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Emil Campbell audio interview on experiences in World War II

View at Kansas Memory

Creator: Campbell, Emil


Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 212189

Biographical sketch: Emil Campbell was working in the payroll office at the Sunflower Ordinance Plant in De Soto, Kansas when he was drafted into the Army Infantry in July 1942. He was sent to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas for induction processing, where he was assigned to the anti-aircraft group in Camp Wallace, Texas near Galveston. He was there for two months or so before the Army closed the anti-aircraft group down at Camp Wallace and sent Campbell, and others, to Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. He was sent to Camp Polk for mess sergeant training for several weeks and then returned to Camp Claiborne. He was assigned as a cook to Company B, 324th Regiment, 34th Infantry Division at Camp Claiborne, and was there for eighteen months before being shipped to Camp Philamin, New York for overseas processing. He describes going to the Roseland Ballroom and the Empire State Building in New York City, and waving goodbye to the Statue of Liberty on the way out of the harbor on a troop carrier ship en route to Glasgow, Scotland. The regiment was sent by train to Winchester, England for regrouping and from there to Liverpool, England and across the English Channel to Omaha Beach. They landed several months after D-Day. He describes seeing the abandoned and destroyed equipment on Omaha Beach and the extensive bomb damage at Saint-Lo, France as they passed through it to the front line. The regiment moved into battle in Holland, Belgium, the Siegfried Line, and then into the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. Campbell was in the Headquarters company ?right behind the front lines and in between the artillery.? He describes the battle, and of a time during it ? on either Christmas 1944 or New Year?s Day 1945 ? when he stood watching a long line of American bombers, four abreast, flying overhead en route to bomb Berlin. He describes seeing American prisoners, liberated from German prisoner-of-war camps, and of being along the Rhine for several weeks as the Corp of Engineers built bridges across the Rhine. While there, Campbell was able to reunite with cousins in the 135th Infantry Division camped nearby. He fought in the Battle of the Rhineland and pushed forward to the Elbe where they waited a week for the Russian troops to meet them there. When the war in Europe ended (May 1945), he was sent to Berlin for a couple of months until he had enough points to be shipped home to Kansas City and discharged from the service in January 1945.

Summary: Private First Class [PFC] Campbell was drafted into the Army (Infantry) in 1942 and served until 1946 in the Company B, 324th Regiment, 82nd Infantry Division, 9th Army. He was in an anti aircraft group that trained at Camp Wallace near Galveston, Texas. He ultimately served in Europe. He describes what they saw on Omaha Beach about a month after the invasions, the Siegfried Line, Berlin, and other places in Europe. He was interviewed by Suzette McCord-Rogers. He was born on the Iowa Reservation in Brown County, Kansas, on September 9, 1923. He said that he only finished 10th grade but that he also attended Haskell Institute (now Haskell Indian Nations University) in Lawrence, Kansas, for 2 years. After the war, he used the G. I. Bill for training to become a furniture finisher and upholsterer. He indicated that furniture refinishing was his occupation but at another point in the interview he said he worked in a packing house in Omaha, Nebraska. He also used the G. I. Bill for a home loan. 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 Doniphan County Historical Society (Troy) and through the Kansas State Historical Society.

Space Required/Quantity: Audio

Title (Main title): Emil Campbell audio interview on experiences in World War II

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019-14-03-02  DVD (3) 
019-14-04-04  Cassette Audio Tape 

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