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Collection Gordon McCann
WVM ID Number OH 1053
Object Name Oral History
Title Oral History Interview with Gordon McCann
Date 2007
Event World War II
Narrator's Name Gordon McCann
Interviewer's Name John Driscoll
Description In this oral history interview, Gordon L. McCann, a Madison, Wisconsin native, discusses his Navy service in both the European and Pacific theaters of World War II.

McCann talks about having eight brothers who served in the military, quitting school, and enlisting in the Navy. He touches on boot camp at Great Lakes (Illinois), waiting at Newport News (Virginia) for his ship to be commissioned, assignment to the brand-new USS Birmingham (CL-62), and the Birmingham's shakedown cruise. He mentions duty as a gun-striker during the invasions of North Africa and Sicily. McCann describes daily life aboard the light cruiser, including making raisin jack and once sneaking liquor aboard ship by tying the bottle to his leg. After passing through the Panama Canal, he discusses bombarding islands in the Pacific, including Wake and the Marianas Islands. McCann tells of the ship's getting damaged at Bougainville, having a few weeks leave at home while the Birmingham was being repaired, and colliding with a freighter as the ship was leaving Mare Island (California). He describes liberty in Pearl Harbor.
During the invasion of Okinawa, he tells of a kamikaze plane hitting the ship and getting repaired in time for the invasion of the Philippine Islands. Assigned to Task Force 3 and Task Force 58, McCann tells of being on escort duty during the Battle of Leyte Gulf when the nearby USS Princeton (CVL-23) was hit by a suicide plane. He describes pulling up alongside the ship, efforts to put out the fire, and being wounded when the Princeton exploded. He tells of not realizing at first that he'd been hit and helping bury the dead. Transferred to a hospital ship, the USS America, along with an old buddy from Madison, McCann characterizes his nurse. He speaks of getting a haircut while aboard an Army hospital plane, being treated at Aiea Heights Hospital (Hawaii), and continually running into servicemen whom he knew while growing up in Madison. After the war ended, McCann mentions returning to the Birmingham, shipping to Australia, and transferring ships so he could date a girl there.

Discharged in 1946, he discusses his career with the Boeing Airplane Company and his four marriages. McCann states he is a member of VFW Post 1318 in Madison, the Disabled American Veterans, and the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
Extent and Medium of Description Analog audio recording: 1 audio cassette (approx. 45 minutes)
Transcript: 15 pgs.
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Biographical Record McCann, Gordon