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Collection Fred A. Risser
WVM ID Number OH 1
Object Name Oral History
Title Oral History Interview with Fred Risser
Date 2002
Event World War II
Narrator's Name Fred Risser
Interviewer's Name Mike Hollander
Description In this oral history interview, Fred Risser, a Madison native, discusses his military service as a Navy medic immediately following World War II.

Discussed is his entry into military service including religious and moral convictions against carrying weapons, eye-strengthening program, and sudden departure to Great Lakes Naval Training Center (Illinois) before high school graduation. He characterizes a lighter basic training program for medical corpsmen and discusses integration of African Americans into his program. His crash course at Medic Corps School in San Diego (California) and travels are described as enjoyable. Depicted are his strategies in getting assignment choices first at the Naval Air Station in Rhode Island and then at Coco Solo Air Station in Panama. Risser addresses Jim Crow segregation in the Canal Zone and tells a story about gold and silver drinking fountains. Additional discussion involves his work assignments with a crash boat in the Canal, closed psychiatric ward, and venereal and sexual disease cases. Risser talks about his recreational activities in the military and characterizes himself as "somewhat of a loner" who did not like regimented military life, but enjoyed the opportunity to travel and see new things. Mentioned is tobacco use in the military, military food, and use of salt peter in the food. Risser addresses differences between freshman veterans and non-veterans at Carleton College which he attended on the GI Bill. As a Wisconsin legislator, Risser feels that his interest in mental health, venereal disease, and birth control legislation can be attributed to his military experiences. He concludes by picturing what he did during the attack on Pearl Harbor and then discusses differences between Pearl Harbor and September 11th Terrorist Attacks.
Extent and Medium of Description Analog audio recording: 1 audio cassette (approx. 90 minutes)
Transcript: 25 pgs.
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Biographical Record Risser, Fred A.