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Glen Campbell video interview on experiences in World War II

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This is Suzette McCord-Rogers and Peggy Stanton, and we are interviewing Glen Campbell at his home in Mission, Kansas, and his wife, Carol Campbell, is also present.

Glen, can you tell me where you were born?

Glen: I was born on the reservation at White Cloud.

Suzette: Was that in Brown County, you think?

Glen: Yes.

Suzette: OK. And you are a member of the Iowa Tribe?

Glen: Iowa Tribe, Kansas and Nebraska.

Suzette: And what year were you born?

Glen: 1919.

Suzette: And your month and date?

Glen: September the first.

Suzette: What branch of service were you in?

Glen: In the Army.

Suzette: In the Army. And were you drafted or did you enlist?

Glen: I went in with the National Guard.

Suzette: You went in with the National Guard?

Glen: Yeah.

Suzette: So you belonged to the National Guard?

Glen: Yeah.

Suzette: And how long did you belong to the National Guard before the war started?

Glen: Oh, I don't know, about six months I guess.

Suzette: Six months. Did you go in with friends?

Glen: Yeah.

Suzette: And so you were in the National Guard with other people from your area. I think Louie was part of that.

Glen: Yeah, yeah.

Suzette: Was Emil in your unit?

Glen: Emil wasn't; Louie was, not Emil.

Suzette: Anybody else you can think of that was in your National Guard unit?

Glen: Well, Louie____, Mick Rhodd, John Roubideaux, let's see who else? I can't remember right now.

Suzette: That's OK. So you guys had already become part of the National Guard. This was where, Falls City?

Glen: Yeah.

Suzette: Do you know what your service date was, when you became part of the regular army?

Glen: I'm not sure. Company B, 134th Infantry, is what they called it. 35th Division.

Suzette: So, going from the National Guard, you went straight into the Army, and where did you go from there?

Glen: We took a train to Little Rock, Arkansas.

Suzette: You went to Little Rock, Arkansas?

Glen: Yeah.

Suzette: Were you able to stay with the other guys that were in the National Guard unit with you? Or did they divide you up?

Glen: No. I got transferred out. I didn't go with `em.

Suzette: And then you went to boot camp at Little Rock, Arkansas. And where did you go from there?

Glen: I wound up in Texas.

Suzette: In Texas? And what kind of training were they giving you?

Glen: Well, just infantry training.

Suzette: Ok, so you were in the infantry.

Glen: Yeah. Rifle and marksmanship.

Suzette: What was the highest rank you ever got?

Glen: Private.

Suzette: So, where did you go? Did you go to Europe or the Pacific?

Glen: I didn't go to either one.

Suzette: You didn't go to either. Ok, what were your duties? After you were in Texas,…

Glen: Well, I was in special services. I worked in a theater.

Suzette: You were in special services? And that was in Texas?

Glen: Yeah, Camp Walters, Texas. Mineral Wells, Texas.

Suzette: And you were assigned to special services?

Glen: Yeah.

Suzette: And what did you do as part of special services?

Glen: Well, I sold tickets and sold popcorn, cleaned up, janitor work, I guess you'd call it.

Suzette: Guess that's better than having you peel potatoes! Ha ha

Carol:….He had flat feet.

Suzette: Oh!! OK! But they took him anyway.

Carol: Oh, yeah. My father-in-law was missing part of his thumb, and they took him.

Suzette: So they must have really needed people at that time. It must have been really hard to march with flat feet.

Do you know how long you served?

Glen: Oh, about three years.

Suzette: Three years? And did you stay at Mineral Waters(Wells), Texas?

Glen: Naw, I was there a couple of years, maybe.

Suzette: Did you get transferred somewhere else?

Glen: No, no, I got discharged from there.

Suzette: Do you remember when you got discharged?

Glen: Yeah, September of '43.

Suzette: Did you ever run into anybody you knew while you were down there serving?

Glen: Not really.

Suzette: And when you were down there, did you form any friendships with other people that were serving with you that you maintained?

Glen: I was a friend with Ted Williams' brother. Ted Williams that baseball player for the Boston Red Sox. I was down there with his brother Danny.

Suzette: Did you get to meet Ted Williams?

Glen: No, I didn't get to meet him. I met his mom. San Diego. Working for the Salvation Army.

Suzette: And she came to Texas and you met her there?

Glen: No, I went out there; that's when I went to San Diego.

Suzette: You got transferred to San Diego?

Glen: No, I didn't get transferred; I just went out there after I got out of the service.

Suzette: You went out there after you got out of the service. And how long did you stay in San Diego?

Glen: I was there a couple of winters. I was down in LA for awhile too.

Suzette: And, in growing up, your father was a farmer, was he not?

Glen: Yeah.

Suzette: And so you had been working on the farm.

Glen: Yeah.

Suzette: Did you graduate from White Cloud high school?

Glen: No.

Suzette: Did you go to school there?

Glen: No. I didn't go to White Cloud, no.

Suzette: Where did you go?

Glen: I went to Seattle, and to Genoa, a government school in Nebraska.

Suzette: Oh, OK!

Glen: It was a boarding school, and then I went to Lawrence. Haskell. I didn't graduate though.

Suzette: What year, do you remember?

Glen: '35.

Suzette: '35 that you were at Haskell?

Glen: Yeah.

Suzette: So you had some college experience.

Carol: Did they have a college then?

Glen: Oh, yeah, there was a college then.

Suzette: I think it was a community college then. So you came from a farming background, you'd been to Lawrence, and then you got to go to Texas, and so then after the war you had to go out and see the world?

Glen: Yeah, I spent a couple years in Florida. Around Tampa. A couple winters I went down there.

Suzette: Did you go to Tampa first or did you go to California first?

Glen: I went to Tampa first.

Suzette: What did you do when you went to Tampa?

Glen: I traveled with a carnival around the country and they wintered down there so I just went down there for the winter.

Suzette: You were what?

Glen: I was in the carnival.

Carol: He traveled with the carnival.

Suzette: Oh! A carnival. Oh, how interesting. So what did you do when you were traveling with the carnival?

Glen: Oh, I run a concession.

Suzette: Oh, I didn't know if you were actually performing or….do you remember what you were running?

Glen: No, I can't. They's different times.

Suzette: Did you enjoy that period of time in your life?

Glen: Oh, yeah. I got to travel, and meet a lot of people, see a lot of the country.

Suzette: Did they travel all through the United States or were they kind of…

Glen: Oh, yeah, they even went to Canada. I didn't go to Canada with them, but they went up to Canada too.

Carol: Did you box for awhile?

Glen: Oh, that was before, yeah.

Carol: Oh that was before.

Suzette: That was before the carnival?

Glen: Yeah, before the carnival.

Suzette: When were you a boxer?

Glen: Oh, before I went in the service.

Suzette: Where were you boxing at?

Glen: I was down in Falls City, Nebraska.

Suzette: You were a professional boxer?

Glen: No, ma'm,

Carol: You got some money for it, didn't you?

Glen: Oh, yeah, we got paid, but not very much.

Suzette: This is fascinating. So what made you decide to be a boxer?

Glen: Oh, I don't know.

Suzette: You were good at it.

Glen: I don't know if I was or not.

Carol: Didn't you have your nose broke about three times?

Glen: A couple times, yeah.

Suzette: You must have been quick on your feet.

Carol: Yeah, he was quick on his feet.

Suzette: And so you were a boxer, then you got involved with the National Guard from there, or…

Glen: Yeah.

Suzette: Were you boxing instead of working on the farm? It sounds like you wanted other things.

Glen: Yeah.

Suzette: And then decided to go into the National Guard?

Glen: Yeah.

Suzette: Where did you get that?

Glen: I'd been out of work, so I went to Seattle, Washington, with my cousin, and Louie and all them guys was in the Guard, so they asked me to join so that's why I joined. Louie's the one that got me in. They all went to camp in Minnesota the summer before that, and had a good time they said.

Suzette: He's thinking of Louie DeRoin. We've already interviewed Louie.

Glen: But I tried to get in the Army before that but they wouldn't take me.

Suzette: They wouldn't take you?

Glen: They wouldn't take me on account of my flat feet.

Suzette: So you were able to sneak in with the National Guard.

Glen: They took me in anyway.

Suzette: It seems like the Army, the National Guard, gave you an opportunity to travel. After you with the carnival, where did you go then?

Glen: I went to General Motors. First I was at Westinghouse for awhile on the jet motors. Then I went to General Motors, stayed there 27 years.

Suzette: This was in California?

Glen: No, in Kansas City.

Suzette: Kansas City. So you worked in California for a while also?

Glen: Yeah, I went out there a couple different times, yeah. I didn't stay out there; I just come back.

Suzette: Oh, you were visiting people in California?

Glen: Yeah, I had a brother out there then, and cousins.

Suzette: What brought you back to Kansas?

Glen: Well, cause it was home, I guess.

Suzette: And, after you got out and ready to start your career, did you receive any training when you were in the Army that prepared you for your job?

Glen: I don't think so, no.

Suzette: Did you take advantage of any of the GI Bills?

Glen: Oh, yeah.

Suzette: What did you take?

Glen: They had that unemployment, I took that.

Suzette: The GI Bill had an unemployment?

Glen: Yeah, $20 a week.

Suzette: How long did you do that?

Glen: I think about a year. All I could, I guess!

Suzette: Did you take any training with the GI Bill?

Glen: No.

Suzette: You didn't take advantage…

Glen: I bought a house with it, yeah.

Suzette: You got a GI loan, to buy your house?

Glen: Yeah.

Suzette: Anything else of the GI Bill that was an advantage to you?

Glen: Not really, not that I can think of.

Suzette: Have they helped you in terms of like today. Do you get any medical benefits from the Veterans' Administration?

Glen: I don't know.

Suzette: Do you get your medication from the Veterans' Administration?

Glen: No.

Suzette: Do you use any of their doctors?

Glen: No.

Suzette: Is it because you are an Iowa tribal member?

Glen: Yeah, I get it in Lawrence. That's where I get my medication, in Lawrence. At Haskell. Through the Indian service.

Suzette: Your doctors are there also?

Glen: Yeah.

Suzette: Did you form any friendships that you kept in touch with the other people that had served with you?

Glen: Not really.

Suzette: While you were in the service?

Glen: No, not really.

Suzette: So your main ties have been mainly to the guys you were born with, your tribal members and that you were in the National Guard with.

And, how did you meet your wife?

Glen: At a dance.

Suzette: Was it a military dance?

Glen: No, it was a barroom down at St. Joe, the Frog Hop. It was a barroom.

Suzette: The Frog Hop?

Glen: The Frog Hop, yeah.

Suzette: Oh! He didn't have his uniform on though.

Carol: Oh, no.

Glen: When was it? In '70?

Carol: I think it was in '70. Um, hum. We got married in '85. I don't know about his early family…

Suzette: Had you been married previously, or…?

Glen: Yeah. I was married before and had a daughter, Linda Jo.

Suzette: What I am hearing is, and this is none of our questions, as a result of traveling, with the Army and the National Guard, it kind of opened you up to going around and seeing the world.

Carol: Outside the reservation.

Suzette: Yes, because you are coming from a very…..and then going out. Do you have any memories or any stories you want to tell us about your National Guard days or any other experiences that you remember?

Glen: Naw, I can't think of any right off hand.

Suzette: Well, Glen, I'll tell you Louie had some National Guard stories…that they had a good time when they went to Minnesota.

Glen: They said they had fun in Minnesota, yeah.

Suzette: Did you have fun after you joined?

Glen: It was hot here and cool up there, I guess. They was on the lake.

Suzette: Did you get to go to Minnesota?

Glen: I didn't get to go, no.

Suzette: After you joined, did you get stationed anywhere?

Glen: Oh, not really.

Carol: When were you in Montana? Was it before you went to the service?

Glen: Oh, I was in a CCC camp.

Suzette: I don't know what CCC camp.

Glen: Civilian Conservation Corps.

Suzette: And when did you do that?

Glen: That was about '37. I was there a couple of years.

Suzette: And you were stationed in Montana.

Glen: Yeah, I was stationed in Montana, Glacier National Park. There was an Indian reservation, the Blackfoot Indian Reservation.

Suzette: And you worked on the Blackfoot Indian Reservation?

Glen: Yeah, this was on the edge of it, that's where this camp was. I met a lot of Indians up there, yeah.

Suzette: What did you do?

Glen: We worked on telephone lines. They had to go up in the mountains and in the winter time they have them snow slides and they tear down the lines. Tear down telephone lines. We had to put them back up in the spring.

Suzette: They didn't make you go out in the winter and do them?

Carol: You have some stories from there.

Glen: I do? Oh! There was a lot of mountain climbers up there. One time they called down and wanted some volunteers and I went out and made camp and get a guy down off the mountain. There wasn't nothing to it, just kind of scary though. You slipped and slide.

Suzette: He'd been hurt?

Glen: Yeah, he'd fell off the mountain. Them mountain climbers was always fallin'. Them guys would go up in the mountains then they'd fall.

Suzette: How did you feel about that? Because you hear about people going climbing mountains and then other people have to go and risk their lives to rescue them. How do you feel about that?

Glen: I never thought much about it, I guess. They just said they wanted some volunteers so I volunteered to go help get him down.

Peggy: How many of you were there?

Glen: I think there was about four or five of `em. I just helped carry that one down.

Suzette: The others were walking?

Glen: Yeah.

Suzette: How many people did it take to carry someone out?

Glen: There was about six of us. We took turns carrying him.

Suzette: What, was there four on a side?

Glen: Yeah, to carry him. Two on the back and two on the front. Yeah, it took four people to carry him.

Suzette: When you were up there on the Blackfoot Reservation, you said you met a lot of other Indian people. Do you think they were more open to you because you too were Indian?

Glen: Oh, I think so, yes. I had a good friend out of there. Wallace Gladstone. He finally come down and went to school at Lawrence. Then I seen him later in life; he come to my house and visit a time or two.

Suzette: Did you go to school together in Lawrence?

Glen: No, uh, huh. He went after I did. He was younger than I was.

Suzette: When you traveled around, after the war, and did you think the war changed people in America, that made them…did they have more money?

Glen: I guess so, I don't know.

Suzette: I'd like to talk to you about your earlier days, growing up, if I can. So I'm going to ask you again do you have any memories from World War II that you'd like to share with us, the guys you worked with, or anything like that?

Glen: Well, none that I know of. I can't think of any.

Suzette: OK. Now if you guys are coming up for the Campbell reunion, I'd really like to scan these on my computer. How do you want to do it, Peggy?

Peggy: (can't hear)

(All talking about pictures)

Suzette: No, I don't have any of your uniform.

Glen: No, one of my Indian outfits.

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