The American War Bride Experience

GI Brides of World War II

Life Magazine
Feb. 18, 1946

War Brides Begin Arriving in U.S

The voyage, the passengers agreed, was a bit unpleasant. The third day out of Southampton the 20,600-ton Argentina began to toss and quiver under the Atlantic's wintry buffeting. Passengers stayed below while sea water sloshed down the companionways. A baby was pitched from his crib, gashing his head. Homesickness gave way to acute seasickness and childress wives helped the medical staff, inadequate for such wholesale illness, feed babies and tend collapsed mothers. A sickroom smell filled the crowded staterooms.

That was how the first contingent in the Army's dependent- transportation program, whereby firls who married U.S. soldiers overseas are being restored to returned husbands, began its voyage to the U.S. Argentina group numbered 456 wives and mothers, all British subjects and their 170 babies, all of them U.S. citizens (the wives can become so in two years). It is estimated the program eventually will add more than 70,000 citizens and citizens-to-be to the U.S. population.

The heavy weather lifted sporadically during the voyage. Then there was time on deck and to watch movies that were to acquaint them with their new country (of Amazing America, one of them reported, "Not very impressed"). There was a baby contest and the wives even put on a show, Argentian Antics. One girl, bound for a Southern home, practiced hard on a Southern accent.

Nine days after embarking, they slipped into New York's ice- clotted harbor, oddly quiet because of the tug strike. In the chilly quiet of a February dawn the historic skyline was faintly visible. Bartholdi's Liberty glowed her perennial welcome. Then came physical examinations, a trip across town and finally, in the Red Cross Chapter House, joyful reunion with ex-GI husbands, some of them slightly unfamiliar in civilian clothes.

Passenger List

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