Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Elmer R. Staib, April 26, 2004

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 April 26, 2004.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about joining the National Guard before the war started. Talks about where he was when Pearl Harbor was bombed.

Keywords: 138th Field Artillery National Guard; Army; Camp Shelby, Mississippi; Louisville, Kentucky; Oldham County History Center; Pearl Harbor; World War II; anti-tank battalion; drafted; telephone lineman

Subjects: Camp Shelby (Mississippi); Draftees--United States.; Louisville (Ky.); Oldham County Historical Society (Oldham County, Ky.); Pearl Harbor (Hawaii), Attack on, 1941.; United States--National Guard.; United States. Army.; World War, 1939-1945.

00:04:06 - Becoming a Lieutenant / anti tank battalion

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Partial Transcript: Now you went into the service 1937, you were 17 years old.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about how he became a lieutenant without going to an academy or any college. Talks about the anti tank battalion.

Keywords: 37 MM guns; 610th Tank Battalion; 90 MM; Army; Fort Hood, Texas; Italy; Lieutenant; captain; enemy tanks; infantry; mechanized warfare; tank commander; turret

Subjects: Fort Hood (Tex.); Infantry.; Italy.; Mechanization, Military.; Tank destroyers--United States.; Tanks (Military science)--Turrets.; United States. Army.

00:08:20 - Overseas deployment

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Partial Transcript: Can you recall when your unit received its orders to disembark for overseas duty?

Segment Synopsis: Talks about his deployment overseas and what it was like on the ship.

Keywords: Camp Atterbury, Indiana; England; Fort Dix, New Jersey; France; Germany; Scotland; The Amsterdam cruise ship; Wales; navy; submarine

Subjects: Camp Atterbury (Ind.); England.; Fort Dix (N.J.); France.; Germany.; Scotland.; Submarines (Ships); United States. Navy.; Wales.

00:13:03 - Receiving updates about the war

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Partial Transcript: Did you receive any updates as an officer about the war in Europe, where the fronts were and what progress or setbacks had taken place?

Segment Synopsis: Talks about how he received news and updates about the war.

Keywords: 610th Tank Destroyer Battalion; Camp Atterbury; Camp Shelby, Mississippi; Indianapolis News; Indianapolis Star; Louisville, Kentucky; New York Times; newspaper

Subjects: Camp Atterbury (Ind.); Camp Shelby (Mississippi); Indianapolis news.; Indianapolis star.; Louisville (Ky.); New York times.; Newspapers.

00:15:23 - Landing at Normandy

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Partial Transcript: Would you describe for us when you arrived in France, where you were, and what took place?

Segment Synopsis: Talks about what it was like when he first landed on the beaches at Normandy.

Keywords: D-Day; Fire Control Centers; Jeffersonville, Indiana; LST; Normandy; Omaha Beach; Patton; Third Army; half-track vehicle; shelling

Subjects: Fire control (Gunnery); Half-track vehicles, Military.; Jeffersonville (Ind.); Landing craft.; Normandy (France); Operation Neptune.; Patton, George S. (George Smith), 1885-1945.; United States. Army of the Potomac. Corps, 3rd.; World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--France--Normandy.

00:21:03 - Life in the field

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Partial Transcript: If you would, tell us the months and weeks or the weeks and months that followed that.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about how his unit received supplies and what they ate in the field.

Keywords: 5-in-1 rations; C-ration; D-ration; Patton; Red Ball Express; ammunition; anti-tank; chocolate bar; gasoline stoves; infantry; supplies; trench warfare

Subjects: Ammunition.; Infantry.; Military rations--United States.; Military supplies.; Patton, George S. (George Smith), 1885-1945.; Stoves, Gasoline.; Trench warfare.; World War, 1939-1945--Food supply

00:27:17 - Battle of the Bulge

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Partial Transcript: How did you receive your information about the strength of the enemy and their location?

Segment Synopsis: Talks about taking casualties during the Battle of the Bulge. Talks about Christmas Day 1944 and how his WWII experience affected the rest of his life.

Keywords: American Legion; Battle of the Bulge; Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation; Christmas; Germans; No Mans' Land; artillery fire; camouflage paint; combat boots; combat suits; infantry fire; mines; religion; reunions; self-propelled; socks; tank fire

Subjects: American Legion.; Ardennes, Battle of the, 1944-1945.; Artillery, Self-propelled.; Brown & Williamson.; Christmas.; Germans.; Infantry.; Land mines.; Military uniforms.; Religion.; Reunions.; World War, 1939-1945--Artillery operations, German; World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Germany.; World War, 1939-1945--Tank warfare.

00:39:21 - Experience with civilians

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Partial Transcript: Let's go back to France for just a minute.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about his interactions with French and German civilians.

Keywords: Americans; Cajun; Catholic Church; French; Germans; Hitler; New Orleans, Louisiana; churches

Subjects: Americans.; Cajuns.; French language.; Germans.; Hitler, Adolf, 1889-1945.; New Orleans (La.); World War, 1939-1945--Religious aspects--Catholic Church.; World War, 1939-1945--War work--Churches.

00:43:12 - Prisoner of war experience

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Partial Transcript: Now you mentioned that at the end of the day, you would have a meeting with tank commanders.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about his experience with prisoners.

Keywords: Austria; Battle of the Bulge; amplitude modulation; frequency modulation; interrogate; short radio wave

Subjects: Amplitude modulation.; Ardennes, Battle of the, 1944-1945.; Prisoner of war.; Questioning.; Radio frequency modulation.; Shortwave radio.; World War, 1939-1945--Prisoners and prisons, German

00:47:30 - Receiving mail / Military decorations

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Partial Transcript: You mentioned some of the strategy of General Patton. Did you ever meet him?

Segment Synopsis: Talks about receiving mail and the military decorations he received.

Keywords: Austria; Battle of the Bulge; Croix de Guerre; Cross of War; French Medal; General Patton; Laura.; Louisville, Kentucky; Red Cross; Silver Star; bronze star; front line; mail; mail call

Subjects: Ardennes, Battle of the, 1944-1945.; Bronze Star Medal (U.S.); Croix de guerre (France); Laura (Motion picture); Louisville (Ky.); Mail.; Military decorations.; Patton, George S. (George Smith), 1885-1945.; World War, 1939-1945--Austria.; World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Western Front.; World War, 1939-1945--War work--Red Cross.

00:55:17 - Post war assignment in Italy / Returning home

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Partial Transcript: Now you stayed in the service after the war and were actually assigned to Italy?

Segment Synopsis: Talks about being assigned to Italy after the war and returning to the states.

Keywords: Adriatic Sea; Air Force; Camp Atterbury; GI Bill; Gorizia, Italy; Indiana University; Lieutenant Colonel; Pearl Harbor; Post Office; Yugoslavia; reserves; tank

Subjects: Adriatic Sea.; Camp Atterbury (Ind.); Gorizia (Italy); Indiana University.; Pearl Harbor (Hawaii), Attack on, 1941.; United States Postal Service.; United States. Army Air Forces.; United States. Montgomery G.I. Bill.; World War, 1939-1945--Tank warfare.; Yugoslavia.