 million Chinese, and 6 million European Jews lost their lives during the war.

World War II was truly a global war. Some 70 nations took part in the conflict, and fighting took place on the continents of Africa, Asia, and Europe, as well as on the high seas. Entire societies participated as soldiers or as war workers, while others were persecuted as victims of occupation and mass murder.

World War II cost the United States a million causalities and nearly 400,000 deaths. In both domestic and foreign affairs, its consequences were far-reaching. It ended the Depression, brought millions of married women into the workforce, initiated sweeping changes in the lives of the nation's minority groups, and dramatically expanded government's presence in American life.

The War at Home & Abroad

On September 1, 1939, World War II started when Germany invaded Poland. By November 1942, the Axis powers controlled territory from Norway to North Africa and from France to the Soviet Union. After defeating the Axis in North Africa in May 1941, the United States and its Allies invaded Sicily in July 1943 and forced Italy to surrender in September. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the Allies landed in Northern France. In December, a German counteroffensive (the Battle of the Bulge) failed. Germany surrendered in May 1945.

The United States entered the war following a surprise attack by Japan on the U.S. Pacific fleet in Hawaii. The United States and its Allies halted Japanese expansion at the Battle of Midway in June 1942 and in other campaigns in the South Pacific. From 1943 to August 1945, the Allies hopped from island to island across the Central Pacific and also battled the Japanese in China, Burma, and India. Japan agreed to surrender on August 14, 1945 after the United States dropped the first atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


1. The war ended Depression unemployment and dramatically expanded government's presence in American life. It led the federal government to create a War Production Board to oversee conversion to a wartime economy and the Office of Price Administration to set prices on many items and to supervise a rationing system.

2. During the war, African Americans, women, and Mexican Americans founded new opportunities in industry. But Japanese Americans living on the Pacific coast were relocated from their homes and placed in internment camps.

The Dawn of the Atomic Age

In 1939, Albert Einstein wrote a letter to President Roosevelt, warning him that the Nazis might be able to build an atomic bomb. On December 2, 1942, Enrico Fermi, an Italian refugee, produced the first self-sustained, controlled nuclear chain reaction in Chicago.

To ensure that the United States developed a bomb before Nazi Germany did, the federal government started the secret $2 billion Manhattan Project. On July 16, 1945, in the New Mexico desert near Alamogordo, the Manhattan Project's scientists exploded the first atomic bomb.

It was during the Potsdam negotiations that President Harry Truman learned that American scientists had tested the first atomic bomb. On August 6, 1945, the Enola Gay, a B-29 Superfortress, released an atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan. Between 80,000 and 140,000 people were killed or fatally wounded. Three days later, a second bomb fell on Nagasaki. About 35,000 people were killed. The following day Japan sued for peace.

President Truman's defenders argued that the bombs ended the war quickly, avoiding the necessity of a costly invasion and the probable loss of tens of thousands of American lives and hundreds of thousands of Japanese lives. His critics argued that the war might have ended even without the atomic bombings. They maintained that the Japanese economy would have been strangled by a continued naval blockade, and that Japan could have been forced to surrender by conventional firebombing or by a demonstration of the atomic bomb's power.

The unleashing of nuclear power during World War II generated hope of a cheap and abundant source of energy, but it also produced anxiety among large numbers of people in the United States and around the world.
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  5275 Also There at This Battle:
  • Achramowicz, Walter Theodore, Maj, (1942-1964)
  • Adair, William, Sgt, (1943-1946)
  • Adams, Billy H., Capt, (1944-1970)
  • Adcock, David, 1st Lt, (1942-1945)
  • Agin, Thomas, SSgt, (1942-1949)
  • Ainsworth, John, Capt, (1942-1946)
  • Alcorn, Cecil Clyde, SSgt, (1941-1945)
  • Alcorn, Ernest Merton, TSgt, (1942-1945)
  • Alenier, Stanley J., 2nd Lt, (1942-1944)
  • Allen, George, Cpl, (1944-1946)
  • Allen, Herman Fredrick, Col, (1942-1945)
  • Allen, William Harry, Maj, (1942-1963)
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