[Editor's Note: This begins an interview with Professor Donald Jenkins in Gilmanton Ironworks, New Hampshire, on July 23, 2006, with Shaun Illingworth.]
Donald Jenkins: ... On Easter Sunday of 1945, [I] had an interesting experience. My pilot had finished his tour of duty about a week before and, while he was awaiting orders to go back to the States, they wanted him to fly a load of ground personnel that were going on a two-day pass to Paris. Well, he needed a navigator. ... I was still on operational status, but, since he needed a navigator, I went along with him to navigate. We took this load of ground personnel and landed at Le Bourget Field and one engine was running a little rough. So, after we unloaded our passengers, we decided; normally, we would turn around and go right back to England. So, we flew from there, I think on three engines as I remember, but without a load, light airplane, we could manage all right from one side of Paris to the other, the Villacoubly Field. We found that it would take a little while to get the airplane fixed and they weren't about to fix it Saturday, with Easter Sunday, and [they said], "Come back Monday. You might have your plane fixed by Monday." So, we went into town and, first, we finally found the hotel rooms, found a place to stay, and then, we thought we'd see the town a little, just like a few tourists is what it amounts to. ... So, we're wandering around Paris and we started asking [for] some directions and we ran into a Parisian family that were all dressed up. ... This is getting along in the afternoon and they were going to go out to dinner together. So, they had an eighteen-year-old daughter, very good-looking girl. ... They could speak English and they said, "Well, gee, we'll loan you our daughter and she can show you around a little bit, some of what you wanted to see, and then, we'll meet her later at the restaurant." So, she did. She showed us around a little and, of course, [in] some of the experience there, we ran into a couple of sergeants that were back from the frontlines. ... This was, I think, a few days after payday, so, we had some money with us, and we ran into these two sergeants. ... I bought a Luger from one of them and my pilot bought a P38, which is a small pistol, somewhat similar to a Luger. ... Of course, these are souvenirs and they're really happy. They see dollar signs, seeing the airmen come in [laughter] that ... aren't there to get the souvenirs. So, they, of course, field stripped the guns. You could tell these were really the frontline soldiers that knew their stuff, field stripped them, put them back together, and so on, to show that these are working. I think I paid the equivalent of about ninety-six dollars, paying in British pounds. Then, after we completed our transaction, one of them took out a piece of paper and went over and he wrote something on it. Then, he folded it up quite a bit. So, then, you know, we shook hands and they're on their way, and I handed it to Bob, my pilot. Bob and I were traveling together and Bob opened up the paper and found that he had written down that, ... in other words, we made our transaction in terms of American dollars, and then, paid it in pounds, and he said, "You'll find that you could change ... what money you have left on the black market and do a lot better," than we did. In other words, what it amounted to is, on the black market, we probably could have got these guns for, like, sixty dollars or something of American money, but they didn't bother telling us that. They didn't realize what kind of money we had, and so, anyway, we did. We changed some of the rest of our money at a very favorable rate, which, then, we could change it back at the legal rate, or something. ... British pounds or American dollars were in some demand in Paris at that time. ... Oh, I picked up a souvenir. Actually, that's the souvenir, the Eiffel Tower, picked that up in Paris on this particular day. Then, we finally, I guess, walked back to this point where we met this Parisian family. The Parisians were in a very festive mood, this [being] the first Easter Sunday in five years that they were not occupied, so, they were dressed in their finery. I mean, they really looked good. Well, anyway, ... oh, we got to bed about two o'clock in the morning, and then, yes, come to think of it, that was Sunday, I guess, because we got to bed [at] two o'clock in the morning or so. ... The next day was Monday and we were to go back out to our airfield and get our plane. ... Then, as I remember, and my pilot, Bob, had in his diary, he made [me] a copy of his diary, ... we had quite a time trying to get back to the airfield. We finally ran into an American with a jeep that gave us a ride, but, for quite awhile, as I say, to quote Bob, "The damnedest crowd you ever saw." He was, like, a farm boy from Oklahoma and he said, "Damnedest crowd you ever saw," you know. Well, [Charles] de Gaulle ... had his Free French Army there and was going to have a parade. ... It was really hectic on Monday. They were going to have this big parade, and so on. So, we finally got out to the airfield. The weather started looking kind of inclement, and so, we got there. I guess, our airplane was fixed, ready to go back, and, however, the tower at this Villacoubly Field said, "No, ... you can't go now. ... We're not sure what's going to happen with the weather." ... We went out to our airplane. He said, "Half-hour delay; you may be able to go in a half-hour." So, [in] a half-hour, Bob contacted them by radio and [they said], "No, another half-hour delay." Well, by that time, we had the feeling, it looked as though it might be inclement and we'd have to spend another night in Paris, which didn't bother us at all. We thought that would be fine. [laughter] Well, our radio operator and engineer were with us. A minimum crew, for ferrying passengers or something, was pilot, co-pilot, navigator, radio operator and engineer. So, the radio operator and engineer had bought a bottle of cognac to take back with them. So, after this second delay, we all thought, "Ah, we're probably not going today." So, we started passing the bottle around and we're sitting out there. So, finally, after about a half-hour, they haven't contacted us and [they have not] said, "Get in your airplane. Go back to England." We thought, "Oh, let's walk over to the control tower and, you know, see, and then, go back into town if this is the case." So, we all were feeling pretty good and we go walking over to the control tower and come in the door and, just as soon as we get in there, "Seever, get back to your airplane." [laughter] He says, "You're cleared to take off right now." So, we go back to the airplane and, oh, we were probably halfway through the bottle by that time. ... Of course, pilot Bob didn't have any more to drink. Some of the rest of us thought, "Well, we're not driving this thing, right?" [laughter] So, we passed the bottle around a little bit more, among the three of us. So, we took off and Bob was feeling pretty good, and so, we came down and buzzed the airfield, in other words, came around in the pattern, buzzed the airfield and, of course, sure enough, tower [said], "Okay, Army, Villacoubly to Army 5-9-9, Villacoubly to Army 5-9-9, come in," and Bob [replied], "Okay, 5-9-9 to tower, okay." "Good job, have a nice trip back." [laughter] So, we thought, "Wow, that made us feel good." So, then, we decided, "Oh, let's go see the Eiffel Tower." So, we take this big four-engine airplane and make a pylon turn around the Eiffel Tower, and then, we headed for England, and, luckily, we got there uneventfully. [laughter] We made it back to the base, yes. ...
Shaun Illingworth: Thank you for sharing your story.
SI: This continues an interview with Professor Donald Jenkins in Gilmanton Ironworks, New Hampshire, on July 23, 2006, with Shaun Illingworth, and joining us also is ...
Lavinia Jenkins: "Vinnie" Jenkins, his wife.
SI: Thank you very much, both of you, for having me here today. We started out with a story about your World War II experience, but, to begin the questioning, I would like for you to tell me where and when you were born?
DJ: Okay. I was born in 1923, in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
SI: Can you tell me about your parents? I want to know a little bit about your parents, beginning with your father.
DJ: Yes. My father was a high school teacher in New Brunswick and was head of the science department in New Brunswick High School. He had been educated at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, because both my father and mother were from New Hampshire. In fact, my mother was brought up on a farm about ten miles from here and my dad was brought up in the town of Barnstead, New Hampshire, Pittsfield and Barnstead. His family moved a little, and then, he went to Dartmouth College. ... Finally, he ended up in teaching, in the New Brunswick High School system.
SI: Had both their families been in New Hampshire for generations or were they immigrants?
DJ: Oh, yes, my mother's family, well, back in 1976, celebrated their two hundredth year on the same farm, [or] something. I think that was pretty close, isn't it, Vinnie?
DJ: ... My dad's family, somebody by the name of, what was it, Folsom or ...
DJ: Oh, Reynold, right, Reynold, yes, Reynold Jenkins came over as an indentured servant on a ship that landed at Portsmouth, I believe, yes, Portsmouth Harbor, in something like 1605, I believe, something like that. ... I've got most of the information to trace the Jenkins Family history down from this Reynold Jenkins, but I haven't really done all of it yet. [laughter]
SI: Both families were pretty well rooted in New England.
DJ: Yes, and that's, I guess, the big reason why we've ended up here, because, back in 1966, we purchased a summer place on Crystal Lake here. Actually, my dad had a summer place on the same lake, not far from where we are now. ... So, I've been coming up to this lake since I was about eight years old, and I'm now eighty-three years old, so, you see, there's quite a [history]. So, then, since we bought this, this was a summer cottage where we are now, Shaun, ... in 1966, our kids grew up here in the summertime and they love it in New England. ... One daughter is living in the Boston area now and ... she and her husband have a summer place on the lake, on this same lake, across the lake from us, and our other daughter lives in Vermont now. ... Our son lives in New York State, but they all like to come back to New Hampshire and that's one of the reasons we retired this way.
SI: It is easy to see why. It is very nice here.
DJ: Yes. ... This house that we're in now was just a summer place, [in] which they were framed up, not insulated, and so on. So, then, when I retired, we had the house raised in the air, put a basement under it and added on two rooms and, of course, insulated everything and winterized the thing.
SI: It looks very nice.
SI: Do you know how your parents met?
DJ: I think I can tell that. My mother grew up on what they called the Osborne Farm on Upper City Road, about ten miles from here, and my dad, when he was in high school, I guess, his family lived in Barnstead, which is, oh, twelve miles or so from here, and maybe about seven or eight miles from the farm that my mother lived on. The next farm above was somebody named Lincoln Osgood and my dad used to work summers for him. Back in those days, agriculture was the big thing all over the country, you might say. ... So, he worked for Lincoln Osgood, which was the next farm above where my mother grew up, and I imagine that's where they met, ... and then, I think, even while he was still in college, I think he worked for this Lincoln Osgood some. ... So, I'm pretty sure, [from] all the stories we've heard, I think that's how they met. ...
SI: Your father going to college, in his generation, was pretty rare.
DJ: Yes, that's right.
SI: Did he ever tell you why he went to college?
DJ: Yes, he did. His mother was quite sick when he was, I think, either a senior in high school or about that time. I don't remember exactly what she had; do you remember, Vinnie?
LJ: No, she had an operation.
DJ: But, anyway, then, ... the doctor, I guess, had her sent to, ... what is it, Mary Hitchcock?
LJ: ... Well, it's Dartmouth Hitchcock now. It was Mary Hitchcock then.
DJ: Mary Hitchcock Medical Center in Hanover, New Hampshire, and, of course, this was in about 1908 or 1909, or something like that, and so, my dad went along with his mother, with my grandmother, on the train and he was in Pittsfield High School then. ... There was somebody in Pittsfield High School that was a student at Dartmouth at that time. ... I guess my dad stayed in a room with this person; I can't [remember.] Seems to me my dad could tell this [story] and say the name of the person, but that got him interested in thinking, "Gee, you know, maybe I ought to go to college." So, then, I think he took a post graduate [year], oh, yes, because my dad had, I think, lost some time because of an illness when he was in high school. ... So, he probably would have been normally about the Class of 1908 or 1909, but he took, like, an extra year going to high school, to make sure he got the requirements for college, and so on, and then, graduated in 1910 and started Dartmouth in 1910 and was Class of 1914, ... near as I can remember in trying to piece together family history. That's probably the reason why my dad went, and then, it was kind of interesting; he had an older brother that helped him, somewhat, financially to pay his bills. ... Then, of course, he worked pretty hard going to Dartmouth. He got a job on a farm nearby and had to go out and milk a bunch of cows every morning, you know, so, that's the way he did it. This is, as I say, he entered in 1910. Well, his brother, his older brother, helped him some, and then, they perhaps had some agreement, and then, my dad helped his older brother go to the University of New Hampshire. ... I remember, it was kind of interesting, some of the stories. My dad graduated in 1914 and his older brother, that was two years older than he, graduated about 1917, I think, from the University of New Hampshire, and, as my dad said, they helped each other. ... Of course, my uncle that he's talking about was a very rugged person and, as my dad said, ... "Boy, he was hardened into hard work," because he was already past twenty when he entered college. You know, he was about twenty-one or twenty-two when he entered college, and, as my dad said, he played football and he said, "Oh, ... football was easy for him, after working on the farm." ... You know, he was hardened into hard work and, now, [today], he may have got some scholarship, paid for [college by] playing football, I don't know. But, anyway, my dad described it, that football was easy for him and he could play for a whole hour. He didn't have to be taken out at all, you know. He had endurance, and so on, but that's sort of how he did it, a lot of hard work. His father worked in a shoe factory and they had five boys. ... They had about, oh, a ten- or fifteen-acre [farm]. Well, they had maybe two or three acres that they lived on, but, then, they had, like, a wood lot and they had fields, and so on. ... As one of my uncles said, "We used to farm every inch of it," you know, and so, his dad, really, [worked hard], working in the shoe shop and trying to farm this small spread. My mother's farm, they had about six hundred acres. I mean, they had a large dairy farm. ... Well, that's sort of the history of my dad and mother.
SI: You wrote on your survey that your mother worked as a teacher. Was that before she got married or sometime later?
DJ: Yes, she worked as a teacher. She didn't graduate from college. In those days, they were perfectly happy to have a lower grade teacher that had a high school diploma, ... but she taught at one of these one-room schoolhouses that was located on some of the farm property. In fact, her grandfather, I guess, had sort of donated the school to the town and she taught in that, but, then, her younger brother, who was about eight years younger, was coming along and he said he didn't want his sister as a teacher. So, she got transferred to another one-room school down the road a mile or two and taught there, you know, so that she didn't have to be the teacher to her younger brother. ... She only taught, I guess, about two or three years, and then, my dad and mother got married and started having children, and they had five all together. I had four sisters and I was the only boy, and then, [I] lost one sister when I was about ... six or seven years old, died of scarlet fever, I believe it was, yes.
SI: Was it your father's job in New Brunswick that brought him to New Jersey or was it something else?
DJ: [laughter] That's an interesting story. He taught school for two or three years after he got out of college. ...
LJ: Up here, in New Hampshire.
DJ: Well, he taught school in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, for one year.
LJ: True, yes.
DJ: No, he taught in Hudson, Massachusetts. ... You know, Hudson is right on the borderline. ... [Editor's Note: Hudson, New Hampshire, is near the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border. Hudson, Massachusetts, is approximately thirty miles directly west of Boston, about thirty miles south of the border.] I think there's a Hudson, Massachusetts, and a Hudson, New Hampshire. I guess it was Hudson, Massachusetts, that he taught [in] when he first got out of college, I think, and then, the next year, when ... my dad and mother got married, he taught one year out in Connellsville, Pennsylvania. ... Then, you're wondering how he ended up in New Brunswick. ... About that time, when he was trying to get back East, I guess he quit teaching for; no, no, wait a minute, he taught at Laconia, yes, Laconia, ... which is not far from here, and then, he taught at Franconia, which is north of here, for a year. Then, that's it. After the Franconia [job], which would be, what, about 1917 or '18, or somewhere thereabouts? Oh, I know, ... I think a nephew, or somebody, to the principal was getting out of school and wanting to teach, so, he didn't get his contract renewed in Franconia. So, then, he wasn't sure whether he wanted to teach or not. So, he got a job with the, I think it was a steam gauge and valve company, in Boston, and he was working there during the summer. ... I guess they were telling him there's some good opportunity here. ... I think he had applied for a teaching position in New Jersey. As I say, I'm a little vague on the actual [sequence]. I think he applied, but I guess he had decided, "Well, maybe I'll stick to industry;" yes?
LJ: Hadn't he been going to Columbia?
DJ: I think he ... might have spent one summer at Columbia, getting a master's degree, ... but, anyway, all this was around 1918 or so, and then, a police strike was on in Boston. ... With the police on strike, and then, I guess this company that he worked for was also on strike, ... I'd say this was around 1918, so, he was going to work one day and some striker or something stepped up to him and [said,] "Where do you think you're going?" Well, I think my father sort of [said], like, "None of your damn business," and kept walking. ... He said he turned around and he said the next person that was coming along, apparently, this striker had confronted him, too, and didn't like his answer, or something. ... Apparently, he had a pipe up his sleeve and he rang down on this guy's head and, of course, he flattened him. ... So, then, my dad decided that he would reconsider whether he wanted to work in a big city and for industry, you know, with this kind of thing going on. ... Funny thing is, one of my other uncles was in the area at the same time and was telling how ... they had the National Guard in there and they were shooting it out between some of the gangsters and the strikers and whatnot, and he said, "Boy, I ducked behind a column and the bullets were, 'Zing, zing,'" around him, [laughter] but, anyway, they used to have some stories, I'll tell you. ... Then, I think he had had an offer from the New Brunswick Schools, but he hadn't accepted the offer, and, in fact, I think he was almost ready to reject the offer. ... After this happening and seeing a man, he thinks it killed the man, he's not sure, I think that's the way he talked, yes, so, maybe he was sure of that, ... but, anyway, he decided, you know, "I think teaching's not such a bad profession after all." ... It's a little bit vague here and there, because it's based on the memory of events that were told to me fifty, seventy years ago and stuff, yes.
SI: Your earliest memories are of growing up in New Brunswick.
DJ: Yes, yes. ... Actually, this painting here is the house I grew up in. It's about halfway between the city of New Brunswick and a small town called Middlebush. ... Oh, it's interesting; you know where Hamilton Street is going, right through Rutgers? It's out Hamilton Street from, what, Old Queens College [Campus] or something? about, I'd say, three miles, three or four miles. Out that Hamilton Road is where I grew up, and Professor Kimball [Leigh W. Kimball] lived right next-door to my dad there. ... I think we moved into that house when I was about two years old. So, yes, my boyhood days were in the New Brunswick area.
SI: However, you lived a little farther out, in the more rural area.
DJ: Yes, we were in, let's see, what they called Franklin Township, yes, in other words, outside of the New Brunswick line. ... In other words, we had a New Brunswick address, as I remember, but we actually lived in Franklin Township, yes.
SI: Tell me a little bit about your neighborhood and what you remember about growing up in that area.
DJ: Oh, I remember lots of things about growing up in that neighborhood. Yes, the next-door neighbor was a Professor [Leigh W.] Kimball, in languages at Rutgers, and, of course, back in those days, you had to take either three years of one language or two years of two different languages for academic requirements. So, I had trouble enough with English, [laughter] without worrying about trying to learn two different foreign languages. So, I decided, "I'll take Latin," and I took Latin for three years and really struggled with it, and this Mr. Kimball, who lived right next-door, would actually help me in Latin. I'd go over and it was really funny. In those days, the high school teachers that taught languages, or especially somebody teaching Latin, very distinguished, always wore a coat and tie. ... [I remember] Mr. Miller, and Mr. Miller would call on you to recite and I wasn't really very good at languages, but I was more like an engineer, [laughter] and so, occasionally, ... if I did a halfway decent job of reciting, Mr. Miller would sort of look down his nose and [say], "Well, I see Mr. Jenkins had another session with his tutor." [laughter] You know, he figured that, oh, I must have been [helped], because I guess he knew that Professor Kimball lived right next-door, then, would help me. ... No, growing up around there, I was an only boy. I had three sisters. ... Well, a good friend of mine lived about a quarter of a mile away and, interestingly enough, he ended up in the Air Force during World War II and flying on B-17s. I was on B-24s. He was a co-pilot on B-17s. Well, he was a little older than I am and he got me started in the Boy Scouts, and so, you know, ... we were rural and we had a Boy Scout troop that met in the basement of the Dutch Reformed church in Middlebush, New Jersey. ... Oh, we used to have a lot of fun in the Boy Scouts. They taught us how to shoot .22 rifles in the basement of the church. We had a backstop set up. ... We would have rallies with other troops and, if there were any cerebral stuff involved, we probably wouldn't do too well, but any physical stuff, our troop did great. We had a lot of fun, used to go on camping trips and things like that, and then, later, when I went to college, a friend of mine; ... well, actually, he did go to Rutgers, Harold Leary. I don't know whether you've ever heard of him. He was Class of '49. ... We got out of high school in 1940 and he went to work and he got the idea that he'd buy a saddle horse. So, he bought a saddle horse and his family lived in town. ... My dad had a small barn and, when I was quite young, my dad had had a cow that he used to stake out, but, after the cow got old, he didn't go into it again. So, the barn sat idle for awhile. So, this friend bought a horse and my dad was perfectly amenable to having us clean out the stall and have him keep his horse there. So, I used to take care of [it], feed the horse in the morning and at night. Well, pretty soon, his cousin also liked riding horses, so, he got a horse, and then, there was a friend of theirs that wanted a place. So, we had as many as five horses, finally, there. In other words, let's see, Harold had one horse, his cousin had two, I think, two horses, two or three, anyway, and then, this other person either had one or two, but five [were boarded there]. So, while I was going to college, I started in 1940, and then, I went in the service in 1943, but, from '40 to '41 [and] '42, I was picking up a little extra spending money by taking care of these horses, and these were riding horses, fed very well. ... So, the owners, three different owners, were perfectly happy to have me ride as much as I wanted to and, you know, encouraged it, because a good riding horse needs exercise. So, [we had] that and, oh, bicycle trips and you name it. There was a small, they called it a lake, but it was just sort of a small pond, was dammed up. It was sort of a manmade [pond] and we used to go ice skating on that in the wintertime. It was kind of a muddy pond, but you could swim in it in the warmer weather. ... Because my dad had a place on this lake, I didn't care about swimming in this muddy pond that much, [laughter] but, generally, as I say, it was a lot of fun growing up in the area there.
SI: How far did you go along in the Boy Scouts?
DJ: I think First Class [was] as far as I got in the Boy Scouts. I didn't make a big career out of it, but I enjoyed the Boy Scouts. ... Were you a Boy Scout?
SI: Yes, I was.
DJ: Oh, how far did you go?
DJ: Oh, you made Eagle, good, yes.
SI: Were there other activities that you were involved in outside of school? Did you play sports or were you involved in music?
DJ: No, I didn't really [participate] in any organized sports, but, you know, pickup games in the area and stuff like that, but, no, no; now, let's see, what other activities? Oh, there's always church activities. My family was very active in the Presbyterian church in New Brunswick. ... Where's your home?
SI: I am from the shore, Hazlet, by Sandy Hook. I have lived in New Brunswick for about seven years.
DJ: Oh, yes. Oh, that's another [story]; after the war, this Harold that had one of the horses, we bought an auxiliary sloop and we used to keep it down at Perth Amboy and, let's see, Sandy Hook is, what, beyond Asbury Park, I guess, a ways? yes, because that sounds familiar to me. We lost our boat one time. ... I think there was a hurricane and it had a mushroom anchor and I think it snapped the anchor and I think it was the Sandy Hook Coast Guard [that] spotted the boat. It was headed out to the open ocean, as I remember, and they got it in and, of course, since they were registered and all that, we finally got our boat back. [laughter] ... Yes, oh, these were a lot of the things that you get involved in when you're young. ...
SI: How did the Great Depression affect both your family and the area around your neighborhood?
DJ: My father had a job, so, he had a steady paycheck coming in. ... It was really a great time for a kid to grow up, if you had enough to eat, and so on, because even the older people were not all so busy that they couldn't talk to you or anything. ... I have a lot of happy memories of the so-called Depression. Some of that has to do with, probably, your economic status and, luckily, since [we had some means]; nobody had a great deal of money at that time and, you know, even schoolteachers didn't really have much money, but at least they had some coming in. ... Oh, I guess even the public schools, they got to the point where they actually didn't pay them in dollars. They paid them in scrip, and these scrip could be used at the local grocery store and things like that. So, things were pretty tight during that time, but, as I say, essentially, it was a great time for a kid to grow up. ... Because my dad had this place up here in New Hampshire, we would come up here in the summertime and, oh, do things like blueberrying. You'd go out and you'd pick wild blueberries and things like that. ... In fact, my older sister ... took home economics at what was NJC then, it's now Douglass, and, one summer, ... we started a bakery route around the lake here. ... My sister that was two years older than I, we were a bit younger than our older sister, she was the chief cook, we were the marketing for it, but ... we had a small bakery route and we'd deliver stuff by canoe or rowboat or something. ... We'd take orders for rolls. ... This baking was done on a wood stove and my part was to get the wood and keep the fire going, and so on. My sister, older sister, was sort of the brains of the outfit, because she was a little bit older, and she'd set the prices, and so on, ... but these people that came up for vacation were perfectly happy to either order a cake or rolls and stuff. So, that's how ... kids would use ingenuity to make a few dollars or something, to get spending money. ... Oh, that was kind of fun to look back on. ... My dad had a canoe and we'd put a cake on the floor of the canoe and paddle down, go up to somebody's dock and deliver the cake. ... We'd take orders for this stuff, like, we'd order on Wednesday, maybe, and then, deliver on Saturday, something like that, but, you know, those were sort of some of the fun things that you can look back on.
SI: Did you have any jobs in the New Brunswick area?
DJ: ... In which area?
SI: New Brunswick.
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DJ: I was a little bit older and picked up spending money taking care of the horses. Oh, I used to work for this Professor Kimball, now that I think about it, yes. ... He had about ten acres or so, I guess, and he was doing a small amount of development on his own, and so, his son, who is a Rutgers graduate, and I [helped]. They were happy with me. I used to mow their lawn and they had a big lawn and had, like, a golf course-type power lawnmower, with a cutter reel about that wide.
SI: Three feet.
DJ: And a big, single-cylinder engine, water-cooled, and his front lawn was big. It was huge. If I had good luck, meaning not too many pit stops or anything, for gas or for, it was a water-cooled engine, so, you had to keep water in this tank to help cool the engine, if I had good luck, it would take me, I think, either three or four hours to mow the whole lawn, with a cutter thing that wide. So, I probably was walking ten miles to get this lawn mowed. ... Oh, I'd do almost anything they wanted. I'd scrub paint in the kitchen, and his son and I would be out building a road with a wheel barrow and moving rocks and things like that, to build a roadway, that he'd ran a roadway around and he built a few "spec" houses, [homes built in anticipation of attracting a buyer], and stuff. So, he was somewhat of an entrepreneur, ... as well as being a language professor at Rutgers. ... So, as far as work, it was working for the neighbors, you might say, yes.
SI: Since you lived in the area, did you have any connections with Rutgers before you actually came in as a student?
DJ: Well, I suppose having this next-door neighbor who was a professor at Rutgers, and then, my family went to the Presbyterian church, which I guess it's out on Livingstone Avenue now, used to be on George Street, right in the middle of the town. ... They had ... an adult Bible school and my dad used to go to that, and I guess ... my mother [and] the women had a separate deal from the men, and quite a few Rutgers people went to the Presbyterian church. So, through the church people, we got to know quite a few of the Rutgers people, and then, of course, with this Professor Kimball right next-door. ... Oh, I had actually had an application in to Dartmouth College, but, in ... the winter of 1940, or '39 and '40, I graduated in 1940, my dad was in an automobile accident, skidded on ice and ended up quite seriously injured and was in the hospital for quite awhile, in, this was either January or February, something like that. So, he, being out most of the rest of that spring semester, being out of action and just recovering from this injury, and my mother was injured somewhat, too, but not as seriously as my dad. He had quite a blow on the head, you might say. ... So, I withdrew my application to Dartmouth and applied to Rutgers and didn't look back, [laughter] you might say, and it probably would have been a little difficult with finances to go to Dartmouth anyway, but at least I took a stab at it, [laughter] you might say.
SI: Had you visited the campus for sporting events or music concerts?
DJ: Did I what?
SI: Did you visit the Rutgers campus as a child for sporting events or concerts?
DJ: I guess so. I don't really recall going to the Rutgers games. I used to go to the high school games. ... It seems to me I think they didn't have the big stadium then. They used to play; you know where the old gym is, on, what is it, George Street?
SI: No; on College Avenue?
DJ: ... Yes, College Avenue, yes, the old gym.
SI: Across from Neilson Field.
DJ: Across from the old gym there was the stadium, in those days. I think there's some big building over there now, but ... I'm trying to think whether our high school played there some, but, then, later, we had a stadium out [on] Livingstone Avenue, but, no, I really don't recall. There, oh, probably might be a lecture going on that my folks were going to, and I might have gone with them or something, because it seems to me I do remember [that] and, again, through the church, being on friendly terms with a lot of Rutgers people. ... As far as specifics, oh, when I was a little older, I guess, [I] might go to a concert or something like that, you know, but I really don't recall too much that way. ... It seemed like Rutgers was definitely a presence in my life growing up, though, because, as I say, there were Rutgers people all around and, of course, this Professor Kimball's son went to Rutgers, his daughter went to NJC, or, I guess, all three daughters. He had three daughters. My sister went to NJC and, no, two sisters went to NJC, and Vinnie went to NJC and, now, Douglass, but, no, I can't recall specifically, other than just a general contact with Rutgers. So, it certainly just seemed [like] an awful lot of the local people [were affiliated with Rutgers]. Actually, I didn't live on campus. I lived at home, and quite a few people were like that in those days. ... We didn't have rich parents. [laughter]
SI: You mentioned that, in high school, you were more interested in the sciences.
DJ: Yes, I was in the, ... let's see, you had the academic program and the scientific. I was in the scientific program, yes, in high school, yes.
SI: Does anything about your training in high school stand out in your memory, particularly what you thought you might want to do with it after graduation?
DJ: No. ... As I say, Professor Kimball lived on one side of us and on the other side of us [was] a high school teacher in my dad's science department. He was the physics teacher, lived on the other side, a very brilliant man and a good neighbor, too. So, my dad and he got along very well, but ... what was your question again?
SI: Does anything stand out about your studies in high school, or what did you want to be, basically, when you got out?
DJ: No, I don't think so, other than I seemed to, like, [be] a little bit more bent toward science and math than toward history and English, and so on, but, no, that was about it. ... Then, when I graduated, somehow, it just seemed like engineering had more appeal to me than, say, the history or English or whatever, you know. So, I took engineering, and then, let's see, I had three years of college in when I went in the service, and it was kind of interesting going through the so-called classification in the aviation cadets. My classification, I came out first as a navigator, second as a bombardier and third as a pilot. Well, probably, because I had a fairly good math background, that's one reason it looked like, "Hey, you'd probably do well in navigation," because, back in those days, they didn't have these global positioning systems. They had navigators that had to try to figure out from celestial bodies where you are. ... So, there was a bit of mathematics to navigation. ... So, anyway, like most of the people, I wanted to be a pilot, you know. So, "No, no," they didn't want to send me to pilot school, "because you've qualified third as a pilot." I qualified, but down the list. So, then, well, I'll be a navigator then, you know. "No, no, we're filled up with navigators right now. We want to put you in bombardier school." So, okay, I ended up going to pre-flight at Ellington Field, Houston, Texas, and, oh, somewhere about halfway along in pre-flight, we had the opportunity to choose, "Would you like to go to navigation school?" Well, boy, I popped my hand up. I didn't really want to be a bombardier. ... So, depending on how the war was going, you know, it's like, "Do we need pilots, do we need bombardiers or do we need navigators?" Well, they suddenly needed more navigators, probably because they were building up the forces in the Pacific and you really would need the overwater navigators in the Pacific. Luckily, I ended up in the European Theater of Operations, which I think I would rather have been [in] than in the Pacific anyway. ... So, I got the opportunity, before we actually started the navigation training, to shift from bombardier to navigator, and, again, I made that shift, never looked back, and I enjoyed my career as a navigator in the service.
SI: Going back to Rutgers, you told me why you wound up at Rutgers. Do you remember anything about your first days at Rutgers, like orientation, any kind of freshman hazing?
DJ: Yes. It seems to me, let's see, we all had to wear the dinks, and I lived at home, so, I didn't get in on a lot of the things that were going on socially. The thing is, ... I guess [in] my freshman year, I did join the Chi Phi Fraternity, so, at least I got a chance to get in on some of the fraternity life. Yes, it must have been my freshman year that I joined that, because I remember, oh, back in those days, hell week was really hell. I mean, are you a fraternity man?
SI: No, I am not.
DJ: Oh, you're independent.
SI: Yes, a "barbarian."
SI: Barbarian. Is that what they used to call them, the Scarlet Barbs? [Editor's Note: The Scarlet Barbs were a social group established as an alternative to the Greek system.]
DJ: ... Barbarians? They called you barbarians? No, I don't remember that. [laughter] Yes, so, at least I could get in on a little of the social life through the fraternity, and so on, but, no, I sort of vaguely remember, what is it? the bonfire before the first football game, when everybody throws their dinks in the fire or something. ... You had to wear a dink?
SI: No, that all was done away with.
DJ: ... Oh, they did away with that.
SI: Yes, they have not done that for a long time.
DJ: Yes. No, that was a pretty long time ago, yes. But, no, other than, you might say, joining a fraternity and getting in on hell week. ... I don't know whether they really [did away with hazing], at least what you read and stuff, they cut back on some of the hell week hazing, but we had to put our pants on backwards and inside out, as I remember. ... Let's see, in the Chi Phi hazing, you had to, I guess, get a dozen eggs, and I can't remember whether you had to have the whole dozen in your pockets, but you had to have ... at least a half a dozen, probably, maybe a dozen, ... in your pockets. So, of course, the upper classmen could [say], "Oh, what's that in your pocket?" [Editor's Note: Dr. Jenkins makes a smashing sound.] ... Then, you weren't supposed to take a bath for, I guess it lasted three or four days, something like that, and then, you had to get a lipstick and you had to lipstick your nose, and so, here you were, with your pants on backwards, inside out, had to have a red nose. You had to take a small jar of Vaseline and, of course, most of us had a little better head of hair then than they have now, and you had to put that Vaseline [on]. So, in a hot classroom, it would drool down. You had to put a small jar [in your hair]. ... So, we were a messy-looking bunch going through this hell week. As I say, from what I read and, of course, experienced at Lafayette, I don't think they do stuff like that quite as much as they used to. ... I guess they still do a little bit, and then, of course, they believed in thinking that paddling didn't do you any harm. So, there's lots of paddling for all kinds of things that the upperclassman might not have liked and stuff. ... Oh, yes, and I think, like, it started Monday, maybe, and ended Wednesday or Thursday, ... or something like that. It went on and I think we were not supposed to sleep, either. I think we went two or three nights without sleep. So, you get pretty groggy, you know, and they'd keep you up all night, somehow. They'd take turns, and so on. ... If you made it through that, I guess you figured fine, but I doubt if they have anything going like that so much anymore. They might; I don't know. Once in awhile, you read where a fraternity gets in trouble, because they violated some of the rules or something. Yes, it seems to me, one up here in New Hampshire, Plymouth College, was always getting in trouble, it seems like, yes.
SI: You were in a fraternity and you were in the engineering course.
SI: I would imagine that took up a lot of your time.
DJ: Oh, that took up a lot of time, yes.
SI: What would a typical day be like, especially since you were a commuter, also? What was a typical day for you?
DJ: As a student?
SI: Yes. How did you spend your day?
DJ: ... Well, since I lived home, you know, I might get a ride to the college with my dad or something like that. ... I used to hitchhike quite a bit, because we lived on Hamilton Road and I could get out; I'd walk until Louis Street, and then, put my thumb out and get a ride. ... Finally, I think my junior year or sophomore year, no, sophomore year, I think, maybe, I bought a motorcycle, and so, I'd commute by motorcycle. I had a couple of saddle bags on it and I guess I could put my books in this, and so on, and that was a little bit easier, but it was not a brand-new motorcycle. It was an old, secondhand thing that, as I remember, the front fender didn't have much side protection on it and the water would come up off the wheel and dump in my shoe, if you were riding in the rain. So, that wasn't too pleasant a way to commute. So, yes, my junior year, though, I finally sold my motorcycle and I bought an old Model A Ford, much to my mother's joy. ... Mothers don't like kids on motorcycles, and, yes, as I remember, I'd commute with this Ford. ... The interesting part, it was a business coupe, a 1930, I think, something like that, and Ford made these cars such that parts were interchangeable and, being a business coupe, you could open up something in the back and put in your gear and stuff in the back, but ... all the holes and stuff were there, [so that] you could have a rumble seat. So, it seems to me I went to one of the local junkyards and found a rumble seat and bought it and was able to fit it in, so that, then, I converted this business coupe to a rumble seat coupe. So, then, I was able to be able to have four passengers, you might say, yes. They weren't very roomy. I think you could fit three in the front, squeezey, and two in the back, but, no, that was an improvement on my commuting and stuff, and, also, nothing like having wheels, you know. Did you have wheels when you were a student? ...
SI: For part of the time I did, but they also have a much better transportation system at Rutgers now. They have busses between all the campuses.
DJ: Oh, yes. Oh, we had fairly decent bus service going out Hamilton Road that I could [take], but it seems to me I found hitchhiking was quicker than to bother with the bus, and it didn't cost anything, hitchhiking. ... Did you live on campus then?
SI: Yes, I lived in a dorm that they built next to Bishop House for a couple of years and I lived on Busch Campus for a little while and I lived in houses around New Brunswick for awhile.
DJ: What did you major in?
DJ: History, I see, yes. We have a granddaughter who is a history teacher in the public schools. Yes, I see. Well, this fits in with your work.
SI: Yes, it is a good fit. Once you commuted to school, what would you do with the rest of the day? How much of it was taken up by classes or fraternity work?
DJ: ... Classes took up quite a bit of the day, because, in those days, the engineers probably did a little more drafting than they do today, because they didn't have anything like what you'd call computer-aided design. Computers hadn't even been invented yet, and so, there was quite a bit of what you'd call laboratory work, where you'd be over a drawing board. ... I can't remember now whether that was every day or whether that was, like, three days a week, because, you know, generally, you'd have your classes Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and so, I would say we probably had, like, a three-hour lab where you'd be on a drawing board and stuff, because that was considered a little bit more important in those days than, I think, that it has recently in engineering. ... Then, gee, it's really hard for me to remember what all the freshmen courses were now, and I was in teaching engineering for thirty some years, but ... I was teaching mostly seniors in my teaching career, so, I wasn't that familiar with what the freshmen were doing during my teaching career. So, [I am] trying to remember it, but, as I say, I remember [that] drafting took up a bit of your time, and then, the usual courses, math, you know, and English. Oh, I used to struggle with English and physics and, of course, as I say, we got into calculus pretty fast, I think, I guess, during freshman year, I think. So, you had a pretty good load to keep you busy on your classes. ...
SI: What were some of your favorite classes or favorite professors?
DJ: I can't remember what the class was, but there was a teacher by the name of Joe Cejka, C-E-J-K-A, that I think made some sort of impression, because, apparently, he came up pretty much the hard way and had lived in Michigan and I think he had worked some in some of the auto plants or something, either while he was going to college or something like that. I really can't remember exactly what, but I remember that, as a personality and telling [us] a little bit about his own life, those are some of the things you remember more than the subject matter, anyway, it seems like. ... He was one, but, other than that, I'm not sure I remember directly, but my brother-in-law was also an engineer, took engineering, and he was a senior when I was a freshman. ... They also had quite a bit of design work, because I think I'd go up in the drafting room or something and find him and we'd chat a little, once in awhile. ... Oh, we took civil engineering in those days and that was a very useful course, because I found that I could help neighbors that might be laying out their property or doing something like that over the years, ... although I didn't, in my career, really use it directly, but I found that it was a handy course, and that was one of the freshman courses, yes. ... It was kind of funny; ... one of the civil engineering profs was named [Harry N.] Lendall. I'm not sure whether I ever had him, but my brother-in-law used to talk about Lendall. ... He was taking mechanical engineering, but, well, somebody in the Civil Engineering Department would teach you this surveying and it was kind of funny that these seniors, you know, that they supposedly know their way around; here, you're a freshman. So, they used to say that this Lendall, I guess, would jingle his keys and stuff in his pocket. So, they referred to him as "Jingle Balls" Lendall. [laughter] So, as far as remembering funny things, that wasn't mine, that was my brother-in-law. Can you imagine George remembering something like that? ...
DJ: And this brother-in-law is really sort of such a staid, proper guy. It was really funny that when he was a senior, though, ... he and his buddies, that's what they referred to Lendall [as]. That was funny.
SI: What did you think of your instruction at Rutgers, particularly in your engineering courses?
DJ: Oh, it was good, yes, very good. No, Rutgers had a good Engineering Department. Oh, yes, ... Professor [James J.] Slade, [Jr.], was one of the professors that most of us couldn't understand. He'd come in and fill the board with formulas and things like that and you'd frantically take notes. Finally, either I can't remember whether the bells would ring or whether he'd look at his watch or what, but, I guess, did they ring bells at Rutgers?
SI: I am not sure.
DJ: Don't remember?
SI: They did not when I went through, but they may have at one time.
DJ: Yes, I don't really recall whether it's a bell. ... They might have rung a bell or something, ... but, anyway, this Slade would then drop what he was doing, light a cigarette and walk out. ... I think that was Slade. ... He was a very brilliant man, but, as I say, most of us couldn't understand him, and I think the course was called analysis. We'd frantically take notes, and then, we'd try to reel it back to him on an exam paper or something. ... Maybe the real geniusy people in our class might have understood him a little, but most of the rank-and-file of us, we didn't know what he was talking about most of the time. ... This was quite a few years later. He was still teaching there. We didn't exactly rent the house to Koury; we let him live there to look after the house. Yes, one summer, I was working for North American Aviation one summer, back in the early '50s, and he was taking a course at Lafayette, I guess, ... unless he transferred. He may have.
LJ: I think he transferred, yes.
DJ: I think he transferred, but he had been to Rutgers and he had had this Professor Slade and he described his feelings like mine. Nobody could understand Slade, you know, and he used to mimic him and he said that Slade asked him one time; what was it? ...
LJ: "You have the wrong concept, Koury. You have the wrong concept."
DJ: Oh, that's right, yes. He told him, "Yes, you have the wrong concept, Koury," you know, because either Koury was reciting or asking a question. "Yes, you've got the wrong concept." He said, "I felt like telling him, 'I don't have any concept at all of what this is all about.'" [laughter] Yes, just really kind of funny, but, no, I think, essentially, Rutgers had a good staff and it seemed to me they had a pretty good department head [in the Mechanical Engineering Department], that ... [Neil P.] Bailey, I think his name was, and I think he then moved on to Rensselaer, I think. ... You know, Rensselaer's got a very good reputation as an engineering school, but, no, at least at that time, I felt Rutgers was very good.
SI: What about your fraternity? What would you do with your fraternity? What kind of activities did you participate in?
DJ: ... Well, again, I lived at home, but, once a week, I guess, we'd either have a fraternity meeting or something, and so, I would eat dinner [there], at night, once a week, and quite formal, as I remember, ... I think coat and tie, and whether they do that nowadays, I don't know. ... Of course, generally, growing up, your parents taught you manners anyway, but I think, [in] the fraternity, generally, you had to have pretty decent manners, you know, at the evening meal. ... Of course, we had our share of beer parties, too, which, ... at that time, they were not legal. Later, they became [legal], at Lafayette, that, you know, fraternities could have a beer party, right, ... but, when I was going through, ... you don't tell the dean that, "Hey, we're having a beer party." You hope the dean doesn't know that you're having a beer party, at that time, and that was kind of fun, in some ways, because they had a bar down in the basement of the Chi Phi House that, I guess, you could pull the section out of the wall and you could also sort of put things away. So, they had some sort of signal system, like, if the dean was deciding to make a call on a Saturday night or something, sort of like, "Oh, [let me] see how you boys are doing," or something. Somebody could depress a button or something, so that a light would go on, so that those that are downstairs could suddenly put this bar away, get rid of glasses, sweep things under the rug or whatever, ... and then, hopefully, try to act sober and [say], "Oh, hi, Dean, how are things going?" and so on. So, there's those little bits of fun, with things like that going on. ... The Chi Phi House at Lafayette College had a rec room that you had [to] crawl through a small window, walk along underneath the porch, I guess, and out into a room that was just not very visible. ... Rutgers simply had this warning method to get rid of stuff, [laughter] and so on, but, then, later on, at Lafayette and I'm sure at Rutgers, too, ... all the fraternities used to put on cocktail parties and invite the faculty. ... They were always pretty proper at Lafayette, much more proper than when these things [were going on]. Yes, see, we overlapped when campuses were supposed to be dry, you know, but I guess it's not dry at all now, is it? The fraternities can hold cocktail parties, can't they?
SI: I am not sure of the exact rules, but I think they have to follow the state laws.
DJ: Yes, oh, yes. ... That's where they get in trouble, is that a lot of the undergraduates are under twenty-one, but most of the seniors are over twenty-one. So, yes, that's where they get in trouble, but, years ago, they were absolutely dry. ... I taught at the University of Maine for three years and that was a dry campus then and it's kind of interesting, because we were younger then, so, we'd go to, ... like, the soph hop or they had these big dances going on. ... Of course, some of my students, ... fraternities, would have a little booth or something around the gym and some of them would sort of, like, they'd invite us over and we might have a little nip or something. ... They had hip flasks, I guess, or something, but the thing that I really got a kick out of at the University of Maine is that, even though the campus was supposedly dry, and, on the surface, it was dry, but, at pep rallies and things like that, ... well, even, like, the major convocations, where the whole faculty's in cap and gown and everything, all of a sudden, the band would start with the, "Fill the steins to dear old Maine," and it always struck us very funny, that here you are, "Fill the steins," and it's supposedly a dry campus. [laughter] ... That always struck us kind of funny, remember that? [Editor's Note: Dr. Jenkins begins to sing The Maine Stein Song.] "Fill the steins to dear old Maine/Shout until the rafters ring." What's the next line? I can't remember, but that was a fun campus, too, because, now, ... the University of New Hampshire gets in a lot of trouble with too much partying and stuff. But, apparently, they keep it under control in Maine, because, ... before we were on cable, on TV, ... our antenna could pick up the Portland station, so, we got the news from Maine and we rarely ever found that they were having internal problems or too much partying, and so on. As I say, they used to do a good job of keeping their students in line, and New Hampshire didn't always. They used to be getting in trouble every now and then, and, you know, usually, like you say, it's some of the students getting too much John Barleycorn, [a character in a British folksong about alcohol], ... even though they could drink on the campus if they were twenty-one. ... No, Maine, I always had a good feeling about my years teaching at the University of Maine. I think it was a well-run university.
SI: Did you have any interaction with the administration at Rutgers when you were a student, like Dean Metzger, President Clothier?
DJ: No, I think I managed to not get on either one of the dean's lists. I don't think I got on the academic list, nor did I get on the bad list, where the deans are going to be after you. I kept out of trouble, I guess. So, no, I can't remember having anything one way or the other on that. ... Again, when you're a commuting student, you do probably miss out on some of the campus activities and things of that nature. I didn't really mind being a commuting student, because there were some of my other classmates that lived in the New Brunswick area [who] were also commuting students. ... Of course, for some of the bigger social events, because I was in a fraternity, I could get in on those. ... It seemed to me, I think, one of the reasons I didn't mind is that it seems to me, in those days, there were a few more regulations on the students. Well, I didn't really have any regulations on me personally, living at home, other than what your family might impose on you, or something like that. So, no, I didn't really mind being a commuter, but I think I would really recommend that people are better off probably being able to live right on campus. In other words, I wouldn't particularly recommend it over living on campus, even though I didn't mind particularly. ... No, I wasn't into sports or anything. I think I was out for swimming for awhile, but I don't think I really pursued it very long. I think I did that some my freshman year, but, no, I wasn't into the sports programs, and so on, while I was in school. ... I really wasn't involved in extracurricular stuff that much, either, because ... the studies in engineering didn't really come that easy to me. I had to work at it. It was a lot of just plain hard work, seems like. So, I wasn't really involved in a lot of extracurricular stuff. You being a history major, you were probably involved in the Targum and all that.
SI: Personally, I was not, but I understand how liberal arts people have more time to get involved in those sort of things, whereas engineers, then and now, still, the course takes up a lot of your time, and then, studying for it.
DJ: Yes, it does, yes, ... and, especially, as I say, my first [year], I think it was my freshman year, when this friend of mine got the riding horse. ... So, the sophomore and junior year, then, I dropped out in the junior year and enlisted in the Air Force. ...
SI: We were talking about extracurricular activities. You mentioned your friend got a horse, and then, you dropped out.
DJ: Oh, yes. What I was going to say is, with taking care of these horses and doing a certain amount of riding, that sort of took up most of my spare time, so that [I did that] instead of being involved in some Rutgers activities. Nowadays, they're getting equestrian courses in college, you know. I would've loved it. ... One of the owners, well, in fact, yes, two of the owners, because Champ and the one that owned the black horse, they were older men and they were not, either one of them, married, though one was about my age or a little bit older than I am, that had a horse, but [it was] when we had five. ... These older ones, and I can't even think of the other fellow's name now, but they would occasionally have a girlfriend or something that might want to ride. ... Of course, they were working in the working world and some of these girlfriends might be able to come out in the middle of the week. ...
--------------------------------------END OF TAPE ONE, SIDE TWO-------------------------------------
SI: This continues an interview with Professor Donald Jenkins on July 23, 2006 in Gilmanton Ironworks, New Hampshire, with Shaun Illingworth. Please, continue.
DJ: Now, what do you want me to say now?
SI: You were just talking about the people that would come out to ride.
DJ: ... Yes, well, as I say, especially these young girls, they didn't like to have them saddle up and go out alone, and so, they liked to have me be available, if possible. So, I thought that was a pretty good way to pick up a little extra spending money, to go out with some young ladies on a horse, and so, I'd always ride along. ... When we had five different ones, there was always a good horse available for me to go out with some of the others, and, actually, I got so I could sit a horse pretty good, because ... Champ was the name of one of the owners and he and his father would do a little bit of horse trading. ... They would want to go to look at a horse ... that they might be concerned with buying or something. Well, they used to like to take me along and, you know, if there was a horse that they were interested in, they would like to have me get on it and ride it back and forth a little bit, and so, they could watch. His father was quite a horse person. He could watch the way the horse's feet moved and stuff [and] he could tell a lot about whether the tendons and stuff are working right, ... which I didn't know. I'd sit on them and ride them and stuff, but he could watch these horses. He didn't ride himself. ... Oh, he was probably seventy years old or so. ... Seventy doesn't seem that old to me now, [laughter] but, at that time, that seemed pretty old. ... So, I really kind of enjoyed riding and I really enjoyed going along with them when they were looking at a horse and something, ... trying out a strange horse and trotting it up and down. ... I used to feel pretty good to think that they thought I could ride well enough to demonstrate a horse for them, and so on. So, as I say, it was fun, too, going out with these young ladies and stuff, to look after them, make sure they don't fall off and stuff.
SI: There are certain aspects of student life in the 1940s that are completely foreign to us now, like chapel. Do you remember chapel services?
DJ: Oh, yes, I think once a week, I think it was for us. Going back before my time, I think they used to have chapel every day, but I think it was once a week [for us]. My vague recollection of that, ... I think it was fine. You know, I certainly didn't have anything against going to chapel once a week, you know.
SI: What about the ROTC?
DJ: Yes, ... I think I had two years. I think two years were required. You could go on, I believe, if you elected it, but, as I recall, I did not go on with it. I took the two years and, oh, actually, I kind of enjoyed ROTC. I didn't mind it at all and, of course, we'd get a certain amount of marching, and then, ... some of the military history and background and military subjects, you know. ... So, no, I don't remember very much detail about it, but I think we had some good instructors and they were interesting, as far as I was concerned on ROTC.
SI: When you first came to Rutgers, the war was on in Europe, but, obviously, Pearl Harbor happened in your sophomore year.
DJ: Let's see, Pearl Harbor happened in 1941, so, that would be my sophomore year, yes, in December of '41. ... So, of course, because I was taking engineering, I had a deferment. Yes, anybody taking engineering or pre-med or something [of vital importance] were deferred, ... because they were drafting down to eighteen years old. ... Most of us did not feel that we ought to join up right away in '42. Now, as 1942 wore on and the war was gearing up, people did start to think about enlisting. ... I went through my whole sophomore year, ... because, let's see, it was in the sophomore year, so, I finished up that and started the junior year in the Fall of '42, and then, ... around January or February of '43, I enlisted in the Air Force and didn't get called up until; oh, in fact, I went over, in preparation, ... a chronological list of where I was at different times in the service, which, if we get to this point, I can get my list to refresh my memory, but, yes, it was around, I'd say, around February. ... I was able to look up, on quite a few of these, and get an exact date, but it was around February I enlisted, and then, was inducted in, what was it? May 11th. ... Oh, yes, for some reason or other, on some notes that I made, about twenty years ago, I had down that I was inducted in the service on May 23rd. Well, both of us figured that, on reading over some of the military records, my birth date is [the] 1st of May, 1923, so, they wrote it as, "1 May 23," and so, we both figured I must have taken a quick look at this May 23, and, of course, on some of these military record things, right near it, there's, "Date Inducted," or something near, "Date of Birth," and my date of birth is 1 May 23. ... This was notes that I made twenty years ago or something that I dug out to try to refresh my memory on things, and I had down that I was inducted ... on May 23rd in 1943, and then, Vinnie spotted that on one of [the] military forms that, "No, you were inducted on the 11th of May." ... Now, I'm getting a lot of my notes on the computer, so, I can make corrections easy, and I'm not a very fast typist. Vinnie is a fast typist, but she's not a computer typer and, also, she has a lower desk and she's short, so, she has to be propped up to type on the computer. So, I end up being able to type about as fast as you can type on the computer. ... So, anyway, as I say, I did come up with a chronological list of where I was at certain times in the service.
SI: That would be good to look at. Would you like to get it now?
DJ: ... I just thought of a funny story of what happened to us one time. They had a big wooden cover, oh, it must have been six-foot across, that covered the hole where the ball turret had been on the airplanes. There was just a big plank cover, like a cover over on a well or something. ... Anyway, ... between missions and stuff, you might have practice flights and things like that around the English countryside. To foster good relations with the British people, we offered to take some Boy Scouts for a ride in a B-24. ... Anyway, these Boy Scouts showed up and we happened to be picked ... to take the Scouts for a ride in the B-24, and so, we had these kids, about twelve to fifteen years old, and you can imagine, a kid like that, to get a ride in a bomber, you know, and around the English countryside. So, anyway, they're all back in the waist of the airplane. ... When the B-17 and the B-24 were touring the country, did you get a chance to go visit one of them?
SI: Not that I remember. I used to go to air shows when I was a little kid, but I do not remember seeing them.
DJ: Oh, yes, well, you may get a chance some time. ...
SI: I am familiar with the layout, though.
DJ: ... Anyway, so, we had, oh, maybe six Boy Scouts in the waist, and there's quite a bit of room in the waist. So, I went back in the waist. Normally, I'm up in the front of the airplane. My office was up in front of the pilot and co-pilot, and down below, right behind the nose turret. ... Anyway, I went back in the waist, because it didn't particularly need a navigator [flying] around England there. We were flying in the area and my pilot knew the way, [laughter] and so, I was back there to just kind of see the reaction of the Boy Scouts and see how they're doing. So, anyway, my pilot's quite a joker. He's a very good flyer. He went on and got a job with flying for Pan American and flew ... with Pan American until he was sixty years old, after the war, and was a captain on 747s. ... Well, anyway, we're up pretty high, and then, my pilot, Bob, Bob Seever, put the plane in a dive and, of course, a power dive. Now, you know what happens if you go down faster than gravity?
SI: It will be almost like weightlessness.
DJ: Right, you're like weightless. So, he took it down faster than gravity. So, this is sort of, almost comical or something, but everything that's loose starts to float. So, these Boy Scouts were floating in the air in the waist. So, I hooked my arm around a machine gun, because my legs were up like this and I started pulling these kids down, so [that] they could grab hold of something, and, luckily, I was on the interphone. ... This ball-turret cover rose up in the air and there's this big six-foot hole there, and so, I got on the interphone and told Bob, "Hey, you know, sort of, like, this is fun and games, but," I said, "we're liable to lose a kid here or something," ... because I'm trying to hang on to these kids, so that when he finally comes down ... they're not over the hole. ... This cover is floating in the air and there's a great, big, gaping hole there. So, he, of course, leveled it off and we got everything under control and, to give you some idea of what was going on, the crew people [noticed], and we probably had them for the Boy Scouts, you have what they called the chest pack parachutes. ... You don't wear them all the time, you just hook it on if you need it, and, on a practice flight over England, you're not too apt to need to, but the parachutes were sitting around, ... you know, in the waist and we lost one parachute. One rose up and, apparently, with the motion, it was over the hole and that parachute went out through the hole, with nobody in it, nobody in the parachute. So, as I say, it's kind of funny. Oh, and then, also, the fifty-caliber machine gun bullets all rose up out of this box, and then, when they came back down, they didn't go back down in a nice back and forth manner. They're sort of a mess out on the floor. So, when we decided to debark from the plane, we all sort of got together a little bit and we decided, "Let's go out and shake our heads like this," because the crew chiefs are not going to be very happy with you having machine gun bullets in a tangle all over the floor, you know. So, we get out, "God, never saw an air pocket like that." "Wow, what an air pocket that was," you know, to give them the impression that you hit a pocket, that you went down, ... but he did it purposely. Anyway, I thought you'd get a kick out of that story.
SI: Yes, that is a great story.
DJ: These are some of the fun things that happened. Now, ... when you were listening to Forrest Clark, [he will talk about] the deadly serious things that happened, ... what the war was all about and stuff. ... Well, I could go on and on, which we might want to. This gets it out of any sequential deal for you, but, like, the next to the last mission that I flew was to drop supplies to our ground troops at Wesel, Germany. You may have heard about this. I don't know whether Forrest went on that one or not. I think he was finished up by then, but this was a low-level [mission]. We go in just barely over the treetops. You pull up to about two hundred feet, ... two or three hundred, so that you can drop your supplies. Well, this was a very important mission. ... The lead crews practiced for about a week. We didn't know exactly what was going on on it until the day of the mission, but we knew it was a low-level, and, now, we were leading a squadron by then. This was my pilot's last mission. We're leading the squadron and I think we were the only crew in our squadron that had ever been on a low-level mission before, because we had been on the low-level; ... you may have read the book Market-Garden [A Bridge Too Far]. Oh, you have, [Cornelius] Ryan's book?
SI: I am familiar with the operation.
DJ: Yes. Well, anyway, we had been on that raid, dropping supplies. Unfortunately, on that one, the Germans got most of the supplies. ... It wasn't a real successful mission, but, anyway, we got the supplies where they were supposed to go. ... Anyway, we had been on that and we knew that the higher you are, the more these gunners on the ground can get a bead on you, and so, we knew that, because we had been peppered with some small arms fire on this MARKET-GARDEN deal, this low-level in Best, Holland, went over the town of Eindhoven. ... So, before this mission, my pilot got together with some of the pilots that would be flying on our wing, and we'd be leading approximately twelve airplanes. ... He told them, he said, "As soon as we drop our supplies," he says, "I'm going to push the throttles forward, I'm going to push the wheel forward, ... we're going to go right down as close to the deck as we can go," and he said, "and I'm going to also turn tight. So, you be ready for it and hang in there with me." ... The actual briefing was, like, if this is the Rhine River here and the town of Wesel and we're coming across, Wesel is sort of here, we were dropping here. The briefing was to go on a little further with a gradual turn and out. Well, we decided, once we dropped the supplies, let's turn tight and get out of there, and so, we did. We led our squadron. We turned real tight and they all hung in there with us, got way down on the deck. Oh, I'll tell you, [on] that mission, there were burning airplanes. ... The smoke was so thick, it was hard to see almost, but it's really hazy from battle smoke. It was really like seeing a newsreel of the battle. I mean, we're going 180 miles an hour, but you could take a quick look and you could see what was going on. ... So, anyway, one plane out in the outer edges of our squadron caught a bit of small arms fire, but most of us were in pretty good shape. The other two squadrons from our [bomb group], let's see, one of them lost two planes and, when you lose them on a low-level, you lose them. Interestingly enough, though, two people did survive the crash landing, two gunners, back in the rear on that. ... Anyway, our squadron came through this with hardly a scratch. I mean, we got a little bit of stuff, but nothing real bad. Oh, I think a fellow fell out of one of the other planes, too, on that mission, not in our squadron, in one of the other squadrons. Anyway, the pilots all pretty much followed Bob's advice and we came out of it in good shape. Both my pilot and I feel very proud of that mission, because I think there were something like eighty-four or so on the whole mission, with other groups and stuff, and I think either twenty-two or twenty-three out of the eighty-four were shot down. ... According to my notes, it was the second-highest losses relative to the low-level Ploesti raid, if you've probably read about that. ... So, we felt that it was our very good leadership and using a little bit of judgment that was a little bit different than the orders. I think the orders to go in a little further were because they didn't think you could turn a whole group or squadron in a tighter space, but we had a lot of faith in our pilots in our squadron and we turned. ... Then, it was interesting, we were the first plane down, because ... I think we were the third squadron going in. ... We had four squadrons in our group, but I think we only had three on that mission, and we were, I think, the third squadron going in, but we ended up [as] the first squadron coming back, because I took some short cuts. ... Once we got sort of across the lines and going over Belgium, I took short cuts and cut off corners and stuff and headed us back to the base. I figured, "What are they going to do to my pilot now? He's finishing his last mission," you know, and so on, because the pilots would catch all the flak if somebody's going to act like, "Oh, you didn't follow orders," or something. ... The BBC had some representatives there and they wanted to interview the first plane down and we happened to be the first ones to land. ... You're kind of bushed and tired after a mission and none of us really wanted to talk to the BBC. Maybe now, I'd probably be more willing to talk to them, and so, my pilot ended up talking to them and it was kind of interesting. I think, just like you, with your tape recorder, they were recording, I guess, and then, they were going to broadcast it, and so, ... don't forget, here's a war still going on, the Germans are still fighting back pretty good, but it was, like, the beginning of the end. This was in the end of March and they're just about ready to move across the Rhine River and that's the reason we were dropping these supplies. ... So, anyway, the BBC fellow's talking to our group, that, "Well, you know, we might play this back in the States over the radio, so that you've got to make it sound like, 'It was a great fight, mum, but we won,'" you know, or something like coming home from a football game or something. I mean, it was really kind of funny with their coaching on that; you don't talk about seeing a plane nose into the bank or something like that. You talked ... like, you know, "We fought long and hard in a difficult battle, but we won," you know, something like that. So, it struck us a little bit funny. So, then, because the BBC was there, my pilot really didn't catch any flak for not going in further, and, also, the fact that we brought these twelve airplanes back without a scratch; I mean, with nobody getting hit personally is what I mean. The planes might be scratched up a little, yes. In fact, I can remember, from my own account, Joe Gillespie was in one of the planes out in the further [squadrons] and he got hit with some small arms fire, but nobody was injured, no. So, that's one of the ones that the losses were very high, but, by us using our head and being experienced with [it] and realizing, "Get down as close you can to the ground, because they can't get a bead on you," ... we felt pretty good, you might say, to not lose one airplane in our squadron.
SI: You mentioned earlier the burning aircraft on the ground; those were the aircraft from other groups.
DJ: Yes. ... I'll see if I can find this on my account. ... This was written at the time.
SI: Is that a diary?
DJ: Yes, yes. I xeroxed these.
SI: Is that yours?
DJ: Yes, this is mine. This is my account.
SI: Do you have the original?
DJ: Okay, now, "We practiced for this particular mission for almost one week, practically every day, that is, just the lead crews. We had no pre-briefing in the morning, as all the leads were completely briefed the day before. It was the most thorough briefing I've ever had," and, okay, that was the beginning. Our regular co-pilot didn't fly with us, because he had finished up the day before or something. "We did pilotage [navigating through landmarks], because we were fairly close to the ground, the whole mission. Most of the fellows attending briefing did not have any previous knowledge of the operation, so, most of them were pretty awed. We assembled at three thousand feet, later dropping as we left England, as we approached the Rhine and the IP [initial point, the beginning of the bomb run]. We were at treetop level. As we approached the initial point, we ran into fairly dense smoke, becoming more dense as we approach the dropping area. There was much evidence of the war near the Rhine. We could not see the squadron ahead as we came upon the initial point. The haze was very thick. [Richard C.] Haleck guided us down the bomb run;" this is our bombardier on this. "It was practically perfect. We dropped exactly on the spot. In about fifteen seconds after dropping, Bob racked it up into a fairly tight turn, so as to miss the City of Wesel. Right after dropping, we again lost the slight altitude in which we'd pulled up for dropping and he pushed everything forward, so as to get the most speed. The whole squadron followed us fairly well. We were hit by some small arms fire, but no damage done. Gillespie had his hydraulics shot out, which was about the extent of damage in the squadron. After a bit of buzzing, we pulled up to about two thousand feet and came on home. We were the first section in and landed without mishap. This was Bob's last mission and we were leading the third section. The other two squadrons did not turn as soon or as sharp as we did. They received more damage from small arms fire. Two ships crashed and blew up. One fellow in another squadron fell out of the bomb bays and," ... this isn't the best English, "was more than likely killed very dead as he hit the ground, and almost every wrecked plane and building in sight was burning. We saw one C-47 which had plowed into the west bank of the Rhine. Our wing lost eleven ships. However, the operation was a huge success," and then, I said, "in trying to help end the war." I added that later, I think, because, "a huge success?" You lost eleven in your wing. Yes, there were about twenty-two or so lost ... out of the whole eighty-four. So, you see, these were dangerous jobs, right up to the end of the war, yes.
SI: That was the group.
DJ: ... "I later found out that two crew members miraculously survived the fiery crash." That's one of the ones in our group, "Robert D. Vance, waist gunner. I believe he was unhurt. Louis DeBlasio, tail gunner, wounded, but alive." Yes, it seems to me their tale, after the war was over, was that the German doctors gave them just as good treatment as their own people. Of course, they were smart enough to know that this thing's winding down, I think, then, ... because, no, he was treated. He had an injured leg. I thought they were both injured, but maybe not; I don't know. Oh, yes, oh, this, "DeBlasio's a tail gunner," this is just my comment, like, "sitting in the rear of the plane, he was pretty far back in the rear." You know, [when you] sit in the rear of a plane, yes, you're probably safer than up front near the pilots. Oh, yes, "Total twenty-two bombers lost out of eighty-four on mission, which placed the mission second to Ploesti on percentage lost for a low-level mission." I don't know whether you heard about that mission or not, but, since it was so close to the end of the war, it didn't get a heck of a lot of publicity.
SI: No, I had not heard too much about that. I knew about the air drops at the end of the war to support the troops.
DJ: Yes, but I think it'd probably interest you to realize that that was my writing at the end of that day, when it was fresh in my mind and stuff.
SI: Just to clarify for the record, you just read a passage from your diary for March 24, 1945.
DJ: ... Yes, yes, that's what it was, if you remember the date. Yes, it was. You're right. So, you got it, okay, March 24th.
SI: Did you keep this diary for all of your missions?
DJ: ... Yes. Some of them, I didn't, not very complete.
SI: Here, it just says where you bombed. That was a pretty thorough entry.
DJ: ... Here's another one, "Seven hours and fifteen minutes." I'd keep track of some of the [flight times]. Oh, here's one that's written up a little more, "Seven hours, thirty minutes," yes. Well, why don't we break for lunch?
SI: Sure. Before we break for lunch, let me just acknowledge this.
DJ: Oh, sure.
SI: Professor Jenkins has graciously donated to the Rutgers Libraries a copy of The 44th Bomb Group Roll of Honor and Casualties by Will Lundy, who was also a member of the group. Inside, it is inscribed, "This book is dedicated to and a tribute to the Robert G. Seever crew, which completed a full tour of duty in a most difficult war.--Will Lundy." Then, it lists the members of the crew and their positions, including Professor Jenkins as the navigator. Also in this book, I believe it should have some of the wartime record of Forrest Clark, who was also interviewed by the Rutgers Oral History Archives.
DJ: Let's see, "RU '44."
SI: Yes, it says, "RU '44," [laughter] very prominently displayed, and, also, another one of your classmates, James Wright.
DJ: Yes, he was also in the 68th Squadron. I don't remember where Forrest Clark [was], what squadron he was in.
SI: This not only is an excellent World War II resource, but also a good Rutgers resource, revealing what some of our alumni did during World War II.
SI: On behalf of the Rutgers Oral History Archives and the Rutgers University Libraries, thank you very much for this.
DJ: You are quite welcome, and I know you'll put it to good use.
SI: Yes. As I said off the tape, I am pretty sure that they will accept this. If, for some reason, they say they cannot accept it, I will make a recommendation where else to go, another body that this will be widely used in.
DJ: Very good. ...
SI: We are coming back from lunch. Thank you to both you and Mrs. Jenkins for the wonderful meal.
DJ: You're quite welcome.
SI: We have kind of jumped around a little bit. Can you tell me about the process of going from Rutgers into the military? What was that like for you? What did you do?
DJ: Oh, okay. Yes, as I said, I enlisted, we'll call it February 1943. Well, about that time, I was in my junior year, quite a few people, it was almost like everybody in my age group was either in the service or going in the service. So, it just seemed like the thing to do. ... Well, there were a lot of them being drafted at this time, and so, I think, when you're right around eighteen or twenty years old, and there was a certain patriotic feeling, I guess, in the air at that time, ... and the war had been going on for a little over a year, so, I think I felt like, "Well, it's about time." I really didn't have to try to beat the draft, because, ... taking engineering, I was on deferment and could have stayed on deferment, but I think I had the feeling I wanted to do my part, I guess, is what it amounts to. ... So, I enlisted, and then, quite a few others around the country were enlisting in, ... it was the Air Corps at that time, and so, there was a waiting period before they would call you up. In other words, ... then, you're on the list, so, when they need them, they can call you, and so, that's how I [enlisted] and the frame of mind, I guess, at the time. ... Then, I received my orders to report ... to active duty on May 11th. So, I reported May 11th, in Newark, New Jersey, and I was a private in the Army with the serial number 32921236.
SI: That is pretty much drilled into everybody who was in the service.
DJ: Yes, yes. People ... above the age of eighteen were just, a lot of them, ... enlisting to beat the draft, because they know they're going to be drafted now, and quite a few, as soon as they got the draft notice, they'd run down and enlist, so that they at least get credit for enlisting instead of waiting another couple of weeks or whatever on draft notice. I didn't. I enlisted before. Well, as I say, you might say it was my choice, because ... I was on a deferment, ... because, really, the industries needed engineers, so, they were deferring engineers. In fact, engineers ... that had graduated and were working really had a hard job enlisting. They'd have to quit their job, and so on. It was not that easy to get in the service if you were already established. There were several of our friends that are about five years older than I am that worked for, say, General Electric or something and they just didn't get in the service. ... As I say, some of them probably could have, but they would have had to sort of quit their job and go through, where at least [with] my age group and where I was in school, it was no difficulty to get in the service, yes.
SI: What do you remember about that initial experience in the military, the induction and the testing? Does any of that stand out in your memory?
DJ: Yes. ... I was inducted May 11th, and then, boarded a train for St. Louis, Missouri, and reported. I think it took a couple of days, I can't remember now, to get to Jefferson Barracks and, yes, that's quite a change in your life. I was twenty years old and you might say I hadn't had a lot of worldly experience, like people twenty years old today. They've been overseas. ... Well, I didn't have that kind of experience, so, it was quite new to [travel]. Now, I'd traveled around a little, from, like, New Jersey to New Hampshire, and so on, and my dad liked to travel on a car trip, stuff like that, and a lot of people going in had never really traveled very far away from home. ... So, there certainly was a new experience, you might say, even though you're twenty years old, but somewhat of an adventure. You're not quite sure what's coming off or something. So, anyway, [I] reported to Jefferson Barracks. Then, as I remember, you go through processing and they issue you a uniform, and then, you go in somewhere and you change and you package up your clothes and you send them home and that was quite a [moment]. You really know you're in then, and, during World War II, you were not supposed to wear civilian clothes. Once you were in the service, you wore ... your uniform. Whether ... you were on leave or what, you wore a uniform. In fact, I can remember being down in Houston, Texas, one summer, actually, after I got back from overseas, and it was so hot that you really didn't like wearing a shirt and a tie, even though you had your summer khaki [uniform]. So, what some of us used to do is, you would pull your undershirt out and have it over your belt, because you had khaki pants and you had a military belt. You'd pull that over, so that you had a T-shirt on, but nobody could say that you were in the military. So, you'd do that to keep [protected] from some officer that might think, "You're out of uniform." ... You'd do that for comfort, but you'd try to look like you're just somebody. The thing is, I think, probably, everybody knew you were in the service, because just everybody was of that age group, but it's a little different than today. People can wear civilian clothes. So, anyway, that was sort of [impressive]; you really knew you were in when you box up your clothes and you send them home. ... Of course, as a private, you have issued clothes. You got issued underwear, and so on. As an officer, when you finally became an officer, then, you have to buy your uniforms.
SI: How did you feel about going from the freedoms and amenities of civilian life to military life, where you are ordered to do things and you have to live in a barracks?
DJ: Well, in a sense, it was quite an adventure, and we went to Jefferson Barracks for basic training. Well, basic training, you know, they'd run you around an obstacle course, this, that and the other thing. ... Much to the little bit dismay of my mother, when a lot of us got out of the service, two-and-a-half years later or so, and we're sitting around, swapping stories, ... somebody asks something like that, "Oh, yes, boy, wasn't that quite a shock, going into the military and having to go through these obstacle courses?" and I said, "No, the way my mother worked me around here, I thought the service was pretty easy." [laughter]
--------------------------------------END OF TAPE TWO, SIDE ONE-------------------------------------
SI: Please, continue.
DJ: We lived on a four-acre place right outside of New Brunswick and there was an awful lot of work, the lawn mowing, and so on, to keep things up. ... Of course, when you're caught up in this, you're painting something, it's a big house, there used to always be something to do there. ... So, literally, it was true. ... I was in pretty good physical shape and some people were bothered a little bit by all the [physical training]. Oh, they'd run you and they'd do all kinds of things to condition you, ... getting you in shape, but, as I say, my mother didn't know whether to be proud of me for that or to think, "Oh, boy, worked you so hard that the military seemed easy?" [laughter] but I think this was true of quite a few of us that grew up rurally, because, for transportation, you'd use a bicycle or your feet. ... You really were in pretty darned top physical condition when you went in. So, with the basic training, to try to get you in top physical condition, it was really pretty simple. It was almost like camping out with the Boy Scouts or something, and, of course, it was almost fun for some of it, because the drill sergeants would teach you all the marching songs, and so on, and basic training, really, was a lot of fun for some of us that were in pretty good physical shape anyway.
SI: Did you get weapons and maneuver training or was the training just to build you up physically?
DJ: We got a small amount of weapons training, I think, because most of us were on the track to go in the cadet program. ... Now, if you washed out of pilot or bombardier or navigation school, then, you would probably be sent to gunnery school, and then, you'd tend to get quite a lot of weapons instruction. So, we got some, because there's a certain amount, I guess. I can't really remember now, but, somewhere along the way, I think we used to do skeet-shooting, which, anyway, that was kind of fun, tracking the skeet shoot. A little side issue on weapons; as an officer, you were issued a .45 automatic and a holster, you know. ... When we were overseas, you could check out bullets for your .45 anytime. ... I guess you could check out an M-30 rifle if you wanted to. ... They had, I guess, places in the dispersal areas for the airplanes where you might have a bank of dirt or something, and these were nice areas to target practice. Well, they didn't mind how much target practice you do, sort of like, [by] target practicing, you're better able to shoot down a plane that might be after you. So, it was very easy to get ammunition and go out. So, those of us that were navigating or bombardiers, I roomed with my bombardier, we generally didn't feel that we needed a heck of a lot of aerial gunning practice, but we'd check out shells and stuff for the fun of it. So, then, ... you'd ride your bike all over the base, because the bases were pretty big, and we'd ride our bike out to one of these revetment areas where you could set up targets, and there's like a dirt background, a mound of dirt. ... So, we'd set up, oh, maybe like a tin can or something, and, "Bang, bang, bang," and we would target practice for the fun of it, ... rather than with a target where you could see just how far off you are and try to correct. We'd just try to shoot objects and stuff, but, still, you're getting a little practice. So, what we would do then, for amusement, is, since these were big parking areas for airplanes, ... they were all paved, we'd get on our bicycle. ... Like, if this is the deal, we'd ride around this great, big area, and then, this is the backdrop with the dirt, and then, from your bike, just like cowboys on a pony, you know, or something, and we'd shoot from there, "Bang, bang, bang," and so on. So, this is how your tax dollar was being spent, on some on the lighter moments during World War II. [laughter]
SI: How long was your training at Jefferson Barracks?
DJ: That's a good question. I'm not sure. ... Okay, I would say probably around four or five weeks, I think. I really don't know for sure, but, then, from Jefferson Barracks, I was sent to Cleveland, Ohio, and we were billeted in what used to be an armory, I think, and we had classes in Fenn College, which was one of these big city colleges, all in one building. It must have had twenty stories or something to it, and the swimming pool on the sixth floor, as I remember, that impressed me. I wonder why they didn't put a swimming pool down on the ground floor level, but it must have been built a little more solid than the tunnels down in Boston, [Editor's Note: Dr. Jenkins is referring to a tragic ceiling collapse at "the Big Dig," an infrastructure project to reroute traffic into a tunnel beneath the city, earlier in the month], because it held all that water and the building didn't fall down and the ceilings didn't fall down, but doesn't that seem funny to you, a swimming pool on the sixth floor? Yes, that impressed me.
SI: What did your training at Fenn College consist of?
DJ: ... At Fenn College, ... meteorology, some basic [instruction]. Let's see, did I jot down anything like that? I don't remember now. No, I didn't jot that down here; it's just where I was. Yes, yes, you got meteorology. We got a little bit of, I guess, basic navigation and aerial stuff, and I think we got a smattering of what you might call world politics or civics, or something, to give you some idea of, [for example], where the Italians stood in the war, because, in 1943, we had invaded the boot of Italy and we're moving up into Italy. So, I think we got a certain amount of political science that might give you some idea [of] what's going on with this war, yes, ... but those were the ground courses, and so on. I think, somewhere in my notes, I probably have some more clear notes, but I can't remember all that, ... what would be a good background for somebody that's going to be flying in different parts of the world.
SI: Did you find it difficult? You had already been to college. Was it similar to college?
DJ: No, it was relatively easy, the ground school and stuff, yes. ... Like you say, there were probably, your competition, some ... with no college at all. I'd say just about everybody probably had a high school graduate [rating] or diploma, I think, at the time. ... So, you're [there] with three years of scientifically-oriented engineering, because there was a certain amount of scientific-type orientation in navigation school.
SI: You had not been classified at this point, though, correct?
DJ: No, no. ... Yes, as an aviation student, as I say, you did get a certain amount of ground [training]. ... Of course, you got your phys. ed., that always came in, and there were probably some kind of military [courses], something like you'd get in your ROTC even, a certain amount of military-type education, but it was generally pretty concentrated toward getting you ready to either be a pilot, a bombardier or a navigator, I'd say, as far as ... this aviation student. I was there from June of '43 until September of '43 and a certain amount of it was stockpiling people to then get into the cadet program. We did get ten hours of flight instruction there at the Cleveland Airport and we had civilian instructors, ... oh, people, forty, fifty years old or so, that had their commercial flying licenses. ... Interesting story on that; there was a fellow in our group of aviation students named Jeffries. So, since my name is Jenkins, we were fairly close together alphabetically and Jeffries ... was a little older. He was maybe twenty-five ... or twenty-six, but he actually had a commercial pilot's license and had flown as an airline pilot. So, this was kind of interesting. He, I guess, decided to enlist and be a flyer, and why he wasn't able to bypass all the cadets, I have no idea. ... He was a real character, too. He was married, so, he was a little bit older than the rest of us, and he's one of these [guys], you run into them in the military, whether you're Navy or what, that they know all the regulations. They studied the regulations, they know what they can get away with, and I think he really was just having a ball being in this cadet program. ... Anyway, he's up there in a Piper Cub with an instructor, and he's liable to have more hours than the instructor, maybe. ... Apparently, there's a commercial plane, this is the Cleveland Airport, coming in and Jeffries, knowing his regulations and knowing the civil regulations as well, I guess he told the instructor, you know, that, sort of, like, "Oh, we've got the right of way. That guy should let us come in," or something or other. ... I guess the instructor was sort of, like, "Let's get out of the way of this C-47 coming in," but Jeffries was sort of, like, "Nope." Well, he knew his regulations, so, he side-slipped this airplane in and he landed kind of hard, I guess, and damaged it a little bit. I forgot now what the damage was, but he'd sort of, you know, took over like that, and I suppose this instructor's figuring, "This guy's got an airline pilot rating. Who am I to try to tell him what to do?" you know. So, as I say, the darnedest things would happen. You would really think that he would have been able to get a commission without going through all this. ... Another funny thing; we were billeted in what had been an armory, I think, and they made a barracks and you had double bunks and all that, rooms. So, we had a commanding officer, he was, I think, ... only a second lieutenant, in charge of us students, and he was very military. We've got to do everything chop, chop, chop, real military. ... Friday night, we could stay out until eight or nine o'clock or something. ... His name was Lord, Lieutenant Lord. "The Lord" would tell us what to do. [laughter] ... So, anyway, all of us [who were] around twenty years old, we pretty much followed orders and did whatever anybody told us to do, and most of us really wanted to get our wings, or something, so, you weren't about to try to do much thinking on your own. ... So, one Friday night, we had what they call a "GI party." Now, I think you've done enough of the history, you know what that is, isn't it? What is it in your mind, Shaun, a "GI party?"
SI: Is it a beer party?
DJ: No, no.
SI: Is that when you clean the mess hall?
DJ: No. It's scrubbing your floor with a scrub brush on your hands and knees, and this being an old armory, it might have even been a school before it was an armory, it had, like, oiled floors. So, of course, [when] you got enough of us down there scrubbing away, you get the floor fairly clean. But, I think some of the officers would [organize this] almost as a, "Well, I'm going to throw my weight around," whether it really needed cleaning, "We're going to have a GI party," you know. Nobody really liked a GI party that much, and so, anyway, Jeffries comes into the barracks about fifteen minutes late and it was funny. He puts his hat back on his head, moves his cap back. He's dressed like the rest of us, khakis. This is summertime. "What in the hell is going on?" he says, in a big, loud voice, and, of course, this Lieutenant Lord is out here in the side, "Well, Mr. Jeffries, I want to see you," blah, blah, blah, and yelling, and so, ... the Lieutenant is ready to give him a royal chewing out. ... So, he lets him rant on for a little bit and, finally, he says, "Well, now, Lieutenant Lord, you know what it says on page sixty-two, that," blah, blah, blah, blah, and he rips into him and sort of, like, "You can't do," something that he was just saying, you know. So, this guy, blah, blah, blah, he gets all excited. I don't think this Lieutenant Lord realized this guy was a commercial pilot that happened to be in [pre-flight]. As I say, the darnedest things used to happen. It's hard to believe, but, so, anyway, "Well, I want to see you at my office tomorrow morning, ten o'clock," or something, and he storms out. ... You know, he's got this aviation student trying to tell him how to do his job and he didn't like it too well. So, anyway, I guess some of us asked Jeffries how he made out and I guess he made out all right on it, on the next day. This was a lieutenant and, probably, I think, we might have had a captain in charge of everything, but, in a lot of cases, some of the higher-ups almost laugh at the antics that a lieutenant gets into, [laughter] and so, nothing really came of it, this whole thing. ... Then, another funny thing happened with this Jeffries. After we had left Fenn College with this kind of pre-flight stuff, we were sent to San Antonio, Texas. Well, we went by troop train. ... I guess it took a day-and-a-half or more, I guess, to get down to Texas. The trains didn't go real fast, and so, this Jeffries had a car and a trailer and he was married. So, he somehow [arranged], maybe he got his orders adjusted or something, that he could come down with his trailer. Oh, no, I think he did deign to ride with us on the train, but his wife was a very capable person, I guess, and so, she drove the trailer down. I think that's how it went. Well, we get to San Antonio and, whenever you change from one base to another, you're quarantined for a week or so, something like that. We were only there a little over a week, I guess, so, generally, yes, I think most of us never really got off the base at San Antonio, because I think we were only there for what is sort of your so-called quarantine period. Well, Jeffries went down with us, but then, he wanted to go see his wife. So, he couldn't seem to pull any strings or something to get out and see his wife. So, what does this Jeffries do? ... He gets out. I think he just got second lieutenant bars out, but reaches in his locker, footlocker and duffle bag, rummages around, pins on second lieutenant bars on his shirt, and so on, and puts them up on his cap, and he told us about it. He said, "Well, I just walked right out the front gate, saluted the guards," you know, and so on, and this guy had a lot of gall. He was walking down the main street of the San Antonio Base and he loved to tell all. As I say, he's about twenty-five, most of us are about twenty, and he loved to tell us stories. He was, like, our big hero. He would do things that the rest of us wouldn't dare do, but he said he couldn't pull any strings to get off, but he wanted to see his wife. So, he said, well, he just had to go ahead. ... If somebody really got him, he would have got a couple of years in Leavenworth, probably, for impersonating an officer, but he got away with it, and he said, "Really, I was going down Main Street and, you know, there was a cadet on the other side of the street and, by God, ... he didn't salute me, and, boy," he says, "I halted him, 'Halt, Mister.'" He chewed him out, "When you see an officer, you know what you have to do. You have to salute," you know. ... That's how he could get away with this stuff, because he had more gall and, well, you figure, you know, if you were going to try it, you'd sort of hope nobody sees you, you know, and just get past the guard, but, oh, he, big as life, you know, made sure every cadet saluted him while he was impersonating an officer. ... He could just get away with things. So, I got kind of a kick out [it]. I didn't really get to know him that well, but we were always close together in formations, because they set you up alphabetically and stuff. ... Then, that was classification and that's when I was classified as a bombardier, which, like I told you before, that I got navigator, number one, bombardier, number two, pilot, number three, as far as qualifications. ... I said I wanted to be a navigator, but they needed bombardiers, so, they sent me to bombardier pre-flight. ... Let's see, yes, then, we were classed as aviation cadets and I think that got us a raise in pay. I think we were only getting fifty [dollars] a month as a private, I think.
LJ: Twenty-one dollars a day, once a month.
DJ: Was it? I've got it written down someplace else. ... Yes, maybe you're right; that raised us to fifty [dollars], as cadets.
DJ: That might be. Well, anyway, we got a raise. ... Yes, it might be that you're right on that. I think I have it in some other notes somewhere. Yes, this is remembering over sixty some years. ... Yes, this was a pretty long time ago. ...
SI: Before we leave San Antonio entirely, do you remember any of the tests that you had to take?
DJ: Yes, yes, there were written tests, I think, but there were also, for pilot training, dexterity tests, that you had to move little knobs and, you know, like kids' toys, you know, put things in the hole or something. I don't remember the details, but, ... like, okay, you got a question, this is a puzzle, "Doop, doop, doop," and, of course, the faster that you could do these things, the better the qualifications [resulted] as a pilot, too, is what it amounts to. ... Of course, if you're too slow, you wouldn't qualify for a pilot at all. ... So, that's one of the things I remember, and then, I think, ... probably, we did this somewhere, it must have been at classification, you had, oh, maybe something about as long as this room, about twenty feet away, and you had two strings and you were pulling a couple of pegs. ... The idea was, you were to line the pegs up and this would be your depth perception. ... I guess, I don't remember whether they moved them [or not], and then, said, "Okay, now, you line them up," ... anyway, something along that order, and, well, hard to remember much else. ... As I say, the written tests probably told a lot, because, if you were fairly decent in math, that's where your navigation would come out good, compared to somebody that hadn't had as much math, but they might do real well on some of these manual dexterity-type things.
SI: Were there interviews?
DJ: Yes, yes. I think they wanted to, perhaps, see your frame of mind, to see whether you would stand up under combat conditions. In other words, are you somebody that gets rattled easily? and they're pretty decent at asking the questions. ... You can imagine that some could be very arrogant and try to purposely rattle you or something, but I don't really remember that they did. ... I think they did have some of the so-called head doctors talking to you, to see whether they think you're going to stand up under [pressure], because, actually, there were very few that had to be, what'd they call them, "section eight," [discharge on the basis of being mentally unfit], or something? that had to be taken off combat because they just; well, we used to call them "flak happy." They just got so much flak and stuff. So, I'm pretty sure they did have some interviews and screening on that, ... but I wouldn't call it anything very severe, that I'm surprised, in some ways, it wasn't more severe than it was, to try to rattle you, you know, to see. ... I'm pretty sure they did ask some questions and stuff like that, is what it amounts to, but the majority passed that all right. There were a few. ... I think Bob Nissley was a pilot, that I think those were the rumors, that he got out on a section eight or something, meaning they have trouble coping with combat. It's not the most likable thing to cope with, but most of the people generally could, and then, actually, Cynthia's first husband, they took him off. ... This fellow, he was a bombardier and he went on the Ploesti raid, and then, I didn't really know him, but we knew his [wife]. Let's see, she never married him. ...
LJ: Sure, she did.
DJ: Oh, yes, she was married to him, that's right, later. ... He was taken off combat, but I think they're the only two I can think of. ... As I say, I think it was mild, but I think there was definitely some [questioning], you know, and I suppose, if you pass all right, you don't feel that they were too severe, yes.
SI: Then, you were sent to Ellington Field.
DJ: Yes. Let's see, yes, after San Antonio, I was sent to Ellington Field and that was for what you'd call pre-flight, and there, again, [we studied] meteorology. ... Now, I can't remember all the stuff, but I was trying to think whether we had some flight training. ... No, this was just generally pre-flight, so, again, probably, ... a little bit of military instruction. ... You know, whether you're a pilot, bombardier or navigator, you ought to know a little something about [the] rudiments of navigation, and so on. So, we probably got a little bit of navigation in pre-flight, certain types of things, but, again, if I consulted some of my notes, I might be able to tell you a little better on just what. ... Yes, that's about it at pre-flight, and a certain amount of marching and keeping in shape and stuff like that. Again, when you're young like that and you're full of energy, these things were kind of fun, almost, and you were happy to be [there]. You're kept pretty busy, learning new things, and so on, and so, a certain amount of that, again, was having you ready, so that, then, when ... they need to get the students for the little bit more serious work of bombardier school or pilot school or navigation school, they take them, ... because I don't think there was any set time that you had to be in this pre-flight, like, say, three months or something. Let's see, how many months? Yes, I was a cadet; yes, it was about three months. So, well, maybe it was approximately three months. Then, I was sent to navigation school in Coral Gables, Florida, ... from December to April, so, there, another three or four months of [training], and this was concentrated, and, again, courses, ... they keep up with meteorology, and then, ... celestial navigation, dead reckoning navigation, and I guess a certain amount of radio navigation, using radio compass, and so on. No GPS, they didn't have it then, in those days. We'd get to use what they called an astrocompass, where you can get your directions from the heavenly bodies. Yes, they were cute, little affairs, these astrocompasses, that I think you had to use some of the tables, tables for stars' declination and things like that, to set this little astrocompass. ... So, it was related to the heavenly bodies and where they were. ... I guess our Department of Interior or something used to publish the almanacs that would give you information on the stars, and so on, where they are. So, we ... probably got more celestial navigation at the Coral Gables school, because it was run by Pan American. ... The Pan American instructors, generally, had been Merchant Marine navigators before they became aerial navigators. ... Of course, the Pan American people were pioneering these routes down to South America, all the way down to Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and, yes, Rio's the one way down, I guess, in Argentina, [Brazil]. ... They'd fly over water, so, they knew their celestial, and, of course, since ... most of them got their navigation training in the Merchant Marine, they would have had a lot of celestial, because the marine people, from Columbus' time on, depended on celestial navigation, and so, that was interesting. ...
SI: You did not seem to have had much of a problem with the training, but did you see any other cadets that were having trouble? Did anybody wash out?
DJ: Oh, yes, yes. We had what we called the cadet colonel, because we'd march everywhere we went, you know. You had platoons, I guess, or something, and you'd march to the mess hall to get your meals and you'd march here and march there, and then, a certain amount of this military stuff. You'd parade, you know, out on a drill field or something. ... You had cadet officers. Well, the cadet colonel then would be out there, barking orders to us, but he was another cadet. We had a captain that kind of ran the show down at [navigation school]. This was in Coral Gables. We lived in the San Sebastian Hotel, which was a block or two blocks away from the buildings for the University of Miami, and we had our ground school work in the University of Miami buildings. ... Anyway, this cadet colonel washed out. ... Let's see, you had sixty days of instruction, but you had what they call the twenty-day check, a forty-day check, a sixty-day check. ... No, I guess it was only sixty days, but, anyway, if you flunked the twenty-day check; after twenty days of instructions, you had, like, a final exam, or intermediate. The final was the sixty-day, I guess. So, if you flunk the twenty-day, you were out. They didn't worry about giving you a second chance, like, [if] you flunk a course in college, you can take it again. Well, you went to gunnery school, or something like that, or the forty-day check, [the same thing would happen]. Well, I think he flunked the sixty-day check, which was the last one, I guess, like the final exam, and so, the regular captain, he was close, I guess, felt that he ought to have another chance, or something or other, ... because, you know, "He was a good soldier." I think he had been, perhaps, enlisted from the Army, or something, already in. ... That's why, of course, he became the cadet officer, probably something like that. ... So, the Captain, who was, as far as the air people are concerned, a "ground pounder," ... really thought that, "Oh, why can't we slip him through or give him another exam or give him another chance?" Well, these Pan American instructors were pretty tough. They had been on these early Clipper ships and the old Commodores and ... these two-engine flying boats that pioneered the routes down to South America and stuff. ... They had been on them and they knew that a navigation error could mean you're all going to end up in the drink, or something, and not get there, and so on. So, they insisted that, "Nope, he's out," you know, and no second chance or anything, because, with the war on, they felt that they couldn't really afford to try to carry somebody and give him another semester or anything, and so, there was an example of somebody washing out that the military people thought was, "Such a good military man, you know, that we ought to hang on to him." ... Pan American was run by Juan Trippe then and they were under contract with the US Army to run this navigation school and they trained the early navigators. ... I think they had one or two other navigation schools around the country. I think they had one out in California and ... either Texas or up around Nashville, or something. ... Some of the best of the students, they probably tried to make instructors out of them, in these other navigation schools. So, you always felt that the Pan American was the elite school. If you graduated from the Pan American school, you must have been a pretty good navigator. ... Now, what they did in the other schools, I don't know, but most of us got through all right. ... It's kind of funny that the so-called cadet colonel [washed out]. I don't think he was that well-liked by the rest of us cadets, so, we didn't cry any big, salty tears over him getting washed out, as I remember. I don't really remember whether there was anybody else [who] washed out, but there may have been some, because there were, oh, a huge bunch of us going through the school down there at Coral Gables. So, oh, there must have been a couple of hundred of us. So, I'm sure there were some that I just didn't know who they were, because, you know, out of a couple hundred, you don't know everybody. You know a few that are right near your place in the world, so-to-speak.
SI: How did everyone in these training units get along, particular people from different regions and different backgrounds? Was there any friction or did everyone get along pretty well?
DJ: I don't think I detected much. I think, like you say, there might have been a little here and there, but I can't say that I detected very much, ... but you're right; take just my own crew. We had several from Texas, one from Oklahoma, one from Pennsylvania, let's see, I guess [Newell W.] Johnson was California, I think, yes, and I was from New Jersey. ...
LJ: [William F.] Zoellmer, from Minnesota.
DJ: Oh, yes, Zoellmer, from Minnesota. So, we really had quite a diverse group on our own crew and we all got along great. So, I think, in the training, I'd say that, no, there wasn't really any problems that I can think of. Some of the Southern boys, generally, felt they were better than the blacks, so-to-speak. ... Even in those days, the people up North treated black folks fine, you know. In other words, growing up, there were a lot of black people in the area where I grew up and they were just some other people. ... There were no blacks in our outfit, anyway. They had their own group, the Tuskegee ones; you've heard of them. So, we didn't have that problem, but I can imagine that some of the Southern boys, ... as I say, my recollection of people in the South, they just think they're better than the blacks, you know, there, is what it amounts to, but, no, I can't say there was any problems like that at all.
SI: Was that just something that came up in conversation or did you witness actual incidents of them mistreating African-Americans? Were there black troops on the base?
DJ: No, I can't remember anything specifically coming up, but I guess it's just a sense that the Southern people you ran into, not necessarily at that time, but since then, [felt that way], but I remember, like, Bob used to get so annoyed at some of the black people. [laughter] He was kind of funny. So, no, I can't say that ... I could cite anything specific on that, and a lot of that is probably just due to your whole lifetime of associating with people, North and South, and so on. There's that tendency, I think, for the Southern people to [think that way]. Now, it's funny, some Southern people, though, have a pretty good attitude, I think, actually, but there are some that don't. ... No, as far as part of the training there, I can't remember anything that specific. So, it's more a sense of what I've sensed, I guess, of living over the years, and, at the time, might not have even sensed it at all.
SI: When you were in navigation school, did you do any training flights or was it all classroom work?
DJ: Oh, we sure did do training flights. We flew in two-engine, what they called Commodores, Commodore flying boats, and Sikorsky also had these. These were the latest word in air transportation in 1927. They were still flying these flying boats for us to train in. I want to look up and see how many they seated, but I'll guess they could seat ...
-------------------------------------END OF TAPE TWO, SIDE TWO-------------------------------------
SI: This continues an interview with Dr. Donald Jenkins.
DL: Yes, okay, yes, I would say these flying boats seated about sixteen, with two rows of seats and an aisle in the middle. ... The pilot and co-pilot sat up in front, in full view of all the passengers, and, in the back of the airplane, we had a big hatch, and I guess that's where you boarded the plane, I guess, from. See, they were flying boats. They sat on water and these planes would go about eighty miles an hour. So, we'd open this back hatch and we could stand up in the back hatch and shoot celestial shots, you know, shoot the stars, North Star, all kinds of things like that. We used octants, where the Navy people used a sextant. The octant takes in one-eighth of the sky, the sextant takes in one-sixth, ... but a sextant has to depend on a horizon. Well, if you're up twenty thousand feet, you can't take an angle from the horizon. So, you have what they call a bubble octant and you hold it and you've got to sight things. I mean, it's got some mirrors and stuff, so that when you're sighting a star, you can also see this bubble and the bubble is to level it. ... It's like what you'd call an artificial horizon, and so, that's what we used and we'd stand up in the back of the airplane and you'd have your head out in the air and it was kind of fun, in a way. ... It was like being in a fast convertible with the top down, and it's kind of interesting. A gentleman by the name of Ralph O'Neill wrote a book, oh, thirty, forty years ago, about Flight of Eagles [A Dream of Eagles] or something, and what he was was a World War I flyer and he started this [route to] Rio, Buenos Aires, and, let's see, Miami down to, oh, the capital of Brazil, or a big city in Brazil. What is it? but, anyway, they'd land in Brazil, and then, they'd go on down to Buenos Aires, and then, down to Rio De Janeiro. I can't remember. Rio de Janeiro's all the way down and Buenos Aires might be Brazil [Argentina], maybe, yes, I think it might be Brazil, but, anyway, he started this. Yes, oh, it started in New York, New York, Miami, Buenos Aires, ... because it was NYRBA [New York, Rio and Buenos Aires Line], or something or other airline, and they flew these Commodore flying boats. ... Oh, a very plush airplane, didn't hold a real lot of people, but my recollection is about sixteen [that] it could hold. Well, we would only have maybe six or so of us in there on a training flight. So, we had lots of room and stuff, might be six or eight or so, something like that. It's kind of interesting. I wrote to this [man]. He wrote this Flight of Eagles and he gave the whole history of developing this airline, and then, finally, on somewhat of a hostile takeover, Pan American sort of forced him out of business and took over this airline that this Ralph O'Neill started. Well, he, of course, described the flights in these Commodores and even the picture on the cover, oh, gee, if you could find the book, Vinnie, I should have looked at it, because, as I remember, it had a beautiful picture of the Commodores on the cover. Maybe, just before you go, I'll rummage around, see if I can find it, but, anyway, they were really an interesting boat and airplane. It was like a parasol-type wing with two big radial engines. I think they were Pratt and Whitney engines, I believe, a good engine. ... My recollection is that they went eighty miles an hour. The air speed indicator would indicate eighty miles an hour, and it seemed like [it stayed there] whether we're climbing or going down or cruising. So, I mean, part of that's my recollection; it might not be quite so. So, anyway, being in a slightly jocular mood, I wrote to Ralph O'Neill after I read his book. This is about thirty years ago or more. ... I said, "Gee, I really enjoyed your book and it aroused my memory of training in these old airplanes," because they were still running them even though they were the latest word in 1927, '28. This was 1943. The planes were still running and they were keeping them up and they made a wonderful training plane for us. ... As I say, you could stand up in the back, see the sky up there. It was really just kind of fun to be in these old planes. So, he wrote back to me, thanked me for my letter. ... He said, "Your air speed indicator must have been stuck, because," he said, "we had to cruise a little better than a hundred miles an hour ... in order to make a thousand miles a day in these old Clipper planes," you know, and a nice letter from him, which he's probably right. It probably did cruise a little better than eighty miles an hour, but it did seem [that way]. Oh, so, then, oh, in my letter to him, I said, one, I remember one flight where we were flying out of the Dinner Key base, outside of Miami. We were flying from there to Havana, Cuba. I mean, we weren't going to land, but we're going to go over Havana, and then, fly back. Cuba was neutral, pretty much, during the war, so, they were all lit up, whereas most of the East Coast was blacked out, but, so, this was kind of fun, to fly down. [To Mrs. Jenkins] Oh, you found it. ... Yes, there's what they looked like. Isn't that an interesting-looking airplane? So, anyway, I told him about one flight. We were coming back from this flight over Havana and one engine went out and I said, "It seemed like it flew just about as well on one engine as it did on two," and I said, "We were, you know, not that much later." In other words, we were a little slower, but not that much later than our planned time to come back, you know. ... I said, "All of us had a great deal of faith in this old airplane after that flight with one engine out," and we made it back to Miami and weren't, like, a half-hour overdue, or, oh, maybe a half-hour. We weren't an hour overdue, say. I can't remember the [exact time]. So, yes, I had that in mind and he said something about, ... "I'm glad to hear you got back all right on that flight to Havana," but he said, "You can be assured that, with a full load, neither the Commodore nor the Sikorsky would stay up," meaning you'd be losing altitude. Well, we probably may have lost some, but, like, you'd better go into the closest place you can go in. ... Well, you can go in anywhere on the ocean. You could land this thing, but you wouldn't want to be landing it halfway between Havana and Miami and hope that a boat would come along and tow you, I guess, [laughter] but it was funny. He said, "With a full load," he said, "you can be sure neither one of them would stay aloft," you know, but, so, it was kind of interesting to fly in these old flying boats. ... So, my feeling is that it was quite a thrill, you might say, to think that we were training in the very same planes that were pioneering air travel as we know it today. ... You know, there weren't that many people [who] traveled by air in 1927, and so, no, that was interesting.
SI: That is very interesting. Were there any accidents in training?
DJ: ... No, not that I [recall]. The closest to an accident was this Jeffries that made a fairly harsh landing in a Piper Cub, where [he did] a little bit of damage. It was not life-threatening or anything, but damaged the plane a little. ... Are you familiar with how you side-slip an airplane?
SI: Not really.
DJ: You don't have a flying license then.
DJ: Oh, well, side-slipping an airplane is when you cross control, and, as I remember; I've got a pilot's license, but I got it, like, sixty years ago. ... After I got married, started having kids, I couldn't afford to fly. So, I haven't flown solo for sixty years, practically, but, anyway, you cross control. It's, like, kick your right rudder and, if it's a stick or the wheel, you'd be moving the wheel to the left. ... Then, what happens is that the plane, instead of flying straight and level, it will fall off to one side and it skids down. [Editor's Note: Dr. Jenkins makes the sound of a plane skidding.] It really drops, drops like a rock, almost. Then, you cross kick the other way, and then, you straighten it out. ... You don't do it in a big airplane that much, but you can do it in a big airplane. We did it once in the B-24. We were coming in in a snowstorm, and either [after] an aborted mission; I can't really remember now, but it might have been an aborted mission in the wintertime, when the weather was bad. ... Sometimes, you'd be up, and then, they'd what they'd call "scrub the mission" and you'd come back. ... Anyway, we were coming back with the whole formation and I think we were leading, yes, because I think we had a command pilot with us, and we were trying to land. ... Of course, flying in a snowstorm is like; I guess the only thing I can think of worse than flying in a snowstorm would be in a heavy fog, where you can't see anything, but, in a snowstorm, it's pretty hard to see, but, when you got down fairly close, you could see. Just like driving your car, you could see a short ways in front of you. So, as we came down, we straightened out and we were just the wrong attitude to land on the runway. So, you give it power and you go around again. So, I think we had gone around ... twice, and the third time, my pilot figures we'd better get this thing on the ground, because there's all these other airplanes up there [that] want to come in, too, and somebody's liable to crash into each other. So, even though he broke out of the storm and could see the ground, ... like, this is the runway, we were, like, going this way. So, instead of going around again, [Dr. Jenkins makes a swoosh sound], he side-slipped the thing. That's quite a thrill, to come down [Dr. Jenkins makes a thump] in a big, four-engine airplane. He was a good pilot. He side-slipped the thing, and then, got it down, and then, kicked the rudder and straightened it out and we landed. ... So, that's why it's nice to know how to do it. Yes, I can't really remember, ... when I got my private license, whether you had to do that. ... As I remember, I think, for some reason or other, I think I did it when I was taking my exam, that either I wasn't lined up just right or something and decided, "Well, I'll slip this and straighten it out," and I slipped it and straightened out and got my license okay, ... but it's quite a maneuver. ... Yes, as I say, I think, for some reason or other, I slipped the airplane on my exam. ... I can't remember whether he told me to or whether I thought, "Uh-oh, this is [it]. I'd better do this or, otherwise, I'm not going to look good," or something, ... but I think that's the only time. I don't think they really had that as a standard maneuver, but it was something that does have its times when it's effective.
SI: Where did you go after you graduated from navigation school?
DJ: Okay, let's see, okay, navigation school, I graduated on April 22, 1944, and I made second lieutenant. In other words, then, you graduate, you got your wings and you got your bars. ... I was 0722321. From there, I got orders to go to Tonopah, Nevada. ... That was for what they called phase training and there was a base at Tonopah, which is up in the dry part of the desert there. ... I think I went someplace in-between, or just before Tonopah, ... sent from here to Hamilton Field.
SI: Were you given a leave in-between?
DJ: No. Yes, because I think, let's see, yes, ... I had the feeling that I went from some field to California, in other words, went first from Coral Gables to California, and then, from California to Tonopah, because that was sort of an interesting story, too. ... Yes, I'm pretty sure we went to someplace in California. I'll have to look up some of my records a little and try to see. It doesn't make that much difference for this, but, let's see, yes, I think we went somewhere in California and I can't remember just where, but, then, we had orders to get to Tonopah. ... Anyway, in California, several of us got together and bought an old car. We bought a 1934 Plymouth and I think there were three or four us [who] went together, and then, we bought that car, yes. I should have spotted that when I was working on this, but we bought this car in California, somewhere. I think our orders were to go from Coral Gables to California, and then, from California to Tonopah. So, I got slightly mixed up there. I don't know whether the stuff I sent you a few years back, whether it was in that or not; might have been. Does it say anything about [it]?
SI: No, it just lists ...
DR: ... Leaving ...
SI: ... Coral Gables, and then ...
DJ: ... Oh, yes, oh, yes, this is pretty skimpy, yes. This doesn't say. Well, anyway, I'm pretty sure we went somewhere in California, and then, got orders to go from California to Tonopah, Nevada, to the base. ... There were four of us, I think, that went together and bought a car and we bought the car after we got our orders to go by train to Tonopah and we were going to go from California by train to Tonopah. So, what we did [was], we thought, "Well, we want to drive our car out there," but we didn't have time to get orders to drive the car, to get all the permits to have your car, and so on. ... I guess we found out we could have a car out there at Tonopah. ... So, what we did is, we figured, well, ... we got on the train, we walked through the train, and then, got off the train, mingled and got lost in the crowd on the platform. I think this was maybe, like, Fresno or someplace in California. It might have been San Francisco even, but a fairly sizable town. ... We got off the train and got in our car and the train was not going to go very fast to get to Tonopah, so, we figured we could beat the train. So, we drove through, not much traffic on the roads in those days, because of gas rationing, and we had gas enough, somehow, from somewhere, to do it. ... We got about twenty miles from Tonopah and we're out in the hot desert. This is June or so, I guess, yes, because ... we were there from May to July. So, this was, well, May, maybe, but it was pretty hot, as I remember it. The car quit. So, anyway, we tried hitchhiking and it was a downhill run and the trucks, no way, are going to slow down on a downhill run. So, they might wave to you, and very few cars. So, then, I remember, you used a little "Yankee ingenuity." ... We sort of diagnosed what was wrong. There was a crack in the top of the distributor cap and I guess, sealed in your head down there, you can see the spark jump, so that we were not getting any spark to the sparkplug. So, first, we, as I remember, ... tried toothpaste. All that did is conduct it better [laughter] and the spark leaped across this crack easily. So, here were four of us thinking, "Oh, boy, we're going to be in big trouble. We're going to be in big trouble if we don't [get there]," because we ... knew what time the train was going to get in and we would have had plenty of time to make it if our car didn't break down. So, suddenly, I got a bright idea. I took some of the grease and dirt that was on the bottom of the crankcase of the engine, got it on my finger and I thought, "Oh, this ought to be a good insulator, this grease and dirt and stuff," and I smeared that in the crack on the distributor cap, and, by God, it worked. So, we arrived at Tonopah just a few minutes before the train got in, and then, we either reversed the deal, got on and or we kind of mingled with the crowd getting off. ... Of course, there's a lieutenant or something with a clipboard and [he] calls your name out ... or you call your name as you go by and he checks you off. So, we managed to pull off this deal, and then, having the car there was no problem. But, we got the car, like, the day before we were leaving this field at Fresno or somewhere. ... Good old Yankee ingenuity finally got the thing running and I was the one that came up with that, came up with this idea of putting a little grease and dirt in the deal. ... Then, oh, as I remember, yes, we were nice, fresh second lieutenants and I think it was Jim Mallory and I, he was one of the ones that we went in on the car with. ... Maybe a day or two later, we're driving on one of the company streets and, all of a sudden, a wheel comes off our car, [Dr. Jenkins smacks his hands together] and so, of course, we come to a halt and the wheel goes on down the road. ... The lug nuts or something let loose and the wheel's going down. So, Jim and I pile out of the car and we're running down this main street of the Tonopah base, chasing our wheel, and there's a whole big contingent of soldiers coming in, in formation, marched on the other side of the street. ... Of course, here's a couple of fresh-minted gold bars, second lieutenants, and these were, I think, just ground troops, or not officers and stuff, and they're roaring their head off at these two lieutenants running after their wheel. [laughter] ... As I remember, we found it and I guess we found the jack and jacked it up, put the wheel back on, and maybe with just half the lug nuts on or something or other; ... these funny things that you think of when you're asking your leading questions and stuff, yes. [laughter] ...
SI: What did your training at phase training consist of?
DJ: ... Oh, that's where you were finally assigned to a crew and that's where I met our crew and, you know, your pilot. I was the navigator and you had your regular contingent of ten people on the crew and what we did there, of course, [was] learning to work together as a crew. We had gunnery practice, the gunners. We'd fly low over these dry lakes out in Nevada and they had, like, targets, which were nothing more than, like, taking something like this crate out there, set this crate up, and then, the gunners would have to shoot at it with fifty-caliber machine guns. ... I guess they could then examine these crates and say, "See how well you did?" So, we'd do that and, oh, we had night flying, day flying, night flying, formation flying, and, oh, just generally, not too much ground instruction, as I remember. Most of it was very active flying every day, I think, as I remember, and giving the gunners practice, well, getting used to communicating by interphone. We used to have what they called "throat mikes." We didn't have a microphone by your [mouth], like the telephone operators or whatever; we had a throat mike. So, you were hooked up to your mike all the time and I can't remember now whether you had to press a button to talk or whether you were [always] connected. I think you were connected all the time, that you could talk to anybody else in the crew. ... Now, of course, in the movies and stuff, it becomes like, "Navigator to pilot, navigator to pilot," you know, but, after awhile, it's just, "Hey, it's Bob," you know, and so on, ... and the gunners would call out things. ... Somewhere in the training, and I think it might be after we were issued a brand-new airplane to take overseas, we had to do what they called "swing the compass." ... You go over a known deal where you run different headings and stuff and you see what your compass reads. ... Oh, almost like calibrating the speedometer on the cars, [laughter] we'd calibrate the airspeed indicator and, as I remember, I think we had, like, two stakes out in the desert that were maybe two or five miles apart, or something. Then, you got roaring down that at a certain speed, you know, with your stopwatch in your hand, and literally calibrating about the same way you'd calibrate your speedometer on your car. Did you ever do that over a measured mile, like when you have mile markers?
DJ: Oh, you're not an engineer, are you? [laughter]
SI: Yes, I have not done that. Maybe I will try it on the way home.
DJ: Yes. [laughter] It's best to have somebody else running the stopwatch, ... yes, because you've got to read the [speedometer]. You can calibrate the odometer, too, you know, and see if it reads exactly a mile when you go a mile, and then, of course, you can go sixty miles an hour. ... Let's see, we used to calibrate the odometers, and then, jeez, I can't remember now whether we calibrated the speedometer over our measured miles or whether we then worked from the odometer. Oh, I bet we worked from the odometer, sure, yes. So, anyway, that's sort of what phase training was, a lot of flying in phase training.
SI: Could you tell me a little bit about your crew, such as where they were from?
DJ: You want me to go over where they were from?
SI: Yes, and, also, how well you worked with them.
DJ: ... Where'd the book go? ... I think I can do it by memory. Let's see, Robert Seever was from Oklahoma. You don't care about the town, do you?
SI: No, just where they were from.
DJ: ... Hugh Maxwell was Georgia, I think.
LJ: ... Co-pilot.
DJ: Yes, he was co-pilot; Don Jenkins, navigator from New Jersey; Bill Zoellmer, bombardier, who was from Minnesota; Newell Johnson was also a bombardier. We had Bill Zoellmer up to mission seventeen and Newell Johnson [from] mission eighteen on, and he's California. Al Pschirer was Ohio and Charles Daughtry, Texas. ... Al Pschirer was the engineer, Charles Daughtry was radio operator, from Texas, and Richard Coward, the nose gunner from Texas, [Charles] Olewine, right waist-gunner from Pennsylvania, Lee Denham, both, Kentucky, when he went in.
DJ: Yes, Kentucky, and Harold Whitten, Texas. How about that? ... On my own list, while I still remember where they're from, I should put that down. I might have it in some of my old [notes]. I still have original orders on certain things. ... Maybe it was about the time we were making that tape, about twenty-five years ago, that I looked up orders to find an answer to some question that somebody had asked and you got on the phone or something and you told him that, "Oh, he's got about twenty copies of it," or something, anyway. ... Remember that?
LJ: I think it was when you were trying to [help], remember that fellow that was trying to find out about his father?
DJ: Oh, yes, yes, that's right.
LJ: And we had some; these are mimeographed orders.
DJ: Oh, he wanted to know if we could give him a copy.
LJ: ... And you said something about, "Well, let me make a copy," and I said, "Donald, you've got twenty copies in the basement. We've been hauling these around for fifty years."
DJ: ... Being [in] history, if you don't know this, ... this can add to your knowledge, do you know what they mean by "cutting orders?"
SI: No. I have not heard that word before.
DJ: Oh, good, ... we'll educate you then. During World War II, and before and probably for a few years after, when they cut orders, they, literally, what they called "cut" a stencil, because you cut the letters into a stencil, and then, on a mimeograph machine, you could run off as many copies [as needed]. This was the days before Xerox had invented the copier. ... They would talk about, in the military, that they "cut" the orders, meaning that you're going to get quite a few copies of these orders, and that's what they mean. They cut a stencil. Now, Vinnie got a lot of office training before she went to college and you knew all about cutting stencils, yes. Now, you probably don't really know exactly what cutting the stencil is, but you may at least imagine.
SI: I have seen the big machines, where you crank it.
DJ: Yes, they did. They had hand crank ones and, of course, I guess they had motor operated ones, too, but, oh, a messy way of [doing it], and these secretaries that did secretarial work, they didn't love to cut stencils, because, oh, [with] the ink all over the place, your typewriter is liable to get dirty, ... or your roller.
LJ: ... You had to stop it so that it was cutting without a tape in it, you know, and you had to be very careful when you typed, to make sure that your pressure was just right for each one.
DJ: Yes, because these were manual typewriters, years ago.
LJ: And, if you type too hard, say, for instance, an "O" ...
DJ: You'd knock the whole letter to pieces, I guess.
LJ: Yes. So, it was quite a technique.
DJ: Now, the mimeograph machines had ink in the roller, didn't they?
LJ: In a drum.
DJ: Yes, well, ink in the drum, didn't they?
LJ: Yes, and then, you put this ... piece of ...
DJ: We had one of these, ... when they were starting to go out. It seems to me Cro-Tone Call had one that they gave me, I think. ...
SI: That is what cutting orders means.
DJ: Back to the questioner here, our leader. [laughter]
SI: How did you feel when you joined the crew? Did you feel confident in everyone's abilities? Were you happy to join a crew?
DJ: Oh, I was happy to join a crew and part of it, like you say, [was] getting used to one another and it really didn't bother any of us, I think, the fact that we're from all over. That didn't enter into it at all, and I think you know Coward and you've known Zoellmer. I don't think it bothered any of us, that part of it, but, no, you felt pretty good joining a crew. ... Then, it's like you hope that each person really knows how to do his job, but you sort of took it for granted [that] they do, and, generally, they did. ... Well, a little incident during our training; on one of the training flights, we had an engineer that had been on the Ploesti raid and had finished a tour of duty and survived thirty missions or thirty-five, or, well, back then, I guess, either twenty-five or thirty. Then, it was thirty-five, but, anyway, he survived the tour and he had been on Ploesti, I think, and he was kind of a cocky guy in a way, but he knew his stuff. He was an engineer, that, really, you know, he'd seen combat and he was there to really, like, check out our engineer on the flight, and what you know, what the engineer's duties are, and so on. The engineer was to keep the plane running and, when you had trouble, to try to make a repair on the spot, like, one of the particular repairs we made was, our hydraulics were shot out and the shell fragment came right up through the bomb bay, where the bombs were, and it hit a hydraulic line that was about that diameter.
SI: An inch in diameter?
DJ: No, it's about, oh, three-quarters of an inch diameter, maybe, aluminum line, I think. So, there was red hydraulic fluid all over in that area. ... I think that was the day we came back with forty-two holes in the airplane. Luckily, no one of us got hit. ... The worst thing, as far as damage, was the hydraulics were out, which means, when you land and you put the brakes on, they may not work, because all the fluid is [gone], just like losing your fluid in your car. ... So, anyway, to try to fix this, the engineer had a big pair of pliers and he thought, if he takes the line and crimps it, bends it back on itself, that it's like taking a hose and crimping the hose. So, what he figured is, he'll crimp the line on either side of this flak hole in the line. So, he had to step out on the bomb bay doors to get to it. Well, bomb bay doors are not ... held up by big, strong bolts, like they're trying to hold up that tunnel down in Boston or something, which they didn't hold that well. [laughter] But, anyway, because, if you had trouble, you could actually drop your bombs through the doors. It would knock the doors off, maybe. So, it was one of those things that you don't like to step out on the doors, because you can't trust them. So, the catwalk is about this wide, and then, you have these stanchions. ... So, I got my arm around the stanchion, pretty good grip, and I put my arm around his waist and he steps out on the door and pinched off the lines. ... I can't remember now whether he hooked his parachute on, which would have been a good idea, ... in case he did drop through the door, but that's what the engineers would do. ... As I say, that's pretty scary, to step out there on a flimsy door that might drop, because ... one did drop off on one mission, for no good reason, just fell off, I think. So, I had the feeling that, ... if the door didn't hold, I don't know whether I could have held him or not. I would sure as heck would have tried, but it would be pretty hard to hold a 150-pound person just by your arm. ... I might have been able to do it, or I'd have gone with him. I don't know, but, luckily, he was able to do it, pinched them off. So, then, when we landed, we landed, I think, at a long runway, a different airfield that had a long runway, and, also, had, like, some mowed bushes and stuff at the end of the runway for another half a mile or something. ... Actually, it was near the White Cliffs of Dover, as I remember it, figuring that it was made just for crippled bombers to come in on. ... We landed on it and we sort of figured that we might have one application of brakes before you lose so much fluid that [you cannot brake], because, even with pinching, you're liable to lose fluid, you know. ... Luckily, we did. We had one application of brakes and he got the airplane slowed down and it worked out all right. ... Oh, another thing, I think the gunners might have done this, but another thing that the bomber people used to do, if you thought that you had to try to slow this airplane down, they'd hook a chest parachute deal to the waist windows on either side, and then, as soon as you hit, they'd pull the ripcord and the chute would go there. So, you'd have, like, an air brake. I don't remember whether we [did that]. We might have hooked them up, ready in case the brakes didn't work. ... As I say, you sort of forget half these details, but, by you asking these questions, it brings to the top of my mind some of these things that you've practically forgot about.
SI: What did you think of the B-24?
DJ: Oh, it was a great airplane, loved it.
SI: Were you happy when you were assigned to the B-24s?
DJ: Yes, yes, and, as people, you know, if they flew a tour in a B-17 and they got there and they got back, and you got back safe, and so on, you'd think that was a great airplane or something, but, no, I remember, my pilot used to get a little disgusted with it once in awhile, but not because it was a bad airplane, but because he was a frustrated fighter pilot. He really thought he'd rather have been in a single-engine airplane than in the four-engine airplane, but, no, I had a lot of faith in the Pratt and Whitney engines, and it could take a lot of punishment and still be flying. ... I felt it was a good airplane and, as I say, part of that is, any one that got you there and got you back home again, or something, that was a good airplane, yes. [laughter]
SI: After your phase training was complete, did you then head overseas? Were there any other stops?
-----------------------------------END OF TAPE THREE, SIDE ONE-------------------------------------
DJ: ... To Hamilton Field, California, outside of San Francisco. At Hamilton Field, we picked up overseas equipment and a brand-new B-24, #44-10578. You can go on Google and find out what happened to that airplane. I have no idea what happened to it, but I wouldn't be surprised if you could find out. ...
SI: Yes, you can look up a lot of planes there.
DJ: But, anyway, we picked up this brand-new airplane and we flew from Hamilton Field to Grenier Field, New Hampshire, which is the Manchester Airport up here, and that was the military field. At one end of the field was military. I don't think they have any military anymore. We had a stopover night in Amarillo, Texas. In other words, these four-engine bombers did not fly like the jets today. They took a little while to get [places]. So, now, this is kind of interesting. On the way from Amarillo, ... we stayed overnight in Amarillo and we got up and got a good early start and we were supposed to make it up to Grenier Field that day. So, we weren't up too long when my pilot, Bob, said, "Give me a heading to Ponca City," and the thing is, Ponca City was not really very far off our straight line course up to Grenier Field. So, I gave him a heading to Ponca City. Then, he took over and, you know, just flew it. Yes, what?
LJ: Oklahoma, ... Ponca City, Oklahoma.
DJ: Oh, yes, this is Ponca City, Oklahoma, good, that's true. How many other Ponca Citys are there in the country? [laughter] So, anyway, he flew to a little town of Four Acre and we flew low enough to just see the way and, of course, he knew the way from there. It's about twenty miles east of Ponca City. So, as long as I got him to Ponca City, he knew where he was. His dad had a small farm outside of Four Acre, ... a small farm or a small ranch or something. So, anyway, we flew down low over the farm and we buzzed it a couple of times and flew around and buzzed it again, and then, somebody had an old pair of GI shoes that they were willing to part with. So, Bob wrote a note ... to his folks and put it in the shoes, and then, we made a pass, and, you know, a little practice, a little bombing practice, and dropped them. He didn't find the shoes [immediately], but he found them, what? a few days later, I think, and got the note. ... We were on a trip to California in 1952 and we looked up his parents and, in fact, we stayed overnight with them. ... He told us the thrill that he had, you might say, to see his son, because we were close enough that we could see the expression on their face, and I think he knew that that's his son piloting this, because he knew he was in the Air Corps, Air Force. ... His father is a lot like Bob, good sense of humor and not somebody that [would say], "Oh, you're flying too close," or something like that. He said, "You know, you kind of trimmed the tops of some of my trees." He said, "They pruned down a few branches." Apparently, the props hit a couple of the tops of the trees and his father got quite a thrill out of that, but, then, finally, after we made a couple of passes over the house, his dad and mother both were out in the yard and we were waving to them, and then, we headed for [New Hampshire]. I gave him a heading for Grenier Field, which was, like, from there, northeast. We were heading just about due northeast. ... They watched until we were out of sight and they told us [that], because you couldn't write home and say, "We're going here or there," because a lot of these orders, you couldn't open them up until you were in the air. ... His father was quite pleased to think that we were heading for war, to the Europe War instead of to the Pacific War, that I guess he figured the Japs were not quite as civilized as the Germans to fight, something like that. [laughter] So, that was quite a thrill for Vinnie and I, to visit his dad and mother. ... You know, now, this is funny, if you want to put this on tape. This is really funny. [laughter] ... You can take it off if you want to, but ...
SI: It is up to you.
DJ: It's up to me. Well, when we stopped, yes, we stopped on our way to California and we stopped on the way back. On the way back, we stayed a couple of nights with them, I guess, and, in fact, ... on our way out, I suddenly realized we're going out the old Route 66 from St. Louis, ... lines from Chicago to LA. ... This was before the Interstates, and I suddenly said, "Hey," to Vinnie. She was navigating then. I said, "See if you can find Four Acre on the map, because," I said, "I remember, Four Acre's where Bob's folks lived." So, I didn't have his address or anything, and so, we stopped in the town of Four Acre, ... a very small town. The first person we stopped was a little bit suspicious, because, you know, a Pennsylvania license plate, you know, "Why are you Yankees looking for somebody down here?" Well, when I finally told him I was the navigator on Bob's crew, "Oh, well, his wife is my cousin," or something like that. I mean, he sort of, like, [thought], "Oh, that's fine," long as they knew who we were, and so, they had moved to another town within five miles, I guess. So, we found them, and then, stopped on the way back, but the funny story is that, we didn't, ... we were tempted to ask his mother, but his mother said something about [how] Bob had had two broken arms at the same time when he was a kid, and Vinnie and I both were practically snickering or something then. They were a nice couple; we didn't dare ask. ... Bob was quite a joker, but he told all of us, when we were overseas, you know, ... people talking about their own childhood and this and that, he said, "Oh, yes," he said, "I broke both arms at one time." He fell out of a tree, I think, yes, and he had both arms in a sling. So, of course, naturally, ... at the age of twenty, you still have a little bathroom humor, I guess, "So, how did you go to the bathroom?" [laughter] ... Bob said, "Oh, my dad's pretty clever." They had an outhouse, apparently, in this town of Four Acre, and he said, "He hooked up a rope from the outhouse to the back door and I'd just get on the rope and straddle that," to wipe his behind. [laughter] So, we never did ask his mother if that was for real or not.
LJ: ... She came out with this, "Oh, Bob fell out of the tree and had two broken arms." [laughter] ...
DJ: Now, when we were down to see Bob, I guess we just forgot about it or something, because I would have just as soon asked him. ... Well, we all figured the whole story was maybe just a big story or something, but he really, apparently, had the two broken arms, and then, he said, "Oh, yes, oh, we had a rope there that I could straddle." [laughter] Oh, that's funny, but, then, after meeting his father, you really had the feeling he's liable to have had something, to put a rag on it or something. His father was quite a joker, too. Tell him about his method for keeping the birds out of his cherry tree.
LJ: You've got the mike there.
DJ: ... You don't care if somebody interjects, do you?
LJ: ... They gave us their bedroom and we woke up very early, because the tree outside of our window was full of aluminum pie pans and the birds were out there trying to get the cherries. Well, he had them all tied together and there was a string in the bedroom that you could pull ...
DJ: ... And it would rattle these pie pans.
LJ: ... I mean, he was very clever with it.
DJ: He was really clever, and Bob was pretty clever with little things like that. So, yes, so, then, I think the rest of the trip up to Grenier was pretty uneventful. ... We got to Grenier, I think it was, oh, just about supper time, I think, by the time we got there. Yes, let's see now, then, we were only at Grenier several days, I think one or two days or something, and, finally, got our orders to leave, and these would be orders leaving the country. ... I think they gave us a heading. It happened to be a more or less northerly heading, and I think [they] told us, "When you've been out fifteen minutes or twenty minutes, open your orders and you'll see where you're going to go." So, the orders were to go to Goose Bay, Labrador, and we got to Goose Bay, ... and then, on to Iceland, and then, on to England. So, we got to Goose Bay, and then, stayed there, I think just overnight at Goose Bay. ... Then, we arrived at Iceland, Meeks Field, Iceland, which was pretty close to Reykjavik, which I guess is the capital of Iceland, and then, after Meeks Field, we went to Valley, Wales, and flew from Iceland to Valley, Wales, and then, the Air Force took our B-24. So, then, from Valley, I think we went by train, either that or GI truck or bus or something, to Stone, England, and then, on to Warrington, England. Then, from Warrington, we were flown to Clinto, Ireland, for combat school and we were in Clinto from; let's see, ... seems to me we were in Clinto, Ireland, yes, I think I'm a little mixed up here, I think we were there ten days or so. So, this Valley to Stone and Warrington, and then, to Clinto, probably, was between the 22nd and the 30th. Oh, no, no, I'm okay. ... Yes, I'm okay; this is supposed to be August, yes, yes. That's why I couldn't figure out my own notes here. ... Yes, so, we were about two weeks in this combat school, in, really, up in North Ireland and out in the sticks, it seems to me. Then, probably, [they] had some combat veterans talk to you and tell you little tricks for staying alive, and so on, and what might happen if you have to parachute out and try to contact the Underground and things like that for trying to get out. So, then, on the 16th of August, from Clinto, yes, we finally joined, I can't remember now whether we flew or went by train, but, yes, maybe we flew there, ... anyway, we finally joined the 44th Bomb Group, on the 16th of August, and 44th Bomb Group, 68th Bomb Squadron. Our commanding officer was Robert J. Lehnhausen, Major Lehnhausen. ... This is kind of interesting. He was the commanding officer from the time we got there in July until the group finally was disbanded in May, I guess, of 1945, when the war was over. ... At one of the reunions, I guess we were having breakfast together, or something or other, I said to Bob, or at least at one of the dinners, or something or other, I said to Bob, I said; oh, ... because, at our reunions, since he was the last CO, he's always the one that's got to get up and say grace, or whatever, and talk to the bunch of us, and he's always got a story for us. It's like we still think of him as the CO. He's the commanding officer, and I said, "Did you realize that you really had, like, a life appointment to commanding officer of the 68th?" and he said, ... "I'd hoped I'd have a long appointment," because the commanding officer before him was shot down in, what? almost a month or something, and the one before him was shot down in about a month or something, so that he said, "I'd hoped I'd have a pretty long tenure," but he happened to be the one that was CO when the group disbanded. ... At reunions and stuff, he's our commanding officer, you know, is what it amounts to. Now, my first mission was the 25th of August.
LJ: Where were you stationed, Shipdham?
DJ: Oh, yes. ... The 44th Bomb Group was based at Shipdham in England, in East Anglia, yes. First mission was the 25th of August, 1944, and it was to bomb an airfield at Sweryn, Germany. Actually, that was one of the memorable missions, because ... it was way up beyond the Danish border, ... Denmark, beyond the Denmark Peninsula there and into Germany a ways. Well, when we finally, I guess, crossed that, and then, ... started into Germany, we lost, I think, three turbo superchargers and lost power to them. So, Bob could not hold power settings and couldn't really stay in formation. So, we had to leave the formation that we were flying with, and so, we made a quick conference among all of us that we've either got to go back all alone, about eight hundred miles across the North Sea, all alone, without any radio. In other words, our whole electrical system was shot and the engines were running, but he couldn't go up to high altitude, I guess, without the turbos, and so on. So, [we] made a quick decision, because, see, Sweden was neutral and we were not too far from Sweden and a lot of airmen did get interned in Sweden. "So, what shall we do? Shall we try to go back or shall we go to Sweden?" Well, we all elected to [go for it], sort of, like, "We came over here to fight the war. We don't really want to [stop]." Maybe, if this was our twelfth mission, we might have made a different decision, but, being it was the first mission, we decided, "Well, let's see if we can go back." ... Bob thought he can keep the engines running, but we can't communicate, we can't do things. So, anyway, we had about eighty miles of enemy territory to go through before we were out over the North Sea, and then, we had about eight hundred miles to make it back to England and we're going all alone. ... Then, what further was not nice that day is, as we were going with the formation, somebody spotted, oh, four or five German ME-109s with what they called the yellow spinner, yellow, and they were referred to as, "The Yellow-Nosed Bastards." They were Hermann Goring's really crack boys. They were the elite of the German Air Force. There were probably a few aces in them and stuff, but they were good. They didn't bother our [group], because [it was] a big, whole, great big formation and a small bunch of them and they were on a flight heading up the Danish Peninsula and didn't bother the bombers, but we thought, when they were on the way back from their flight, if they see a lone bomber, they would probably think, "Oh, boy, this is an easy one." Yes, so, luckily, we didn't see them, because, if we did, I might not be here. ... Luckily, we didn't see them. ... So, then, soon after we were crossing the Danish Peninsula, we got hit by flak. There was an under cast. We couldn't see the ground. So, I felt like, "Okay, I know where we are." There's only one island out here, I think Amrum Island, and Helgoland, I think they call it. [Editor's Note: Amrum and Helgoland are both German islands in the North Sea.] ... I thought, "That's practically the only enemy-occupied thing around, so, we must be over that." ... Oh, I've got a little piece of flak. I don't know whether it came from that one, but, anyway, a lot of times, they make holes in your airplane. They go in and they go out. ... I've got a flak souvenir somewhere, I think, but, so, anyway, that gave me a pretty good fix. I had a pretty good idea, and then, without much of any electrical system, I had to do dead reckoning for eight hundred miles, and dead reckoning is just, you take into account your wind and your heading and your airspeed and it's like a vector analysis problem. ... That was the kind of thing [we] learned in the Pan American School. So, that didn't really bother me, to try to [use] dead reckoning across the ocean. So, when we got near to the coast, I guess got the coast of England in view; ... interestingly enough, what we were taught in school is, if you're coming across the ocean, don't necessarily head exactly for where you want to break land, head north of it or south of it. ... Then, the idea is that ... if you wanted to come in here, but you head for here, chances are you'll be somewhere on this side of the point you want. If you head for there, you might be here [or] you might be up there. You wouldn't know where you were. So, that way, you'd have a little better idea of where you are. You could then turn left and follow the coastline to try to pick yourself up, but, anyway, then, the airplanes had an auxiliary power supply, just like, actually, I've got an auxiliary [for] when we get blackouts here in the winter, once in awhile. So, I've got a standby generator. Well, you had that and it had a small engine on it. It was called the "putt-putt," because the thing would [make a noise], pull it with a rope and it will take off and, "Putt, putt." So, our engineer started the auxiliary power supply, the putt-putt, and we didn't want to leave it on for long and we had what you'd call this G-navigation navigational aid. So, with a little bit of electrical power to run this G-navigation thing, I could get a G-navigational fix. So, I got this fix and that, more or less, told me where I was as far as on the coastline, and then, from that, I gave Bob a heading to our base, and then, when we got within, oh, twenty miles or so, I guess he could use a radio compass and come on in. ... Of course, being the first mission, you're not that used to ... the ground things that you see, in other words, landmarks, I guess, is what you call it. Yes, the ground landmarks, you're not that used to. After awhile, when you've been flying in the area, you'd sort of get ... used to going, "Oh, this town's here, that town's there." You know where you are. So, we got back perfectly all right on the first mission, but I was awarded, at the end of the tour, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and it said, "For valor," for this, that and the other thing. ... I never really knew exactly what might have contributed toward it, but I think that first mission might have really contributed, because, you know, airplanes are expensive and the crew is expensive, too, and they're trained. ... They probably felt that navigating across eight hundred miles without any electrical assistance or anything, that you got the airplane back, [was good]. So, as I say, they lumped it in with, "For valorous [service]." Yes, my pilot got a DFC, too, and he and I, I think, were the only ones on our crew that got the Distinguished Flying Cross. So, earlier in the war, most anybody that finished a tour had one, I guess, but, a little later on, they didn't give them out quite as generously. Air Medals were given out pretty generously. For every six missions, let's see, five, six, I think, every six missions, you got an Air Medal, yes. ...
SI: Was it a big adjustment to go from flying in the Southwest United States to England? Did you have to relearn anything?
DJ: ... Oh, you mean in flying the plane over?
SI: No. I have heard from other airmen that, since you were trained, basically, in the desert, when they got to England, the climate and all was so different, they had to relearn things. Did you find that in your experience?
DJ: No, I don't think so. [I] had to get a little bit used to this what they called G-navigation, with G-Box, because ... it's something like a long-range Loran, only it's a short-range navigation system, these G-stations. See, we didn't use anything like that in the States, so that as far as the navigator is concerned, [it was new], but, no, I didn't find it very hard to get used to that, and I don't think that I found any great adjustment getting used to the weather. It seems like you'd have an awful lot of drizzly-type weather in England. ... No, that didn't seem to be too much of a problem, but, yes, ... it's hard to remember all of it, but [there was] a certain amount of getting used to combat and formation flying, and so on. Well, the pilots, of course, had that problem much more than the navigator, took a certain amount of getting used to flying close formations and stuff. ... Our group flew very good formation flying, ... which I'm sure you've heard from some of the other bomber pilots, that the closer you fly, when there's enemy action, fighters, the closer you fly, the more protection you have and the less apt the fighter pilots are of coming after your group, if you really fly real close formation. I'm sure some of the pilots have told you about that. Well, our group was very good on flying close formation, because there were times that a group ahead of us might be getting a fighter attack, or a group behind us, but they'd leave us alone, because ... they don't like the idea of facing thirty-some planes bristling with fifty-caliber machine guns; "Let's find a group where they're sloppy out there." ... So, one reason our group was good was, the 491st, I think it was, was disbanded because they had had so many fighter attacks. ... So, they finally disbanded that group and the pilots that were left in that group, some of them came to our group. ... Because they had had so many fighter attacks, these guys really were pretty good at tightening up the formation, because they'd ... learned it the hard way. ... So, that was one reason, and then, ... we were one of the newer crews then and my pilot's very good with an airplane. ... That didn't bother him, to tuck it in good and close and stuff, anyway, so, but I think that could have been one reason, and then, it seems to me, all through my tour, our group had the reputation of really tightening up very well on formation flying, yes.
SI: How did you feel before your first mission, and then, how did that change afterwards? What was your mindset before and after your first mission?
DJ: Oh, you can't help but be a little apprehensive before the first mission, because you don't really know what's out there, so-to-speak. Then, I think we flew three in a row first, and then, we skipped a day or two, and then, we flew four in a row, that is, day after day. So, [we] got up to about seven missions or so fairly fast. ... So, you didn't have a lot of time to worry in-between and I think they may do a certain amount of that purposely, schedule you, yes, because I think I flew three in a row first, and then, skipped a day or so, and then, four in a row, I think. Let's see, yes, the 25th, the 26th and the 27th, yes, flew three in a row, and then, September 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th, four in a row. So, you figure it got up to seven fairly fast. Then, we were scattered a little more after that, didn't fly so many in succession. No, when you fly four in a row, you're pretty tired out, because they get you up about two o'clock in the morning to go to briefing, and then, you're generally not really back until close to four o'clock in the afternoon. ... Oh, it's kind of funny, on the first mission, you know, they have what they call interrogation and it's just like the old World War II movies, that they bring out a bottle of whiskey. [laughter] ... So, you know, here you are, twenty years old, you know, or something, I guess I was twenty-one by then, maybe, but here you are and they're debriefing us and asking you, you know, "Did you see any fighters? Did you see this? What did you see?" and so on, and they bring out the [whiskey]. Oh, it's about half a bottle, about enough for each person to have two fingers or so. ... You know, oh, boy, "Oh, I'm a big airman now. I guess I'd better have my shot of whiskey," you know. So, you pour out your couple of fingers, [Dr. Jenkins makes a drinking sound], throw it back. ... The thing is, some of the whiskey was distilled, I think, by the medical people or something. I think it was, like, homemade whiskey. It's awful raw stuff. It wasn't like sipping Jack Daniels or something. ... Now, I sort of vaguely remember, [Dr. Jenkins makes a drinking sound], oh, boy, toss it back, "I'm a big airman now," you know, and then, so, it, like, burns your throat. ... So, then, I sort of grabbed the, they had coffee for you, I grabbed a cup of coffee and that was hot. I asked if they had a glass of water. [laughter] ... So, then, I think most of the subsequent missions, generally, [I] didn't even bother with ... having the shot of whiskey. I think we used to give it to our enlisted men and they'd go have a party later or something. ... You might have a drink at the officers' club, later that night or something, but, as I remember, it was available, if you wanted a shot of whiskey, you could get your shot. I suppose that some of the people in some of these other theaters, did they do that also?
SI: Yes. I think that was a pretty standard Air Force policy.
DJ: I think it was, all over, I guess.
SI: They would have a shot, yes.
DJ: ... Yes, I was a little bit surprised at first because I thought, "Oh, boy, this is just like the movies," you know, because the movies all showed that and that was sort of funny, yes.
SI: This succession of seven missions, one almost right on top of the other, were these deep penetrations into Germany? What kind of missions were they? What were the targets?
DJ: I think they were into Germany, I think.
SI: Were they long missions?
DJ: Well, my first few missions, I didn't keep track of the time. So, I think the first one was pretty long, as I remember. Oh, yes, I did put down eight hours. Yes, eight hours is a pretty long mission. ... So, that was a fairly deep penetration, yes. Let's see, mission two went to Salzbergen, ... light flak, that one; I can't remember how far. Let's see, Basdorf, about ten miles north of Berlin, that would be a long one, yes, that would be long, and mission four, Karlsruhe, was nine hours and ten minutes, yes. That's a long one, too. Yes, ... most of them were at least seven hours, Mainz, Germany. So, generally, we were penetrating Germany. Ulm, Germany, yes, nine hours, the sixth mission; mission seven, eight hours, forty minutes, almost nine, Hannover, yes, that's a pretty good penetration, down to Hannover, yes. So, no, it was a long, long, long ride, ... most all of them. A six-hour mission would be a relative short [mission]. I think we might have had one or two that weren't too long, but, no, most of them are a pretty long haul. Well, see, first, I'm sure some of the other pilots told you more about forming up than I have, because, ... you know, you might take pretty near an hour before you really take off to head for the target, because you go up and you're hunting for your [unit]. First, you hunt for your own group and you go in, like, a racetrack pattern, and then, finally, your group tacks on to another group and that group tacks on to another group, ... which the pilots have to [worry about]. Navigators don't have to do too much while that's going on. The pilots have to be up there watching for their squadron, watching for their group, and the group leader has to watch for the group he's supposed to tack on to and stuff. So, there's quite a lot of responsibility on the lead pilots and the navigators, their responsibility starts when you finally are all completely assembled and ready to go, ... the navigators, and then, of course, when you're right in the bombing area, then, the bombardiers take over and their responsibility, ... they literally fly the plane from their bombsight down the bomb run, yes.
SI: Could you try and describe what one of these missions would be like for you as a navigator, both in terms of what your duties would be on a nine-hour flight, and then, also, the cold, all the details about flying in the plane?
DJ: Oh, yes, yes. On a long flight, first, you get up very early in the morning and, now, as a wing crew, you get up about two o'clock or so. As a lead crew, you might get up at one o'clock, and you go to a pre-briefing for all the squadron leaders, and so on, the navigators. Wing crew, you go to the main briefing, so that you know what time you're going to all be assembled and taking off for it. So, you have a log, which I always had to turn in these logs, and I wish I had tried to get hold of copies of the logs. That would be interesting, because, every time you made a change of course, or this or that, you'd put an entry in the log. ... It was kind of a running account of just what's going on during a mission, and you'd put down things like whether you're in heavy flak or light flak and things of that nature, but these logs, unfortunately, were all turned in and [I] never really got them. I would have liked to have been able to get a copy of all my logs. If I'd tried harder, I might have been [able to] toward the end, but ... everybody was so happy to get home and finish with the war that it didn't concern you. By the time you were concerned, a lot of these things were lost, probably, is what it amounts to, but, okay, so, you have to keep track of, you know, where you are, what's going on. ... In your briefing, you probably made notes on when things were going to happen, and so on, and then, as I say, you'd make some notes on, sort of, how it's going, too, you know, how things are going. ... As a wing navigator, you simply try to keep track of where you are, but, ... generally, your pilot's going to follow the plane that he's flying off. ... The navigators, [it was] just up to them, so that if, for some reason or other, you had to abort and get away from the group and come home alone, you'd better know where the heck you are. So, you can't just decide, "Oh, we'll follow that guy in front. I'm going to read a book." You can't do that, you know. So, you constantly are working and you're making entries in your log. You had a big form that you went by and it had remarks and headings and all that. You'd put all that down. So, you're really working constantly, because there are changes in the course and things like that. ... Then, even if you're staying on a straight line for quite awhile, you'll probably make entries every ten minutes, anyway, maybe of where you think you are and stuff, and, oh, you have what they call an E-6B. Have any of the navigators ever shown you an E-6B?
SI: No. Did it have a nickname?
DJ: Well, that was the military name for what was your device to calculate your courses and it was sort of something like a circular slide rule, if you ever heard of a circular slide rule. Regular slide rule's in a straight line, but a circular one, they put it in this so-called E-6B. Yes, before you leave, I can dig mine out and show you what they look like, so that you'll have an idea of what navigators used. ... It had a little screen, that you could use a soft pencil and you could actually plot your course on this little thing, and you could erase it fairly easy, so that you could have your course on it and you could put in your wind. ... As I say, it's a vector analysis problem, and so, you'd be constantly doing that. So, as a navigator, you were pretty busy during the whole mission, and the bombardiers were not that busy during the whole mission. They were pretty busy during the bomb run. ... Navigators and pilots probably came through combat flying with the least mental aberrations or effects, or something, because pilots were so busy flying this plane. ... Flying the plane is probably like driving across the State of New Jersey on Highway 78 during the commuting hour at eighty-five miles an hour. You want to make sure you don't hit some other car, you know, and you've got to really be alert. Well, the pilots, generally, when you were in a flak area or something, it would be [hectic]. Finally, ... you can relax a little going back across the North Sea, or something, and you're out of the enemy area. Then, they might say, "Okay," let the co-pilot [take over] and [Dr. Jenkins makes a "Phew" noise]. ... If you were down low enough, maybe they'd smoke a cigarette, or something or other. ... They'd relax, but, generally, when you're in any action or a tight formation, the pilots would be flying. So, as I say, and the navigators would just [plot positions].
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DJ: You're entering things in your log. What we used to wear to fly is, you'd put on what they call an electric flying suit, and then, you'd put on the sheepskin-lined stuff over that, but the electric flying suit, you know, had the heater wires in it. Well, you'd make sure your arms are fairly warm, ... because you'd have to, and you could put heavy gloves [on] ... and they could be lined with these electric wires, but, generally, the navigators could not write, at least I didn't learn to write, with these big, heavy, clumsy gloves on. So, I used to wear silk gloves under the heavy gloves, and then, when I'd make an entry, I'd pull the glove off and [write] with the silk gloves. So, the silk would tend to hold some of the heat in, and so, you were able to write with that. ... Of course, as I say, if you're not making changes or doing something, you might not have to make an entry for ten minutes. So, you'd get your big gloves back on, then, you take them off again. So, I was constantly putting them on, taking them off. ... We had some controls on the flying suits and I think I'd try to keep my arms good and warm, because that would tend to keep the blood circulating out to your hands and stuff. ... So, you had to think about trying to keep warm and, yes, it seems to me, the first couple of winters after I got out of the service, it seems to me I used to get cold hands and get cold then, because I didn't have all my electric stuff. [laughter] ... I don't think I ever got frostbitten, though, but I think I actually got exposed to the cold enough that, then, it bothered you a little bit or something, but, generally, I don't notice I had any real big aftereffects or something, but it does seem like cold bothered me a little. ... Oh, cold bothers sometimes now, but I think I'm better able to cope with it or something, yes. [laughter] ... Well, even in the summertime, when we were up over twenty thousand feet, it might be twenty below zero. So, it was pretty cold up there. ... Oh, it's kind of interesting; they used to give you, like, a fudge-like candy or something. ... See, when you're gone eight or nine hours, you're going to get hungry; you want something to eat. So, this, it would be like taking this candy out of a freezer and, oh, [they were] Ping bars. Ping bars were something like a Milky Way, and, anyway, we'd have these British candies that we'd take on the missions and that was practically all you had. You didn't have a nice lunch, a hamburger or anything. You'd stoke up in the morning with [breakfast]. If they served you eggs, you were probably going to some pretty rough target a long ways away. [laughter] ... Let's see, I guess they'd serve powdered eggs almost anytime, though, but, if you ever got real eggs, that was probably sort of like, "Uh-oh, wonder where we're going." ... Then, of course, when you were in the flak areas, you'd put on what they call a flak suit, which was a big, clumsy affair that's like armor plating, and heavy, too. ... You wouldn't wear that all the time. You'd just put that on when you were in the flak area and stuff. ... Let's see, after about seventeen or eighteen missions and we started to fly lead, I checked out; I used to have the chest packs and you had your harness on and, in the heavy flak, you'd hook up one side, generally, have it hanging there, so [that] you didn't have to go hunting for it if you needed it. ... Then, after about seventeen missions, I thought, "Well, I'm more than halfway through now," and ... I really didn't see them, but I'd hear about [how] a plane blew up, or this or that, and, you know, somebody on the interphone would call and, sometimes, I'd look out the window and I might see some scattered parts or something, but, generally, that's another thing, as a navigator, you didn't really see the action like the gunners see it. You're busy in your little office there, working, is what it amounts to. So, as they say, I think navigators had the least mental problems, you might say, if somebody had any nightmares about anything. In fact, yes, Vinnie remembers my bombardier very well, because we lived in Michigan for awhile and he lived there and we'd get together. ... We'd get [to] talking about some mission, this or that, and he finally figured, "No, you didn't really know what combat was like," he'd tell me. "You didn't see this or that or the other thing," [laughter] but that was true, though. The navigator kept pretty busy, but you could hear it on the interphone, people talking about, you know, that somebody got hit or something like that. ... No, that's sort of the way it went, yes.
SI: You stayed at your desk the entire flight. You did not man a gun.
DJ: ... Yes, right. You stand up, you had a desk, but you ... stood the whole time and you didn't really move around. Well, you moved around a little bit in that area, but you didn't move around the whole plane, except, like, if we're in trouble, like [when] I went back to the catwalk to help our engineer when we had some trouble. So, you'd move around for things like that, but, other than that, you're standing, but it seems like you're so busy, you don't [notice the time]. The time goes. ... Finally, you might have, oh, ... two or three hours when you're coming back across the ocean that you can really relax, you know. ... Coming back, you tended to relax. Once you were out of enemy territory, you tended to relax and enjoy the ride, [laughter] I guess, or something or other. ... Of course, [you were] wearing an oxygen mask until you got down to, oh, somewhere around ten thousand feet. You'd take it off, oh, probably eleven thousand, you might take it off. I think you were supposed to go to ten before you take it off, but, usually, if we got down below twelve thousand, most of us were ready, because that was a mess. ... You had your oxygen hose and you had wires and the electric wires and the phone, interphone wires, and all that, the intercom. ... Of course, in the flak area, you'd have this heavy flak suit on. So, you'd be glad to get that off, too, is what it amounts to, but, anyway, what I was starting to say is, I checked out a backpack. ... So, my last twelve missions, anyway, I guess, I'd strap the backpack on and that, of course, gave you a little bit of protection from flak, also, because it was a fairly thick deal. ... So, no, I never got hit by a piece of flak. ... One mission, that I think we got something like forty-two holes in the airplane [on], a lot of people got actually hit themselves, but their plane got back. There was a pilot across the hall from me, that he was a captain, I think, he was lead pilot, and his navigator got hit in the back and knocked him out. He was unconscious for a short time. ... The pilot got hit. He had a flak suit on, but he got hit in the chest and, as he told me, he said, "I didn't know whether I was bleeding to death or what," you know. He said, "It felt like a hammer hit me," or something, you know. ... Luckily, I think it didn't even break the skin, but he had a big welt there, like somebody really clouted him, but, with all this heavy clothing on, if you got hit by a piece of flak, you don't know how injured you are. ... Yes, that was his field, you know. He kept on flying the plane, you know, but he said, "Boy, I didn't know whether I was bleeding to death or what," you know, because he really got like a big slam, blow, to his chest. ... Well, that gives you some idea, I guess, of what it might be like up there.
SI: Did you ever have trouble concentrating, with all the cold, noise and dense clothing?
DJ: No, no. You're extremely focused. ... Some people might, but I always felt I was extremely focused on trying to keep track of where we are, what's going on, and so on. ... I know my pilot flew with another fellow on his first mission and, apparently, they were in some heavy flak, I guess, and, as he described it to me later, he said, "Gee," he said, "this guy was just about getting rattled," or something, you know. So, luckily, we had a pilot that didn't get rattled. ... Yes, you can figure, the pilot's the skipper of the ship, if he's starting to get a little flak-y and rattled, boy, that's going to scare the heck out of everybody in the ship. ... I remember Bob, yes, I think you heard him tell about that he was sort of like, "Oh, this guy was really getting nervous," and so on. So, some of the people that you talk to, they may [say that], but, no, I can't say that. ... As I say, I don't think anybody [did]. My co-pilot was not happy with combat, not that any of us were, but he didn't get rattled either, though. He was pretty stoic. He was like the old man of the crew. He was about twenty-six, I think, and the rest of us were all around twenty. My pilot was maybe twenty-two, or he was about three years older than I am, so, he was twenty-three, I guess, but, no, luckily, as I say, my co-pilot was nervous about it, but very calm and collected and cool. In other words, you didn't have any feeling that he'd ever panic or anything. ... So, I think that helped, if you had a crew that nobody would seem to panic or anything like that, gave you the confidence that you wouldn't yourself, yes.
SI: Were you the type of crew that did not have a real line between officers and enlisted men, where everyone was friendly and would socialize?
DJ: No, there wasn't. Yes, the air crews [were that way], probably much more than like in the Navy. I guess, they didn't dare cross the line, I guess, in-between officers and men, but, no, I think, generally, the enlisted men would call us, "Lieutenant," or whatever your title [was], or a captain or something. ... Generally, if we were on a leave in Norwich and you ran into, say, our engineer and our radio operator, we'd just chat, "Where have you been?" blah, blah, blah, "What's going on?" and there really wasn't that much of a line between the officers and the men in the air, I think. As I say, they were always [proper]; you went sort of by your title or something. They'd always call you, "Lieutenant," and I guess they'd call Bob, "Captain," or, "Skipper," or something like that, you know, but Bob, our pilot, got along real well with our engineer. ... In his diary, you can see that, occasionally, the engineer would come in his room and they'd kill half a bottle or something together, and so, no. Now, in the Navy, you'd probably never do that, sit down with the enlisted men, and I don't think [so]. I don't know. ... Although, remember, Sully sounded like he could get along with the good old Irishmen, would get along with the chiefs and stuff, but what we've heard, like George Wade acts, like, oh, boy, you could never invade any officers' country.
DJ: Yes, in the Navy, but, no, you had a little bit more informality in the air. ... Well, I'll tell you, what it was is, we were a bunch of civilians, really. We were not military people and we didn't mind admitting that we were not military people. We're just here doing the job and that's the attitude you took, and most of the people around you had the same attitude. ... You really had the feeling you're a bunch of civilians, that you happened to have a uniform on, but you're in there for the duration of the war. You didn't enlist for two years or six years, you enlisted until the war was over and that's what they called it; you enlisted for the duration.
LJ: ... We still know where your crew is. We've kept up with them over the years, and that says something.
DJ: Yes, oh, yes, yes. Yes, we've lost one, I mean, unaccounted for, but we've kept up with [the rest]. Yes, my tail gunner and nose gunner and I went to my pilot's house for his eightieth birthday, and that's the last where the four of us were together and, far as we knew, there were only four of us then. Now, we're down to three, and I told you before, the tail gunner's been up here to visit us and stuff. The nose gunner, he's a real country boy from Texas and we try to at least get together by phone once a year. I'm at the point that I have trouble on telephones, because of distortion and all kinds of things. No, my hearing is very poor. I don't know whether it's related to listening to these twelve hundred horsepower engines. It probably didn't do any good. ... My dad had pretty poor hearing. ... I was around a lot of loud noises, a lot more than my dad, which probably didn't do me any good, but he had pretty poor hearing, and so, I feel it's more or less hereditary. ... Well, actually, George Washburn has reasonably [good hearing]. I don't think he uses a hearing aid, does he? He was a pilot, and so, as I say, I don't think it's particularly service-related at all, but it's kind of a nuisance, not being able to hear well, but it's pretty peaceful in some respects. [laughter]
SI: What about some of your other memorable missions that you noted?
DJ: ... I told you about the Wesel mission. That was a very memorable mission. The Eindhoven [mission], I think I told you a little about that.
SI: You said it was a low-level mission.
DJ: Yes, low-level mission, yes. Let's see, ... oh, this is an interesting [thing]; Gelsenkirchen, we were to bomb an oil refinery in Buen, Germany, in the Ruhr Valley. Yes, this was a seven-hour mission. Yes, the target was covered by clouds and we bombed by GH, that's a radio type or G-Box or something. We were in heavy, accurate, flak for over a half-hour. That is really a long time to be in heavy flak and, as I remember now, I think that's the one where this pilot [who] lived across the hall got whacked by a piece of flak. ... I think the deputy lead had aborted for engine trouble or something and the lead, his navigator, got knocked out. ... The reason is that he kept turning to get away from flak guns, but he didn't have a navigator, his navigator's unconscious, and we're all following him. So, we're zigzagging around the Ruhr Valley and the Ruhr Valley's filled with flak guns. So, a half-hour is a long time to [do that]. Everywhere you look, there's flak. So, anyway, "The tail gunner's oxygen was shot away, had to land at Woodbridge, due to no hydraulic pressure, from fifty to one hundred holes in the ship, no casualties." Then, I later put down, "Forty-two holes confirmed." ... You can see, we caught a lot of flak on this. Now, then, I put an asterisk here, I don't have much write up, but I said, "This mission made an indelible impression on my mind. Write-up is brief and short, probably due to the exhaustion and being so happy and grateful that ... we're safely back in England that night," and then, I got another comment. "My co-pilot, Hugh Maxwell, wasn't sure that he would ever want to go duck hunting again." Well, he said he liked to go duck hunting ... before he got in the service, and, after getting shot at for a half-hour steady and getting peppered with holes, he decided, "I'm not sure I want to." He had a little sympathy for the ducks flying up there, I guess. So, that was quite a memorable mission, even though I didn't write up much about it.
SI: What was going through your head as you went through this gauntlet of flak?
DJ: Well, I didn't know what was going on in the lead plane, why we're zigzagging so much, until we got down on the ground and we found out that the poor pilot is just trying to get out of this flak and doesn't know where to go and, you know, [was] zigzagging around. ... I guess, finally, it was Whitzit, I think was the name of his navigator, I think Whitzit, finally came to and I guess he was able to navigate and give him a heading, and we headed back home then, but those of us in the wing shifts, yes, we were not a lead; this is mission number fifteen. Oh, Gelsenkirchen, it seems to me George Washburn got all shot up on that mission and their controls were in bad shape and he and the co-pilot had to work together to keep the ship from peeling off, and so on. This is this good friend of ours, yes, because, oh, for a long time, he and his co-pilot or navigator, they'd call each other up on the anniversary, "Remember Gelsenkirchen? [laughter]
DJ: So, what was funny is that I don't think anybody got shot down, but, boy, a lot of them got shot up. ... A lot of times, you'll go on a mission and you come through without a scratch hardly and somebody'll be shot down on that, but this one, as I say, it made quite an impression on me. ... This George, when we get together, his experiences on this, his plane was all shot up. I think he should have got a DFC for getting his plane back on that one, because, there, they had all kinds of control problems to keep it in the air and stuff. ... It was funny, as I say, to realize and know, well, a couple of people got hit personally, but nobody got a serious injury that I remember. ... It was, like, a scary mission, to be out there in this cloud of flak all the time out your window, and, I mean, ten minutes of flak is enough, but a half-hour of heavy flak is just like [unbearable]. Well, I think, again, my idea was, I'm trying to keep track of where we're going. We're making course changes and stuff. So, I think I used to really be concentrated on what I was doing so well, it's like I said, my comment later, "This mission write-up is short, probably due to exhaustion and being so happy and grateful we're back home," sort of like, "Going to bed; I've had enough today." This was a busy day, so, you know, instead of trying to write it all up, it's like, "Oh, you're worn out from [the mission]," but my recollection is, I don't think I stopped to try to analyze, "Why are we doing this?" just, okay, it was like, "Where are we?" and, really, just focused on trying to keep track of where we are. ... We were somewhere in the Ruhr Valley most of the time, ... which is a big, big industrial valley in Germany, and why he didn't hold a heading toward the west, I think, [laughter] because it does seem like you'd get out of it, but ... the pilots really got to depend on navigators, because they're busy trying to keep from bumping into other airplanes and stuff and they really need their navigators to tell them where the heck they are and where they're going. ... So, I don't think I had any [other comment], other than just being exhausted, because you really felt like you did a day's work, I think, is what it amounts to, but amazing, to be shot up as much as ... all the different airplanes that came back with a lot of damage, but that's the way it goes. Some, like this Wesel mission, we came through with, well, a few minor holes and stuff, but, at ... a lot of the rest of them, it was pretty lethal. It was pretty bad, but we came through that one very well. ... Now, here's one that nobody really got shot down, as I remember, nobody shot down, nobody killed, nobody even injured seriously, but these planes [were] all shot to pieces. So, it's kind of funny in a way, I mean, to realize how combat goes sometimes.
SI: Were there any superstitions involved with flying? Did you and your crewmates get it in your head that there was an element of luck, or think, "We are going to get it next time?"
DJ: No, no. I didn't have any, and I don't think anybody on our crew had, but I'm trying to think whether there were some that always wanted to have something with them or something like that. I think there might have been, but not personally. ... I can't think of any instances right now of somebody that wanted to make sure they had their blankie with them, or something, [laughter] but I wouldn't be surprised if [there were]. It does almost seem as though I can. Well, I think you get mixed up, seeing it in a lot of war movies, and what is it some of them wanted to take? ... I think it was in a book or in a movie that somebody wanted to take their little, take it in the plane with them ...
LJ: ... Oh, that was a book.
DJ: You know, the little mascot, but whether there were that many that had superstitions like that, I can't [say]. Yes, ... that was in a book that [they] did that, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were some that might have had the feeling. I remember, Walter said that, one time, in the middle of his tour, he thought, "Jeez, I don't know whether I'm ever going to make it." ...
SI: Yes, a "the odds will catch up with me" type of mentality.
DJ: Yes. ... He made it all right, but he had a lot of fighter attacks and he was a co-pilot. Now, see, a co-pilot suffers more from seeing the war, because where you're in heavy flak or a fighter attack, the pilot is so busy, but the co-pilot sits there and he watches it, all this stuff. So, this friend of ours, Walter, was a B-17 co-pilot. So, as he described it, he was like the cheerleader for the gunners. His pilot would be driving the plane and he would sort of, like, "Oh, do you see that one?" or so on, "Make sure you get it," blah, blah, blah. ... Remember, he'd talk about being the cheerleader?
DJ: Yes. He'd sort of cheer his gunners on and keep them [informed], but he did have the feeling, in the middle of his tour, that he wondered whether he'd ever survive this, but he went on, anyway, even if. No, I can't say that I think I had [that feeling], ... which most people probably have the feeling. Well, I don't know. ... Now, it's hard to say whether you have the feeling, "Oh, I hope that it isn't going to happen to me," or something, yes. Actually, to look back on it, I don't think I really gave it a lot of thought, one way or the other.
LJ: Yes, but you just said you checked out a backpack after you'd gotten past the halfway mark.
DJ: Oh, yes, well, that, yes.
LJ: You got a little more cautious.
DJ: Yes, that's right. ... Well, that's what I call being prudent. [laughter] Yes, oh, yes, you might as well be prudent about it, but, again, that means that your thought is, ... that was just in case the airplane blew up and you wanted to have that chute right there with you, yes. ...
SI: Are there any other missions that stand out? What about the mission past Eindhoven? Do you remember that low-level mission, the first one?
DJ: Yes. I had quite a write-up on that one, I think. I think I gave you some of that, just in talking. ... Oh, let's see, that was in September. Yes, that was a memorable mission and there are a few things that [stand out]. Yes, this is a relatively short mission, five hours and twenty minutes, yes, because, see, ... we weren't even going into Germany. Well, ... yes, this was up in Holland, I guess, we dropped these supplies. We dropped in an area five miles north of Eindhoven, Holland, and, let's see, we assembled at about a thousand feet and flew across at about five hundred feet. At the Dutch coast, we dropped down to the deck. We were so low, we could see the expressions on people's faces. Our speed was about 180. The Netherlanders seemed very happy. There were large groups waving and cheering. In other words, we're just over the treetops and you could look down, as quick as that, [Dr. Jenkins snaps his fingers], but you could see them waving. They're actually waving and cheering in various places. As we went over ['s]-Hertogenbosch, thirty-caliber machine guns opened up on us. The civilians were waving and cheering. As I remember, we're coming right over the town of Hertogenbosch, had to pull up to get over the church steeples and, on one side of the street, there were the Dutch people waving and cheering and, on the other side of the street, a couple of Germans with a thirty-caliber machine gun up there, trying to pop us off. ... So, we caught one twenty-millimeter shell, which exploded in our bundle of seventy-five-millimeter howitzer shells on the catwalk of the bomb bay. This was just before we dropped. Immediately after, the radio operator kicked out the bundle of howitzer shells. One blew up just below our ship. The equipment parachuted to the ground in just about the spot where our paratroopers were supposed to be, so we believed, you know, but it seems to me, in [Cornelius] Ryan's book, I think he says that a lot of the supplies went to the Germans instead of to our troops. So, we didn't know that at the time. So, we believed they got it all right. "No major damage was done to the ship, but it was peppered with thirty-caliber machine gun holes. One entered inches behind the co-pilot's head." That would be, yes, at first, I was, you know, using school [rules], write it in the third person, past tense. Later, it's easier to say, "It's behind Max's head." ... "Another went between a gunner and the loadmaster in the waist. The rest were not close, although there were three holes very close to one right tire and there's one hole which almost severed our hydraulic line. The rest were insignificant, no casualties to the crew." So, that was a rather exciting mission, because we were so close to the ground and, again, that you could sort of see the people on the ground, you know. ...
SI: That was not hyperbole. You could actually see their faces.
DJ: Yes, a very quick [glimpse], yes, because ... we were probably lower than those trees even, coming over some of the housetops and stuff. Oh, I'll tell you, my pilot was not nervous about flying close to the ground. It didn't seem to bother him. ... Boy, he'd get it right down there, as long as he had a little bit of air between the plane [and the ground], and so on, and he had good depth perception. So, yes, ... it's a very fleeting glimpse, at 180 miles an hour, ... but you actually could realize that these people are happy, a bunch of them, happy, and you realize, when they've got a machine gun there, looking at you, they're not happy. [laughter] ... So, no, that was written at the time. So, it's hard to believe that you get close enough to see them, but I think we were, a very quick look, though. At 180 miles an hour, you're going three miles a minute, so, you just barely get a glimpse. It's a quick glimpse of stuff, but it did seem like, you know, when people are waving and jumping around and stuff, you know they're smiling. So, it's either you saw it or you just know it from the [movements], and there were quite a bunch of people. They were really happy to see the Allies coming in, I mean, yes. So, yes, that was the low-levels. Oh, I'll tell you, I used to; see, normally, I'd be down navigating down in the little room that is behind the nose turret. ... On the low-levels, I would stand between the pilot and co-pilot on what they called the flight deck and look out the front window. I didn't talk to the pilot much. What I would do is, I'd reach up and we had, I guess it was either a runway indicator or something, and I'd turn this knob. ... You could turn the [plane] on an instrument and, if I turned it a little bit to the right, that would mean he'd better move the airplane over a little bit to the right, like a correction, a couple degree correction, and he would try to keep that needle centered on [it]. I forgot what they called the thing, but ... I think it was sort of a runway indicator thing, or something. ... It's funny, I'm not really a gum chewer, but, on low-levels, I'd always get hold of a few sticks of gum and I'd chew gum, and I don't really know why. ... Well, we flew two low-levels and maybe I did it the first one, and then, I'd [repeat]; so, oh, talk about your superstitions. [laughter] I must have made sure I got my gum for the second time we went on a low-level. ... Actually, navigating low-level, ... that was sort of fun in a lot of ways. I'd actually make a fairly dark line on my map, and then, I'd glance out the front window, and let's say my line on the map went right through this house, and then, down the lake and came out over a house over there. Now, if we were flying over, and, of course, we wouldn't have houses on the map, but you'd have a railroad track, you might have a river, you might have a highway intersection or something, if I found that I'm not quite over this house, if that was on my track, then, you'd move this indicator thing. Let's say, if the house was over to my left, well, I'd move it, like, "You've got to move over a little." ... So, you're constantly looking from the ground to the map, ground to the map, ground to the map, back and forth. ... Navigating when you're up twenty thousand feet, and especially if you're not going in a combat situation, it's relatively easy. You can take your time. You can see. [It is] hard to pick up direct landmarks from twenty thousand feet, but, with your aids, if you've got the G-navigational aid and some of the other things; ... oh, we had what they called a "Mickey man" on the lead crews. They were radar and they could give you a fix over a town or something like that. ... So, on the high-level [missions] especially, ... just like when we flew from California to New Hampshire, that was relatively easy, nice navigating. You got plenty of time to pick up your landmarks and stuff and you can lay your course out and work with it, but the thing about the low-level, and, as I say, I'd draw a thick, heavy line, is you've got to stay on track. If you get off the track, you want to keep that airplane on that black line that you put on the map. ... As long as you ... don't lose yourself, if you looked away for a minute or two minutes, you're liable to be lost and [have to] try to figure out where you are. ... As I remember, you have to, more or less, know where you are all the time. ... So, that's where I guess I'd chew, chew, chew, [laughter] and talk about being focused. ... As I say, you're constantly looking at your map, looking out the window, looking at the map, looking out the window. ... Then, you'd look at your watch, because ... let's say you're crossing a railroad track. You'd look at your watch and you'd know that, in three miles, there's maybe a highway or something. So, you look at your watch, and you know that you're going approximately three miles a minute, and your ground speed might vary to three-and-a-quarter miles a minute or something, but you know it's very close to three miles a minute. So, that's where the watch comes in. ... I kind of liked it; the high-speed navigating is what it was. ... I thought it was kind of fun to do that, because ... you couldn't go wrong, it seems like. If you went wrong, you were lost, yes, and, as long as you stayed on your course, it worked, it worked, yes. ...
SI: Can you tell me a little bit about what you would do when you were not flying? What would you do for recreation? Would you go into the local town, that sort of thing?
DJ: Oh, yes. ... Yes, we could go into the town of Norwich, go to the movies or stop at the Red Cross deal, go in a bar, get a beer or something, oh, and there was a dance hall called the Samson and Hercules. ... I think we'd mostly go to town on, like, a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, I can't really remember, might have gone during the week, but whether this dance hall was open every night of the week, I don't know. I don't remember. ... Anyway, that was usually open whenever we went. It may have been open any night, ... because weekends really didn't mean much during the war. The war didn't stop for Sundays or holidays, and so, it might be that it was open all the time. I really don't know, but that was fun. They had a band, I think, as I remember, and a big dance floor and you used to go to that and dance. ... Then, in the Spring of 1945, my original bombardier, he and I, even after ...
-------------------------------------END OF TAPE FOUR, SIDE ONE-------------------------------------
DJ: I guess you could take, like, an afternoon, as long as you were back by ten or eleven o'clock, even if you were on flying status. You didn't always know whether you were on flying status until somebody'd come and wake you up, about two o'clock in the morning, "You're on," you know. Now, I think people that were, like, at the officers' club; oh, and [we] used to play chess some and there was always a chessboard, I guess, at the officers' club, go over there and play chess. There was always somebody around that liked to play chess. As I recall, if you were at the officers' club ... [at], say, ten o'clock or something [and] you want to go home and go to bed, I think you could either look and have some idea whether there might be a mission the next day or not, but I can't remember for sure whether there was any warning. Then, even if there might be a mission the next day, they usually didn't post who was going, and you, a lot of times, didn't know that until somebody came to wake you up, that you were going. So, that, yes, playing chess, then, oh, I used to ride my bike around the [area]. ... This fellow that was in B-17s, he was about, oh, twelve or fifteen miles from our base and I used to ride a bike down to his base. I happened to be there the day he flew his last mission, so, boy, did they party for that, too, and they had quite a party. [laughter] ... Yes, that was kind of fun. It seems to me I met a girl at the dance hall, once, that either told me where she lived or something, and she lived out in the country. ... So, I rode my bike to the place and I think she wasn't home, but her aunt or something [was]. It was almost like a castle, out in the sticks somewhere, and, as I remember, either her aunt or somebody was very charming and nice and I guess invited me in for tea or something, and so, there were a lot of things like this. ... As I say, one time, this Zoellmer and I, ... the small lakes, like this, were called broads, and we went out to the broads, ... I think on an April day or something, a March or an April day, and rented a sailboat and sailed, had a good time, a small sailboat, sailed around. ... Then, I think we went to a small restaurant and had Welsh rarebit, I think, which is, what? this cheese dish or something, that meat and things like that were scarce. ... Oh, one time, I think I rode a bus, or something or other, out to the town of Great Yarmouth, which is probably close to forty miles from our base and near the coast, ... to visit a girl that I'd met at the dance hall. ... So, I think it was a Sunday and her family invited me to dinner. Well, maybe that was it, see; I got invited. So, I went out there, and it seems to me, on some of the instructions that they gave you when you first arrived overseas, that, you know, [they said], "The British people are pretty nice, some of them, ... however, don't impose on them, because they have a hard job getting enough to eat themselves." ... So, as I remember, I think they had a chicken dinner or something, but I didn't really get invited to meals that much and I didn't particularly want to, because of the warning that, you know, you didn't want to impose on a British family. ... Then, Vinnie and I went back to the area in 1983 and, boy, a lot of the people in Norwich, really, were so kind to the former airmen. They really were very grateful that we came over and helped save their island, because things were pretty grim there for them in 1939 and '40, until we got in the act.
SI: You got along well with the British.
DJ: ... Oh, I did, yes. I liked the British people. Well, my background is Welsh and Vinnie's background's, what, Scotch?
LJ: Scotch and English.
DJ: Yes. So, with the name Jenkins, there's a lot of them in England, it seems like, so, I got along fine with the British. Now, it's funny, my pilot didn't seem to like the British that much, ... but, no, I'm fine. As far as I was concerned, I thought the British were very nice people.
SI: Tell me about the process of ending your tour and coming back to the States.
DJ: Oh, yes. ... That last mission, mission number thirty, was April 4, 1945, and we were to bomb an airfield atKaltenkirchen [Airfield, near Hamburg], Germany, very easy mission. We did see a couple of fighters. ... Interestingly enough, my pilot had finished up one before that, and so, I flew with another lead crew and a Captain [Roy H.] Boggs and I flew in the nose turret, and, see, the lead ships generally carried three navigators. One was what they called the dead reckoning navigator, and he's the one that had the maps and the desk and he laid the course out on his maps and he would call the shots on what course the pilot is going to be flying and stuff. ... The one in the nose turret is what they called the pilotage navigator and he'd look out the window and look at the ground and he'd also man the guns, if they needed to. ... Then, the third one was what they called the "Mickey man," who ran the radar deal, and so, if it was under cast, clouds under you, the pilotage man's just along for the ride and to watch out for fighter planes and stuff and the "Mickey man" has to work. If it's clear, the "Mickey man" doesn't have to work and the pilotage guy has got to try to get a fix. So, what they do is, they feed their information into the chief navigator, the guy that's down there with the charts. Well, that's what I was. I was always the chief navigator, with the charts, ... because the pilotage one and the "Mickey man," they don't keep a log, I don't think. Well, you're up in the nose turret and, [without the] maps, you can't do much writing anyway, and so, that was the deal in the lead ships. ... Oh, along about in November 2, 1944, I was promoted to first lieutenant, and then, on April 19th, I was awarded the DFC, the Distinguished Flying Cross. Now, about April 22nd, I left the Shipdham base, by train, to Manchester, England, which is, like, in the center of England, I think, up there, as I remember. ... I was there for about two weeks, I guess, and there was another pilot that left the same time I did and we got to be pretty good friends after the war, Joe Gillespie. ... So, we were stationed at Manchester until we finally got orders to go down to Southampton Harbor and get on a Liberty ship. You know, it's interesting, Vinnie, I can't remember whether Joe was on the same ship that I was on. I would think he would have been.
LJ: I would think so.
DJ: Yes, that's funny. Well, anyway, on May 9, 1945, I departed England from Southampton Harbor on theLiberty ship USS General [T. H.] Bliss [(AP-131), actually a General G. O. Squier-class transport ship] and, May 19th, arrived in Boston, Mass., and then, traveled from there to Fort Dix, New Jersey, and then, from Fort Dix on to New Brunswick, New Jersey. Now, Vinnie always finds this interesting; what?
LJ: The war ended when you were on that ship.
DJ: Oh, yes, yes. ... See, the war officially ended on the 8th, I think, didn't it? but, somehow, these dates are strange. I'm going by my orders, because I thought, if somebody wanted to check up on this, they have me down as leaving on May 9th, but my recollection of all this was, we left England and we were one day out and got the word that the war was over. ... The interesting thing is, they were still rolling out depth charges from this Liberty ship when their sonar equipment or something detected that there might be submarines in the area, because they figured, "How do we know whether all the German submarines have the word yet?" and, if they don't have the word, they might try to sink you. So, to discourage them from getting too close, when they had the feeling there were some in the area, they'd roll off these deals, after the war was officially over. ... Luckily, we didn't have any trouble that way, but I corrected some of these dates to conform with what my discharge information [says], which, I think, like you say, once the government gets something in its craw, you can't get it out. So, I figured, well, even on this tape, might as well have it conform, so [that] somebody doing some history, sort of, like, [does not say], "Oh, this isn't going to work," but, anyway, yes, I arrived on May 19th in Boston. ... Yes, the only odd things would be little points like that, that the war was [over]. The thing is, ... historically, the hostilities cease, but, then, sometimes, it's ... a week or two, or days later, before they officially say it's over, and that was true with the Japanese thing, too, I think.
LJ: That was a couple weeks.
DJ: So, anyway, that's something where you might run into [a conflict], if you're really a knit-picker. ...
SI: That is fine.
DJ: Well, I don't mean you, I mean somebody else or something. Now, May 20th to June 20th, I had a thirty-day furlough back home. Well, this was interesting. My dad was still teaching then, he wasn't retired, in the New Brunswick High School. So, when I got to New Brunswick, I probably left all my gear in a locker, or something or other, down at the railroad station. I can't remember what I did, but, then, I probably either took a taxi or a bus out, yes, you know how New Brunswick [is laid out], Livingston Avenue, the high school was out [on] Livingston Avenue. Now, I guess, it's either further out or something, but it used to be closer to downtown. It was still out quite a ways from George Street and stuff. So, anyway, I got out to the high school and went in the office and asked them where my dad was and he was in a class, classroom. So, of course, some of the office help knew me and stuff, and so, they were all excited, because, ... after I landed at Boston, I thought, "Well, rather than call home, I'll go surprise them," you know. ... We were allowed to send a telegram, when you finally finished your missions, because, then, [you were safe]. So, all of us all sent a telegram home to your folks and let them know you've flown your last mission, because, then, your family would feel that, ha, barring some odd accident, you'll hopefully be showing up, and so, my folks knew that I was finished, and I may have written some letters, since it was about a month from the time I finished before I got home, and so, anyway, I got to New Brunswick and went out to the high school and they let me know he was teaching a class and had another ten minutes to go, or something or other. So, of course, the word got around fast. I went [and] found the room and, by that time, I think, some other teacher had caught up to me and we knocked on the door. ... My dad was really surprised, walked in, you know, on him, and this other teacher [said], "I'll take over the class. You can leave," you know. [laughter] So, my dad got out and left, and then, I guess, pretty soon after that, I guess, it was getting along in the afternoon anyway, so, it was probably getting close to the end of the day. ... I guess we left soon after that. Well, by the time we got home, my mother had been shopping or something and came home on the bus and the word got around real fast, because, she said [she knew], you know. So, my dad and I thought, "Oh, we'll surprise my mother." Well, my mother wasn't surprised. She said, "I heard downtown that you were home." [laughter] So, that was a great [time] and, actually, it was a little over two years, I think, because, when I went in, I didn't get any leaves until I came home. They just didn't give [them] out. Some people used to get them occasionally, but, ... in the middle of the war, in 1943, there really were not many leaves given to go home, unless you had, like, a medical emergency, or something or other. So, I actually ... hadn't been home for two years. ... Oh, here I was leaving, just a green-faced kid, you know, and coming back with a chest full of ribbons and I was a first lieutenant then, and so, that was quite a thrill, coming home like that. Now, then, after the thirty-day furlough, then, I traveled by car to Houston, Texas, and had a few days' stopover in Greensboro, North Carolina. ... Then, from June 28th to September 15th, I was stationed at Ellington Field, in Houston, Texas, and then, actually, when V-J Day came, we were on a practice flight in a small airplane, a Beechcraft. ... I don't remember how many they held, but there were three or four navigators and, I guess, a couple of pilots. A lot of times, one pilot would be flying this small Beechcraft, but we were on a training flight, because we were, I guess, just stockpiled in Houston for possible replacement to the Pacific, because that war was still going on. ... Actually, I sort of had points enough to get out at that time, but they declared navigators essential until that Japanese war was over. ... I had a military occupational service [specialty] number, or whatever they called it, MOS, I think, that was considered [essential]. They still might want me, and some of the pilots got out, I think, then. They had the feeling [they had enough], but, apparently, navigators, especially [for] long flights over water and stuff, they probably figured they really need navigators. So, anyway, that meant that, yes, I was sort of a replacement-type deal in Houston. So, they keep you busy, a practice flight, or something or other, and, in other words, they kept us occupied. Well, the day the war [ended], we got the word the war was over, I can't remember what date, some time in August, around the 8th or 9th of August, I guess, or 10th; maybe you know. You're [in] history.
SI: August 14th.
DJ: 14th, okay, yes, the day it was declared over and the hostilities ceased. The actual surrender was a day or two later, I think.
LJ: Oh, a couple of weeks. It was in September.
DJ: Or, yes, possibly, but, anyway, the day it was over, we were on this practice flight, and I think it was either Nashville or Memphis, I think Nashville, Tennessee, from Houston, which is probably three or four hours, maybe. You know, these planes didn't go too fast, and so, we got there around suppertime. So, I think there was another plane, too, that came in with practice flight training for navigators or something, to keep you sharp, you know, and so, anyway, it was a military base there and we all went in to get something to eat, because it was around suppertime, and we were going to go back. It was going to be dark by the time we went back and, I guess, while we were getting some supper or something, we got the word. ... I think there were either one or two other small planes with three or four navigators. ... I think some of them decided to stay there in Nashville and do a little celebrating or something, but the ones in my plane, we all figured, you didn't have that much money with you, ... "What are you going to do? When [are] you going to get back?" and so, we decided, "Oh, let's go back to Houston." So, as I recall, it was about one o'clock in the morning when we got back to Houston and, by the time we got into the town, from [base], yes, because there were five of us [who] shared an apartment, sort of in downtown Houston, ... it was a half-hour from the base, it was pretty near two o'clock in the morning. Most of the celebrating was pretty well wound down by that time. So, I sort of missed out on the V-E Day celebration and I missed out on most of the first part of the V-J Day celebration. ... Then, the next day, all the restaurants were closed. I damned near starved or so, because [you] couldn't get something to eat for awhile. [laughter] So, then, from September 15th until November 9th, I was on delay en route orders to Fort Dix, and so, I was able to get back in time to get enrolled for the fall semester at Rutgers, to continue my education ... starting the senior year. Now, they were disrupted so much that there were very few students around and I could only pick up, I guess, a few of the courses I needed. ... It took me all that year, and then, ... the summer, to get everything I needed to graduate, and then, I graduated in September of 1946, but I kept myself attached to the Class of '44, because there's quite a few others in the same boat that I am. In fact, in our class, Class of '44, I think, out of five hundred, I think 450 were in the service. So, roughly fifty or so that, between a few being 4-F and a few that might have had deferments for either medical [studies] or some engineers might have finished and stuff, but 450 out of the class were in. ... Most of us went in in '43, is what it amounts to, so that [I] finally graduated in '46, got married in 1947, worked for Ingersoll. Oh, I worked for Titanium Dioxide Company in Perth Amboy for a short time, in the Fall of '46, and then, I got an opportunity to work for; well, it's funny. ... One Saturday, I stopped in to see one of my old professors and he said, "Hey, would you be interested in a position with Ingersoll-Rand in Phillipsburg, New Jersey?" and I said, "No, I don't think so. I'm working for Titanium Dioxide." So, about the same time that this was happening, I happened to have to get a tonsillectomy, had my tonsils out. ... Vinnie and I were just starting to go together and got engaged about that time, I guess, and then, she thought, "Gee whiz, don't tell me he's not going to be able to talk or anything." So, that's why she figured, I guess, oh, boy, I'd be a good one. [laughter] So, anyway, the family doctor that delivered me when I was a kid took my tonsils out and, in some of the conversation with him, before and after the tonsillectomy, he wanted to know where I was working and I said, "Titanium Dioxide." ... He, sort of just in passing, [said] that, "Well, I don't really know whether that's a wise place to work. There's an awful lot of chemicals, you know, involved in making paint pigments and things like that." He had enough familiarity with some of the local industries and stuff. ... Within a few days, I guess, was when I visited this professor, and then, I remembered what he told me about Titanium Dioxide, and, even though I was sort of getting along fine there, it was kind of a stinky place to work, in a sense. It did have a lot of chemicals around, and so, I thought, "Boy, our old family doctor is pretty sensible and why don't [I listen to him]? Maybe I [should]." So, I went back to this professor and I said, "You know, maybe I am interested," and he gave me the information about who to see and may have called up, got an appointment for me or something there. That's the way the engineering network works, or it used to work that way, even more [so] in those days, I think. ... So, anyway, I went up to Ingersoll-Rand, and I didn't know anything about Ingersoll-Rand. All I knew is, Ingersoll made watches, years ago, but Ingersoll-Rand has nothing to do with watches. It's heavy equipment. So, I thought, "Yes, gee, that seems like, as a mechanical engineer, that's not a bad idea." So, I took the job with Ingersoll, went to work for them about December, and then, during ... the rest of that winter, the "Mickey man" on my crew was going to Lafayette College. We kept up with a lot of them, a little bit more then than we do now. ... He got married and he and his bride ... had an apartment in downtown Easton, [Pennsylvania], and, once a week, they invited me over for dinner. So, we'd get [to] talking and, finally, sometime in the spring, he said, "Hey," he says, ... "enrollments are really going up, you know. All these soldiers are coming home and going to school." Then, "Boy," he said, "they're really looking for teachers," and, "Would you be interested?" and I said, "Well..." I got [to] thinking about it and I thought maybe I would be interested. ... The funny thing is, I was taking flying lessons. Yes, that was Spring of '47, yes. I was taking flying lessons out at the local airport and I sort of learned to fly, well, I used to call it backwards, because, ... occasionally, when I was in the service, I'd sit in the seat of the co-pilot's seat on this big four-engine thing and the pilot would let me kick it around and I'd sort of, like, oh, boy, got the idea how these airplanes fly, you know, what goes on. So, then, when I got out of the service, I thought, "Gee, you know, I've got all this experience, why don't I learn to fly in a small plane?" So, I did. I went out, and they had the GI Bill of Rights and that paid for the flying. So, I got my private license out there and the man that was teaching the ground navigation, running the ground school for; ... oh, there were quite a bunch of us taking pilot training. There must have been, oh, maybe six of us, which is quite a bunch at one time, and so, they needed somebody to teach vector analysis and things like that, so, they could figure out winds, and so on. So, the person that ran this local [flying school], his name was Eddie Braden, he contacted Lafayette College and he says, "Hey, is there anybody there that could teach something about the principles of navigation?" Well, the principles are, you've got your wind, you've got your heading and you've got your wind and that's going to make your course go a little different. So, this fellow, ... he was the head of the mechanics department, ... which is vector analysis and stuff like that. ... Far as I know, I don't think he ever had a pilot's license and [was] the most unlikely person to be teaching a bunch of budding pilots about navigating, but they didn't have anybody else around, ... because most of the pilots were like bush pilots, that the instructors, ... they sort of learned it the hard way. ... As part of the private flying course, I guess, they expected you to really know some of the principles of it. So, anyway, he would lecture for awhile. This was, like, one night a week or something. He'd lecture, and then, he'd have three or four problems of, you know, "You're flying from point A to point B and it's a hundred miles apart. The wind is this and that. How long is it going to take you to get there?" Well, I would whip these things off very fast, because I had my E-6B calculator, where they'd all have to do it on pencil and paper. ... A lot of them taking flying didn't even know how to run a slide rule, probably, and there were no calculators in those days, and so, it would take them quite awhile to run off these problems. Well, I'd run the bunch of problems off in pretty short order, ... because, I guess, yes, as part of the course, you had to take it whether you knew how to navigate or not. ... Oh, I suppose I could have got out of it, but I was batching it. It was something to do on a Wednesday evening. So, anyway, then, I'd go up and talk to the professor and he and I'd sit there for fifteen or twenty minutes while we're waiting for everybody else to finish their problems, and I got to know him. So, then, when I finally met the dean and got an offer, this professor that I knew, I think he really put in a pretty good word for me, because I wasn't a dean's list student when I was a student, but I think he figured, "Oh, Bill, you must be pretty bright. You can whip off these problems that I give you," you know. So, anyway, I ended up teaching for thirty-four years, taught at Lafayette for six years.
LJ: You taught for forty years.
LJ: You taught for a total of forty years.
LJ: Well, thirty-four at Lafayette, but a total of forty years.
DJ: Oh, a total of forty?
LJ: Thirty-four and six.
DJ: Let's see, yes, I started in '47.
LJ: And you graduated in '87.
DJ: Oh, you're right, I taught, yes, ... for forty years, yes, taught at Lafayette for thirty-four years. Yes, that's right, yes, yes, yes; I'm eighty. [laughter] Yes, that's right, yes, taught at Lafayette for six years and got a master's degree at Lehigh, and then, I went ... from Lafayette to the University of Maine and taught there for three years, and then, from the University of Maine, went to the General Motors Institute and got a heck of a lot of real good experience, industrial-type experience. ... They had such real modern laboratories, ahead of ... Lafayette College, and so on. So, Lafayette, now, thanks to me and a few others, is pretty modern on their laboratories, but, so, anyway, yes, I taught at General Motors Institute for three years, and then, finally, got a chance to get back to Lafayette College, ... and then, stayed there until I retired. So, how's that?
SI: It is very good. I have a couple of general wrap-up questions.
SI: How do you think your World War II experience influenced you later in life, your career and even who you are today?
DJ: Made a lot of good friends, you might say, that we've kept up with over the years, and I think it probably did help build confidence, you might say, which, then, was very good for an engineering career and an engineering teaching career, too. ... Well, I used to do consulting work, and so on, and, yes, the experience in the service, the technical, aside from the military, was very good experience, to be around airplanes, because, one summer, [I] worked for North American Aviation. ... So, the technical experience was very good, but I think the military experience was good, too. I don't think I really, particularly, had any feeling that it would have been nice to have a military career. ... At the time I got discharged, I didn't make any effort to get in the Reserve. Sometime later, I've thought, "Gee, it might have been interesting to have got in the Reserve," but, by the same token, I don't waste much sleep over it, because it would have tied me up in the summer, I think, and I might not have been able to do some of the things in the summertime that I did, because I'd be tied up at least two or three weeks, I guess. ... One of the things that I did, that you can do if you're a teacher, was, [in] the Summer of 1948, we had been married only about a year and no children and we got the opportunity to work in a fire lookout [tower] in Glacier National Park, and this was thanks to Vinnie. She was working for a doctor and one of his magazines had a write-up about Glacier Park and how there were something like thirteen, twelve or thirteen, lookout towers in Glacier Park and that they liked to man them with young couples. ... That way, they'd have the husband [who] could go down and get fresh food and stuff on the weekend, but there would be somebody always in the tower to watch for fires. So, we sort of wrote to them, and I think my military qualifications helped get the job, both the military and the navigation, because there's a lot of map work on locating forest fires and communicating the information to the ranger station, and so on, on where to send in the firefighters and stuff. ... You could sort of see that because, ... yes, I remember, ... not Lou Helm, but that other couple, remember, he was sort of like, oh, the fire school was driving him crazy, the map work and stuff, how to come up with azimuths, and so on.
LJ: Right, right.
DJ: Well, that probably [helped us], because there were something like 250 applicants for either twelve or thirteen jobs, ... because this was great for a young married couple. ... So, out of 250 applicants, we got one of the jobs and that was a great summer. It's different and we had a Crosley car, if you've ever heard of it.
LJ: It's about as big as that ... couch.
DJ: ... Yes, a very tiny car. It got good mileage, thirty-five miles to the gallon.
LJ: Yes, it did.
DJ: This is way back. You make them small and light, you'll get the mileage, but we drove that out, and then, we took a little time at the end of the season and toured some of the country, went down through California, or Washington State, Oregon, California, and back up across [to] the Mount Rushmore Memorial. ... So, as I say, probably the military experience helped on getting the job and one of the things [was] that [we] had the opportunity to do that, and among many other things along the way, yes, worked for North American Aviation, worked for B&W [Babcock & Wilcox], I mean, different summer jobs at different times, and so on.
SI: Okay. Is there anything that you would like to add to the record, anything that we skipped over?
DJ: Oh, I think you've worn me out, Shaun. [laughter]
SI: Yes, I do not want to take up too much more of your time. Obviously, it is very difficult to get a person's entire life on tape, even in an interview as long as this.
SI: If there is anything that you would like to add, you can add it to the transcript, but, if there is nothing else right now ...
DJ: Oh, I see, when you make up the transcript, and so on, I can add, if I want to.
SI: Yes, if you want to add some lines.
DJ: Or edit here and there, too. Yes, I think that'd be fine. Can you think of anything, Vinnie, that I ought to cover?
DJ: Yes, because, yes, as far as I was concerned, I thought it was mainly the military, ... so, I figured it'd be pretty brief on the before and after. ... Yes, I'm not a big Rutgers alumnus. In fact, well, for quite a few years, ... when it came to colleges asking for money, I had actually given more money to Lafayette College than I had given [to Rutgers]. Now, I'm not sure that's true anymore, but, back when I was working for Lafayette, they allowed us ... engineers to do outside consulting one day a week and, now, you didn't have to do the whole day, you could do a half a day and a half a day. So, in other words, you were allowed to do some outside consulting, which I did. That's probably one of the reasons we're living here. ... Probably a little bit a moonlighting, consulting and whatnot, is what helped to buy this place, because, normally, a professor, raising four kids, doesn't own a summer place, generally. They're [doing] all they can do to feed four kids and buy a home. ... When we bought this, we probably had no business buying a summer home. Our daughter was just getting out of high school and she didn't go to college right from high school. This was our oldest daughter. If she had, actually, we had a tuition plan, ... but she went to secretarial school and we had to pay for that. ...
LJ: It was down in New York City.
DJ: Yes. ... Our college didn't pay the tuition for that. Then, later, she got her [degree]; oh, it was really funny. It was about, like, ten years later and she had two kids. So, I went to the dean and I said, "Hey, can I still get tuition for my daughter?" and he kind of laughed, you know, and he realized she's married, she's got two kids and he said, "No, you know, it's more or less your younger children." ... Oh, I suppose, if I'd got a lawyer and pressed the issue; [laughter] ... no, because Lafayette always treated me right, so, I certainly was going to treat them okay. ... I really didn't think so. ... So, her husband paid her tuition and she finally got a degree, but she was not that much of a student in high school, ... but she became [one]. She was, well, I guess what they call a late bloomer. She became quite a student when she started Simmons College, and so on. So, it was kind of funny on that, but, yes, ... now, let's see, where were we? ...
LJ: Wrapping it up.
DJ: Yes, wrapping it up, yes. [laughter] No, I think, as I say, I hope we ... dwelt quite a bit on the military and a few stories here and there and stuff, but do these run this long for you, when you're doing these [interviews]?
DJ: They do, huh?
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DJ: ... Oh, in fact, I worked on one of their fund drives for Lafayette, and I think that particular one, I got carried away and I made a fairly nice contribution, but my feeling was, this is back when I was doing some of the outside consulting, ... that they were certainly fair to me, to allow you to do the outside consulting, even though you might be carrying a full-time teaching load. ... Sometimes, you carried an overtime load, because we'd teach evening college. ... So, I felt that some of the outside money that came in ought to go back to Lafayette. Normally, you don't give to ... the hand that feeds you. You know, in other words, ... if you're paid by Rutgers, you don't really give donations to Rutgers, but that was my rationale for making donations to Lafayette College. ... You know, being there for so many years and not really having a lot of alumni contact at Rutgers, I went to ... my twenty-fifth reunion, I think, and I think I went to my fiftieth reunion and I don't think I've gone to very many other ones. I really enjoyed the fiftieth one, though. In fact, when I realized how much the individual giving [impacted the University], because, since we lived in New Jersey and I was a taxpayer and that's taxpayer supported, I thought, "Oh, I'm not going to give that much to Rutgers," ... but, when I realized some of what was done; I can't remember who was president back when I went to my fiftieth. That was about ten years ago.
SI: President of the University or your class?
LJ: The University.
DJ: At Rutgers.
SI: Francis Lawrence, Dr. Lawrence.
LJ: Dr. Lauren, was it? ...
SI: Lawrence, like Lawrence of Arabia.
DJ: Maybe, but, anyway, whoever it was, he talked to [our class].
LJ: I think it was, yes, I think it was Lawrence.
DJ: And I had the feeling that, well, I guess some of your money does do some good. So, I think I gave a little bit more than I had in the past to Rutgers, but, no, generally, I haven't been that much [involved]. In fact, it was sort of funny, we sort of halfway wanted to go up to the fiftieth reunion of the Class of '56 at the University of Maine, because I left the University of Maine in 1956 and really got to know the senior class real well and had some good friends from the senior class, which we've lost contact with, like Mert Scarborough and John Draughn were the main [students]. ... Oh, there's some others that we knew fairly well, but we had thought about it, but ... I think we had, what? our own personal things going on.
LJ: Yes, it was around the time of Blair's graduation.
DJ: So, yes, we had thought about getting up there. So, it's kind of funny to have loyalty to a place where you taught rather than [where you studied].
SI: You spent a long time there.
DJ: ... I don't think we've ever; oh, yes, I think we gave a little bit to the University of Maine a few years back. We took their alumni magazine for awhile.
LJ: I guess we did, yes.
DJ: Remember, ten or fifteen years ago, yes, something like that. ...
LJ: Well, you went over to a meeting there.
DJ: ... Oh, yes, we got to know one of the professors, because he was down at that New England College the same time I was. ... So, yes, [I] kept up a slight amount of contact with the University of Maine. ... Oh, I really enjoyed teaching there. The thing I didn't like about Maine is that, as an engineer, you're way out in leftfield for what's going on in engineering, and, also, we had the feeling [we] overshot the mark. Maine's too far north, winters are too long, and so on. So, no, New Hampshire fits our personality nice, here. ... Well, as I say, ... I think you can understand why I have interests in some of these other colleges. ...
SI: You spent a long time there.
DJ: Yes, because I spent a lot of time at Lafayette, oh, and my grandson graduated from Lafayette, and in mechanical engineering. ...
LJ: That was a thrill. Don put on his cap and gown.
DJ: Oh, actually, yes, ... it was, what? three years ago, the graduation, yes, went to that, and, of course, theemeriti, they may do it at Rutgers, but the emeriti professors can march in with the [faculty]. There really aren't too many. I think Earl Pope and I were the only ones that year, weren't we?
LJ: Yes, I think so.
DJ: I think emeriti. So, anyway, when I graduated from; I mean, when I retired from Lafayette ...
LJ: When you graduated from Lafayette, finally. [laughter]
DJ: Yes, yes, ... graduated, finally, but, when I retired, there was a professor that had been head of the Chemistry Department that ... had been out for ten years, or, oh, fifteen years, I guess, and so, his name was Bill, Bill Hart and I said, "Gee, Bill, what are you doing here?" He had his cap and gown and he was joining the bunch of us and he said, "Well, my granddaughter is graduating from [college]," so, he figured he ought to, and so, I thought, "Well, if any of my grandkids ever graduate, I ought to get my cap and gown out and march with them." So, we went back and, of course, the emeriti, if you lived in the area, they're invited to an awful lot of the social functions. ... I mean, if we lived closer, we'd probably go to some of them. So, the trustees always put on a dinner for the faculty and the emeriti faculty and, oh, it's an awards dinner for [faculty]. So, it's always very interesting. So, of course, we went to that and there were a few other retired professors that we met. So, we sort of had a good time going back for the graduation, three years ago. ... First, we thought, "Gee, I wonder if there's going to be anybody we know," you know, or something, but there were quite a few people we knew. ... Let's see, oh, Vince Viscomi, who is now one of the old timers, was still [working], hadn't retired yet.
LJ: ... He's retired now.
DJ: ... Well, luckily, there's one young fellow, who's probably not so young anymore, he's getting close to retirement. ... I've been retired now, it'll be nineteen years; he was around forty, I think, wasn't he, Vin, Rich Merz, close to forty?
LJ: I think so, yes.
DJ: So, he's pushing sixty now and he and I got to be pretty good friends ... the last several years I was there and he helped on some of the laboratory work, keeping up our laboratories, and so on. ... I sort of, kind of, mentored him a little bit, getting him started. You know, we'd have lunch at the faculty club and stuff like that. ... So, once a year, he sends me a fairly lengthy letter and, occasionally, the letter is "for your ears only," "your eyes only," you know, that he'll tell me some of the things going on that he might not approve of or something, a little bit of what ... the local politics going on right now [are].
LJ: The day school started, ... in September of 1987 or something ...
DJ: Yes, when I retired.
LJ: Yes, the year you retired, remember what we did?
DJ: ... Oh, yes, we went up to a restaurant in Conway, yes, ... oh, had a martini for lunch, I guess, and a nice lunch. ... Oh, it was a beautiful fall day and we got back home and we called up this Rich Merz, you know, sort of like let him know what we're doing, and so on. [laughter]
LJ: "How's it going, Rich?"
DJ: ... So, once a year or so, we communicate. ... Well, there's one other one. Van Gulik's the only other one that was there and he and I, I mean, we got along all right, but he wasn't [a close friend, like] this Rich, young fellow. ...
LJ: He's Rutgers, isn't he?
LJ: Isn't he a Rutgers [alumnus]?
DJ: Oh, yes, he was Rutgers, yes, oh, yes. So, that sort of helped us hit it off, I guess. We both went to Rutgers. ... We were taking a tree down that was sort of on the property line between our property in Phillipsburg and our next-door neighbor, ... a big maple tree, about this big across, and so, I figured that we really had to get some logistics on this thing. ... So, I got a friend of mine who had a big chainsaw, and I've got a small chainsaw, and then, it would hit phone lines going into [the next house]. ... The house next-door was a double and it would hit phone lines for two apartments, so-to-speak, and then, it would hit the phone line that was my mother's house, too, I think. So, we contacted the phone company to drop the phone lines, which they cooperated, and so, they were going to do it at, say, ten o'clock, and then, ... I got about ten of my students. ... It wasn't hard to get them to volunteer to do anything other than go to class or something. They liked that, you know. [laughter] So, I got about ten, yes, ... because I guess we had some. I don't think I encouraged them to cut any classes, but sort of, like, we'll get a big bunch, so [that] we can have some all day long. ... Oh, one of my students was a girl who was married and pregnant and she used to help out around our laboratory some. So, she volunteered to drive people, some of the boys that we needed the muscle for. She volunteered to drive them back and forth, if somebody needed a ride. So, we got a good five or so to show up about ten o'clock, and then, we had some that were there. ... Oh, we were going to try to clean it up by two o'clock or three o'clock, because, then, some of the tenants in this double house next-door would be coming in and wanting to park their cars. So, anyway, we got this friend of mine with his big chainsaw and he came over. So, right around ten o'clock, we sawed the tree down and, oh, we got out a rope and we wanted to make sure it fell where we wanted it to fall. Well, one of the neighbors, this guy weighed about three hundred, remember, ... he got on the rope and we had some students. ... Oh, one of the students climbed up the tree and got the rope up high. ... So, anyway, we got the thing down, and then, I started at one end and this friend of mine started at the other end and we started hacking limbs and hacking wood into wood stove-type lengths. Actually, we had a wood furnace, so, we could burn the wood. So, we had to clean this whole thing, but, you know, a big maple tree that's about that fat, this was quite a deal. These students loved it. ... They were the work crew, to be moving the branches. We made a big pile of branches in our yard. We had to move all the wood in our yard. So, Vinnie got up a nice, big lunch for them, plenty of sandwiches and stuff, and then, those that were not running a chainsaw, we had beer for them, if they wanted it, you know. ... Well, they were all seniors.
LJ: They're all seniors.
DJ: So, I think we didn't have much of any worry about somebody being under twenty-one, I guess. ... So, I think, yes, as I say, I think we figured just the laboring crew, they could have beer, if they wanted it, for lunch, you know, but Charlie and I, I didn't want any beer if I'm going to run a chainsaw. ...
LJ: But, Rich Merz got in on this.
DJ: You're putting all this on? So what? Yes, this is just a fun thing that we did. ... Oh, yes, this Rich Merz, who's the professor down there, ... oh, he loved this whole thing. He got in on it and he sat with the work crew, too. ... Like, one of the fellows that taught design down there made a big wave table that was about half as big as this room, and so, he could make a wave machine. Well, it was in the middle of our lab and we didn't want it in the middle of the lab and I guess we half-heartedly; ... somebody in geology might have used it and, well, he didn't make his mind up. He didn't know or something like that. So, it's sort of like, "Well, we'll take care of it," or something. So, I think he figured that he could drag his feet and this was a monster thing, built out of wood, and they caulked it up and it's about this deep, I guess, in planks. Well, this Rich Merz's kids were quite young then and he said he could use some of the lumber. He might make a sandbox for his kids and I said, "Fine, that would be a good idea. So, how are we going to get it out?" "Well, I'll bring my trailer over." Well, we couldn't get it out the door, because it was built in place. ... I brought my Skil saw over, and so, I started up the side, or down across the bottom of the thing, up the other side, sawed this thing into two parts, and then, I guess all he had to do was salvage something to put an end on, because it was almost like built, and fill it with sand and he had a nice sandbox. So, then, we hauled the parts. I guess, yes, maybe he took all the parts, I can't remember now, because I didn't want the rest of it, and we probably hacked up what [was left] and put it on a scrap pile, what he didn't want, but the professor that had ramrodded [it into our lab], the students made it as a project in the design classes, he never asked us what happened to it. It was sort of funny, because we never told him. We never told him what happened to this thing, [laughter] but he was dragging his feet on whether the guy in geology wanted it or something, and so, since he was dragging his feet, Rich Merz and I [took care of it]. So, this Rich Merz, he just loves some of the things that I used to do. ... Then, it's funny, I was putting up a ceiling sheet rock panel. ... I had an office at home and I was redoing it or something, and so, I got he and a student to make cuts on this ceiling panel, you know. ... I guess it was where we had to go around a light or do something or other, and so, I said, I was doing something else while they were [doing this], I said, "You cut it, you know, ... use a carpenter knife and you score it." ... So, oh, boy, they were out in the garage, had this thing laid out, and they told us afterwards they were both scared to death that they were probably going to cut in the wrong place or do something, ... because, you know, to them, I was "the old man." "Boy, the old man will want it right," probably, or something, [laughter] and, yes, I got Mike Mindock, he came over. Well, he was a graduate by then, I think. I think that I impressed Mike into [helping out], because, remember, Mike and I were working on that project in the lab.
LJ: Yes, right.
DJ: Yes, I think he was already out, ... but, no, we were always getting involved in something or other. ...
LJ: He had a lot of fun.
DJ: Yes, yes, we'd get a lot of fun projects. ... Well, I think you got me worn out, Shaun.
SI: Thank you very much for your time, both of you; thank you for the lunch and thank you especially for the book.
DJ: Oh, yes, we're really happy you could have the book. Yes, while you're wrapping up stuff, I'll go down and, for the fun of it, see if I can find the E-6B.
LJ: It's in your footlocker, probably.
SI: Thank you very much. This concludes the interview with Professor Donald Jenkins on July 23, 2006, inGilmanton Iron Works, New Hampshire. Thank you.
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Reviewed by Alexander Toth 10/28/06
Reviewed by Michael G. Johnson 10/23/06
Reviewed by Shaun Illingworth 1/9/09
Reviewed by Sandra Stewart Holyoak 1/29/09
Reviewed by Lavinia Jenkins 2/13/09