Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Frank J. Shannon, III, April 19, 2019

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:01 - Introducing Frank J. Shannon

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Partial Transcript: Okay. Well, the following is an unrehearsed interview with Mr. Frank Shannon the third for the University of Kentucky Libraries Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History.

Segment Synopsis: This segment introduces the interviewee, Frank J. Shannon, III. Jeffrey Suchanek is conducting the interview through the phone. Suchanek wants to gather background information about the turbulent years at the University of Kentucky, so that researchers and scholars can use this as a way for research.

Keywords: 1965; 1970; Background; Degrees; History; Interviews; Library; Researchers; Scholars; Students; Students for a Democratic Society (SDS); Turbulent years; UK; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Background information; History.; Interviews.; Scholars.; Student.; University of Kentucky

00:01:46 - Family history--Father’s side

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Partial Transcript: Uh, your father was a medical doctor, who originally was from Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, which is a suburban township that borders West Philadelphia.

Segment Synopsis: Shannon's father's history is introduced in this segment. Shannon's father was a medical doctor who served in World War II. Shannon's grandfather served in World War I as chief radio operator. Both were enlisted in the army. Shannon's father's side of the family came from Ireland and Denmark.

Keywords: 1936; Air force; Chief radio operators; Communications; Denmark; Destroyers; Enlistment; Great Depression; Ireland; Medical doctors; Merchant marines; Military draft; Navy; Radios; Rank; Upper Darby High School; WW1; WW2; WWI; WWII; World War I; World War II; World War One; World War Two

Subjects: Denmark.; Depressions--1929; Draft; Families.; Ireland; Physicians; Radio operators; Rank; World War, 1914-1918.; World War, 1939-1945

00:05:11 - World War Two / Father’s occupation

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Partial Transcript: Now your father graduated from St. Joseph College in Philadelphia in 1941 and was enrolled at the Thomas Jefferson Medical School in Philadelphia, which is now called I believe the Sidney Kimmel Medical College, when the United States entered World War two on December 7th, 1941.

Segment Synopsis: Shannon talks about his father, Shannon the second, going to St. Joseph College, then going to the Thomas Jefferson Medical School to become a doctor. When World War Two broke out, Shannon the second was enlisted in the army. He also did an internship as a boardwalk doctor.

Keywords: 1941; Army; Atlantic City Hospital; Boardwalk; Doctors; Enlistment; Internships; Medical schools; Military draft; Obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN); Officers; Philadelphia (Pa.); St. Joseph College; Thomas Jefferson Medical School; WW2; WWII; World War II; World War Two

Subjects: Education, Higher; Enlisted men; Physicians; World War, 1939-1945

00:08:55 - Family history--Mother’s side

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Partial Transcript: And while he was working at the Atlantic City Hospital, he met your mother, Jessie, who was a nurse.

Segment Synopsis: Shannon talks about his mother, who was from Bargaintown, New Jersey. She was a nurse from the Atlantic City Hospital. Her family side has German and English ancestry. The family owned a vegetable farm.

Keywords: Air force; Anti-Semitism; Atlantic City Hospital; Bargaintown (N.J.); Boehly family; English; Farms; Germany; Jessie Boehly; New Jersey; Nurses; Vegetables; WW1; WWI; World War 1; World War I; World War One

Subjects: Air Force Academy (U.S.); Anti-Semitism; Bargaintown (N.J.); Families.; Germany.; World War, 1914-1918.

00:16:41 - Family's involvement in the military

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Partial Transcript: Now as you mentioned, your father made the army his career as a medical doctor until he retired from the military in 1972.

Segment Synopsis: Shannon's father and grandfather did a lot of military work until their retirements. Shannon and his family were relocated to Fort Meade, Maryland, where Shannon's dad worked as an OB-GYN. Then, the family was transferred to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Shannon describes having a good experience living in these places.

Keywords: 1956; 1972; Fort Meade (Md.); Maryland; Medical doctors; Military life; Obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN); Officers; Pittsburgh (Pa.); Spanish flu; Spanish influenza; World War 2

Subjects: Influenza Epidemic, 1918-1919; Maryland.; Medical Documentation Service (Philadelphia, Pa.); Physicians; Pittsburgh (Pa.)

00:20:35 - Early childhood

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Partial Transcript: I’m just jotting down some notes.

Segment Synopsis: Shannon's childhood is introduced during this segment. Shannon went to kindergarten at Fort Meade, Maryland in 1952. A year later, Shannon's father was transferred to 5th Simmons Army Medical School in Aurora, Colorado. The family lived on base. Shannon attended first, second, and part of third grade. He enjoyed going to school and making friends.

Keywords: "Army brats"; 5th Simmons Army Medical School; Army bases; Aurora (Colo.); Colorado; Education; Enlistment; First grade; Friends; General practitioners; Kindergarten; Korean War; Medical centers; Nurses; Schools; Second grade; Third grade; University of Colorado

Subjects: Childhood; Colorado.; Enlisted man; Fort Meade (Md.); Korean War, 1950-1953.; Medical Center Commission

00:41:45 - Living in Heidelberg, Germany in the mid-1950s

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Partial Transcript: So you attended, you attended third grade, fourth grade, and fifth grade while you lived in Heidelberg, correct?

Segment Synopsis: In 1956, Shannon's father was assigned to go to Heidelberg, Germany, located southwest. Shannon's father became chief of OB-GYN at the 130th Station Hospital. Shannon attended part of third, fourth and fifth grade. Shannon describes the condition of Heidelberg. Heidelberg was spared by the Allies during World War Two. Shannon had to learn German in his education. Shannon says that the capital of Germany, Berlin, was going through the process of the construction of the Berlin Wall. So, the country was divided by the United States and the Soviet Union. Shannon enjoyed going to different countries in Europe.

Keywords: "Army wife"; 130th Station Hospital; Allies; Command bases; Denmark; East Berlin; Education; England; France; Heidelberg (Germany); Italy; Nazi Party; New York; Obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN); Raid drills; Raids; Russians; Saint Nicholas; Southwest Germany; WWII; World War 2; World War Two

Subjects: Berlin (Germany); Childhood; Denmark; Education; Education.; France.; Italy; Nazi propaganda; Southwest Greensburg (Pa.); World War, 1939-1945

00:58:02 - Living in San Antonio, Texas

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Partial Transcript: From Heidelberg, your father was transferred to Fort Sam Houston for a year, where I believe you attended the sixth grade, which would have been about the 1958-59 school year, correct?

Segment Synopsis: Shannon's father was transferred to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. Shannon attended sixth grade in the 1958-1959 school year. He didn't like living in Texas because of the weather and living conditions.

Keywords: Alamo; Commander schools; Drills; Field command; Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Mexico; Raid drills; Schools; Sixth grade

Subjects: Childhood; Commanders; Education; Mexico.; San Antonio (Tex.); Texas

01:04:03 - Living in Arlington, Virginia

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Partial Transcript: After a year, uh--or nine months as you said, at Fort Sam Houston, I think your father was transferred to Arlington, Virginia.

Segment Synopsis: Shannon and his family moved to Arlington, Virginia. Shannon's dad worked in Washington D.C. The family was able to rent a home instead of living on base. Shannon attended seventh and eighth grade at Williamsburg Junior High School. Shannon took several different classes while attending this school. The family would go to Washington D.C. to see the different monuments, sites, and museums.

Keywords: Algebra; Arlington (Va.); Civil War; Civilians; Community; Eighth grade; English; Family; Foreign languages; Government; Governments; High schools; Hospitals; Latin; Mathematics; Military; Military bases; Monuments; Navy; Rented; School trips; Seventh grade; Sites; Smithsonian; Social studies; United States; Virginia; Washington, D.C; Williamsburg Junior High School; Yorktown High School

Subjects: Algebra; Arlington (Va.); Childhood; Civil war; Education; English; Families.; Military; Monuments.; United States.; Virginia; Washington (D.C.)

01:16:47 - Events of the Civil Rights Movement / Moving back to Aurora, Colorado

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Partial Transcript: 'Course you know the Brown vs. Board of Education decision came down from the Supreme Court in '54, but, the South fought that, uh--they fought integrating, uh, the schools for ten, fifteen years even after that.

Segment Synopsis: Shannon talks about the social conditions for African Americans, especially in the military. He said it was a terrible experience seeing them treated so poorly. Shannon attended ninth and tenth grade at North Junior High School. During those years, the Cuban Missile Crisis sparked fear around the United States. This made the family worry and upset.

Keywords: Aurora, Colorado; Board qualified; Changes; Cuban Missile Crisis; Enlisted men; Harry S. Truman; Integrated; Integration; John F. Kennedy; Military; Military bases; Military officers; Neighborhoods; Ninth grade; North Junior High School; Nuclear war; Obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN); Pittsburgh (Pa.); President Kennedy; President Truman; Public schools; Race; Schools; Separation; Tenth grade

Subjects: African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions; Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka; Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962.; Intergroup relations; Military; Military base closures; Military officer.; Nuclear warfare.; Race; Race relations; Racism.; Segregation

01:30:38 - Reaction to the Kennedy assassination

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Partial Transcript: And then on November 22nd, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Where were you when you heard the news?

Segment Synopsis: Shannon talks about the reaction to the Kennedy assassination. He was at a pep rally when the news broke out. This made everyone around him quiet and at the same time heartbroken by the news. Everyone was ordered onto the buses and taken home. Shannon's family was upset by the news. Every activity around the base was canceled.

Keywords: Assassinations; Base activities; Buses; Canceled; Crying; Drills; Football fields; High schools; Houses; Killed; Military alert; Movie theaters; News; President John F. Kennedy; President Kennedy; Quiet; Shot; Students; Upset; Washington, D.C.

Subjects: Fort Knox (Ky.); Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963; Kennedy, John Fitzgerald, 1917-1963; Military life.; Washington (D.C.)

01:40:11 - Military schools versus civilian schools

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Partial Transcript: Do you think that the schools on the military bases, um, were run stricter than civilian schools?

Segment Synopsis: Shannon compares and contrasts schools on military bases to civilian schools. He says most schools on military bases were strict and had cruel, physical punishments while civilian schools were not too strict and had no physical punishment. His school on the military base had a strict dress code and teachers would measure the shorts, skirts, or hair to make sure they were appropriate.

Keywords: Authority; Complained; Complaints; Discipline; Dress codes; Haircuts; High schools; Justice; Knowledge; Measured; Military; Military family; Paddled; Rules; Strict; Students

Subjects: Childhood; Education.; Hair.; Military; Military life.; Rules; Students

01:49:06 - Experience at the University of Kentucky in the 1960s and 1970s

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Partial Transcript: What kind of student were you?

Segment Synopsis: Shannon gets into his college years at the University of Kentucky. He says his experience in high school was different from his college years. The grading system was different and so was the lifestyle. He talks about the importance of going to college and getting a good degree to earn a living.

Keywords: 3.0 gpa; Earn a living; Effort; Grades; Grading curve; Grading systems; Incomplete; Law schools; Medical schools; Smart; Students; UK; University of Kentucky

Subjects: College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; Education, Higher; Law School Admission Council; Military; Students; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky