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Oral history interview with William H. Cozine 2006.

Author: William H Cozine; John Weingandt; Wisconsin Veterans Museum.
Edition/Format:   Archival material : Cassette recording : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
William H. Cozine, a New York City native, describes his Air Force service in Headquarters Squadron, 3rd Air Base Group, as a photographer in Japan and Korea during the Korean War.
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Genre/Form: Personal narratives, American
Named Person: William H Cozine; John Wayne; Janet Leigh
Document Type: Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: William H Cozine; John Weingandt; Wisconsin Veterans Museum.
OCLC Number: 262295594
Event notes: Interviewed by John Weingandt on August 17, 2006 in Madison, Wisconsin.
Description: Sound recording : 1 sound cassette (ca. 54 min.) ; analog, 1 7/8 ips. Transcript : 33 p. Master sound recording : 1 sound cassette (ca. 54 min.) ; analog, 1 7/8 ips.

Abstract:

William H. Cozine, a New York City native, describes his Air Force service in Headquarters Squadron, 3rd Air Base Group, as a photographer in Japan and Korea during the Korean War.

He tells of taking the GED to get his high school diploma, working in a delicatessen, and signing up in 1950 when the Korean War broke out. He talks of starting basic training at Lackland Air Force Base (Texas) but, after living in tents for two weeks because the barracks were not finished, being transferred to hot and dusty Sheppard Air Force Base (Texas). He portrays learning to take orders, KP duty peeling potatoes, and being taught not to call his rifle a gun. Cozine discusses taking aptitude tests which recommended him for photography and of going to Lowry Air Force Base (Colorado) to train at the photo lab. He talks about going to George Air Force Base (California) to work in special services, doing publicity as a photo lab technician. He relates stories about the weeks spent photographing John Wayne and Janet Leigh as they were filming Jet Pilot on the base. Cozine remembers being sent to Misawa (Japan) on boats and everyone getting seasick. He explains his job taking photos of Russian supply ships from onboard B-26 planes. He describes his lucrative side jobs as a night projectionist, a black market profiteer selling cartons of cigarettes to the Japanese, and an investor giving start-up money to a Japanese fellow projectionist for a brothel. With his extra money Cozine remembers buying a big 1944 Indian Chief motorcycle, which he once used in a race and had to leave in Japan. He also mentions buying kimonos, china, and pearls to send home to his mother. Cozine remembers visits to Hachinohe, a fishing village that had racks of dusty dried squid and fishing junks that trained cormorants to catch fish, and he talks about being invited into a Japanese home and eating rat and raw octopus. Cozine discusses going to Kunsan (Korea) as a photo lab chief, though he had only three stripes, and his job loading gunnery cameras, developing pictures, and making mosaics for bombing runs. He remembers his first experience in Korea--getting infection in his feet from sand fleas and having difficulty healing after deciding to get circumcised. He describes B-26 strafing runs that bombed North Korean trains at night and the steel cables the North Koreans strung across valleys to hit planes flying under the radar. Cozine talks about a deal the photographers and cooks made to exchange developing pictures for special food and ingredients that the lab crew secretly used to make home brew in thirty gallon hypol cans. He describes his relationships with his commanding officers. Cozine remembers the peace talks in Panmunjom being mistakenly bombed by his own side. He recalls a saboteur sneaking onto the base and setting off a chain-reaction of B-26 explosions. He also recalls a man in his crew threatening him with a pistol and demanding to be let out of the service. He discusses returning to Laughlin Air Force Base (Texas) and his job photographing the pilot remains as the result of training flight crashes. He says that after finally being discharged, he left all his stuff hanging in his closet and just left. Cozine talks about seeing an Air Force woman come into a cafe and how he knew he would marry her, which he did four days after his discharge (now married for fifty-two years and counting). He talks about his later work in sales for Rohan Company, testing solid rocket propellant with the Phillips Petroleum Company, and his career with commissions selling. He discusses Levitt factory homes built for returning servicemen.

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