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Collection William C. Frohmader
WVM ID Number OH 1091
Object Name Oral History
Title Oral History Interview with William C. Frohmader
Date 2007
Event World War II
Narrator's Name William C. Frohmader
Interviewer's Name John Driscoll
Description In this oral history interview, William C. Frohmader, a Mauston, Wisconsin native, discusses his Navy service as an airman striker on Privateer airplanes before and during the Korean War.

Frohmader tells of his enlistment into the Navy at age seventeen, basic training at Great Lakes Naval Station (Illinois) in 1948, transfer to Alameda (California), and assignment first at Kaneohe Bay and then at Barbers Point (Hawaii) with the VP25 flight crew. He explains the features of the squadron airplane, the Privateer (PB4Y2), which was a late model of the B24 with a longer range. He served on the crew as a mechanic, an "airman striker," and he tells an anecdote of being asked to clean the side mounts, landing gear, and not knowing what they were. He explains that they did a lot of flying, patrolling, search and rescue, and antisubmarine warfare training. He explains the protocol for extra pay, called "flight pay," where the beginners only got " half a set." Frohmader discusses night navigation where he would sit in turrets or up in the bow and serve as lookout for the pilot while they relied strictly on instruments, flight patterns, and radio beacons.

With the Korean War starting up, Frohmader was assigned to VP22 at the Philippines and Okinawa; he discusses the condition of Okinawa several years following World War II. Not able to put in much flying time, he worked on a cleaning detail at the White Hat Club and fixed up some World War II Quonset huts as a sickbay. He details his further assignments that involved a stint back in Hawaii and California with antisubmarine training as Cold War fears included rumors that Russian submarines were in the Pacific Ocean. This involved flights from Hawaii, eventually ending up at an Australian airbase in Japan. There were also flights from Japan over Korea, and up the coast to Vladivostok (Russia) and Frohmader mentions watching them shell in Wonsan (Korea). Stationed in Iwakuni (Japan), Frohmader tells of detachments sent to Wonson, Seoul, Kansong, and the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War. Explaining that their work involved patrolling, looking for convoys that the North Koreans were using, and dropping long-burning flares; Frohmader details how they stayed there until the Marine fighter planes came in underneath and would strafe and drop napalm on what the flares revealed. He says that his time was up in 1952 and that he hated to leave because he felt that he was a contributing part of the war effort. Frohmader comments on his homecoming and discharge from Treasure Island and his long-term work at Volk Field as part of the Wisconsin Air National Guard.
Extent and Medium of Description Analog audio recording: 1 audio cassette (approx. 1 hour)
Transcript: 28 pgs.
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Biographical Record Frohmader, William C.