Helen M. Lattal

December 28, 1919March 12, 2023
Obituary of Helen M. Lattal
Helen Lattal was born in 1919 and reared in Norwalk, Connecticut. She grew up in Norwalk and attended the Sacred Hearts Catholic School System. After high school, Helen continued her education by attending and graduating from Moody Secretarial School in New Britain, Connecticut. Before Pearl Harbor, Helen was working at the New Britain, Connecticut Draft Board. As soon as the call went out for females to enter the service to free up men for the front lines, Helen was ready. In May 1942, Congress established the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) and Helen promptly enlisted. The WAAC were an entirely separate entity from the regular Army. Therefore, they had no military status and were governed by a different code of conduct known as WAAC regulations. Of course, company commanders were reluctant to use them at first, but it didn't take long before they were in high demand. President Roosevelt granted women full military status and placed then on the same level as men by transforming the WAAC in to the Women's Army Corps (WAC) on July 1, 1943. Helen's was credited with almost 2 and a half years of overseas duty with the 8th Air Force, or the "Mighty 8th". This experience provided her with an opportunity to come in contact with some of the finest and brightest in the U.S. Army Air Corps in addition to some from Hollywood. She worked under General Ira Alker and General James Doolittle, Commander for the 8th and was the private secretary to Colonel Elliot Roosevelt She also worked with General James Hill of the U.S. Army at Cheddington, England. She recalled typing commendation awards for Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart. In 1944, The King and Queen of England came to review the WAC detachment assigned to the 8th Air Force Headquarters in High Wycombe, England. Meeting the King and Queen was an experience Helen never forgot. During the war, Helen was on leave more than once in London often staying at the Ritz Hotel and remembered hearing both V-1 and V-2 German rockets hitting the city. After the war, Helen served at Orly, France, Berlin and Frankfurt, Germany. She returned to the United States on October 16, 1945 and was separated from active duty at Ft. Dix New Jersey on October 20, 1945. Helen's achievements as a civilian are as impressive as her military service. She came to Craig Field (Selma) with her husband, Lt. Col Gerald E. Whaley (8th Air Force Composite Command) who she met in England when she was taking conference notes for the 8th Air Force and for the combined Air Force command in Europe. Her resume in Selma included working at Craig Air Force Base until closure and the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base until retirement in 1980. She was a volunteer at the Black Belt American Red Cross, Historian of the American Red Cross for eleven years and named "American Red Cross Volunteer of the Year". She was a faithful continuous member of the American Legion for 57 years. Helen served as Commander for Post 20 three years in addition to Historian and numerous other positions within the Post. Helen was a true patriot. She lived in Selma until moving to an assisted living facility five years ago to be nearer to her son, Paul. Helen had nothing but unconditional love for her family and was the best mother a son could ever wish for. She will be deeply missed by Paul and his family and friends, and all who had the good fortune to meet her. Helen is survived by her son, Paul Whaley II, her grandson, Paul Cameron Whaley (Rome, Georgia) and her great granddaughter, Naomi Helen Whaley (Rome, Georgia). Funeral service for Helen will be Thursday, March 16, 2023 at 11:00 AM at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 178 E. 4th St., Prattville, Alabama. The burial will follow at 2:00 PM at Old Live Oak Cemetery, Selma, Alabama. It is requested no flowers be sent, but contributions may be made to the Prattville Animal Shelter (for the kitties) or to the charity or organization of one's choice. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Lattal family.

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Past Services

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Funeral Service

Thursday, March 16, 2023