This letter written in WWII and sent from France to a Women’s Army Corps (WAC) at Project Y in Los Alamos remained a mystery for 76 years. Courtesy/Los Alamos Historical Society
By SHARON SNYDER
Los Alamos Historical Society
Sometimes the old saying “it’s a small world” is amazingly true! That statement definitely relates to the circumstances of a letter written in WWII and sent from France to a Women’s Army Corps (WAC) at Project Y.
A native of Oxford, Miss., Katherine “Pat” Patterson joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps—soon to be changed officially to WAC—in autumn of 1942. She was called to active duty in December and was soon on a train headed to New Mexico along with several other WACs. They were to report to Lt. Col. Whitney Ashbridge on arrival at Project Y. Cpl. Patterson was 22 years old and was among the first 200 military personnel assigned to the Manhattan Project on the Hill. She began work as a clerk in the Army Service Forces.
As with most families during World War II, Pat had other family members in the Armed Forces. Her brother, Jim Patterson, was serving in France. In the way of siblings, Jim decided to have a bit of fun with his sister and sent a letter that would send up red flags for the mail censors and get Pat into a precarious situation.
These articles are written by the Los Alamos Historical Society Staff. Many of these articles were originally published by the