Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Sam B. Elery, July 10th, 1985

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:02 - Interview introduction

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Partial Transcript: I'm in Louisvlle, KY. in the home of Sam Elery; originally from Springfield, Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Col. Arthur Kelly introduces Sam B. Elery, a World War II veteran who served as a quartermaster in North Africa and in Italy.

Keywords: Louisville (KY.); Sam B. Elery; WWII

00:01:15 - Journey to North Africa

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Partial Transcript: Sam, when did you enter the service? When you took your basic at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, what do you remember about that?

Segment Synopsis: Sam tells Col. Kelly about his experiences in basic training and his journey to North Africa.

Keywords: North Africa; Ships; Tunisia

Subjects: Tunisia.; World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Africa.

00:07:26 - Oran, Algeria

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Partial Transcript: What do you remember about Oran when you landed?

Segment Synopsis: Sam describes landing in Oran, his duties as Quartermaster in Tunisia, and moving through Africa into Italy.

Keywords: Italy; Oran (Algeria); Quartermaster

Subjects: Oran (Algeria).

00:13:06 - Sicily and Italy

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Partial Transcript: When they go to Sicily and I believe they're going to land there in July, I believe in '44. When did you go into Sicily...

Segment Synopsis: He explains moving from Africa to Sicily, then into Italy and all that he experienced. He also describes the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and how the quartermaster company worked around the eruption.

Keywords: Italy; Mt. Vesuvius; Sicily

Subjects: Italy; Sicily (Italy).; Vesuvius (Italy).

00:22:42 - Enemy air attacks

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Partial Transcript: Sam on your first enemy air attack; I want to kind of go back with and get your experience on that...

Segment Synopsis: He describes an instance of an enemy air attack, what was going on around him and his job as quartermaster during those attacks. He also talks about how the U.S. would come in and fight their enemies in the air.

Keywords: Naples(Italy); Quartermaster; air attacks

Subjects: Naples (Italy).

00:28:32 - Unloading ships and attacks

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Partial Transcript: Were you off loading ships there, or were you picking up your supplies from a depot?

Segment Synopsis: He explains how they got supplies to troops, unloaded ships, and transported them to depots. They continue to talk about enemy attacks and how the troops protected themselves.

Keywords: Italy; enemy attacks; hauling supplies

Subjects: Italy.

00:32:52 - Moving into Rome

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Partial Transcript: Rome is not too far from Anzio.

Segment Synopsis: He discusses moving from Naples to Anzio, and from Anzio to Rome. Sam describes hauling troops and all that he endured.

Keywords: Anzio(Italy); Naples(Italy); Rome(Italy)

Subjects: Anzio (Italy).; Italy.; Naples (Italy).

00:38:47 - Caught in Pisa

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Partial Transcript: As the war continues and you go on north of Rome and you're going to be delivering supplies and troops...

Segment Synopsis: Sam talks about his most difficult time during the war, getting caught between the battle lines leading the 34th division, and how they got out of it.

Keywords: Enemy attacks; Pisa(Italy)

Subjects: Italy.; Pisa (Italy).

00:45:25 - Operation sites

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Partial Transcript: Did you ever drive up into Florence and that area while operating out of Rome?

Segment Synopsis: He recalls traveling to other cities near Rome to deliver supplies. He remembers sightseeing with one of his friends that he entered the service with. He recalls St. Peter's church. He also talks about what little knowledge he had of the war, its leaders, and the Holocaust.

Keywords: Entertainment; Holocaust; Italy

Subjects: Catholic Church.; Holocaust.; Italy.

00:52:03 - Racial tensions and civil rights

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Partial Transcript: Coming from Washington county and going into service and living throught the Civil Rights era, when you were in the service...

Segment Synopsis: He describes his experiences with white officers in the services. Also, he gives his thoughts and opinions on the Civil Rights movement, Martin Luther King, and his approaches to gain equality.

Keywords: Civil Rights Movement; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Racial Integration; Racial Tensions

Subjects: African Americans--Civil rights.; King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968.

01:07:09 - End of the war

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Partial Transcript: Where were you when the war ended?

Segment Synopsis: He talks about the end of the war and his thoughts and feelings when it ended.

Keywords: WWII; personal reflections

Subjects: World War, 1939-1945.

01:09:47 - Black markets

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Partial Transcript: There was a large black market activity in some of those service units.

Segment Synopsis: Sam tells a story of a fellow soldier in his company who participated in black market activity. He describes how they tried to control that activity.

Keywords: Black Markets; Crimes

Subjects: Black market.

01:19:02 - Italian families

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Partial Transcript: Was there a lot of heavy drinking? Of course there was a lot of wine and stuff.

Segment Synopsis: Sam talks about Italian drinking habits and the Italian families he met and what they taught him.

Keywords: Alcohol; Italian Families; Italy; Wine

Subjects: Alcohol.; Italy.

01:21:32 - Interview conclusion

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Partial Transcript: Is there anything else that you would like to get on tape about your WWII experience?

Segment Synopsis: Elery summarizes his WWII experience, what he learned from it and his family history. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Personal Growth; WWII; personal reflections

Subjects: Military life.