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Oral history interview with Donald Collins 2002.

Author: Donald E Collins; James F McIntosh; Wisconsin Veterans Museum.
Edition/Format:   Archival material : Cassette recording : VHS tape : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Donald E. Collins, a Sunbury, Pennsylvania native, discusses his World War II service as a radio striker aboard the USS Finback, a Navy submarine, serving in the Pacific Ocean. Collins talks about graduating from high school early, enlisting, and being turned down from a Navy bombing squadron and a Marine parachute unit because he was too light-weight. He talks about boot camp at Sampson (New York), radio school at  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Personal narratives, American
Named Person: Donald E Collins; George Bush; Charles Spritz; Charles A Lockwood
Material Type: Videorecording
Document Type: Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: Donald E Collins; James F McIntosh; Wisconsin Veterans Museum.
OCLC Number: 55223947
Event notes: Interviewed by James F. McIntosh on June 28, 2002 in Wisconsin.
Description: Sound recording : sound cassette (ca. min.) : analog, 1 7/8 ips. Videorecording : 1 videocassette (ca. min.) ; sd., col. ; 1/2 in. Master sound recording : 1 sound cassette (ca. min.) : analog, 1 7/8 ips. Transcript : 41 p.
Details: VHS-C format.

Abstract:

Donald E. Collins, a Sunbury, Pennsylvania native, discusses his World War II service as a radio striker aboard the USS Finback, a Navy submarine, serving in the Pacific Ocean. Collins talks about graduating from high school early, enlisting, and being turned down from a Navy bombing squadron and a Marine parachute unit because he was too light-weight. He talks about boot camp at Sampson (New York), radio school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, learning Morse code, and volunteering for submarine service. He describes the testing he underwent prior to submarine duty including aptitude tests, psychological examinations, pressure tests, and a Mommsen Lung escape technique test. Collins touches upon additional training in encryption, sound gear operation, and how to handle any other crew member's job in an emergency. He characterizes Admiral Charles Lockwood and the officer who ran the submarine base, Chief Torpedoman Charles Spritz. Collins touches on volunteering to handle meat aboard a troop ship and being aboard a Fulton sub tender during a fire. Collins mentions assignment to the USS Finback (SS-230) at Midway Island. He describes his first patrol in the China Sea, shooting and exploding mines, sinking Japanese ships, and two weeks of rest at Majuro (Marshall Islands). He discusses qualification testing and his duties as a radioman, lookout, sound equipment operator, and Radio Direction Finder operator. Collins talks about hunting oil tankers off Iwo Jima and expecting air support that didn't come, and he mentions scouting Truk Island. He tells of being shot at by an American destroyer, techniques used by the Japanese Navy involving sampans to lure submarines for attack, and hearing depth charges approach the sub. Collins touches upon military life including the relationship between officers and enlisted men, drinking alcohol distilled aboard the submarine from "torpedo juice," receiving a brandy ration when the ship was under heavy fire, staying at Hawaiian hotels between missions, and eating free dinner at a Hawaiian restaurant. He describes air-sea rescue procedures and tells of pilots who were afraid of the submarine. While patrolling near Chichi Jima, the Finback rescued a downed Navy pilot (President George Bush) and he talks about being shipboard with Bush for about three weeks. After the war, Collins touches on joining the Navy Reserves, attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison on the GI Bill, working in an intelligence unit in the basement of a professor at the University of Wisconsin, marrying a woman from Madison, meeting George Bush when he ran for president, and pursuing a career in criminal justice. Collins states he resisted joining veteran's organizations because he didn't want them to influence his job, but he was made commander of the VFW for two years while helping them solve money-theft problems.

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Primary Entity

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