Though the screen time of the Red Cross Girls was brief in Episode 2, several things about the dance hall scene struck me as worthy of discussion. Red Cross Girls worked grueling hours that often began at dawn and were then expected to plan and/or attend all evening social events on base. At a dance such as the one in Episode 2, the women would have been dancing non-stop and wouldn't have had even a moment to gather among themselves. The dances were also often hosted in the base's Red Cross Club (sometimes called the AeroClub). This dance seems to have been hosted at the officer's club, so the Red Cross Girls would have been invited guests (most of the women you see dancing with the servicemen in this scene would be local village women, along with a mix of Red Cross Girls and base nurses).
When Rosie Rosenthal gestures to a group of Red Cross Girls and says he plans to go chat up one of them, Captain Murphy asks him if he's got his eye on General Spaatz's daughter or the other one. General Carl "Tooey" Spaatz did have a daughter who served as a Red Cross Girl in the European Theater, Katherine "Tatty" Spaatz. She served in England and then crossed the Channel with her Clubmobile Crew after D-Day.
General Spaatz was the Commander of the 8th Air Force early in 1942 before taking over command of the USAAF Strategic Air Forces in Europe. He was based primarily in North Africa throughout 1943, returning to England in early 1944.
Born in San Antonio in 1921, Tatty, General Spaatz's eldest daughter, didn't meet the Red Cross age requirement (25) when she arrived in England in the summer of 1943 (perhaps her father's role helped her avoid that requirement). She was based, at least for some period of time, with the 306th bomber group at Snetterton Heath. She worked with the "North Dakota" Clubmobile in England, and then she served with the crew of the "Sitting Bull" Clubmobile on the continent after D-Day. She and her "Sitting Bull" crew mates landed at Utah Beach on July 16, 1944. As part of Clubmobile Group B, Tatty and the "Sitting Bull" crew celebrated the liberation of Paris in August 1944 (claiming that theirs were the first doughnuts served in Paris!) before moving on Belgium by early September, hot on the heels of US Army V Corps. Within a month or two, a history of Clubmobile Group B reports that the women were taking their Clubmobiles into Germany to serve groups operating in connection with the Siegfried Line offensive. Group B was based out of Eupen, Belgium when the Germans launched a counteroffensive in December 1944 (the Battle of the Bulge). Within a few hours, the military evacuated the Red Cross Girls further back from the battle lines to Herve. After an account of their time in Herve, this chronicle unfortunately tapers off, though there is a note at the beginning that Clubmobile Group was at Pilsen, Czechoslovakia on V-E Day in May 1945.
In 1948, Tatty married Walter Bell, an English diplomat and MI6 officer, and they both lived into their 90s (she died in London in 2005).
Tatty is still often the face of photos used to highlight the origins of National Doughnut Day.
I'm thrilled that the Red Cross Girls are featured in "Masters of the Air" and hope to continue sharing some insights into their service and how and where the series depiction might deviate from history.