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Interview on experiences in World War II

View at Kansas Memory

Creator: Allen, Dean

Date: May 25, 2007

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 212280

Biographical sketch: Dean Allen was born in Neodesha, Kansas; his father was in the oil business so they moved around a lot, he attended eight different schools growing up. After high school he worked four or five months for Beach Aircraft in Wichita but he always wanted to fly so enlisted in the V-5 program. (V-5 was a Naval training program established on July 1, 1943. V-5 stood for victory plus five months, the length of time the men agreed to serve.) While waiting to be called up he worked at the Sunflower Ordnance Plant for about three months as a "general flunky." He went to pre-flight training in Athens, Georgia and talks about learning what to do in different situations. There were two times that he had to ditch in the ocean so his training saved his life. He talks about flying the M2S, the Yellow Peril, and the Vultee Vibrator (BT-13) at Corpus Christi, Texas. From Waldron Field he was sent to Green Coast Springs, Florida where they learned how to land on a carrier by practicing landings on an asphalt runway that had the shape of a carrier marked out on it. After completing that training they were sent to Glenview, Illinois where they actually landed on a carrier. He says that after the first two or three it was better but you are afraid the arresting gear won't stop you. They tell you to keep your feet off the brakes but it is hard not to do in the beginning. Mr. Allen flew the F-4F while on the Saginaw Bay carrier. They went to Espiritu Santo, Guadalcanal, and the Palau Islands. He said that flying at night will "make your hair stand up." The Japanese Zero was designed for speed and maneuverability and he said they had a definite advantage until we got the F-6F (Hellcat). The F-6F was his favorite plane to fly, it had six fifty caliber Browning machine guns and a 2000 horse power engine. After six months on the carrier he was sent to a little island called Pitilu where he was a test pilot and also ferried planes. They would fly back to Pearl Harbor or Samar in the Philippines and then fly another plane back to Iwo Jima and Okinawa. When the war was over he had enough points to go home and thought he was on his way but he was "foiled again." For nearly three months he was flying all over the Pacific ferrying planes to a central location. For his services he earned five different ribbons. After he was discharged he looked for a job and joined the Reserves so he could keep on flying. He went to Pensacola as an instructor for two years and then rejoined the Olathe squadron, changing to flying jets. He stayed in the Reserves for several years and then ended up buying three bookstores, one in Lawrence and two in Topeka.

Summary: Allen enlisted in the Navy and served on the Saginaw Bay carrier. Interviewed by Brian Grubbs on May 25, 2007, Allen 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 community institutions receiving grants. The transcript of the interview is presented here; the original video copy of the interview is available through the Watkins Community Museum of History (Lawrence) 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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019-14-05-01  Mini DV Tape (2) 

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