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Interview on experiences in World War II

View at Kansas Memory

Creator: Brown, Raymond Milton

Date: April 8, 2006

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 211306

Biographical sketch: Raymond Brown enlisted in the Army in July 1942 and served in the European Theatre. He was inducted at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, and received basic training at Camp Swift near Bastrop, Texas. The 95th Infantry Division was started at that time from the Camp Swift troops. After basic, the Division was transferred to Ft. Sam Houston outside of San Antonio, Texas, for advanced infantry training into the early part of 1943. Training continued with maneuvers at Camp Cibilo, Louisiana Maneuver Area, and Camp Coxcomb (California desert) until February 1944. The battalion was reorganized at Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, and underwent further maneuver training in West Virgina. In August 1944, the battalion embarked for Liverpool, England, on the S.S. America from Boston, Massachusetts. They crossed the Channel in September 1944 to land on Omaha Beach on D-Day plus 100. Brown was moved up to the line in late October, where he was thrust into command of his platoon on his first day of battle outside of Metz because of the deaths or wounds of all ranking superiors. From Metz, they moved toward Saarlautern, Saarlautern Roden, Nancy, Trier, Hamm, and Dusseldorf. Casualties were very high, and platoon replacements often died before Brown knew their names. From his first day of battle, the 95th Division was in the line for 95 days without a break. The regiment had over 100% casualties either killed or wounded through the entire war. Brown was awarded a battlefield commission to 2nd lieutenant and then promoted to 1st lieutenant a month or so later. The Division was trucked across the Rhine to Munster, Germany. They fought their way back to the Rhine through the "Ruhr Pocket," which was created by the 3rd Army's pincer movements. Because the 95th Division was among the last of the divisions committed in Europe, they were shipped back to the States early so they could be sent to the South Pacific. Brown came home to Olpe, Kansas, on July 4, 1945 for a 30 day recuperation leave before rejoining the Division in Camp Shelby, Mississippi. He was in Camp Shelby, being readied for shipment to the South Pacific, when the atom bombs were dropped on Japan, and the war ended. Brown describes growing up on a farm south of Olpe, Kansas, in the 1920s and early 1930s, scrambling for work off the farm in the middle 1930s, and his own experiences as a farmer in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Brown's interview is notable for his description of 95th Infantry Division activities from its creation and training through battle experiences in France and Germany in 1944-1945. The interview is especially interesting for Brown's thoughtful, philosophical, and eloquent approach to his Army career and to America's role in world affairs. The transcript's cover sheet provides a detailed topics list of the interview's contents.

Summary: First Lieutenant Brown was drafted into the Army (Infantry) in 1942 and served until 1945 in the Company F, 379th Infantry, 95th Infantry Division, 3rd Army. Interviewed by Loren Pennington on Apr 8, 2006, Brown talked about military experiences in the Second World War. Brown was born April 23, 1915, on a farm three miles south of Olpe, Kansas. His parents were Mathew G. Brown and Emma K. Trier Brown. The 2005 Kansas Legislature passed a bill funding the WWII Veterans Oral History grant program. This transcript is from one of the nine community institutions that received these grants. The transcript from the interview is presented here; the original audio copy of the interview is available through the Emporia State University (Flint Hills) and through the Kansas State Historical Society.

Space Required/Quantity: Audio

Title (Main title): Interview on experiences in World War II

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019-14-04-03  Cassette Audio Tape (2) 

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