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Interview on experiences in World War II

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Ellis County Historical Society


Ellis County Historical Society


Veterans of WWII Oral History Project


Interview with Easter Davis*

November 6, 2006


Conducted by Judy Walker**

*Hereafter referred to DAVIS

**Hereafter referred to as WALKER

WALKER: And today is November 6th, 2006. Mr. Davis, you want to state your name?

DAVIS: My name is Easter M. Davis junior.

WALKER: And your current address?

DAVIS: 235 North Brooks, Russell, Kansas 67665

WALKER: And where were you born Mr. Davis?

DAVIS: In Timpson, Texas on July 17th, 1921.

WALKER: And who were your parents?

DAVIS: Easter M. Davis and Bettie Chandler Davis, was my mother.

WALKER: And where'd you go to school?

DAVIS: I started at school at Garrison, Texas and then went to Timpson, Texas till I was in 6th grade and come back to Garrison, Texas and finished high school in '41.

WALKER: Okay.

DAVIS: I was, my dad was in an accident and broke his neck, had to go to the veterans hospital and they put a deal on his neck, shoulders and took thirty-one days to go up and thirty-one days to come down. And he got over it and I quit school. It was twelve in my family and I quit school and went to work, anything I could get to do because I wasn't too old.

WALKER: How?

DAVIS: And I was almost twenty when I finished high school.

WALKER: Oh you were?

DAVIS: Yeah, so that…

WALKER: How old were you in comparison to the other kids?

DAVIS: I had a brother and a sister that died. My sister was fourteen and the baby was two months and something and then there was twelve of us. There's seven still living out of the twelve and I'm the oldest.

WALKER: You're the oldest, which explains why you quit school to take care of the family.

DAVIS: That's right.

WALKER: Are you married?

DAVIS: Yes.

WALKER: And what's your wife's name?

DAVIS: My first wife's named Claire. We lived off the base here in Hays when I was stationed out at. We lived with Cyril Walters. He's the one that used to work the newspaper and he tried I don't know how long to get `em to print an Sunday newspaper, and finally they let him come out with the newspaper and they printed a Sunday newspaper ever since. We lived in his basement and…

WALKER: And your first wife's maiden name?

DAVIS: Claire Agnew and she was born in Tenaha, Texas and that was, I think fifteen miles from Garrison.

WALKER: And you're married now and what's you wife's name?

DAVIS: Virginia and my first wife died in '85 then Virginia got married in `86.

WALKER: So did you have any children?

DAVIS: Yes. I had four. My youngest son died in '94 and I have a son lives in Buffalo, New York.

WALKER: And what's his name?

DAVIS: Cecil.

WALKER: Cecil.

DAVIS: And I have one daughter lives in Holland, Michigan and one lives in Taylor, Missouri.

WALKER: Oh my they're scattered, and what are you daughter's names?

DAVIS: Sherolyn Faye and Marilyn Kay.

WALKER: And the son that passed away, what was his name?

DAVIS: Mike.

WALKER: Mike, okay very good. How did you meet your first wife?

DAVIS: At a dance. I was working in the shipyard in Orange, Texas and they had a youth center there to entertain the youth and went in there one night and she come through the door and I had a pal with me and I said, ``That skinny one is mine.'' And he said, ``No she's mine'' and I was a better dancer than he was, so we, it wasn't long till I was in the Air Force. I volunteered for the Air Force, is known as the Houston Volunteers, was six hundred of us volunteered in two days. Went back to Ellington Field and went to San Antonio and got our barracks bag and uniform

WALKER: Is that where you went through basic training, at San Antonio?

DAVIS: No, had boot camp in Ellington Field and went from there to Altus, Oklahoma. Was in the engineers there and from Altus went to Tinker Field in Oklahoma City, and from Tinker Field to Pratt, Pratt to Walker, and Walker to Smoky Hill in Salina and from there to Scout Field, Illinois.

WALKER: So you volunteered for the?

DAVIS: For the service.

WALKER: How old were you when you volunteered?

DAVIS: I think I was nineteen. I know one thing, I was working in the shipyard getting a nice big check. The first three checks I got in the Air Force was twenty-one dollars. You had to buy your laundry, pay for your laundry, buy insurance and everything and when you got through you had just twelve dollars and just a few cents to live till the next month.

WALKER: Oh my goodness. Now you weren't married when you volunteered?

DAVIS: No.

WALKER: So what were you guys thinking when you volunteered like that?

DAVIS: Well they just bombed Pearl Harbor and was three of us in a beer joint and we come out of that beer joint and they were singing ``Enlist Men for Pearl Harbor.'' We all shook hands and there was a recruiting deal right out side and it was October the 26th in '42. And we went out and we left and went to San Antonio. They give us our barracks bag and all of our uniforms and we come back to Ellington Field and took boot camp.

WALKER: What was that like?

DAVIS: Oh I didn't mind it. Some of those guys hated it with a passion. I liked, it didn't matter to me. We was in Oklahoma City July the 4th and I don't know how many thousand soldiers was there and they had some General. You stood at attention while he made a speech and I thought he was never going. Them guys, it was over a hundred degrees and was dropping out like flies, they had the ambulance and the stretcher. You'd see `em just, if somebody didn't catch them, they just hit the ground. They would take them to the infirmary.

WALKER: But you didn't, you made it through that didn't you.

DAVIS: Yeah, I didn't have any problems.

WALKER: Growing up in Texas you were probably used to that heat. You were in the Air Force. What was your rank?

DAVIS: Corporal. I made corporal while I was stationed out here at Walker. Made PFC and corporal. I was a combination T5-6, was a combination welder and we modified the B-29, getting them ready for overseas. On a long flight they had a knuckle joint that fit over the exhaust system and that would tip over when they'd fly to Tokyo and start back about halfway back well they'd catch the engine on fire and have to dump the, bail out and if the Navy wasn't down there, they just gone. We come up with a little deal was just that wide, that's nineteen percent nickel, stainless steel, and we took a /rawhide/ hammer, shaped it around the exhaust, that knuckle joint and acetylene weld it. We had a rod there, we sandpapered it and I could really, some of the guys never did learn how to weld that stainless steel and I was up to go overseas three different times, taken off the shipping list. I think it was on the count of what I was doing.

WALKER: Yeah if you could keep those planes from bursting

DAVIS: I was supposed to gone to Greensburg, North Carolina, POE. I don't know what I missed, I didn't go.

WALKER: That's okay. So you were trained as an air mechanic then?

DAVIS: In, I was in a service squadron. There's nine categories. Are two welders, and two mechanics, two air plane mechanics and two engine mechanics, a carpenter and just for nine different categories there was two men in each one and I was supposed to, my rank supposed to been tech sergeant. Well a bunch of them was coming back from overseas, techs and master and all them, they was full up and I didn't, I got to be corporal. It didn't matter. I would've liked to been sergeant anyway.

WALKER: Pay would've been better.

DAVIS: Yeah.

WALKER: So you were a welder?

DAVIS: Yeah I was an aircraft welder. We, when they went overseas they didn't, they, we made up these little Navy winches, had an arm on them about that long. We made brackets in the bomb bay and they took extra propellers and extra engines for airplanes and we'd mount `em and where they could hook on to `em and they wouldn't get to swinging if you'd get in turbulent weather. And that was one thing I did in there.

WALKER: Well the sleeve you made for that knuckle joint, did they ever finally incorporate that into the design?

DAVIS: Yeah. And we had that one guy down at Pratt. I went down there and they had a B-29 and a B-24 landed and this guy got up and made a speech and I told him about. He said, ``You might've saved my life.'' He gave me his card and he lived in California.

WALKER: So they were losing those B-29s after they dropped their bombs on the way back home?

DAVIS: Yeah. There is Hap /Hallison/ or something.

WALKER: Hap /Haloran/. Yeah you may have saved his life.

DAVIS: Yeah he, said that thing and I had my…<shows picture in wallet>

WALKER: Okay the veterans the B-29 all veterans memorial at Pratt.

DAVIS: And I had my winter uniform on, all except my shoes and I called that Jack /McCourlene/ and asked him if he'd like to have it for the museum and so I took it down. I still have a shirt and a pair of pants but they don't have my corporal, that had my corporal deal on it.

WALKER: Insignia on it.

DAVIS: I signed a deal saying a wouldn't want it back and I had, I've got two books, Sky Giants Over Japan, it's a diary of Chester Marshall and then I've got a brochure Dedication of the B-29 at the Great Bend Air Force Base and a Maximum Effort by Robert /Laird/ and I have those two books. If I could find out where I could get copies of them or I could put them on loan for you.

WALKER: We'll take the information and then we could look for them too.

DAVIS: I'll tell you maybe the library sometime would let you.

WALKER: They're very helpful.

DAVIS: Would you want to?

WALKER: We'll make a copy so you still have that. You say where were you first stationed at after you went through basic?

DAVIS: Ellington Field.

WALKER: Ellington Field

DAVIS: No that's where I took my basic and then from there went to Altus, Oklahoma

WALKER: And what did you do at Altus, Oklahoma?

DAVIS: Worked in a post-engineers base unit and then I drove a bulldozer and then we carried, I worked in the motor pool some. We carried patients to Oklahoma City. They had a big Army base there and I, we had a doctor that would go along with the patient and you'd drive him up there and then I had to wait till they got through and then we'd go back to the base. We had, was an Indian town there, I think it was Cherokee, Oklahoma and when you checked out your vehicle at the motor pool, they told you to slow down ten miles an hour. Them Indians don't even look, they just walk right across the highway.

WALKER: So the wanted to make sure you didn't run over any Indians

DAVIS: Run over an Indian.

WALKER: That would kinda ruin your day.

DAVIS: Sure enough I saw an Indian.

WALKER: Did you?

DAVIS: Yeah

WALKER: So from there where did you go?

DAVIS: From Altus?

WALKER: Yeah from Altus.

DAVIS: Went to Tinker Field in Oklahoma City.

WALKER: Okay and were you still in?

DAVIS: And I was just in the Air Force and I got to Tinker Field. When I took my aptitude test, this officer give me a little slip of paper. He said, ``Son, don't lose that someday it may come in handy''. And we got there and this sergeant was interviewing me, getting ready to place me somewhere and he, he said, ``If we spent this much time with every soldier in here we'd never get this war over with.'' And that officer heard him down there and he said, ``Sergeant send that soldier back here'' I went down there and give him my salute and he said ``At ease. What seems to be the trouble?'' And I said,'' Sir I volunteered for the Air Force, quit a good job, and I said `` He wants me to go in to a truck driving outfit.'' They had me up to go overseas and he said, ``I'll tell you what,'' he told that sergeant, he said, ``Mark him to go to Pratt, Kansas, they got a new airplane coming, the B-29.'' He did and let's see, it was July the 15th when I got to Pratt and I was there when the Air Force got the first B-29.

WALKER: Oh my.

DAVIS: Yeah. That's really something. A civilian could go all over and Johnny Air Force couldn't get within two hundred feet of it.

WALKER: Now why was that?

DAVIS: Wasn't very long after that, we had a `24 that a prop came off of and spun, damaged a wing and they got, they landed it and was really funny. I don't know how many gallons of fuel they had, I think it was, B-29 burn a hundred octane and I think they burned seventy-something. They took barrels, fifty-five gallon barrels and emptied all that gasoline out of that airplane put it out there and when the got ready to put it back in the airplane they didn't have five gallons in. Them GIs got it and burned it in their car <laughs>.

WALKER: So did they start you to welding right away then?

DAVIS: Yeah, yeah. I got to Pratt and they was working on the exhaust system on the B-29. I was up to go overseas three different times and taken off, I think, by what I was doing and you'd be on the bulletin board, read the bulletin board, your name would be on there, you'd pack all your stuff at home, I was living off the base, come out there and you'd get there and your name would be off the. And one of the guys said, ``You know I've never seen a guy's name taken off a shipping list.'' And I said ``Well we're living off the base. I went home and told my wife and she called up the commanding officer and raised so much sin he took me off.'' <laughs>

WALKER: Was that true?

DAVIS: No. Anything for a laugh.

WALKER: Sure. So how long were you at Pratt then?

DAVIS: At Pratt? I got there July the 15th and left, come out to Walker was January the 29th of `44. I was there in `43 when they got the first B-29. And then I transferred to Walker and I got there January the 29th and was right till October the 17th and transferred to Smoky Hill at Salina and I was there till the 6th of January in `46 and went to Scott Field, Illinois and was discharged.

WALKER: And discharged there. And so you were basically a metal smith, a welder all the way through?

DAVIS: That's what a T5-6 was a combination aircraft welder. And I went on a, I got out the 8th of January in `46 and my wife was in Orange, Texas and so I went down and I promised her that we'd go back to Texas when the war was over. We was both from Texas. Her folks live there. We stayed there thirty days or thirty-one and come back to Russell. They had thousands of welders down there. They had consolidated steel in Orange, Texas. Then they had three ship-building deals in Huston and you couldn't hire out as a welder. I finally got a job, a hundred thirty-five dollars a month as a shop mechanic and I could make in Russell, I could make five hundred dollars a month welding in the oil field.

WALKER: Okay.

DAVIS: So we come back to Russell in 1947. I opened Easter's Welding Service, and then in '53 I opened a shop in Kiowa, Kansas and in '54 I opened a shop here in Hays and I did gas company's work here. We welded a six-inch pipeline clear around the whole city of Hays and that I don't know how many days. We had an eight-inch gas line coming in from Wakeeny or somewhere and I made those stations, meter stations and I don't know. This guy's name was /Kelley/, used to be over of the gas company here, I don't know where he's still living or not.

WALKER: I don't know either. Now when you were stationed out a Walker, what was it like out there?

DAVIS: Oh, I didn't mind it at all. You just had you duty, you know, to do and most of the guys, a lot of them were from Baltimore and New York City, they hated it because they used to a big city. They either had to go to Hays or Russell, and I didn't, I was raised in a town of eight hundred and seventy people I think. It didn't bother me at all.

WALKER: Soit was okay. So what did you guys do for entertainment then?

DAVIS: They had a USO and you could go to the library and you could write all you want to and it didn't cost you any postage, just put free.

WALKER: Where the stamp goes?

DAVIS: Yeah. Where the stamp went put free and your serial number I think.

WALKER: Now you and you wife lived in Hays while you were stationed out there?

DAVIS: Yeah. We got married, my first wife and she come up here and we lived off the base and then we moved to Russell. I got, I'd work from midnight to eight at the air base and then go into Russell and weld in a machine shop three or four hours, whatever I wanted to and I think we saved up thirty-three hundred dollars while I was in and then we bought a old Hudson Terraplane car and I don't know how many times we drove that thing to Texas.

WALKER: You kept in touch with your family through the free mail, I suppose?

DAVIS: Yeah, we yeah, I kept my mother and dad, he was a World War One veteran, my dad was, and so yeah they was always glad to get a letter and my mother would write right back.

WALKER: Did she? Any of your brothers go into the service?

DAVIS: Yeah, I had two brothers in the Navy.

WALKER: So that kept her worried. She was probably glad you were stateside then?

DAVIS: What?

WALKER: Your mother was probably glad you were stateside then?

DAVIS: Yeah. They, I don't know, was really something, you know. I volunteered so I didn't mind at all. I wanted, see my, E.M. Davis United States Air Force and then its got one eight nine seven two eight, my serial number. I had a little set of wings there but I think grit wearing that, wore it off and I never knew where I lost it.

WALKER: Now did you make that?

DAVIS: Mmhmm. I made that right out here at Walker. Went over there at the tool shop and got that, laid it down and just took a little ball peen hammer and peened that right there.

WALKER: Now is that the stainless steel, like what you used to make that shield?

DAVIS: Yeah.

WALKER: Okay. Very good.

DAVIS: Yeah that was…

WALKER: I would have thought the engineers would've know that knuckle joint would get hot?

DAVIS: Well, they did and, but I don't know how many planes they lost before they realized it and not all of them but some of them would get hot and set that firewall on fire and they'd have to bail out and I had, one time we met over here and we was supposed to bring something, you know, we had there at Walker and I had two bomb clips that had come out of the bomb bay and they was what would release the bombs, that opened the bomb bay. And I laid them on the table and when I got ready to go home, I only had one. But I figured might've been somebody that was a crew on one, so I didn't even mention it. I had that airport there at Russell has the second one I had and they've got that little miniature B-29.

WALKER: Now did you make that too?

DAVIS: No I bought it. Yeah its got the little props on there and everything. I was gonna get it and bring it over here, but I got around here and don't do it.

WALKER: That's okay, we've got the picture. How was the food while you were in the Air Force?

DAVIS: I didn't mind it. On Sunday we always had cold cuts and some of them just hated them.

WALKER: Oh really?

DAVIS: Yeah. I never, I caught KP one time.

WALKER: Oh really, why?

DAVIS: Well when we got back from San Antonio to Ellington Field and you read the bulletin board and your name would be on there. And they had a drill field out there and I didn't mind drilling, that was my thing. Well I couldn't, I couldn't holler because I volunteered.

WALKER: That's true oh dear. Do you recall any particular humorous events or funny stories?

DAVIS: Well, we used to short sheet them guys. You've heard of that?

WALKER: Yes.

DAVIS: And they'd try to push that cover out and scoot them right out on the floor, and the n one time when I was at Ellington, we called it Solomon Island, they just tarpaper shacks what we were living in. It wasn't modern and they were cold and you had to get up, they'd order you to get up and build a fire. That one and they always, they grow a lot of citrus fruit in Texas, they always give you an orange. We was walking back to the barracks there and this GI truck come walking along there and I didn't know it was an officer. He was a passing this officer where was a walking and I said to my buddies, ``Just watch this, I'm going to throw this orange in the bed of that truck.'' `Bout that time that truck pulled up and that orange missed that officer about that much.

WALKER: Oh my.

DAVIS: Boy I took off running. I went in the barracks and some old boy was sitting there polishing his shoes and I said, ``Give me that polish rag'' I jerked one of my shoes off and started and that officer came in and said, ``Did you see a soldier come running in here?'' I said, ``Which way was he coming from?'' <laughs>

WALKER: So did you get away with it?

DAVIS: Yeah. He didn't catch. But I had another friend there. We'd get a three day pass and let's see we was in Altus I think, and we went over there and we saw all of these, went up town and I think it was Blair, Oklahoma and they had just sack after sack, come to find out it was peanuts. They raised peanuts, little Spanish peanuts and then them great big ones, and they had oodles of them in there and so that was really something. After that my oldest son was stationed at Altus in the Air Force and I left Russell and went down through there and got down and I saw these pheasants fly across the road and I got me a motel there in Altus and I shot two rooster pheasants and three quail I think and I took them up there and I should've dressed them out in the country but I took them in that room and skin `em and I spent about two hours picking up feathers and so I asked them for some ice and they give my some ice in a little bag and went down and my son was on duty there but they went and found him and brought him to the gate. So he took me in and I got to spend the night, one of the guys was gone on a furlough or something. They give me his bunk and so I, I got acquainted with the cook. He cooked those pheasants up and those quail and those guys really…

WALKER: What a treat.

DAVIS: Yeah. I enjoyed every minute I was in the service.

WALKER: Did ya?

DAVIS: Yeah, but I didn't, I had enough when the war was over, I could've reenlisted and they can call you back within six months. You enlist duration plus six months like they'd have to go back and do some more.

WALKER: They never called you back did they?

DAVIS: No

WALKER: That was fortunate. Let me see here, did you make any close friendships while you were in the service?

DAVIS: Yeah, I made a, in this service squadron we was in, I think it was eleven of us stayed together and one of the guys I don't remember where he is from, somewhere but he married a girl from Russell and he come back a time or two and I gone into the welding business and he come back one time and went out on the job with me. I had to go out and weld surface pipe or something. We was really enjoyed that and I have, still have just three of us, the rest of them are all gone. The one lives in Leitchfield, Kentucky and one lives in Indiana and we keep up with each other. If I see something about the B-29, I gotta get two copies or something and mail them.

WALKER: And you have been active in the B-29 memorials then too?

DAVIS: Yeah. Yeah. That I go to, did I show you?

WALKER: You card?

DAVIS: No I've got a little… <pulls a patch out of his pocket>

WALKER: A patch.

DAVIS: Yeah.

WALKER: Excellent, That was quite a place.

DAVIS: Yeah. Was the biggest airplane in the whole world in 1943. Did you see it? <holds patch up for the camera> That, yah and that

WALKER: Now did you join a veteran's organization?

DAVIS: Yeah. I did. American Legion.

WALKER: Are you still a member then?

DAVIS: Mmhmm. I've got my…

WALKER: Your card and then you went into, did you learn welding in the Air Force?

DAVIS: No I welded in the sawmill and the creosote plant before I went to the Air Force.

WALKER: So that was the skill you took with `em.

DAVIS: I was qualified, yeah. One time they was putting a highway through Scott, Fort Scott, I mean Scott City and you had to be a certified welder to weld these gas lines and the state of Kansas paid me to go out there and weld all the service lines that were gonna be under the highway, build conduits for them to go in, and they paid my food, lodging and paid me so much an hour. I told them how much I got an hour and they said, ``That's not enough.''

WALKER: Now how often did that happen while you were in business?

DAVIS: One time. Usually they think you're too high.

WALKER: True. So how long have you been in the welding business then, altogether?

DAVIS: I went in June the first of '47 and closed the doors June the 1st in '87. That' forty years to the day. And I had a, what was that oil man's name here, named Don…

WALKER: Pratt?

DAVIS: Pratt. I come to Hays and I rented that Quonset and then I moved a building in, wasdown on East 6th Street I believe it was and I had a welding shop there. I did, I welded for the gas company in Russell and Gorham and Victoria and did the work in Hays and I got, forty years I was in business I didn't have one leak in a weld.

WALKER: That's awesome

DAVIS: And I've got a picture of that where the gas company took my picture and they baked me a cake and had a welder.

WALKER: Awesome. Do you think your military influenced, influences your thinking about war or about the military in general?

DAVIS: I don't know, I don't really know. That was a bad thing but it, Japan started it. They when they bombed Pearl Harbor, I don't know what they was thinking. That one right there that last bombing, that shows when they bombed Pearl Harbor. Under that B-29 it'll show zeroes then show them shooting them down and smoke. You'll really enjoy that. I imagine somebody, would like to have copies of them. What's the guy's name that's over the gas company here?

WALKER: I don't know. I don't know.

DAVIS: I met him one time.

WALKER: Yeah. Is there anything else you'd like to add to our interview, that I may have missed?

DAVIS: I don't know.

WALKER: Sounds like you skills were very valuable to the military?

DAVIS: They what?

WALKER: Your skills were very valuable to the military if they kept pulling you off of deployment.

DAVIS: Yeah, I can, figured out you know you'd be on the shipping list to go and then the next day you'd go there and you wouldn't be. I know exactly it was the work I was doing there to help get those B-29s. We'd get thirty or forty of them and you know the pilots didn't fly them over, the WACs and we'd go down to breakfast in the morning and we'd maybe have forty B-29s ready to go. You'd see forty WACs go in, have breakfast. You'd never know what time they was going or anything about it. That was all secret. And…

WALKER: So now they would fly them in, now where did the planes come from to get to you?

DAVIS: From Boeing.

WALKER: From Boeing okay.

DAVIS: Yeah.

WALKER: Now would the WACs fly those in to you then?

DAVIS: Yeah. You know, I was, 1953 was the worst winter that they'd had in years and years and they was modifying them B-29s at Pratt out on that airbase there and those guys could only work about fifteen minutes, they's hands would get so could they couldn't hold a wrench and they'd…

WALKER: And that was '43 the winter was so bad?

DAVIS: Yeah 1943. They trained a thousand personnel in four bases, and I was stationed at three of the four bases. I didn't make Great Bend, but…

WALKER: That's alright. Three of the four is quite a few bases.

DAVIS: They're rebuilding that one in Wichita right know, Doc, and every once in a while you read something about it. When they get it all ready to go, they had a B-17 in Hutchison here a while back. I think, I don't know what they charge you to take you up for twenty minutes or so.

WALKER: Now did you ever get to fly in one of your planes?

DAVIS: Never did fly.

WALKER: Okay.

DAVIS: And used to, if you had a furlough coming you could go up to headquarters and if they had a, you'd get your furlough you could get a flight with them. It was eleven of them on the crew but one time I was going to Garrison, Texas and they had a Barksdale Field, they had a plane going to Barksdale. They wouldn't give you furlough till eight o'clock in the morning and the airplane left at seven.

WALKER: Oh.

DAVIS: That's how close I…

WALKER: Almost got on one.

DAVIS: Yeah, almost. And I was I've got a, a book about the B-29 and I've got a book about the B-26. I was stationed at Pratt when that B-26 crashed and killed all the crew. And they, this guy was writing a book about it in Cady, Texas and my brother-in-law, by the way my brother-in-law died yesterday, the one that called me and told me to call that number. And I called him in Cady Texas and he said give me you telephone number and I want to talk to you, this gonna be a lengthy and it was. I didn't go out and help clean up the crash but two guys in my barracks went and they come back and they had a landing light and I had it there at Russell for years and years and this guy, he was the son of that guy that got killed and was a pilot on that B-26 and, anyway he asked me, he said he'd really like to have that landing light so I give it to him. He's the one that ought to have it.

WALKER: Did they figure out why it crashed?

DAVIS: It, something, see there's only two engines and they won't fly. They're like a bumble bee they're not supposed to fly. Their wingspan, I think it land a hundred and eighty mile an hour and it took, I think you had to have a B-29 field to land one of them and I think they was training them for multi-cylinder airplanes. That would be the B-29. And that B-17 I think had a three-blade prop and the B-29 had a four-blade prop and the Walker Airbase was originally built for a B-17.

WALKER: Oh it was?

DAVIS: You could tell, that little cupola had a had a notch cut out in it for the tail of the B-29 could go in the hangar.

WALKER: Okay.

DAVIS: I could drive down the road and see a hanger and tell you if they had B-29s or…

WALKER: `Cause they had to open the door a little.

DAVIS: `Cause they had to open that door a little more.

WALKER: Oh my. So you worked one B-29s, B-24s…

DAVIS: No I didn't work, just 29s. I was stationed at Pratt when they got the first B-29.

WALKER: Very good.

DAVIS: It was really…

WALKER: That must've been a really fantastic sight.

DAVIS: It was, yeah.

WALKER: A huge airplane…

DAVIS: We had a '24 the prop come off and hit the wing, I think I told you about that a while ago.

WALKER: Yeah, so you had to fix that up, that,

DAVIS: I was stationed at Ellington Field and I was a crew chief on an AT6, single engine and my plane was a tow target. He come in one day with three holes shot in the tail of his airplane. <Laughs> And we had a, I was setting out there, you, you have a ten hour and I think a twenty-five and then your fifty-hour goes into the hangar and I was down on my back had the inspection plate, checking all the controls on it and I saw this AT11. I mean it wasn't thirty feet coming right over me and it hit probably fifty or seventy-five feet and everybody in it got burned up. That was, that was a bad deal. That was at Ellington Field. Yeah, you never forget those things.

WALKER: No not at all. Well Mr. Davis, I really appreciate you coming in and talking with us today.

DAVIS: Well I didn't mind it at all and that, those tapes are yours and that, everything I brought there…

<Tape fades out>

Item Description

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