[Editor's Note: This begins an interview with Dr. Robert Max in Woolwich, New Jersey, on November 1, 2007, with Sandra Stewart Holyoak. Due to a technical malfunction, the first portion of the oral history session was not recorded.]
Robert Max: Yes, I remember when they came to tell my parents that Willie had been killed. [Editor's Note: Private William Max served in the 47th Infantry Regiment, Ninth Infantry Division, and died on April 4, 1943, while fighting in the US Army's North African Campaign.] We were all sitting together at home. They knocked on the door and they told us, and my mother had, was what? a Gold Star Mother at the time. Before that, we had the Red Star, and a Gold Star ...
Sandra Stewart Holyoak: Blue Star? [Editor's Note: Gold Star mothers were mothers who had lost a son in the service. Service Flags, displayed by families with children serving in the US Armed Forces, featured a Blue Star for each living child and a Gold Star for each deceased child.]
RM: But, nobody really seemed to know that much about Willie, and some of his friends, after the war, came back and said, "Yes, he was killed there," but they never really knew how, or anything else, just a bombardment. It seems everybody was mum, you know. You couldn't get words out of anyone, and he was part of the Young Democrats, down in the Ward, the Sixth Ward, and they had a basketball team and a baseball team, and they all traveled together at that time, and Willie also was a singer. He had a heck of a baritone and they wanted him to sing in the Services' shows.
SH: USO [United Service Organizations]?
RM: ... Yes, and he said, "No. I'm in the fight," but he was the singer in the family. I remember him a little bit, not that much. Well, I guess I was five when he enlisted or drafted, I forget which, whether he enlisted or drafted. ... Yes, what was your question? I'm sorry.
SH: My question was, what do you remember, because you were so small?
RM: Oh, yes. Well, of course, I guess it was still wartime when I was in, what? fourth or fifth grade. ... I remember, at the school, we used to collect fat, all the fat, and bring them into school, and the tin cans and the papers, all the drives and the bond drives, and the bond drives, when you used to go to the movies, you'd go to the movies and you'd get the pottery, and so forth.
RM: Oh, yes. Then, we used to go, Saturday afternoons, to the movies, ten and fifteen cents to get in, and watch the cowboy movie, the [serial] chapter and the main feature. ... At night, the parents used to go and get their plates, and so forth, and blue stamps. ... It was remarkable, and Saturday afternoons, I don't know whether this pertains, but I remember, Saturday afternoons, when I used to go to the movies, sometimes by myself, ... coming home, I used to run home from the movie to my house, which was maybe a mile-and-a-half, but, in those days, it seemed as if it were five, [laughter] and I used to dodge the lines on the sidewalk, practicing football moves. If I didn't step on them, I'd pivot. I was a football nut, ... but that's part of it. Then, at school, of course, you always had to collect the cans and put them together. So, the administration, the principal, had the kids do it, and, luckily, I was one of those kids who, I could get out of class and still get my grades, and then go help pack up the papers, pack up the tin cans. ... There was one kid, Snapper Perner, Earl Perner. Snapper was a few years ahead of us, but he was in the same grade, and he was a heck of a guy. [laughter] So, since he was a little older, he was put in charge of us, but that's what I remember from the war years.
SH: He was experienced.
RM: He was experienced. Those were the war years. Everybody, you walked around and everybody had their star in the window, for people serving, and a lot of the guys came home, a lot didn't, and Willie's friends came back, [to] tell [us] about it. So, we, I have some photographs of him, in training, when he went to camp. He went to; what the heck was the base in North Carolina?
RM: No, Army.
SH: Fort Benning?
RM: It's a paratroop base, son of a gun. I'll remember it. My instant recall takes five minutes, yes, but [I recall] because my son went there. He went there for his jump school.
SH: Is it not Fort Benning?
RM: I thought it was Benning. He [his son] was there in the 82nd Air[borne] Division and that's where they did it, ... but he went to jump school. Barbara will remember, when she comes in. Anyway, I'm trying to get too much in.
SH: That is okay, take your time.
RM: Well, anyway, they came back, ... his friends, and I have some photographs of him there, and, of course, I have his Purple Heart. For dying, they gave him a Purple Heart. I wrote back later to the Department of Defense, asking for a medal, and they said, "Oh, he also deserved a Bronze Star, too." So, I have his medals and his certificates and whatever. Excuse me, one minute; Barbara, where did Steven go to jump school?
Barbara Max: Fort Benning.
RM: Fort Benning, and he was later stationed at Fort Bragg then. Okay, now, I've got it. Willie had been to Fort Bragg, all right; that's where they processed in and he went through his basic training there. From Fort Bragg, Willie was assigned to the 47th Infantry Regiment of the Ninth Infantry Division. His division was part of the invasion of North Africa. Willie was a BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) man, which meant that he was at the front of all action. The 47th was part of the push to conquer El Guettar and Bizerte. He was killed in this action by the German artillery. Dr. Hyman Copleman of Rutgers University was in the 47th. Unfortunately, I did not find out until years after Doc Copleman died. He was our football team doctor. He fixed me up many times. And then, my son, Steven, went back, later on, to Fort Bragg, and then, later on, he went to North Africa, same as Willie, yes, for DESERT STORM, [the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War]. He was one of the first of the two thousand who went over there, "the road bumps." [laughter]
SH: As a young boy, do you remember other families being impacted, or how they were impacted, by the war?
RM: Yes. Our next-door neighbor, jeez, I can't remember, Russ; what was his last name? He was in the Marines and he was, of course, in the Pacific, and he came back. He was wounded in the hip and I remember that, because he brought back a Japanese flying helmet and seashells, and so forth, for me. They were our next-door neighbors, very nice people, but he was wounded. Another, Johnny Fischl, who lived about three blocks away from us, he was wounded. He was in the Army. He was a heck of a ballplayer, but he came back. He had limp after that, too, but he knew my brother, Willie. I guess that was about all I can remember.
SH: Were there parades and celebrations as the people came back?
RM: No, nothing. No, there were no big celebrations or anything else. I guess the only celebration that [occurred when veterans] came back was when my son came back from DESERT STORM. That was it.
SH: That is something to celebrate.
RM: Yes, we were there. We went down to Fort Bragg. ... He had an apartment there, and, when ... he first went over there, on the maneuver, he just left. So, we had to pack up all his stuff, put it in storage, and, when he came back, we had to unpack it, bring it out, stock the refrigerator. It was there when he came back, and then, that was it. I guess [there was also] the parade they had in New York, which he was not part of, of course, but it's ironic, in that I had very good friends who were anti-war, anti-everything, very liberal, progressive, and their son was in the submarines. So, he came back and they had a parade in Ramsey, and, since he was now a vet, he was featured in it. ... Lo and behold, that couple who hated war and would have taken their friends off to Canada were there marching with him. All of a sudden, they became patriotic. I told them, I said, "You know, you're really a hypocrite," but be that as it may. [laughter]
SH: Yes. Let us go back to when you were growing up. How long do you think World War II stayed in the collective memory as school progressed for you? You talked about being in fourth and fifth grade, collecting all of this material. Did it last even into junior high school?
RM: No. It was over, it was over. That was it, D-Day and the rest, and the war is over, and everybody was happy and everybody was coming back, and then, I guess it slipped out of our memory, except when [you heard], "Well, he's a veteran," and, "He's a veteran." ... Unfortunately, in sixth grade, a veteran returned and became principal of our school, and he was shell-shocked, you know, at that time what they called ... shell-shocked, and, unfortunately, we kids were horrible to him, because he reacted whenever he heard a book drop and he felt he was still in combat. ... Well, he never should have been back teaching, anyway. ...
SH: Had he been a teacher before he went in?
RM: I don't know. I don't even remember him from this school; coming up, I remember some of my other teachers, but he just ...
SH: As a young boy, what school did you go to in Allentown?
RM: Oh, I went to Garfield [Elementary School]. It was two blocks up from my house, on the top of the hill. We lived on the bottom of the hill. I remember because [of the] climbing up, and, in the wintertime, we used to take our sleds and sleigh ride all the way down to the bottom, go over the railroad tracks, into the park, and, unfortunately, sometimes, into the Jordan River, [the Jordan Creek, a tributary of the Lehigh River]. [laughter] It was fun being a kid then. Well, the park was, ... in effect, you might say, right next to our house. ... In the summers, we were always down there, doing something.
SH: This is the Jordan River, not the Delaware River.
RM: Jordan River, yes, the Jordan River, and Allentown had a great park system at that time. They had a baseball field, a softball field, basketball courts, volleyball courts, and so, in the summer, that's all you did was play. ... They had a park system, and it used to culminate in Romper Day. Henry C. Trexler was a big name in [the] Allentown area, what the heck? wood and everything else, but he was also a philanthropist and he donated all this money to the Allentown City for the kids to go to the parks in the summer. ... Each park had two counselors, and there must have been fifteen, twenty parks, a gal and a guy counselor. ... We used to learn how to do separate dances, folk dances, and the maypole dance, and we also had competition, thirteen-year-old softball, fifteen-year-old baseball, fifteen-year-old basketball, fifteen-year-old volleyball for the girls, and then, seventeen-year-old basketball, and this went on every summer, for years and years and years, culminating in Romper Day at the fairgrounds, the great Allentown Fairgrounds. Those were the days when the track was all dirt, because they used to have trotters there on the fair day, in the great Allentown Fair. I mean, it was [idyllic]; you look at the movies, there was Allentown. That was it, you know.
SH: What did you know of Bethlehem Steel?
RM: Bethlehem, yes, Bethlehem Steel, a great many people worked there. My brother, Willie, worked in the Structural, Lehigh Structural Steel, which was in Allentown, but they still drafted him, or he enlisted, I don't know. ... [Anyway], in the summer, that's what we were doing, culminating in Romper Day. So, they had championships, and, at that last day, you went to the fairgrounds and, after the field events, where you had the maypole dance and they had a competition, ... I remember, too, that I used to be a pretty fast runner, and they had track meets throughout the summer and I used to do the dash. Well, in this case, ... we had a derby and you had to make the derby and push it a hundred yards, and in it, of course, was a driver and you had to push him back. Well, we had this one young kid; we called him "Boy," because he never grew large. He was always small, looked like a boy, and he was the driver and I was the pusher and we won ... that, got an award for it, and I think that was the year I also won the award for the outstanding playground athlete, ... with dashes and broad jumps and the hop, step and jump, and all everything else, quoit tournaments and the leagues.
SH: What is quoit?
RM: Quoit is like a doughnut. It's round with a hole in it, all right. Horseshoes, of course, are open, but quoits are round and you throw them at a hob, at a shorter distance, and it's like you get that old motion in there and you go for the ringers, you know, and so, it's just like horseshoes. So, as a young kid, I used to be fairly good at that; also, a good marble player. I was a good marble player. [laughter]
SH: At least you confess where you were. [laughter]
RM: Yes. ... I loved shooting marbles. Anyway, that was summer and, at the end of ... the track meet and the dances, everybody got free tickets and they went to get chocolate milk, an orange ice cream and a hot dog. ... You could go back three times, and Trexler paid for this, every year, and you had thousands of people going there, you know. ... You used to go from playground to playground, to play them in ball or what-have-you, and going to the other side of Allentown, walking there, we never worried about the bad guys on the streets or what-have-you. It's just kids walking across there, as safe [as] could be, singing songs, having a ball. They didn't have busses that took us there. So, we used to walk or take our bikes. It was remarkable, and every playground had their own songs. ...
SH: Did you have an afterschool job at any time?
RM: Oh, no, no. ... I had a paper route in the morning, at one time, I guess, when I was fifteen or sixteen, because after school, in junior high and high school, I played football and baseball, and, at one time, I played basketball, but I ... was not a very good basketball player, but baseball and football were my sports. ... Then, in high school, it was baseball and football, and also drama. I used to take part in school plays.
SH: You did?
RM: Oh, I loved it, yes. I was a ham, but I took part in the ... three plays at high school, ... but it was a difference. ... Of course, in those days, if you were an athlete, you had to be a scholar and you had to do everything else. It's not like, today, you play just one sport and that. No, we played everything and did everything, and Allentown High School had three thousand students, tenth, eleventh and twelfth grade, and so, there were a lot of things, and it was a really progressive high school at the time, darn good teachers, industrial shops; you name it, it had it. At that time, it was one of the leaders in the state for education. When you got through there, you got a good education, and the junior highs, they had a junior high program that was fantastic. I base my English background and German, whatever I learned there, I picked up because of good teachers, and then, the sports. I mean, the reason I went from; I went to Harrison Morton Junior High, which is an extension of your original question, which was a lot of fun. I played ball there, but I also had my teeth knocked out there. Well, we won't go any further than that. [laughter]
SH: It was a direct hit, I am assuming.
RM: Oh, it was a direct hit. It was a bad experience.
SH: Did this occur from playing football or baseball?
RM: Baseball, baseball. Yes, I used to catch, and there was a foul tip hit in back and I went for it, threw off my mask, and the first baseman went for it, and we collided, my teeth on his forehead. ... He was out for an hour and they took me off to the hospital. I had half of my mouth crushed, yes, but got back to school soon after that, a couple of days. Anyway, if I didn't get them knocked out then, I would have had them knocked out a few more [times] years later, the way [we played], because, when I played football, we didn't have facemasks, in high school. ... In high school, as I was saying, I don't know whether this pertains or not, maybe I'm rambling, ... but Allentown was a very good athletics city, and unless you played baseball and basketball, you know, or rather football and basketball, that's what the world revolved around, and Allentown used to play schools in New York, Ohio, all over. For a high school team, we used to travel. It was like Massillon [Washington High School] of Ohio, you know, which was professional football players on a high school level, and I went to, my junior high, Harrison Morton, actually had tenth grade, but, since I played ball in ninth grade, they sent me to high school, so [that] I could play JV [junior varsity] ball, which was tenth graders. Then, they had the varsity, eleventh and twelfth, and some tenth graders could make the varsity. I was lucky enough to make the varsity, too, and then, eleventh and twelfth, they had six teams all right, sixty-six kids. We had, I think, six or seven changes of uniform. ... We were canary and blue, yellow and blue; [the] Canaries, we were one of the toughest teams around and we were Canaries. That's the irony. I went to Rutgers, Rutgers had the chanticleer, and then, they changed it to this stupid Scarlet Knight, all right, and I said, "Chanticleer?" I said, "In France," when I played rugby in France, I said, "their national mascot is the chanticleer, and you're [ignoring that];" anyway. [laughter]
SH: We need to talk about that. That is part of your Rutgers history.
RM: ... Well, when we get to the part where I was ... stationed in France, ... because I played rugby in France, but, anyway, so, ... if you goofed up on the varsity, you were sent out to the sixth team. So, you had to work your way back up again, and that took a lot of working, ... and I learned how to sit on the bench there, until senior year. So, I had a very good senior year. I was lucky, again.
SH: What were the academic standards during high school?
RM: Standards were very high. I happened to be in the academic area.
SH: Were you taking a college prep course?
RM: College prep course, yes.
SH: When did you first realize you wanted to go to college, or was that expected?
RM: Well, no, no.
SH: With your family background?
RM: No, my family background was not educational. My Uncle Joe and my Uncle Frank, I think, whether [or not] they graduated high school, I think Joey did, or he went in; anyway, Frank did, and my mother only went to eighth grade, my father went to third grade. He was a fireman thereafter, and I said, through the years, he became a battalion chief and had a tremendous reputation as a fearless firefighter. Well, let me get this story in about him. He always reported to fires whether he was working or not, and they had this big fire at the Lyric Theater, and Dad was at home. So, we heard the alarm bells and such and he took off to the Lyric Theater, and all he had was his felt hat. In those days, they used to wear hats all the time. So, he ... went up this old ladder, climbed to the top, and, as he got to the top and put the hose on, this cornice fell off and half of it hit him in the head and almost knocked him off the ladder. Well, he came down and they took him to the hospital and they have photographs of him. They said, "Jake 'the Hat' Max," and, I remember, they used to call him "Hat" after that. [laughter] ... He was like that. When there was something, he would be the first one in, and, at age seventy and seventy-two, he was still fighting fires. With the political upset, he was no longer battalion chief, so, he went back to being a regular fireman. Allentown was very political, and he still drove the tail-end of the hook and ladder, at seventy years old. ...
SH: That takes tremendous strength, from what I hear.
RM: Oh, well, he was very strong, ... but he had good reflexes. He'd just stopped playing handball when he was sixty-five, the one-wall handball. ... Again, I remember, he and I went to a basketball game one time, at the Palestra, Allentown High School gymnasium. ... I guess I was seventeen, a freshman in college, and we tried to walk through the door and, unfortunately, we went through at the same time, and my father was, what? ... at that time, he must have been sixty years old, sixty-two years old, I was seventeen, a young stud, and I bounced off him. [laughter] I bounced off him. ...
SH: You were already playing football.
RM: Yes, I was playing freshman ball at Rutgers and, I mean, I was in shape, playing and starting half-back, and, in those days, we played both ways. Well, in high school, you played both ways. Rutgers, though, we finally got facemasks. We got a thin strip of metal across the stop and a good forearm would break it, which broke many times, ... and leather helmets. [laughter]
SH: Let us go back to the academic end of this. Athletically, it sounds as if you were ready for college. You talked about being seventeen and only a freshman. When did you really start thinking about college?
RM: Yes, ninth grade, I guess it was, when you had to choose ... what you want to pick when you went to high school. Up until then, I had been academic, well, academically [tracked], because I did well in school. School was easy, ... and, yet, demanding. As I say, I learned a lot. In those days, you had music, you had art, and you had everything, and the teachers were tough enough that you didn't [fool around in] it, you know, and, in Allentown, they could hit you, you know, if you wouldn't [behave]. [laughter] Of course, I was never hit, I was a good kid, ... but we had to chose then, in ninth grade, what you were going to do, and my parents, just as long as I did well in school, that was it. They had no dreams of where I would go or anything else, and none of our people in our family, except, I guess, our relatives in Philadelphia, were thinking of [college, such as] my one Aunt Relba. ... Anyway, it came up to me to choose, "Did I want to go to auto mechanics or something else, or college prep?" My Uncle Joe used to work ... on the engines on weekends, when I used to go down, talk to him. I was down there all the time. ... I said, "Why should I take auto mechanics when my Uncle Joe could teach me this? and I'm playing ball, so, I guess I'll take college prep. Who knows?" So, I ended up in college prep and I ended up in, what? the ten-one, which is the upper class of the college academics, ten-one, eleven-one, twelve-one, you know, how they categorized in those days. Today, of course, you can't group people, [laughter] and we had good teachers, and demanding. ... I ended up with my eighty-nine average, enough to get me into Rutgers, and I did well, I guess, on the SATs [Scholastic Aptitude Test]. People didn't worry about the SATs then.
SH: Were there SATs?
RM: There were SATs, but nobody thought about them. You applied to colleges with your records and what-have-you, and I remember, the SAT, we took at Muhlenberg College, [located in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania], and it was, I guess, in November. It was cold as hell. They didn't turn the heat on on the weekend, and it was Saturday morning. It was cold, we were wearing our coats and we were shivering, and we took our SAT. Today, of course, there'd be a major lawsuit. [laughter]
SH: While you were going to high school, the Korean War, or "Korean Police Action," was taking place.
RM: Police action, yes.
SH: Was there any talk of this in your town?
RM: Oh, yes, yes. My neighbor and a lot of the friends who were a little older than my sister, Janet, and my next-door neighbor, they were in the National Guard, Army National Guard, and they were called in. They were artillery at the time, but they were into the Korean War. That was about it, as far as I knew, localized. Nobody was killed. That unit did well, because they were artillery, and, when they came back, that was it. I guess ... I had just missed the Korean War when I graduated. I missed the Korean War and, actually, I missed the Vietnamese War and I was, you know, in service, but it seems I missed everything, except the war down in Africa, when the natives were restless, in the early '60s. [Editor's Note: Dr. Max is referring to the Congo Crisis that developed after Belgium relinquished control over its African possessions which resulted in intervention by United Nations Forces.]
SH: We will get to that in a second.
RM: Yes, but, that was it, you know, and [the] Korean War, nobody said anything about anything thereafter either. It was sort of the "lost war."
SH: To what degree was Allentown, being in the far eastern side of Pennsylvania, attuned to current events?
RM: Not very, not very. We were very insular, really was. That's why I said, in the beginning, it was like a small country town, a lot of people, but it was a small country town in outlook and everything else.
SH: Did you do any traveling?
RM: No, no. To tell you how naïve I was, and sheltered, when I was, I guess, ten or twelve, my mom and my Uncle Joe said they wanted to go to Egypt to get some apples. I guess I was ten. I said, "Egypt? Can I go along?" [They responded], "Yes, you can come along." "To Egypt?" "Yes, okay." So, I went to Egypt. It was down the road a piece, Egypt, Pennsylvania, [laughter] in the, as they say, [with an Amish accent], "The Lehigh Valley." You know, we were "Dutchified," in those days.
SH: I was just going to say, we are not going to be able to figure out how to put that on the transcript.
RM: No, no. ...
SH: It is a real colloquialism.
RM: Oh, very, very much so, but that's what it was, and, first time I was away from home, I went to a YMCA [Young Men's Christian Association] camp, I had earned the money on my paper route, for two weeks, and I had a blast. My mom came middle week and I said, "I'll be with you shortly, Mom." I'm playing ball at this time, and everybody thought, "First time away from home? He'll be home[sick];" no.
SH: Where did you go to camp?
RM: Camp, I think it was Camp Wawayanda, the YMCA camp in the Poconos. It was an interesting camp. It was [my] first time away from home. It was a lot of fun. I learned how to shoot a .22, I learned how to row, and so forth, and they had competitions there, but that was my first chance to use a weapon, because my father, ... as strong and as brave as he was, he was afraid of guns. [laughter]
SH: You talked about being involved with the wonderful summer program in Allentown for the kids. Were there any other organizations that you belonged to, such as the Boy Scouts or church groups?
RM: Oh, I don't know. No, I was never a Boy Scout. I sang in a church choir. It was an Episcopalian choir on Sixth Street. Our music teacher referred me and a few other of the kids to go there, because, at that time, I guess I had a boy soprano, and we sang in their choir for a year or two, whatever. That was it. As I say, active in school and active in the drama [club]. The clubs are the usual clubs. The teachers were very good. I mean, I had a very good educational background from them, which made life a lot easier, going to college and what-have-you, but all I had to do was study, which I didn't know how to do, but it was very good. The English and the math and the science were, for the most part, very demanding, especially the English people, and they made English enjoyable. Well, I was part of a civil group. For some reason, again, my teachers recommended me. It was a group that went to the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] to learn how to do fingerprinting, and they wanted to start a new program of having kids, high school kids, fingerprint people in the town. This was for the Civil Defense Program. So, that was my first visit to the FBI, and my first of many, many fingerprintings. I think the government must have two hundred prints of me, at this point, from everything that I've gotten. [laughter]
SH: You went down to Washington, DC.
RM: I went down to the FBI Building and they took us through there and they gave us [the tour, showed us the] machine guns and everything else. I mean, we were awestruck. I don't think we ever came back to do anything with it, though. [laughter]
SH: You never got all of Allentown fingerprinted.
RM: No, no, we never did. ... Jeez, I haven't thought of that in ages, but that was it. I was really not a joiner. I played basketball in the Salvation Army League, [which] was sort of like a B-league. The kids got together and got their own teams, the same as they did in baseball. In the summers, I played in the park system and I also played American Legion ball. ... We had two American Legion teams, and we did very well, went to Johnstown, [Pennsylvania], for the championship. ... When I was sixteen, I was going to be a senior in high school and my friends, who already graduated, were going to tryouts at Breadon Field in Allentown, which was the St. Louis Cardinals farm club at that time. So, I had nothing else to do, and they had been out of school three or four years, and they said, "Come on, let's go." So, I went up with them and I went up as a catcher and I had one hell of a day, catching. I mean, ... I threw two guys out and I had a hit and I stole a base, and so, they said, "Kid, you know, we want you to sign with us. How old are you?" I said, "Sixteen." He said, "What? You're sixteen." I said, "Yes, I'm just going to become a senior." He said, "See us in a year." Well, it went downhill from there. [laughter]
SH: Was there any particular teacher in the high school that encouraged you to continue your education?
RM: Well, believe it or not, I had three teachers in elementary school who encouraged me to do well, Miss Marguerite, Miss Shirk and Miss Mary Turzen. She was a WAC [a Women's Army Corps veteran] from World War II. Oh, she was tough. She was Ukrainian, also, but she said, "You're Ukrainian and you've got to do well, and I expect you to do well," and I did do well. [laughter] I mean, I was afraid of her, ... and she used to sing in the church choir, what a beautiful voice. ... Then, in junior high, I had Gene Grossman, who knew my brother, Willie, from the Young Demos, and he encouraged me and he was an English teacher, and Paul Rauch, who was an English teacher, he knew my father, he said, "You start studying, keep good, stay on track." ... I remember, Irene B. Peters was a math teacher, also, and, later on, she went to high school and I had her for algebra again, and she said, "You study and you get to go to high school and do well." [In] high school, I had a lot of good teachers, but none of them really said, "Go to college," or what-have-you, because I was in the academics and I guess it was expected that you will go to college.
SH: How did you begin the research as to where you wanted to go to college?
RM: Gee, that's good. Well, I had some older friends who went to Rutgers, Bruce Clymer, Walt Dex, who I had played ball with when I was younger. They went to Rutgers, and that was it. They mentioned it. In fact, Walt mentioned, at one time said, "Gee, there's a great sport there you'll love. It's lacrosse," but I was a baseball player and I had forgot about it by the time [I got to Rutgers], but that was it. I wanted to go away from home, but [stay] close by, and I'd put out to a lot of schools. I wanted to go to Penn State, because Miss Shirk, from elementary school, was from Penn State and she wanted me to go to Penn State. So, I applied to Penn State and I applied to others, Rutgers, Wake Forest, Moravian. Well, no, I didn't apply to Moravian, and a few others, I guess, Lehigh, I don't know, Lafayette.
SH: I was wondering about Lehigh.
RM: Lehigh, Lafayette, they were all close, Allentown, Bethlehem, and we were familiar with them. So, ... Penn State came and said, "If you're thinking of playing ball, you're too small and we're looking for bigger ballplayers." There went Penn State. Moravian offered me a scholarship, and I didn't apply to them. Wake Forest offered me a scholarship, and I was thinking about Wake Forest, and they said, "Well, you know, Wake Forest is a football powerhouse at this time and, if you get hurt, they'll take away your scholarship," and, at that time, I was, what? five [feet], eight [inches], 155 pounds, not like today. So, I could not go to college unless I had a scholarship. My parents could not afford it, and then, Rutgers offered me a partial scholarship, room and board and tuition, ... which, at that time, was seven hundred, and a class scholarship, which was 750 dollars out of twelve hundred [dollars]. So, I figured, "Well, I could work and work. They would offer me a job at the school and I would work," and they said, "Your academics are fine, you play ball, you play baseball, you'll be participating, you're active; we'll accept you at Rutgers." So, smart decision, I went to Rutgers, never regretted it.
SH: Did you come and visit the campus? Was there any particular person you talked to?
RM: Yes. My father and I went, one day to, I guess it was to interview [with] George Kramer, who was Director of Admissions. Was it George Kramer or George Hamilton? George, he was Director of Admissions at the time. I think it was George Kramer. [Editor's Note: George A. Kramer was Director of Admissions during this era.] He had a memory that was unbelievable. Everybody whom he met, he remembered their name. All right, you're talking thousands of kids, and he interviewed my pop and me, looked over my records, and, at that time, I wanted to be a civil engineer. Well, my uncle was in construction and I said, "Gee, I wanted to work outside," all that stuff, and he said, "Bob, your grades are good. However, you're just doing eighty-five [percent] work," which was B-plus, "in math, and so forth, and I think that Rutgers civil engineering might be a little bit too hard for you and we want you to stay and we want you to graduate. I would recommend another major." I said, "Okay," and then, I switched from being an engineer. I said, my aunt, or actually, my cousin, Relba, in Philly, was in radio, and I said, "Gee, all right, let me go [in]to radio or writing." So, I became a journalism major and [was] accepted at Rutgers and I started as a journalism [major]. Then, there was a scholarship, they offered; that's after I was then admitted. Then, later on, they had me in for a scholarship weekend, with a lot of the other kids, ... and I remember staying at the Phi Gamma Delta House. [laughter]
SH: Why the Phi Gamma House?
RM: Well, I don't know, but I think I found out later that ... they had a connection with Dean [Edgar] Curtin, who was Dean of Men at the time, and he used to see who was getting offered such scholarships, what-have-you, and they used to direct them to staying at different fraternities. ... Phi Gam, I guess, had a name for having a lot of scholarship winners and good academics, and so forth, and a lot of the jocks, and so forth. So, I went there. I didn't know. I'm this green kid from Pennsylvania. I mean, I didn't even know what fraternities were. So, I stayed there for a weekend and I still remember, they had this Saturday [meeting], had lunch, and then, all the scholarship kids [were] there, and they had roast beef and it was rare, and I had never seen ... rare roast beef in my life, and my buddy, Bobby Bear, who was one hell of a football player, went to Rutgers, too, ... we looked at each other, "Jeez, this isn't cooked." [laughter] Bobby got a full scholarship at Rutgers. He was ... All-State in Pennsylvania, a fullback that was out of this world, a linebacker. So, we ended up going to Rutgers and we ended up rooming together freshman year. He became a Deke, [a Delta Kappa Epsilon member], I became a Phi Gam. Unfortunately, he dropped out after junior year and I finished, went into the ROTC, [Reserve Officers' Training Corps], later went to Seton Hall, got a master's degree, and then, came back to Rutgers and got my doctorate. Who ever thought I would get a doctorate? "Little Bobby Max, hey, what's he doing, hey?" [laughter]
SH: Before we start talking further about Rutgers, I wanted to ask you about your father being the battalion commander.
RM: Battalion chief, yes.
SH: You talked about Allentown being very political. Was your family involved in politics at all?
RM: No, no. My father never played politics. He was as straight as they came. People said, "You're too honest, Jake. You're too honest." He said, "No, that's who I am." [laughter]
SH: Was your mom involved in any activities that you can remember?
RM: No, my mom was a mother, a homemaker. She just, you know, kept the house clean, kept us clean, baked every Saturday, and she used to bake enough to supply the neighbors, my aunts and uncles, their house. I mean, she was the best baker in the world, couldn't cook other things too well, ... but she was the best baker in the world, unbelievable.
SH: She must have cooked the roast pretty well.
RM: Oh, yes, well, slightly overdone, ... [laughter] but that was it. ... None of the family was involved in anything. I say the only thing [was] just Daddy knew everybody since his days as a fighter and as a ballplayer, and, you know, he was just sort of a "man around town" and everybody [knew him], which was bad, bad for me, because, everywhere I went, "We'll tell your old man." [laughter]
SH: I am sure of that. Back to the scholarship weekend, because I noticed on your pre-interview survey that you listed some scholarships. What was the War Memorial Scholarship?
RM: The War Memorial was a full scholarship, paid for everything, including transportation from home, and, as I say, Bob Bear got that and one of my roommates, Bob Langford, got that and he was from the North Dakota, Bismarck, North Dakota, but Bob Langford got it, one, because [he did] academically well and he was also president of Boys' State. Bob now lives in Michigan and he's a lawyer, a retired lawyer. He did very well. We meet each other in Arizona every time when we go there, and go out to [visit] each other. ...
SH: Did you have a roommate your freshman year that you had actually known from Allentown?
RM: Oh, yes. Bob Bear was my roommate. ...
SH: Where were you housed?
RM: Oh, we were in Hegeman Hall, fifth floor, the "Hegeman Five." It was Bobby and I, Jack Canal, who was from Haddonfield, [New Jersey]. Jack, of course, played ball and track, excellent athlete, excellent scholar. He later went on to become a dentist, went into the Navy and retired as a captain. He's now living in Florida, playing golf and practicing dentistry. We'll see him at reunion; Bob Brunner, who was a ballplayer, but Bob flunked out freshman year, and then, Bob Lusardi. ... Well, the Bob Lusardi Fund, that our class gives to and gives a scholarship, was named for him. Bob was there, with ... Ray Burson, I think. Ray Burson was from, what island? oh, son-of-a-gun, the place where the young girl was killed, [Natalee Holloway], ... Aruba. Ray was from Aruba.
RM: Yes, and he was a journalism major, too. Ray had never seen snow and it snowed at Rutgers that winter. So, we took Ray out, the five of us, ... we took him out, and it was a deep snow. ... One, we threw him into a bank of snow and he said, "Snow, snow, snow," and then, we washed his face with snow, you know, these are kids, and then, we had a snowball fight, you know, and Ray went wild. It was his first time with snow. He was a good kid. He later went to work for the government, did very well. He's retired now in Virginia [Missouri], but, so, that was the "Hegeman Five" and, freshman year, that was it. It was a heck of a dorm; Gene Simms, who went into the Air Force, went to get his doctorate, too. It was a good hall. So, that was freshman year, and then, sophomore year, junior, senior, I roomed at the fraternity house.
SH: The three years.
SH: Did you hold an office? Where was the fraternity house at?
RM: Oh, it was on ... 78 Easton Avenue. It was actually removed from the fraternity row in Rutgers and we were the house with ... the purple door. ... We had about, what? forty-five brothers sleeping in the house and we had a big brotherhood, what, sixty? and we had a big backyard and, in this big backyard, we had a little pool. Oh, it must have been about two feet deep, maybe fifteen by twenty, in the shape of a kidney, and we used to have our Fiji Island party back there, because Phi Gam was know as the Fijis, and Mili [Military] Ball weekend, we used to have our luaus back then, grass skirts, the whole thing, and leis and roast pork, ... and everybody; well, I was going to say everybody was sober, but, for the most part, everybody was sober. ... Those weekends, on the big weekends at Rutgers, the Mili Ball weekend, Christmas weekend, Soph Hop weekend, the girls used to take over the house, all right. They slept in the house and we had to find rooms somewhere else, and that's where we used to buddy up in the dorms with the guys, but we had a housemother, Sudie Lumpkin. Sudie was a Southern lady, as sweet as they came. She must have been five feet, ninety pounds, soaking wet. She controlled that brotherhood like nobody's business. Boy, you learned your manners. You said, "Yes, ma'am, yes, Mrs. Lumpkin," and she lived at the house, along with our cook and her husband. They lived in [the house]. ... She taught us all kinds of manners. ... On the weekends when the gals were there, she made sure everybody was out. "Lights out, guys. Get out of here," and we got of there. ...
SH: Talk about what a typical day would be like in the fraternity house, such as how you dressed and some of the customs.
RM: Oh, jeez. ... You had three meals that you paid for, and I paid for part of my way at college before I got the full scholarship. I used to work. Well, freshman year, I worked at Tondini's cafeteria (The Commons). They got me a job there, ... serving food and waiting tables. So, I had this card and I used to eat there, my dinner. Even though we had training meals, I used to eat a lot of shakes, and so forth, so [that] I would gain weight, and I couldn't ... gain a pound. I was still small, you know, playing football, 150, 55 pounds, playing freshman ball, and didn't gain much.
SH: You were not playing 150-pound ball. You were playing ...
RM: I was playing freshman ball, yes, and then, varsity, I weighed, I went up to 157, [laughter] and then, finally ...
SH: Where was this little diner where you were working?
RM: Oh, it was the Commons, the Rutgers Commons.
SH: In the Commons. What was it called?
RM: "Tondini's Commons," we just called it, and Mario Todini was the head of it, and he had to hire you and get you in there. ... I used to serve, what was it, breakfast? I forget. ... I guess I used to serve breakfast, get up early in the morning. This was freshman year. I probably got up early in the morning and served breakfast or lunch, never dinner, because we had football, and then, they gave you a card and that was how much you could eat, how much was on there, and then, sophomore year, I worked at the tables and washing dishes at the fraternity, which paid for my room and board there, and then, actually, I did that even through senior year. I mean, it was [a case where] you had a lot of fun serving there, waiting the tables and serving, and so forth.
SH: Did you have to dress for dinner?
RM: Oh, yes, oh, yes, coat and tie. Every dinner was coat and tie, and we used to wait until Mrs. Lumpkin was ready. When she came down, then, we all stood when she came in, and the president ... of the house used to hold the chair out for her. Talk about class, she gave it to us. I learned, I guess, maybe three things at Rutgers. One, I learned which fork and spoon to use, I learned to get up and take the chairs out for women and I learned how to play bridge, from Mrs. Lumpkin. [laughter] Oh, she was a doll, and our cook, Beulah, her name was, Beulah Jackson, and her husband, her husband used to take care of the house, [and] so forth, Beulah could cook. She was as good as my mom, I mean, ... and she cooked for sixty brothers and her food was fantastic. It was unbelievable. Everybody wanted to come and eat at the Phi Gam House.
SH: When you say "Mili Ball," are you talking about the Military Ball?
RM: Military Ball weekend, in May, when we went marching, or through the town, down to Buccleuch Park, and so forth, in competition. Then, we had bands, what? like Ralph Flanagan, Billy May, and I mean we had big-name orchestras coming, and Stan Rubin and the Tigertown Five up in the upstairs gym. So, we always had two. We had the Dixieland upstairs and the regular dancing music downstairs. Oh, it was great, and Military Ball weekend, the queen, somehow they picked a queen. ...
SH: At this time, was ROTC still mandatory during the first two years at Rutgers?
RM: I don't know. Well, it was when we were there. As a land-grant college, Rutgers was one of the few who required ROTC as part of that, and then, thereafter, if you wanted to go to Advanced, you had to apply and pass a test, and so forth, but everybody was either Army or Air Force ROTC, and, of course ...
SH: Which one did you do?
RM: I went Air Force.
SH: Did you do Air Force from the very beginning?
RM: Yes, yes, and I never thought I'd go into Advanced, until I found out they paid and it was, what? ninety dollars every three months. ... I figured, "Boy, that's more money, more money I don't have to worry about." So, I went into Advanced, because I had to work every summer. ...
SH: Did you work the same job?
RM: No, no. I think, sophomore year, I went out for lacrosse instead of baseball, because I realized that the catcher who was there, Bill Gatyas, was so good that I would be sitting on the bench, and I didn't want to sit on the bench for three years. So, I went out for lacrosse, which was, lo and behold, the game that Walt Dex said I would enjoy. Unfortunately, I separated my shoulder the first week, going into the play. You know, I just love playing and that put me out for the season. So, I started working at the post office, nights, in their parcel post, and that gave me, of course, additional money. ...
SH: Was that job located right in downtown New Brunswick?
RM: Yes, downtown New Brunswick, parcel post. I worked there for the rest of the year, the rest of the school year, and then, I was able to go back in Christmas holidays and work there for them, and I think I worked ... junior year, also, there, at the same time I used to wait tables and what-have-you. Senior year, no, I don't think so. Well, I had the full scholarship. ...
SH: Between your junior and senior year, did you have to go to summer camp?
RM: Summer camp, right, right, yes, went to Ellington, Texas. It was unbelievable. I realized, at that time, I was one of the few Easterners, Northerners, there. The camp was just so many Texas and Southern Aggies, and so forth, [who] were there. They were still fighting the Civil War, Sandra. I mean, they were still fighting the Civil War! I said, "Hey, that's over a hundred years ago." [They would say], "Yes, but you're a Yankee." Unbelievable, they were all over the place, and a lot of the TAC [Tactical Air Command] officers were Southerners and they knew the schools. ... They'd say, "What is a Rutgers?" [laughter] and they had the sports competition there and one of my buddies was from Gettysburg College. He was a ballplayer, Eddie Kraft, how did I remember his name? was a ballplayer, and he played at F&M, Franklin and Marshall, and my roommate, because they had cubicles in the dorms, was Charlie Lessard. Charlie was a Texas Aggie and he taught me a lot of things about, you know, when you go there, how to get your shoes shined and all that junk, notice I said junk and not anything else, [laughter] and took care of it, but he was not fighting the Civil War. They were even fighting the Civil War when we played softball and we had track meets, and they couldn't understand that we knew how to run in track meets and play softball. ...
SH: This was in college.
RM: This was at the six-week summer camp. ...
SH: You had track there.
RM: Oh, yes, it was very competitive there, marching, and so forth, and I still remember there, this guy from Texas Tech, and he was from Beaumont, Texas. He still fought the Civil War and he wanted to fight it in softball. ... I was catching, on our flight, and he said, "I'm going to get you. You're a Yankee." So, he rounded third one day and he came home. ... He played ball for, was it Texas Tech? and he came home and he wanted to do something to this Rutgers Yankee. He didn't get up. [laughter] I put a shoulder into him and he didn't get up. I said, "The war is over." [laughter]
SH: Coming back to Rutgers then, what was your first impression? You talked about being so naïve and coming from Allentown to campus and the "Hegeman Five" and all that. Was your freshman year scary?
RM: I loved it. No, I loved it. ... It was a small campus. What'd we have, two thousand students? I mean, and how many, six, seven, eight hundred in the freshman class? and they said, at Kirkpatrick Chapel, "Look to your right and left; they will not be there," you know.
SH: Was there still mandatory chapel?
RM: Oh, yes, oh, yes, mandatory chapel convocation, mandatory basic courses, which I still believe in. I think everybody, and even our science majors, had to take it. It was great. It gives you a foundation and to go beyond that, and then, ... actually, you didn't have to pick your major until your sophomore year, and, even then, you had very similar courses, but it was fantastic, and taking the C. Rexford Davis English test, jeez, now. [laughter]
SH: There was another campus across town.
SH: How long did it take you to get to know that route?
RM: Oh, not too much. We were busy, of course, playing football all the time, but, then, on the weekends, you had to have dates, but, for the most part, it was blind dates. We went over to reconnoiter, but, freshman year, ... I forget who the heck I dated.
SH: Was there a mixer or anything like that?
RM: I don't remember. There may have been, but, of course, all the upper classmen had all the good-looking girls already checked out [laughter] and, sophomore year, well, now, sophomore year, it was a little different. I remember going over to Douglass early in the year, with two of my friends, Lee Lusardi, ... we had just come from football, and Lee was a fullback, he had transferred over from Cornell, and Bill Austin. Now, Lee was a year ahead of me. Lee was a junior, I was a sophomore and Bill Austin was a freshman, and that's the Bill Austin, the football player. He was our fraternity brother at that time. All three of us were fraternity brothers and football players, Lee was a fullback, Billy was a halfback, I was a halfback, and we went over to Douglass, to Gibbons Campus, was it Gibbons 28? ... because Lee wanted; there was a girl over there who also went to Somerville, where Lee lived, and he wanted to see her about getting a date with somebody else. So, Billy and I went along to see what's what. So, we're standing, talking in the hall, and, at that time, there was a Spanish house, a German house, and so forth, and this was the Spanish house, and we're standing and talking in the hall, and, all of a sudden, these girls come running down the stairs. ... They run past us and go into the living room and they start playing bridge and, of course, Billy and I go in there and take a look, and guess who's playing bridge, but Barbara. [laughter]
RM: So, they continued. I found out later, they came down to see who the boys were there, and, of course, we wanted [to see them]. Anyway, Lee got his information, we saw [them] there, we got back. I wanted to find out who this gal was and found out she was dating at the time. This was September. Later on, I guess February, March, I checked one of my sources at Douglass, one of my fraternity brothers, and she's no longer dating. So, I asked her out, and our first date was to ... see the  movie Picnic, at the theater in town. Now, Bob Bear, ... his uncle lived in New Brunswick and owned two of the movies, and he was good enough so that he had Bobby and the football players come over Friday nights to watch the movie before the game. So, we all relaxed at the movie house, and, thereafter, ... well, he gave me free passes to all the movies. So, I was always able to go to the movies. So, our first date was free, since I had the passes. You know, I didn't have much spending money at the time. [laughter] ... I had to work summers. If I saved three to four hundred dollars, it was a major accomplishment, because you couldn't get well-paying jobs in Allentown. Anyway, that was that. So, that's how I got to know people at Douglass and went back and we start going steady from that point on.
SH: When you went back in your junior year?
RM: Well, I start seeing her during the summer. I went to summer school at Rutgers, took two courses, aced them, because I screwed around sophomore year, the second semester, with working and I was carrying, what was it? twenty-one credits that year, and, plus, just normally screwing around. ... I never studied for the exams and it showed up on one. I failed the course. No, I got; yes, I failed a course and got a "D" in another four-credit course. It's the science courses. So, I had to pick up my credits, which I did, and, as I say, I got two "As," but I went to see her and she lived in Englewood. My Uncle Frank had a railroad pass, so, I had a free railroad trip to there, and then, junior year rolled around, football season again. I think one of the first games was Ohio Wesleyan. ... That was junior year. I scored in that game, ... held up the football and held it for her. It was, you know, romantic days, and we got pinned, I think, that night, which is like getting engaged, the cheap way of getting engaged, [laughter] and that was it. So, ever since that time; you're talking, what? 1956. Well, '55, we met.
RM: Well, I met her, although I didn't know it, freshman year. ... Since I wanted to go into journalism, I went to WRSU [Rutgers' student radio station] to learn how to be a radio announcer. So, they gave me the classics program. Unfortunately, it was at eight o'clock to eleven o'clock. So, I became the ...
SH: In the morning?
SH: Night, okay.
RM: ... Disc jockey for that time, and I remember seeing these girls running around, all over the place. Well, it so happened it was Barbara and her friends. They wanted to do the same thing, ... but we didn't meet then. [laughter] Then, we found out that it was she, and so, it's a small world. It was meant to be.
SH: [laughter] It was meant to be. Was there an initiation for freshmen or was the only initiation when you went into the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity?
RM: No. The initiation; of course, through the convocations, they told us what to expect at Rutgers. Again, as they say, "Look right, look left," and I think that was about it. Then, we had to take tests, placement tests, and I don't know whether we took them in the beginning or we took them [later]. Well, whatever, we had to take placement tests and that's why I mentioned this C. Rexford Davis, [it] was an English test, and I think ninety percent of the freshmen failed it, had to take English 101, and, also, the language test for placement. So, I was lucky enough to place, to eliminate the German grammar, since I had two years of German in high school, and that was it. ... Journalism, I remember taking journalism, and I really didn't like it. I didn't like the professor either, and I didn't like journalism, what they were doing. So, I switched my major.
SH: When did you switch majors, in the summer?
RM: Switched, beginning of sophomore year, to German, and I switched to German because I was taking German freshman [year]. You had to take two years of a language, had to take your science, had to take your math, the history, development of western civ., and your English, all mandatory courses, and phys. ed. So, you took ... a minimum of eighteen credits freshman year, both semesters, eighteen and eighteen, and then, sophomore year, you took eighteen, and, I think, my second semester, I took twenty-one. I forget the reason, and then, thereafter, eighteen and eighteen. So, today, when they say carry a full load of, what? nine, ... [laughter] don't talk to me, and I wasn't even a science major.
RM: You talk to the science majors there, that was a steady diet for them, with the lab courses, which were four credits; so, [other than] that orientation, no. ...
SH: Was there an initiation with the dink, [a beanie hat customarily worn by college freshmen]?
RM: Oh, yes, you're right. We all had to wear dinks and we had our book. I think I still have that book. I have a dink from '59. Yes, we all had to wear the dink, and then, there was a big rubber ball contest in the back of the field house, which is now the [College Avenue] Gym, where ... the freshmen used to battle the sophomores and seniors, but I was lucky. We had football practice that day. [laughter] So, none of the football players were involved. Otherwise, we might have gotten hurt, [laughter] but that was it. Then, we didn't have to wear the dink anymore, but that was [it]. I mean, those were traditions and traditions were good, as long as you don't let tradition rule your life, but those traditions were good, and, of course, Old Queens, which is just a beautiful campus, and Willie the Silent, [a statue of William I, Prince of Orange, now located on Voorhees Mall on Rutgers University's College Avenue Campus], and those traditions and things down there, and walking your girl by Willie the Silent. If he doesn't whistle, she's not a virgin, [laughter] you know, all that sort of stuff. ... Of course, everybody whistled when they went, when they took their girls by there. [laughter] That was the polite thing to do. ...
SH: I have not heard that one before. That is good.
RM: ... Oh, yes, yes.
SH: You talked about a training table. Would you tell us what you meant by a training table?
RM: Sure. Well, let me mention, ... going back to high school, we had a training table in high school, which is big-time football, you know, when you figure that you're ... feeding sixty-six guys for dinner through football season, and we began August 15th in Allentown, through, of course, "Turkey Day," Thanksgiving, and it used to get expensive. I mentioned we had six uniforms and they supplied us socks, jocks, T-shirts, practice jersey, everything. You know, you just go there and you report and they give you all this. It was just fantastic, and the coaches, they were great coaches. They taught you a lot, your fundamentals, and we had a stadium that looked just like Rutgers', and held twenty-six thousand people, right, high school, and we played Friday nights, under the lights, and we had a marching band of a hundred kids and they had lights on their helmets. ... They were one of the first to do marching at night, showing patterns and what-have-you. So, it was, I mean, you're talking big-time. Well, for [the] "Turkey Day" game, Bethlehem, which was a classic, we filled the stadium with twenty-five thousand people.
SH: On Thanksgiving?
RM: On Thanksgiving. So, we won. I had a very good year, ... very good game. We went undefeated in high school. We had two ties that never should have been ties, anyway. So, when I got to Rutgers, Rutgers didn't have as much. [laughter]
RM: It didn't have as much. I mean, it supplied everything, but I don't even remember whether we had a training table as freshmen. I don't know, but, of course, we did as varsity, and the training table means you have your dinner meal after practice and everybody had a good dinner, you know, the meat and would-have-you, well-balanced, and all you could eat, all the milk and what-have-you. Yes, I don't even remember whether we had that freshman year. We must have, immaterial, but, ... all colleges have that, most, a lot of times, in most sports.
SH: It was done at the stadium.
RM: No, it was done at the Commons. ... We used to all come back to the Commons and we used to eat in a certain room and what-have-you. There, for example, you had roast beef a lot, and you had a well-balanced meal, in order to beef you up; didn't work with me, though. I never gained weight. So, we had that all the way through, and, in those days, freshmen could not play varsity ball, which meant that we had our own freshman schedule. Frank Burns, Lord love him, was our freshman coach.
SH: Was he?
RM: And we had Wes Dow, who was an ROTC instructor, was a Navy grad. He was a Naval Academy grad, who went into the Air Force, and he was ... one of the ROTC instructors. He was the assistant coach, a lineman, and Tom Cappelletti. Tom Cappelletti had been playing on the Rutgers varsity, but had a bad accident, broke his leg and couldn't play anymore. So, he was sort of an assistant coach. We went undefeated, all right. ... As a freshman team, we went undefeated. It wasn't even close when we played the other teams. ... Jeez, we had guys on that team that were outstanding.
SH: Did you play Lehigh and Lafayette?
RM: Oh, yes. ... I mean, we played Perkiomen Prep, and, I mean, we were a freshman team that the guys, there weren't a lot of us, but our one quarterback, I still remember his name, Noel Miller, at that time, you're talking '54, Noel was a good scholar, although he flunked out, for partying too much. He was a six-[foot]-one-[inch], 180-pound quarterback, all right, who could run, pass and kick. We had, well, Jack Canal and Bob Bear, who, at that time, was about 190 [to 1]95 pounds, five-foot-ten [or] eleven, fullback, who could run like a battering ram, as I said, made All-[State]. Then, we had a few others from other states, Jack Canal and Bob Lusardi, who I think was honorable mention All-State in New Jersey. He was the left half and I was the right half. You know, I sneaked in there, somehow, to play, and we had good reserves, Gene Simms from West Virginia, ... Ron Sabo, although Dick Oberlander, Dick was a vet, he didn't play freshman ball. He came to us sophomore year, he transferred over, unimaginable. Unfortunately, by the time we got to seniors, out of that team, there were maybe nine of us playing varsity ball. The others had dropped out or what-have-you, but, anyway, we went through undefeated and, when we played Lehigh, we beat Lehigh, what? three touchdowns to nothing, and it was [bad], we played a bad game. It was a bad game. Monday practice comes around, Frank Burns leads us in calisthenics. Frank was such a great guy. ... He led us in calisthenics. ... Oh, we were doing leg jumps and knee bends and this and that, and I went over to him, and I was a feisty kid at that time, you know, if anything moved, I hit it, or this or that, and I said, "Coach, coach, we won on Friday." He replied, "Yes, you may have won, but you played lousy," and he said, "You know you've got to play the right way." [I continued], "Yes, but we..." He said, "No, you didn't win. You played lousy," and that was it. It's how you played the game. So, we went on undefeated, and then, he came in the varsity, coached, assistant, coached varsity sophomore year, which was great. Again, I don't know, but this is a war story; Rutgers didn't have any pre-season practice. It began September 1st, and it didn't have any spring practice, because, in effect, we were Ivy League, even though, and I remember working out. The week before, you had to work out to get in shape, ... and I was down in the park, running around barefoot, running pass patterns, and I ran into the heel of the guy in front of me and I broke two toes and, oh, it was sore as hell. So, practice began September 1st, and I went in to [see] Mike Stang. Mike Stang was our trainer. We called him "Murphy." Mike was a beautiful, old guy, and, I mean, he had seen more injuries than most doctors, all right. ... Our team doctor was Dr. Hyman Copleman, all right, who was, as an aside, ... in the 47th Infantry Regiment, the same as my brother, Willie. Doc Copleman won a Silver Star. He wasn't ... a doctor at that time, but he won the Silver Star, anyway. [Editor's Note: Dr. Hyman Copleman served as a US Army doctor in the Third Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, and earned numerous decorations for his service, including a Silver Star with an Oak Leaf Cluster.]
SH: Did he talk about it at all?
RM: No. I didn't know it until I saw later on, when I checked the records for my brother. I said, "Is this [him]?" and it was. By then, it was too late for me to talk [to him].
SH: Did Frank Burns talk at all about his service?
RM: Frank didn't go into the service. Frank was never in the military.
RM: See, I call him Frank here, but I still call him "Coach" to his face. He's my coach. He says, "Maxie," he always calls me "Maxie," I said, "Yes, Coach?" I'd run through the wall for him. Anyway, he went on sophomore year and he was a backfield coach, and then, that was the last year that Coach [Harvey] Harmon was coach. Rutgers, as usual, fired him, and that's, there's no [other] way to call it, and Coach Harmon was a real, I mean, well-known, everything else. Anyway, ... I had my broken toes. I went in to see Murphy. I said, "Murph, this is between you and me." He said, "Yes?" I said, "Look, I broke my two toes. I need something to deaden it before I go to practice." So, he built a little platform underneath my toes and taped it to it, and he said, "Now, this will support it, but, when you go out and work out, ten to fifteen minutes ahead of time, make sure that goes numb," because they didn't give you shots. You know, you didn't take anything for that. So, I said, "Fine," and I said, "Don't tell anybody." He said, "I won't tell anybody." So, I go out and I practice. So, it's about three or four weeks later on, it's cured, I don't have anything, I don't have to do that anymore, and I'm running by Coach Burns and he says, "Hey, Maxie, glad to see you're not limping anymore. Your toes healed?" Murph had done the right thing. He told the coach that here's a kid with an injury, you know, and Coach Burns wanted to see, well, is it going to hold me back or not? Now, I ended up, Bobby Kelley was the co-captain, and he was also the right half. So, he was the first team right half, I was the second team right half. So, I saw a lot of action. Penn State, I almost scored against Lenny Moore and Milt Plum. I mean, Rutgers did well at that time; we just didn't have a bench. You know, we were not a football powerhouse, we were student-athletes. You know, that's the way it should be, but, anyway, that's ... a long way of answering, "How did I like Rutgers?" Rutgers was two thousands students; you knew most of them. As you went through the years, you knew everybody at other fraternities. There was a rivalry between them, but you were friends and, I mean, you were in classes together. The only problems you had were with "the townies." [laughter]
RM: Some, I mean, nothing bad. It was just, if you were looking for trouble, you could find it, was that type of thing. ... One of our buddies always used to go downtown and look for trouble. He was one of our fullbacks, tough guy, Jesus. He was smaller than I was, but he could [fight]. Anyway, I won't give you his name.
SH: Okay. [laughter]
RM: He became a teacher and a coach in New Jersey, a nice guy, nice. [laughter]
SH: Why did you choose the Air Force ROTC? What requirements did you have to fulfill?
RM: Oh, very simple. I had dreams of becoming a pilot, and I wanted to get even with people for having killed my brother and that was the simplest way. I always wanted to be a pilot ... and the irony of it is, when ... I went to summer camp, at Ellington, everybody had a chance to fly a T-Bird [T-33 Shooting Star], you know, as a co-pilot. ... I went into the T-Bird and, boy, what a sweet plane, and the pilot said, "What do you want to do?" I said, "You're the boss." So, he did everything. ... He went up, he went down, he went sideways, he went corkscrew, and so, then, [he said], "Take the wheel." So, I took it, and it was, talk about heaven. You're up there, there's no sound, you're flying. Anyway, we came down and I walked about twenty yards from the plane and that was it. [laughter] That was it, but we had to take the, what the heck? the tests, the qualifying test (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery or ASVAB) for flight, and they said, "You're not going to be a pilot; you're going to be a navigator." I said, "I don't want to be a navigator. I want to be a pilot." "Well, you're not going to be a pilot. You're going to be a navigator." I said, "Okay, if I'm not going to be a pilot, I'm not going to be a navigator; I'll just sign up for the three years." So, that's what I did, and I ended up doing four-and-a-half, but that was fine. [laughter] I didn't want to be a navigator. You know, I was a cocky, little kid, you know, but that's how I chose the Air Force. Plus, it was ninety bucks every three months, you know, which was supplemented.
SH: When did they name the Rutgers Air Force ROTC after Darby? It was called the Darby unit.
RM: Oh, you got me, never knew that. The only thing we had at that time was, what? the Arnold Air Society for the Air Force ROTC, and then, there was the Scarlet Rifles, or was it Queen's Guard at that time? was the drill team, and those guys were good. The ones who came later were fantastic, but that was one of the first drill teams, and they did very well. A lot of, ... well, of course, my buddies [who] were in the Advanced did it.
SH: Were you part of the Arnold Air Society?
RM: No, no, I just got by. Undergraduate work, I mean, I started out, what? 3.0, 3.2, and 3.0, and then, I finally grew up, after sophomore year, when I had to go to summer school. So, I brought my average up to play and I think I had, what? a 2.8, which was a "B," until senior year, and then, I think it was second semester, I made dean's list.
SH: [laughter] You kept working your way up.
RM: [laughter] Working my way up, and I got an "ace" in the development of; I finally got an "ace" in, what the heck was it? Professor Schlatter's class, was it modern, contemporary history, or history of the modern [world]? Whatever, it was a history class, and I had to sign up for it because I needed another history, and that year, junior year, Arthur Godfrey came to campus to talk about airpower. ... They called off classes so that everybody could go to hear Arthur Godfrey talk about airpower, and Richard Schlatter, S-C-H-L-A-T-T-E-R, he later became provost, wrote in the [Daily] Targum, [the school newspaper], and said, "Why are we having a day off for Arthur Godfrey, an entertainer, who's never been in the Air Force, talking about airpower? I would think that classes are more important than coming to listen to this TV guy," and, oh, he got nailed. I mean, people responded to him, and so forth, but he was strong enough to stand up to it. So, we said, "Gee, he must hate ROTC." Lo and behold, senior year rolls around, I had to sign up [for] Intellectual History of Modern Europe, that was the course. So, I rolled up, go into his class, and the first day happened to be, I think, a Tuesday and we had drill that day and I had to wear my uniform, because you wore your uniform on drill day, and I'm thinking, "Oh, my goodness, what did I get into? Why did I sign up for this class?" So, two things happened; one, I look around and I don't recognize too many of my senior classmates, and it's more of an advanced, of a master's course of history. I said, "What the heck am I doing here?" and then, he came, Dr. Schlatter came in, and he looked at me and he said, "Glad you're in ROTC." [laughter] ... My jaw must have dropped, I mean, because here is a perfect, again, another gentleman. He made his argument, he did it, "You do what you want to do," you know, and this is life, you have to get [on with it], and I so enjoyed that course. ... He'd really challenge you and had you writing papers, reading, and that's where I got my "ace." I enjoyed it, but he was good. I was glad to see he got promoted. The only other course like that was development of western [civilization], freshman year, that you had to take, and I remember having a professor. He was doing graduate work at Princeton in the Russian area program. I think his name was Aleff. He approached history in such a wonderful way, ... and he was demanding, oh, he was demanding, but it was such a pleasure to take his class, and, now, of course, you don't have to take that, you don't have to take English. There are majors at Stanford who don't have to take Beowulf, and I'm glad I went to Rutgers then. [laughter]
SH: Who was your favorite professor, when you look back in your first four years at Rutgers?
RM: Oh, jeez, I don't know. Oh, I had a lot of good teachers. Dr. [Horace] Hamilton was freshman English. I mean, ... as I say, he busted your horns, but he was good. He taught you real English. Aleff was good. I had a Claude Hill in German. He had escaped from Germany, so-to-speak. He had been through World War I and he knew what the Nazis [stood for], fantastic. John Ciardi, you know, was there, what was it? Steven Young, and another English professor, Bezanson, his name was. He specialized in ... nineteenth century literature, and whaling was his passion. I mean, he knew Ahab and Moby Dick [from Herman Melville's 1851 classic Moby Dick] like nobody's business. He brought in harpoons, but great discussions. I mean, they stand out, and who the heck [else]? Yes, that was it; oh, and [F. Austin] "Soup" Walter in music. ...
SH: Were you part of the Glee Club?
RM: No, no. Everybody had to take a course like that, and so, a lot of us took, "Art, Music and Lit [Literature]," which was his course, and you could go to all the fraternity houses, and so forth, and everybody's listening to records, the music of the symphonies, because that was the final exam. He used to put it on the turntable and you had to identify the movement, the piece and what-have-you, but it was so great. ... One of my buddies from another fraternity, and now a lifelong friend, Steve Fisher, Steve was a Zeta [Psi] and he was a vet. Steve became a dentist and he practices out of Park Ridge, and he's an orthodontist that is class, I mean. In fact, he did my daughter's work. We used to go in there, and Bob Langford, who I mentioned before, and we used to go in singing, "Art, music, music and lit, bah-bum-bum; art, music, music and lit, bah-bum-bum." Whenever you'd see [them] across the campus, you used to go, "Art, music, music and lit, bah-bum-bum." I mean, today, you'd do it, you'd think, "Who's that weirdo?" but we had fun, and those were good classes.
SH: When you refer to men as being vets, are you talking about veterans of the Korean War or World War II?
RM: The Korean War. ... In our class, we had a lot of veterans. You probably saw the printouts of a lot of the guys, and what was remarkable, ninety-nine out of a hundred came in and they all were "A" students. I mean, their head was screwed on right, and they were all good students. Well, Dick Schaub, who we met the other day, Dick was a veteran, and, unfortunately, in my German classes, we had a lot of veterans who were stationed in Germany. [laughter] So, of course, they were already speaking German and I just had my two years of German, and I got in there lucky because I did well on the placement tests, [laughter] but, yes, there were a lot of vets scattered throughout. Funny, a couple of them wanted to play freshman ball, but they didn't last, but their heads were screwed on right. They knew, "Hey, we're here to study."
SH: We talked about the ball team and the fact that the Rutgers' mascot, when you came, was still the chanticleer.
RM: Yes, still the chanticleer. They changed it.
SH: In fact, there is a chanticleer on the top of Demarest Hall, which was designed and put up there by C. Harrison Hill, who was a graduate of the Class of 1940.
RM: Yes. See, you know more than I do. [laughter]
SH: Talk about the decision to go from the Chanticleers to the Scarlet Knights.
RM: Well, it's interesting. I just wrote a little bit of it in my column in the RAM the last time, because Bill Whitacre, fraternity brother, football player, Bill was also in student government. Bill was BMOC [big man on campus], you know; he was in everything, good guy. He mentioned that he was part of the movement of students who wanted to change it and he said, "How in the heck can we have a chicken as our mascot?" all right. They didn't look beyond. Well, it was a fighting cock, right, you know, the chanticleer. So, they went into this big movement and they brought it up in student council, student council voted on it, and, lo and behold, they bring in this horse and this horse's whatever as the Scarlet Knight, and that was it. ...
SH: This happened in your sophomore year.
RM: End of sophomore year. So, I think it was junior year, we now had the Scarlet Knight. I didn't care much about mascots anyway, you know, the same as people today say, "Well, home court advantage;" hey, if you're playing your game, you're not worried about who's sitting in the fans' [seats], unless you go to the sidelines, and then, you want to see if your girlfriend is there, but, other than that, you don't care who's in the stands or what-have-you. You're out there playing to win. ... Again, maybe I'm still naïve. ...
SH: When you came in as a freshman, were you taught the different songs?
RM: Oh, yes, oh, yes, you had to, because, if an upperclassman wanted to stop you, you had to sing the song and you knew all them, Old Queens and such, and, of course, we still sing a lot of the songs, we've forgotten a lot of the words, but On the Banks [of the Old Raritan], of course, and a few others. ... At the fraternity, we were known as the "Singing Fijis." They always had the Brett Song Contest. I don't know if anyone ever told you about it, but they had the Brett Song Contest at Rutgers, for years and years and years, and fraternities and/or the dorms, the independents, could get singing groups together and compete, and you sang. The competition was held in Kirkpatrick Chapel, and then, the big final was over at Douglass College, in their chapel, all right.
SH: Voorhees Chapel.
RM: Yes, Voorhees Chapel, and Phi Gams usually won, or came in second, and, well, when we used to come down for dinner, before dinner, we always used to hang around the piano or so on, just sing and harmonize. ... In those days, my voice was not changing, but it's changing now, and we had a lot of guys who were in the choir. Bobby Langford was part of the quartet, one of the first singers in the quartet, and we had others who were just [great]. After dinner, we used to come around the piano and practice for about a half-hour or so of singing, and I still remember, Les Hargrove, ... he was a year ahead of us, but he was in the Rutgers Choir and he later went on to become a doctor, real intelligent. I mean, he's one of these guys who always broke the curve.
SH: Who played the piano?
RM: Oh, was it he or somebody else? I forget. No, we were singing a cappella, yes, we were singing a cappella and we used to practice. I mean, we used to stop that note, I still remember, [singing], "Big dogs bark and little ones bite you, oh-de-um-de-di-dilly-day." ... We won. We won two years in a row, when Les was directing, and it was just a wonderful experience, and I remember going ... over to Voorhees Chapel and all the gals were there and the fraternities were there, Barbara was there, and we just had; you've heard of the, ... was it the Westminster Sampler, which has the Yale Glee Club? We were as good. We were as good. I mean, we could sing, we could sing, and, when you have sixty brothers out there singing, singing correctly, it was magnificent. ...
SH: How often did you get back home to Allentown during the school year?
RM: Well, we didn't have cars in those days. [laughter] Very few students had cars. I guess I went home Thanksgiving.
SH: I will bet you went to the game.
RM: Oh, yes, yes. Unfortunately, years ago, they cancelled it, for whatever dumb reason. Allentown-Bethlehem was a traditional [rivalry]; oh, I know, they went into state playoffs and it was more important as a state playoff than to play the "Turkey Day" game. Not all the schools did it, because, when they scheduled the playoffs, you might have a game close by each other. In fact, when I was a principal in New Jersey, I had to fight against the NJSIAA [New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association] when they were wanting to do it, but I was a voice in the wilderness. What did I know? "No, tradition is no good. We've got to worry about state playoffs and the Group IVs who said, 'Hey, I could wear my Group IV jacket.'" As an aside, when you say, "Well, how did you feel when you came here freshman year?" well, when I came, and when Bobby and I came here in freshman year, we were, I guess, number two in football in Pennsylvania, in high schools, and we came to New Jersey and we see all these kids wearing these jackets, Group I football, Group III football, Group II soccer, Group; well, no, not soccer. They didn't play soccer in those days, and we're saying, "How could you have all these state champs?" You know, once again, everybody was a state champ and everybody was wearing their jacket and all we had was our sweater, letter sweater, you know, big "A." ... Well, we didn't even wear those. [laughter] So, later on, as I say, when I became a principal at Clifford Scott in East Orange, which is an all-black high school, used to be all white, now, it's all black, great kids though, great kids, parents wanted to do something, so, we did something. We became the first urban high school to pass the state tests; we were number two in the state on attendance. Well, I passed a rule on there, that, "If you're not here, ... you don't pass. Ten percent absenteeism, that's it, and with reasons, all right. If you're not here, you can't pass. I don't care what your grades are." Board backed me up. Oh, we went through TV, people were interviewing me, but it paid off, because it soon became accepted throughout the state that you had to ... be there, in attendance, and I also told the teachers, "If I demand the kids are here, I want you here. I don't want substitutes in those classrooms," and it worked. For three years, it worked. As I say, ... those are some highlights, anyway.
SH: How often did you go back to Allentown?
RM: Yes, and then, holidays, Christmas, Easter. I was away at school, and then, of course, ... during the summer, I went home to work.
SH: How did you relate your experiences at Rutgers to your mom and dad and your sister?
RM: Well, I had [my sister] Janet come up a few weekends, you know, during football and for dates and what-have-you.
SH: How far apart were you and Janet?
RM: Two years, two-and-a-half years. She graduated high school [in] '52. She wanted to go to nursing [school], but my parents couldn't afford nursing school. So, she ended up working for the Bell Telephone Company, started out as an operator, did very well, became a supervisor. In fact, she had the brains in the family. [laughter] She still lives in Allentown. We go back ... as often as we can, since we're no longer in Virginia. This was one of the reasons, we can go back more often, and that's about it. ...
SH: We were talking about the different intramurals and activities that they had at Rutgers. How big an event was that, and was it just between the fraternities?
RM: Well, it was, again, the same as sort of the Brett Song Contest. It was between all the fraternities and the living groups. At that time, the fraternities was a social life and there were enough going around that most people could join or not join as they wanted, but ... intramurals was tough. I always said, after watching football intramurals, I'm glad I played varsity football. It was too rough for me to play intramural ball, although I did intramural wrestling after, I did intramural track and I did intramural softball, but football was too rough.
SH: In the yearbook and on your pre-interview survey, you talked about wrestling as a freshman.
RM: Oh, yes, yes. Dick Voliva was head wrestling coach and Al Sidar was the freshman coach and they came and contacted me through freshman football, because we scrimmaged against the 150-pounders and they were the same size as I was. I mean, in fact, I would have qualified as 155, and, frankly, I felt that it was like running like a knife through butter. Guys my own size were nothing, and we did well. It sounds like [bragging], but because, the following year, Dick approached me and said, "Maxie, I want you to play 150-pound ball. I know you can start," and conceited kid that I was, I said, "Coach, why do I want to play 150-pound ball and start when I have a chance to start for the varsity?" [laughter] Anyway, they were good guys who had a lot. Freshman year, the 157-pounder, I think, wrestler, got hurt, after two matches in the ... season. So, he approached me and he said, "I want you to come out and wrestle." I said, "Wrestle? That's that junk they have on TV, isn't it?" I had never seen it in high school and, yet, we had a very good high school team. He said, "No, no, this is good stuff." I said, "That's the stuff that..." He said, "No, come on out and try it. We need a freshman wrestler and you weigh in at close to 152, 53. I want you to go to 157 pounds." I was at 147, immaterial. So, I said, "Okay." I gave it a shot. So, after two weeks of wrestling, I learned a takedown, because, ... playing football, I could tackle anybody and take him down, and I knew a few escape holds, and so forth, and I was, frankly, a strong kid, like my pop. ... So, we come up against this match and he says, "Well, go out there and do the best you can." I says, "Okay." So, I go out there and I start wrestling and this kid, jeez, man, he turns me here, and then, I escape, I just tear apart, gets me in another move and I escape, and this goes on for awhile. ... My arms are getting stiffer and stiffer, because I'm not in good shape and I'm starting to cramp up. Finally, the third period comes around, I wasn't pinned, and I go to make a hold and my hands just seized up. I couldn't do a thing. He turns me over and pins me. I was mad, oh, I was mad. I said, "Sorry, Coach, I really hate letting you down." He said, "You know, you lasted longer than I thought you would. I thought you'd get pinned right away." [laughter] I said, "What?" He said, "Well, you're up against the Pennsylvania state champ." I said, "Coach, I've been wrestling two weeks." So, the next week was during Greek Week, too, I think it was, and, during Greek Week, you know, the brothers put you [through an ordeal]. You don't sleep and you're doing pushups and you're doing this [and that] and you're eating all kinds of junk and what-have-you. We had a match. So, I was able to go up to my full weight of 153 pounds, or whatever it was, and get into the match. ... The fraternity brothers are there and they're wondering, "How the heck he could do [it]?" So, ... we get to the point where, I guess the second period or what-have-you, and my opponent is down and I'm on top of him, and he tries to sit out. So, I clamped down with both arms and pin him, I mean, just like that, and I felt like a bull after the previous one. ... Then, the next week, I had to go and lose weight and I couldn't lose weight. I said, "No, I'm not wrestling." That was it. I never went out for wrestling after that. I worked. [laughter] I would rather work, but one of our [classmates?], well, Dick Garretson, Dick died five months ago from cancer, was ... a real "class A" guy. He went into teaching in New Jersey and became a superintendent and he was a three-sport man at Rutgers and he was a three-sport man in high school, football, wrestling and track, and he never learned how to wrestle until he got to college, and I think he was undefeated for four years, even wrestling against Lehigh, and that's who we wrestled against that day.
SH: That is a great story.
RM: So, that was it, and then, I went into wrestling in intramurals, which was a lot easier, [laughter] and track, and so forth.
SH: When you signed up for Air Force ROTC, what was the commitment that you knew that you would have to make?
RM: Oh, the commitment, at that time, was three years, or, if you went into flight, it would be four years, ... which was nothing. You know, at least you knew you had a job at [the end of] three years and you would go in and, at that time, everybody was getting commissioned and going on active duty. It was just a matter of when. So, we didn't really think about it that much, but we knew that, yes, it was in [the cards]. We had obligated ourselves and that was part of the deal. You're getting paid, so, away you go.
SH: You changed your major to German at the end of your sophomore year.
RM: No, at the beginning of my sophomore year.
SH: To German?
RM: To German.
SH: You started out with journalism, and then, went to German.
RM: Yes, right.
SH: What did you think you would do with a major in German?
RM: Well, to major in German, I was able to take a lot of electives. In fact, since I was, frankly, I was out of the grammar courses in German, I was into the literature and civ courses, and they were teaching it in English, except for the lit courses, you had to translate, as opposed to Barbara, as a Spanish major at Douglass, everything they did, you had to speak the language in class, which was a weakness at Rutgers. If you [think about it], you know, they should have demanded that more. ... All you had to take was thirty-six credits in your major, and then, I had eighteen credits in ROTC, and then, your minors, and I think I was able to take English, social studies, all those extra courses, and I felt, I said, "Gee, I'll be well-rounded," [laughter] and I didn't know what I'd do with the German.
SH: You knew you had this three or four-year commitment ahead of you. Were you then planning to go on to graduate school?
RM: No, I had [no plans for that]; I mean, for me, at that point, just getting through college was fine, and German enabled me to take a lot of courses and was relatively easy, an easy major, and I didn't know what I'd do after the military. I didn't plan that far ahead at that time.
SH: You said that, in your junior year, you were basically engaged to Barbara.
RM: Yes, yes.
SH: When did it become official?
RM: Senior year, I guess, yes, senior year, because I worked, I got the money from ROTC summer camp, and I bought her a diamond ring. I went into New York with her mother, who knew a jeweler there, on Diamond Row, or what-have-you. She had been Connie Siclari, ... what a mother-in-law, great, great, but she knew this jeweler and she and I went in there and looked at rings and I was going to pick one. ... The jeweler said, "No, no. That's not a good stone. This is a good stone. It's a little smaller, but it's an excellent stone." So, I ended up getting, oh, jeez, a heck of a discount on the stone and there went ... half of my summer savings and that was it, and I gave it to her that summer, I think it was, the summer between junior and senior year, and then, we got married June 21st, after graduation.
SH: Did you?
RM: Yes. We graduated on June 4th, I think it was, got commissioned, she graduated, and I graduated, all in the same day, and then, the next week, one of my buddies got married, and then, on the 21st, I got married.
SH: Where did you marry?
RM: In Englewood, St. Cecilia's, where old Vince Lombardi used to teach, yes. [laughter]
SH: What were your plans then? Did you know you were going on active duty?
RM: Oh, I knew I was going on active duty in September.
SH: In September, okay.
RM: Yes, in September, we were going in, but we didn't know where or anything else, and we ended up going to Mather, in Sacramento, California, in a SAC [Strategic Air Command] base. The SAC was just starting up a wing at that time and I was going in as a security combat defense force [officer], but, first, I had to go to security school there, police school, at Lackland. So, I did that in December and January, for two months, and then, came back.
SH: This was in 1958.
RM: '58, yes, '58 and '59. January '59, we came back, and then, I was a second lieutenant there and it was a great experience. I mean, in SAC, you had to produce or else, but they understood that second lieutenants make mistakes, ... and we had NCOs [non-commissioned officers] that were fantastic. Unfortunately, at that time, they were very long on promotions for NCOs, and so, I always tried to get mine promoted, even though I was a young officer and such, but they just helped me out tremendously. ... I got along very well with the wing commander, Frank Amend, Colonel Frank Amend, one of the real; I guess I have three great leaders in my life, and he is one of them, and, four great leaders, he, Frank Burns, Greta Shepard, who was superintendent at East Orange and in Plainfield, and General Leo Smith, who was my boss when I went to the Pentagon the last years. He was an Air Force Academy grad, went into the Army, rather, he was an Army grad, Academy, ... went into the SAC and he gave the Air Force budget, you know, at that time, without notes, without notes. I mean, it was unbelievable, and he was such a gentleman, ... and, anyway, that was four.
SH: Between June and September, when you were due to report, did you work?
RM: Yes, I worked for Mutual of New York, selling insurance. [laughter] It was a job. It was a job, yes, and then, of course, they hire you hoping that you'll sell all your friends, ... but the best thing I did was to sell a ten-thousand-dollar life insurance policy to one of my friend's brothers and he died six months later. So, his wife was able to get the ten thousand dollars, one of the few I sold by then. I did not enjoy my life as a salesman. I did not like bothering people when they didn't want to be bothered, you know, because I didn't want to be bothered and I felt they felt the same way. So, I knew, at that point, I was not a salesman.
SH: When in your commitment did you decide to stay in the Air Force, if you do not mind?
SH: Is it fair to say that SAC was the elite group at that time?
RM: Yes, it was, yes, SAC was, it was.
SH: It was not something that you just got assigned to.
RM: No, yes, yes. I don't know what my qualities were, other than being a second lieutenant and gullible and trainable and malleable, all that sort of stuff, but I was assigned there and we enjoyed it. Sacramento was nice and the people in the wing were just outstanding, and I was given the job of what they called central security control officer. It was the nerve center. If anything, calls, came in, you handled it and you went out with your troops, and I was also given the job of being the security motivation officer. So, I had to go out to all the units and give them presentations on why we have security in the background, and that was, I guess, one of the first times I really had a chance to make presentations to groups of seven, eight, nine hundred people at a time and do the presentation, which I did. I enjoyed that, also giving the history, and then, they said, "All right, send Max over here. We need an indoctrination," you know. [laughter] So, I did that for a year-and-a-half and my boss said, "Hey, we hear they're having openings in Japan for security people. You want to go over there?" I said, "Yes, yes." You know, I talked to Barbara, "Yes, we'd like to go over." "All right, go to personnel, fill it out," because we were on the West Coast, and I filled it out, first choice was Japan, second choice was Spain, because of her major, third choice was Germany, because of my major, and then, England, because of English, okay. So, I got my orders; France, [laughter] from the West Coast to France.
SH: The military has not changed.
RM: ... Oh, it has not, but ... [Air Force General] Curtis LeMay dropped in on us at SAC, because we became combat-ready early, as I say, due to the leadership of this Frank Amend. He was unbelievable, low-key.
SH: This was in California.
RM: At Mather, yes; low-key, not the typical [Dr. Max makes growling noises], you know. He just spoke to you and respected you, and so forth. ... In SAC, in order to get to the flight line, with the B-52s, and I had my troops out there all the time and I checked them through the night, and so forth, and, in order to get to the flight line, next to the cocked aircraft, you had to pass, have your badge and also personal recognition, and, on an alert, ... it was only personal recognition that they let you through [with], on the "need to know." Well, we had an alert and this colonel tried to get through and he didn't have the badge or the personal recognition, and he was giving static to one of my NCOs. So, I came out there, as a second lieutenant, I said, "Sorry, sir, those are the rules, and that's it." He said, "But, I've got to get through there." I said, "Sorry, sir, those are the [rules]." "Well, I'm going to report your ass, Lieutenant." I said, "Yes, sir; those are the rules." Next day, I get called in to see Colonel Amend. You know, I said, "Holy cow, good-bye." He says, "Lieutenant, you're stubborn, but you obeyed the rules and you enforced it and I'm glad you went on that. Keep up the good work." [laughter] So, he went and that was it, and Curt LeMay said, you know, the same thing. So, it was interesting, but they supported you and they said, "Yes, we expect you to make mistakes, once." Now, of course, nobody can make mistakes and, if you do, you hide it. ... I had good commanders, good bosses, who did the same thing, gave the experience, expected a mistake or two that I would grow from there. ...
SH: Being in charge of security at a SAC base, was there ever a time that you really were worried?
RM: No. I don't know, I guess I was intimidated by being at SAC, that they were so good, they were so well-trained, and that with leaders like Curtis LeMay, who people, you know, castigated, and Frank Amend, that we would go on when we had to, and so, I really had no fear of going to war, didn't think we would, but, if we did, well, then, we do.
SH: This is 1959 and 1960. Things are ...
RM: Turbulent, yes, turbulent, right.
SH: That is a nice way to put it.
RM: Yes, yes.
SH: You reported to France in 1959 or 1960.
RM: In January of '60, right. Yes, they let me stay home for Christmas and New Year's, but it was [the case that] we had our alert drills all the time. ...
SH: Where was the base in France?
RM: Evreux, which was fifty miles outside, northwest of Paris, on the way to Normandy, south of Rouen, all right. ...
SH: Was Barbara able to come with you?
RM: Yes, yes. She was with me for three years. It was heaven. My daughter, Dana, was born over there, in September of '60, and it was fantastic, I mean, for three young kids, I mean, well, two kids, really, to go over there and be exposed [to Europe]. ... Every weekend, we would go somewhere, into Paris or here or go up to Normandy, and so forth, or Brittany, and just travel, travel, travel. ...
SH: Where did they house you?
RM: We were off base, in off-base housing, which was, actually, a military housing area and all the others were military around there. So, we had all kinds of officers here. It was the officer area, and everybody got to know everybody [else], and since ... most of them were pilots, or crew, or navigators. I was a "ground pounder," in security, at the time, so, I was home most of the time and they were flying. So, if they ever had a problem, they used to come to me, you know. In effect, I was the husband for everybody, but, then, when I was gone, ... Barbara knew she could go to anyone else and ... get taken care of, which we had to do at one time. So, it was great.
SH: How often did you have to travel?
RM: Well, I didn't have to travel much. ... They made me a special courier, which meant that I was qualified to escort A-bombs, and, of course, we never had A-bombs, but I was qualified to ... escort them. ... The base was [C]-130s and there were three squadrons. We were all the 317th Airbase Group, but we were all part of the 322nd Air Division, which was taxed to do all of the cargo handling and jumping for Europe and Africa, and we had the three squadrons, 39th, 40th and 41st, which were C-130s. There were, what? fifteen, twelve or fifteen aircraft in each. So, all my buddies and my neighbors were flying. So, I became the escort for the weapons and I still remember, they said, "If things go wrong, you go before the weapon goes," [laughter] when you're throwing things overboard, didn't have to, but I got a chance to go all over. ... As an escort, I was able to take certain trips. So, we ended up going to Sweden, Copenhagen, Denmark, Poland, Greece, ... and drop off supplies there for the embassy. I ended up going down to Africa, to Wheelus [Air Force Base] in Morocco and ended up going down to the Congo, Leopoldville, Katanga Province, Luluabourg, where I had our tail-end shot up a little bit.
SH: Tell me about that.
RM: Well, the natives were still restless in Africa, '60 to '62, and ... there was the MAAG, Military Airlift Authority Group, or whatever, and we had supply officers and supplies down there. So, we used to run the supplies down with our 130s, 119s and even 124s, [all cargo aircraft], and we flew into Kano, Nigeria, at one time, and Lagos. We stayed overnight there and I remember, in Kano, Nigeria, at this hotel we stayed at, it was a civilian hotel, and, in order to get a shower, you had to go down the hall and the shower had metal plates, of course, and you saw the heads and the legs. ... That was it, but, down in the bar, I will never forget, down there, they had this little band that sounded like one of the old records on WPAT, off key, and so forth, and the loud trumpet player, and they used to play and you had all these expatriates from all these countries sitting there, with the natives. You had your Irishmen, your Englishmen, and it was like a scene from the movies, [laughter] dancing and talking and drinking, and so forth, and the crew, we were sitting there. I mean, this is remarkably funny, and the music. So, the next morning, we flew out, and then, we flew into Leopoldville and dropped off our stuff, but, by then, we had to switch into civilian clothes, because it was the Airlift Control Element (ALCE) ... and the US was not there. In fact, it was the UN [United Nations] type of thing, but, so, everybody had to go in [dressed as a] civilian and we dropped off, at one time, the ALCE commander, who was a colonel. ... We stayed at Lovanium University, which was up on the hills a little bit, and they had the French monks who were there, were the teachers, and you're sitting up there in the mountains, having your breakfast and you're talking about it, and down below, things are going haywire, and, when you pulled into Leopoldville, into the airport in Leopoldville, you look at the airport arrival place and you could still see the bullet holes in the side. It's the same as when you go into Hickam, in Hawaii; you still have the bullet holes there, and, when we went into Kano, Nigeria, what I remember is the people standing outside, the multi-colored, beautiful clothes they wore, the blues, the reds, the yellows, fantastic, but pulling into Leopoldville, ... down the runway was this Russian aircraft, which nobody could go near, you know, [laughter] and they were there at the same time we were. So, we unloaded all our cargo and what-have-you, which was fine, and we stayed there a couple of days and we went down to the market and you walked around and what-have-you. I still have souvenirs in ivory and ebony from going down to there, or water paintings that they made, and that was one trip, and another trip ...
SH: You were in civilian clothes when you were out walking.
RM: Oh, yes, yes, never put on your military [uniform] at all.
SH: Did you fly in wearing your uniform?
RM: No, we fly in, we change on the aircraft, and then, when we get out ...
SH: You were military until you landed.
RM: Until we land. Then, we're in our civilian clothes, and, when we leave, everything is strictly civilian.
SH: Were there any restrictions on where you could go or who you could be with?
RM: No, we went downtown. They said, "Go as a group," but we went downtown and ... Leopoldville was relatively calm at the time. It was the outlying provinces, such as South Luluabourg, where we went later on, Katanga Province, and so, Leopoldville had been "conquered," so-to-speak. So, you didn't see many weapons or anything else around there. It was livable, but, on another trip, that was in a 130, on another trip, I took ... a 124, which is a bigger aircraft, more cargo, and we stopped off at, I think it was Kano, Nigeria, and we picked up some Irish troops who were UN.
SH: This was all part of the UN operation.
RM: Yes. ... They could be in uniform and we were supposed to take them. They had two English officers, and they were; no, I'm sorry, this is where I'm getting [mixed up]. This was the Irish troops and they had regular officers and they were in uniform, and young kids playing guitars, and so forth, and they had heavy serge [woolen] outfits on. They had just come from England, and we took them down to Luluabourg, and, in Luluabourg, you had to be out of there by five o'clock, because, otherwise, the lights go off and they were still fighting on the outskirts. So, we dropped them off and we heard, a month later, that they had been attacked, they were ambushed, by the natives and had been wiped out. So, it was that group, which was shocking. Another time, we went down with a 124; we took down some, [to] Kano, some Nigerian troops, with English officers. In the back of the 124, they had this half-track that had quad fifties, fifty-caliber [machine guns], four of them, mounted on the top. ... It was a relatively long trip, but I remember sitting underneath the half-track with the two English officers and we were playing liar's dice, [laughter] with matches.
SH: You were playing what?
RM: Liar's dice, with matches. You know, you throw your dice and say, "I'm passing you three threes. You believe it or you don't believe it?" "Okay, I'll believe you," you pass it on. Of course, if you pass him two threes or nothing, he has to pass on something higher. So, eventually, it'll come back to you and they might be passing you a full house, say, or four sixes and what you have there are two threes, and you have to pass on something better than four sixes and you have a problem. ... We did that at bars, too, at the officers' club, but, anyway, so, they rolled off in the back, fired their quad fifties, to clear them, to make sure they were ready to fire, and drove off, and we were just getting ready to take off. ... In fact, it was funny, my next-door neighbor was the pilot at this time, just as we were taking off, we hear a, "Ding, ding, ding, ding," and the natives, in the end of the runway, had target practice on us. So, they were hitting us as we left and he said, "Let's get the hell out of here," which we did. So, that was my only combat, in all the years, which was enough, but that was it.
SH: How big are the crews flying the 124?
RM: Oh, well, we had ... a pilot, co-pilot, navigator, ... a crew chief and his assistant, and one other, the engineer, and that was about it.
SH: At the base in France, was it just United States personnel?
RM: Strictly US, yes. ... It was a French base, but ... they had rented it to us (status of forces agreement). So, we were guests, same as you have today. So, we did not own it, which is ironic, because, when the French Foreign Legion was supposed to come in and have a coup in Paris, from Algeria, ... in North Africa; the Arabs wanted freedom, where the heck was it?
RM: Yes, Algerians wanted freedom, and most of the whites and the French there did not want it. They wanted French colonial rule. They had been born there, so, they said, "No," but they heard that the Foreign Legion, the First Paratroops, the First Para, were going to come in and have a coup. So, we had to put trucks on our flight lines to stop anything from possibly coming in, because they were afraid that they would land at Evreux and motor into Paris. ... [Editor's Note: The First Foreign Parachute Regiment attempted to overthrow Charles de Gaulle's government in April 1961 for moving to negotiate an end to the Algerian War, but was thwarted and disbanded, an incident sometimes referred to as the Algiers Putsch.]
SH: They really thought that the French Foreign Legion was coming in.
RM: Oh, yes, absolutely, absolutely. Well, they disbanded the First Para thereafter, and, of course, there, the officers were put in jail and what-have-you. ...
SH: It was that serious.
RM: Yes, oh, yes, ... and they said the plastiquers, you know, which were the explosives, ... they were setting off the explosions all over France in retaliation. [Editor's Note: Plastiquers refers to Algerian terrorists who supported the independence movement.] In fact, Barbara went into Paris one time; she went in to a fashion show, and, down the street, she heard this rumble and they had blown up a building. So, I said, "Hey, you know, that's it," you know, and it's funny, the last, was it the last year I was there? General Lauris Norstad, who was in charge of NATO at the time, we had the ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe to honor the tomb of the unknown dead French, and I was put in charge of the honor guard from our base. So, we motored in and we had all our dress uniforms and such on. ... We assembled at the Arc for the honor ceremony and we, you know, had everything, and then, I had to march them to the American Embassy, which was down the Champs-Élysées and over, and they said, "Well, march down." I said, "We can't march on it." "March down the street." [laughter] So, I had my flight and we marched down the street and these French cars are whizzing by us, some close to us, and, you know, I said, "Hey, guys, we're not moving. We're going straight ahead. Don't look, because, if you look, it shows that you know they're there," and so, we marched all the way the heck down there, and that was it. Then, of course, we got there in time and we had the sabers and the bayonets and what-have-you overhead as everybody, the important people, came into the Embassy, and then, they said we can go home, but, oh, my God, I was afraid, because I had driven in Paris, and, you know, there, it's priorité à droite. Whoever's coming from the right has the priority, and, if you even look and show that you know they're there, they're going to move in in front of you. I mean, ... I got used to it, so, it was fun driving there. I had a Peugeot 403 that I drove over seventy-five thousand miles in France, for three years.
SH: You really took advantage.
RM: ... Oh, yes. We went all over. We spent time traveling, of course, went up to Holland and Belgium. We drove down to Italy, to meet Barbara's parents in Rome, and then, we drove all the way around there. ... Of course, France, we went all over in France, drove to Spain. England, we didn't drive, ... but I rented a car there and drove, on the other side of the street, very interesting. ... Oh, yes, we were able to take advantage. ... We enjoyed it. Well, Barbara was fluent in Spanish and French and could understand Italian, spoke a little bit of it. I spoke German, somewhat, and understood it, so, we could go anywhere.
SH: Did you fly into Berlin?
RM: Yes, yes. Well, on one trip, we flew into Berlin. ... Oh, we RON-ed, stayed overnight in Berlin, and I forget where the heck we were going. ... Was that part of the run up to the Polish [American] Embassy? Whatever; we go in there and we went to the Racing Club, which was their big nightspot, and they had booths. ... I was the only one on the crew, I was considered part of the crew, as an escort, who spoke German, ... and they had gals in all these booths and they had telephones in all these booths. So, all night, I'm talking on the telephone and you see the crew members leaving. Finally, the night ends, I hang up the telephone and I go back to my BOQ [bachelor officer quarters]. [laughter] So, I did the translating, but it was a crazy night, and then, ... oh, I know, we had trouble and we flew out of there the next day, and that was it. ...
SH: Was this real trouble, or was it just so you could stay overnight in Berlin?
RM: Real trouble. We had, yes, real trouble. [laughter] ... Yes, that happens, but, no, we had real trouble.
SH: At that point, the Iron Curtain is up and it was pretty secure. Did you do any flying?
SH: Obviously, you had to fly into Berlin.
RM: Yes, that was it, and, of course, when I went up to Poland, they had just the access route, which they had to fly into, and then, going up to; Copenhagen was sort of the embassy up there. The remarkable thing about going into Copenhagen, they had all this teak furniture and we used to go up there and order the teak furniture and bring it back on the empty airplane. ... I had gone up there, I guess, on three different trips, and, on one trip, I just found out [the] way things are going. On the second trip, I went up and I had designed some furniture and had them make it and, on that trip, when I came home, I knew the base commander ... had put his stuff on and we're bringing it back, and I had to have one of my air police vehicles available to carry the furniture to his house. [laughter] ... When I went up the third time, I had all my furniture there, brought it back, and, of course, my vehicles took me off to my housing area, but everybody was bringing back teak furniture at that time. ... We had it for I forgot how many years. It looked like new, and then, I gave it to my sister and she still has it and it looks like new.
SH: I am sure.
RM: Oh, yes, table and break fronts and what-have-you. ... Copenhagen was interesting. We went back a year, year-and-a-half ago; we took a cruise, and it's too much, too much.
SH: When I came in, you were showing me some of the beautiful things that you collected around the world, in one instance, in Prague. Have you been to Prague more than once?
SH: Twice, okay. I thought maybe there was a reason.
RM: ... No, it was twice. In fact, if you would, you can see my ivory head that I had picked up in Leopoldville, and then, ... as I said, I had some water paintings I picked up there. They loved to bargain there and we were told, "Don't take anything down other than one-dollar bills," because these one-dollar bills are what they accepted. So, I bought that, the water paintings, I think I paid, for ten of them, a dollar, but I think the guy made a mistake in translation and it was supposed to be ten dollars. So, I started walking away and he started running after me, but I didn't stop, [laughter] ... but a solid ivory head, but I don't think it's elephant ivory. I think it's other [ivory], and then, had a letter opener, and wooden heads I had as bookends, and wall plaques. So, it was a dollar, two dollars, and, at that time, a dollar was good, not like it is against the Euro today, where you've got to pay them to take the dollar, and we just came back from a cruise, Danube River cruise, ... took a beating.
SH: I am sure. Did you consider staying in the military?
RM: Yes. As I said, I only thought I'd spend three years in, but, when I went over to France, it was a three-year tour. So, that puts me at four-and-a-half, and I said, "Yes, I'll stay if I can get an ROTC tour, or you can send me away for my master's [degree]," because, at that time, I wanted to get a master's. I didn't know in what, I forget, whatever it was. I still didn't know what I wanted to be, [laughter] and they said, "No, we can't give you either one." Then, they said, "Well, we'll give you an assignment where you want to go." I said, "No, ... at this point, I'm out." So, I got out in December of '62 and went to work for All-State as an underwriter, and I remember; was it All-State? No, I went to work for 3M, as a management trainee, and that's what they told me I would be in there, training for management, but they lied. [laughter] So, I left there. ... My mother-in-law knew somebody at All-State, so, I went to All State, in Mount, was it Mount Vernon, in New York, for Sears, as an underwriter, and I used to pick up this friend of mine, Ken Snyder, who played basketball at Holy Cross, was on their NCAA basketball team. ... Looking at Kenny, you would never think that he was a basketball player, but he was fantastic, beautiful guy, and we used to drive past this school and, on this school [field], they were practicing football. ... I went by there, I said, "Gee." I said, "Hey, I can't put up with this stuff." So, I want to get credits and started getting credits. I got this job at East Rutherford, as a teacher of German and English, in 1965. Yes, it had been three years, [since I] got out of the service, 1965, and so, I got the job there. The teacher had just retired. So, I was teaching German 1, 2, 3, 4, and English, and so, I had, let's see, ... six classes, I think, plus study hall, yes, and the study hall had sixty, seventy kids in it, ... and I was coaching football and baseball, assistant coach of football and baseball. I needed that, because, one, that's why I went into teaching, to coach, and I needed the money, ... because, at that time, what the heck was I getting? fifty-two hundred dollars as a teacher, 1965, fifty-two hundred dollars as a teacher. I think I was earning more when I got out of the service, and I got two hundred-and-fifty dollars for coaching two sports, and I told Barbara, I said, "Gee, you know, if I could ever earn ten thousand dollars, I think we will have arrived. I mean, we'll really have a lot of money at ten thousand dollars." ... Oh, what a dummy I was. So, that was my first year in teaching, ... and then, as I said, I was the assistant coach in football, the assistant coach in baseball, and I also was the language club advisor. The following year, I got a phone call from my principal, Vince Ziccardi; oh, what a topnotch educator. He was an educator! He said, "Bob?" I said, "Yes, sir." He said, "I think I have a new assignment for you." I said, "What, Vince?" I said, "I already have German 1, 2, 3, 4, that's four preps, and English." You know, I had five preps and, today, [if] you have two preps, you're going out of your mind. He said, "Well, what we'll do is, we'll combine ... your German 3 and 4 into one class, [laughter] and I need somebody to teach economics/sociology, half year each." I said, "Vince," I said, "I got a 'C' in economics and I got a 'B' in sociology." I said, "That was all." "Bob, would you handle it, to teach it?" I said, "Okay, Vince, I'll handle it." So, there I was, German ... 1 and 2 in separate classes, 3 and 4 combined, which is, you still needed the prep, one English class and one class of economics/sociology, but half year. So, I had four, five, six, seven preps, you know, all together. I was a young kid, what am I going to do? you know, and, plus, I enjoyed the teaching. The coaching was the same and I was having fun, and the staff there, it was in East Rutherford, it was a blue-collar town, but the kids were good kids and the parents wanted their kids to learn. I had a Volkswagen convertible, the old Beetle, and ... it was white and I loved it. ... At that time, they had these flowers that used to glue [to the car] and I had a GI flattop at the time and I got these and I pasted them on my Volkswagen. ... I drive up to the school one day, to go to work, and Vince Ziccardi looks out and he says, "Bob, come into the office. You're not a flower child, are you?" I said, "No, Vince, I like the flowers." "Bob, those flowers on your car?" I said, "Vince, I just like it," and the kids went wild. [laughter] They loved it, you know, gathering around there, and they put it in the yearbook, and third year rolls around, [Vince] calls me up in the summer, "Bob, I need you." I said, "Vince, what is it now?" ... He says, "I need you to teach speech." I said, "Vince, I never had a speech class. I don't know what you're talking about." He says, "Bob, you have a loud voice." He said, "We'll take away your English class." I said, "But, I love teaching English." "Bob, we need you." "Okay." So, there I was, teaching ... German 1, 2, 3, 4, 3 and 4 in the same class, teaching economics/sociology, half a year of that, and speech, but it was fun. As I say, in speech, I had them giving; was it a half year? I forget. I had them giving a speech a week, and they had to outline their speech and they had to know how to critique a speech. So, every time some kid, one of my pupils, gave it, the people in the audience, the class, were critiquing it, and this was part of learning the speech theory, and it was, in effect, public speaking. ... We gave different types and they had to give up different types, and, for their final exam, they had to give a twenty-minute speech. So, I had thirty-some kids in the class, all right, and Vince calls me in, the day after I assigned, I said, "For your final exam, you're going to have to give a speech. You can use your senior paper, but I will require an outline for it." Some of the kids had complained and I said, "Vince, they don't [need to complain]." He said, "Bob, twenty minutes, they don't ... spend this time talking anywhere." I said, "Vince, for all their speeches, when they get outside, after doing twenty minutes, it'll [be a] breeze for them. Think of the training. Besides, they could use their term paper as that [basis]." He says, "Okay," and the kids lived up to expectations, as they always do. Some of them are just fantastic speeches and they were so well [performed], and, I remember, two of my football players were in my class. See, now, contrary to most coaches, I worked my kids extra hard. If they were an athlete, they got no gifts from me, all right. I expected more of them because they were an athlete. ... They had to go on, and this one, Steve Servillio, I still remember Steve. Steve was not a "C" student, [laughter] but he tried and he was a hell of a good tackle. He was a good kid, and he was really afraid of getting up in front of people. He said, "Mr. Max, I, I..." Finally, I said, "Steve, you can do it," and he did it on bow and arrows, how to use a bow and arrow; wait until you hear this. ... So, I scheduled everybody, so [that] they knew when they were [speaking] and [could] get ready, and, of course, critiques, they always had to critique afterwards. So, Steve was due and he couldn't get up. He couldn't get up. I said, "Okay, tomorrow; is that all right, class?" you know, because it was that type of [class]. ... [The class responded], "Yes, yes, tomorrow, tomorrow, Steve, we're [expecting you]." So, I had somebody waiting in the wings and they came up. So, the next day, Steve was up and he brings into class a bow and arrow. Can you imagine, bringing a [weapon into] class today? Brings in his bow and arrow and he starts, you know, hesitant, and he starts, and he gets rolling, on and on and on. He talks for a half-hour. He ... finishes up, and I said, "Steve, you know, you went ten minutes over." He said, "Yes, I know, Mr. Max." I said, "What do you think you got?" He said, "Just give me a 'C,' just give me a 'C.'" I said, "Kids, what do you think he got?" [The kids replied], "Oh, he did well; you did well." I said, "Well, I'm giving you an 'A.'" [laughter] He got an "A" for getting up there and trying. Here, he went on and did well with himself. The other football player was Mike McMahon. Mike was six-[foot]-one-[inch], good-looking kid, his sister was a knockout, they were just good-looking Irish kids, and he was my center and he had a brain on him. He'd come into class and he gave a talk on football, and he only spoke fifteen minutes. I asked him, I said, "Mike, you've played for me now for three years. I mean, that's all the football you learned from me in three years?" He said, "Well..." I said, "Class, what do you think?" and they said; [laughter] I said, "Mike, you got an 'F.'" I said, "Yes, you got an 'F.' You didn't do what you were supposed to do," and the kids agreed. [laughter]
SH: They agreed.
RM: They knew, you know, they knew what it was. He passed, because of the whole year. I mean, ... I started teaching ... at nights when I was in Washington. I was teaching at a university at night and I was teaching rhetoric in one class and speech on another night, and working [in] the day, in the Pentagon. At night, I enjoyed teaching at the college level.
SH: When did you do this?
RM: When I went back on active duty, ... '84 to '88.
SH: You stayed in the Reserves.
RM: Yes, I stayed in the Reserves.
RM: And it was the same thing then. It was remarkable, and they wanted; well, I'm spending too much time on [this].
SH: No. You were teaching at East Rutherford.
RM: East Rutherford, and then, the school burned down, its third year, school burned down; no, the second year. For the third year, the school burned down, and ... Garfield was good enough to ... let us use the school, their school, at night; I'm sorry, Lodi. Oh, I forget who the heck it is; it was Lodi. They let us use their school at night. So, that meant our whole day was twisted around. So, in the morning, we had football practice, and then, we went to school at night, from about three or four o'clock to eight o'clock, what-have-you. You cut down on activities like crazy, but Vince Ziccardi, as I said, just put it all together, scheduling everybody else, and Lodi was nice. So, it went off well. The kids had a good year, except they were doing it at night, and then, that was the third year, and all the teachers pitched in, you know. They were in there collecting books from the ashes, and so forth. It was, you know, we didn't say, "Whatever." ... Oh, that's right, that year, too, I was elected president of the teachers' association, yes, and I remember negotiating. ... Before the fourth year began, Vince calls me up again. ... He said, "Bob, I have something for you to do." I said, "What?" He said, "I know you're taking courses for your master's in administration. I want you to be my vice principal next year." [laughter] I said, "Vince." He said, "Yes." This vice principal was becoming superintendent, and Vince didn't want to become superintendent. He wanted to stay there. So, I became the vice principal for that year. ...
SH: Still teaching the same courses?
RM: No, no. He got another teacher ... for the others and he said, like, "I could get replacements for you, but I want you to be my vice principal for the year." So, I said, "Fine." ... That's why I say [he was a great educator?], and the kids, the parents, were unbelievable. ... As vice principal, I visited the houses of my students, especially those who weren't coming to school, and I remember going to one and I said, "So-and-So is acting up and I want you to talk to them," and he [the student's parent] said, "Hit him." I said, "No, I can't hit him. The law says I cannot strike a kid." [He said], "I don't care. Hit him if he acts up." I said, "No, no, no, I can't hit them." He said, "I'm giving you permission to hit them." I said, "No. What I'll do is, I'll call you up and you can hit him, but I don't expect to have to call you up anymore." "Okay," and that was it. ... I went to the kid and I said, "Look, your parents gave me permission to smack you, and you know if I smack you, I'm going to really give you a good one, so, I expect you to..." [laughter] ... Oh, it was funny. The advantage of teaching and coaching at the same time, you have your kids on the field and you have them in two areas which you can ensure that they're getting an education.
SH: Did you stay at East Rutherford?
RM: No, no. After four years, there was an opening. I wasn't getting paid very much at East Rutherford, and an opening occurred at Pascack Hills, in Montvale, New Jersey, and we were living in Montvale, and I was commuting down to East Rutherford, and so, I applied for the job there and got it. I went cheap and they just gave me, I think, a thousand-dollar raise over what I was getting in there, and which was a major pain, bone of contention. So, I was vice principal there, which was good, because it was one of the most advanced high schools in the state. They were using computers, starting to use computers, in scheduling, good staff. It was a school that was relatively new. They had different programs.
SH: This would have been 1970.
RM: ... Yes, 1970, right. I was there at East Rutherford, ... yes, '70, I guess it was '70, '73, '70, '71, '72. Yes, I was four years at East Rutherford. So, I started in '65, '65-'66, '66-'67, '67-'68, '68-'69. '69-'70, I started there. Yes, I made vice principal in four years. ... It was a good school, modern. They called it "the Pascack Hilton," it was so good, you know, and looking [down] on Montvale, on the hill, advanced courses, tremendous faculty. So good, in fact, that if you had any ideas and you had a thing, you told them what it was and your deadlines and you got out of their way, you know, just totally professional, which was fantastic, and I had a good staff. Jerry Thomas was another assistant principal, class guy, class guy, so, I was there for; ... we separated by grades. ... To interject, I went, when I was working for 3M Company, ... right away, I also started [in the] Reserve, ... in, I guess it was that August, or what-have-you. I did not have any break in time and service, in effect. So, I'd never lost any years. So, when I had thirty years up and got out, it was a straight thirty, four-and-a-half active, and then, I went back for another four years active. So, I went in [the Reserves]. Which one [do] you want to hear, more education or Reserves?
SH: Just walk it right on through.
RM: All right, I'll finish up the education. So, I was there for two years, and then, ... I had to do a residency, a year of residency, at Rutgers, for my doctorate. ...
SH: You were going to school at Rutgers. You got your master's there?
RM: At night. No, I got my master's at Seton Hall, while I was at East Rutherford, and then, I did that right after; what the heck did I do that in? a year-and-a-half, two years, whatever. Then, I started on Rutgers for my doctorate, because, all of a sudden, [I thought], "Hey, I like administration, want to get more money," and I started at Rutgers, I guess it was in '70, I think, for my doctorate, whatever, and I had to do my residency sometime, so, I did it, I think, in '72-'73, and I did most of my work on my dissertation and such there. ... You had to take so many classes, but, in Pascack Hills, I had not been there [long enough] to get tenure, only at three years and plus one day. I'd been there, was it two years? Yes, two years, I said. Well, anyway, the board gave me a leave of absence. I said, "Leave of absence? You're not (requiring?)?" [They said], "No, we want you to come back. Are you going to come back?" I said, "Yes, I'll come back." So, that was it; it was the bond. I gave them my word that I would come back. So, I did my year leave of absence, did all my research and everything else, but didn't finish writing up and get it until 1978. Writing took a long time, but I had good people on my committee. Larry Kaplan was my advisor; again, another story. When I went in for my orals, Eleanor Delaney, ... she was on my committee. Two others were on [the committee] from outside the field. Oh, what's his name? I see his face in front of me, and Larry, and my dissertation was "Teacher Attitudes Towards Militancy, Bureaucracy and Professionalism," and Eleanor Delaney, ... she and I had sat next to each other at a luncheon of some type and we got along well together. So, we're sitting in there and they started to ask questions and she says, "Look, Bob knows everything there is to know about this. He wrote the dissertation. So, do we have any other questions?" [laughter] and they said, "No, Eleanor." So, Larry comes in and gives me my champagne and that was it. ... I got my degree in '78, but, oh, she was something else. Talk about; she was "Mrs. Education" in New Jersey at the time. She was on the Elizabeth Board of Education, she had her doctorate. ... Anyway, so, I did that in Montvale, and then, I waited there another year and I wanted to become a principal, and Bart DePaulo, who was the principal, was going to be there for a good many years. So, I ended up at Montgomery High School, in Montgomery, New Jersey, right outside of Princeton. That was a mistake, and hindsight is better than foresight. The superintendent thought that he was bringing me in and he thought that I would be his "yes man," and he figured me all wrong. [laughter]
SH: Let us leave it at that.
RM: Yes, but they expected me to move down to the area, which I did. We moved into Lawrenceville, which may have been another mistake, but, so, I was there for three years, and then, I went to Galloway Township. Galloway was a middle school, and they wanted to get into the team approach, and who the heck was the superintendent? ... Anyway, I was there for two years, and then, I applied for the job of principal at Clifford Scott High School [in East Orange], and I was interviewed by the present superintendent, was a gal, Bebe, what the heck was her last name? Sellers and Greta Shepard. Greta Shepard was the incoming superintendent and Bebe, Bebe, was the outgoing superintendent. So, they're asking me their questions, very, very interesting. I got the job, but Greta said, "Look, I'm trying to bring in a whole new system. I need support." I said, "You got it," you know, and that was it, and so, I was there for three years, at Clifford Scott, and I told her what I wanted to do, and part of it was [to] bring in an attendance rule and, also, concentrating on reading, and have everybody take reading classes, in addition to what their [standard] classes are. I wasn't going to take them out of their classes, and we had to pass the basic skills test. She said, "Fine," and the first day, first day there, there was a fire in the school and I went and I put it out, stepped on it, and Greta said, "What are you doing?" I said, "I'm putting out the fire." She said, "Why?" I said, "This is my school." [laughter] ... We were behind her, and she had some darned good ideas. So, we put out the rule about ten percent permitted absences; it worked well. There were some kids who didn't believe it and, of course, they had problems, and the board made special dispensations for them, but the basic rule was there and the kids understood that it was going to be enforced.
SH: Were you still coaching?
RM: No, I couldn't. Well, when I became vice principal in East Rutherford, he said, "You can't coach anymore." So, that was a difficult decision, whether I wanted to stay with coaching or not, because Johnny Subda, who was the head coach, was going to retire. I said, "Nah, I'll go in administration." So, they hired a new coach. ... Sometimes, when I'm watching it on TV, I say, "Gee, maybe." [laughter] ... At East Orange, so, we did very well and, in two years, we had passed the state tests and the attendance had gone up, too, whatever, but, by the end of three years, we were consistently passing the state tests, the attendance was up over ninety-two percent, we were in the top five percent of all schools in the state on attendance, teachers' attendance had gone up, and that was it. Unfortunately, Greta moved on as superintendent. She went to Plainfield and, unfortunately, I turned in the president of the board of education's sister, turned her into the county for child abuse, [laughter] which was a state law that you had to do it, as principal, and she said, "Well, why'd you do it? Why didn't you come to me?" I said, "The law doesn't say I should go to you. The law says I report it." "What do you mean?" Anyway, I wasn't renewed, after the three years, and Greta calls me up and says, "I have an opening for a principal at Plainfield; you want to apply?" I said, "Okay, I'll apply." So, I applied, got it. Unfortunately, she then became superintendent of Camden County and she left, and the assistant superintendent was also the mayor and one of the satellite schools at Plainfield was run by ... one of his cronies and his wife. ... They were getting special pay and she was also one of my vice principals, which I didn't have a choice over, and politics were not what I liked, so, I left, I think, guess it was February, and I said, "Greta, I'm not staying here." I said, "[With] the politics involved here, I'm leaving." So, that was it, went to do some more Reserve work. So, now, I'll bring up that point. I was deputy wing commander of the 514th Reserve Wing.
SH: In New Jersey?
RM: In New Jersey, down at McGuire [Air Force Base]. To take you all the way back, as a first lieutenant, when I got out of the service, I went to McGuire, into the 89th Aerial Port Squadron. Jerry Waldor was the commander, he was a major and he was an Army Academy [graduate] and he was the commander and they brought me on. So, it was air cargo duties. So, I was with them, with the 89th, for, gee, I don't know how many years. Commanders changed and I got promoted to captain and, eventually, I became the commander of the 514th Aerial Port Flight, right, not a squadron, but a flight.
MR: All right. The 89th is part of the 514th Wing and the flight was another sort of a squadron. ... As part of the 89th, in 1970, I think it was, we won the outstanding squadron in the Air Force Reserve. So, they sent us over to Hickam [Air Force Base] for our reward and, while at Hickam, of course, we took right over the port and did everything else, and they said, "What are you people doing?" I said, "We're here to work. We will operate your equipment, everything," and we did, which was a good training ground for me at that time. That was my first chance to go to Hawaii and travel and what-have-you in Hawaii, and, also, the guys we brought over were good ballplayers. So, we helped the port ... win the base championship in softball. [laughter] Then, that was in '70 or '72. Later on, as I say, I forget, I became a major and I had a unit vacancy and [was] promoted to major and I became the commander of the aerial port flight, which was smaller than a squadron. ... We did well and we got the outstanding unit, aerial port flight, in whatever year thereafter, had tremendous NCOs, all the way through, good NCOs, good officers, and we went to Japan, Tachikawa [Air Force Base]. ... As soon as we came off the plane, I said, "Okay, what shift do you want us on?" "Well, you don't want to relax?" "No. We'll start the midnight shift, if you want," ... and we moved into Tachikawa and started. I said, "However, I want the middle Saturday off. I want all my troops off on the middle Saturday, because we're going to go sightseeing," you know, and they were working hard. So, [while at] Tachikawa, Japan was very expensive at the time. It seems, somehow, the dollar had sunk and the yen was doing well. So, the troops had trouble buying things, and so, I took our first sergeant, who was an old-timer, knew the ropes, I said, "Let's find out what we can do." So, we were able to rent a bus, a small bus. We only had twenty-two guys with us, small bus, and we went to the mess hall and we said, "Look, we wanted to have a picnic for our guys, twenty-two guys. I want sandwiches, [and] so forth, and so on, sodas, and we'll go out and buy the beer for them," which we did. We went out to buy the beer. ...
SH: You were in Japan and you were going on a picnic.
RM: Yes, and we took over the aerial port, did well there, and that middle Saturday, they got the bus and such and we planned a trip to go to some of the shrines in Japan. So, I drove and the first sergeant was the map reader and we drove all up and down the mountains, went to the old shrines, and then, we went to old Edo.
RM: ... So, we took them there and we had lunch at this lake, a beautiful lake in Japan, with the troops, and we went to the shrine, and so forth, and, coming back, we had to go back down these high mountains that we came in. So, I'm shifting and down shifting and braking and braking; I mean, we're going, like, [in] a circle. I guess almost all the way down, or two-thirds of the way down, one of the guys said, "Major Max, I think our brakes are burning." [laughter] So, luckily, we pull over to the side and they have water and we hosed down the brakes. ... Even downshifting was just too much. So, eventually, we got back to the base and everybody went back to work and we came back, and, [at] the first commander's call [a type of meeting] afterwards, the troops came up and said, "Major, we have something for you." I said, "What?" They said they had a plaque, and it said, "To the best ... bus driver there is," and I still have it, [laughter] but, shortly after that, then, we went back and I became the commander of the 5th Aerial Port, which was a whole new squadron that was begun about five or six years before. Jerry Waldor ... became the new commander and he went up and became a general, and so forth, in the Reserves. So, I became commander of that and [was] promoted to lieutenant colonel. I guess that was in '80, I believe, it was. Oh, I'm sorry. I was commander of the [aerial port]; yes, that's right. So, right away, we ... made a proposal that we would go back to Rhein-Main [Air Force Base], Frankfurt, and take over the whole port, our squadron. So, we had developed a plan, a regular, they called it a "war plan," and we went over as our squadron and we took over the port completely. You know, I was the squadron commander and I did this and did that, and it went over very well, and then, that following year, we won outstanding unit as Fifth Aerial Port. Then, I was promoted to colonel, because my boss retired. ... He was the deputy wing commander in charge of resource management, and under them was aerial ports and supply. So, I, luckily, got promoted to colonel, and so, one of the first things I did, which they wanted me to do from Reserve Headquarters, was to plan a takeover of the entire port with three squadrons, all three of mine. Some of them were in Hanscom [Air Force Base, near Bedford, Massachusetts]. So, I got the commanders together. We did that. We had the groundwork that I laid beforehand.
SH: Where were you doing this?
RM: At McGuire.
SH: At McGuire, okay.
RM: All at McGuire, all part of the 514th Wing, and on weekends, you know, and summers, and just talking. So, ... we went over and they took over the whole port, all functions, and it was a major success and they got outstanding squadron for that, and our wing commander was very glad it happened and he soon got promoted to the vice commander of Air Force Reserve, Alan Sharp his name was, fantastic guy, another low-key [officer], like Frank Amend, great leader. He was a Mormon, and you say, "A Mormon?" Hey, so what? but he was fantastic, and so, I was deputy wing commander there. I was the only career Reservist, career Reservist meaning [I] was the traditional Reservist of a weekend a month, and so forth. The other deputy wing commanders were Air Reserve technicians, ARTs, they called them. Now, these were folks who were government employees, they had passed the Civil Service exam, and they would get this position during the week and, on the weekends, they would revert to a Reserve position. So, what they did during the week, they had to continue. So, if [they were] the director, ... deputy for operations, worked all week on operations, and then, became the DO ... on a weekend, the same as I, which was a good arrangement, but a little bit of politics in there. Alan Sharp got promoted and another commander came in, Gene Galley, who was a one-star general, and Gene had just come off a four-year active duty tour at the Pentagon, in operations. ... He came over to me and I told him I'd introduce him around to the base and what-have-you, and I did, and I introduced him to all the NCOs and I said, I told them, "Look, we're going to have breakfast at so-[and-so]. Come over and meet General Galley." So, we did and he sat down and he said, "Are they telling me [the truth]?" I said, "Look, they're telling you exactly the way things go. They don't BS me, they're not going to BS you, and this is the way things are in the wing." He said, "Fine." So, he got around, he got to know the people, plus, he played racquetball and I played racquetball, you know. So, we had a lot in common. ... Plus, he said, "Look, you're the only guy who's honest, because you don't have anything other than being a Reservist." ... So, the next thing I know, he says, "Why don't you apply for active duty?" on what they called a two-six-five position. So, a Reservist goes back on active duty for four years; it's a statutory tour. I said, "Okay." Well, in effect, I was out of a job at the time, too, you know, ... and I said, "But, it's interesting." I had wanted to become that at the Air Force Academy, but they picked somebody who was connected, and I found out, yes, he was politically connected, but, right before that, the commandant of cadets was General Bob Kelley and he was my buddy at Rutgers. He was the captain of the football team when I was a sophomore.
RM: We were both halfbacks. He went into [the Air Force], became a fighter pilot, became a deputy for TAC [Tactical Air Command], was a three-star [lieutenant general], but had served time at the ... Academy, and so forth. Anyways, "And, if I would have known, I would have had you come here." I said, "Well, it's too late now, Bob." ... So, I applied and I got it. So, I said, "Fine," four years down at Washington. So, my position was Reserve advisor to the Air Force Controller and Director of Budget. So, I went there for four years. It was great. I had all the responsibility of various things there at the Pentagon, and a budget and coordinating [advisor]. ...
SH: You moved your family down there.
RM: Yes, we moved to Virginia at that time. ... Well, Dana and Steven were married and had their kids. ... Well, Steven was still in college, I think. Yes, he was a senior in college. That's right, he was a senior in college, in Advanced Army ROTC.
SH: Where did he go to school?
RM: West Virginia. He did that on his own, you know, and he got the scholarship, and majored in geology with a Russian minor, and Dana had gone to Ohio Wesleyan years ago and she was married and had her kids, [was] living in New Jersey. So, we were there and started a whole new life, made new friends and thoroughly enjoyed Washington. We lived in Fairfax Station, great, great location, and I got to go to the Air University there, ... for budget school, which was interesting, and then, I got to teach at the Air Intelligence College, Defense Intelligence College, which was at ... Bolling Air Force Base, outside of Washington. So, I was teaching budget to the young captains and majors coming through on budget, since, you know, that was part of my duties. So, I went back to teaching again, but teaching budget, ... which was great. ... I was teaching nights, also, at the universities, teaching rhetoric and composition, what-have-you, and management concepts, because, while I was at the Air University, oh, I went there when I was still a Reservist, I developed a course on management concepts, after doing my doctoral work in management at Rutgers. So, that was interesting, and then, finally, my thirty years were up, my four years coincided with that, and I got out and I had thirty years of great experiences. I gave a lot to the Reserve and they gave a lot to me, ended up with almost ten years total of active duty, no regrets.
SH: Did you make colonel?
RM: Yes. Well, I made colonel three years before I went there. I made colonel at McGuire and was a deputy wing commander as a colonel. It was a colonel's position.
SH: I assume that you had to have been a colonel for that position.
RM: Yes. I was a squadron commander, lieutenant colonel, for, what? three years, and then, I became ... deputy wing commander for three years, I think it was, somewhere in there, and then, went back on active duty as a colonel, which made it worthwhile. [laughter] So, I didn't make general, so, it was time to get out.
SH: As a Reservist, during Vietnam, was there any chance that you would be called back for that?
RM: Well, yes, a lot of guys in my squadron volunteered to go back on active duty, because they needed those specialties. We were cargo handlers, aerial port, and a lot of the pilots in our flying squadrons went back on active duty, and, actually, the wing, even though we were Reservists, used to spend time, on their two weeks or so, flying stuff over to Vietnam and back. So, our wing received two or three commendation ribbons as an outstanding wing. So, of all that stuff I have, you know, two or three of them were based on Vietnam, and I never, I said, "Hey, I didn't place a foot there, I really don't deserve these," you know, and I think the only ribbon I really earned, well, Sharpshooter, and Good Conduct [Medal] and a few others, but the only ribbon I felt I truly ... deserved was one I never got, and that was the one for the UN, when I went to Africa those times, you know, that I really did something. The others were, you know, [where] I was just along for the ride. I got, what? two commendations and a ribbon and an outstanding whatever, ... and I had my Air Police Badge and I had my expert badge and my whatever, but that was it.
SH: When you retired then, after your thirty years of active duty, what were your plans then? Obviously, you were back in New Jersey.
RM: ... Yes. Well, I had no plans, put out for jobs, but I really had made no political connections at that time. So, I got a job ... as a trainer and a budget officer for a security company, ... which was interesting, but I didn't quite like [it], and then, I went into [being a] training officer for another security company, who was getting bigger contracts, and I ... used to make bids for them as a contracting officer, and, also, do their training and weapons training, since I had been in weapons all the time, and gave courses on security and what-have-you. ... I finally said, "This doesn't hack the mustard, either." So, I got a job for the Small Business Administration, in contracting. I got it for, I forget the [name], for a section dealing with military contracts in small business, as a director of that program [COE], and I was there, I think that was '90, 1990, and then, from there, they transferred me over to the "8(a) Program." They said, "Since you're working on contracts, work with the 8(a), and so forth. Besides, you're the only one who can write this type of proposal." I wrote an appeal; the Army denied the small business firm a contract, and so, it came up through me to either endorse it or refute it. So, the Army refuted it, didn't want it, so, I had to write, "We felt that the small business should get it." So, I wrote up this justification [for] why the small business should get it and they went up to the Secretary of the Army. What was his name? Togo West, oh, and he approved it. So, they gave it to the small business contractor. That was the first appeal they ever had approved. So, they transferred me over, [laughter] and I was their appeal processor, and a few other things in there. ... Finally, there was a changeover in political [administrations], and SBA was a very political place, and anybody in top positions are government appointees and that's what they are. ... They just became so political, any new idea was squelched, unless they came up with it. ... I felt my brain was turning to mush and there were a lot of other [things]. I said, at this time, "Barbara, I'm getting out of here." Now, she had been working for an insurance company that specialized in insurance insuring museums. Before that, she had been an assistant curator at the Hispanic Society in New York City. As I said, she's the smart one in the family, and then, she got into insurance, ... and, in Washington, she worked for this company that was the prime insurer of museums. ... She had the Smithsonian, she had the New York Museum Art, ... and she was the first one to insure the Holocaust Society [US Holocaust Memorial Museum]. She developed the program for that. Anyway, she was good, but ... she retired, and then, two years later, I retired and that was it. 1967, I retired.
RM: '67, I think it was, I retired, and I felt, "This is ridiculous. I mean, yes, it's money, but my brain's turning to mush." So, that was it, and, of course, I got out of the Reserve in; no, not '67. [laughter] Oh, what am I thinking?
SH: I know. I was thinking, something does not add up. [laughter]
RM: Yes, I was sixty-seven [years old]. I retired in 2003, I believe it was, all right. ... She retired in 2001, I believe, and I had ten years, I guess, with the government at that time, which made me eligible in all things, ... and I added my military time to it. So, it wasn't bad, and that was it.
SH: Had you stayed involved with Rutgers all those years?
RM: Yes, yes, to a degree. When I was living in New Jersey, I was very active in the [Rutgers] Alumni Association. I was on some, a lot, of their committees, because, as I said before, if I'm going to join something, I'm going to become active in it, and, while I was doing my doctoral work at Rutgers, I was part of Phi Delta Kappa, the honorary education [association], and I was in that three years and I became president of PDK, I guess the year before I got my degree. ... Then, with Rutgers, I became active in the Alumni Association and was working my way up through the chairs until I went on active duty and moved here. So, I couldn't become as active as I did, and, now, I've lost my ambition to become that. Look, I don't want to work myself up to become president of the Alumni Association. [laughter] ... So, that was it. So, I'm "retired" retired at this point, retired from the military, retired from business, and I'm just reading and everything else. Oh, unfortunately, I also retired from playing rugby, which I loved. Up to three years ago, I was still playing rugby, and retired from handball, since they don't have handball players around here. I never told you about my rugby.
SH: I was just going to say, that is a new one. You only told me about visiting England.
RM: Well, in France, when I first got there, [the] military is great for athletics, keep the troops active, and I said, "Fine, I'll be a coach and player on the base football team," and so, I started getting things ready, until I start looking and most of the players were part of air crews and these guys were going TDY [temporary duty], flying all the time. ... I said, "I can't get a decent practice going here," and I had this one NCO, who was a heck of a ballplayer, and he felt the same way and I had met, I was base security officer, assistant security officer, so, I got to know everybody on base, and I got to know this Welshman who was working in the civil engineering ... office, and he said, "You're playing football?" He said, "What's that?" I said, "Well, it's football," and I explained. He said, "Just like our game of rugby." I said, "Rugby? What the heck is rugby?" "Well," he said, "since you don't have a football team, come out for rugby and we'll show you what it's about. Come out Saturday morning and we'll show you what it's all about." So, I had my football spikes at that time, [which] were low quarters. So, I went out. They picked you up, the bus went to the place. It was Bernay, I still remember, and I knew very little French at the time. I was spoiled. Barbara could speak French and, in our squadron, we had our regular translator who did all the work, plus, he was a heck of a good guy and he also played bridge. ... He loved playing bridge. As an aside, he had, as his bridge partner, a Marine, French Marine, colonel, okay, who lived in Evreux, who had been in the French Congo, across the river in, what the heck was it? Brazzaville, well, across the river from Leopoldville, in the French-controlled Africa, and so, we ended up playing bridge with him, and Rene and Barbara, and he introduced us to grappa, but we became good friends. ... I was in charge of all training, as security officer, including weapons, and I had to put my troops through gas training. They had to go with the gas masks and everything else, and he had this range, outside of Dreux, that was an old, old range that was a hundred yards long, contained, with a roof, and, at the end of it, where they had the targets, you could put gas in there. So, we arranged it so that we would go and use his range, put my troops through the gas and the gas masks and what-have-you, and bivouac there for the night. Well, we did. It was a tradeoff, though. I had to supply him with; we had, as our rifles, the Springfield '03s, which were old, but were so accurate, you could reach out and touch what you're looking at it, and he had a rifle team, that he wanted to practice with them. So, I said, "Fine. I'll let you borrow those, you let me borrow your range." So, we went down to the range and we put them through the gas testing course and we went down there in a bus. So, that night, we ... bivouacked, and the NCOs and I went into the bus, where the light was on, and we started playing pinochle. He said, "Well, you can't [fraternize], you know, with the troops." Hey, my troops were good troops. They knew when to and when not to. So, we're in there playing pinochle when, all of a sudden, we hear a "pop" and they had opened up the doors to the bus and threw in a tear gas bomb. They figured, boy, ... at this point, they can get us all, and they did, and we rush out of the bus, but, as we rush out of the bus, my first sergeant closes the doors. Next morning rolls around, we couldn't figure out how the heck they got there; somehow, they picked up on it. Next morning rolls around, the bus doors are all closed. He says, "All right, everybody turn in their gas masks." So, they all turned in their gas masks, ... except the NCOs and except me. He says, "All right, into the bus," and they said, "But, but, tear gas." "Oh? What do you mean tear gas?" So, the driver and we had our gas masks, put the troops in the bus. They're dying in there, with ... the residuals, ... and so, halfway through, we opened it up and let the air it out and we said, "Do not fool with us." [laughter] ... Anyway, we lent him ... the '03s and he lent us the range and that was good, but, as I said, those were some of the good times, in the range, had some bad times, though. We had two airplane crashes while I was there; ... well, three. One was in Africa. One of our crews flew into Mount Kilimanjaro, lost the whole crew and some. It seems that it was a pilot error. He had forgot to adjust his altimeter, and so, he flew into it. Then, we had another one, in France. They had fog and he forgot, the same thing, lost another thirteen, fourteen guys. So, ... I had to send my troops down to [the crash sites], my operations, and we practiced this all the time, had to send them down to clean up the mess, and so forth, put security around it and what-have-you. ... We practiced this security drill all the time, and then, finally, the last one happened on base. One of the T-Birds, we had T-Birds there to keep a lot of the pilots proficient, and I was over in our operations office, across the runway, when, all of a sudden, we hear this crash, we see a flame go up, and, luckily, we had trained [for this]. So, I took the NCO and I and we got on ... our truck and immediately went to the area, sent out the five hundred feet, fifteen hundred feet, the whole process worked beautifully, you know, the troops were good, everything worked. So, we start moving in to find out what's what and the T-33 is burning. It seemed that it had trouble taking off and it lost one of its tip tanks, which burst into flames, and there were two passengers, one of my friends, who was in the air operations, and one of our doctors, a flight doctor, physician. ... It appeared that when they got down, he landed and the tank went underneath and burst into flames and the doctor panicked and hit the eject. ... He's on the ground and [it] ejects him up a couple hundred feet, comes back down into the flames on his head. The pilot, Leonard, got out, few burns, and so forth. So, we're rushing up and we ask, "What's going on?" and my troops had already gotten posted. I said, "It's Byers," and Byers was the name of two of my friends. One was the doctor, and I had to go in close and we had to move things around and it was all burned, everything else, couldn't recognize him. ... Everything worked out well as far as what we're supposed to do and that, and then, we took everything off to the hospital and asked for a report and it was my friend who was a flight surgeon, Gene Byers, and he was due to go home in a week, and he left his wife and three kids back. He was a good physician, but I couldn't recognize him. So, everything was perfect, except that, and that was it. ...
SH: Was there some kind of mechanical failure with the tank?
RM: Yes, it came loose, and, actually, if he would not have panicked, he would have gotten through, and then, another one of my neighbors was killed on another base and he left four kids and a wife, in Atlanta. So, the 130s were not totally safe. ...
SH: When the plane crashed that was part of the UN operation in Africa, could you just go in and do what you had to do there? Were there any restrictions as far as the other governments?
RM: Well, at that time, well, I frankly don't know how they got in, because the operations took care of the whole thing. All I had to do is pick my men, assign them, get the vehicles loaded, so [that] they would go in down there and do it, secure it, take their weapons. So, I honestly don't know.
SH: Were there any operations that you know of that involved the Central Intelligence Agency?
RM: No, no. I had a good friend I played rugby with, and went to graduate school [with], who I always felt was CIA. [laughter] He was ... in the Far East, and then, when he was doing his graduate work with us, he was a Marine officer, ex-Marine officer; of course, there's never an ex-Marine. ... He ended up in Saudi Arabia, getting, what was it? on the first evacuees and he lost everything over there. It wasn't in Saudi Arabia, it was in, where? I forget where. ... So, he's fluent in Chinese. He did some traveling in China, ... when he retired. He was an educator, ... he got his doctorate and he was a crazy guy, good rugby player. Oh, we finally got back to rugby; sooner or later, my mind manages. Anyway, that Saturday, I was supposed to go and see what rugby was like with my spikes. I thought it was a practice. Well, the cows had just gotten off the field and, in those days, I weighed, what? 172, 175 pounds. I finally had matured. I was no longer the seventeen-year-old kid who began at Rutgers, I was just turned twenty-one and graduated and had really matured, finally reached my full growth of about 173 pounds, five-foot-nine. I still had all the speed I had at Rutgers, which was, at that time, relatively good, but I was short and stocky, at least they thought, and it was all [muscle]. Anyway, they put me [in] what they called; it was a game. I said, "Neville," his name was Neville Rolands; how did I remember that? "Neville," I said, "this was supposed to be a practice." He said, "Well, best way to learn is in a game." [laughter] I said, "But, I don't know any of the rules." "You'll learn." He said, "Always pass backwards and stay onsides." "Onsides?" ... So, I started out as a prop. A prop, in rugby, is, ... they have two props who support the hooker, and the hooker is really a kicker, all right, and then, they have two men in back who are the forwards, and then, they have an eight and two wings, they call them. So, it's a compact pack, the scrum-[half]. ... The fly-half tosses the ball in-between, the other side has it in there, like, two balls, throws it in-between and the hooker is supposed to get the ball back out, so [that] you can start your attack. So, I was one of the props, because I was stocky and short and I looked like a prop; turned out I was the second-fastest guy on the team, all right. The fastest guy was an ex-paratrooper, French paratrooper, well, they were all French, except Neville, and he was the fastest, by just a scooch. So, I start out as the prop and learning the rules as we go along, learning that, in rugby, you always have to pass backwards, you have to be onsides, meaning behind the ball, at all times. It's sort of like soccer, to a degree, and that when you get tackled, you're supposed to let the ball go and pass it on. Now, [in] American football, you never let the ball go.
SH: That is right. [laughter]
RM: We never practiced. So, the first time I get tackled, I don't fumble, you know, and they're trying to get the ball. They're grabbing and grabbing and I'm holding tighter and tighter and they're grabbing. Then, eventually, now, they're starting to go in with their feet, you know, and then, they're starting to pick me up and throw me, [laughter] and I'm saying, "Oh," and then, finally, Neville breaks through, "Let the ball go." So, I let the ball go, my own teammate, and he says, "You're supposed to let the ball go when you're tackled." I said, "It's a little late." [laughter] So, I learned that rule, but it was [the case that], playing American football, and I played first team at Rutgers, offense, defense, so, I knew a little bit of the game, they tackled high, I tackled low. ... They weren't used to it. So, when I came in to drive, I drove them into the ground and, unfortunately, I hurt one kid, and then, another one, when you're running; I have two records at Rutgers I'm proud of. One of them is for a 132-yard gain in twelve carries. That's before, and then, the other was a sixty-eight-yard punt return score. So, those, I'm still in the books for that, whatever it means. That and a buck-ninety-five will get me a cup of coffee. [laughter]
SH: Did you make the Hall of Fame?
RM: Yes, the Hall of Fame. [laughter] So, ... they're not used to tackling an American football player. So, they tried tackling me low; didn't work. I have hard knees. Anyway, I loved the game and I learned the rules and I played with them for three years and they were a fantastic bunch of people. ... The hooker, in-between, Rene, Rene was a stock market salesman in Rouen, and he came up to me, and he spoke a little English. None of the players really spoke [anything other than] French, and it was a hell of way getting [into] communicating, but ... he said, "I hate Americans." I said, "Oh?" He said, "Yes. What are you doing here in our country?" I said, "I have to be here. It's my job." "Well, I hate Americans. It's a shame I have to play next to you." "Fine," you know, didn't say a word, didn't argue. At the end of the three years, he came over to my house with a gift for my daughter. He said, "I still don't like Americans, but you're my friend." [laughter] ... I have a rugby ball; when I had to go, they had a little party for me and they gave me a rugby ball, signed by everybody, and he gave me that statue there, on the Victrola.
SH: Wow, that is great.
RM: And he gave Barbara a big bouquet of roses, and he said, "For putting up with him for three years and letting us have him." [laughter]
SH: How nice.
RM: And, on that team, you had the deputy mayor, you had plumbers, I mean, it was just egalitarian. It was fantastic, and, well, after three years, the second year, we made the finals in the All-France, for the county. We were from Evreux, which was Normandy Province, and we had knocked off a few teams. ... Finally, we're in there playing the Racing Club of Paris, which was almost semi-professional at that time, and we played them for the finals and we lost, 3-0, by a drop kick, and it was fantastic, I mean, but it was fun.
SH: You found places here to play rugby.
RM: Yes. When I came back, we lived in Montvale and I started playing with the New York Rugby Club, which [is a] really good club, and they had all kinds of Europeans playing on there. Very few Americans played rugby at the time, but I was in an automobile accident; was it the week before Kennedy was assassinated? I think, whatever, and my back was giving me problems. So, this is, I guess this is, yes, this is '64? Well, I was playing with [the New York Rugby Club] in '65.
SH: I am trying to think, 1962; no, 1963.
RM: No; '63? and I was in and out of it. I banged up my back. So, I ... only played with them for, what? a year-and-a-half, and that was it, until I came to Washington. Then, I saw they have rugby players, ... teams, all over it, and I saw one game and it looked like some old-timers. I said, "What are they?" "Oh, they're over thirty-five. They're playing rugby." I said, "Oh?" So, I called up and this one club, the Poltroons, ... they said, "Yes, you can come play with us, but West Potomac is looking for someone." So, I called up West Potomac, spoke to one of the sponsors, and he said, "Yes, come on down." So, I went down to a practice game and they were playing against some Fiji Islanders. Fiji Islanders are crazy, and I played, for New York, I played wing and fullback. Fullback is your last man in there, and, because of my speed, they finally switched me, and they didn't know who the heck this old guy was. I mean, "Old?" I was, what, forty-eight? "What does he want?" and old guys are thirty-five and above. So, I did all right, and I got nailed one time. Oh, they hit me, thought I'd never get up, but I did, and they said, "He got up." [laughter] "Maybe he can play rugby." So, I did and I ended up playing with them from, oh, what the heck was it? 1984 until up to three years ago. ... They have two teams. They have the old boys, over thirty-five, and then, they have the young guys. I was playing both, young guys on Saturday, old boys on Sunday. ... On the young guys, I mean, ... I may have been forty-eight, but I was faster than most of them, because I was still in shape. ... Well, no, when I went to the Pentagon, I was up to, what? 195 pounds, still in shape, and we had some good tussles. ... I played a lot of old boys and played in one tournament, again, to tell you another war story, ... but we were playing in a tournament and I was playing, it was West Potomac, and I was playing winger, which is out on the side. ... I was, what, at the time, sixty-five? sixty-four, sixty-five, and playing wing and the players over to the side of my side, and my other teammates were on the side, cheering, and so forth, and this young kid comes, gets the ball and comes running down the sideline and he sees me there and he aims right for me. I nail him. I mean, I give him a head fake and nail him and he goes down and gets up slowly, and the guys on the sideline say, "You let yourself be tackled by a guy collecting Social Security?" [laughter] "You let yourself be tackled by a guy [collecting Social Security]?" [laughter] He never came my way again. ... It was good. You meet some great guys, it's fantastic, on both teams, all walks of life, PhDs, lawyers, again, and so forth, people who just love the game they're playing. In fact, when I was in the Air Force, I took off a week, they gave me a week to represent the Air Force in an old boys tournament in Australia.
RM: We went to Australia via New Zealand and Tahiti. In Tahiti, we played their national old boys team, early, eight o'clock in the morning, because it was too hot otherwise, and then, we went to New Zealand and played their team, got our clocks wound, then, moved to New Zealand and we realized what it's really about, but had a blast. I was, what? fifty, at the time, I guess, yes. They wanted me to wear shorts that indicated I was fifty, so [that] they would take it easy. I said, "Are you kidding? I mean, I'm wearing the same shorts all the young guys are wearing," [laughter] and we had a ball. ... So, I got my trip to Australia, but in the Air Force. ...
SH: That is great.
RM: ... I've had an interesting life, interesting life.
SH: Well, it certainly sounds like the naïve, little boy from Allentown, as you called yourself, had some experiences.
RM: Yes, yes, I've been around a little bit. We've been to China, we went on a trip, Yangtze River cruise, been to Turkey for a two-week tour there, went all the way out to Cappadocia, went to Egypt, Turkey, China, all the in-betweens. ... In fact, we just got back from a Danube River cruise. ... We love traveling.
SH: I thank you so much for taking time to talk with me today.
RM: I hope I didn't waste your time. I mean, I went rambling. This was one of the few chances [I get].
SH: This is great, thank you so much.
RM: You're [welcome]. Anything else about Rutgers? I mean, ... I was elected into Loyal Sons a few years ago for what I had done for Rutgers and what-have-you, in writing the article, and they said, "What took you so long?" I said, ... "I've been writing this article for, what? forty-five years."
SH: You were class correspondent.
RM: As class correspondent for almost forty-five years. I wasn't the original. He died or gave it up, and then, I picked up soon after that. So, I think I missed the first one, and [I was] active, of course, in reunions, which our fiftieth is coming up. ... I keep all the guys in touch with everything, which is great. So, they call me when they want to find out what's going on, but Don Taylor and [them], ... they do a heck of a job. It should be real interesting.
SH: It sounds like it is going to be a great reunion.
RM: Oh, yes, yes. We're getting reports in now and we're trying to get Frankie Burns to be our guest. Unfortunately, Frankie is under the weather, not doing well. ... Two years ago, I went down for one of the games and he was walking with Bob Mulcahy, the AD [athletic director], and they were talking and Frankie saw me and he stopped and he said, "Maxie, what are you doing?" He always calls me "Maxie," and he said, "Come over here." So, I come over and Mulcahy says, "Come on, Frank, we've got to go somewhere," all right, he wasn't interested in meeting me at all, and Frankie says, "No, no, this is one of my ballplayers. I want to introduce you." He said, "Come on, we've got to go, we've got to go." He said, "No, this is one of my ballplayers. I'm giving him my time," and he did, [laughter] you know, he's the head coach. He's unbelievable. ... When we went to single wing, we weren't doing it right and he was our coach. He said, "You guys aren't doing ... this play right. In fact, an old lady could do it." In those days, of course, you didn't worry about [offending people]. So, we said, "No, Coach, no." So, he got down in front of the center and he said, "All right, get moving," and he broke up the wedge. [laughter] He broke up the wedge, I mean, talk about a hard-nosed son of a gun. He was just a gem. You can't find any like him, and, when he coached, he coached the right way.
SH: Who coached you your senior year? You said Harmon left.
RM: Oh, yes, John Stiegman. John Stiegman came in the end of sophomore year. ...
SH: Sophomore year?
RM: Junior year, yes, end of the year, because football was over and they got rid of Harvey, at that time, and Stiegman came in then and he coached us our junior year/senior year, and then, ... we were the first team, 6-5, after that, no, 5-4, to have a winning season in how many years, but, then, of course, our freshman class went undefeated. So, we went 5-4 and Stiegman was upset with that, rightly so, but we had ... changed to the single wing from the "T." Then, the next year, he went 8-1, and they lost to Quantico, which was a stupid team to play, and Billy Austin, who was a senior that year, hurt his hand the game before. So, he didn't play, which was probably [why we lost], but Billy made All-American that year. So, the previous year, Billy, again, was tailback, I was a wingback, sharing the duties, ... and then, the problem [was], at that point, you played both ways, which was great, but you can only [go in once]. If you're taken out during that quarter, you cannot go back in. So, it was a limited substitution rule. There wasn't free substitution. So, you had to plan when you were taking a person out, when you could put him back in again, and so forth. ... So, it was a pain, but, all three years, I earned my letter at Rutgers, sophomore, junior, senior. ... Well, I didn't quite enjoy junior year that much. Stiegman was a real taskmaster. He knew football; oh, he knew football like nobody else.
SH: Where did he come from?
RM: Princeton. They ran the single wing at Princeton. He brought the single wing [in], and we said, "Single wing?" Burnsie told me, he said, "You're going to be a wingback, Maxie." He said, "You're going to start over there." I said, "Coach," I said, "I've got to run backwards. I've never run backwards in my life." [laughter] He said, "You're going to be the wingback," and I did okay. ... Well, then, Billy Austin did well and, senior year, he became an All-American. Two years later, I think, Bob Simms became an All-American, Alex Kroll; ... well, then, he lost and Bateman came in, and then, Bateman had the, what, the 9-0? but he did that with the recruits of Stiegman, and John never got credit for that, but that's what happened.
SH: Is there anything else that I have forgotten to ask you about?
RM: Oh, I don't know. I talked about too much.
SH: I certainly thank you for doing this.
RM: Well, if there's anything that you think of that we didn't cover, give me a call, ... because I'm starting to remember a lot of things now. You know, some of them are [little]. [laughter] I remember when we were getting ready for summer camp, junior, yes, junior year. ... We had to get our physicals and shots the beginning of our junior year, and Al Ports, who dropped out that year, unfortunately, was a center and he was in back of me for getting shots and they used to give their shots with the gun, "Boom," pop them into the arm, you know, "Pop, pop, pop, pop." A lot of times, they didn't go in right, ... and they also had needles. ... In football season, you're in shape in the beginning, in September. I mean, as a young kid, you don't have an ounce of fat on you, you're just all muscle-bound, right, and I had fairly good arms. So, they come up, inject me with the needle, all right, pull it out and the needle sticks. You know, I look at it and I say, "Oh," pull it out. ... Al looks at it and faints. [laughter] I mean, he was this big, tough center and he faints, talk about war stories, ... and the same one you heard, too, we're taking the ASVAB [Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery], the test for pilot training. We're taking [the test], again, in this room and it's all morning, ... four to six hours of testing, and we're sitting in there and we're getting antsy. ... Finally, I think it was me, but, probably, somebody would argue against it, we just get out of our mind and we're going over this part of the test, that you have to find out whether you're flying left or right. ... Finally, someone goes, [Dr. Max makes aircraft flight noises], you know, [laughter] and we're breaking up, but we needed something. That's probably why I didn't make it. [laughter]
SH: You might have your answer right there. [laughter]
RM: Yes. It's easy, you're bringing back so many days that I forgot, good people. I was blessed with knowing good people in education, in the Reserve, I mean, they're just powerful people, active duty. You talked about, "What about Vietnam?" and you had so many guys who volunteered to do the extra duty, to go. Unfortunately, ... I remember, when we were at Hickam, when we went to Hickam for our tour, they said, "No, no, guys aren't getting killed. It's slowed down." Across the field, in one of the landing areas, we saw these metal coffins. They were bringing them out by the dozens, bringing them out by the dozens, and then, I said, "Boy, I do not believe a word they tell me after that, not at all." So, that was the closest I got to Vietnam, but I felt it. I felt it. ... As I say, a lot of our guys went there and, now, this last one, in DESERT STORM, my old squadrons were recalled to active duty, to run aerial ports, and, again, a lot of them, a lot of the volunteers, aerial ports always send out a lot of volunteers. You always need people to carry the cargo, to load and unload those aircraft and get things in. They're a great breed of person, but what brought it home [was], of course, my son, Steven, who went into the military, ROTC from West Virginia, went to the DMZ [Demilitarized Zone] for his first year, as a second lieutenant, in Korea, went to intel school, came back, went to advanced intel, went to the 82nd Airborne, jump qualified, well, he jumped as a junior, became an instructor, jump instructor. ... As the intel officer for the brigade, he was sent over to Saudi Arabia and over to Iraq, and, as I said, as the "road bumps," two thousand. What could two thousand do? nothing. If they [the Iraqis] wanted to move, they [the Americans] were just road bumps, but he was there for the full duration. He was one of the first to go and they said, "Well, we're going to rotate, the first in, the first out." No, no, he didn't come first out, and he had seen some combat, but because he felt that ... his troops weren't getting intelligence from the other services, from the Air Force, from the other units [that] were there. So, he went out to gather it himself, and ... they had a Black Hawk [UH-60 helicopter] unit as part of his regiment. So, he used to go out on the Black Hawks and start looking around and getting first-hand information, because he says, "I've got to protect my crews," and such. ... This is the only story he ever told me. They landed, to look around. He saw some Iraqis down below, walking around with their hands up. So, they got down and they walked over to where they were, behind the dune, and Steven walked over by himself and the Iraqis. He said you had about a dozen Iraqis, and he said, "Why did I walk over?" [laughter] He said, "All they had to do was pull out their guns and I was dead," and he said, "but they didn't. They had their hands up and they walked on by." ... The kids from school sent him letters, it was a different type of war, when they came back, to a degree, but it's interesting, as I say, full cycle, my brother, Willie, went to North Africa, Steven went to North Africa, and I went into the Reserve to, hopefully, [make sure] that my son wouldn't have to go. I get out, he goes; remarkable.
SH: That is; again, my thanks.
RM: Oh, entirely welcome. Thanks for letting me reminisce.
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