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Interview on experiences in World War II

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Creator: Stockstill, William Stanley

Date: July 10, 2006

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 213576

Biographical sketch: In 1934 William Stanley (Stan) Stockstill moved to Geneseo, Kansas, when his dad was transferred by Continental Oil Company from Oklahoma. In 1942 he enlisted in the Air Force, and went to Bakersfield, California to mechanic's school for nine weeks. He then went to Washington, where he trained to work on B-24 Bombers, and then his group was sent to Desert Center, California for training to go to Africa. The war was changing so instead they wound up in the Pacific, first going to Clark Field in Honolulu, Hawaii. Then they headed to the Admiralty Islands and the Palau Islands which was the base from which we were bombing the Philippines. They were on a little island of Angar, which was about 600 air miles from the Philippines; the bombers would do their bombing runs during the day and at night the mechanics would patch up the airplanes. Many times the Japanese would shoot a hole in the extra gas tanks they carried and they wouldn't have enough fuel to land or their controls wouldn't work to put their landing gear down so they would have to make a belly landing. The Japanese would bomb the airfield at night and when they had dropped all their bombs they would dive the airplane into the ground, trying to take everybody with them. The men were in foxholes and after the first night of hot metal raining down on them from the airplanes, the second night they had coverings made from branches and brush. Of course it was in the tropics and the temperature stayed in the 90's to 100's, it didn't cool off at night. They had tents with a cot to sleep in and he tells about one night when it had rained and the next morning when he got up you could see the muddy footprint that looked like a duck's foot; it was the kind of shoes the Japanese wore. Someone had been walking around in his tent during the night. The commander had made them spread their tents out and not be bunched up because the Japs would come in with a landmine strapped to their body and that night two or three of them did come right in the middle of all of them and set one off. He said that his brother was in the infantry and he was in some terrible battles there. They later moved on to Okinawa and were packed up, ready to go to Japan, when the atomic bomb was dropped. He spent almost three years overseas and he said, "none of it was very pleasant." During his time in the service he saw Franklin Roosevelt in Hawii, and General MacArthur on Okinawa. Because he was single, he was at the bottom of the list to go home. When he did get home he enlisted in the Air Force Reserves and was in that for about eight years. He had kept in touch with his brothers and his parents through letters, and he said they had good mail service. He never used the G.I.Bill, instead he said he got a job and got married. Stan is a member of the American Legion and he donated pipe for all the flag poles in the Geneseo Cemetery. There are flags set up on all the big roads in the cemetery and each represents a veteran buried there. He earned the Good Conduct ribbon, the Asian/Pacific medal, and the Victory Ribbon for his service to his country. He has two sons, who have also served in the military, and at the age of 70, he retired from the oil fields.

Summary: William S. Stockstill enlisted in the Army (Air Force) in 1942 and served until 1946 in the 13th Air Group, 489th Squadron. Interviewed by Marian Poe on Jul 10, 2006, Stockstill talked about military experiences in the Second World War. He was born February 3, 1921, in Gore, Oklahoma. The family moved to Geneseo, Kansas, in 1934. 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 Rice County Historical Society (Lyons) 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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019-14-04-02  DVD 

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