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Interview on experiences in World War II

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World War II Remembers Project: Oral History Interview with Joe If. Baringer

W-

Note: Ellipsis (...) indicates a fragmentary or introductory utterance. Square brackets enclose information such as [unintelligible]. Some of the interviewer's statements have been compressed, and short indications of agreement such as "yes" have not been included in the transcription.

Interviewer: If you'll bring me up to where you were before the war...

Baringer: Well, I was born in the little town of New Paris, Indiana. My father's name was Otis, O-T-I-S. My mother died at birth. Later my father married my stepmother, and her husband had died, and she had a son so I had one stepbrother and then the two of them had two sons—they're the only true brothers in the family. And Phil, who we named our son after, was in the marines, and he was killed on Guam—I think in 1944. My other brother lives in Jacksonville, and he volunteered but he was younger, and it came later, and the deal [military recruiters], they wouldn't take him originally because he had asthma, but he volunteered and ironically he ended up in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, but he never did go over seas—the war was about over then.

Interviewer: What did your father do?

Baringer: He was a railway mail clerk. But he always had a job, and during the Depression his job was good. But it wasn't that good, you know, when it got into inflation. But he always wouldn't ever charge anything, and he always saved his money, and as a result they made out all right.

I: So you were the oldest in the household?

B: Yeah, I was the oldest of the group, and then my stepbrother. That always was a deal of great contention; he was approximately nine months, eight and a half months younger than I was. So when we would tell each other we were brothers, and he was eight and a half months younger, why it raised a few eyebrows. But of course people that knew us it wouldn't.

I: You went to high school and grade school...

B: Yeah, in the little town of New Paris. It's now a consolidation; of course, everything changes in that regard. I could walk to both grade school and high school, and oh, I played baseball and basketball and stuff like that. It was quite a simple life, really. Different from what it is today. Why even today there, there's a consolidation, and they no longer have the same set up.

I: You were definitely one of those Hoosier schoolboys.


B: Yeah, I told Marilyn when I met her I guess I was a nerd because I was more interested in playing baseball and basketball than I was in girls.

I: Now, Marilyn you mentioned, that's your wife. You went to the University of Indiana in Bloomington...

B: And she went to Purdue. I graduated in 1940 with a BS degree in business, and she had a degree in what at that time they called it Home ec. Now it's consumer and something or other. But I used to tell her if anything needed fixing, why she was the engineer, and she'd have to fix it.

I: Now, you said she went to Purdue; did you not mention she was from South Bend, Indiana?

B: Yeah, we met at South Bend. Her home was South Bend. I met her there when I went to work for Amoco after I got out of the service. She came into our office one day to get a credit card, and I met her that way, and it took me a couple years to talk her into marrying me, but we were married June 28,1952. We have just the one son, Phil, who's a teacher here at Kansas. He's in high energy physics... well, Jill probably told you that. Course we have a grandson and a granddaughter. And then there's Jill and my aunt and daughter-in-law. The reason that we ended up her is that when Marilyn... well, she spent the last year and a half of her life in a nursing home, so when she came here they wanted me to move. And my brother always asked, "Well, why didn't you just get a deal over by the hospital or a condo or something like that?" For one thing I wanted to bring the furniture that we had here, and we do have a lot of nice things, and I don't know if the kids will want to move in here some day or not, but Bryce next year will be going to Free State and it'd be handy for them.

I: It's nice to have your own home, isn't it?

B. Yeah, well, there's so many things that I wanted to keep, you know.

I: We've got you up to 1940; you've graduated from the U. of I....

B: Yeah, well, then I went to work. Well, I went in the service from '41 to '45, and when I got out, why, I went to work in South Bend for Standard Oil—now it's BP Amoco~and that's when Marilyn came in there—that's when we met—we were married two years later. We were married a little over 48 years.

I: You said you graduated from school in 1940, in business. You joined the service; you were inducted in April...

B: in April of 1941.

I: What did you do between school and the service?


B: I went to work at Allison's [spelling? in Indianapolis, and I thought, you know, maybe working there they might postpone the deal a little, but they didn't.

I: It didn't help. Now, did you join the National Guard?

B: No, no I didn't. They just drafted me out of... Well, my number came up in a hurry I guess.

I: Now, you were already out in the business world, and you were out doing things, were you pretty aware of what was going on in Germany and in Europe at that time?

B: Oh, yeah.

I: Did you think the United States was going to get pulled into that, or did you think... ?

B: Oh, I had a pretty good idea that we were going to go in. It was an ironic deal, the Pearl Harbor deal, Dec. 7 of '41. Course, I'd already been in it from April. We were allowed to wear civilian clothes if we went out on a pass or something. We were at a movie, and all the guys that were in uniform said, "Boy, you guys will be in a hurry. Of course, we'd already been in eight months.

I: Were you at the movies when you found out about Pearl Harbor?

B: Yeah, right. I was already in it from... Well, it was December of'41, and we were already in April 9th, so I'd already been in for what? Eight months, something.

I: Had you already taken basics?

B:Yeah, well the first place we were was at Hattiesburg, Mississippi. We went on maneuvers there at Camp Shelby. To this day I can't stand Hattiesburg. Of course I shouldn't say it, but I'm not a big fan of Mississippi and Louisiana. We went on maneuvers in Louisiana in what I call snake country.

I: It would be hard for me!

B: Well, even though we were at a headquarters, to this day I can't stand spam, but we were lucky: at least we were fed. As long as you're near a colonel or a general, why there's going to be food.

I: It's going to be a little better there, isn't it? So you had already gone through basics.

B: When they sent us to Fort Bragg, why, we knew that the next stop would be over seas. We went to England in '43.


I: When were you sent to Fort Bragg? How soon after Pearl Harbor were you taken into the regular unit?

B: Well, we were.., I was already overseas when Pearl Harbor existed... No, I wasn't either, I was already in the service, and then we went over. In '43 was when they took us to England.

I: Pearl Harbor happened on Dec. 7th. Did they call you up and do something special?

B: Well, they told us all about it, and someone says, "You better get ready, you may leave the next day," and guys were packing and everything, and I said, "They're out of their mind; there's no way the army moves that fast." Well it was two years before we...

I: What did you do in that interim?

B: Well, we kept training and going on maneuvers and long walks.

I: Long, long walks with heavy packs! When did you know you were going over seas?

B: Well, they said "It'll be a week." But it wasn't; it was two years later. We went on a British ship in '43, and we left from St. Johns, Newfoundland, and started out and the British ship that we were on clonked out, and all in all it took 42 days and two ships to get us there.

I: How would they get all of you guys off of one ship onto another one?

B: Well we had to stay at the camp at St. Johns, Newfoundland, for a week or two until they found another one, and all along there the Germans had said they shot down.. .er... the submarines said that they had shot down the ship that we were on, and we were listening to it all the time. It's ironic, but a friend of mine from Bloomington was in the navy, and he was in the deal, the destroyer outfit that was looking for German subs. I said, "Maybe you kept them away from us," but I think we were just lucky. That was quite a trip to take: 42 days to go from there, from Newfoundland, I mean to Liverpool, England. So I was there before the Beatles.

I: I was going to say, did you say hello to the Beatles? I'm sure they sent you out...

B: I can't remember...; well it was near Hungerford. We were on an estate of Lady Somebody. I can't remember her name now, but we were in Quonset huts and stuff like that, and we stayed there until we were ready to go across the pond.

I: Were you given any sort of special training while you were there waiting? B: No, not anything really, just trying to stay in shape and stuff like that. I: Were you given furloughs? Were you able to travel around?


B: Yeah, a little bit. I did get to Edinburgh, Scotland and Glasgow on a train, and that was about it. We didn't get out too much.

I: I'm sure they didn't want you to get out.

B: No, they didn't.

I: What was your impression of England?

B: Oh, I thought it was all right. We did get a pass one time to London and it was the night that the Germans started sending the buzz bombs over, and that really bothered everyone. They were used to the bombing—that had been going on for a long time—butt the buzz bombs really got everyone pretty scared. Of course I wasn't over happy about it either.

I: What did you think about it?

B: Yeah, well. Oh, you have to be sorta lucky. The funny thing, I came the closest to getting hit when they were shooting at us after the war over, and I got nicked a little bit. Wasn't anything life threatening. The Germans, some of them, didn't know the war was over.

I: So you were assigned to the 101st...

B: Yeah.

I: You mentioned you were near headquarters. What did you do?

B: Well, I played in a... when everyone was back, and they weren't out on a mission, why I played in a dance band. I met a lot of interesting people there. I met Marlene Dietrich. She was very nice. She was one of the better ones that came around; I mean, she didn't put on a... She was a... She ate from the same trays that we did. I liked her better than any of the glamorous ones. I knew what a good person she was. We were training, then when we were back, when we between missions, why, we did that [play in the dance band]. Well, I met Eisenhower and Churchill. I was interested when they had this deal out at Dole [Institute]. That Eisenhower grandson talked on channel 6, and I was really interested because he did an excellent job, and I said, "Well, I never met him, but I met his grandfather." Well, not personally but just to say hi the same way as Eisenhower—I shook hands—he gave the 101st Division a citation for the best deal, and they were for that.

I: What instrument did you play?


B: Trumpet. My grandson plays a trumpet, and now my granddaughter is playing a trombone. I talked her out of a bass; I said, "You want something a little smaller than that." Bryce is getting pretty decent with it he's...

I: Must be genetic then.

B: Yeah. Well, I the day I came home from the service, why a lot of people wanted me to start playing in a dance band and stuff. When I was in school at I.U. we had a dance band, and we played at this place for our meals, and if we got a dance somewhere we got $10 for it and we thought we were rich. Why of course, at that time there it didn't amount to much.

I: $10 was more...

B:Yeah, it was a lot. Well I know there's inflation and all of that, but I think for the most part.. .I'm not rich, I don't pretend to be, but at least the homeless people and poor and stuff like that.. .most people today are better off today than they were then. Marilyn and I paid $16,500 for our home, the first home we bought in South Bend, and you can't buy a car for that today. Well you can, but it's gotta be a compact or something like that.

I: You were talking about being in the dance band. That's kind of an interesting thing, because we now may have the impression that you all didn't get to do extra things and such, but you had a dance band, you got to go to movies. Were the dances you played for, were they mostly soldiers?

B: Yeah, yeah, they were. I don't know how many... .The original group was from Evansville, and the last I knew, there were two still living, but the rest of them that were in my outfit.. .They didn't die all during the war but after the war or shortly there afterwards. But as far as I know, the last I heard, there were two... I haven't been in touch with them recently, but now that I'm here... When I was in Bloomington, why, we got together a couple times, but it's so far away now.

I: When you all were getting ready to go over, I'm sure you could tell there was a difference in activity when it seemed like it was ready to go over, making the preparation for D-Day. Now, you went over on a glider. What kind of special training did you have to have for a glider?

B: You didn't have to have any. None. You had to volunteer to jump, but you didn't have to volunteer for a glider. Course they weren't the greatest thing in the world. The guys that jumped said they' d rather do that than a glider. Course I made a mistake of turning around. They had a bayonet on the end of the gun, the rifle that was on my shoulder, and when I made a turn it cut a hole in the glider.

I: You saw the glider here. Those are small!


B: We had what you call a double tow, and a C-47 would pull them along behind--sometimes they could take two over. We landed, and when we came down it was a rather bumpy landing, but it all obviously all came together,

I: Now, did you stand up in a glider?

B: No, you sat down in it, but like I say, it all came together.

I: And there were about how many guys in a glider?

B: Oh, I'd say about eight or ten.

I: [unintelligible].. .not a good one at all.

B: No.

I: ... I thought you said they were thin because your bayonet could tear [unintelligible]. You were in that glider, and they took off and ...

B: Yeah, they had a tow on behind the C-47, and sometimes they'd have a double tow; in my case we were the second, and then they'd put the deal on the second one. They'd tow one, and then they'd tow the second one. A friend of mine in Bloomington was a bomber pilot, not the kind that towed us, but a B-24 bomber, and he was shot down over Yugoslavia, and the freedom fighters there kept him away from the Germans until he could get back across the deal over to England. He's living today. I think he said out of the ten that there were in his group, six of them are still alive. So that's sort of amazing, cause Don's 81.

I: and for that kind of life.

B: Yeah.

I: When you were being pulled in that glider, did it kind of bounce or ...

B: Oh yeah, a little bit depending on ... It wasn't what I'd call a joyous ride.

I: And that was kind of stormy weather you all took off in.

B: Oh, yeah.

I: Were you too happy about getting on that glider when you knew that it'd been stormy?

B. No, all I knew when I got on it was that I'd end in France, but like I say, it was one of those things—they didn't give you a choice.


I: What was your assignment? What did they tell you when you got on that glider? And when you got off, what were you supposed to do?

B: Well, we knew we'd be at headquarters, and when... Well, like when we went into Bastogne, why, we didn't take instruments when we went into a deal like that. Why, the instruments were stored someplace else, but I was always at a headquarters deal, and that's probably what saved me because all and all ittookPattonto break through there at Bastogne and get us out of that. We'd been in there for umpteen days, and they were bombing us and everything else. It hit, it demolished the town of Bastogne, but we were about a mile and a quarter out of it, and we were lucky.

I: I'm going to pull you back just a little bit, to D-Day, because when you went in there, did you land in the water area or ... ?

B: No, we landed on land, but we went over the second day because there weren't enough gliders and planes and everything to take everyone over on the 6th. So we went in on the 7th, and that was the outfit... The Germans knew exactly where we were going to drop at Ste. MereEglise. If the planes carrying those paratroopers hadn't got off course because of gun fire and everything, and if they'd landed where they were supposed to, they'd all've got annihilated because they were waiting for them. So I don't know where the secrecy came, but somehow or other they found out about it.

I: You were in basically the infantry at that point in time when you got off with the glider.

B: Yeah, right.

I: Did you then have to re-gather at a certain area?

B: Yeah, right, and I think we were at a place called Mourmelon, France for quite a while. We were at a camp there, and we stayed there for quite a while, and then when we were moving into Bastogne [in the Battle of the Bulge], and the others were coming out, and the 101st was going in we said, "What's going on here? Why are we going in?" And that was another ironic thing: like I told you, the town of New Paris is very small, and we were eating our meals up in a barn at Bastogne, and I looked over, and here's a guy from my home town. He was in one of the other divisions that'd come there, and I thought to myself, how many times are you going to meet someone from your home town in the World War II? So you run into a lot ironic things, and that was one of them.

I: That's definitely ironic. So you're going into Bastogne, and some of them are coming out...

B: We wondered why, but I guess so they wanted the 101st in there. I: They always wanted the 101st in there.


B: Yeah, we got lucky.

I: It was Christmas; it was cold...

B: It was the day before Christmas. In fact, there's a deal... Is there a paper on top of that deal there? Well, that was ... You can have that if you want to; I have an original in the book. That's when the German said ... and that was his [Gen. Anthony McAuliffe's] famous "Nuts!" reply [to a German request for American surrender atBastogne].

I: Did you realize how much trouble you all were in?

B: Oh yeah, we knew we'd probably be lucky to get out of it, and we were.

I: I know you were lucky, but that's got to be hard when you were in there knowing either you are going to have to fight your way out, that there's going to be an awful lot of things happening here, or we may not get out.

B: Yeah, well, one of the worst things—I couldn't do it today—but we'd have to walk through snow up to our waist and everything. I told my daughter-in-law, I said, if I had to do that at my age, why you could bury me tomorrow. Of course, I was younger then; I was 23 when I went in and 27 when I got out.

I: Were the commanders pretty good about giving you a clear picture about what was happening?

B: Oh yeah, and one of them was a colonel in the 502nd. He later was in Chicago and in command of the 5th army up there. I wrote him a letter, and I told him—I should have saved the letter; I don't know why I didn't—but he wrote back, and he remembered me. He was later the brigadier general in command of an outfit that a friend of mine in Bloomington was in. Red died several years ago. He was a colonel in that outfit, and he knew the guy very well, and he was a nice guy. But he later was a brigadier general cause if he'd stayed in... But I think he has since died; he'd be pretty old. Like I know that [General Anthony] McAuliffe here and [General] Maxwell Taylor, they most certainly are not alive.

I: They've both passed away.

B: Yeah, for they'd be 110. I'm 85, and they were at least... Well, I was 20-some, when they were.. .Well, I think Taylor was 45, and McAuliffe was..., so there'd be enough difference in age that they certainly aren't alive today.

I: What happened when you all broke through?

B: When what?

I: When you all were rescued out of there.


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B. Then we went..., they sent us to a place outside of Geneva, Switzerland called Evian les Bains, and the Palace Hotel there, and it was a marvelous facility, and we were right on Lake Geneva. We weren't allowed to go into Switzerland because they were neutral, but it was about, oh, eleven miles from Geneva, I guess, and some of the guys went across to Lausanne. They went across at night. There's always a few that are going to go over, and they went to Lausanne, Switzerland. It's ironic, my brother in Jacksonville and his first wife who died a number of years ago, they were at this... They were on atrip in France, and they stayed at this Palace Hotel, and I said, "Well, it cost you a lot more than it did me." He said, "Well, you're right about that."

I: Pretty nice, though, that they sent you somewhere really nice after all of what you had gone through.

B: Well, yeah, I was happy about it, and we were going to stay there until they could send us to the Pacific ... [mumble] to get rid of the Japanese, and I know people say that's awful, but it saved our lives and more; it actually saved millions of Japanese as well as ours, but right or wrong, I was a lot happier about going home than I was going to the Pacific.

I: Were you there when Germany surrendered?

B: Yes, we had to march prisoners back and everything, and I thought to myself, here ... One day I was walking along; I had about 150 Germans taking them into these camps, and I thought to myself, what if one of those does have a gun? We tried to make sure they didn't; it was sort of an eerie feeling anyway.

I: What did you think of Germany? Because here you are, like you said, at the end of the war marching the prisoners back. I've been told that they were pretty well surrendering in droves.

B: Yeah, they were. Well we were at Berchtesgaden, which is where Hitler was and everything, and one of our guys went up the hill to his hide out and got some stuff and sent it home. We weren't supposed to do that, but he did. I have only two things from there that I came away with—a salt and pepper shaker—the only thing I brought back from Germany, it... Actually, Berchtesgaden is a really nice place up in the mountains and everything. Course, when we were there they all... After the war they all tried to be friendly then, you know, and some of the guys were horsing around a little. I never did; I don't know, but most of them that were were those that were married back home. Course I just thought it was ridiculous. I don't know, I can sorta understand maybe in a way Germans, Germany not being totally with us on this deal now, but I can't understand France. But I think this Putin and Russia, I think maybe he's gonna come around a little.

I: The people—had you much contact as you were going thorough Germany? Had the people had much contact with you?


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B; Not too much, but a little bit. I didn't... We went by these [concentration?] camps where it was so awful. I just didn't want to go. I mean, some of them did and some didn't. I thought, "I don't need that." I saw evidence of that, and as far as seeing all of that, I thought, "I don't want that in my memory bank." I knew it had happened, and I knew it was awful, but I just thought, "I don't need that."

I: When you went through the towns, did the German people treat you differently, or were they a little reserved?

B: They actually were pretty decent. I mean, they most of them were... there wasn't... I don't think that.., they knew it was pretty well over. In fact, a lot them tried to be super friendly and you had to stay away from that, too.

I: And you're just this little farm boy from Indiana.

B: Yeah, I know.

I: And you were put into some pretty dicey situations.

B: Well, yeah, I was in a situation that I never expected to be, to be honest with you.

I: How did your mom and dad feel about you going in the service?

B: Well, they weren't wild about it. The one that I didn't... I didn't want my brother Phil to enlist in the marines. Two others from the town enlisted along with him, and none of the three came back. In fact, I learned about it when my dad wrote me a letter when I was still in Europe and told me that Phil had been killed on Guam. It was one of those quote mopping up exercises; that isn't always the safest deal either. Frankly, I'm lucky to be here; there's no doubt about it. I've had five bi-passes and carotid artery surgery and you name it. Marilyn took care of me through all of that, and now she's been dead for about three years now. It sometimes is hard to figure out. She was always the healthy one of the family. You just never know. Her sister is still living in Indianapolis, and Ginny was always sick and Marilyn was the one that never was.

I: The one that you least suspect.

B: That's what Ginny says. I was the one that always had the problems, but you never know. There're things that we can't control.

I: This is kind of an odd question, but when were you the most afraid?

B: When I was what?

I: When were you the most afraid?


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B: I would say when we were in Holland, because we got lost once going through. We ran into some Americans, and we were behind German lines, and they said, "You guys better turn around and get back." And then we had a grenade that just barely missed us. But over all I never was.... Oh, I got a Purple Heart for a little tick, but it wasn't anything. I told Jill, I said, "You can have it [the Purple Heart] if you want it some day, but it doesn't mean anything." We over all were lucky. The ones that really had the problem were the line companies. They couldn't find food a lot of the times, and they were the ones that ran into it [enemy attack?] constantly, and they're the ones that really fought the war when you get right down to it. Well, they'd even kill chickens and stuff that they'd find to get enough food to get by on. But I realized that, and I knew I was lucky to be where I was. I told Jill, "The only thing I did [was] I did everything they told me to, and I get lucky enough to get back, so...."

I: You said you were in southern Germany when V-E day happened, and you marched all the way back up. You left from Le Havre. Or where did you...? When did you leave Europe?

B: Well, I was in the little place called Mourmelon, France was when we went across the Channel in the gliders. We ended up there, then we went from there to Bastogne, where this outfit was that was coming out and we were going in, and we said, "Well, why do they want the 101st there?" Actually the one that liberated us was Patton and his Third Army. He got through and finally, you know, got to where we were. We were running out of food, you know; they dropped some stuff, but we never did completely... .We got to where we were eating a lot of spam and a lot of stuff like that. I haven't liked spam to this day. It's probably different and nothing wrong with it...

I: But you just don't want it, thank you very much! Again then, so when you came out you just came back out the same way when you were going to leave after the war was over there?

B: Yeah, we came back over; we came into Boston, and then they flew us from Boston to an armory in Fort Wayne, Indiana and took me over to [Plymouth?] in a bus. My step mother met me there, and then we came home.

I: Were you discharged at that point, or where was it? B: Yeah, I was discharged at Fort Wayne. I: What date was that?

B: Aah, what was it? It was around the first part of October. I'm not exactly sure of the exact date, but they asked me what I wanted, and I said, "As far out as I can get." I didn't sign up the Reserves. I just figured that I'd had enough, and fortunately I'm too old now. I said, "If they need me now, we're in big trouble."


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I: Well, hopefully that won't happen. When you got back, when you realized that, besides your family—for I know you would have missed your family while you were gone all that time, because you said you were gone 54 months—what did you miss the most?

B: Oh, I guess I missed the most what you couldn't do. You couldn't talk to anyone, and the only thing that you could do to call home is to write a letter. You couldn't say where you were. The only thing you could tell them was that you were well, and they would censor the letter, and it normally took at least six weeks for it to get home. And of course there was no TV at that time or email or cell phones or anything like that. You couldn't even say where you were because they didn't... At that time the censorship was such, they didn't want you to say anything about that. So I would say that, oh, I missed, you know, the family like everyone does and just to be at home.

I: And just the idea of being able to talk like that freely, I guess. I don't think of it that way, but that's true. What did you want to have, what was the first meal you wanted when you got home? Apart from spam!

B: I think my mom had fried chicken and mashed potatoes and gravy. Marilyn had an aunt... Now, Marilyn died at 72, but she had an Aunt Mabel that she did everything wrong in life. She smoked like a chimney; she drank beer, and she fried chicken in butter, and she lived to be almost 98.

I: Just land of tells you, eat that mashed potato!

B: Well, they asked me... .You know, my brother says, "Well, are you supposed to eat ice cream or not?" and I said, "Well, the way I feel about it now, if it agrees with me I'm going to eat it, and if it doesn't, why, I won't!"

I: [Laughs. Comment partially unintelligible] ... I'd have to be.. .that's hard to say.. .like, what do you think you want the most....

B: Well, at 81 what difference does it make, you know? And as far my cholesterol and all that, I take a cholesterol medicine, but my cholesterol's never been high, and I guess I've had about everything. I've had five bi-passes and carotid artery surgery and gall bladder surgery. You name it, and I've had it. But I don't know why I'm alive. I guess we don't know.

I: I'd say that's just the way it goes.

B: Yeah

I: So you got back in about October...

B: When I got back, why, a friend of mine at Standard Oil in South Bend, he said, "I have an appointment with you over here." I think I got back on Friday; "Monday morning," he said. I said I wasn't planning on doing anything then.


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I: Just a little down time!

B: Yeah, but when I went over there, why, they hired me. And then I met Marilyn a couple of years later when I was working at South Bend.

I: But that was good, though, because I know after everybody started coming back there were a lot of guys looking for a job.

B: Oh yeah, that's right.

I: Jobs became a little tighter then than we would have thought.

B: Oh yeah, that's right. Well, I was lucky to get one, and then... Oh, gradually I.. .Then we were shipped to Indianapolis temporarily; then I went up to Beverly Hills in Michigan and worked up there for about twelve years, and then when I retired, why, we moved to Bloomington, and we were there 21 years until I moved out here.

I: So did you retire with Standard Oil?

B: Yeah, right.

I: Goodness. That turned out to be a pretty good deal.

B: Right.

I: You got the job in South Bend. You met Marilyn. That was a pretty good place for you.

B: Yeah, it ended up being pretty good. That's why I'm more oriented to I.U. than I am to Kansas, and Phil doesn't worry either way, because he teaches physics at Kansas and he got all his degrees at I.U.

I: Well, degrees from I.U., that's a pretty good thing to say right there, too, though. That's a good place. All the things in what we've heard from you were very interesting for me. We want to make sure we get as many memories as we can because we think it's valuable for those of us who weren't there to get the information. If there's one thing in particular that you would like for me to remember about your time in service, about the time in the 1940's, what do you want me not to forget?

B: Well, I guess it's the fact—I'm trying to think how to put it—that there was a World War II. So many of the kids today, you mention World War II, and they don't know what it's all about. That's why I want the grand kids to know about it. Now, I don't want them to sit there and dwell about it all the time, but I do want them to know that if we hadn't won that, why things could've been a lot different in the world.

I: Exactly.


15

B: But other than that, why, there isn't any particular reason. I think the kids realize that. But it was an experience, and now that it's all over I don't obviously don't regret it, but I sure wouldn't... I feel I was lucky, and I don't think I'd want to go through it again. Well, at my age I won't have to.

I: Well, I would hate to ask anyone to go through that, and that's why I want to thank you personally for what you did. You gave up part of your young manhood to do this for me. And Mr. Baringer, I appreciate it and I thank you.

B: Well, you're welcome.

Looking at a photograph of the band:

I: .. .That's Marlene Dietrich in the center.

B: She was very nice, she really was. She died not too long ago. I think she was 99 years old when she died.

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