Kansas MemoryKansas Memory

Kansas Historical SocietyKansas Historical Society

Interview on experiences in World War II

Item Description Bookbag Share



INTERVIEWEE: Boyd Bainter INTERVIEWER: Marian Poe DATE: November 27, 2006 PLACE: Hutchinson, Kansas

POE: If you could just say your name. BAINTER: Boyd Bainter.

POE: Thank you. This is Marian Poe, today the 27th of November 2006. in the home of Boyd Bainter in Hutchinson, Kansas. Mr. Bainter is a World War n veteran and will be telling us about his story - stories, whatever. So tell me again, you were born in 1923?


POE: And where were you born?

BAINTER: Born in Jennings, Kansas.

POE: Jennings, is that east, west, or... ?

BAINTER: It's in northwest Kansas. In Decatur County.

POE: Okay.

BAINTER: And I was born on a farm. And...

POE: Your parents were farmers then?

BAINTER: That and other things [laughing].

POE: [Laughing] And other things, okay.

BAINTER: We did everything to make a living in those days.

POE: Well, that's true. We're talking about the '20's and '30's...


POE: ...and'40's.

BAINTER: I grew up out there in the Dirty Thirties in the middle of the Dust Bowl.

POE: Oh... not good days for farmers.

BAINTER: [Chuckling] No.

POE: You had brothers and sisters?

BAINTER: I have two sisters. They're both older than I.

POE: So you were the baby?

BAINTER: [Chuckling] Yeah.

POE: [Chuckling] Okay. And so you were, went to school there. Did they have school, I don't - I'm not familiar with the size of Jenkins.

BAINTER: It was Jennings.

POE: Was it, place that had schools and... ?

BAINTER: It was a small town, about 300 people. And I went to school 12 years in the same building [chuckling] and grew up there. And graduated in 1941.

POE: Okay.

BAINTER: And when we were graduating from high school people didn't say, "Where're you going to college?" They just said, "Where are you going?" [Laughing] Cause no one was gonna stay there, in the middle of that Dust Bowl. So most everybody did leave soon as they got out of high school.

POE: And where did you go?

BAINTER: Well, interestingly enough, I came to Hutchinson. At that time we had no money for school or anything like that and I knew that I was expected to make my way on my own when I got out of high school. And so I, while I was, that summer, after I got out of high school, I was driving a tractor and had no plans after the summer. And someone told me about a government program that was set up for kids that didn't have any money; that you could go to what was called the National Youth Administration.

POE: Oh...

BAINTER: And there was a school here in Hutchinson. It was at the old Bresee College. And it was a trade school actually, run by the government. And it was... we got our work clothes, our board and our room and $12 a month spending money and went to school full-time. Someone told me about this and I decided, I and another guy decided

this is where we wanted to start out so we came down here. And it was a kinda rough crowd. A lot of the guys were only interested in the $12 a month. I and my friend wanted to learn something so that we could go out and make a living. And my friend enrolled in, aircraft, er, metal work and I enrolled in woodwork, cause woodwork had always been a love of mine. So I enjoyed that. And we went half a day, one half the day we went to a general woodworking shop and the other half of the day we went to what was called an aircraft woodwork class. And it was, like I say, kinda of a rough bunch. Matter fact, when I, a few years later when I went in the Army, I thought that was more like a Sunday school picnic [laughing].

POE: Really?!

BAINTER: [Laughing] Well, we had guys there that - some of them had been in trouble and so were probably gonna get in trouble. But we also had a lot of guys that were dedicated to working and learning something too. So it was a good opportunity. But one of the things I think about when I think about World War n, I think so much about the fact that everybody was involved. All the, most of the young men were being drafted, but everybody was involved in World War n. My folks, I know, sacrificed a lot because they had very little gasoline, you know. And my father was trying to make a living, mostly as a salesman, and it was pretty tough to be able to make a living when you didn't have gasoline that you could, go to call on customers.

POE: Uhhum.

BAINTER: And so it was - and I think about that when I think about the time that I spent here in Hutchinson. I wound up, after several months, working for Woodward Manufacturing Company here. And that company's still in business here in Hutchinson, but its changed hands since then. But when I went to work for Woodward Manufacturing Company there were about twelve people working there. And one of the things that - and there's probably a crew about like that now, I don't know exactly how many they have but probably not many more than that - but what a lot of people in Hutchinson maybe don't know is that when I left here to go into the service there were over 1,000 people working in that plant. And we were making wooden parts for the Cessna Aircraft Company.

POE: Hum...

BAINTER: Several of the aircraft that they were building at Cessna were - at that time, still had a lot of wooden parts on it. So that's - they subcontracted those jobs out to people that worked for Woodward Manufacturing Company.

POE: So they went from twelve people to 1,000?

BAINTER: They went from twelve people to over 1,000 people.

POE: Wow.

BAINTER: And that's, like I say, people don't realize how everyone was involved. And most of those 1,000 people were women. Because the men were gone.

POE: Yeah.

BATNTER: And, so most of them were women. But, I really enjoyed the time that I spent working there because it was — well, it was right down my alley [chuckling]. I worked in the jig room. And the interesting thing about that was that we had a blueprint of the part we had to produce but we didn't have a blueprint of the jig we were gonna build. So, you know, we used our imaginations to figure out the best way to build a jig, to accomplish what we needed to build that part.

POE: [Laughing] And for those who don't know, what is a jig? BAINTER: [Laughing] Okay. A jig is simply a tool... POE: Okay.

BAINTER: .. .to build a specific part. And when you're in mass production you use a jig to repeat an operation.

POE: Okay.

BAINTER: Over and over again.

POE: So it'd be like a physical - a hard copy of a blueprint or something.

BAINTER: Well, yeah. It was...

POE: It would like go around or... ?

BAINTER: It was a piece of equipment that you built, for instance, if you were sawing out certain shape pieces...

POE: Uhhum.

BAINTER: .. .we made a jig out of a boilerplate, in the shape of the piece that we wanted.

POE: Oh, okay.

BAINTER: And then nailed the wood to the boilerplate and took it to a router and routed out...

POE: Okay.

BAINTER: ... routed out the wood in the shape of the jig. And, so the jigs were - like I say, we didn't have a blueprint of the jig, [chuckling] we got to use our imagination on how to do that. But it was a good job. And I was working there until I was drafted.

POE: And what date did you go into service?

BAINTER: Here? In...?

POE: Yeah, what date did you join the service?

BAINTER: Oh, what date? Just a minute [gets up to go get something from the other room].

POE: [Chuckling] Okay. And I think I forgot to ask you what branch of service you were in.

BAINTER: I was in the Air Force. Since I was - one of the good things about that job -since I was in the aircraft production, it helped me to get into the Air Force [chuckling]...

POE: Ahh...

BAINTER: ... which I wanted to do. And I went in on June 11, 1943.

POE: And so you enlisted for - oh, no, you were drafted.

BAINTER: I was drafted.

POE: And you, then you tested into the Air Corp or just selected it or... ?

BAINTER: Well, I asked for the Air Force, but you didn't always get what you wanted [chuckling].

POE: Right.

BAINTER: And I was sent -1 was inducted at Leavenworth.

POE: Okay.

BAINTER: And, of course, they were taking people in for the Navy and the Air Force and the Army and everything. But I was fortunate enough to get into what I wanted and I went into the Air Force. And...

POE: Where did you do your basic training then?

BAINTER: I went from - from Leavenworth I went to Lincoln, Nebraska for basic training. And, you know, June 11 is in the summer and if you know anything about Lincoln, Nebraska in the summer... [laughing]

POE: [Chuckling] A little warm? BAINTER: [Laughing] Yes, it's very warm. POE: Is it that much warmer than here? BAINTER: [Chuckling] Well, no, not so much... POE: Okay. But you probably were doing a lot of...

BAINTER: [Chuckling] But, for basic training it was a warm spot. And it seemed to be that year, particularly warm.

POE: [Chuckling] Just for you, yeah. And so then where did you go after your basic?

BATNTER: Okay, you know, I didn't ever keep track of all these things...

POE: Oh.

BAINTER: .. .when I was doing it. But my mother did [chuckling].

POE: Oh. Well good for her.

BAINTER: And Decatur County put out a book. And the book was, had all of the service people from Decatur County in it. Incidentally there were, in that book, there were 39 people who didn't come back. And that was from a county of probably about 4,000 people.

POE: Is that a copy of the page from your book?

BAINTER: Yeah. This is the page that my mother put in the book. So, she kept track of all those places, otherwise I probably wouldn't even know [chuckling] - wouldn't be able to answer those questions at all.

POE: [Looking over the page from the book] All right, so you went from Lincoln, Nebraska to Chanute Field in Illinois.


POE: Okay. And you were there from August of '43 to February of '44. Now, you probably didn't complain too much about the heat up there, did you?

BAINTER: [Laughing] No. It was cold up there. Summer in Lincoln and winter in Illinois.

POE: And what kind of training did you have there?

BAINTER: That was a trade school and I went through machine shop training up there.

POE: Was there - did you learn a lot that you hadn't learned from your trade school here?

BAINTER: Yes. Because most of my activity here was, it was woodworking. So I was really pleased to get the chance to go into the shop; the medal end of it. And Chanute Field was a training area. It was - Chanute Field's a permanent base for the Air Force, was at that time and still is I think. And they trained all kinds of skills there. One of the interesting things about it was that we studied hard and worked hard, because we were told if you washed out of machine shop school you went to the infantry. And we didn't really think we wanted to go to the infantry [chuckling]. Anyway, I was in a class with 16 people and if you failed - we were in segments of two weeks and every two weeks, if you failed that two-week's material, if you failed once they washed you back two weeks. If you failed twice, they washed you out.

POE: Um...

BAINTER: And I was one of two that made it all the way through, out of 16 guys.

POE: Wow.

BAINTER: So, they really were set up to train a lot more people than they really needed at that time. So I was - I've always felt like somebody up there watches over me.

POE: Yeah, that was, that's quite a - you did well.

BAINTER: Well, it was one of my... shop work was what I did best in school, when I was in high school. So, it was in my field, so... [chuckling]. I was fortunate.

POE: And then I see that, well, from February to March of '44, you were in Fresno.


POE: That was a short stay.

BAINTER: Well, after everybody gets out of training, then you go to a replacement depot.

POE: Oh...

BAINTER: And Fresno was a replacement depot and that's where they made up complete units to go overseas.

POE: Okay.

BAINTER: And they - when I got there, they were not ready to make up another unit yet. So they sent us up to Oakland and we did guard duty on the Oakland Airport for about four months. Just to fill in the time, I guess [chuckling].

POE: And it needed guarding, you know.

BAINTER: Oh yes.

POE: So, yeah. Somebody had to do it.

BAINTER: Yeah, somebody had to do it. So we did guard duty up there for about four months.

POE: Yeah, you were up there from, in Oakland, from March of '44 to August of '44.


POE: And then you came back to Kansas.

BAINTER: Yes. I went back to Fresno and they made up a unit there. And came back to Pratt for our overseas orientation.

POE: And that was from August of '44, it says to March of '45, but... you went overseas in March of '44, it says here.

BAINTER: Yes. That should be'44. March of'44.

POE: Okay.


POE: Yeah, I was gonna say, "Wait a minute..." [laughing]

BAINTER: [Chuckling] Yeah.

POE: Okay, so you were just there for a short while...


POE: ... and then in March of '44 you went overseas to the Pacific.

BAINTER: We were there just, mostly for the winter.

POE: Yeah. So, now tell me about your overseas duties. Now you were in the Air Force, but did - in order to go overseas did you fly or did you take a boat?

BAINTER: No. We took a slow boat to China [laughing]. POE: Where did you sail out of? BAINTER: We went out of Seattle. POE: Seattle.

BAINTER: Uh huh. And I was probably the second worst seasick case on board [laughing].

POE: Well, you weren't the first, so I guess that's good.

BAINTER: No, I wasn't first. The worst one didn't get out of bed all time we were on board [chuckling]. I was only in bed a week.

POE: Oh. How long did the trip take? BATNTER: Actually, it took about 30 days. And... POE: And where did you end up?

BAINTER: Ended up at Guam. And it was part of the 20th Air Force. We were in the 315th Bomb wing of the 20th Air Force.

POE: And so you want to talk about your time over there?

BAINTER: Well, like I say, I was very fortunate. I didn't see any real action. We were a support group for the B-29 Bomber's that were flying to, on the missions over Japan. And that was pretty rough duty for them. We had it pretty easy. When we first got there, there was no air base there and when we first got there, they took us out into the location of where we were gonna be, but it was nothing but jungles. And they had cleared off a space about the size of a city block maybe and told us that there were Japs all around us [chuckling]. But the island was secured.

POE: Oh...

BAINTER: And it was - there were Japs around us, but they were like bears in Yellowstone Park. They were trying to survive in the jungles because they'd been defeated and most of 'em captured. But they'd come into camp in the middle of the night and raid our trash barrels and things like that, looking for food. And all they were trying


to do was survive, so we didn't have to worry about them. Several months after we were there our Chaplain was out - he was, of course, one of the few people who had a jeep [chuckling]. But anyway, he was out in a remote area of the island and several Japs came out of the bush where he was and surrendered [laughing].

POE: [Laughing] Oh. The Chaplain captured them, huh?

BAINTER: [Laughing] So here he is, a Chaplain - he's an Army Officer, but he's a Chaplain. He brought in several prisoners. But the guys in the B-29's were, you know, had it pretty rough. The mission was, I think probably close to 20, maybe a little over 20 hours, to Japan and back. Depending on where they were going. And the B-29 was pressed into service before it was completely, debugged you might say.

POE: Huh...

BAINTER: And the engines were not the ideal engines for the plane. They gave 'em a lot of trouble. And I don't know what the statistics are but I imagine we lost almost as many planes on the runway landing, than we did over at the target. They just couldn't make the trip without breaking down somewhere. The runway was, oh, probably a quarter or half a mile from where I was assigned, so I was never over there a whole lot. But I went over one day and watched 'em come in. And I watched one crash on the runway. Nobody got out.

POE: Yeah.

BAINTER: And there was nothing anybody could do. And I had no duties over there and no reason to be there and I never went back.

POE: Yeah. You were doing your part. You had to do the best that you could to keep the planes in...

BAINTER: Yeah. POE: ...going.

BAINTER: Well, in the -1 was assigned to the woodwork section. And so I didn't have any direct duties with the aircraft a whole lot, so...

POE: They weren't using wooden parts on the B-29's?

BAINTER: [Chuckling] Technically my MOS was Aircraft Woodworker.

POE: Okay.

BAINTER: My practical duty was Carpenter [chuckling]. But my MOS was Aircraft Woodworker. The only wood parts on the B-29's are the floorboards.


POE: [Laughing] Okay.

BAINTER: [Laughing] So we didn't do a lot of work... Probably the most interesting job that I did while I was there - we built a lot of barracks and we built, did things like worked in construction, we built most of the chapels and things like that because we were there quite a while. But probably the most interesting work that I did was, I don't know whether you remember when they talked about flying, when the war was over and prisoners of war were still in captivity, they parachuted supplies into the prisoners of war there. And we built all of the pallets that they dropped those supplies on. So it was, made us feel like we were doing something more - more than just building barracks [chuckling].

POE: Well, you needed barracks too. I've heard several stories about people who really appreciated barracks after sleeping in tents for a long time.

BAINTER: Well, we slept in tents for a while until we got the barracks built [chuckling], so I appreciated that. But it was - and then, course, when the war was over, people were rotated home on a point system. And so a lot of us were still there. We didn't have combat points; we were there for a while. So I was there probably about six months after the war was over.

POE: And that would've been - you returned to the United States, here it says, February 27, 1946.


POE: Bet that was a happy day for you.

BAINTER: That was a happy day.

POE: [Chuckling] Did you come back on a boat?

BAINTER: [Chuckling] Yes. We came back on a boat.

POE: Were you seasick?

BATNTER: [Chuckling] Not as bad as I was going over.

POE: Okay.

BAINTER: It was a better ship. The one I went over on was the Dorthea L. Dix and it literally was a banana boat. It had belonged to the, one of the fruit companies.

POE: Oh...

BAINTER: That they had shipped bananas in on [laughing].


POE: [Chuckling] It really was a banana boat.

BAINTER: [Laughing] It really was a banana boat. And it was filthy. You know, the diesel engines spew out diesel fumes all the time and that settles on the decks and unless they do a lot of cleaning on it, they get pretty filthy.

POE: [Chuckling] And if you're transporting bananas they don't care, but people do?

BAINTER: [Chuckling] I guess so. It contributed to the seasickness a little bit.

POE: So on the way back, what kind of boat were you on?

BAINTER: It was a liberty ship.

POE: A liberty ship, okay.

BATNTER: [Chuckling] It was a better ship.

POE: So you, then you came back - it says you were discharged March 5, 1946 in Ft. Logan, Colorado.

BAINTER: Uhhuh. That's in Denver.

POE: Okay. And then did you come back to Hutchinson or Jenkins or... ?

BATNTER: No. I went back to, that's when I went back to Decatur County in...

POE: Decatur County.

BAINTER: ... northwest Kansas. And for the first time in my life it was green.

POE: It was...? That's right! Cause you...

BAINTER: And, you know, it's kinda interesting because that was my first impression when I got back. It was green! I had never seen it green in my life [chuckling].

POE: Huh...

BAINTER: Cause in the '30's it was always brown. You know, the grass was all brown. And when I came back from the service it was green.

POE: Now, I take it that you were not married when you went into the service.


POE: Okay. And that's one of the reasons why you had fewer points, too.


BAINTER: Well, yeah. That made a little difference, yeah.

POE: So you came back to Decatur County and what did do you while there? Did you... ?

BAINTER: Well, like I say, somebody looks after me a lot [chuckling]. I've had too many good things happen in my life, that I didn't really have anything to do with. But I had a brother-in-law, my older sister was eight years older than I, and they had, I think three children, three or four children, they had four children and I think three of them were born before the war. Anyway, they were farming. And he was one of the ones who practically ruined his health farming so hard, because there were no farmers around.

POE: Uhhum...

BAINTER: And every time somebody would leave for the Army, the family or landlord or whoever was in charge of the farm would come to my brother-in-law and say - he was deferred from it because he had a family - and they would come to him and say, "Would you farm our land?" And he worked night and day almost just to keep things going. And, like I say, here again, it demonstrates that everybody was involved. And anyway, when I - the war was over and I got a letter from him and he said, "I've got 80 acres of summer fallow ground that's ready to plant with wheat." And he said, "I've got way too much land to farm." And he said, "You're gonna be home before spring." And I didn't realize that -1 mean, when we were over there you had the feeling that, you had no idea whether you'd be home in a month or ten years, you know. That was one of the worst things about being there. But anyway, he said, "You'll be home..." He said, "If you'll send me the money for the wheat I'll put it in for you." So when I got home I had 80 acres of wheat waiting for me. And, so I started farming and interestingly enough -course, one of the things about being a serviceman, you had priority on machinery. And if the serviceman had a 50% interest in the machinery, you could get priority. And my brother-in-law's combines were about shot and he said, "If we could just get a new combine, that would be great." So anyway, we bought a new combine and had a partnership. He owned half of it and I owned half of it. I bought a brand new tractor, half interest in a brand new combine. I bought a new Graham Hamey. If you're from a farm family you may know even know what a Graham Hamey is. It's a cultivator [chuckling].

POE: Oh, okay. Yeah, I know what that is [chuckling].

BAINTER: [Chuckling] It's a cultivator. And a used [inaudible] And I did not spend $3,000.

POE: Wow.

BAINTER: So I had everything I needed to farm wheat with, except a drill and we used my tractor and my brother-in-law's drill. But I did not spend $3000 and that's how I got started in farming. And then, when fall came I decided to take advantage of the GI Bill


and go to college. So for four years I farmed in the summertime and went to college in

the wintertime.

POE: And you went to KU? Kansas University...

BAINTER: I graduated from KU. POE: Okay.

BAINTER: I started my freshman year in a little school up in Wisconsin, then I transferred to KU my sophomore year.

POE: Oh.

BAINTER: So, like I say, I've been very fortunate. I was - and one of the most fortunate things about all of it is that the girl that I met in high school was still not married when I got back.

POE: And what was her name?

BAINTER: Thelma.

POE: [Chuckling] And I just met Thelma a few moments ago.

BAINTER: Right [chuckling].

POE: So you've been married how long now?

BAINTER: Uh, let's see... little over 57 years.

POE: 57 years.


POE: And you raised children on the farm there or...?

BATNTER: Well, after I got out of college, well, I went into the insurance business for a while. And I wound up in the savings and loan business. So I didn't farm much after I got out of college.

POE: So I'd say that, you would probably say that the GI Bill was beneficial?

BAINTER: Oh yes! I would've never gone to college. In the first place, when we were in high school we were not prepared to go to college. And I probably could not have made it through college if I'd gone directly to college anyway. But when I came back and went to school, it was much different.


BAINTER: To get it? POE: Yeah.

BAINTER: Oh yes. I think it's one of the greatest things that they came up with. Because any number of people went to college that would not've been able to go. Like I say, when people were getting out of the school in the '30's there was no money to go to college. But when -1 was 23 years old when I started to college. And some of our professors had -1 remember one of our professors at KU saying that he had to completely redesign his course when the GFs came back. Because they were all so much more dedicated to study than he said his, the level of his classes had to be upgraded, just because his students were older. They weren't there to chase around half the night [chuckling] or whatever. They were there to study.

POE: [Chuckling] They'd already been away from home.

BAINTER: Yeah. Right.

POE: Did you use the GI Bill benefits to buy a house later or anything like that?

BAINTER: No. No, that was probably the only one that I used, is the... yeah.

POE: And you went into the savings and loan business and, now tell me again where you went to, the first part of your schooling - where did you go?

BAINTER: Jennings. POE: Jennings? BAINTER: Uhhuh.

POE: And that's where you went to the, they had a school -1 mean, I'm talking about your college.

BAINTER: Oh. Well, the first, my first year in college I went to a little school in Wisconsin.

POE: Wisconsin.

BAINTER: Called Stout Institute.

POE: Oh, okay.



POE: I was wondering how - Wisconsin, I heard Wisconsin. I was wondering how did that...?

BAINTER: Well...

POE: [Chuckling] You were born in Jennings, Kansas, right?

BAINTER: Right. And I had a manual training instructor in high school who had gone to school at, had gotten his master's degree at Stout Institute in Wisconsin.

POE: Oh...

BAINTER: And, you know, interestingly, he taught me in high school, in manual training and when I went to this machine shop school hi Chanute Field, he was one of the instructors...

POE: I'll be darned.

BAINTER: At the machine shop school.

POE: Huh...

BAINTER: And, you know, here again, this was a civilian who changed his lifestyle...

POE: Uhhuh.

BAnSTTER: ...to fit the time.

POE: Uhhuh.

BAINTER: [Chuckling] And, course, there weren't many boys in Jennings to...

POE: Yeah.

BAINTER: .. .to take the - a lot of those guys that came along in '43 and '44 went to the service before they got out of high school.

POE: Yeah. And you - what was the highest rank that you had?

BAINTER: Sergeant.

POE: You remember your service number?

BAINTER: [Chuckling] Oh yeah.

POE: [Laughing] This is a test.


BAINTER: 37529151.

POE: I'm sorry. Say that again.

BAINTER: 37529...

POE: 3752...

BAINTER: 5191.

POE: 5190?


POE: 91. Okay. You did! Were you injured while you were in service?


POE: Did you get any special medals or service awards?

BAINTER: Well, just the Pacific Theatre one.

POE: I take it since - your mom was tracking your progress the whole time...

BAINTER: [Chuckling] Oh yes.

POE: ... so I take it, and you were pretty stationary, in one place, at the time...


POE: I mean, you moved around but it wasn't like you were on the airplanes and landing different places.


POE: So you were able to keep in correspondence with her pretty good.

BAINTER: Oh yes.

POE: I assume you corresponded with your parents.

BAINTER: Uh huh, sure.

POE: And...


BAINTER: [Chuckling] My mother kept track of me pretty good.

POE: Yeah. And obviously from your, also your brother-in-law, so, wrote you a letter.


POE: So, you didn't have any trouble with mail?

BAINTER: No, not really.

POE: I meant, did you have, was it censored?

BAINTER: Oh, I'm sure it probably was. I don't know. That's something we didn't know for sure.

POE: Hum...

BAINTER: But we assumed it was. And, of course, we didn't write about things that were going on. Just what was going on with us, with me [chuckling].

POE: Yeah. Speaking, just on some of the day to day, you were living hi a barracks and you had to, that you had to build.


POE: [Chuckling] Right. And going to a mess hall?


POE: Okay, cause I was just wondering whether you actually had meals or whether you were living, had to use the K-ration, C-ration things or...?

BAINTER: Just briefly when we first got over there, but they had- [chuckling] we had a lot of mutton. See, Guam's not too far from Australia.

POE: Oh!

BAINTER: [Chuckling] We ate a lot of mutton.

POE: [Chuckling] You had a lot of mutton, huh? So I take it the food was pretty, I mean, was...

BAINTER: It was adequate. POE: It was adequate.


BAINTER: But, I'll tell ya, the thing I missed more than anything else was milk and produce. When we got back from overseas, when the ship landed, it was a mid-afternoon and, of course, we went in for our first meal in the United States. And I'm sure this is something most everybody experiences when they come back from overseas, but we went into this mess hall and they said, "Now, if you don't see it, ask for it. Cause anything you want is on the menu." [Chuckling] And I went through the chow line and I had never been a big guy to eat salads, when I was a kid and growing up, but the thing that looked the best to me on that whole table, I picked up a quarter of a head of lettuce. That and quart of milk and I took care of the whole thing [laughing]. But, and of course we had a lot of other things but those are the two things that I remember. Because you didn't have fresh things in our, over there. And going overseas on the ship, it was a troop ship actually, you know, it was converted into a troop ship, but the only thing they had to cook with in the kitchen was water, so everything was boiled. And hi thirty days you get awful tired of boiled food [chuckling]. But it was, you know, it was nourishing.

POE: Right.

BAINTER: But in a ship like that most everything is boiled.

POE: You hear about entertainers coming over and entertaining the troops.

BAINTER: Oh, yeah.

POE: Did some enter- celebrities come over while you were at Guam?

BAINTER: They did, yes. Uhhuh. And I didn't get to go to all of'em, but I did some of 'em. But I don't remember, can't remember who all was there, any big names that I saw. But we built a theatre. It was an outdoor theatre, completely equipped, we built an enclosed stage and everything and we did - we had movies and then USO Shows there. And one of the experiences that I had after the war was over, like I say I was there for about six months, and at Christmas time they came around and said, "Anybody would like to sing in a Christmas chorus?" And one of the things I've always enjoyed was singing in choirs and everything. And so it was my first experience to sing The Messiah.

POE: Oh...

BAINTER: And we did The Messiah with... and you might say, well, where did the women come from? But we had quite a few, being a, you know, a base where everybody flew in and out, we had quite a few nurses on the island and quite a few USO people, so we had a fairly well balanced chorus. It was a little overloaded with men [chuckling], but it was a fun experience.

POE: And when you came back - okay, writing... you had met your future wife while you were still in high school.



BAINTER: So I - and she graduated at K-State. So I thought I really need to take her down to KU for at least one year [laughing]. So we were married before my senior year.

POE: And then she came and was there hi Lawrence with you?

BAINTER: Yes. Yeah. And so it, she quit her job and like I say, I was farming in the summertime so we were, got by till we got out of college.

POE: And so, then you, how you ended up here, back hi Hutchinson, was that through the savings and loan?

BAINTER: No. We spent most of our life back in Decatur County and Oberlin, which is the county seat. But we graduated in Jennings...

POE: Uhhuh.

BAINTER: .. .which is a small town in Decatur County, but we wound up in Oberlin and spent most of our time - matter of fact, we lived in the same house in Oberlin for forty years. And then we retired and -1 retired and my wife was still working some and she worked one more year and she said, "We like to go places and you want to go places and I can't go a lot of times." So she retired too [chuckling]. And then we spent about 16 years, we wintered in Arizona and went back to Oberlin in the summertime. Then we finally sold out in Oberlin and moved to Arizona permanently, for about five years. And then our health began to get not too good and both of our children were in Kansas and they said, "You need to get back to Kansas." So we started looking at retirement places in Kansas. And we decided this was the best spot.

POE: You have a nice place here.

BAINTER: We're very pleased.

POE: I've not been in these apartments before, but these are nice.

BAINTER: Yeah, we're very pleased.

POE: Or duplexes, I should say here.

BAINTER: Uh huh, yeah. And the, you know, the good thing is that no matter what kind of care we may need, it's here.

POE: Uhhum.

BAINTER: So, we shouldn't have to make another move to another town [chuckling].

POE: I take it you're not traveling quite so much anymore?


BAHSfTER: No. We did the, in the summertime we did the RV thing for about ten years and we traveled to every state in the...

POE: That's good.

BAINTER: ... in the, except Hawaii [chuckling].

POE: [Chuckling] Oh. Yeah. Alaska?

BAINTER: We did Alaska.

POE: You did Alaska, huh?

BAINTER: Yeah, we did it on a cruise.

POE: Okay.

BAINTER: Instead of the RV. But, so we did that for about ten years. It was a lot of


POE: So your children live near Hutchinson or... ?

BAINTER: Our daughter is a Librarian in Ellsworth.

POE: Okay.

BAINTER: And our son lives in Manhattan.

POE: So they're close.


POE: Grandchildren?

BAINTER: No grandchildren. Our daughter'snot married and our son's only been married two years. And he was 49 when he was married, so... [chuckling]. It doesn't like there's gonna be...

POE: [Laughing] Yeah, late bloomer, huh?

BAINTER: [Laughing] Yeah. They're both... So we don't have any grandchildren.

POE: Well, is there anything else you'd like to add?

BAINTER: Don't know anything. Like I say, I feel like I've been very fortunate, in lots of ways.


POE: I meant to ask you, whenever you were... when you got out of the service did you join the American Legion?

BAINTER: Oh yes. POE: OrtheVFW?

BAINTER: I joined the American Legion. We didn't have a VFW in Oberlin, but we had an American Legion.

POE: And are you still a member? BAINTER: Oh yeah. POE: And still active?

BAINTER: Oh, I'm not, I've never been real active [chuckling]. I got active in the... about, oh, four or five years after we were married, well, two or three years after we were married, I got active in the barbershop group.

POE: That was the other thing I was gonna ask you. Did you continue singing after your Messiah [chuckling]?

BAINTER: [Chuckling] Yeah, I got interested in, well, singing was always a big thing in my life. My mother, well, somebody asked me in Arizona when we were singing in the choir down there, "How long have you been singing in church choirs?" And I said, "Well, I really can't remember but I remember when I started I sang alto" [laughing]. My mother was a choir director.

POE: Oh, okay.

BAINTER: And she was quite musical. She directed the choir and she directed the little church orchestra and gave violin lessons and piano lessons. And so, anyway, I started early at singing and when I went to college, well, when I came down to Hutchinson here I went to First Church and somebody heard me singing in church one Sunday and they said, "Why don't you try out for the choir?" The First Church choir was, oh, I wanna say audition choir.

POE: Ahh...

BAINTER: And so I tried out and I did get in the choir. So I sang here - then when we were on Guam we had a little chapel choir of about, oh, 12-14 guys, but we had an Officer who was an Intelligence Officer, who was a music instructor hi Omaha before the war. So he directed this little chapel choir. And he came to me one day, when I was on Guam, and he said, "You know, I'd like to keep my hand in at teaching." He said,


"Would you be interested in taking voice lessons from me?" And I said, "You bet." And he said, "Well, just one rule." He said, "You have to -1 won't charge you anything - but you have to practice as if I were charging you" [chuckling]. And so I took my first voice lessons there.

POE: Oh...

BAENTER: And then I, when I went to college, I took voice lessons just as kinda a side thing, you know.

POE: Uhhuh.

BAINTER: And so I enjoyed that. Then I got involved in barbershop later and sang hi a barbershop quartet for about ten years and we traveled around all the mid-states here.

POE: Do you still sing?

BAINTER: No. I don't sing anymore.

POE: You've retired from singing.

BAINTER: I've retired from singing completely [chuckling]. Yeah.

POE: But you still enjoy the music around here?

BAINTER: Oh yes.

POE: You've got some good performances.

BAINTER: Yeah. Uhhuh. There's a lot of-that's one of the nice things about Hutchinson, there's a lot of good programs here.

POE: Yeah. Well, is there anything else you'd like to add? BAINTER: I don't know of anything in particular.

POE: Well I want to thank you very much for allowing me to come into your home and interview you today. We're here with Boyd Bainter, in his home in Hutchinson, Kansas. This is interviewer Marian Poe. Today is November the 27th, 2006.

[Poe turns the digital camcorder off and the interview is concluded at this time]

Item Description

Copyright © 2007-2020 - Kansas Historical Society - Contact Us
This website was developed in part with funding provided by the Information Network of Kansas.