Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with E. Bruce Heilman, January 30, 2013

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


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00:00:00 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: up on the on the on uh and the next time we interview him in March.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about his background before he joined the Marine Corps and his life after leaving the military.

Keywords: Ballardsville, Kentucky; GI Bill; Great Depression; Gunnery School; Iwo Jima; Marine Corps; National Museum of the Marine Corps; National Naval Aviation Museum; New Orleans, Louisiana; President Clinton; The National WWII Museum; Wendell Ford; high school; rifle range

Subjects: Clinton, Bill, 1946-.; Ford, Wendell H., 1924-.; Great Depression.; Gunnery (School); High school.; Iwo Jima (Volcano Islands, Japan); National Museum of the Marine Corps.; New Orleans (La.); United States. Marine Corps.; United States. Montgomery G.I. Bill.

00:14:51 - Prewar life

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Partial Transcript: That's one of the most perfect answers to that open ended question, I think I think that the point of the question so you answered it right on.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about what it was like growing up in Ballardsville, Kentucky.

Keywords: Amos and Andy; Ballardsville, Kentucky; La Grange, Kentucky; Shelbyville, Kentucky; Zenith; milking cows

Subjects: Amos 'n' Andy (Radio program); Dairy farmers.; La Grange (Ky.); Shelbyville (Ky.); Zenith Radio Corporation.

00:20:44 - Entrance into the service

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Partial Transcript: Well, speaking of radio.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about what it was like when WWII started.

Keywords: Baptist; Gunnery School; Louisville, Kentucky; Marine Corps; Pearl Harbor; Pre-Flight School; Roosevelt, Franklin D.; bombers; furlough; prejudice

Subjects: Bombers.; Furloughs.; Gunnery (School); Louisville (Ky.); Pearl Harbor (Hawaii), Attack on, 1941.; Prejudices.; Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945.; United States. Marine Corps.

00:33:37 - Military training and instruction

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Partial Transcript: And let's talk about that because the one thing that the government did do at that point that transformed that generation was the G. I. Bill.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about the training he received in the military.

Keywords: Flag semaphore; GI Bill; Guadalcanal; Marine Corps; Memphis,Tennessee; Naval Air Training; Navy; San Diego, California; bayonet; boot camp; clay pigeon; morse code

Subjects: Basic training (Military education); Bayonets.; Guadalcanal (Solomon Islands); Memphis (Tenn.); Morse code.; San Diego (Calif.); Trapshooting.; United States. Marine Corps.; United States. Montgomery G.I. Bill.; United States. Navy.

00:46:11 - Overseas deployment

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Partial Transcript: Then after I finished that, I went back to San Diego.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about being on a troop ship going to Okinawa.

Keywords: Okinawa; San Diego, California; Seabees; foxholes; harmonica; kamikaze; rations; submarine; suicide plane; troop ship

Subjects: Harmonica.; Intrenchments.; Kamikaze.; Military rations--United States.; Okinawa Island (Japan); San Diego (Calif.); Submarines (Ships); United States. Navy. Seabees.

00:50:39 - Experiencing enemy fire

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Partial Transcript: How do you differentiate?

Segment Synopsis: Talks about his experiences on Okinawa and Japan.

Keywords: Berlin, Germany; F7F; IFF; Identification Friend or Foe; Okinawa; Sugar Loaf Hill; Tokyo, Japan; atomic bomb; divine wind; kamikaze; typhoon

Subjects: Airplanes--IFF equipment.; Atomic bomb.; Berlin (Germany); Kamikaze.; Okinawa Island (Japan); Tigercat (Fighter plane); Tokyo (Japan); Typhoons.

01:03:05 - Plane crash

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Partial Transcript: So just when you think the risk is over, you know it's not.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about being on a plane that crashed near Iwo Jima.

Keywords: Iwo Jima; Tokyo, Japan; plane crash

Subjects: Aircraft accidents.; Iwo Jima (Volcano Islands, Japan); Tokyo (Japan)

01:07:17 - Hiroshima

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Partial Transcript: Are you ok, to continue?

Segment Synopsis: Talks about when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

Keywords: Iwo Jima; Mt. Suribachi; Tokyo Bay, Japan; atomic bomb; caves; parachute factories; propaganda

Subjects: Atomic bomb.; Caves.; Iwo Jima (Volcano Islands, Japan); Parachutes.; Propaganda.; Tokyo Bay (Japan)

01:12:47 - Japan and Hiroshima after the war

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Partial Transcript: That's very well said and I think, I think here you are at this point in, knowing that you're going into Japan.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about what it was like being in Tokyo, Japan and Hiroshima after the war.

Keywords: Allies; German Fighter Pilot; Guadalcanal; Hiroshima; Japanese; Kentucky; Nagasaki; Tokyo Bay, Japan; Tokyo, Japan; agent orange; atomic bomb; bayonet; heat; incendiary bombs; prejudice; ships; typhoon

Subjects: Agent Orange.; Allied Powers (1919- ); Atomic bomb.; Bayonets.; German fighters in World War II.; Guadalcanal (Solomon Islands); Heat.; Hiroshima-shi (Japan); Incendiary bombs.; Japanese.; Kentucky.; Nagasaki-shi (Japan); Prejudices.; Ships.; Tokyo (Japan); Tokyo Bay (Japan); Typhoons.

01:27:28 - Returning home / Post war education

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Partial Transcript: Well let's talk about coming home.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about returning home and going to college.

Keywords: Campbellsville College; Cherry Point, North Carolina; GI Bill; Georgetown College; Guam; Harley Davidson; Japan; La Grange, Kentucky; Navy Air Transports; Oldham County, Kentucky; Quantico, Virginia; San Diego, California; Vanderbilt; West Virginia; college; discharge; furlough; hitchhike; leave

Subjects: Campbellsville University.; Cherry Point (N.C.); College.; Georgetown College.; Guam.; Harley-Davidson motorcycle.; Hitchhiking.; Japan.; La Grange (Ky.); Marine Corps Base Quantico (Va.); Military discharge.; Military leaves and furloughs.; Oldham County (Ky.); San Diego (Calif.); United States. Montgomery G.I. Bill.; Vanderbilt University.; West Virgini

01:38:42 - Reflections

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Partial Transcript: Well, talk about, go back to Campbellsville for a minute.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about what life was like after the war.

Keywords: GI Bill; Gone With the Wind; Iwo Jima; Vanderbilt University; barracks; coffee; smoked

Subjects: Barracks.; Cigarette smokers.; Coffee.; Gone with the wind (Motion picture); Iwo Jima (Volcano Islands, Japan); United States. Montgomery G.I. Bill.; Vanderbilt University.

01:47:15 - Leadership / Postwar career

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Partial Transcript: Um, talk about you know I think this interview is focusing on your WWII experience.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about his role in leadership.

Keywords: Kentucky Wesleyan; Marine Corps; Marine Sergeant; Marines; leadership; motorcycle; rifle range

Subjects: Kentucky Wesleyan College.; Leadership.; Marines.; Motorcyclists.; Rifle-ranges.; United States. Marine Corps.

01:58:22 - Advice

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Partial Transcript: We want to shift gears a little bit.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about how he helps veterans today.

Keywords: Campbellsville University; Honolulu, Hawaii; Iwo Jima; The Greatest Generations Foundations; University of Richmond; Veterans organizations; WWII Veterans; motorcycle; veterans

Subjects: Campbellsville University.; Honolulu (Hawaii); Iwo Jima (Volcano Islands, Japan); Motorcyclists.; University of Richmond.; Veterans' organizations.; Veterans.; World War, 1939-1945.