The LAST RESORT was the American Red Cross service club at Yangkai, China, operated from late 1943 through September 1945.
The center was envisioned by Barbara 'Boots' Vatter, one of fourteen A.R.C. nurses in China, and utilized her formal training assisting the Flight Surgeon in maintaining the physical health of the men, as well as their mental attitude. Although, while Barbara's time was primarily invested in her nursing duties, as soon as she arrived at Yangkai, and under the oversight of Army Corps of Engineers personnel, 'Boots' enlisted the help of Chinese coolies and American GIs to get the structure built, the interior finished and furnised. Later, she was also able to get a tennis court constructed. Once functioning, other A.R.C. personnel operated the facility and 'Boots' motivated all of the service men with whom she came in contact to participate in the activities, many of which she coordinated.
Shortly after completion of the facility, 'Boots' held somewhat of a contest to choose a name. According to her, "All of the names submitted were unrelated or inappropriate. In exasperation I told them that they had to do better, and asked them to submit their ideas one more time. 'This', I said, ' is the last resort!' And, when they picked up on my words, the center had a name!"
'The Last Resort' became gathering place for many American soldiers, sailors and airmen stationed in the area of Yangkai Air Base. It offered a respite from the day-to-day grind of the war, provided a tie with "home" in the forms of friendly faces, a few favorite tunes, and an occasional troupe of USO entertainers.
The Scrap Book contains pictures of the facility and the people who made it a place for the American men to escape the war for a little while and enjoy themselves.
The Canteen Activities include images of activities in and around the LAST RESORT, including local shows and USO tour groups which entertained at Yangkai in 1944-45.
Hack' was the self-adopted nickname by which most people knew Richard Hacking. A gifted artist, he created one of the finest web sites I had ever visited back in 1997; Dad's CBI Page ( http://cbipage.tripod.com ). In addition, he provided inspiration to those of us then creating similar tribute websites, to share all the CBI information we can. Hack' contributed suggestions and encouragement to my 1997 devleopment efforts of "Web Home of the 341st Bomb Group", and more directly to The Last Resort when he created the beautiful logo seen at the top of this page, just weeks before his death.
Hack' passed away in late summer 1998, shortly after he completing Dad's CBI Page.... In 2001, his father and inspiration, Charles E. Hacking also passed away. Ruth Ann Hacking continues to maintain 'Dad's CBI Page' in memory of her father and grandfather.
Boots, aka, Barbara Ogden Pettingell, was born in Auburn, New York on December 9, 1914. A nurse, she unsuccessfully attempted to join the Army Nurse Corps. She was, however, accepted into the Red Cross Nurse program. Barbara Vatter was stationed at the Fourteenth Air Force base at Yangkai, China, where she was known as "Boots" For two years, 1943-45, she assisted the Flight Surgeon, oversaw the duties of two Chinese nurses, and shored the moral of the men assigned to units at Yangkai.
After returning from the war, she married and divorced and moved to Albuquerque with her family. There she began Fly & Shell and Suntrails magazines before moving on to other endeavors. 'Boots' passed away at her home on June 16th, 2005. She is remembered by family and many dear friends with whom she shared love and support all her life.
We continue to remember, to honor 'Boots; and Hack'. May you always rest in peace!
T'SAI CHIEN( Zai Jian / 再 见 )
Goodbye!! (for now)