Miles is upset that battles of the North African Campaign — the first part of America's involvement in World War II — don't get the attention of battles on the continent of Europe. But she said she will try to remind area residents.
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"Seventy years ago this Nov. 8, the Allies invaded North Africa, but a lot of people forget that," she said. "That's what I'm going to write to (The Herald-Mail)."
There's a sepia-colored photo of Russell Daudelin in Miles' scrapbook. On the same page is Miles in her uniform.
An independent woman
But she had her own ideas about military service. In her scrapbook, she pointed to a movie still of a sailor and his girlfriend. Miles smiled.
"I was going to join the Navy. I love sailors. I thought sailors were cute. They used to go around the city in their uniforms, with the little sailor hats and the bell-bottomed pants," she said. "So I told my brother I was going to join the Navy, and he wrote back and said, ‘I don't think Flo should join the Navy. But I guess it's up to her.' So he never knew I had joined the Army."
To enlist, Miles left her neighborhood for the first time in her life.
"I went all by myself over to Manhattan. I joined all by myself. I'd never been out of Brooklyn before," she said.
She said she joined the Women's Army Corps. "It used to be WAAC — the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps — but when I joined, it was WAC. Now it's just Army."
She rode an overnight train to Iowa for basic training, where she learned skills and Army discipline. Then she was assigned to Fort Benning, the only WAC from her class assigned there. At Benning, most WACs were assigned cleaning duties or clerical duties at the hospital or other facilities at the base. But Miles was assigned to the military police, where she filed police reports on soldiers, oversaw boot rations and calculated allotments of gasoline so soldiers could go home on leave.
One spot was particularly popular with soldiers on leave — Phenix City, Ala., which in the 1940s was well known for gambling, prostitution and organized crime.
"I typed all the reports that came in when they go to Phenix City. It was very popular," she said. "Soldiers would go over the Chattahoochee River (to Alabama), where they could drink. And then some of them would get into trouble, or they drowned in the Chattahoochee River. Some killed each other on the bridge."
It was an eye-opening experience for a young girl from Brooklyn.
"Sometimes I didn't even know what I was typing," Miles said. "About the soldiers, what they were doing. I'd say to the guys, 'What does this mean?' I was too young. I didn't know what they were doing, and I'm typing it all up."
A military career
She made friends among the other WACs at Fort Benning. In particular, Miles met three women, from New Jersey, California and Virginia, and the four of them remained friends for many years.
"I had a reunion with my girls (in 1994), 50 years after D-Day. So we met right here in my apartment here. So I had a pull-out bed. I had a blow-up bed. Someone slept on the floor. Then I got out four towels, and four of this and that, just like the Army," Miles said. "We went all the way around to the battlefields around here. They liked the Civil War things, because they were Army. That was fun. But so many years have passed. They're all gone now."
In mid-1945, Miles was assigned to an engineering unit in Missouri where she learned to operate a radio. But before she could be redeployed, the war ended and she was sent to Fort Meade, Md., near Washington, D.C. Her assignment: Help calculate payroll for officers during the demobilization of Army personnel.
"Eisenhower thought that was a big job, to get everybody out of the Army," she said. "So then I had to do the paperwork to get people out. It could be very time-consuming."