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Interview on experiences in World War II

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Creator: Crocker, George Charles

Date: December 1, 2005

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 211318

Biographical sketch: George Crocker had been attending the College of Emporia in Emporia, Kansas when he went to Kansas City and joined the Navy in June 1943. After boot camp in Farragut, Idaho he chose to receive radio training. He was shipped to Memphis, Tennessee for radio training, to Hollywood, Florida for gunnery school, and to Jacksonville, Florida for PBY (Patrol Bomber flying boat) training. In August 1944 he was sent to Hutchinson, Kansas to work with modified B-24 aircraft known as PB-4-Y-1. His squadron was sent to Camp Kearney in San Diego, California to pick up their new PB-4-Y-2 aircraft. These were modified B-24s, called the Flying Tail, with seven more feet on the flight deck, a single stabilizer, and a higher tail than standard B-24s. By December 1944, the squadron was stationed at Kaneohe, Hawaii and were sent to Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands and to Tinian in the Mariana Islands. They made patrol and bombing runs from Tinian into the Pacific to Truk, Iwo Jima, and Japan, to sink the Japanese picket boats which spotted B-29s taking off from Saipan and Tinian. Crocker describes providing support for the invasion of Iwo Jima. In May 1945, the squadron was transferred to Palawan, Philippines, and started flying across Borneo to Singapore, the Malay coast, and Saigon, Cochinchina. Crocker describes air battles over the Malay coast, and making an emergency landing at Tawi Tawi north of Borneo. The war ended in August 1945 and the squadron flew back to Hawaii by way of Palawan, Tinian, and Johnston Island. They opted to return to San Francisco on the U.S.S. Ticonderoga carrier (rather than fly their airplanes back from Hawaii), and he describes coming into San Francisco Bay with girls on the Golden Gate Bridge signaling their telephone numbers by semaphore. The squadron was released for leave and returned to duty at Alameda Naval Base until March 1946. His highest service rank was Aviation Radioman, Second Class. He was discharged from the Navy in Shoemaker, California on March 19, 1946. Crocker's interview is of special interest for his extended discussion of his experiences as a naval PB4-Y-2 gunner in combat with Japanese aircraft in the late stages of the war in the Pacific. The transcript's cover sheet provides a detailed index of the contents of the interview.

Summary: Crocker entered the Navy in 1943 and served until 1946. Interviewed by Robert Ecklund on Dec 1, 2005, Crocker 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 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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019-14-04-04  Cassette Audio Tape 

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