|WVM ID Number||OH 119|
|Object Name||Oral History|
|Title||Oral History Interview with Allan Bell|
|Event||World War II|
|Narrator's Name||Allan Bell|
|Interviewer's Name||James McIntosh|
In this oral history interview, Allan Bell, a Tomahawk, Wisconsin native, discusses his World War II service with the 11th Bombardment Group (Heavy), 98th Bomb Squadron.
Enlisting and entering the Air Corps in March 1943, he attended preflight school in San Antonio (Texas) with actual flight training in Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Bell describes his training, and relates that he first flew a consolidated B-24 Liberator upon return to Texas. Assignment of an air crew, and air crew training in California in the summer of 1944, preceded a flight to Hawaii for Gunnery School at Hickam Field. He provides an account of his time in Hawaii, and shares the story of a harrowing practice-bombing run. Bell and crew joined the 11th Bomb group, 98th Squadron on Guam. Bell describes living conditions on Guam, and efforts to protect against malaria. From there, missions took them to Iwo Jima, Chichi-jima, Ha-ha Jima, Marcus Island and Truk. Bell recounts their B-24 losing its hydraulic lines over Iwo Jima, the difficulties and dangers of bombing there, and reflects on their effectiveness. He offers his observation on the B-29 Superfortress. After Okinawa was secured by American forces on June 22, 1945, Bell and his crew were scheduled to be sent there, but as they had already completed all but one of their required missions they were held back on Guam. Bell remembers his surprise at reading of the first atomic bomb dropping on Hiroshima, Japan while in Hawaii awaiting passage to San Francisco.
Desiring to raise a family, and "go fishing," he returned to Tomahawk and his former job. Bell's next job resulted in his briefly becoming acting commander stateside of a National Guard unit during the Korean War. For his World War II service he received seven Air Medals, and a Distinguished Flying Cross. Bell reflects on contacts with his former crew, and why war is only for the young. He does not regret that he never became a commercial pilot, as many of his old comrades had, preferring spending time with family to "flying in the soup."
|Extent and Medium of Description||
Analog video recording: 1 VHS tape (approx. 53 minutes)
Transcript: 29 pgs.