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Interview on experiences in World War II

View at Kansas Memory

Creator: Koehn, David E.

Date: March 6, 2006

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 211388

Biographical sketch: David Koehn was drafted in 1943 and sent to Camp Lee, Virginia for basic training. Because he had experience in shoe repair that is what his duty was while he was in training. From there he was shipped to England where he was a member of the First Allied Airborne Army '49 Quartermaster Corps, which supplied paratroopers after they dropped. They resupplied the 101st Airborne and the 82nd divisions with ammunition and food, dropping them from a C-47 via parachute. On the day after D-Day and the day after the Battle of the Bulge they flew supplies in. He says he "will never forget D-Day and how many planes were in the air," it must have been "thousands of them," B17s, B24s, C47s pulling gliders. "There was a steady stream this way and a steady stream that way." The Battle of the Bulge he describes as "probably the most important thing in my life," bringing in supplies after the weather cleared. The soldiers on the ground thought their biggest danger was getting hit by a parachute because they sent so many planes. When Patton was in Southern France they shipped him "200 planes of 205 gallon cans of gasoline every day" for his tanks and equipment but he said they weren't keeping up. The Battle of the Bulge was his last flight and he returned to France where they were indoctrinated and inoculated to go to China. However, the war ended and they didn't have to go. Mr. Koehn has great admiration for Generals Bradley, Eisenhower, Patton, and Hodges and after the war has read a lot about them. He comments about Joe Louis coming to their base but because he could only go with the black troops, they never got to see him. Integration hadn't happened at that time. Because he didn't have very many points he wasn't discharged until December of 1945, you just had to wait your turn because those with higher points got to go first. It took seventeen days on the Liberty ship to get home and he was seasick the entire time. He returned to Camp Chaffee where he was discharged and returned to Cimarron. For a year and a half he attended Kansas State University where they had hundreds of servicemen, temporary barracks were set up everywhere. Not feeling comfortable there he returned to Cimarron and went into housing construction.

Summary: Koehn was drafted into the Army in 1943 and served until 1945 in the First Allied Airborne Army '49 Quartermaster. Interviewed by Joyce Suellentrop on Mar 6, 2006, Koehn 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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019-14-04-07  Cassette Audio Tape 

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