Shaun Illingworth: This begins an interview with Arthur S. Hozore on May 24, 2006, in Highland Park, New Jersey, with Shaun Illingworth. Thank you, both of you, for having me here today, and to begin, could you tell me where and when you were born?
Arthur Hozore: I was born in Brooklyn, September 14, 1917.
SI: What was your father's name?
AH: Herman Louis Hozore.
SI: Where was he born?
AH: In Russia.
SI: Do you know anything about his life in Russia before he immigrated?
AH: Yes, being a Jew in Russia was kind of tough then, and his parents sent him to another town to live with a rabbi and learn, get some education, and, later, his younger brother, Harry, joined him, and I remember him talking about the winter time. They were in the Ukraine and when he tried to take the horse and buggy somewhere, there were no street signs, or roads, or anything, so on the way back, he would just let the horse go.
SI: The horse knew the way back home?
AH: Yes. Then, he decided he wanted to come to this country, but he didn't think that his parents or brothers and sister would come, so, he served three years in the Russian army because he felt if he wanted to go back and visit them, he didn't want to be nabbed and put in the army for the rest of his life. It had happened prior to that. He came to this country, well, let me cue a little back, where stubbornness, he was sitting in the barracks one day with a friend of his when the sergeant walked in and threw a boot to him and a boot to his friend to polish them. My father picked it up, threw it back at him, and said, "Where does it say you have to polish it?" He never polished them, but I'm sure he paid for it very much so. At any rate, he came to this country in 1911. His first job paid five dollars a week and right across the street from him, for lunch, was a tavern that had free lunch. So, he'd buy a beer for a nickel, and I don't know if you've ever seen it, but I remember when they'd have food all laid out; cold cuts, and such, and he'd have his lunch, and then, he met Mother. How they met I really have no idea, and they went together and after a while Mother said something, he either or get off the pot. "Do you want to marry me or do you want just date? If you wanted just date, forget it, and if you come next Wednesday, I'll know that you're serious," which is what happened and they went to be married, and going through the junk, I found the bill for the wedding.
SI: Really, wow.
Becca Hozore: I didn't know that.
AH: Oh, I showed it to you back then. At any rate, it was like eleven dollars and change. Mother knew the fellow that owned the hall so he didn't charge for the hall, but he charged like three dollars tip for the waiter, and then so much for a bottle of whiskey, and so much for seltzer and whatever but it came to eleven dollars and change.
SI: Where was it held, do you know?
AH: In Brooklyn, and Mother was a pusher. She said to Dad, "You can't go through life working for somebody else." So, he opened a little tailor shop in Brooklyn and there was an older boy born before me who died. She was in the hospital and he died first. I never got the reason, or whatever, and from then on, she had two more children. She would not go to the hospital. She had them at home. And I was born in Brooklyn and, I guess, when I was about a year-and-a-half old, we moved. Dad made a partnership with somebody in the wholesale dry cleaning plant, which was on Harvey Street in New Brunswick, and they moved here and lived on Jersey Avenue for maybe a year or so. ...Then, moved to Highland Park, 116 North Fourth Avenue, and several years later, Norma my sister was born there. She is three-and-a-half years younger than I and then Dad had a house built by the Zamost Brothers on Montgomery Street, 224 Montgomery Street, and we moved there, I guess, when I was maybe four or five [years old], and lived there for the rest of my growing up. Do you want to hear about Mother?
SI: Yes, please. She was also born in Russia.
AH: She was also born in Russia and also very stubborn because at sixteen her mother said, "You're marrying Joe Blow." Mother said, "No," and she made her go through the ceremony and Mother, she told her husband, ah, ah. When he realized that, he gave her a divorce and, at sixteen years of age, she came to this country, by herself, and it had to be about 1906 or 7, and to continue that, about her family, her mother was very domineering person. She was the business woman of the family. Her father I never knew, but I knew her mother. But her father during one of the pogroms, stuck his head out the door to see who was over and caught a bullet that killed him. But her oldest brother, her mother did the same thing to him, and, after five years he decided enough and he walked to Poland, I believe. [He] came back several years later and told his mother, "Tell my wife I want a divorce," and she said, "Only if I can speak to her." Which she did, and gave him a divorce, and he went back. He became a rabbi in Kuttenplan by Marienbad, which was in Czechoslovakia, I believe it was part of Sudetenland, and had three children. The oldest boy was a district attorney in Prague. The girl was a teacher, and the boy was my age, and Paul was taking English in high school and I was taking German so we corresponded and I just ran across a picture of him and his father. But Hitler took care of all, except we heard the girl got out, but I've never been able to locate her, and that's basically the story of Mother.
SI: You mentioned earlier that the reason your father went in the army was because he didn't think his parents would ever come to the US.
AH: That's right. They did come. His parents did come and there was a girl and two boys. Harry, who was a little younger than Dad, never married. Jack married his first cousin and they had one son, who was an attorney, and, actually, he was in the Korean War at the Adjutant General's Office. He died rather young. He was in his fifties. His sister married and they had a girl, and he divorced his wife, and she ended up dying of what they used to call sleeping sickness. I forget what the named is for it today, and her daughter married and had two sons, and she's since died, and the sons, one of them is in Florida and the other one is in Texas. Seymour's children, he had two girls, one is married to a doctor and lives in Baltimore. He's at Johns Hopkins and the other one is married, oh, became a lawyer and still does practicing, and her husband edits the Maryland edition of the Washington Post. That's about my family.
SI: Your father's family was able to get out.
AH: Yes. They came, had to be, I guess, in the early twenties.
SI: Okay, so before anything really started.
SI: Your mother's family was mostly lost in the Holocaust?
AH: Yes, she had two older sisters. I never did know their names. One of the daughters came over here. Mother brought her over and she ended up in Montreal, married, and I'm sure she's gone now. She had a younger brother who came to this country, who was in the army for a while. He was just the sweetest guy. He never came to the house without bringing something for me and my sister, never. He died when I was fourteen, I guess, of stomach cancer. That's basically it. Her family is much more interesting.
SI: Well, your family is interesting, too. Your mother's father was killed in the pogrom.
SI: Did they ever tell you any other stories about pogrom or anti-Semitism in Russia?
AH: Oh, it was ridiculous. They couldn't own land, but they are evidently these tremendous plantations that were owned by Poles, who lived in Poland, and they would have a Jewish guy managing it, running it, then the Czar said, "Jews can't do that." So, they hired a peasant with a Jew, who did all the work anyway. But I'm reading now the history of the Jews in the modern era and anti-Semitism in Russia, and not only in Russia, but just about all over the world, and I'll blame the Christians for it, for this reason, I mean the non-Jews. They were so restricted in what they could do, but they couldn't control the mind so that every Jewish child got an education, and, I think that's why you get so many people like the Einsteins and Niels Bohr, and the rest of them.
SI: Well, it's kind of a theme I come across in the interviews, that education is very important like a cultural value, among Jewish families.
AH: Oh, yes, oh, yes, always was. That's about the extent of it at this point.
SI: I was very interested in the fact that your mother came over here by herself when she was very young, and that was really a time when women, didn't do that. They were restricted in what they could do. They didn't travel alone. Did she ever tell you any stories about that immigration process?
AH: Not really. One story I remember, Dad, he was in Rotterdam, and if you look at the old pictures of daddy in a mustache, and the guy said, "In America, they don't wear mustaches. Take it off."
SI: Did both of them come pretty much straight here, or did they settle anywhere else?
AH: Oh, no, no, they came straight here. There was an organization known as HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which met the boats and took Jewish people to families, their relatives, or whatever, from the boat so that they had a place to stay, and they took her to a cousin, Esther Kramer, and she lived with her for a while.
SI: I'm trying to do a little math. I would guess that your parents met pretty soon after they came over.
AH: I think they were married in 1915, either '14 or '15, because there was a boy prior to my birth in 1917.
SI: It took a few years after your father arrived. Your mother had already been here for about ten years maybe.
AH: Something like that, yes, and it was funny. When I started speaking, Mother would not speak English to me because she had an accent and she didn't want me to pick up the accent. So, I spoke just Yiddish. When I went out to play with kids, I spoke just Yiddish. But I don't think it would have made any difference, but that was the way she felt and I can't blame her for it. I can understand her feelings.
SI: Were they pushing this idea we have to Americanize and become really a part of the American culture?
AH: Oh, yes. Oh, very much so, and mother was active in school. She wanted to keep me from getting into trouble all the time. Dad was active in the Highland Park Conservative Temple. In fact, he was the treasurer for many, many years, and I and Morty Friedburg were the first ones bar mitzvahed in the Highland Park Temple when it was on Third Avenue, where the Masonic Lodge is now. That was the original temple. And as parents, you'd think that they were very confirmed addicts to kosher food. Well, they weren't. Dad loved lobster and things of that nature and anything I wanted to have at home, why, Mother provided it.
SI: But it sounds like they went to the synagogue often.
AH: Well, they went; I don't know how often, certainly on holidays.
SI: Well, he was the treasurer so he must ...
AH: Oh, yes. No, they ran a bingo game that he was very active in so that he participated. In fact, at the temple, they have a list of the original names and his name is on there.
SI: Before we leave your parents and talk about your own life, I wanted to ask you if there are any other stories about your father's military service.
AH: Well, the only thing I can say is this, when I went into the service, he never dissuaded me. In fact, he talked to one of his friends and it came back to me, in a round about way, that if I had tried to duck the service, which a lot of guys did then, he would have lost all respect for me. He had his first flight when I was in San Antonio in the cadet center. He came down and was scared to death, as it was his first flight, and on the way back he took his shoes off and relaxed, no problem thereafter. Mother would never fly.
BH: Oh, she took the train to San Antonio, and it was terrible for her.
SI: Yes, it was very crowded and...
BH: Lots of people everywhere.
SI: Yes, and passenger travel didn't get first priority.
BH: Oh, no. Oh, no.
SI: Okay, do you have any memories really of your life before, say living on 4th Avenue or Montgomery Street?
AH: On Montgomery Street, yes. In high school, I ran around with a Jewish crowd here in Highland Park, but in high school I also ran around with the Catholic crowd in New Brunswick.
SI: St. Peters?
AH: No, at that point Highland Park School just went to junior high and we had to go to New Brunswick High for the last two years. Florence Cowell her younger sister, Eleanor were in the crowd.
BH: Is Florence still alive?
AH: Yes, yes. Her sister is gone. Red Colligan, who was the assistant police chief in New Brunswick for a while, he's gone, Grace Sutphin, who moved up to her aunt's, up in North Jersey. I have no idea about her, but we still see Florence occasionally, and she's about it.
SI: So, you would hang out with the Jewish kids in Highland Park when you were maybe at home, and then when you were in school, you would hang with the Catholic kids?
AH: Yes. Yes, I was the only Jew in the bunch, but there was never a problem.
SI: Not like anti-Semitism or anything.
AH: I never ran into one, certainly not in that group to where we continued to see each other. In fact, I guess, about a year ago we saw Florence.
BH: I've spoken to her quite a few times on the phone.
AH: Yes, but she's in an assisted living and nursing home out in Far Hills.
SI: What about your neighborhood? What about the neighborhood at Fourth Avenue and also Montgomery, what was that like?
AH: At Montgomery Street, our neighbors, Dad built a two-family house and our neighbors downstairs were the Treishels. They were Catholic and he was a ceramic engineer here at Rutgers and never had a problem with them. The only one that I could remember being at all anti-Semitic was the Nelsons, who lived sort of across the street, but Ken Winterling, who lived next door to them, and I were friends, so that I didn't have any problems. I still am upset when I remember history classes in Franklin Junior High School talking about the crusades; what a wonderful thing they were, which they were anything but. Of course, at that time there was a tremendous amount of anti-Semitism and Father Coughlin, Henry Ford, any number of ministers from the Midwest; you had the German-American Bunds. They had a camp right out of Somerville. Thank God, we had Roosevelt who was the president, and he would have been impeached today for the things he did that Congress didn't know anything about, helping Britain and so on.
SI: You put down as that your family was Democrat.
SI: Were they involved in politics?
AH: No, they didn't get involved in those things. They just voted Democratic most of the time. At that time, when we first moved to Highland Park, it was a very Republican town. It was a blue town, so on Sunday every store had to be closed.
SI: That changed quite a bit.
AH: Even at that time, it was about a third, a third and a third, as far as religion was concerned. I mean, I personally didn't have any problems. Certainly, our children didn't have any problems, and they would go to school here.
SI: So, in general terms, growing up on Montgomery Street, what did you do for fun and what was the atmosphere of that neighborhood like? Did you have a lot of friends in the neighborhood?
AH: Oh, yes, yes.
SI: You played games in the street.
AH: Yes. I remember Mr. Krieger who would drive a horse and buggy with vegetables, and come up the street, and various women would come out and buy their fruits and vegetables from him, and there was also another Krieger, who had a sort of a delicatessen shop on Warren Avenue that I worked for for a very short period of time, and his son, [Krieger], founded GEICO. He bought it from the government and he has since died.
SI: Well, you know, just recently I've been looking over some interviews we'd done with people from Highland Park and it's just such a different world. There were so many dairies in the area, for example, who delivered through horse and buggy.
AH: Paulus Dairy, yes, and that was before homogenized milk, and in the winter time, you'd go down and get your bottle of milk, which was right outside the door, and it would be frozen to where the cream had popped the top up. I've still got a Paulus Dairy milk bottle downstairs; I want to give to somebody that keeps those things.
SI: Going back to Franklin Roosevelt, tell me your family was pretty much for him.
AH: Oh, yes, yes, very much for him. But even then, I don't know if you've heard the story about the ship, the St. Louis?
AH: Well, from here we turned him down, Cuba turned them down, England turned them down and they were taken back to Germany.
SI: Were you able to see any of the effects of the New Deal in the area, anything like the WPA [Works Progress Administration]?
AH: I certainly remember the WPA but I was not really involved with it. I knew of it, but I wasn't involved.
SI: Or maybe you saw that there were WPA projects around the area.
AH: Yes, yes.
SI: Did your father remain with the dry cleaning plant on Harvey Avenue?
AH: Yes, Harvey Street.
SI: I used to live over in that area and it is much different today. There is no industry there at all.
AH: Well, that senior citizen home on Harvey and Somerset was a cigar factory, and we were between Somersetand French.
SI: How big was the plant in terms of people, how many, roughly, did he employ?
AH: Between twenty and thirty, I guess.
SI: Were they Hungarian workers?
AH: They were. There was, oh, that was at that point in time you could speak Hungarian and have no problem at all if you didn't speak English. No, they were Hungarians, blacks, Jews and others. We had no problem in that area. In fact, right next door to the plant, Al Bendes worked in the plant and his parents lived there, and, I remember, they used to sit out on the porch and when I'd walk by, I had a little knowledge of Hungarian, and I said, "Hovat?" which is, "How are you?" and I always, always got the answer, "Nemyo," "No good," always. [laughter]
SI: It sounds like maybe you did some part-time work at the plant, maybe after schoolwork?
AH: Yes, yes.
SI: What would you do there?
AH: Whatever needed doing. Sometimes I'd go with the drivers because we had trucks that went as far up asJersey City and as far down as Trenton.
BH: I can remember when you were a driver, too, to fill in for somebody.
AH: You did what you had to do. That's pretty much the extent of it.
SI: This was a partnership between your father and somebody else?
AH: Yes, but then he bought the other guy out and it was all his. Oh, I remember working there before I went into the service, and we had a boiler that was coal fired, soft coal. We were going to convert when the war broke out, and, of course, with oil that wasn't the thing to do, so, sometimes the fireman wouldn't show up, so, I would have to be the fireman all night, which meant letting one part of the fire go down, pulling the ashes out, putting fresh coal in and then doing the same thing on the other side. So, I'd come home, at six or so in the morning, all black but no big deal.
SI: So, how did the business work? Did dry cleaning shops send their clothes to you?
AH: Yes, now all the dry cleaning shops have their own machinery; then they didn't. They were basically tailors and we would pick the dry cleaning up, clean it and bring it back to them.
SI: What was the name of the business?
AH: New Staten Island Cleaners and Dryers.
SI: So, you went to school here in Highland Park up until ...
AH: Through tenth grade.
SI: Then, you went to New Brunswick High.
AH: New Brunswick High for eleventh and twelfth.
SI: When did you graduate from New Brunswick High?
AH: 1934. Yes, 1934.
SI: So, you kind of graduated into the middle of the Great Depression.
SI: To begin with a general question, how did the Great Depression affect the area? How did you see its impact on your neighborhood in Highland Park?
AH: Well, it was tough. I mean, fortunately, Dad was able to keep the business going, so, we didn't suffer. But at that time, if somebody earned thirty dollars a week, he could be married, have a family, have a home and have a car, which is hard to imagine today.
SI: That is hard to imagine with that eleven dollars wedding bill. Do you know if your father's business was affected at all?
AH: Oh, yes. It sure was affected.
SI: Did he have to lay people off?
AH: I wasn't that much involved at that time, but they stayed in business and were in business during the war and certainly after.
SI: Well, when you were in high school, what were your favorite subjects and where did you think that your career would take you? What did you want to do after school?
AH: Of course, Mother always said, "You go to college and be a doctor," which I think every Jewish mother did, but it wasn't my cup of tea. I'm trying to think of what I enjoyed.
SI: Math and science or ...
AH: I think I enjoyed history and I'm still sort of involved and enjoying that. But then, when I went to Missouri, I got a degree in business administration.
SI: I mean, graduating into the Great Depression, were the prospects slim or did you have fears that you wouldn't be able to get a job or ...
AH: I wasn't concerned about that because I could always go into the plant. But I wanted to go to a small school, which was similar to Rutgers, in a small town, and Missouri fit the bill. It was a town of twelve thousand. They had five thousand, of whom fifteen hundred were ag [agriculture] students. They were ag students and then there was Christian College for Women and Stevens College for Women. Stevens is still there. Of course, now the university is humongous. We went back for our fiftieth, and we were back there, I guess, about five or six years ago. I got lost as soon as I got into town.
BH: I remember that. [laughter]
AH: It is a city of like eighty-four or eighty-five thousand now. But I had a room, at Clay Cooper's mother's house before I went out there and room and board, which was every meal except Sunday night, twenty-five [dollars] a month, and then, I went into the fraternity so that cost me more. That was like forty dollars a month.
SI: So, you went right from high school to the university?
AH: No, I was at NYU for a year-and-a-half, and then I went out there.
SI: So, when you were looking at colleges, why did you first go to NYU, and then why did you decide to switch to Missouri?
AH: Because I wanted a small-town school. I was at the Heights at NYU up, it's no longer up there, but it was like before Fordham Road but ...
SI: Up in the Bronx?
SI: And you were in business administration at NYU?
AH: No, actually, I was in pre-med. It was decided for me, ain't my thing.
SI: Were you living on the campus there, or were you commuting?
AH: Yes, that's a rough commute. No, I was living on campus.
SI: I am used to interviewing Rutgers grads about their experiences, it was so different between going to college in the 1930s, and, going to college after the war and later. There was hazing and all that. Did you have that?
AH: Oh, boy, oh, yes. Yes, the initiation, they beat the crap out of you, and I had this little Canadian guy, Abe Bye, who ended up being an aeronautical engineer. One of the hazes, they'd put you on your knees before the toilet, and you thought there was crap in there. What they did was put bananas in there and made you pick it up and eat it. He wouldn't touch it. He just got the hell beat out of him. He would not touch it.
BH: Was that Abe?
SI: Was that in the fraternity house?
SI: Was there any kind of general hazing of freshmen at NYU?
AH: I don't know about up there. I don't recall that, but I know here at Rutgers when they had the beanies, and if an upperclassman whistled, they had to run until they were out of his sight.
SI: Did you consider any other schools like Rutgers or...
AH: No, not really. When I went out to Missouri we had a great bunch of guys in the fraternity house, and it was a wonderful experience because we continued the friendship. In fact, when the kids gave us a fiftieth anniversary party, one of my roommates came out from St. Louis. One of her friends came up from Dallas. Another friend, I think he was from Boston at that time, came down. But we kept in touch. Well, now there's only one left. He's out in Chicago. He was head of clinical psych [psychology] at the University of Iowa for about twenty years and ended up being head of the psych department on the Chicago campus, University of Illinois. His wife died a couple of years ago, who we knew as well, and we spoke to him, oh, maybe about a month ago. I was in the cadet program and walking down the hall one day and ran into him. He was there and...
SI: Down in San Antonio?
AH: In San Antonio, the head of the psych department at Missouri kept looking for Farber and caught him. He was in California, about to be shipped to the Pacific in infantry and had him yanked out and brought him down there because that was his field. His wife was a nurse, Billy. In fact, our older one had to have her tonsils out and Billy got Beck to the doctor to operate.
SI: I'm not sure about NYU, but at the University of Missouri did you have to be involved in the ROTC or anything like that?
AH: No, I wasn't. They had an artillery outfit and they used to have horses pull the artillery, they'd guide the horses. No I wasn't involved in ROTC.
SI: I wasn't sure if that was a land grant college.
AH: I don't know. I think it was but I'm not sure.
SI: Okay, but ROTC wasn't mandatory.
SI: It was just such a big switch to go from the New York-New Jersey area to pick Missouri, was it just at random that you just found a place that had all the things that you wanted, or did somebody know?
AH: No, no. That was basically it.
SI: You just kind of looked it up and decided that's the place for me. You didn't know anybody in the area or anyone that was going there?
SI: Is that where the two of you met?
SI: During that period, how did you meet?
AH: Well, she was in the sorority there. She had been at the University of Texas and after one semester she told her mother, "I'm not coming back here. I'm with everybody that I was with growing up." So, she came up, sort of before I did, and that fall in dances, she was a great dancer and I liked to dance, so we met and she also had the oddest name I'd ever heard, Beccacile. She had two grandmothers and they didn't want to insult either one of them, so they named her Rebecca and Celia. And she was going with Bert Herske.
BH: Oh, God, yes, I remember that.
AH: His father was the vice-president of American Standard, and Bert knew all of the steps but had absolutely no rhythm.
BH: Music didn't matter.
AH: So, that's what started us going together in the fall. Then, on Valentine's Day of the next year, she took my pin. We had a little sisterhood pin that we would give them and I'd have to send a box of candy to the sorority house and box of cigars to the fraternity house, and that next June, we married secretly.
SI: Did they have rules at the university that you couldn't be married?
AH: No, no, but we didn't want to get married in Columbia because they'd put it in the paper. So, my roommate and I, he came with us to Jefferson City and they said I had to be twenty-one. "How old are you?" "Twenty-one." "How old are you?" She said, "Eighteen," which was her age. The gal reached for the phone and said, "What's your home number? I'll call your mother for permission." "No, that's all right. Forget about it." So, we dropped Chic off and went around to Boonville, on the other side of Columbia. We were both twenty-one. [laughter]
BH: Didn't have to prove anything.
AH: Because when it came out that we were married everybody said, "Oh, Beck's pregnant." Well, she had a long pregnancy, about four-and-a-half years. [laughter]
SI: As you were getting through the University of Missouri, what were your plans for afterwards, for after graduation?
AH: I really didn't have any plans to speak of, and we ended up in South Carolina where she was born, inGreenwood, for about a year-and-a-half, I guess.
BH: I don't remember.
AH: I think so, and that's where our older daughter was born. Then, I came up here and she came up. We had our first apartment on Huntington Street. We had an apartment there. Sixty-four was it, or one-eighty-four? I don't know. Anyway, then, we moved up, off Livingston Avenue, where we rented a duplex, and from there I went into the service.
SI: What were you doing, both in Greenwood and then when you came up here?
AH: In Greenwood, I worked for Carr Biscuit for a while, and I worked for Long Motorline for a while, but that was getting me nowhere, so I came up here and went in with Dad.
SI: Okay, so you went in the family business. What were you doing at Carr Biscuit?
AH: Almost lost this finger; in the production of biscuits.
SI: You were in the manufacturing end of it. So, when you came back to the New Brunswick area and went in the business with your father, you came in like, the late Depression era and then, kind of getting into the World War II period. What did you know about what was going on in the world then about Hitler and Europe?
AH: Oh, we knew about Hitler and certainly Father Coughlin and that whole bunch. I was aware; always pretty much had been aware of world events.
SI: Did you read the paper often or listen to the radio?
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SI: This is side two of tape one.
SI: Did you see any local New Jersey Bund activity, any marches, or were you aware of anything like that?
AH: I didn't see any marches but I was certainly aware of their activities. It was that little town just out ofSomerville up toward Bernardsville.
SI: Yes, it was Camp Nordland or something?
AH: I forget what the name was, but I was certainly aware of it. But it's funny, at that time, we thought that was part of living.
SI: Did you and your family and your friends talk about, you know, "We need to give aid to Britain," or, "We should get involved with the war," or, "We should just be isolationist and stay out?"
AH: No, we were not isolationists. We were well aware that if Hitler won, we were next, and you certainly couldn't ignore that.
SI: Did you have to register for the pre-war draft in 1940?
AH: I'm sure I had to register. But I was already married then.
SI: Okay, like every six months, did you have to go and tell them? Basically, get a deferment?
AH: No, no, no, I knew what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go, and so that was why I had the operations on my nose. After that, I was set to go in, and, well, I got them to hold off until my younger daughter was born. ...We got her on a plane to Atlanta, where her uncle was a physician, and my mother-in-law took my older girl down to Greenwood, and then I drove the car down to Greenwood and came back and went in. Reported to Fort Dix and we're given exams. It seems to me I got one-forty-two on it, whatever that meant, I don't know. Then, they put us on a train to Biloxi, Mississippi and we were there, locked up for like five weeks in basic training. ...The first Saturday they let us out, a master sergeant gave us a warning, "Don't forget in Mississippi, if they're under twelve, it's statutory rape." But, of course, I'd been married then and so that was no problem. ... That was where we took our exams for flight training. I mean, if you flunked it, you were in the Army, period. You're an enlisted man. If you passed it, then, like, I qualified for all three. I think you had to do between the six or the nine; I had a nine, nine, six; navigator, bombardier, and pilot. So, then, we were sent to San Antonio and the train left Biloxi, and they put us on a siding in New Orleans, right alongside the Greisidik Brewing Company, and here they come with cases of beer onto the train.
BH: I remember that.
AH: Then, we got to San Anton, they didn't have room for us at the cadet center, so, they sent us to Randolph Field for about three weeks working on line. That's where I got my first ride in an airplane. I was in a B-25, and I was in the nose looking around and the pilot said, "Get your butt up here." He was coming in to land and you didn't want to be in the nose, and then, after about three weeks, we went into SAACC [San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center].
SI: I want to go more in depth into your whole military career and the training aspect, but before that, do you remember where you were when Pearl Harbor was attacked?
AH: Oh, yes, yes. I was laying on the bed listening to the Giants football game when they broke in and said that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. That was up on Huntington Street. But anyway that New Year's Eve, two of the guys who I went to school with, spent the weekend with us and one of them was with his wife and the other was there. He'd been turned down. He tried to get in the navy, and they said he had flat feet. Then, just recently, you know the 9/11 Committee? The fellow that oversaw it was Philip Zelikow. [Editor's Note: Philip D. Zelikow served as executive director of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, commonly known as the 9/11 Commission.] Well, that was Nate's son. In fact, I found a couple of pictures of Nate, and he was at the University of Virginia teaching history. ...When I called down there, he said, "No, he's in the State Department." So, I finally got his address and I just mailed him pictures of his father and I knew his father's sisters, I had met his mother. I knew the younger sister never married. The older one married and lived out on Long Island, which I mentioned in that, and I might have met him because we were in Houston once with friends from Dallas and spent a little time with them.
SI: In the New Brunswick area, in the weeks after, was there a lot of fear or even panic? What kind of reaction was there to the outbreak of the war?
AH: I really don't recall any specific reaction on my part, or anybody else, but I know like one of the fellows working in the plant immediately quit and went to a defense plant so he wouldn't be bothered with the service.
BH: Who was that?
AH: Johnny Robles.
BH: Oh, yes, I remember him.
SI: Did you see like an increased military presence? Like maybe an antiaircraft unit in the area?
AH: No. No antiaircraft. I mean, we had, of course, Camp Kilmer was right here. I don't know whether you're aware of that.
SI: Yes, where Livingston College is now.
AH: Yes, and there's still some buildings that were there, in fact, the theater was there. We got back from overseas; they put us in that theater at two o'clock in the morning to give us a lecture on becoming civilians. [laughter] Cussing wasn't the thing that was done in public then, but in the service, of course, it was part of your language. I remember wondering, "What the hell am I going to do when I get back into civilian life speaking like this now? Will I be going, to be able to control what I say?" But it was a definite part of it.
SI: I don't want to jump ahead, but I want to follow up on that. What else did they tell you besides the cursing, and do you remember much about that presentation?
AH: Not really, other than that, because that was one of the things that stood out.
SI: Was there anything about not talking about what you went through, or anything like that?
AH: Oh, no, oh, no. We didn't get any of that.
SI: So, you lived in the New Brunswick area and worked in your father's plant for a couple of years before you went in the service, between Pearl Harbor and when you went into the service.
SI: How did things like rationing and people being drawn off by the draft affect the business and your work?
AH: Oh, it affected it. I mean, in this thing, [scrapbook], I've got ration stamps because you had ration stamps for food and for gas and we were well aware of what was going on in the world.
SI: I've seen where other businesses that had a strong delivery aspect were really hurt by the war because of gas rationing and drivers weren't exempt from the draft, so they ...
AH: Yes, that happened. I really don't recall any of the guys in the plant going in on the service.
SI: Everyone stayed where they were?
AH: Yes, other than Johnny.
SI: Did you have mostly older workers who would have been exempt anyway?
AH: Generally, yes.
SI: What about the gas rationing, did you have to cut your routes at all?
AH: I don't recall that we had a problem because I think what you were limited to was what you did before so that we pretty well had the gas that we needed.
SI: So, you could maintain your routes, but you really couldn't expand?
SI: What about the war's impact on New Brunswick? Did you see any major changes? Obviously, a lot of people went off to the service and that was a big change, and Camp Kilmer holding a lot of GIs.
AH: Well, yes, we had a lot of GIs in town.
SI: You were talking about how there were a lot more GIs in town.
AH: Oh, yes, yes, and I don't recall that there was any problem with it, but there certainly were plenty of them in the area.
SI: Because other places, cities around military bases, they get a reputation for being rowdy towns, or a lot of guys on leave, but not here?
AH: I never really ran into that. It might have been a problem, but I wasn't aware of it.
BH: You lived at home, didn't you?
AH: Yes, but then we were here, we were married.
BH: I know that.
AH: We weren't exposed to a lot of that.
BH: We've been married forever.
AH: And a day, since 1937.
SI: So, it will be almost ...
AH: Next month would be sixty-nine.
SI: Wow, congratulations, that is very long. Can you go a little more in detail about your motivation for going to the service? I mean, you didn't have to, you would have gotten deferred because you were in a family business and you were married and you had two children.
BH: But he had to live with himself.
AH: That was basically it. I mean, being a Jew, how could I possibly avoid defending what I had?
SI: Did your identity, did your Jewish identity, was that a big part of it?
AH: Of course. I knew what they were doing. Everybody did, and I certainly didn't want that here. Although there were a lot of American-Firsters, men who wouldn't have objected to it. But, no, I was well aware of what was going on and I felt I had to be a part of it.
SI: I've interviewed other people who went in a little later and they said, for one reason or another, they didn't go in right away, and they would get comments from that they knew, "Why aren't you in the service?" Did you ever encounter that?
AH: Not that I recall. I know I was active in, Dave Levowitz, who was a chemist, had business right on Easton Avenue, next to St. Peter's, and he was head of a board where if we were attacked, we would ...
SI: Oh, Civil Defense.
AH: We were in a Civil Defense unit.
SI: You were active in that?
SI: What did you do in that?
AH: We just met and practiced what we might have to encounter and what we would have to do but other than that ...
SI: Did you go out on any patrols, making sure people's blackout curtains were closed?
AH: We didn't go on any patrols as such.
SI: You were saying that you met with the Civil Defense Group, but there wasn't much outward activity?
AH: No, not really. We didn't do any patrolling. We were just in case there was some kind of an attack, we had things that we had to do. That was it.
SI: Do you remember, if particularly early on, in the war that there were blackouts?
AH: Oh, yes. Oh, yes, you had to keep your shades down.
BH: Oh, yes, everything had to be just right and covered.
SI: Did you have wardens patrolling the streets then?
BH: I think they did, but I don't remember who they were.
AH: I really was not aware of much of that.
SI: And at this time, you know, when you say you were working at your father's plant, what were you doing? Was it a variety of things?
AH: Oh, yes, whatever needed to be done.
BH: He had to do it.
AH: In fact we had to move a piece of equipment that had twenty-five different electrical connections, so getting them just right, so, we moved it, we could hook up again. It worked.
SI: Did you have any problems getting equipment or supplies for the business due to the war or rationing?
AH: Certainly equipment, yes. Supplies, we didn't seem to be having problems.
SI: When you had trouble getting equipment what would you do? Did it just mean you had to wait longer or ...
AH: Yes, yes, that was basically it. But, obviously, it was not a big problem because I don't really recall us having a lot of trouble in that area.
SI: What about personal rationing? Do you remember having to get the coupons for sugar and all that?
AH: Oh, yes.
BH: Couldn't do a lot of cooking with sugar.
AH: Boy, did we. After I graduated from navigation school, we stayed on for a short time, some of us as instructors, and we were living with a farm family, Mr. and Mrs. Scott.
BH: Oh, yes, I remember the Scotts.
AH: And they had us in for dinner sometimes and, boy, here was all the meat you could eat, all the butter you wanted, everything was available. But, the room we had, the heat we would have, you had to set a fire in the fireplace. I remember waking up one morning at four o'clock, sweating like hell. I set the fire, but I didn't get it all out. To take a bath, you would heat a kettle on the stove and pour it into the tub. So, I showered at the base and Beck used to go into town to close friends of ours, she had a place in town, she'd take a bath there.
BH: I'd go over to get a bath.
AH: But these people couldn't have been nicer.
BH: Everybody was nice.
AH: And there was a sign, this was in Hondo, Texas. I've got a card somewhere, that was a big sign as you came into town. "This is Hondo. Please don't go through it like hell." It's still there.
SI: You mentioned that you had several operations before you could join the military?
SI: I'm trying to get the timeline. You made the decision that you wanted to enlist in the Air Force, and then you went for, I guess, a physical? Is that how the process went and they told you, you needed these operations?
AH: Well, I knew I would need it. I might have gone for [a] physical, but I knew that would be a problem and her uncle at Atlanta recommended a Dr. Silver in Brooklyn, on Joralemon Street. All of the first operation was like five hours, and you're awake, and you're on the thing that was wide and hard as a rock, and he took my nose this way, broke it, he set it and it went for five hours because I found out later that he broke one of the saws in my nose and he had to retrieve it. Of course, I wasn't aware of any of this, although I was conscious. No, he was good.
SI: So, when you went to Fort Dix and began to join the military, you were formally joining the Army Air Force, not just the Army?
AH: No, it was the Army Air Force.
SI: It wasn't like you joined the army and they put you in the air force later?
SI: Was it a shock to go from, being married and living in New Brunswick to all of a sudden being in the military?
AH: I don't know that it was a shock. I was aware of what we would have to do and...
BH: And we did it.
AH: Yes, I accepted it, and I don't know if you're aware of the discipline in basic, where you had to have everything just so.
SI: Can you go in to detail on what that...
AH: Well, I'll give you some detail on before I went in. A friend of Dad's gave me a beautiful little Gillette razor. Well, we had to set our stuff out on a shelving. That razor went in there, the one I used, I buried because they would take it, open it up. If they found anything, you were allowed so many gigs a week, and everyone above that, you had to walk for an hour, go on duty. And in advanced navigation, we had to hang our clothes up in a specific order. Every button had to be buttoned, and that was before zippers. The shoes had to be under your bed in a certain way laced and tied and polished and you learned to sleep on the floor, because once you fixed your bed, you had to take a dime and drop it and it had to bounce, things like that, and they'd come in with white glove inspections. You know what they are?
SI: Yes, they try to search for dust.
AH: You had all those, but people objected. But when I thought about it, if I was going to be a navigator, and if I screwed up, I was killing the whole crew. They were trying to show you that you had to get every little detail. I didn't bitch about it, I didn't like it, but I accepted it and that was...
SI: You saw the method behind ...
AH: Oh, yes, oh, yes. Well, I was also eight years or so older than the guys I was with, Bob (Heath?) and (McCullough?). Bob Heath was from Albany, Georgia and McCullough was from Colorado. McCullough was a real terror, always in trouble, and Bob...
BH: Bob was a nice guy.
AH: When he married, he wanted me to be his best man. We were in advanced navigation and I had a flight I couldn't get out of, so she and my older daughter went to their wedding.
SI: So, when you went into the service, your oldest daughter went to Greenwood with your mother-in-law, and you went to Atlanta with Cecile because she was put in a hospital.
AH: The pediatrician that took over for the one that went into the service here in town had been head of the med school at NYU, and, boy, people said, "Oh, well, lucky you are." Well, Beck had, at that point, they used to come in the homes and Cecile had a cold, or something and he said, "Ah, she'll be all right." So, Beck called our obstetrician in Newark and said, "Get me to a pediatrician there," and we went up there, and Beck talked him into putting her in the hospital. He thanked her later because he didn't want to necessarily, but Cecile was almost completely dehydrated. So, that she was in there for ten days, and I took Beck and Cecile from the hospital to Newark Airport. ... Then, flew to Atlanta to be with her uncle for a while, and then she went back to Greenwood.
SI: Did the family stay in Greenwood for most of the war or did they follow you around?
AH: No, Beck followed me around. When I was in San Anton, she rented a house on Cavalier Ave. I've got pictures of it, and, actually, she had a house out in the country at first and driving home the first day she saw a snake. She couldn't see the head or tail of it across the road. She took the kids, put them in the car, went into town, and, finally, found this house but had to have it cleaned, fumigated and so on before they moved in. Well, when I went in navigation school, that was forty miles from San Anton. So, she used to drive, I think Wednesdays, they'd come and have dinner with us and then weekends she'd come pick us up, take us to the town.
SI: Going back to Biloxi and being in basic training, you mentioned the very strict discipline. Do you remember your drill sergeant? Was it a fact that they would yell and berate you?
AH: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. No, they were trying to whip a heterogeneous group into a homogenous group and that was the way it went. I understood it. I didn't like it, but I understood it.
SI: I can imagine there was also a lot of intense physical training at that point.
AH: Oh, yes. Oh, yes I remember running a mile or more in our combat boots, which isn't exactly the most comfortable thing in the world, but we were young and we were healthy and you did it.
SI: You mentioned that you were about eight years older than most of your comrades. Did that make you more of a father figure to the group, or that sort of thing?
AH: I don't know that I remember being treated any differently. But that was the way; I was one of the guys.
SI: I heard even guys that were like three or four years older, they'd call "Pop" or "Dad."
AH: I don't recall any of that.
SI: In Biloxi, it wasn't clear if you were going to be an officer, an enlisted man or...
AH: Well, once I got the results of the tests, I knew that I would be put into bombardier, navigation or pilot training. If you washed out of that, then you became an enlisted man, period. Or they might have sent you from navigation school to bombardier school, depending on the needs at the time.
SI: So, you went from Biloxi to San Antonio, but you had this three week period at Randolph Field.
SI: When you say you were working on a line, what exactly did that mean?
AH: Servicing the planes, cleaning them, and things of that nature. Of course, there were experienced guys there who told us what to do, but that was basically it.
SI: Did you learn any of the mechanics of the plane, like the engines?
AH: We were only there three weeks, not to learn that much.
SI: But that was the first time that you flew.
SI: What did you think of flying at that point?
AH: Oh, I enjoyed it.
SI: Had you had any prior interest in flying before then? Had you been interested in aviation or as you read about Lindbergh and that sort of thing?
AH: To a point, yes. We used to go out here to Hadley Field. I don't know whether you know where that is, and Sundays they would have parachute jumps, and we'd go out there and watch that. Of course, the first airmail went out of there. But, I had an interest in it, but that was about the extent of it.
SI: I was curious why you actually chose the Army Air Force?
AH: Well, I said, originally, I didn't feel like sleeping in a muddy trench.
SI: Why the Air Force over Navy?
AH: I can't give you a reason. I just thought I'd like it better.
BH: I don't think you had ever been up in a plane.
AH: No, no, I hadn't.
BH: I had, but he hadn't.
SI: So, when you got in the cadet class at San Antonio, you were training to be a navigator.
AH: No, that was basic cadet training.
SI: What did that consist of?
AH: Consisted of classes, of marching, cleaning. Some of the guys were given a toothbrush to clean their barracks with. No, they did everything to instill your obligation to do things and do things correctly, and this all comes back to the fact that if you screwed up you'd kill the crew.
SI: There wasn't much technical training at San Antonio?
AH: No, that was basic discipline there in training.
SI: Was there any kind of flight training at all, any going up in the planes?
AH: Oh, no, no, not there, not there at all.
SI: About how many weeks were you at San Antonio?
BH: I can't even remember.
AH: I think it might have been about ten, because I think we were pretty well locked up for five. Then, we were off one day a week from ten in the morning to ten at night, but never on, is it Sunday, I think
BH: Never on Sunday.
SI: You mentioned some of the people that you met in the service. What was it like to meet people from all over? You had done some traveling before, obviously, but ...
AH: Not really, well, I went to Missouri, yes, yes.
SI: Well, you went to Greenwood, but were there people that you ran into or met that you knew, or new types of people.
AH: Oh, yes, yes. I mean, Bob Heath was, his family had a peanut farm in Albany. In fact, we visited after the war, but I think Myra, his wife, kind of disliked the fact that we weren't so anti-black. I think that was...
BH: They will actually never get used to that.
AH: Although she was brought up in the South, her great-grandfather came into Charleston in the 1840s, her family never dwelt on that, to the point where our younger daughter was about six and they were in Greenwood and Beck was in the dime store looking for something, and Cecile had wandered over when Beck looked up, and she was at the fountain turning it on and off, on and off, and tasting it, and came back to Beck and said, "Mother, that water isn't colored." But that was the extent. In fact, her grandmother had a woman who did her laundry, and one day, she said, "Miss Rosenberg, if something happens to me," because she had a daughter and had married again, "would you see to Helen?" And sure enough, she died and Granny had somebody go up and check on Helen, and he had her chained to a tree, had beaten her to where she lost her hearing, and they had two, she had step-sisters. Well, Granny went to court and Helen became her ward, and she moved into Granny's house when you were, what, three years of age?
BH: Something like that.
AH: And was a member of the family. She did the cooking and cleaning, and so on. They paid her, and they took her downtown to the bank; had her open an account in her name and she used to do a lot of...
AH: Yes, and would go downtown on Saturdays to sell them, so that she would put all the money in there and they made her get a will and she was going to Brewer Hospital, which was a black hospital in Greenwood, of course, when that was eliminated, she was going to leave it to the Negro College Fund and whatever but at any rate she ...
BH: When she died we saw to it that every dollar she had was spent on her funeral.
AH: No, when she ended up in a nursing home and we visited her in the hospital she was a hundred and two [years old] at that time. She was having lunch, and she had a glass of iced tea, steady in her hand, recognized us, was able to speak to us and could read lips so that we had no problem communicating with her.
BH: Because she was deaf.
AH: And when she died, Beck's first cousin took care of the funeral. She had it set for a Wednesday, and she called the funeral parlor for something and they said, "No, it's Monday." "What do you mean Monday?" "Her sisters changed it to Monday," so we made sure that every penny that Helen had was spent on her funeral. There's nothing the sisters could get.
BH: Oh, they were real bitches.
SI: So, they were the ones who had changed her ...
AH: Well, they and, evidently, her step-father. But I think, yes, there was a guy that worked for the family in the store named Ben Franklin, who was a direct descendant of Ben Franklin, who actually looked like him.
BH: He looked exactly like pictures, as being a Ben Franklin.
AH: But he was so anti-black.
BH: Oh, he was terrible.
AH: And that's what killed him. He had a bad heart.
SI: The first time you went to the South and saw the signs of segregation, were you shocked by that?
AH: I was aware of it because at Missouri, they were segregated. We had a couple of house boys who were black, but they were segregated.
SI: So, that was more like de facto segregation?
SI: But in the South there was the de jure segregation.
AH: Yes, it was the law. I know, I remember one guy in town named Harry (Friedman?) who had Friedman Trucking. He was very well off and he'd go down to Florida by train. In the South, they tried to make him go back to the black car because he had rather dark skin. He wasn't black, but we were well aware of that and just stories of Jackie Robinson and so on.
SI: Did you ever encounter any African-American troops on any of the bases you were in?
AH: No. In China, there were no African-Americans that I was aware of. Did you ever read the story of the 99th Fighter Group?
AH: I met some of the guys because my daughter called us that they were going to be down in Frenchtown a couple of years back, and Beck and I went down to meet them because I admired them tremendously. All of the abuse they took, even to the point where the bombers that they were escorting, at first, didn't believe they were black, and then when they tried to take that 99th Fighter Group away, they fought to keep them with them because they never lost a plane, a bomber to enemy fighters.
SI: Yes, it's a pretty amazing statistic.
AH: Yes, it certainly is.
SI: Okay, going back to your service and on to Texas and the advanced navigation training, that was really where you started flying missions and learning navigation.
AH: Yes, we would ...
BH: Hondo was like a large spot in the road.
AH: Yes, there was no mail delivery. It was all general delivery. You had to a little post office to get your mail, and the next town was where...
BH: Was that Uvalde?
AH: Uvalde was where Roosevelt's first Vice-President [John Nance Garner] lived. Again, we would have weekends free, unless we had a flight. ...We flew, I think, it was a DC-5, a twin engine plane that had three desks for the navigators, and the instructor would fly as co-pilot. ...We'd have missions up to Wichita, Abilene, Kentucky, different areas, but I remember flying into Wichita. ... They had a bunch of B-29s there, and I wanted to see the navigator's compartment, and as big as that plane was, if you were claustrophobic as a navigator, you would have trouble. It's a little tiny area to work in, and Bob Heath ended up in B-29s in the Pacific, and when he came back to California, when he was discharged, he took the train from California to Albany, Georgia. I don't think he ever flew again in his life.
BH: I remember that.
SI: Can you tell me about what the technical aspects of navigation training and how intense was it and what did you learn?
AH: It was very intense. In fact, just like they had planes that you could fly on the ground.
SI: Like a link trainer?
AH: Link trainer, they had a navigational trainer and I remember we had a flight up to the Kamchatka Peninsula, and we had to do aerial navigation, celestial navigation, and so on. I remember that very specifically.
SI: That's in Russia?
AH: No, no, Kamchatka is in Russia, yes, but this was a simulated flight up to there from China somewhere, where we had to do the plotting and whatever was entailed.
SI: Someone who works at our project was a navigator in a B-29 and he talks a lot about how difficult celestial navigation was, and so forth, and how you had to learn it pretty quickly. I think in peacetime navigators would usually get a much longer course and much more time to deal with it. For you it was all very compressed.
AH: To give you an example, going overseas we flew our own plane from Fort Wayne, Indiana to Kunming,China. The only real work that I did was from Natal to Ascension Island. You know where that is? If you go toAfrica, it's the only piece of land between Brazil and Africa, and that was a night flight. I think we took off at 11:30at night, and got in there around 9:30 the next morning. That was the only real work that I did because I had to do celestial, and they give you the weather report before you take off. Normally, south of the Equator, you would have winds east to west just as north. The weather report gave us winds from the east to the west; it would be west to east. Well, I got my first fix and I'm getting tail winds from west to east. That's what it is; this is where I am now. What you do, you would shoot for two minutes. I've got one plane there but it was a little astrodome. You get up there with your sextant. The sextant we used had a wax circular disk which we inserted each time we used it. In aerial navigation, we would shoot for two minutes. Each time we got the star we were shooting in the bubble of the sextant, we would press the button on the sextant. It would make a mark on the disk. When two minutes were up, we would average the mark on the disk. That would give us a reading of so many degrees and minutes. When we shot from, say, 10:02 to 10:04, we would enter 10:03. We would repeat this twice more. All times used were Greenwich Mean Time. We would shoot one star north, say, one east and one in-between. If we shot, say, 10:03, 10:10 and 10:17, we would guesstimate to 10:10. When we worked out our results, we would have three LOPs, Line of Position, which we would plot. The result would be * [three intersecting lines]. However, in the air, you would never get that. Instead, you would get a triangle, the center of which should be your position at that time. With that, you could get the wind direction and your ground speed. Took another celestial reading before dawn.
-------------------------------------END OF TAPE ONE, SIDE TWO--------------------------------------
SI: This continues an interview with Arthur S. Hozore on May 24, 2006, in Highland Park, New Jersey, with Shaun Illingworth. Please, continue. You were telling us about the navigation.
AH: I took second shots right before dawn and plotted them, and that was our position at that point, and then at dawn, I took some ground speeds by timing. We had a drift meter and you would line it up so that the white caps would run from front to back, and you had a stopwatch and that took about twenty-to-twenty-five different times and averaged them out. I knew our altitude, I knew what degree of cold was out, and we were able to figure out our ground speeds. Since I knew we were here, and we were going to go here, I gave him a corrective heading of two and three degrees and an ETA of 9:25, let's say. ... I missed my ETA by five minutes, landing at Ascension Island. When you landed at Ascension Island, the runway went a few degrees up and then a few degrees down so they told you when taking off, don't think you're airborne. The ground was like this red pebbles, tiny sand, red sand, all of it. God, it must have been horrible to be stationed there for any period of time because you're in the middle of nowhere; no place to go, nothing. And then from there, we took off and headed towards Accra andGhana, and I had the sextant and I was talking to the radio operator. I'm going to take a sun shot, and all of a sudden, we dropped about five thousand feet and the radio operator and I and the sextant hit the ceiling, back down, and I packed the sextant up because it was not in calibration. So, that was the last time I used it.
SI: So, while you were in training did you have any close calls while you're in the air?
SI: I've heard that accidents were pretty common in training.
AH: Maybe in pilot training, but navigational training you had experienced pilots flying you, and you'd go from here to here and land, and maybe have lunch, and then go back, so there wasn't anything of that nature that we ran into.
SI: So, between Hondo and when you went overseas, what was your path?
AH: I was in Austin, Texas at the airfield there. We were flying C-46s then. ... Bergstrom Field.
BH: That was a big plane.
AH: Well, that was the largest plane at the time, and we would pull gliders and we would practice. We had a radar. They'd go on drops so that when we hit the drop area, we would make note of that. In fact, Beck and I were going to get a flight in a glider, but one Thursday, Captain Summers called us together and said they need us up in the Baer Field. So, twenty-five of us went up there and he said, which got him in trouble, "Tell your wives to get first class tickets on the train to Fort Wayne." So, that we got into Fort Wayne, here came the MPs [Military Police] to get us, and all the women and kids are there. She was there, but our daughter, Beck's best friend's sister was a student at the University of Texas and she called Amelia and said, "Could you take Carol and the car up to Dallas this weekend and we'll give you money so you could fly back?" We saw her after, she said, "That was the first time I ever flew, [and] you paid for it." We stayed with a couple of families in Austin.
BH: Oh, yes, I remember that.
AH: They had two daughters and they said, "Go ahead, fly back to South Carolina, bring Carol here." She was about three, I think, at that time, and so I took a flight to South Carolina, brought Carol back on the plane, coming back, and it's bumpy as hell, and I was talking to the stewardess with some other guys, Carol sitting on the floor, she was laughing, had a great time while we bounced around. She was a little devil. At Bergstrom Field in Austin, they had slot machines and she would get us to put her up on a stand up there and she'd get people to put money in so she could pump and that was where Beck learned to drink some beer because sitting there you'd have beer and they'd pretzels.
BH: I ate more pretzels than I drank beer.
AH: But then they yanked us out, sent us up there, and I remember we were sitting in the barracks playing bridge when somebody came in and said Roosevelt just died. And then, it was after that, I went out to meet the crew, take off, and I had never met them, and then we took off, and I was sitting across from the radio operator and I stuck my head out. I said, "Hi, I'm Art Hozore from New Brunswick." He said, "I'm Jack Hennessey from New Brunswick." Would you believe in an outfit of three hundred, there were four of us from New Brunswick? The master sergeant was Ken Rupprect, who ended up being mayor of North Brunswick for a number of years, but he died a while back, and another guy that I didn't meet till 1985 in Hong Kong, he's gone. Jack is still around, but Jack wouldn't have anything to do with the 14th Air Force, anything. I don't understand it.
BH: I don't either.
AH: Because they're a great bunch of guys, it isn't, like, I refused to join any of the military organizations after the war, the American Legion or the Jewish War Veterans or the VFW, because at that point, they were demanding a bonus. I'm thinking, "How the hell do we demand a bonus? There were guys who never put a uniform on who deserve a bonus more than we do," and I just refused to join, so that 14th is about the only outfit that I've been a member of.
SI: I've heard that from a number of people that they thought either that, or they thought the American Legion or the VFW were just too much like the military. They were done with the military and didn't want to ...
AH: Well, that was my reason. I ran into Ken Rupprect and he said, "Why the hell did you join the 14th Air Force?" I didn't know anything about it, and we did, but going with my first sense, in fact, here's a picture, we went to China, a small group in 1981. The government didn't want us. In '91, we went.
SI: Well, we just spent a little time looking through your scrapbook and photographs and it's a great collection of original material and things that were produced after the war. I have some questions based on what we saw here, but I'll get to them as we go through. To go back to your time between Hondo and going overseas, when were you actually put into transportation? Not bombers or fighters, but the C-47s and how did you feel about that? Had you wanted to go into bombers?
AH: I really had no feelings one way or the other. That was basically it. They just put us into C-46s. C-47 wasn't until we got to Fort Wayne Airfield. That's basically, our outfit were all C-47s.
SI: How large is the crew on a C-47?
AH: You have the pilot, co-pilot, radio operator, navigator and crew chief; that's it, five.
SI: Three of you are officers and two are enlisted men?
SI: Can you tell me a little bit about your crew? Did you have the same crew throughout your service?
AH: Oh, no. I fraternized with some from Iowa. I was with the pilot, the co-pilot was from Arkansas, I really don't recall where the crew chief was from. Of course, the radio operator was from New Brunswick and in Chihkiang, I was in a crew where (Isaacson?) was a pilot, and Sam Thacker from Georgia was the co-pilot, and the crew chief and the radio operator were different people. But a little thing that I remember, we didn't really care for ATC, which was the Air Transport Command, because they had a lot of things and I got in line once. They were giving out beer and I got one can of beer before they realized that I wasn't an ATC. I kept the can with me and we were in Chihkiang and somebody had been fixing some ice cream. They got ice, I don't know where they got it from, but they had finished using it so I threw the can in there. The next morning at six [a.m.], on the way back to the field, I opened the can and the five of us split a can of beer. ... Go back a little. We left Fort Wayne, we couldn't get through to Florida because of the weather so we landed in Dyersburg, Tennessee, and we were in town walking around and two pilots said, "Hey, we ought to get us some whiskey." So, we went in and bought three cases of whiskey, took it back up, put it under the floorboards of the plane. We got to Karachi, we thought they were going to take the plane from us so we split it up. I wasn't in the outfit twenty-four hours when there was a knock on the door and here's Ken Rupprect. He said, "Hey, Art, I understand you got some whiskey." So, we partook of the whiskey. But the food was so bad in China that my first letter home I requested two things, food and toilet paper, and every letter, I had to put that on because when she went to the post office she had to show them a letter requesting them which Beck did, and, fortunately, there was a cannery in town
BH: I had everything canned and sent to him.
AH: Including things that you remember, saltines she puts them in a can, oh, they tasted so crisp; nice and crisp, and we were at a 27th Troop Carrier meeting in Washington last year and one of the guys walked up to Beck and said, "I remember the salami you sent Art." Everybody had food because when we started flying for the Chinese High Command, we were able to get ten in one and mountain rations, which were good because our flights were pretty long into Nanking, and we needed some food on board.
SI: When you got into the CBI [China-Burma-India Theater], you landed in Kunming?
SI: Can you kind of describe what the situation was like at that point? What was the 27th doing?
AH: Well, do you want me to give you the itinerary on the way over?
AH: Okay, Morrison Field in Florida to Borinquen Field, which was Puerto Rico on the northwest corner of the island. We just flew mornings because in the tropics, you would get these build-ups of clouds and thunder heads in the afternoon so our flights were just mornings. Then, we're sitting out there in the officers' club drinking high balls at fifteen cents a piece. And then from Borinquen Field it was to Atkinson [Field] in British Guiana, Belem, Brazil, and Natal, Brazil, Ascension Island, Accra, Ghana, Kano in Nigeria, El Fasher, British Egyptian Sudan, Khartoum and, going to El Fasher, we flew at tree-top level for about an hour to see anything, and within an hour we saw one monkey climb up a tree. It's hot as hell and we landed in Khartoum and spent the night there, and then flew over Somalia to the Red Sea and down the Red Sea to Aden, Arabia. Then, Masira Island, which was off the southeast coast of Arabia, and Karachi, then Agra, where the Taj Mahal is, and there was an American doctor who was working for CNAC, which was Chinese National Airways Corporation, and he asked if he can hook a ride to Calcutta. "Sure, come on." We got in, to Calcutta, he said, "Come on with me," and two pilots and myself went with him. He went to the CNAC place and got a jeep, which had a chain on the steering wheel, because he didn't have a key, just had little button, knob, you turned to start, we couldn't turn left very good; we turned right okay. He took us into town, and we spent the night in town. The next day, we flew to the base of the Himalayas, and then we're in operations the next morning, before we left, and they sent a pilot who did the flying over the "Hump" and we heard of a crew calling that they were bailing out, over the Hump, and then he flew us into Kunming. Then, we reported to 14th Headquarters and there was a guy there from the 322nd Troop Carrier outfit. This officer said to him, "Hey, you want a crew?" "No, but we'll take the plane." So, they took the plane and they sent us to the 27th in Chengkung, which was about a forty-five minute ride. Today, it might be ten minutes because the roads were really messed up, and that was where we flew out of and we dropped supplies to different outfits. Like, we flew down to Nanning, which was down just north of Indochina by the coast, and out of there to drop supplies outside of Liuchow. The Japanese still had Liuchow; so we were to drop supplies there, and how bad the maps were; when I looked, we were at Nanning and Liuchow was up here, almost due north, and there were two roads here and after the second road, the railroad ran up to Liuchow, so I said, "Okay, let's fly to the left of it." I figured our ETAs, Estimated Time of Arrival, they came up, and here are the two roads and here's the railroad. It didn't go north, it went east. So, we ended up over a Chinese funeral, and then flying back we saw some of the planes coming back, and they told us where to go, so we went up and dropped it. Chuck Bigando and Tex Oldham were the pilots and after we dropped, Bigando said, "Hey, Tex, let's go over and look at Liuchow, and he said, "Are you out of your cotton-picking mind? The Japs still guarding it," so we went back to Nanning. He used to get watermelons, either in Nanning or there was a little base on the way down. The watermelons were only this big, but they were hot. So, we take door off the plane, put the watermelons down there, after we're out about an hour, we'd go get the watermelons, nice and cold. We'd cut them open, would hold it out the pilot's window and pull the seeds out, and then, ate watermelons. ... We'd killed a lot of Chinese in landing and take off, because they felt you'd cut off the bad whatever was following them and sometimes the judgments weren't so good.
SI: I don't quite understand.
AH: Well, they would walk across the runway and they had no sense of speed or anything, but there was a superstition that spirits followed them and that would cut them off. So, one time, we were landing in Nanning, one of the towers called up, "Go up and around, one of our honorable allies has just met to meet his honorable ancestors." We landed there, this had been held by the Japanese, and we were using the taxi strip to land and take off on. One of our planes got stuck in the mud, and he was gunning the engines to get out, but couldn't, so they dug down. He was sitting on a five hundred pound bomb. Fortunately, till he calmed down again. Oh, another time we flew into Peishiyi, which was at Chungking they said we had to fly up to Ankang, which was farther north, because lightning hit the ammo dump in Chihkiang and blew it all up. So, we had to go up there and get ammo, fly it back to Chihkiang. We also dropped the first Chinese paratroopers used. We were in Chengkung and OSS, pre-CIA, briefed us on what we were going to do, and we, as navigators, said, "Hey, where are we going so we can do some work?" "Oh, no, that's top secret." So, we were going from Chengkung to rendezvous over Nanning and here were three courses given, one north, one direct and one south, over Indochina. ... We gathered there and went out and dropped them. There were thirteen planes. We started taking off at three AM; and then at three minute intervals, there was a correspondent on our plane who stood between the pilots, where I would normally hang out, so, I had to go in the back. It was Andy Rooney, and we dropped all the paratroopers. We had four of P-51s flying cover, and then on the ground strafing so we didn't draw any fire, that we were aware of, and dropped them, went back to base. I had an Andy Rooney recording which was broken in the moving around. But every one of the paratroopers that was dropped, the Japs were waiting for them, and killed them all. So, the Air Force decided it didn't happen, and Andy Rooney will not talk about that. But I've got correspondence from ABC which talks about it. So, it happened.
SI: That's pretty amazing that the Air Force totally disavows that this occurred.
AH: Yes, yes, so that when they contacted Andy Rooney.
SI: That's the US Air Force, not the Chinese military.
AH: Oh, no, no, no, it's the Army Air Force.
SI: What is the Chinese military? These were Chinese paratroopers.
AH: They were Chinese paratroopers with an American GI who led each stick. Those poor suckers, they were stood up and hooked up for about fifteen minutes. You're flying in the tropics at fifteen hundred feet and you're doing this and those poor suckers were getting sick as dogs, it was a captain and a sergeant and they loaded the door up with supplies and they said, "You can help us push them out." So, I was on my back with my feet on them, and when they hit the buzzer, we pushed. I asked, "What's your job?" He said, "We're assisters. Anybody hesitates, push." No, but they all went out; but everyone was killed.
SI: Where was this again? Where were they dropping into?
AH: It was, we decided, it was outside of Canton, China. But if we went down, if we had to bail out, to give you a little story of the kind of people they were. One of our planes was flying, and they were over an undercast, and they had to bail out because something was wrong, and they weren't going to be able to fly much longer. So, they bailed out and the pilot got up, ready to bail out, and he looks back and here's the captain back there. He said, "What the hell? Why didn't you get out?" He said, "I couldn't get the chute on." So, as a result, the pilot got back in the seat and the guy said, "Go on, get out." "No." He let down, through the undercast, and broke out right over a river and went into the river and they were both saved. The Chinese offered to take that plane out of the river and take it apart, get it back to us. If any of our guys went down and they got to you first, they would bury you at the cost of their own lives to get us back. In fact, I know one of the guys was a bombardier and twice he had to bail out, twice they got him back. So, that relationship was great.
SI: You felt like you could depend on the Chinese.
AH: Oh, yes. But Stillwell felt that he could win the war in China with ground troops; so he withheld money that was to go to [General Claire] Chennault and did everything he could to screw Chennault. In fact, when they promoted him to brigadier general, there was another general in the 10th Air Force, I can't recall his name now, who they promoted the day before so he would have seniority over Chennault. In fact, we flew into Montgomeryseveral years back and I was talking to a colonel, who's based there at the field in Montgomery, and he said he lived on Chennault Square. There was a bust of Chennault that one day disappeared, never came back, and we were in the field there, in the officers' club, and they have pictures of all the generals. I looked for Chennault, small picture down in the corner hidden away. For all of his life they gave him the business because he didn't go along. Now he developed, the P-40s that he had in China were much slower and less maneuverable than the Zeros, so he developed a method of fighting. He would send them up, way above them, and they'd go through the formation and go back up so there was never any dog fighting. He had odds of like ten to one, about ten Japanese planes to every American plane that was lost. Different stories you hear; on the group that went to China in '91 behind us, there was a woman whose brother was killed in China and she knew where he was killed and she contacted people in the 14th, could she go along and could when they got to Kunming, could they get her back there? They said, "Come on," and they had a car and a chauffer and an interpreter. ...One of the 14th guys went along, they took her back to the town. Her brother was a fighter pilot and the Japanese used to bomb this old town regularly till they sent some American planes out there, and the next time they came to bomb it, they shot the hell out of them. ...They never came back and this guy was shot down, bailed out, and survived that and a Chinese doctor took care of him until he died. Well, when they got her back to the town, the first thing she saw was a statue of her brother. He was their hero and the Chinese doctor was still alive. He got to talk to her before she left. Another thing, when the Japanese held Myitkyina, they were afraid to send B-25s in there at night because of the mountains, they didn't know the area. Well, our CO [commanding officer], this [Lewis C.] Burwell, [Jr.], said, "We can do it." They loaded up a bunch of bombs that they built, took the doors off, and went to Myitkyina at night, and here are the Japanese driving with their lights on. They just lined up and pushed them out of the doors. About a week later, Chennault sent an order, "No more DC-3s will go on bombing missions." We knew one of the guys who was a crew chief who was on that mission.
SI: It sounds like there were a lot of rivalries in China between the American Air force and the army.
AH: Oh, yes, yes. There were and another good part of China, there were no English there. Because the English, any of the bases we went into, coming overseas, every night you'd go to the movies outdoors. Well the English would make sure they had all the seats and the Americans would be around the outside.
SI: Well, I wanted to ask you about this flight with the paratroopers that Andy Rooney was on board. Did you get to talk to Andy Rooney at all? Did he interview you?
AH: No, and I read his book and he talks about being in China, but it doesn't mention that at all.
SI: So, when did you find out that all the paratroopers were killed?
AH: It was a good number of years afterward. I was talking to Jack O'Brien, who was a navigator who lives out of Charleston, who was on the flight to get [General Jonathan] Wainwright out of Mukden, and he was the one that told me that. ... We landed in Liuchow, right after we got it back, and we had to stay close to the plane because they had mines all over the place. One of the guys showed me a picture of an American GI who was showing the Chinese how to deactivate a mine and made a mistake. They were just in a circle, all of them, dead. That's just horrible. But we were loading the plane up and the pilot said, "Man, we're getting a lot of stuff," and there was a major who wanted to ride back to Nanning with us. When he heard that he said, "I'll take another plane." That DC-3 was a good airplane. I got some pilot time, and one day Ike said, "You want to take off?" I said, "Sure." We had a bunch of Chinese officials in the back. We were at Chihkiang, and I had never had any pilot training, so we're going down the runway and were veering a little left so I right ruddered it. I didn't anticipate straight so I just kept going this way down the runway. At the end of the runway, it went down into the river, and there were guys working there, and they just scattered but I got it off the ground. I did a number of them after that. One time, we took people down to Kunming who were going home, and I took off and we were going up to Chanyi, about twenty minutes away, to pick up supplies and Sam Thacker said, "Hey, Art, ever make a landing?" "No." "Want to try?" "Sure." His total instructions to me were, "Fly your final at a thousand feet." We get the gear down, and flaps down, I'm dropping it down. I figured, "Well, I guess I better pull back." Meantime he's sitting there. By the time I pulled back, we hit and bounced about fifty feet in the air. I said, "Sam, it's all yours." [laughter] Crazy things you do.
SI: Was that the only time you flew and dropped paratroopers?
AH: They were the first ones dropped and I think they were the only ones dropped. I don't know.
SI: So, other than that you didn't drop anybody?
AH: No. No, we would drop supplies or we'd carry supplies. People like Chinese officials, which we flew down to Nanking, and, that was basically it.
SI: You mentioned and I read this in preparing for the interview that the paratrooper mission was in coordination with the OSS.
SI: Were most of your missions in coordination with the OSS?
AH: We would not have any way of knowing. I mean, we knew the OSS because they are the ones who briefed us but on other missions...
SI: It was just the 14th Air Force?
AH: Yes, I mean, our guys would say, "Okay, you have to go to Peishiyi," or, "You have to go to wherever," "Take this," or, "Go there and pick that up," and so on.
SI: What kind of things were you delivering? What kind supplies?
AH: It could be anything from food to munitions, to whatever, to people, whatever they needed. Peishiyi was the Chungking airport; it's about twenty minutes out of Chungking.
SI: Did you ever encounter any kind of resistance, like fighters or antiaircraft, any of these weapons?
AH: We were going to Ankang one time, that was the base behind the lines, and we flew over a Jap airfield and we saw a plane taking off so we just ducked into the clouds and that was as much as we knew. One of the guys was dropping supplies out of Liuchow and about the time they were through, they didn't realize the Japanese were down there, then they started shooting at them and one got a bullet sort of on the heel of his shoe, it touched him, but you really didn't know if you were being fired at unless you saw, well, the antiaircraft burst but we never drew any of that, that we were aware of.
SI: So, what were the challenges posed by serving in China and these types of missions as a navigator?
AH: Challenges were, I was useless in China because you couldn't trust your maps, so, basically, we flew radio compass. I mean, I did some work in certain areas but, basically, they really didn't need us there, because like when we dropped the paratroopers we rendezvous over Nanning at five thousand feet and followed the lead plane, which had the OSS guy, on to the drop zone. That's about it.
SI: On a typical supply mission would you fly by yourself or would you fly with a flight of other C-47s?
AH: Oh, no. See, we go single or we go with some others, mostly you flew alone.
SI: Well, let me ask what were your living conditions like at the base, your bases in China?
AH: The base, we had mosquito netting, which you had to have, and when you went in for a meal, there was a little bowl of yellow pills on the table and you had to take one a day. They were Atabrin tablets and after a couple of months you'd get an Atabrin tan. In fact, when I left China, into Calcutta, we were there for two weeks and then twenty-odd days on the boat to New York. ...Then, we got into Kilmer, and we were given sixty days' leave. When I got back to Greenwood South Carolina I still had the Atabrin tan. When we reported back to Greensboro, North Carolina, that's when the guys started coming down with malaria. It was a suppressant; it was not a cure, or a vaccination, or anything like that. I was lucky. But if you got malaria in China, you could be court-martialed because you didn't take the pills, and they were bitter, God, were they bitter. I never missed a breakfast because we had fresh eggs, not powdered. So, sometimes I'd get back from a flight at five in the morning and get up at eight, go up and eat breakfast, and then go back to bed. They served them anyway you wanted them. In fact, the flight line messes when we would go out on missions and have to lay in, say Nanning, you'd go to the mess hall and the only thing they asked you is if you're China-based or India-based. The India-based you had to pay, China-based didn't.
SI: You mentioned, aside from the eggs, that the food was terrible. What else was difficult about serving inChina?
AH: We had fried, greasy eggplant. I'm not a picky eater, she'll tell you that.
BH: No, he's not. He'll eat anything almost and lots of things that I wouldn't eat.
AH: But a lot of the food was just not edible, just terrible.
BH: I had sent so many boxes, all of my friends when they would go out of Greenwood, where I stayed when he was overseas, I'd give them a package to mail for me from somewhere else so he'd get a little more food.
AH: No, most of the guys there, after they were there a while, had plenty of food and we were at Chikiang at one time, one of the guys who was Italian said, "Give me one of your spaghetti in that stuff," and he fixed a big meal and we all had that.
SI: How close did the C-47 crew get in terms of friendships?
AH: Ike ended up out in Lincoln, Nebraska and I called him a couple of times, that was it. He died a couple of years ago and his family wouldn't have anything to do with us.
BH: Why? That's terrible.
AH: I know. Sam Thacker, we got very friendly with him and his wife was in the athletic department of Georgia. I said, "Oh, did you know Buzz Rosenberg?" She said, "Of course, I knew Buzz. I knew his father, too, who was Beck's first cousin, small world. Buzz against, I think, Oregon scored five touchdowns, and as a defensive back, has more yards gained than the Oregon team gained. Somewhere there I've got a thing, an article about him. But Leeman was the one that flew P-47s, which you supposedly couldn't dead stick in. He did. His first mission he's in the, evidently was up high enough to where he could pick up enough speed because they had the big radial engine and they were very nose heavy, so he was able to pick up enough speed to land. He flew sixty-four missions out of England, and shot down two planes.
SI: So, when you weren't flying missions what would you do in your off time basically? What was your recreation in China?
AH: Drink. We had a bar that all of us put our liquor in or you'd go into Kunming and we would occasionally go in and we could get a buffalo steak, the water buffalo. When you got the water buffalo steak it was not that they killed it for eating, it was because it was too damn old and died. So, for five bucks, we had water buffalo. Oh, an interesting aside, I mentioned Dave (Lee?) earlier. His wife, her father was head of the ...
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SI: This is side two of tape two. You were telling us about David Lee's wife's father.
AH: Yes, he was head of the Chinese Bank in Rangoon. When the Japanese came in they evacuated them to Kunming and they spent the war years in Kunming. Lily Pons, who was an opera singer, French, but lived in America, in fact, died in Dallas years later, came over to entertain the troops. They had a dinner for her and they put Julie's mother next to her, because Julie's mother graduated from Wellesley a year or two ahead of Madame Chang, whom she knew as well. Julie's mother greeted Lily Pons in French. They sat her next to Lily Pons as theirs was the only family in Kunming that spoke English. Chennault, who was a ladies' man. Julie said he made a pass at her older sister, who was sixteen [years old] at the time, and her brother was also 14th Air Force. He lives now inHouston. Just an aside, I thought that would be an interesting thing, and you talked about discrimination. After the war, he was sent to New York and he told his wife, "Go out onto Park Avenue and find an apartment for us." "You're Chinese, we're not going to rent an apartment to you." So, they ended up on Riverside Drive. But the Chinese, the Taiwan Chinese, entertained us. This Friday night we all go to their residence and they all have put on a show and have a big dinner for us. They've always done this. In fact, we have flown to Taiwan several times. One time, they offered us different trips that we could take and one of them was to this island at Quemoy. Quemoy and Ma-tsu were two islands right off the coast of China that Taiwanese still held onto. ...We flew into Quemoyand they said, in the application, "Your wives can't come because there won't be enough space." So, a lot of the guys wouldn't sign up because their wives couldn't come along. Not me, I signed up. We got to Taiwan they said, "Since those guys didn't want to come, bring your wife."
BH: And I got to go with him.
AH: And we flew there and they had fighter cover for us and landed in Quemoy. ...They took us into a three-hundred-bed hospital carved out of a mountain, into the mountain, and we were down at their headquarters, below ground. I was looking through some binoculars at a Mainland Chinese outpost and I'm sure he was looking at me. ...They had a dinner for us, and they had the whiskey and they had the little shot glasses, and the officers come around pouring the shot glass, and they'd have a toast and they'd fill it up, just kept going on all through the meal, and I've got a bottle of that somewhere that I brought home. I haven't opened it up yet.
BH: A lot of the stuff that you have had shrunk in the bottle even though the bottle hadn't been opened.
AH: No, but they treated us royally, oh, yes.
SI: You showed us some pictures of the plane that came to sign the Japanese surrender. Do you remember where you were when you heard that the Japanese would be surrendering, and how did you feel?
AH: I was between Lai Feng and Soupu when the pilot called back, said, "Art get on the horn," and he called back the base, "Would you please repeat?" and that was when they said, "The war is over."
SI: Were you expecting the war to go on longer?
AH: We really had no way of knowing, because I don't know that we were even aware of the atomic bombs onHiroshima and Nagasaki. But apropos that, a lot of people bemoan the fact that we used those bombs. A friend of mine, who was in another troop carrier outfit, they already had orders to drop American paratroopers. They had enough gas to get there, that's it. Which meant they would have to bail out. They figured we would have suffered about a million casualties. My next-door neighbor is Japanese; he didn't mention it to me, but he did to someone else. He was just a little kid and he said everyone was given a sharpened bamboo pole, which meant we had to kill the civilians. So, the lives that were lost in the atomic bombs were miniscule compared to what would have happened if we'd had to invade, and all we had as flight officers were .45s, which couldn't hit the broadside of a barn. We had a twelve-holer [outhouse], guys used to go in there and shoot the rats down in the bottom, but I didn't want to do that because I had to clean the gun.
SI: How well supplied were you? Did you feel that you always had enough gas and...
AH: Oh, yes. Well ...
SI: You were kind of at the end of the American supply chain.
AH: Yes, yes, there were times when you couldn't fly because there wasn't enough gas, but, basically, we didn't seem to have any problems.
SI: In other units, like fighter and bomber units, they did tours by how many missions you flew.
AH: No, no, no. In China, you needed six hundred hours of flying in one year. I got in three hundred hours, so I got an Air Medal, a DFC [Distinguished Flying Cross], did you ever see them?
AH: Air Medal, DFC.
SI: So, you had the Air Medal, the DFC. Did you get any oak leaf clusters on the Air Medal?
AH: No, I had three hundred hours, one fifty got you the Air Medal, three hundred got you the DFC, and that was the end, and then, the China Offensive Medal and World War II Victory Medal.
SI: What did you think of, primarily China, but also India which you traveled through?
AH: We liked China, I mean...
SI: It must be obviously, very different from the United States even in the '30s and '40s.
AH: Oh, yes. In fact, for our fields, they would take rocks and break them down and break them down and break them down until they spread them out, and then, they would have this roller, that might be six or eight hundred pounds, and have a bunch of people pull it to flatten out the things. The first cement runway we landed up was Shanghai. Other than that, they were all these gravel runways.
SI: Did you get an opportunity to see how the people there lived and get to know any of the Chinese?
AH: Actually, no, we didn't. We had Chinese guards in our area and we'd always have to say "Megwa Bing," being an American soldier, but, no, we really didn't have any. The houseboys, that took care of the thing, we were friendly with but had nothing in common. We went into Shanghai. We had to take some MPs down there. It was the only time I liked the ATC because they said, "ATC has priority on gas." So, we had to spend three whole days in Shanghai and that was wonderful. We went into the Park Hotel, up the fifth floor to the dining room in our grungy khakis, and sit down, on the table with linen cloths and napkins, and had a steak. I never had any Chinese food while I was in China during the war. After the war, yes, because when we went back in '91 they had us in the Great Hall of the People for dinner, and had a symphony orchestra sitting there playing during dinner, and the defense minister spoke to us in Chinese with no interpreter.
BH: I remember that.
AH: But we really got the treatment, how we went to the Great Wall and went to Xian, where they found the first emperor was buried, and do you know about that?
SI: All the soldiers, the terra-cotta soldiers.
AH: Yes, yes, yes. In fact, I've got copies of them in there, if you care to see it, and we were taken and really given a tour in Liangshan, we had bases, this was down toward the coast, and there were two airbases there, and we had a lot of fighters there and in '81 we asked the guy to take us out there, "Oh, no." Mr. Ho, it was, "No, you can't go out there." Well...
BH: I went out there with you.
AH: Before we left, one of the guys got up real early in the morning took a cab out there, and when he picked us up to take us, I guess, we were heading out. They told him that, so he finally took us out there, and when we went back in '91 they took us out there as part of the tour. Now I asked one of the guys, "Does Mr. Ho still work?" "Oh, yes, but he's in the office." He hated the Americans.
SI: Also, when we were looking through the scrapbook, you told us the story about the missionaries in Nanking. Can you tell that again for the tape?
AH: Sure. We didn't have any transportation, and we were bothering the Chinese to get a jeep. So, they said, "Okay, be out at the compound on this and this time on this date," and we went out there, and they were having a big shebang there. In fact, Major Wang took us in to meet General Hoying Chin, who was Chief of Staff in the Chinese Army, and, boy, Wang bowed to the floor when we went in there. They had people singing Chinese opera, which is certainly different than ours, and these women walked up to us and said, "What were we doing?" We told them that we were flying the officials down to Nanking. That was when they asked us if we had room, could we take them down; so that they could get their mission back from the Japanese, because they knew they get it all in one piece; whereas, if the Chinese took the thing and sort of tear it apart. So, one day, we had some room. We went and got them and they went by the Catholic mission to pick up supplies there and with their collie dog, came on board and were up front with us, and on the way down, we flew right by where their base was on the Yangtze, and we decided to look and we found an airstrip there, but we couldn't land there. Then, we figured, "Oh, we'll drop them off and then on the way back we could land." When we got into Nanking, it was the first time they allowed us in town. So, we had to go into town, and I got some brocade, which she had made into expensive Chinese dress. Cost us fifteen dollars in Chinatown from a Chinese tailor. But we ended up having to spend the night because when we got out to the field, we took off heading back, and the missionaries went with us, and we went down to their field and it just turned dark. So, Ike put the landing lights on and found the strip; did a procedural three-sixty and put the gear down, no strip. So, we played around there and almost ended up in the Yangtze and had to go back up to Nanking because we didn't have enough gas to get back to Chihkiang. So, we went back, we spotted the airfield just as they cut the lights off, and we fired a very pistol, and they put the lights on and the crew chief said, "Get away from there," and he was up between the pilot, because he had to rough up the engine. We needed an excuse to come back, we couldn't tell him what we had done, so we landed and pulled up and stopped and here comes the CO of the base, "What's your problem?" and the crew chief said, "Well, the engine started acting up." He said, "Do you want me to send some mechanics out?" "Oh, no, no, we'll take care of it." Well, then they took us into town and we spent the night at the Nanking Hotel, which that picture is in front, if you look up behind, you'd see Nanking Hotel. These poor missionary women had to stand there and agree with us, lying to the CO, and the next day they went back by barge.
BH: I corresponded with some of them didn't I?
AH: There were two of them, Pearl Willis Jones and Molly E. Townsend.
BH: I corresponded with them for a long time.
AH: Yes, yes, and they sent us a silk lacquer tea set and tray. Have you seen one of them?
SI: So, can you tell me a little bit about how you came back to the United States, this journey from Calcutta?
AH: Well, we were in Kanshrapara, which at that time sounded like, "Who the hell is the English Jew?" Thought it was Shapiro, but it was Kanshrapara. They gave us ten cans of beer and chits for them, and they had it cold. Oh, we sat down, by the time we finished the second beer, we were in 'la-la land' because we hadn't had any in so long. But we were there about two weeks and got to get into Calcutta. In fact, I saw Burning Ghat, where you could still see the feet of the people being burned and somebody came over with a stick and pushed them into the fire. In Calcutta, at that time, the Punjabs, people with the turbans and the beards, would be the cab drivers and they'd have these open touring cars, and two of them would be sitting in the front and you get in the back, and they'd take you around. So, we got to see a little of Calcutta and it was pretty bad. Now, it's even worse, I understand. But we got on board ship and had to back out about a half a day to where the river got wide enough for the ship to turn around, and we went into Sri Lanka, got gas and headed out into the Indian Ocean, up the Red Sea through the Suez Canal, to end up in Mediterranean. It was lovely till we hit the Atlantic in November, and, me, I had to shave everyday, so I went up to the head, which was in the bow of the ship, and, of course, everything had been thrown up on, and, after a minute or two, I decided, "Let me get back to my bunk," and I was in there for a couple of days before they got me topside, where it was nice and cool and I was okay, and somebody went down and got a loaf of bread and I had a loaf of bread. We were served two meals a day and the table was about yea high and you stood up, and some of the guys couldn't make it through the meal and there was a garbage can down at the end where they tossed their cookies into. It was a real rough crossing, and we got into New Yorkabout ten at night. They got us off, put us on trains, into Kilmer, and the 2:00 AM lecture in the theater on becoming a civilian. I mean in Kilmer, I was half a mile from home. So, we were given our sixty-day furloughs and after seeing the folks, I got on the train, and Beck met me in Greenville, South Carolina, and we went back to Greenwood. I spent time there. There were four brothers in Greenwood, Herbert was the oldest, and Billy and Sam and Ernest was the youngest, and he was in the army before World War I. He was on the Mexican border with Pershing, and when the war broke out, he was among the first that went over to Europe, and survived it, and came back and stayed in the reserves in the National Guard, and, the Second World War they took him back in and he ended up out in Fort Sill, Oklahoma; was a lieutenant colonel there, and so he took part in both wars and came back to Greenwood. Finally, he had glaucoma, as she does, and the doctor really screwed up because he went blind, totally blind, before he died. The Greenwood family was a nice family. Some crazy stories; friends in Abbeville, cousins rather, of hers in Abbeville, the wife of one of her cousins, her family went back the Revolution, all Jewish, back to the Revolution, and Sol, the family owned a lot of land in Abbeville County, and somebody came up to Sol one day and said, "Sol, I think there's a black church on some of your land." So, he went out there and checked it out, and sure enough, there was. So, he approached some of the people and said, "You know you'd built your church on my land," and they said, "Mr. Sol, we'll have a meeting of the board and somebody would be in to see you," about two weeks later, here came a committee and they said, "Mr. Sol, we don't have any money to buy the land, but this is what we'll do. Anytime you want to preach, come into our church and preach." They told me another story recently about Sol. Had some guy cutting logs and taking them into a certain area and he came over with a bill and it was three hours; an hour-and-a-half pulling the logs and another hour-and-a-half trying to pull the logs. He said, "What do you mean?" "I couldn't get the mule to move." [laughter] Her cousin, one time we were there, took us out in the country where her great-grandfather had a summer home that was really falling to pieces. She heard that they were going to tear it down. So, she got her husband to allow her to have it moved to their front yard and reconstruct it, and she had an antique shop in it.
SI: So, after you spent some time down in Greenwood, you came back to Highland Park?
SI: Did you go right back into your father's business?
AH: Yes. Yes, yes, and that was when we got an apartment on Huntington Street and later above Livingston Avenue. Oh, wait a minute, no, no, no, that's before the war. When I came back, we stayed with my folks and we stayed in a hotel, and, we're looking for a home and we finally got to see this place; and it was the first house we saw that was bigger than the little boxes for rooms. So, we had an hour to decide and Beck spoke to the people that were renting here and they said "No." They were going to move; they were going back to Pittsburg, or something, so we bought it. The hour we had to decide, the guys knew they had us, so they raised the price a thousand dollars. At any rate, we bought it. This was in February of '46 and we finally had to go to court. People that were here didn't move out, and when they finally did, they didn't have the decency to tell us. Because Beck ran into somebody and they say, "Hey, I heard they moved out." Didn't even give us the key. So, then we had a lot of renovation done in here and moved in November of '46, have been here ever since.
SI: Did you use the GI mortgage?
BH: I don't remember whether we did or not.
AH: I don't think I did.
SI: Did you use any part of the GI Bill?
AH: No, the only thing I did, I had a whole life policy. At that point, if you were killed, they would give your family ten thousand [dollars]. So, I decided to keep that, and it's worth, oh, seventy or eighty thousand [dollars] now, but I still got that. I pay one hundred seventy-five and ten a year.
SI: So, after the war, can you kind of give me an overview of your career and what you did?
AH: Well, actually, I ended up with the business, but at the time wash and wears came in and the business just went to hell, so, we had to close it up. When Neil graduated from Rutgers, a friend of ours who was a lawyer in town, said, "Neil, come on, work with me. I'll teach you the title business," and he did, and a couple of years later, he died and Neil went out on his own, and when I closed the plant, I went to work for Neil and he ended up with an agency, and starting in 1980, he had his own agency, has done real well, and it's made him quite a wealthy man. I'm still working for Trans-County Title. I go in four days a week; four-and-a-half hours two days, and five-and-a-half hours the other two days. But other than that, I enjoy doing the work and I like to keep the mind and body going, so that's basically the extent of it.
SI: You had two daughters before the war; did you have any children after the war?
AH: No. No. We found out we had an RH problem, and at that point in time, there wasn't much they could do. But we didn't find that out until after Cecile, the younger one, was born.
BH: And she's fine.
SI: Do you have grandchildren?
AH: We have five grandchildren and we have six great-grandchildren. In fact, two of them are going down toWashington with me. Beck is not going, she can't. Two of our great-grandchildren, Eric and Amanda, are going down to Washington tomorrow night, and Friday morning, we go to the Indian Museum, and Saturday morning, we'd go out to Arlington for services, and then to Fort Myers for lunch. Oh, on Friday night, the Taiwan Embassy entertains us all at their residence, and Saturday night we have our banquet. Sunday morning we'd come home. That's it.
SI: That's very nice.
AH: Yes, it is. They're a great bunch of people we've enjoyed, made a lot of good friends and we're very happy with them.
SI: That's good. Is there anything else you'd like to add that we haven't gone over? Anything else you'd like to mention?
AH: Oh, I can mention this. Ken Rupprecht, who was the master sergeant in operations, and Captain Saunders were great friends. They were both pretty big guys. When we were at Liangshan before we got home, the two of them got drunk and got into an argument, and Ken beat the hell out of Saunders. Of course, the next day our CO, Rasmussen, wanted to know, "What happened?" Silence. Nobody said a word because both would have been court-martialed. Oh, another thing, while we were over there, other than the bar, there were crap games and poker games and Shorty Oldham, one night, I saw him make twenty straight passes at craps, come back a half hour later and made, I think, twelve straight. That month he won about ten thousand dollars. The next month gave it all back. My first pay, I couldn't allot my flight pay, I got one hundred-fifty dollars and I got into a poker game, first pay, playing seven-card-stud, check and raise. Real bloodthirsty game and, first four cards, I had two pair. "Hey, I got it made!" Well, somebody bet sixty dollars; I had to see it, and, of course, I lost. My money lasted about an hour. But, I came back and won later. We used to play bridge for a penny a point, and at one point, I'd sent back six hundred dollars, so that that furnished the kitchen. [laughter] No, but then we played a lot of cards, but it was crazy. One of the guys, I remember, Captain Parliament owed Shorty Oldham, I think, around twelve hundred dollars and Parliament was waiting to go home. So, they sat down and played blackjack, just the two of them. Parliament bet eight hundred dollars, won, bet four hundred dollars, won. Got up and walked away. Shorty didn't say, "Boo." Shorty was that kind of guy, real nice person. But you saw things like that.
SI: It doesn't sound like there was much of a division between enlisted men and officers overseas.
AH: Well, we were billeted separately so we really, didn't normally have communications, but when we were on DS [detached service] in Chinese command, there was just this one crew. So, we were together a lot, yes. I'll never forget when, first day we got into Nanking, we were in rickshaws and a woman walked up when we were stopped and patted me on the shoulder and, "Thank you," because, you know, what happened in Nanking. The Japanese killed hundreds of thousands. It was that day in Nanking I was able to get a, it was a flag, a silk flag, that had Chinese, Russian, British and American flags on it.
BH: Is it in that book?
AH: Yes, it is.
SI: Mrs. Hozore says that you qualified for a pilot, navigator and bombardier?
SI: Let me ask you, when you were going to cities like Nanking and Kunming, would you see a lot of destruction and signs of the war?
AH: Not in Kunming and, really, in Nanking, we didn't see any, because evidently it was all one-sided and ...
SI: There weren't a lot of outward signs of the Japanese attacks?
AH: No, no.
SI: Did many of the locals, aside from that one woman, say anything about what they had gone through, or give any indications?
AH: No, no. We were really there only that afternoon and overnight and we, really, other than the brocade that I bought, that was about the extent of it. Some interesting things, one of the planes flew into see a field right after the war. Peace was declared in Chihkiang and here comes a Japanese officer, running, and he's reaching here, and they wondered, "What the hell is he going to do?" They got their .45s out and he pulled his sword out and bowed down. But when we landed in Nanking, the first time, there were thirty-five GIs, two hundred armed Chinese Nationalist Forces and two hundred thousand armed Japanese; we really didn't have any contact with them. But you could certainly tell the difference between the Japanese and Chinese. Stature was completely different, but other than that, not really. One other little thing, most of the GIs had no use for the Red Cross. We had a Red Cross thing in Chengkung and we could buy biscuits, fifteen cents apiece, from the Red Cross.
BH: I wouldn't give the Red Cross two cents.
AH: Well, it's my feeling and, on the way back on the boat, there was an OSS man I was talking to and he said, "Of course, they checked everything that was sent home," and, they said, "One of the Red Cross girls, on earning a hundred and twenty-five dollars a month, sent twenty-five thousand dollars home in one year." Twenty-five dollars for enlisted men, thirty-five dollars and up for officers.
SI: Did they have any USOs in the CBI?
AH: Yes, yes. I didn't get to see any, but like Lily Pons was there, Joe E. Brown was there. There were a number of people that came. Buster Keaton, I think, was there so there were a number of people that came and entertained, yes. But we were spread out so that they might have been in Kunming and didn't come to Chengkung, or go up to Peishiyi, whatever. I have fond memories of China. I enjoyed it and certainly met some nice people. That's about the extent of it.
SI: Well, I'd like to thank you both for all of your time, and as we're going through the transcript, I might find there's even more questions I have but ...
AH: No problem.
SI: Maybe I'll come back. We always give you a transcript and I encourage you to add anything you want to it, so, thank you very much. Thanks for bringing out all the materials. It was great to look at it and to get some great original photographs of the war and from your trips afterwards.
AH: Yes. We were very fortunate and we are well aware of it, and, I'm sorry to see them try to not continue the meetings, but we'll see what happens.
SI: Okay, well, it sounds like you'll have a good meeting this weekend.
AH: Oh, yes. They're a great bunch of people. They have a hospitality suite and have a bar and you donate a dollar for every drink, and, one year, I was the bartender because the others, the regular one had to go down toArgentina for something. But, no, they're a nice bunch of people.
SI: Okay, they provide all the glasses. That's very nice. They are all with the 14th Air Force patch on them?
SI: That's great.
AH: You ready for your Coke now?
SI: Yes, a break would be good. Before I stop the tape, thank you both very much. Thank you.
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Reviewed by Jessica Ding 9/19/06
Reviewed by Sandra Stewart Holyoak 12/4/06
Reviewed by Arthur Hozore 1/23/07 & 2/28/07