FEBRUARY 7, 1944
NEW YORK, Sunday—Yesterday was an exciting day. I have seen coast defenses from Seattle, Wash. to San Diego, Cal., but I never happen to have seen what is done to protect the Atlantic coastline.
At General Jarman's headquarters a group of us saw the whole plan. We were told how he had started his organization, developing it till it reached a peak, and now was gradually seeing the system being used in other places.
With every new victory abroad the probability of an attack on our coast is lessened. Nevertheless, it is interesting to see what has been accomplished right around New York.
I went into the newspaper office which keeps many of these coast defense men who are in remote places informed on what is happening in the world once a week. I found that a board of newspaper publishers had given them an award as the best Army newspaper. One of their features is an amusing comic strip, in which the main character does everything in the wrong way, and he serves to teach the readers how to behave in the right way. They had some excellent covers, ranging from a most attractive baby to a picture of my husband which I do not think is one of his best.
After leaving the headquarters where we got the general picture, we visited several of the installations—from searchlights to antiaircraft batteries. There was a time when captive balloons were used as part of the defense. That time is past, but I had seen those on the west coast and know how they were operated.
A half hour at home, and I went off with the Navy to see the Merchant Marine gun crews in their headquarters in Brooklyn. I was glad to meet the whole crew of a battleship, four of whom had come to see me in Washington. Many of them wear pre-Pearl Harbor ribbons as well as other insignia denoting service in different theatres of the war. These boys on merchant ships probably see a greater variety of places than the boys in the regular Navy who are usually assigned to one area and stay there for a considerable time.
At one time this branch of the service had the greatest number of casualties, but now both the enemy undersea craft and the enemy planes seem to be pretty well under control and in an ever widening area. I pinned on medals and handed out commendations to some of the men at a very formal ceremony, and was particularly glad to have this opportunity of seeing so many of them who are in port waiting for their next assignment.