World War II, European Theater
Richard T. Alexander (I) (Army) Audio | Transcript
Born in 1917, childhood in Nashville, New York City, Berlin; father worked as an educator; spent a year in Germany beginning in 1925; recalls inflation in the Weimar Republic; attended school in Germany in 1930; describes Hitler’s rise to power and National Socialist initiatives like Winterhilfe; emotional lift Hitler gave Germans; drafted on October 20, 1942 in Canton, North Carolina; Tennessee Maneuvers, 1943; 83rd Division Artillery, aerial liaison artillery observer; Omaha Beach, Normandy to east of the Elbe River, 1944 to October, 1945; Recipient of Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star, and Silver Star.
Richard T. Alexander (II) (Army) Audio | Transcript
Post-war; how his father came to be in the Office of Military Government in Germany after the war, until 1951; German education system; return visits to Germany; University of Tennessee (EdD, 1955); Returned to math and science teaching post in Haywood County, NC and part-time at Adelphi University until 1957; Professor at Ball State University in Muncie, IN until retirement in 1982.
Arthur Arseneault (Navy/Merchant Marine) Audio | Transcript
Father in the Navy as a pharmacist mate from 1918 to 1946; Arsenault born in Somerville, MA in 1924; Growing up in New England; Living in Guam as a military dependent in early 1930s; Boy Scout in New England as a teenager; thoughts on skipping grades in school, postgraduate high school classes, and working construction before old enough for military service at the start of World War II; father’s service in World War II as a hospital administrator in New York; Attending Merchant Marine Academy at Hyannis, MA in March 1943; Pre-commissioning training in the Gulf of Mexico in 1944 on USS Griggs; duty as superintendent of shipbuilding in New York and New Jersey in spring of 1945; Combat Information Center officer at Treasure Island, CA and attending deep sea diving school in summer 1945; carrying men back from Europe after World War II on board USS LeJeune; Explosive Ordinance Disposal School at Indianhead, MD in 1946; Frogman in Underwater Demolition Team at Little Creek, VA; UDT duty on USS Pocono in Mediterranean and Persian Gulf in 1948; on battleship USS Mississippi doing oceanographic and research work in the Pacific; Scripps Institution of Oceanography at La Jolla, CA and Northwestern University in 1952. Meeting wife while she was a navy nurse in San Diego; Oceanographic work in North Atlantic; Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA; Sonar School in Key West, FL in 1954; officer on the destroyer USS Haynesworth in the Mediterranean; Explosive Ordinance Disposal Officer in Charleston, SC; recovery opertaions for dropped nuclear weapon off the coast of Savannah, GA and Hunter Air Force base in 1958; 2nd Air and Naval Gunfire Liaison Company with Army Airborne Divisions from 1963 to 1965 that involved the intervention in the 1965 Dominican Civil War with the 82nd; reflections on weather at sea, family’s military service, raising a family while in the military; retirement after 25 years at the same time Vietnam is escalating; post-service work with Boy Scouts of America in 1966, Department of Health for Georgia from 1967 to 1970, and Cobb County, GA police department until 1987; retirement in Knoxville and community work with civic organizations like the Boy Scouts and the Military Order of the World Wars.
Francis O. Ayers (Army) Audio | Transcript
Born December 31, 1925 in Pittsburgh, PA; father worked for Gulf Oil Corporation as a traffic manager, and mother stayed at home; enlisted Dec. 1943, U.S. Army; 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division; attitudes toward death upon enlisting; time in England and France prior to combat; Battle of the Bulge, Ardennes, Christmas in 1944; Two weeks leave in London; studied Business Administration at Waynesburg College, 1950-53; Factory Engineer Representative, 1953-59, and Sales Engineer 1959-1973.
Sam Balloff (Army) Audio | Transcript
Born 1923, LaFollette, TN; recollection of parents’ emigration to America, mother from Romania, father from Russia; father owned a clothing store called Balloff’s; childhood in LaFollette; Jewish practices; attended private Presbyterian school at McCallie Boarding School in Chattanooga, 1940-41; recalls impact of Oak Ridge on LaFollette; attended Vanderbilt, 1941-42; Zeta Beta Tau fraternity; enlisted Dec. 1942; 78th Infantry Division, 309th Field Artillery service battery, truck driver; Battle of the Bulge, Remagen Bridge; Aachen to Kassel; discharged, February 1946; returned to Vanderbilt following the war; continued working for his father’s store; opened additional stores in Oak Ridge and Knoxville.
Richard Barrick (Army) Audio | Transcript
Born 1925, childhood in St. Louis, MO; father died shortly after birth, working mother, raised by aunt; drafted 1943 after high school in Kansas City, MO; 3rd Army, 49th Armored Infantry Regiment, forward observer scout; Trained at Camp Polk, LA; arrived D-Day plus 60, Battle of the Bulge, Bronze Star; discusses post-war life and reunions with unit.
Sidney Bishop (Army) Audio | Transcript
Born July 17, 1921 in Milledgeville, Tennessee; father was a farmer; Volunteered for service on October 28, 1942; Served in Company A, 18th Tank Battalion, 8th Armored Division. Saw combat in France in 1945; Crossed the Roer River in February 1945, Crossed the Rhine on March 26th and helped eliminate the Ruhr Pocket. Discusses post-war life and active engagement in veterans organizations.
Simon Chilewich (I) (Army) Audio | Transcript
Born April, 1919 in Bialystok, Poland; father worked in the family’s animal/cattle hide business; grew up in a Warsaw ghetto; encounters with anti-Semitism; grandparents emigrated to Palestine, 1928; graduated gymnasium (high school) in Poland, 1936; moved to England to attend London School of Economics and simultaneously the Royal Academy of the Dramatic Arts; recollections of Winston Churchill; student culture in London; response to the Munich Pact; arrived in the United States on September 5, 1939 on the Champlain; lost 138 family members to the Holocaust; found work in Andrews, North Carolina in 1940 supplying sole leather to the Army; father begins new business in hides futures trading; drafted to Camp Lee, Virginia, 1943; Intelligence School, Camp Ritchie, MD; attains rank of Master Sergeant.
Charles H. Coolidge (Army) Audio | Transcript
Prewar life in Signal Mountain and Chattanooga, TN; family owned Chattanooga Printing & Engraving Co.; enlistment, June 1942; basic training, Ft. McClellan, AL; Camp Edwards, MA; assigned 36th Infantry Division, 141st Infantry Regiment, 3rd Battalion, M Company; 27 months overseas; North Africa—Oran, Casablanca; Italy—Salerno, San Pietro, Rapido River, Monte Cassino, Anzio, Silver Star action at Velletri; France— Medal of Honor action at Hill 623, near Belmont-sur-Buttant in the Vosges Mountains; Germany; Austria; also awarded Bronze Star; postwar, returned to Chattanooga; Contact Rep. for the Veterans Administration; returned to Chattanooga Printing and Engraving, 1949; manager and partner, 1974 to retirement.
Action at Salerno, Italy and death of friend, Joe DelaGarza; miscommunication on the front at San Pietro, Italy; truce at Rapido River, Italy; civilians and their homes during combat in the winter of 1944, France (navigating artillery fire and close call with a defective artillery shell); moving off the front at the Siegfried Line; battlefield presentation of the Medal of Honor in Ulm, Germany; transitioning to civilian life; applying military skills and training after war.
Grady Corley (Army) Audio | Transcript
Born in Greenwood, South Carolina, 1916; parents worked in cotton mill; moved to Virginia, then back to Kingsport; began working as a paper boy for the Bristol Herald Courier around 1930; left high school in 1934; found work at Eastman Company, yarn production and machine maintenance; enlisted in Army National Guard, Feb. 1941; Trained at Camp Forrest, TN, Fort Sill, OK, and Camp Roberts, CA; 191st Field Artillery Battalion; artillery mechanic; deployed to Europe April, 1944; C Battery, 959th Field Artillery Battalion attached to the XIX Corp; Landed Omaha Beach, June 24, 1944; post-war, returned to job at Eastman; retired as foreman in Fiber Divisions Maintenance after 45 years of service.
Kurt and Margo David (Army) Audio | Transcript
Born in 1920 in Germany; father was German Army officer, World War I and worked for Amoco Oil; Germany in 1930s; he emigrated to U.S. in 1940 while parents fled to Uruguay during the Third Reich; born and attended grammar school in Zwingenberg; expelled from gymnasium in 1936 because he was Jewish; reactions to American society; could not join the U.S. Army because he was registered as an enemy alien; became an agent for the Counter Intelligence Corps, 1943; C.I.C. school, Camp Ritchie, MD; interrogated Gestapo members; thoughts on French collaborators; experiences of being Jewish during World War II; reconstruction in Germany following the war; Post-war, salesman and resided in Chicago. (Wife Margot Wolf David also participates in interview; born in Germany.)
Dr. Elvyn V. Davidson (Medical Corps) Audio | Transcript
Born 1923 in Rockaway Beach, Long Island; grew up in an Italian and black neighborhood in New York; raised in both Protestant and Catholic church; attended Stuyvesant Science & Math Academy; recalls the Harlem Riots; relationship with Adam Clayton Powell; found work in the Photostatic department of the War Department on Wall Street; rebellion against public transportation through jitney committees; attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, 1941; volunteered at the age of 18 in 1942; assigned to Fort Riley, Kansas with Joe Louis and Jackie Robinson; Army Special Training Program – University of Nebraska, Wilberforce program, Camp Polk; 92nd Division “Buffalo Soldiers” 370th Regiment, F Company in North Africa, Italy; encounters with Ghurkhas (from Nepal); issues with race relations in the army; thoughts on medical care in the field; member of Japanese occupation forces; visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Discharged January, 1946; Returned to Lincoln University to complete degree; completed medical studies at Meharry Medical College, Nashville; Married in Knoxville; Internship and surgical residency at Harlem Hospital, NY—was on duty there when Martin Luther King, Jr. was brought in after being stabbed; returned to Knoxville; began work at Oak Ridge Hospital emergency room, 1958-61; Hospitals still segregated; Opened private practice in Knoxville, 1959; Also, in 1959 began working 3 months a year as on-call surgeon, UT Hospital, for several years; semi-retired in 1990.
Fred Davis (Army) Audio | Transcript
Born 1922 and raised in Sharps Chapel, Union County, Tennessee; Horace Maynard High School; worked in his father’s general store; enlisted March 1943; Basic training at Camp Cooke, California; U.S. Army, 488th Quartermaster Depot, Headquarters; Promoted to corporal, sergeant, first sergeant; arrived England, October, 1943; positive experiences in London; D-Day +14; supplied Patton’s Third Army while in France; Extended stay in Reims, France; impressions of Patton, France, American supply lines; Recalls interactions with German civilians upon arrival in Berlin; Postwar, took over family general store in Sharps Chapel, moved to Maynardville, closed store in 1976, simultaneously maintained four farms; opened hardware store in 1989.
Born in Haddonfield, New Jersey in 1918; parents were Irish immigrants; father was a school teacher at the Bancroft School in Haddonfield; childhood in New Jersey; worked for Philadelphia Record in the promotions department before WWII; joined Pennsylvania National Guard Air Corps in January 1941; served in 103rd Observation Squadron in photo interpretation; performed anti-submarine surveillance on Atlantic Coast after the attack on Pearl Harbor; transfers to Army Air Corps 33rd Reconnaissance Squadron in 1943; shipped to England in Spring of 1944 to conduct photo reconnaissance at Chalgrove Airfield, England before D-Day; landed at Omaha Beach in August 1944; description of work with photo interpretation as US Army advances through France and Germany; experiences with V-1 “Buzz Bombs” and V-2 Rockets; VE-Day in Brunswick, Germany; post-war refugees; leaves Europe in October 1945 and experience returning home; returned to work for the Philadelphia Record; worked for Food Fair supermarkets in advertising for fifteen years; participation in veteran associations and activities; returned to Europe to visit after war; moved to Crossville, TN after retirement.
Donovan Enos (Army Air Corps) Audio | Transcript
Family history in Michigan; Growing up during the Great Depression; Army Aviation Cadet Program at Michigan State University before war; Remembering FDR; Basic Training at Miami Beach, FL; Advanced Training at Clemson University; Officer and Pilot/Flight training at Montgomery, AL, Greenwood, MS, and Eglin Field, FL in Spring of 1944; Running into flight training friends in post-war; P47 training at Richmond, VA with 1st Air Force in July 1944; Deployment to England as a replacement fighter pilot with 9th Air Force; Brother in 276th Combat Engineers deployed at the same time and meeting in Belgium during war; fifty missions with 405th Fighters with example of fighting Germans over Metz, France; German Civilians vs. German Military treatment of downed US pilots; Getting shot down on on April 13, 1945 on a mission in the Remagen, Germany area. 320th Holding Hospital then transferred back to England; Rehabilitation on the French Riviera and finding out brother had been killed at Remagen at end of the war; Returning to Michigan State to finish Civil Engineering degree; Finding work in engineering equipment sales in Michigan; Work with Barton Malow Company in Detroit, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and hospital in Joplin, Missouri; Retirement in Fayetteville, NC and move to Tennessee.
Ben Franklin (I) (Army) Audio | Transcript
Born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee; Native American heritage; Father wounded in World War I; visited Cherokee reservations with his grandfather; Committed to the Democratic Party; early life in Knoxville; Enlisted at 16 two days after Pearl Harbor (total stranger signed his papers); Joined 1st Infantry Division (Big Red One) in May, 1942—16th Regiment, 3rd Battalion, I Company; North Africa, Sicily, France, Belgium, Germany, Czechoslovakia; After his service visited the parents of Mark Dickerson, his best friend who was killed during the war; Went A.W.O.L. while in Paris and Licata.
Ben Franklin (II) Audio | Transcript
Basic training at Camp Wheeler, GA; Machine gun training; Joined the boxing team while in Sicily; Invasion of North Africa; Comments on French-Arab relations while stationed in Oran; offers opinions about the French; Kasserine Pass, Tunisia; Read books to pass time on the front; Notes the significant amount of friendly fire and the nature of the air-ground cooperation; Number of encounters with German POWs; Thoughts on German soldiers; Battle of the Hurtgen Forest; Receive passes to Paris.
Ben Franklin (III) (Army) Audio | Transcript
>Paris; Rejoined regiment headed to Mons, Belgium; Entered into Germany in September of 1944, Battle at Aachen; demoted from staff sergeant but later restored after Havre; Hurtgen Forest; Battle of the Bulge; Ruhr Valley; Experiences with insubordination as a staff sergeant; Interaction with German civilians and Russian soldiers; Berlin Blockade of 1946; Still in Germany, meets wife there in 1946; Returned stateside in November, 1948; Promoted to First Sergeant; Volunteered to go to Korea, but was assigned to a unit in France instead.
Jimmy Gentry (Army) Audio | Transcript
Born in what is now Wyatt Hall, TN on November 28, 1925 near Franklin; father died when he was eleven; He and siblings found ways to make extra money by selling animal pelts and walnuts; Church of Christ services; Father supported Roosevelt, but he did not; Recalls rationing and the effects of World War II on Franklin; Joined the Army shortly after one brother was KIA, Itay; Basic training at Camp Blanding, FL; Assigned to the 42nd Infantry (Rainbow) Division when he arrived in Pettincourt, France; 232th Infantry Regiment, 2nd, Battalion, E Company; Battle of the Bulge; Part of liberation of Dachau concentration camp in 1945; Visited Austria and Italy following the war; Met Ezra Pound while visiting Genoa; Returned to Tennessee in March, 1946; Married in August 1946; Post-war memories of Dachau; Began college at Vanderbilt, transferred to Tennessee Tech, then transferred again to Peabody College for Teachers in order to take a job as a high school football coach; Benefits of G.I. Bill; Later attended the National Science Foundation program at Middle Tennessee State University; Taught at Brentwood Academy during desegregation; Traveled back to Germany to visit. Retired, but went back to Brentwood Academy as Athletic Director; Retired again 1999.
Childhood in Mannsboro, TN; rural life; Great Depression; education, Rhodes College, Memphis, TN; training Fort Oglethorpe, GA and Camp Blanding, FL; assignment to 63rd Infantry Division, February 1945; fighting in Germany, Florsheim, Mannheim; impressions of German civilians; return to the United States, 1946; post war life.
Charles Robert “Bob” Harmon (I) (Army) Audio | Transcript
Born April 12, 1925; Grew up in Olympia, Washington; Father managed a freight lines dock, stable income; Mother worked there too, then at department store; Family’s military history; Catholic high school, graduated 1943; Wanted to join Marines or Merchant Marines to serve country; Discusses Japanese friends; Signed up to attend Army Specialized Training Program for engineering school, but program was cut in early 1944; Joined the 80th division, 319th Infantry as a part of an anti-tank company; Infantry training at Fort Benning; Relationship with his rifle; Fort Dix; Normandy, August 1944, and the “Breakout;” Germany, 1945; Dicusses conditions of the soldiers, mail, provisions, civilians.
Bob Harmon (II) (Army) Audio | Transcript
Germany, Spring 1945. Occupation force for 8 months after V-E Day: Austria, Germany, & the Sudetenland.
Bob Harmon (III) (Army) Audio | Transcript
Nov. 1944, Delme Ridge. 1945, slave labor camps: Kaiserslautern, Mauthausen, Ebensee. Various discussion of war experience in general & more on previous topics covered in Parts I & II.
John E. Kesterson (Medical Corps) Audio | Transcript
Born in 1918 in LaFollette, TN; dad was a pharmacist; educational experiences, including when local Roma immigrants burned the school; TVA, prewar Knoxville; graduated high school and enrolled at UT at the age of 16, graduated at 19; attended Vanderbilt Medical School, surgical residency was in the Veterans Administration Hospital in Nashville, completed in 1943; inducted into Army Medical Corps as a First Lieutenant in 1944; training at Camp Barkley in Abilene, TX, Ream General Hospital in Palm Beach, FL, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN; Assigned to Ft. Bragg, 114th General Hospital as chief of anesthesia; 114th Field Hospital in Kidderminster, Scotland; 84th field hospital, France; postwar: Newton Baker General Hospital, WV; discharged 1947; Opened a general surgical practice in Knoxville, TN and worked at various hospitals, Knox General, Baptist Regional, Fort Sanders, and St. Marys; a surgical pioneer who taught his procedures to other surgeons in the region.
Dr. Milton M. Klein ( Army Air Corps) Audio | Transcript
Born in New York City in 1917; Hungarian-Jewish family; father worked as a tinsmith in Europe and as a mechanic in America; talks about his family and immigrant communities and life in New York City; primary school; Boy Scouts; Depression years; anti-Semitism in America; talks about Socialist Party in New York City; B.A. and M.A. at City College, Manhattan; Oxford Oaths and student clashes; discusses New York libraries and intellectual communities; New York World’s Fair; high school teacher at George Washington High School and Ford Foundation grant; graduate school at Columbia University; registered in 1940, Air Force training at Keesler Field, MS in 1942; Air Transport Command, Squadron Clerk/Typist, Presque Isle Field, ME; promoted to Staff Sergeant; Officer Candidate School, Miami Beach, FL; Special Services Officer and Assistant Personnel Officer, Edmonton, Alberta field; Historical Officer of the North Atlantic Wing, Manchester, NH; promoted to Captain; decommissioned, 1946; postwar, civilian historian, Mitchell Field; PhD at Columbia; Dean of Graduate Studies, State University of New York at Fredonia; Professor of History, including at the University of Tennessee from 1969-1988 and served as the university historian from 1988-1997.
Cecelia S. Koch (Medical Corps) Audio | Transcript
Born in England, moved to Canada and grew up in Saskatchewan; St. Boniface Hospital, Winnipeg, ’39-’42; Mount Sinai Hospital, Cleveland; enlisted in Army Nurse Corps, 1943; classes and work at the station hospital at Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN; maneuvers in Yuma, AZ, 5 January to 12 March, 1944; 105th Evacuation Hospital; Fort Jackson, SC, 16 March to 10 August, 1944; Camp Kilmer, NY, August, 1944; England, France, Holland, Belgium, Germany; awarded the Soldier’s Medal, 1945; Occupied Germany; return home, July, 1946; post-war, general duty nurse and OB nurse, 1952-1985.
Hugo Lang (Army) Audio | Transcript
Born in 1923 in Arnsbach, Germany; Jewish family; father was a cattle dealer; talks about his father and uncle’s service in WWI; childhood experiences; anti-Semitism in Germany; talks about how supportive the German-Jewish community was; forced labor; fled Germany in 1941 (some of his family had left earlier); part of his family was deported to a concentration camp in Poland; talks about the Holocaust and what he knew at the time; life in Jersey City and impressions of America; worked in manufacturing; drafted into the army in 1944, training at Fort Dix, Fort McClellan; served as interrogator and translator in the 28th; talks about his fear of being captured (because of his German-Jewish heritage); Bastogne and the Battle of the Bulge; describes his work in the army; talks about the nature of war; captured, describes interrogation and life as a POW; Malmedy Massacre; liberated in April 1945; retuned to the States in May 1945; reunited with sister who survived a concentration camp in 1946; vocational school in Elizabeth, NJ; worked for Bristol Myers for thirty years; took trips to Germany in 1969, 1972, and 1988, talks about post-war Germany; talks about his children and family.
Childhood, Knoxville, TN; Great Depression and Tennessee Valley Authority; enlistment, 1942; training at Fort Benning, GA and Camp Polk, LA; assignment to 7th Armored Division; deployment to Europe, June 1944; recollections of General Patton; fighting in France, August 1944; Chartres, Metz; St. Vith, Malmedy, Battle of the Bulge; recollections of Belgian civilians; Germany, return to the United States; post war life.
William Lubbeck (Wehrmacht) Audio | Transcript
Childhood on a farm near Luneburg, Germany; life during the Great Depression and the Third Reich’s early years; enlistment in the Wehrmacht, 1939; assignment to the 58th Infantry Division, 154th Infantry Regiment; invasion of France, 1940; invasion of Russia, June 1941, 58th Infantry’s activity as part of Army Group North; fighting around Lake Peipus; impressions of Soviet soldiers; battle of Volkhov; brother captured in France, 1944 and sent to a POW camp in the United States; discussion of treatment of prisoners on the eastern and western fronts; officer school at the War Academy in Dresden; discussion of food and news of defeat at Stalingrad; recollections of Nazi propaganda; retreat and destruction of unit at Memel; transport to northern Germany and capture by British forces; return to family farm in Soviet zone of occupation; travels back and forth across the Iron Curtain; emigration to Canada and later the United States; post-war life.
Fred N. McConnell (Army Air Corps) Audio | Transcript
Childhood, New Castle, PA; Family background; Childhood during the Great Depression; enlistement, 1942; pre-flight training San Antonio, Texas; flight training Parks Air College, East St. Louis, Winfield, Kansas,and Lackland, Texas; B-26 training, Del Rio, Texas; assignment to 386h Medium Bomb Group, Beaumont-sur-Oise, France & St. Trond Belgium; Battle of the Bulge; discussion of missions and “Terror Day,” February 22, 1945; VE-Day; final mission to pick up POWs; preparations for deployment to Pacific Theater; VJ-Day & return to the United States; post war life.
George R. McIntosh (Army) Audio | Transcript
Prewar life in Nashville, TN; Lipscomb High School; drafted in 1944; basic training at Camp Van Dorn, MS; E Company, 2nd Battalion, 253rd Regiment, 63rd Infantry Division; Colmar, France, Rhineland, and Saar campaigns, Germany; Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient; active in unit tennis tournaments, qualified for Wimbledon; post-war at Lipscomb College, 1946-1949; agent with National Life Insurance Company in Nashville; retired as V.P. in 1990.
Jesse Miller (Army) Audio | Transcript
Born 1919 Hagerstown, Maryland; childhood in York, Pennsylvania; plumbing school; Pipefitters/Plumbers Union 250; work at Three Mile Island; history of the 238th Combat Engineers Association and reunions; enlistment in the Army, 1942; basic Training, Plattsburg, New York; transport to England; D-Day; combat experiences; Miller’s opinion on the differences between current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq versus World War II; end of World War II; construction of redeployment camps (Cigarette Camps); directing work crews comprised of German prisoners of war; views on West Point educated officers versus regular Army officers; returned to United States, 1945; demobilization at Indian Town Gap, Pennsylvania; marriage and post-war life; returned to Europe in the 1990s with veterans and their reception by Belgian citizens; retirement.
Charles Morton Jr. (Army) Audio | Transcript
Born in 1918 in Nashville, TN; grandfather was Civil War veteran, was wounded at Shiloh; father worked for Postal Service in Nashville; talks about family life, childhood, and teenage experiences; talks about race relations; worked at local Ford dealership; bought a dealership in 1941; talks about what he thought of FDR; entered army in 1941; basic training at Fort Belvoir, engineer training at Fort Benning, Camp Edwards; 531st Engineer Shore Battalion; invasion of North Africa; talks about his encounters with enemy soldiers; invasion of Sicily; Salerno Bay; France, D-Day, Utah Beach; Aachen; talks about his dislike of “strategic bombing”; talks about his opinion of Germans; returned to the dealership after the war; talks about a family trip to Germany in 1989.
Rodney Q. Nelson Jr. (Navy) Audio | Transcript
Born in Covington County, MS in 1916; attended the University of Mississippi; worked for American Airlines in Nashville and New Orleans; joined the Navy in 1941; reported to Chicago for officer’s training in May 1942; transferred to Norfolk, Virginia; USS Dorothy Dix; North Africa Invasion, Morocco; returned to Norfolk and was appointed captain of a LCIL ship; next mission was to Algeria, Tunisia, Sicily, Salerno; talks about his ship hitting a mine; talks about different types of naval crafts; returned to Boston and reported to Olathe to Naval Transport Command; was then stationed at Bunker Hill Naval Air Station in Indiana; got married in September 1945; demobilized in 1946; went back to work for American Airlines in Indianapolis; medically retired in 1949 due to injuries suffered from the mine blast; talks about relations between the Navy and Navy Reserves.
John W. Nipper ( Army Air Corps) Audio | Transcript
Born in Knox County, TN on September 16, 1924; grandfather was a Baptist minister from Texas; father was born in Knox County and worked as a machinist at ALCOA; mother was a music teacher; talks about his family’s opinions of FDR and the New Deal; talks about childhood and the Depression; talks about educational years and the strict disciplinary policies; worked at ALCOA and TVA-Spring City after high school to save money for college; talks about his memories of learning about Pearl Harbor; entered UT in 1942; talks about memories of UT days; enlisted in February 1943 and took the Air Force exam; talks about how he meet his wife; training in Miami, FL, then to Nashville, Maryville College, and Maxwell Field, AL; more training at Malden, MO, Spence Field in Moultrie, GA, Eglin Field, FL, Camp Springs, MD, and Millville, NJ; shipped out from New York; talks about a horrible storm at sea; stopped in Southhampton, England before heading to France; flew P-47s as part of the 371st Fighter Group; talks about close calls; talks about the Air Force in comparison to the other branches; talks about being stationed in Linz, Austria at the end of the war and taking lots of joy flights all over Europe; attended UT after the war on the G.I. Bill; worked for DuPont and Chandler & Company before starting his own business.
Dr. James L. Pointer (Army) Audio | Transcript
Born April 15, 1921 in Heiskell, TN; father was a logger and farmer, mother was a housewife; talks about childhood and life on the farm; describes local community and living conditions; impact of the TVA and WPA; discusses early schooling; recounts interracial interactions in the community; education at Norris High School; discusses the Great Depression and national politics; participated in FFA in high school; joined the army upon finishing high school; training at Fort McPherson and work at an induction center; Air Force cadet training in Springfield, MA; discusses hazing in the military; 9th Armored Division at Camp Polk, Louisiana; OCS and Fort Benning; Camp Gruber, Oklahoma; departed from Fort Dix for Marseilles in 1944; Strasbourg, France; Maginot Line; impressions of German soldiers; Battle of the Bois D’Ohlunqen; treatment of POWs on both sides; crossed into Germany at Dahn; ended up in Würzburg, where he was injured; talks about soldiers raiding German wine and food cellars; talks about his encounters with friendly Germans; recovered at a hospital in Daytona Beach; enrolled at University of Tennessee in 1946; worked as a Professor of Agriculture at University of Tennessee.
Jacob J. Presser (Army) Audio | Transcript
Born 1918, Providence, RI; Great Depression; Jewish life in Providence; Rhode Island College; enlistment, 1940; basic training, Fort Ord, OR; assignment to 103rd Artillery, 20th Division; arrival in Brest, France; clerical work on unit’s staff; contact with German prisoners of war and civlians; post war life.
Clinton E. Riddle (Army) Audio | Transcript
East Tenn. native; 1/325th Glider Infantry Reg. 82nd Airborne; 194th Glider, 17th Airborne (post-war until discharge); North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Normandy, Netherlands, Germany.
William Schmidt (Army) Audio | Transcript
Childhood in St. Paul, MN; enlistment, 1943; training, Fort Bragg; assignment to the 100th Infantry Division; Battle of Raon L’etape; Lorraine campaign; Maginot Line; captured by German troops; Prisoner of war camps, Ludwigsburg, Muhlsburg, Bad Scandau, Hohenstein, Germany; conditions inside camps; labor details; liberation; post war civilian life.
Betty J. Sparks (Army) Audio | Transcript
Born 1920, Harrisburg, PA; family life, father’s Post Traumatic Stress from his service in WW I in the 28th Infantry Division; parent’s political affiliations and impressions of Roosevelt; Great Depression; nursing school, University of Pennsylvania, 1938-1941; enlistment in Navy, 1941; Nursing Cadet Corps, promotion to lieutenant; working relationship with male orderlies; training in hospitals in Philadelphia and Norfolk, VA.; assignment to Special Navy Advance Group 56; deployment to Scotland; leave in London and interaction with British; treatment of casualties from the D-Day invasion; treatment of wounded German prisoners; return to the United States; post war life.
M.E. Springer (Army Air Corps) Audio | Transcript
Prewar life in Missouri; Univ. of Missouri, Columbia; ROTC; enlisted, August 1942; training in Medical Corps and OCS, 236th station hospital, 1943; 56th Field Hospital assigned to the 9th Air Force; England on D-Day; Oct. 1944, France (LeBourget and Valenciennes); Battle of the Bulge; Belgium and Germany (Kaldenkirchen); returned home, April 1946; postwar Japan occupation force, 1946, as a civilian soil scientist on MacArthur’s staff; University of California-Berkley, 1949-1953, PhD; Professor of Soils, University of Tennessee, 1957-1979; honorary lifetime member of Knoxville Track Club; Senior Olympics; USA Track and Field Hall of Fame, 2006.
Eugene Swartz (Army) Audio | Transcript
Father’s service in the US Army during World War I; prewar life in Luxembourg; political and social atmosphere in interwar Europe; flight from Luxembourg and return to the United States; World’s Fair, New York; wartime life in Washington, D.C. as a teenager; military training in Arkansas and New Jersey; selection for Army Intelligence; attached to the 79th Infantry Division, training in Tennessee; sent to the Military Intelligence Camp, Camp Ritchie, California; work with Jewish émigrés; travel to ETO, assignment to SHAEF Military Intelligence Division and attachment to the 35th Infantry Division; Battle of the Bulge and return to Luxembourg; interrogation of German prisoners and assessment of their morale; postwar atmosphere in Germany; Cold War Vienna; worked with CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency in their China section; nuclear war games at Black Rock; logistical assessments of Soviet Union.
Childhood, Cooperstown, ND; Great Depression; education, University of North Dakota; Chicago World’s Fair; impressions of war in Europe prior to 1941.
Enlistment, 1941; training Fort Bragg, NC; Fort Sill, ND; assignment to 905th Field Artillery battalion; deployment to France, August 1944; Battle of the Bulge; recollections of German prisoners; return to United States; post war life.
Childhood; education at the University of Tennessee; navigator training at Kessler Field, MI, Ellington Field, FL, and Kansas City; assignment to 306th Bomb Group, Thurleigh, England; B-17s; recollections of actor Jimmy Stewart, who served with the 306th Bomb Group; bombing missions over Germany; Operation Market Garden; wounded in action; hospital conditions in England and the United States; post war life.
Childhood, Norwich, CT; Great Depression; Nursing School, Hartford, CT; Army Nursing Corps, 1943; assignment to 69th Evac Hospital, Cirencester, England; recollections of locals; discussion of casualties from the Normandy invasion; deployment to France, December 1945 with 200th General Field Hospital; return to the United States, 1946. Post war life.
Lonas Tarr (Army Air Corps) Audio | Transcript
Childhood, Jefferson City, TN; family background; father’s medical practice; childhood activities; Carson Newman College; Great Depression; enlistment 1941; training at Fort Oglethorpe; flight training at Shaw Field, SC. and Valdosta, GA.; assignment to Air Transport Command; Ferry Command; delivery of B-24 and B-25 bombers to India, Iran, and Egypt; discussion of lend lease aircraft to the Soviet Union; notes assignment of prewar pilots from American Airlines and Eastern Airlines (TWA) in Air Transport Command; deployment to England, France, and Italy; impressions of English civilians; airlifts during Battle of the Bulge; V-E Day; return to the United States; Berlin Airlift; career with American Airlines; post war life.
John Towle (Army Air Corps) Audio | Transcript
Born, 1921, Knoxville, TN; childhood, Great Depression; Tennessee Valley Authority; enlistment, Air Force, training Fort Oglethorpe; flight training Keesler Field; gunnery school, Utah, training with B-17s, Burbank, CA.; deployment 709th Squadron, 447th Bomb Group; Rattlesden, England; recollections of V-1 and V-2 rocket attacks on England; missions to attack Frankfurt, Germany; preparations for missions; Big Week, February, 1944; Schweinfurt, shot down over Orly, France, February, 1944; hidden by French civilians in Hericourt France; interactions with Resistance and efforts to escape German occupied France; life in hiding; liberated by British troops; return to the United States; training on A-20s; post war life.
Edgar C. Wilson (I) (Army) Audio | Transcript
Born 1914, Powell, TN; family background and childhood; Tennessee Valley Authority; Great Depression; Milligan College, 1933-1935; career as a school teacher; enlistment, 1941; training at Fort Oglethorpe and Fort Sill; Officer Candidate School; Artillery Liaison Officer, 314th Artillery, 80th Infantry Division; transport to England.
Edgar C. Wilson (II) (Army) Audio | Transcript
Arrival in France, July 1944; interactions with French civilians; Moselle River campaign; awarded the silver star, artillery protocols; motives for fighting and combat experiences; leave to the United States, December 1944; perception of war in the United States; discussion of the surrender of Weimar, Germany; German prisoners and discussion of perception of SS; Austria; interactions with German civilians.
Edgar C. Wilson (III) (Army) Audio | Transcript
Discussion of combat motivation; role of religion among soldiers; Moselle River campaign; guarding German prisoners and impressions of them; return to the United States; work with Veterans’ Association Farm Training Program; retirement; post war travels and return to battlefields in Europe; membership in veterans’ organizations; impressions of World War II Memorial, Washington, D.C.