Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Joseph D. Fowler, August 2, 2003

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


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00:00:00 - Entrance into the service

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Partial Transcript: Today is August 2, 2003 and we're doing an interview under the direction of the Library of Congress on a project called the Veterans History Project of United States Navy veteran f Joseph D. Fowler who served in WWII.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about joining the Navy and his basic training.

Keywords: Camp Perry; Chesapeake Bay; Clarkson High School; Courier Journal; Crestwood, Kentucky; Grayson County; Great Lakes; Gunnery School; LST 174; Louisville, Kentucky; Mediterranean Sea; Navy; Norfolk, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; boot camp; convoy

Subjects: Basic training (Military education); Camp Perry (Ohio); Chesapeake Bay (Md. and Va.); Courier-journal (Louisville, Ky.); Crestwood (Oldham County, Ky.); Grayson County (Ky.); Great Lakes (North America); Gunnery (School); Landing craft.; Louisville (Ky.); Mediterranean Sea.; Naval convoys.; Norfolk (Va.); United States. Navy.; Washington (D.C.)

00:03:17 - Overseas deployment

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Partial Transcript: OK, when you went overseas, you went on the LST?

Segment Synopsis: Talks about what his duties were on the LST as a Gunnery Mate.

Keywords: Gunnery Mate; International Law; LCT; LST; amphibious vehicle; galley; gun; prisoners

Subjects: Amphibious vehicles.; International law.; Landing craft.; World War, 1939-1945--Prisoners and prisons, German.

00:08:45 - Military training and instruction

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Partial Transcript: You indicated you did some training in Chesapeake Bay before you were sent overseas the first time?

Segment Synopsis: Talks about the training he received at Chesapeake Bay.

Keywords: 20 Caliber; 40 Caliber; Chesapeake Bay; LST:tide; anti-aircraft; landing craft

Subjects: Antiaircraft guns.; Chesapeake Bay (Md. and Va.); Landing craft.; Tide-waters.

00:10:17 - Bizerte, North Africa

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Partial Transcript: Picking up then where you left Chesapeake Bay, where did you first land in Europe?

Segment Synopsis: Talks about where he first landed when he went overseas.

Keywords: Bizerte, North Africa; LCT; LST; Naples, Italy; Sicily, Italy; tank

Subjects: Bizerte (Tunisia).; Landing craft.; Naples (Italy); World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Italy--Sicily

00:11:56 - Military decorations and other items

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Partial Transcript: Now right on top on that stack next to you, you brought a picture of yourself and I think a few of the citations and medals you received.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about the military decorations he received.

Keywords: Chief rank; European Theatre of World War II; Middle East Theatre of World War II; Victory medal; bronze star

Subjects: Bronze Star (U.S.); World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Europe.; World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Middle East.

00:15:00 - Getting assignments

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Partial Transcript: Let's go back to after the Sicily Campaign then, could you explain what the LST assignment was after that?

Segment Synopsis: Talks about how he got his orders for his assignments and what he thought of the ship captains.

Keywords: Florence, Italy; LST; Naples, Italy; civilians

Subjects: Civilians in war.; Landing craft.; Naples (Italy); World War, 1939-1945--Italy--Florence.

00:19:20 - Pictures

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Partial Transcript: Let me refer to a couple things in your picture album, beginning with some fellows that are holding a basketball.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about some of the pictures he has in an album.

Keywords: Adolf Rupp; Air Force; Anzio; Army; Christmas; LST; Mount Vesuvius; USS Louisiana; basketball; dive bombers; landmines; softball

Subjects: Anzio (Italy); Basketball.; Christmas.; Dive bombers.; Land mines.; Rupp, Adolph, 1901-1977.; Softball.; United States. Air Force.; United States. Army.; Vesuvius (Italy); landing craft.

00:25:49 - Memorable experiences / Experience with prisoners

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Partial Transcript: Let's go to uh what would you consider to be several of your most memorable experiences?

Segment Synopsis: Talks about his most memorable experience and his interactions with German prisoner of war.

Keywords: Anzio; Red Cross; concentration camps; letters; mail; prisoners; rations; submarine

Subjects: Anzio (Italy); Letters.; Mail.; Operational rations (Military supplies); World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps.; World War, 1939-1945--Naval operations--Submarine.; World War, 1939-1945--Prisoners and prisons.; World War, 1939-1945--War work--Red Cross.

00:32:53 - Good luck and entertainment

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Partial Transcript: Did you do anything for special good luck?

Segment Synopsis: Talks about what he did on the ship for entertainment and good luck.

Keywords: Leitchfield, Kentucky; The Gazette; guitar; letters; newspapers; pinochle

Subjects: Guitar.; Leitchfield (Ky.); Letters.; Newspapers.; Pinochle.

00:35:01 - Surrender of Germany

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Partial Transcript: When Germany finally surrendered, can you describe where you were at or what you were doing when you received the news?

Segment Synopsis: Talks about what he did when Germany surrendered and getting to take a leave at Niece, France.

Keywords: Nice, France; Tower of Pisa; Trieste, Italy

Subjects: Leaning Tower (Pisa, Italy); Nice (France); Trieste (Italy)

00:38:42 - Service discharge

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Partial Transcript: What did you all talk about then as far as your remaining time in the service?

Segment Synopsis: Talks about being discharged from the Navy.

Keywords: Great Lakes; LST 174; Louisville, Kentucky; discharge

Subjects: Great Lakes (North America); Landing craft.; Louisville (Ky.); Military discharge.

00:42:58 - Postwar life

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Partial Transcript: And could you tell us what did in the days and weeks afterward?

Segment Synopsis: Talks about working at DuPont and putting his children and wife through college.

Keywords: Berkley, California; Courier-Journal; DuPont; Morehead State University; University of Kentucky; University of Louisville

Subjects: Berkeley (Calif.); Courier-journal (Louisville, Ky.); Morehead State University.; University of Kentucky.; University of Louisville.

00:46:15 - Reunions

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Partial Transcript: In any of the landings that you participated in, did you see other ships sunk?

Segment Synopsis: Talks about stories he heard from reunions.

Keywords: American Legion; Anzio; Axis Sally; Bizerte; Japan; LCT; Okinawa

Subjects: Anzio (Italy); Bizerte (Tunisia); Gillars, Mildred, 1900-1988.; Landing craft.; World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Japan--Okinawa Island.; World War, 1939-1945--Japan.; World War, 1939-1945--War work--American Legion.

00:50:28 - Reflections

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Partial Transcript: Is there anything else you'd like to add that we haven't covered in this interview?

Segment Synopsis: Talks about communication on the ship and his brother that was also in the war. Talks about how he met his wife.

Keywords: Battle of the Bulge; Fort Bragg; Greece; LST; Louisville, Kentucky; Red Cross; Rhine River; Southern France; submarines

Subjects: Ardennes, Battle of the, 1944-1945.; Fort Bragg (Calif.); Landing craft.; Louisville (Ky.); Submarines (Ships)--Germany.; World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--France, Southern.; World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Rhine River Valley.; World War, 1939-1945--Greece.; World War, 1939-1945--War work--Red Cross.