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Oral history interview with Rupert Cornelius 1994.

Author: Rupert Cornelius; Mark D Van Ells; Wisconsin Veterans Museum.
Edition/Format:   Archival material : Cassette recording : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Rupert Cornelius describes his training and experiences while preparing to pilot a B-17 and his Air Force service in the European theatre. A student at the University of Wisconsin at the time, he mentions remembering his shock upon learning about Pearl Harbor while stopped in a tavern. Cornelius mentions his reasons for volunteering for the Air Force in 1942. Assigned to Santa Ana (California) for ground school,  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Personal narratives, American
Named Person: Rupert Cornelius
Document Type: Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: Rupert Cornelius; Mark D Van Ells; Wisconsin Veterans Museum.
OCLC Number: 84917921
Event notes: Interviewed by Mark D. Van Ells on August 3, 1994 in Madison, Wisconsin.
Description: Transcript : 23 p. Sound recording : 1 sound cassette (ca. 45 min.) ; analog, 1 7/8 ips. Master sound recording : 1 sound cassette (ca. 45 min.) ; analog, 1 7/8 ips.

Abstract:

Rupert Cornelius describes his training and experiences while preparing to pilot a B-17 and his Air Force service in the European theatre. A student at the University of Wisconsin at the time, he mentions remembering his shock upon learning about Pearl Harbor while stopped in a tavern. Cornelius mentions his reasons for volunteering for the Air Force in 1942. Assigned to Santa Ana (California) for ground school, he describes the exams, training, and types of plane they trained on; speculates about the criteria for different jobs within the Air Force; and mentions that his physical education instructor was Joe DiMaggio. Following ground school, Cornelius went to primary school in Dos Palos (California) to learn flying. He mentions his instructor was a veteran pilot from the Battle of Britain, describes the types of planes and comments on equipment condition. Cornelius details training on single and multi-engine airplanes, types of planes used, transitioning to larger aircraft, and several accidents. He mentions going to Los Angeles during R&R and getting married at Rattlesnake Field (Arizona). Cornelius describes the route getting to Snetterton Heath (England) and his accommodations aboard an Italian freighter. He didn't take part in D-Day because of a fractured skull and nose acquired while playing baseball. Cornelius explains the process of receiving and being briefed on missions. He describes how hundreds of planes assembled in the air for a bombing mission and that (because of chance collision) Cornelius didn't have the bombardier pull the bomb pins until his aircraft had left the coast of England. Cornelius mentions how the increased fighter range enabled them to escort into Germany and how he thought the P-51s saved the war. He talks of his impressions of the bombs' accuracy and his experience being thrown out of a fighter bar. He mentions frequent Ruhr Valley missions, going through flak and details his involvement in the raid on Paris, which was his toughest. Describing his experiences conducting experimental flights to determine ballistics of various ammunition types, Cornelius mentions how some information was used in the Dresden bombing. He mentions his aircraft was named "Big Moose" (after his bombardier) and admiration for his crew. Cornelius talks about his experiences with British people, gambling at the officers club; and describes one incident when his winnings were large enough that he treated his entire crew to a three-day party at London's Savoy. Upon return to the United States through New York, Cornelius played baseball for the Air Force for one year before being discharged in December 1945. Cornelius returned to Madison, studied at the University using the GI Bill while in a fraternity, and mentions not having time and therefore never joining any veterans organization.

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Linked Data


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