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Oral history interview with Thomas J. Cullen 1994.

Author: Thomas J Cullen; Mark D Van Ells; Wisconsin Veterans Museum.
Edition/Format:   Archival material : Cassette recording : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Cullen, a Madison (Wisconsin) native, discusses his service with the 494th Bomb Group, 7th Air Force in the Pacific theater during World War II. He mentions being drafted after high school graduation at Madison Central in 1942 and subsequent basic Air Corps training at Keesler Field (Mississippi). Cullen recalls training for officer corps, boxing, and seeing "colored troops" in segregated training. He relates public  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Personal narratives, American
Named Person: Thomas J Cullen; George Hayes; Erich Von Stroheim
Document Type: Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: Thomas J Cullen; Mark D Van Ells; Wisconsin Veterans Museum.
OCLC Number: 84902798
Event notes: Interviewed by Mark D. Van Ells on August 18, 1994 in Madison, Wisconsin.
Description: sound recording : 3 audiocassettes (approximately 170 min.) : analog, 1 7/8 ips Master sound recording : 2 audiocassettes (approximately 170 min.) : analog, 1 7/8 ips Transcript : 53 pages Military papers : 0.1 linear ft. (1 folder)

Abstract:

Cullen, a Madison (Wisconsin) native, discusses his service with the 494th Bomb Group, 7th Air Force in the Pacific theater during World War II. He mentions being drafted after high school graduation at Madison Central in 1942 and subsequent basic Air Corps training at Keesler Field (Mississippi). Cullen recalls training for officer corps, boxing, and seeing "colored troops" in segregated training. He relates public segregation in Biloxi (Mississippi), his CTD training at Austin College, flight training in Sherman (Texas), and playing pool with a "local girl." Describing gunnery school and training at the skeet range, Cullen recalls a story of his chronograph watch. Cullen discusses his B-24 crew training at Muroc Army Air Base (California), Los Angeles night life, his experiences meeting movie actors Gabby Hayes and Eric von Stroheim, and his boxing matches with soldiers. He mentions his flight crew member profiles and details adventures while on liberty in San Francisco. After arriving in Barking Sands (Hawaii), Cullen notes Kauai's climate, terrain and food and details searching for General Harmon (commanding general of Pacific Army Air Forces). Cullen discusses being sent to Palau (Caroline Islands) in March 1945, leisure time, and native reactions to western culture. He cites his distaste of the Schaefer beer provided by the Army and how he nursed a bottle of "Three Feather's" whiskey. Cullen discusses arriving in Okinawa, the "primitive natives", red soil, and the danger of Japanese burial crypts. He details Washing Machine Charlie, Tokyo Rose's ploys, bombing military targets in Japan, B-29's over Okinawa and losing crew members in the Hiroshima A-bomb drop. Cullen discusses a mission to Kure Naval Base that was cancelled and recalls some discussions and reactions to the use of atomic bombs. Cullen talks about some crew members witnessing the Nagasaki mushroom cloud and his recollection of a "red dust" floating in the sky on August 9, 1945. He talks about traveling to Guam, Hawaii, San Francisco, and Camp McCoy (Wisconsin) before shuttling between Madison and San Antonio (Texas) until final discharge on November 9, 1945. He talks about joining the veteran's group, Wisconsin Veterans of World War II, and going to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall of 1946 (graduating in 1948). He discusses the quonset huts, veterans clubs, and friction on campus between veteran and civilian students. He reflects on a boxing incident and concludes by talking about adjustments to civilian life, his first crew reunion, and other veteran attitudes.

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Primary Entity

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