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Interview on experiences in World War II

View at Kansas Memory

Creator: Gillig, Howard Frederick

Date: October 1, 1999

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 211351

Biographical sketch: Howard Gillig was inducted into the Army Air Corp in September 1942 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and was sent to Shepard Field, Texas for basic and aircraft mechanics training. After graduation, he was sent to B-26 school at Middle River, Maryland for two months. He was assigned as an engineer for a new B-26 bomber which was sent to a sub depot in Rome, New York for modifications. The airplane and crew were sent to Kempler Field, Michigan for assignment to a bomber group, but the airplane (and its assigned crew) were reassigned to pilots from Wright Field, Ohio for experimental equipment modifications. Gillig spent the next several years assigned to that B-26 as it was modified and tested at Wright Field, Ohio, Blythe, California, and Patterson Field, Ohio. The Army decided not to use it as a bomber anymore and reassigned it and its crew to Boeing Field in Washington, D.C. as a personnel airplane. The airplane and crew were transferred from Washington, D.C. to Mather Field, California, to Fairfield, California, and finally to Hickam Field, Hawaii for use as the base commander's personal airplane. Gillig was transferred to Hamilton Field, California to repair a B-26 for a colonel there. Gillig describes ferrying Bob Hope's first USO tour from San Francisco to Fairfield, California for their first USO show before heading overseas. He received orders to go overseas and was sent by train to Portland, Oregon and put on a ship for Hawaii. He was there, waiting for transport to Okinawa, when the war ended. He stayed in Okinawa for about ten months servicing the airplanes that flew back and forth from Japan to Okinawa. He describes servicing General MacArthur's airplane as he traveled to Japan immediately after the war and of being in a tent through a typhoon that struck Okinawa. He was discharged from the service in Wichita in February 1946.

Summary: Gillig was drafted into the Army (Air Force) in 1942 and served until 1946 in the B-26 Flight Engineer. Interviewed by James Johnston on Oct 1, 1999, Gillig 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 video copy of the interview is available through the Greater Barber County Historical Action Assn and through the Kansas State Historical Society.

Space Required/Quantity: Video

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

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019-14-03-04  DVD 

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