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Experiences in World War II interview

View at Kansas Memory

Creator: Gilmore, Byron H.

Date: December 12, 2006

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 212299

Biographical sketch: After CMTC training(infantry training) in high school, Byron Gilmore knew he didn't want to be in the infantry so he applied to flight school and was accepted. He trained at Glendale, California and San Antonio, Texas before graduating and being sent to Panama, which is where he was when Pearl Harbor was attacked. During this assignment he flew P-26s, P-36s and P-40s where he was an intercept officer, then he became a master controller and was in the underground. He got secret orders to go to China and that is where he flew his first combat tour. While standing alert he spotted the Japanese coming in with about 27 bombers and thirty or forty followers and he dived through them and shot a bomber and was able to pull out and get away, earning a medal for his actions. On July 4, 1945 he was making a dive-bombing run when his plane exploded in front, so he bailed out into a rice paddie. He suffered burns in the explosion for which he was later hospitalized. For four days he hid out until he got with a Chinese farmer who gave him something to eat and helped him get back with an Army colonel working with guerrillas. A doctor from New York did skin grafts on his leg but it got infected and they were going to "cut his leg off" before he got to the flight surgeon who cleaned it up and it started healing. He did two tours in China, going back in 1947 where he was teaching aerial gunnery. Mr. Gilmore also flew P-47s and P-51s. He spent time with the Joint Chiefs of Staff at Fort Richie, Maryland and attended Staff and Command School at Norfolk, Virginia. After his Pentagon duty he retired in December of 1966 and stayed in Gettysburg, becoming chairman of the Red Cross and later became chairman of the Catholic Social Services.

Summary: Gilmore enlisted in the United States Army in 1941 and served until 1966 in the 23rd Fighter Group; Sixth Allied Topical Air Force. Interviewed by Brian Grubbs on December 12, 2006, Gilmore talked about military experiences in World War II. 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): Experiences in World War II interview

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019-14-05-02  Mini DV Tape 

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