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World War II Records

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.

Charles H. Coolidge (II) (Army)        Audio  | Transcript

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.

Andrew Dolan (Army Air Corps)     Audio | Transcript 

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.

John Gorman (Army)       Audio | Transcript

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.

Clifford Edward Keenan  (Army)  82nd Airborne Div.  Documents

From Gibson County, Tennessee, Keenan served as a Private in the 505th Parachute Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division. He participated in Operation Husky I and Operation Avalanche during the Sicily-Italian Campaign. He was killed in action on June 6th, 1944 when dropping into Normandy during D-Day.

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.

Buford Longmire (Army)       Audio | Transcript

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.

Eldred Swingen (I) (Army)       Audio | Transcript

Childhood, Cooperstown, ND; Great Depression; education, University of North Dakota; Chicago World’s Fair; impressions of war in Europe prior to 1941.

Eldred Swingen (II) (Army)       Audio | Transcript

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.

James C. Talley (Army Air Corps)       Audio | Transcript

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.

Helen Tarr  (Medical Corps)       Audio | Transcript

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.

World War II, Pacific Theater

Dario Antonucci (Army)       Audio | Transcript
Born in 1924, St. Marco Argentano, in the province of Cosenza in the Calabria region of southern Italy; Family of farmers; Father Angelo was a WWI veteran; Father and mother’s marriage arranged by family; Father came to America in 1923, worked and became citizen; returned to Italy, 1929; Mother passed away 1935; Father returns to work in U.S.; Life under Mussolini; Father returns to Italy and moves children to U.S. in 1937; Attended School #3 (later became Steele School) and Baldwin High School in NY; Enlisted in the Army Air Corps, November, 1942 after graduation; Processed at Camp Upton; Basic training, Miami Beach, FL; Radio Operator training, Sioux Falls, SD; Radio mechanic training, Traux Field, Madison, WI; P-39 and P-38 training in CA; Special training in air control/direction finder, and homing; Assigned to 51st Fighter Control Squadron, 10th Air Force; Departed for China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater of Operations, April, 1944; Spent 16 months in jungles of Burma; No fresh food, snakes, evidence of Japanese atrocities; Worked closely with Army Corps of Engineers; Flew “The Hump” as a radio operator; Many aircraft lost in January, 1945 due to bad weather; Last unit to leave Burma in December, 1945; S.S. Callan return to Seattle, WA; Discharged Feb. 9, 1946 at Fort Dix, NY; Enrolled at night school at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, graduated in 1959 with Masters in Electrical Engineering; Married in 1951; Worked in the electrical and microwave research and development field, Sylvania Research Labs, 1952-1960;

Foster D. Arnett (Army)        Audio | Transcript
Born in Knoxville, TN on November 28, 1920; father a traveling salesman; discusses impact of the Great Depression; TVA; member of the Methodist Church; Studied History and Political Science at the University of Tennessee in 1939-42; ROTC at University of Tennessee; Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, 1942; trained at Camp Wheeler, Fort Hamilton; Camp Upton; Paratrooper in World War II; 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment; Wounded in the Philippines; Served in New Guinea; “Pathfinder” at the Leyte Gulf Campaign; post-war lawyer; University of Virginia School of Law, 1948; Silver Star.

Gordon R. Beem (Navy)       Audio | Transcript
Born February 1, 1927 in Niles, Ohio; Father a veteran of the 130th Ohio Engineers in World War I; Describes WPA in Maine; Description of naval scene in Portland, Maine in World War II; enlisted in the Navy on Dec. 6, 1944; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign; Served on the U.S.S. Athene; GI Bill; Bowdoin College; Participant in the Korean War as Air Force Sergeant; 4th Interceptor Wing; Retired major of the U.S. Air Force; Stationed in Wieshaden, Germany in 1950s-60s; Returned to Loring Air Force Base, Maine.

G. Gordon Bonnyman (Army)       Audio | Transcript
Born Fall 1919 in Knoxville, Tennessee; father worked for Campbell Coal Mining Company; Member of the Catholic Church; Early life in Knoxville; Attended school at French Boarding School in 1930s; attended Princeton in 1941; studied engineering; Battery Officer School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma; 97th Field Artillery Battalion; 4th Field Artillery Division; trained at Fort Bragg, NC; battery commander with Merrill’s Marauders; contracted malaria; later 112th Infantry Division; Wounded at Michenau; contracted dysentery; wounded again in 1944; traveled through Calcutta to U.S.; taught mule packing at Fort Riley, KS.

Charles Bray (I) (Navy)       Audio | Transcript
Born in Hitchita, Oklahoma, 1921; father a farmer; life on the farm in Hitchita; activities with Civilian Conservation Corps; discussion of Works Progress Administration and other New Deal programs; visit to Chattanooga, Tennessee; February 1942 takes civil service position in Washington, D.C.; work in Veterans’ Administration; joins Navy, June 1942; assigned as a clerk to the Naval Department; discussion of Naval war room and impressions of General Staff;  volunteers for active service; boot camp, Bainbridge, Maryland Navigation School, Samson, NY; assignment to destroyer USS Shannon, September 1944; travel to Pacific Theater; life on board ship; participation in the invasion of Iwo Jima and Okinawa; kamikaze attacks; fire support during invasions; mine sweeping; early post war Japan, visits to Sasebo and Nagasaki; return voyage to the United States; transfer to the Office of Naval Intelligence; discussion of the origins of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Charles Bray (II) (Navy)       Audio | Transcript
Central Intelligence Agency, 1948; cover identities of agents; CIA culture and off duty activities; composition of early CIA personnel; influence of former FBI personnel on CIA; J. Edgar Hoover and FBI professional culture; communications intelligence from Eastern Bloc and code breaking; Germany, 1954; interception and translation of East German radio signals; tunnel into East Berlin; assignment to Taiwan and interception of Chinese radio signals; financing of operatives; reassignment to Miami, Florida, 1965; discussion of CIA operations against Cuba prior to his arrival in Miami; returns to CIA headquarters 1968; Vietnam, 1970-1972; support of South Vietnamese expatriates after 1975; changes within CIA post-Vietnam.

William I. Butler (Air Force)       Audio | Transcript
Pre-war life in Martin, TN; Weakley County; farming; University of Tennessee Agricultural College, 1938 to mid-1941; drafted and sent to Ft. Oglethorpe; Savannah Air Base, ordnance of the 27th Bomb Group; Departed Savannah for the Philippines, October, 1941; Arrived Philippines 18 days prior to Japanese attack; Surrender of Bataan; taken prisoner and begins Bataan Death March; Held at Cabanatuan Prison Camp; also imprisoned for several months in Bililibid prison; Liberation on September 4th, 1945; Return home to Martin, TN; Graduated University of Tennessee, 1947; Worked for Agricultural Extension Service in Benton County, TN; 20 years with Pet Milk Company; Agricultural Extension Service, 1968, Hardin County, TN; Retired 1985.

Rev. Melvin Carr (Navy)       Audio | Transcript
Born in Sugarlands, Tennessee; father a World War I veteran in Meuse-Argonne Campaign; worked as a CCC medic at Camp Sugarlands in summer 1942; enlisted in U.S. Navy January 7, 1943; trained in San Diego; sent to Aleutians in May 1943; served aboard the U.S.S. Pennsylvania battleship; served in Australia; served at Leyte Gulf; Luzon; Surigao Sea Straight Battle; ship torpedoed in August 1945; Postwar; worked at Oak Ridge, TN as a security guard; Pastor of Baptist Church for 47 years.

David Dale Dickey (Army)       Audio | Transcript
Born in Williamston, NC, 1927; father a minister and WW I veteran; also grew up in Morristown, TN; life on the home front, warÂ’s impact on returning veterans; changes in American society after 1945, segregation; Merchant Marine Cadet School, Pass Christian, MS, 1945; student, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, 1946; enlisted Army 1946 Fort Oglethorpe, GA; Infantry training, Fort McClellan, AL; Paratrooper training, Fort Benning, GA; training injuries and reassignment; 1946-1947 occupation duty in the Philippines; encounters with Filipinos; propaganda images of the Japanese and interactions with POWs; return to University of Tennessee-Knoxville, graduation 1950; newspaper reporter in Knoxville 1950s-1970s; life in city; Chamber of Commerce; Executive Director Industrial Development Board; freelance writer 1970s-1990s.

Rev. Buck Donaldson (Navy)       Audio | Transcript
Born August 23, 1925 in New Verda, Louisiana; father was a country doctor; enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942 in Shreveport; trained in San Diego; attends radio school in Los Angeles; active in the Zoot Suit War; served in the Tahiti Islands (Tasmania); Karachi India; Marshall Islands; Admiralty Islands; Palau Islands; Saipan; engaged in the Invasion of Peleliu; served aboard the U.S.S. Cape Canso and U.S.S. Cyrus Adler; joined the Fleet Post Office in the navy; traveled all over the world with Fleet Post Office; served on the U.S.S. Suison; postwar; missionary, pastor; Vanderbilt Student Director; served in Africa with family.

Louis “Kayo” Erwin (Navy)        Audio | Transcript

Born 1925 in Rhea County, Tennessee; childhood on family farm in Meigs County, TN; teenage years going to school and working in Chattanooga, TN; enlisted in Navy December 26, 1942 at the age of 17; assigned to USS Indianapolis after boot camp in 1943; worked in multiple positions on crew operating five-inch guns; record of action at Saipan, Tinian, Tarawa, and Iwo Jima; experience with kamikaze impact at Okinawa; daily life on board the Indianapolis; torpedoed by Japanese submarine on route to Leyte after delivery of atomic bomb components to Guam on July 13th, 1945; survival in water before rescue by the Cecil J. Doyle and taken to Guam for recovery; discharged and returned home to Chattanooga, TN in 1946; life after war working for Ellis Distributing Company; post-war legacy of the Indianapolis and the trial of Captain Charles McVay.

Grady Gallant (Marines)       Audio | Transcript
Born in June 14, 1920 in Gadsen, AL; early life in Alabama and Florida; enlisted with the United States Marine Corps on September 3, 1941; basic training; served with the Fleet Marine Force from 1941 until 1945; describes assault on Iwo Jima; postwar; journalism school at Emory University; career in journalism; work as author; discussion of books The Friendly Dead and On Valor’s Side.

Albert Gill (Air Force)       Audio | Transcript
Born 1921, Fort Smith, AK; childhood in Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina; Great Depression; enlistment in the Aviation Cadet Program, October 1942; basic training Fort Jackson, Aviation Cadet Program, University of Tennessee Knoxville and Maxwell Field; pilot training, Jackson, TN and Fort Meyers, FL; training with B-24s; 307th Bomb Group, 13th Airforce; deployment to Noemfoor, and Morotai, New Guinea; camps life; bombing raids on Balikpapan and the Philippines; leave to Australia and encounters with Australians; Battle of Leyte Gulf; Japanese atrocities on Palawan, VJ day; return to the United States; Post War life; activities with veterans’ groups.

Richard L. Graham (Army)        Audio | Transcript
Born in Hazel Green, AL, 1923; father a World War I veteran; studied Agriculture Administration at Auburn in 1942; ROTC; enlisted in Army, 1943; trained at Fort Bragg and Fort Leonard Wood; 475th Infantry Regiment, Company G of “Mars Task Force”; route from Newport News, Cape Town, Bombay, Burma; arrived in Burma in June 1944; march through Burma toward the Burma Road; promoted to Sergeant; march from August 1944- Spring 1945; encountered combat in Myitkinya; travels home through China, India; Egypt; returned to Huntsville, AL; married with three daughters; real estate agent.

Clarence Higgins (Navy)          USS St. Louis          Documents     Project

Clarence Higgins was from Erwin, Tennessee. He enlisted in the US Navy in 1940 and was stationed on the USS St. Louis (CL-49) at Pearl Harbor. He was at Pearl Harbor during the attack by the Japanese on December 7th, 1941 with the USS St. Louis narrowly escaping destruction. He was later promoted to Electrician’s Mate, 1st Class and served on three submarines in the Pacific during World War II. After the war, he was a school teacher in Unicoi County, Tennessee before graduating from the University of Tennessee Law School and becoming an attorney.

Ray H. Higgins (Navy)       Audio | Transcript
Born June 18, 1921 in Woodbury, TN; grandfather a Union veteran of the Civil War; trained as a radio operator; Radio school in Boston, 1942-43; enlisted as a radio operator for the U.S. Navy; trained on the U.S. towboat, Vicksburg; training on the Mississippi River, Chicago to Mississippi; sent to Port Hueneme, California in 1944; worked on U.S.S. Christopher S. Flanagan and U.S.S. William H. Taggett; Ensign; sent from Hawaii to Marianas Islands; Yokohoma Japan; experience at Eniwetok, Phillipines; Mindanao; Manila; Luzon; Postwar; Southern Fire and Casualty Company in Knoxville; owned own business for twenty years.

John E. Kesterson (Medical Corps)       Audio | Transcript
Surgeon, Medical Corps; 114th Gen hospital, UK; 84th field hospital, France; Served in Philippines, Newton Baker Gen Hospital, Mayo Clinic.

Charley T. Odom (Navy)       Audio | Transcript
Pre-war life; Great Depression; work at Standard Oil Company; Pre-war Navy life, training, and experiences aboard the USS Stone, a World War I era submarine; left Navy 1940 and worked for the Merchant Marine; returned to Navy 1942; assigned to USS Billfish; life on board a submarine in combat conditions; Perth, Australia;  Post-war; service on a Navy tanker ship during the Korean War; duty as an Instructor at naval schools in New London, Connecticut, and San Diego and Tiburon, California; Jimmy Carter as one of his naval students; retired from the Navy 1956 and taught at Fulton High School, Knoxville; received his undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee, 1976; work in writing group in Knoxville and activities in veterans’ organizations.

P. Neal O’ Steen (Navy)       Audio | Transcript
Prewar life in Bedford County, TN; Enlisted Jan. 1941; Philadelphia Naval Hospital until Dec. 7, 1941; Naval Recruitment Station, Philadelphia until June, 1943; Sole medical staffer aboard USS ATR-23, rescue tug, in eastern Pacific, 1943-1946, Pharmacist’s Mate, First Class; U.S. Navy Reserve 1947-1951; Korean War at Norfolk Naval Air Station 1950-1951, Chief Hospital Corpsman; Postwar; UT-Knoxville, Class of ’50, Journalism; Kingsport Times, Norfolk Virginian-Pilot; Director of Publications at UT-Knoxville, 1957-1985.

Thomas N. Parlon (Navy)       Audio | Transcript
Childhood in Lafayette, Indiana; Prohibition; Great Depression; education at Perdue University; Navy 1941, training Great Lakes, Illinois; officer’s commission; U.S.S. William K. Vanderbilt; Fiji Islands, South Pacific; sinking of ship; assigned to U.S.S. Abercrombie; reassignment to U.S.S. Mormactern; escort of supply ships from Wellington, New Zealand to the South Pacific; life on board ship; post war civilian life.

Charles Seay (Air Force)       Audio | Transcript
Childhood, Lebanon, TN; family history, experiences during the Great Depression; ROTC; enlistment as aviation cadet, 1941; training at Camp Tullahoma OK., Fort Oglethorpe, GA., and Visalia, CA.; training with B-25 bombers at Greenville, SC.; trained by veterans of the Doolittle Raid; assigned to 70th Squadron, 13th Airforce, Pacific Theater; Henderson Field, Guadalcanal; bombing raids against Japan; encounter with a Japanese prisoner; Rabaul; supply runs to Australia; night raids; Russell Islands, Bougainville; Port Moresby; impressions of Australian airforce, interactions with island inhabitants; relationship to crew; supersitions among crew; V-J Day; return to United States; G.I. Bill; university; post war career.

Sam Smith (I) (Navajo Code Talker)       Audio | Transcript
Navajo Nation family history and growing up on the Reservation in the Gallup, NM and Cornfields, AZ communities; Educated at Ganado Mission School, Fort Wingate Indian School, Albuquerque Indian School; At age 17, enlisted in U.S. Marine Corps, April 3, 1943; Departure and homecoming ceremonies on the Reservation; Basic Training at San Diego; Camp Pendleton and Code Talkers school; 4th Signal Company, HQ Battalion, 4th Marine Division in the Pacific.

Sam Smith (II) (Navajo Code Talker)       Audio | Transcript
Navajo Code Talker and combat communications; Combat in the Marshall Islands, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima from January 1944 to March 1945; Post-war homecoming; Marries into Acoma tribe, builds first home; Various jobs—Santa Fe Railroad, Navajo water resources, heavy equipment foreman, Chief Ranger; Special Officer for FBI; Director of heavy equipment reconditioning center for Navajo Tribe; reunions; Windtalkers, the movie.

Lemuel Sparks (Navy Chaplain)       Audio | Transcript
Born 1917, Newport, TN; childhood; impressions of Tennessee Valley Authority; Great Depression; tobacco farming; business school; Roanoke College, Salem, VA.; Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, SC.; school fraternities; enlistment as chaplain, 1942; Navy, training at Great Lakes Naval Center; promotion to lieutenant, junior grade; assignment to U.S.S. Sangamon; strafing attack, Philippines; duties as Chaplain; Sangamon hit by kamikaze at Okinawa, May 4, 1945; reassignment to U.S.S. Fall River; return to the United States; post war life.

Bill White (Marines)       Audio | Transcript
Born, 1924, Athens, TN; childhood; enlistment in Marines, 1941; training San Diego, volunteered for Special Airborne Infantry; training; deployment to a Raider battalion, Second Marine Division; Tulagi, Tanambogo and Gavutu; Guadalcanal; discussion of jungle fighting and Raider tactics; interactions with locals in New Zealand; tensions between American and Commonwealth troops; Tarawa; instructor, jungle warfare school, Parris Island; VJ Day, efforts to run a veteran candidate in McMinn County, TN; tensions between veterans and police; Battle of Athens, TN; hired as a deputy with the Athens Sherriff’s Department; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and readjustment to civilian life.

Howard K. Williams (Navy)       Audio | Transcript
Pre-war life in Blackstone, VA; National Youth Administration school at Manassas 1941; Received exemption and sent to shipbuilding apprentice school at Newport News, VA1941; Stayed on at Newport News as civilian shipbuilder; Exemption ended, 1943; Enlisted in U.S. Navy, March 1944; Basic training, Bainbridge, MD; Further training at Gulfport, MS; Motor Machinist Mate, LCVPs [Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel]; More training, Oceanside, CA; USS LaGrange APA 124, January, 1945; Okinawa and adjacent islands; Kamikazes; Stayed in Navy until May of 1946; Postwar in VA, FL- drafting, 30 years with Bethlehem Steel estimating and sales; Retired to TN.

World War II, Stateside

Richard Lowell Blanchard          WNOX Radio Station          Documents     Project

From Palmer, Illinois, Blanchard moved to Knoxville, Tennessee in 1936 after attending the University of Illinois. He worked as an emcee for WNOX for two decades and throughout World War. Blanchard was never drafted, but served in local politics during the war while also continuing war time broadcasts through the radio station. He also worked as a broadcaster for the UT Volunteer sports teams, the Knoxville Bears and Smokies baseball teams.

Harold Diftler (Navy)      Audio | Transcript
Born December 14, 1927 in Knoxville, TN at Fort Sanders Hospital; father immigrated to U.S. from Austria; uncle a World War I veteran for the Central Powers Jewish family; Jewish community in Knoxville; Participated in ROTC at Knoxville High School; graduated high school in 1945; drafted into U.S. Navy; trained at Fort Oglethorpe, GA and in California in 1946; active in navy March-June 1946; guard duty in the navy; attended dental school in 1954; established a dental practice.

Stanley Duhan (I) (Navy)       Audio | Transcript
Born March 12, 1926 in New Rochelle, NY; mother from Philadelphia; father from Latvia; Jewish family; early life in urban New York; studied mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech; drafted into U.S. Navy; trained at the Finger Lakes Region, MI in 1944; trained in Chicago and Gulf Port, MS in April, 1945; attended radio school at the naval station in Millington, TN; discharged 1946; G.I. Bill to finish school at Virginia Tech; became engineer in Seymour, CT; remained in reserves with Floyd Bennett Field on Long Island, NY; Industrial Engineer; trained as a reservist during Korean War; Installation Squad; Worked on the Titan and Atlas Projects in 1960s; worked for TVA.

Stanley Duhan (II) (Navy)       Audio | Transcript
Postwar engineering school at Virginia Tech; commissioned as a reserve Airforce officer during the Korean War; training at Floyd Bennett Field, NY; composition of reserve unit; differences between Navy and Airforce; enlistment in Air Guard after Korean War; engineering work in military related industries; work designing componets for ICBMs and CH-47 helicopter; work with the Department of Energy and Tennessee Valley Authority; impressions of reports from Vietnam regarding equipment; design of missle silos; activities with veterans’ organziations.

Lionel Greer (Army)       Audio | Transcript
Born in 1923 in the Bronx; Hungarian heritage; parents immigrated through Ellis Island; childhood in the Bronx; studied French and German in high school; ROTC; worked as an accountant; served in U.S. Air Force; trained at Fort Dix; stationed in Atlantic City; AGCT Degree in June 1942; studied at City College School of Business (Baruch College); navigator; second lieutenant; radar school in Victorville, CA.

Ellen Cleminshaw Weaver (Manhattan Project)         Civilian Chemist             Documents     Project

Ellen Weaver was a female chemist from Oberlin, Ohio who worked in Oak Ridge, Tennessee on the Manhattan Project. Weaver went on to earn a PhD at California State and worked as faculty at San Jose State University. She also served as president of the Association of Women in Science.

Ed Westcott (Manhattan Project)          Army Corps of Engineers, Photographer          Documents     Project

Ed Westcott was from Chattanooga, Tennessee. He worked as a photographer for the Army Corps of Engineers on New Deal projects like the WPA before the war. He was posted as the only photographer given full access to document the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee during World War II. He continued to work for the Atomic Energy Commission after the war. 

W. Lewis Wood (Navy)       Audio | Transcript
Seamen U.S. Navy in World War II; Second Lt. U.S. Army Infantry, 1951-52