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Interview on experiences in World War II

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View at Kansas Memory

Creator: Bryant, Donald D.

Date: November 30, 2005

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 211307

Biographical sketch: Donald Bryant was born and raised on a farm near Cullison, Kansas. After graduation from high school, he received a full basketball scholarship to Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas. The war was beginning, so after one year in college he left school to work at Stearman Aircraft Company in Wichita building bi-plane primary training aircraft and playing basketball for Bell Clothiers. In August 1940, he was hired by Boeing. He worked there several years and, in 1943, he started building the B29s bombers which Boeing had designed specifically to deliver incendiary bombs in long-distance raids over Japan. The Army Air Force needed trained mechanics to maintain its new B29 bombers, so in 1944 Bryant was inducted into the service at Ft. Riley, Kansas. He went through basic training at Camp Carson, Colorado, and was assigned to the 21st Squadron in Harvard, Nebraska, to maintain its 25 training B29 bombers. In early 1945, the 21st Squadron was sent to Guam, where Bryant maintained the B29s that were making bombing raids on Japan. After the war ended, he traveled to Tokyo for a week and landed on Iwo Jima on the way back to Guam. He spoke of the destruction he saw in Tokyo, the Japanese troops' 4' to 5' concrete fortifications on Iwo Jima, and of his belief that the atom bombs saved American lives that would have been lost in an assault on Japan. He was discharged in 1946, and he and his wife moved to Pratt, Kansas, where he worked for a motor company. They moved to a farm southwest of Copeland, Kansas, in 1954 and have farmed there ever since.

Summary: Bryant was drafted into the Army (Air Force) in 1944 and served until 1946 in the 21st Squadron. Interviewed by Joyce Suellentrop on Nov 30, 2005, Bryant talked about military experiences in the Second World War. 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 Gray County Veterans Memorial & Archives 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 

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