Title: Interview with Dan Dugger
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00072024/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Dan Dugger
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: February 25, 2005
Subject: Second World War, 1939-1945
World War II, 1939-1945
Temporal Coverage: World War II ( 1939 - 1945 )
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00072024
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'World War II' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: WWII 15

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Full Text


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and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

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Summary-WWVII 15-Dugger

Motivations for joining the Air Force and training as a B-17 gunner and mechanic
(p. 1-3), deployment to England to train with crew and discussion of flight formations (p.
4-6), layout of a B-17 bomber and lack of pressurization and heat (p. 6-7), typical day
and duration of a bombing run (p. 8-11), assessing the effectiveness of a bombing run
and flying through anti-aircraft fire (p. 12), first bombing missions over Germany (p. 13-
15), dealing with fear and fatigue and describing crew camaraderie (p. 16-17), fifth
bombing mission and getting hit (p. 18), bailing out of the plane (p. 19-20), capture and
interrogation by the Germans (p. 20-21), conditions in German Stalag-4 (p. 22-23),
typical day and quality of meals in a prisoner of war camp (p. 23-24), attempting to
maintain a good mental attitude and health as a prisoner (p. 24-25), liberation (p. 26-
27), returning to Allied lines and gaining forty pounds in three weeks (p. 27), effects of
being a prisoner of war and returning home to the United States (p. 28-29), logistics of
bombing a target (p. 30), crew reunions (p. 31-32), the skill of German intelligence and
the lack of desire to return to Germany (p. 32-34).

Interviewee: Dan Dugger
Interviewer: Julian Pleasants
Date: February 25, 2005

P: This is Julian Pleasants and I'm in Hawthorne, Florida. It's February 25, 2005,
and I'm speaking with Dan Dugger. Tell me when and where you were born.

D: I was born in Macclenny, Florida, February 11, 1923.

P: You mentioned that both you and your wife are native Floridians.

D: That's right, she was born in Macclenny, also.

P: Where did your family come from? Were they native Floridians as well?

D: I think my parents were born in the state of Florida, but their ancestors came out
of Georgia and South Carolina.

P: Okay, but your parents were native Floridians as well?

D: That's right.

P: What was your educational background?

D: Well, I finished high school. At the time I finished high school in 1942, there
weren't nothing else to look forward to but going into the service.

P: You decided to join the Air Force, is that right?

D: I decided to join the Air Force. I figured I'd want a place to eat and sleep, and I
figured the ground forces a lot of time had to be out in the open and were getting
shot at a lot.

P: Well, you know the ground forces, the infantry, was always jealous of the Air
Force because you could go on your bombing run, you'd come back, you had a
place to stay and you got a meal, and you'd get out of the weather. That's one
reason you decided to go to the Air Force?

D: That's one of the reasons. I mean I didn't know it at the time I went in. I thought I
wanted to become a pilot. I decided to get in the cadet corps. I started out; I got
the cadet basic. We went to college training attachment in Maryville, Tennessee,
and from there they sent me to Nashville for a classification center. There they
told me I wasn't qualified for military aviation, but I'd make a damn good gunner.

P: You have to have extraordinarily good vision to be a pilot.

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 2

D: I had 20/20 vision. They gave me the choice of being the air/radio gunner,
armory gunner, or an engineer/mechanic gunner. I put down I wanted to be a
radio operator, and they sent me to mechanic school.

P: That's the way the Air Force and the Army does a lot, whatever you request, they
give you the opposite.

D: They seemed to know more about me than I do.

P: Where did you have that training?

D: What, mechanic school?

P: Yes.

D: Amarillo, Texas.

P: You were trained as a mechanic on B-17's?

D: We got to sit in the middle of a B-17. As a flight engineer, I did no mechanic
work, but I was able to look at the instruments and see how to operate and fly.
That way, if anything extraordinary happened, I could tell the ground crew chief
about what to look for.

P: What was your reaction to Pearl Harbor? At that juncture did you decide you
wanted to go into the military?

D: I was in high school. I had another year of high school after Pearl Harbor. The
way the draft worked, it wouldn't have mattered if you wanted to go in the military
service. It wouldn't matter if you decided which branch you wanted to go. That's
when I decided to go to the Air Force.

P: You'd rather have your choice than have them draft you.

D: Yeah, that's right. I wasn't drafted.

P: Once you have gone through your training in mechanics, did you have gunnery
training as well?

D: Oh yeah, I went to Las Vegas, Nevada, for the gunnery training.

P: You were on fifty calibers?

D: I'm a fifty caliber. They sent us out there and we got there and everything, but

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 3

they decided they wanted to run a classic cadets navigator ahead of us, so we
had to sit around for six weeks waiting for a spot opening for us to train.

P: Then how long did the training take?

D: The training took about three months.

P: Three months? That's quite a long time. Did you have actual practice firing while
the plane was in the air?

D: Yeah, we had some training, but the main thing in gunnery school is they taught
us how to assemble and disassemble the fifty caliber machine gun, blindfolded,
and with gloves on. In case you had to assemble one in the dark, you could do
it, and with gloves on.

P: That's pretty hard with gloves on, isn't it?

D: Well, at high altitudes, if you touched anything with metal your hands would stick
to it, so we wore silk gloves while we were flying. It took awhile to get where you
could assemble and disassemble a machine gun blindfolded. We'd spend five or
six hours a day doing it at the beginning, and then we went to Indian Springs,
Nevada, for gunnery. To get used to firing in motion, they sent us up to Indian
Springs. They put us on the back of a pickup truck with a twelve gauge shotgun
and the truck rode around the track, and they shot skeet at us and we had to
shoot the skeet while we were moving. The point of that was, [when you're at]
the front end of the plane, you got to consider moving to your plane and moving
while you were firing.

P: And the movement of another plane.

D: So if your plane was moving, you had to shoot behind, not shoot exactly at the
plane, but shoot at a certain degree behind it where you figured as the plane
moved, the pattern of bullets would go by. We never shot over a thirty second
burst of ammo, mainly because you'd burn up a barrel of the gun and you'd save
ammunition, because in thirty seconds you'd be done past them anyway.

P: On those thirty second bursts, you'd have some tracers so you could see where
your rounds hit?

D: In training we did, but in combat we didn't.

P: Because they could pick up your location too easy.

D: Yes.

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 4

P: Once you were finished your gunnery training, where did you go?

D: We went to Sioux City, Iowa. We went to Lincoln, Nebraska, to assign us to a
crew. They assigned me to a crew and from there we went to Sioux City. I was
there about three weeks and I ended up getting pneumonia, and I was in the
hospital for months. The crew I was first assigned to, they signed another person
to be an engineer, and they went on ahead. After I got back from a ten day
medical leave, they signed me to another crew, and that's the crew I finished up

P: What was the name of your B-17? Did you give the plane a name?

D: Not in training.

P: No, but once you got to England?

D: It had a name. We were the replacement crew. Now we flew a plane overseas
and picked up a plane in Lincoln, Nebraska, and flew it overseas, you know as a
replacement aircraft. We flew from there to Manchester, New Hampshire, and
Goose Bay, Labrador. At Goose Bay, [the co-pilot] still had pneumonia, and we
were at Goose Bay three weeks while he was recuperating. Finally, the colonel
said, I don't care if you stay here the whole war, but that plane's got to go. It took
them almost three weeks to find a qualified co-pilot to fly with us overseas. See,
we had never flown overseas, and from Goose Bay we flew to Reykjavik,
Iceland, to refuel.

P: As I understand it, the B-17 had a range of about 2,000 miles. Is that close?

D: That's close, yeah.

P: That meant on this trip you had to make lots of stops.

D: We stopped in Iceland, and then from Iceland we flew into Valley, Wales. We left
the aircraft there and they shipped us by rail to Ridgewell, England, out of
southeast Cambridge, which was our base; 381st Bomb Group.

P: That's the 8th Air Force?

D: 8th Air Force, [381st Bomb Group,] and the 534th Bomb Squadron. That was my

P: Let me ask you a little bit about when you were put together with your crew and
you flew the plane for the first time. Did you do a lot of training as a crew?

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 5

D: We trained for three months as a crew. We had the ground gunnery, we flew high
altitude, and we flew simulated missions-like we'd hit the target in the U.S. One
night we flew from Sioux City to Fort Wayne, Indiana. About one o'clock in the
morning we were coming back, and as we hit the runway, the plane landed at
110 miles per hour. The right tire blew and pulled us off the runway. The other
planes were landing in thirty-second intervals. They'd land planes here and run
over here on [the right] side of the runway. Well, as we hit the ground and that
tire blew, we went off like that.

P: If it'd gone the other way, you'd have been in real trouble.

D: If we went the other way, we would have landed in the paths of the plane. But the
pilot got on the radio and called the control tower, and the plane that was thirty
seconds behind us, they had to apply emergency power, and they flew over us at
about forty feet. They had to make another pass.

P: So that was really good training for you before you went into combat.

D: Well, it was just accidental, it wasn't planned to have a tire blow out.

P: No, I mean just the overall three month training. That really helped you prepare.

D: You got used to [flying] high altitude, [flying] low altitude, and flying formation
planes. We were trained to fly twenty-five feet between the wingtips. In the
squadron, twenty-five feet between planes, that ain't much space.

P: Would you fly the formation three, three, and one?

D: V-formation, yeah.

P: Nobody liked to be the tail-end Charley.

D: Well, a lot of times you don't want to be the lead plane either.

P: It's better to be in the middle.

D: Well, you seem to have a little more coverage in the middle, but a lot of times you
fly the position they give you. The pilots give a certain position in the squadron,
and as a crewman you don't have a choice on which position you fly. You go with
whatever the plane commander does.

P: Everybody has to stay in formation for the duration of the flight.

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 6

D: Pretty well, yeah.

P: When the squadron would take off, planes would take off individually and circle
until everybody was up in the air?
D: Pretty well. It's real foggy in England, and a lot of times they had to burn oil to
burn the fog off, and that's where we would fly. We took off in thirty second
intervals on the [runway]. The [runways] were not really long anyway, about
3,500 feet, a little over half a mile, and a lot of times they almost jerked the
wheels out from under the plane at the end of the runway to take off. They lost a
lot of planes on take off.

P: Because of the heavy bomb load?

D: Well, because of the heavy bomb load and such as that. If the plane didn't have
the right amount of lift to it, it went down, and a lot of times [take-off] is the worst
time of flying; take off.

P: Talk a little bit about the B-17, which is really the first of the bomber series. What
a lot of people may not know, when you were flying that plane, it was not

D: It wasn't pressurized, no, and it wasn't heated either.

P: You were flying at a fairly high altitude, so you had to be rather warmly dressed.
What would you wear?

D: Well, in the States we wore fleece-lined flying suits. In combat, they gave us
electric heated flying suits to fly in that plugged into the plane's electrical system.

P: So you got some heat.

D: Oh yeah, we were comfortable as far as heat was concerned. We had to watch
our oxygen masks to keep it from freezing. If your oxygen froze, you'd suffocate.
About 10,000 feet you go on oxygen.

P: You would fly to the target at what altitude usually?

D: It varied with the target.

P: But almost always above 10,000.

D: Most of the time it was between 25,000 and 30,000. The day we got shot down
we were flying at 38,000.

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 7

P: That's very high.

D: Anti-aircraft is what got us; in fact, it's what got most of the planes in the 8th Air
Force. We had some that got lost from fighters, but I'd say fifty percent of them
got shot down by anti-aircraft fire.
P: Tell me a little about the B-17. Obviously, if you've never been in a B-17, it's hard
to get in the B-17. The people in the front, the pilots, I guess they go through that
little nose ladder.

D: They didn't have much of a nose ladder. They were in pretty good shape, you'd
just reach up and pull up and swing in. I was right behind the pilot, but I always
came in the waist door. I went in the waist door and went through the bomb bay
up there.

P: Because there's a little catwalk. So with the full bomb load, you could still walk
through it, and you would have how many crew members?

D: We trained with a ten man crew, but when we got to England, they cut it to nine.

P: You had nine on board. So you had a ball-turret gunner.

D: We had a ball-turret gunner.

P: Which I would presume would be the worst place on the plane to be just to get
into that ball turret. Then you had two side-door gunners.

D: [We had] a side- and a tail-gunner.

P: Tail-gunner and a nose-man.

D: I was a turret-gunner. I had the bombardier/navigator in the front of the plane. He
had two twin fifties [fifty-caliber machine guns] mounted on the side, and the B-
17G had a twin turret in the nose, and the bombardier operated that, and the
man in the tail switched from one side to the other firing fifty calibers.

P: In a firefight, where would you take your place?

D: I'd be an upper-turret gunner, right behind the pilot and the co-pilot. I had to have
a range of 360 degrees and ninety to hundred up and down. We could go up this
way and down, or over there.

P: There were dual controls on it?

D: Yeah.

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 8

P: Was it automatic, electronic? How was it operated?

D: It was electrical.

P: When you were on duty, would the German planes, when they would attack,
come from the top or underneath?

D: They came from both ways. I flew five missions, and I never saw the first plane to
shoot at. We were prepared, but on five missions we weren't attacked by any
German fighters.

P: When you would go on any of your bomb runs, I guess the cruising speed would
be about 180-190 mph?

D: [Cruising speed was] about 175 mph.

P: How long would it take for a mission from the time you actually took off until the
time you landed?

D: Well, that depended on where you went. Probably the bombardier took over the
plane during a bomb run, and the bomb run probably lasted a minute to a minute
and a half after you get to the IP point. As a rule, we'd take off about 5:30-6:00 in
the morning, and depending if it was a long mission, we might get back at 6:00 in
the afternoon. If you were going on a fast or on a short mission, it was deadly

P: A lot of [runs], you'd be in the plane from ten to twelve hours.

D: Well, you've got to figure at least [that]. Our first mission was Cologne
[Germany], and we did that on October 17. We did that with a but we
just wondered how we got through it without getting hit, because it was sick.

P: Let's get you to take me through a typical day. You would get up early in the
morning on the day you had a bomb run.

D: Yeah, they woke you up about four o'clock.

P: You would have breakfast?

D: We had breakfast.

P: Then you had a briefing?

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 9

D: The officers would go to briefing and we'd go to the plane and get our gun set up.
Everywhere else we landed, we'd take the guts out of our guns and oil them.
Then before we went on our mission, we'd have to get there in time to wipe all
the oil off. 'Cause you'd take the gun up there full of oil at a high altitude, and it
would freeze up. It'd take thirty-forty minutes to wipe all of the oil off of the interior
parts of the gun and the guts of the gun.

P: At that point, would the pilot or the officers come back and brief the crew as to
what you were going to do that day?

D: When you got airborne they might tell you where you were going.

P: But not ahead of time?

D: Not ahead of time.

P: If you would, give me the name of the plane that you flew.

D: No Comment Needed. That was the day we got shot down. Now I might have
flown on a different one on other missions. I didn't have the same plane all the

P: Oh, you changed planes?

D: Yeah, we changed to whatever was available.

P: Oh. You think of the Memphis Belle ...

D: Well, they did that at the beginning, but by the time we got over there in 1944,
they didn't.

P: Tell me a little about your quarters and the living conditions at the base.

D: It was two [crews] and their bunks. We had a coal fire stove in it for heat and we
sat there. On our days off, we stayed around there, but there wasn't much you
could do except read. You might have a radio you could listen to, but we were
out on the base three months before we got any leave at all.

P: How often would you fly? [How much] time between flights?

D: Well, it all depended on the series of missions you were doing and the weather
and such as that. I mean, we never slept two days in a row; most of the time we
had a day between.

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 10

P: I understand that some of the people had bicycles so they could ride back into

D: We all had bicycles.

P: I also understand they had a few wrecks at night [laughing.]

D: That's right.
P: It got to be more dangerous than flying.

D: I had a bike I think I paid three or four pounds for. The waist-gunner and the tail-
gunner had a tandem bike, and they were going [to town] one night to a little juke
night club in England, it was dark, and the country roads were crooked. They
came to a ninety degree turn, they didn't make the turn, and they went through a
barbed wire fence and a briar patch. Tore them up with scratches and all like
that. In fact, they got back to the base and ... well, they never got any more
dress uniforms because they got shot down before they had a chance to get
more uniforms.

P: You would have had air raid shelters around the base as well?

D: Yeah, you had a foxhole dug outside the building, but as far as air raid shelter,
we didn't have that.

P: Were you ever attacked while at the base?

D: Not while I was there. Now the V-2 [rockets] with marked missiles, they had
several of those fly over while I was there, but they never hit our base.

P: They had tremendous range didn't they, those V-2 rockets?

D: Yeah, they did.

P: Was the food good? Did you feel comfortable about being in that environment?

D: Well, we thought but we felt we were just that good. But the food, I
guess we got as good as they was getting over there. We got a lot of powdered
eggs and milk and such as that.

P: Did you have any Spam?

D: We got some Spam.

P: What about the British? Did you interact with them at all? British fliers, British Air

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 11


D: No, they flew at night and we flew in the daytime.

P: That's interesting that they chose to do that. What's the difference between flying
in the daytime and flying at night?

D: Well, it seems the 8th Air Force thought they could do better precision-bombing in
the daytime. I mean, [we'd] point toward an area and hit it, whereas the British,
they picked an area and blocked it. They just wiped out an area.

P: So they did saturation-bombing and you did precision-bombing. Was it more
dangerous to fly in the daytime or the nighttime?

D: Well, you had your anti-aircraft at night too, so ...

P: So it didn't matter too much?

D: It didn't matter too much. Now they didn't fly as high as we did They probably
fly only fifteen to twenty-five [thousand] feet.

P: What was the advantage to flying higher? Was it more difficult for the anti-aircraft
guns to hit you?

D: They figured that, and then too, with that Norden bomb-[sight], they figured they
could lay the bombs where they wanted. See, the British didn't have the Norden

P: When that was put in, that made all the difference in the world, didn't it?

D: That's right.

P: It was much more precise than anything they had before. Then didn't they get a
Sperry Bomb-sight in addition to that even later?

D: No, the Sperry Bomb-sight came before.

P: Okay, it came first, but that wasn't as good. The Norden was better than the
Sperry. On your flights, were you aware as you took off that you were bombing a
factory or railyard? Did you know precisely where you were bombing and what
you were bombing?

D: Not too much, no. We knew where we were going, but as far as knowing what we
were bombing, only the navigator and bombardier knew that because they had it

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 12

on their maps.

P: So your first bomb run was to Cologne. What did you bomb?

D: I don't know. I presume it could be a railyard. I don't know.

P: When you got back, did you go through the debriefing?

D: We went through interrogation, yeah.

P: What would be the way that they would assess the effectiveness of the bombing?
How would they do that?

D: Well, they'd assess lots from the information they got from me, crews, and
officers, and then they had our reconnaissance planes go in and photograph it
after it was bombed. They'd send P-38 Lightnings, unarmed, equipped with
cameras, to go take a picture of it.

P: So they would take all of that collectively and then give you an evaluation of the
bomb run?

D: We didn't get no evaluation. We knew we had been in; what we had done, we
didn't know.

P: Well, if a plane had not performed very effectively, they would be counseled or
dropped out of the rotation or something wouldn't they?

D: Well, the only way you got dropped out was when you got shot down. They might
counsel the officers, but they were in charge of the plane.

P: Did you have pathfinders on the way to the target?

D: I know they had some equipment, but I don't know what they were.

P: A lot of times pathfinders would drop flares or mark the target for the lead

D: Well, they might have done that, but I don't think we ever flew in the lead

P: Describe what you would be doing during this entire flight, and then most
particularly what you were doing when you went in for your bomb run.

D: Just keeping an eye open. I mean, if you saw anything to shoot, you'd shoot, but

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 13

if you didn't, you didn't. If it was [anti-aircraft fire] coming up, you just hoped to
God it missed you.

P: Describe the flak. What was it like flying through all of that anti-aircraft fire?

D: Well, you'd be flying through it and it'd be lots of smoke. It was so thick,
sometimes you wondered how you were going to get through it. When it made
that puff of smoke, it was throwing flak. The radio operator, the day we got shot
down, he was throwing aluminum tin foil to jam the radar. A piece of flak came
over and knocked the top of his glove off and went into the radio set. But it never
broke the skin.
P: Were the German guns pretty accurate?

D: They knew how to put a pattern up there, because they knew we had a certain
direction to go, and once you got on that bomb run, you couldn't deviate. Then in
a thicker area they were trying to put flak in it.

P: So in effect, you'd fly into it.

D: You almost had to fly into it.

P: The most vulnerable time would be really after you've dropped your bombs and
you've got to make a slow turn and come back. That would of course lessen your

D: After you dropped the bomb, you could increase your airspeed.

P: After you made the turn.

D: I know when we were over Munster one time, we had some anti-aircraft firing at
us on the bomb run. Anyway, the group commander got an order to make us
drop [our] bombs quick, make a 180-degree turn. On that particular day I was
flying waist gun, and they were up two thousand feet in about thirty seconds, and
my feet wouldn't touch the floor. I was sitting about as far from here to where you
are from my chute, and, if I had gotten to it, I would have jumped out, but I
couldn't get to it. As soon as he leveled off, I came down.

P: You had a harness?

D: We wore a harness the whole time we were flying. We might have had to shoot
within our positions, see.

P: I've talked to people like that. Another guy I talked to was in a B-17, got shot
down, it was in a dive, and he couldn't get to his chute until somehow the pilot

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 14

leveled it out, and once it was leveled out, then he could get to it.

D: Well, I could have gotten to it once I got my chute, but the pilots came on the
intercom and told us what was happening. We didn't get a bail out order.

P: Did you have a bail-out bell, or did they do it through the intercom system?

D: They did it through the intercom.

P: You know some of them did have a bell that they would ring.

D: Well actually, knowing everything you got on that, you wouldn't hear it. The
intercom you'd get on your earphones.

P: Your second target was Hamburg. Was anything particularly memorable about
that second run?

D: Well, let's see, I made it to Cologne, Munster...

P: Munster was your third one.

D: I might have gone to Hamburg, it was probably going to Munster. But anyway, we
made [three] trips to Hamburg. We were hitting oil refineries. They [were]
knocked out pretty well. Not particularly our mission, but over a period of time
they knocked out the oil refineries up there.

P: Do you think the strategic bombing had a lot to do with winning the war?

D: Yeah, I sure do.

P: Could they have won the war without the bombing? I know there's some criticism
that said that, not only did we lose a lot of bombers and crew, that we might have
been better off putting those individuals on the ground as opposed to in the air.

D: They did a lot more good in the air. After the war, we were liberated by the
Russians, and the 8 Air Force made a deal, we had a couple of aces in our
[camp,] so within six hours after we were liberated from the Russians, the Army
had a liaison come in and we had a couple full colonels in our camp. We had
arranged for the 8th Air Force to fly us out, but the Russians wanted to send us
back to Odessa on the Black Sea in the back of a boat.

P: Let me get back to that a little later. I understand that the third bomb run was
[Hamburg], and there was a lot of flak and a lot of turbulence and that the ball
turret gunner had trouble with his oxygen. Do you remember that?

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 15

D: Yeah, let's see, that was ...

P: I understand that you had to get him out of the ball turret and give him some
more oxygen. Speaking of that, when you had to void, did you have one of the
little tubes?

D: Yeah, we had one of them.

P: Somebody used to tell me that it would be so cold sometimes that urine would

D: Well, I know one time a feller was back there doing it and the plane hit a bump
and his penis hit the tube and froze.

P: Oh no.

D: Then he got hit; he had to pull it off.

P: I know that hurt.

D: I talked to a veteran that had that happen to him.

P: In the process of doing this, it would be very difficult, because you would have on
wool underwear and then your flight suit and all that. It'd take you a few minutes
to get organized, wouldn't it?

D: Well, yeah, it took you a little bit.

P: For your fourth mission, again to Hamburg, and most of these were averaging
about seven hours, but if you had a tough flight, if you had a lot of turbulence,
wouldn't that exhaust you?

D: Yes, but it remained pretty much the same because the flights were in pretty
good turbulence. It might be rough, but we flew home in formations as well as
when we went in. Otherwise you've got to wait for the squadron, you'd be cut
loose because German fighters would come in and get you.

P: If you stayed in formation, you were better protected. Were you ever attacked by
German airplanes at all?

D: Like I said, I made five missions, I never saw a German airplane.

P: Did the other planes and gunners who did, did they talk about the quality of the

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 16

Messerschmidts and the Fockwulfes? I think probably, at the beginning of the
war, they may have been better than the American fighters.

D: I tell you, back before 804's had fighter escorts we had fighter escort at the
time I was flying but back before they had fighter escorts, the fighters were a lot
more problems. The Germans had an open field day. It took us awhile to get a
plane long enough with long enough range to escort you to and from the mission.

P: The Mustang? P-51.

D: The P-51. It was one of the sole survivors [of the war].

P: They had a pretty good range. Would they escort you all the way up to the IP?

D: They'd escort you to the IP and around the target too.

P: Oh, they could stay with you the whole way?

D: Yeah.

P: Once we got those planes, [bombing runs] were a lot more efficient.

D: Yeah, [in] those last ten months in the war, we had a pretty good fighter escort.

P: When you took off on any mission, I'm sure everybody knew what the chances
were of not coming back because in the 8th Air Force, I forget, the attrition rate
was like what, sixteen percent. Every time you went on a mission, you knew ...

D: We knew there was a possibility of not coming back, yes.

P: How did you deal with the pressure or tension of going on these flights, knowing
it was a dangerous endeavor?

D: I didn't figure I was in any more danger there than I would have been on the

P: So it didn't bother you too much?

D: Not too much. We figured we were going to make twenty-five missions and then
head home.

P: You had to fly twenty-five before you [could] come back [home].

D: That's right.

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 17

P: I do know that in the 8th Air Force, there were some people who literally cracked
up under the pressure and had to be evacuated.

D: Some of them got section 8 GI.

P: Did you know anybody in that category?

D: Not that I know of, not in our squadron.

P: The other thing that I hear about when I talk to pilots and crews, that the crew
was really like a family. That you were very, very close.

D: Very close. You lived together and trained together. We were together since the
time we were put together in Sioux City, and then we went to Lincoln to pick up
our plane, then we flew overseas. I mean, we were together six months before
we went in combat.

P: Another problem that I've talked to people about was the fatigue. How did you
deal with the fatigue? If the flights are seven hours, you're really going to get
tired, aren't you?

D: I don't know if we got that tired or not. I mean, you'd rest that night, but you might
want to go out another night or two.

P: Yeah, that would be the night you would rest. What was the background of the
people in your crew? What had they done prior to the military, and what would be
the general age of the crew members?

D: Well, our pilot, Brummet, was a lawyer. He had a couple years practice before he
went in the service. The co-pilot, well, he was mechanically inclined, and he'd
went to some technical school prior to going to crew training. I guess Al Fox was
more of a student than anything else because he was a little younger than I was.
We had one that was a musician. Then the enlisted men: the radio operator, he
was from West Virginia, he was a semi-driver for a steel company. When he went
into the service, the Army was paying twenty-one dollars a month. He first went
into the infantry and got transferred out of that to the Army Air Corps and he went
to radio school.

P: What was the average age, would you say?

D: We had anywhere from eighteen or nineteen up to twenty-five.

P: So it's a pretty young crew, really.

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 18

D: Yeah. Most of the air crews were young.

P: It's interesting to note that there were no professional military or professional
pilots. All these were citizen soldiers who had either volunteered or been drafted.

D: All the professionals went over there early and we were the replacement crews.
Now and then, if a crew needed [someone], if one of the crew members couldn't
make it, they might pull one man off your crew and send him off with another
crew. In fact, I had my tail-gunner pulled off one time and they put him on another
crew. Another time we were getting ready for a mission, and we were installing
guns, group armor, down there in the ball [turret], put the guns in and somebody
accidentally hit the machine gun and had let off a burst of fire and it shot across
the field and grounded two planes that day. They pulled the ball gunner off the
mission, they gave us another plane. They got our plane off the ground, but they
kept our ball gunner for questioning while we went on our mission.
P: I bet they had some hard questions for him.

D: That's right.

P: You had enough trouble with the enemy, you didn't want to be shooting up your
own planes.

D: That's right.

[end side Al]

P: Tell me about your fifth mission, which was November 5, 1944.

D: It was November 6.

P: Okay, tell me about that mission.

D: It was normal getting off the ground. We were actually higher up than we had
ever flown. The flak was thick. We knew we got hit and we knew we were on
fire, but the pilots thought they could dive in such a way to blow it out. But they
found out they couldn't. We were actually over the North Sea heading home and
this thing was still on fire. They knew they couldn't get back to England, and we
couldn't go to Sweden, so they headed us back to the German coast to bail out
as soon as we hit land. As soon as we hit land, they gave the bail-out order and
we left it. The engines were still running fine.

P: But you were losing oil and it was on fire.

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 19

D: The fire was about as close from here to that couch from the gas tanks.

P: Yes, only about twenty-five feet, something like that.

D: Yeah.

P: Once it hits your gas tank, you're all gone.

D: Right. You had to jump or you'd be blown out.

P: So the pilot gives the bail-out order. What order do you go in? Obviously the pilot
is the last person out of the plane.

D: Well, I don't know about that, but anyway, I wasn't the first one to go, but I wasn't
the last one either.

P: You just went out however you could get out, right?
D: That's right. Like I said, I was waist-gunner that day and we pulled the waist door

P: Did you already have your chute on, or did you have to get it?

D: After he gave the bail-out order, I had to get the chute and all I had to do was
snap it on.

P: So you were ready to go. Describe what you felt like when you first bailed out.

D: I was scared as hell, but they said count to ten before you pull your rip-cord. I
bailed out, got out, I counted to ten and pulled it, and it opened. It gave me a
heck of a jolt. But the bombardier on that crew, he jumped, pulled his rip-cord,
and the cord came off in his hands. He had to take his hands and tear his chute
open and hold it out like that for it to open.

P: Boy, that took a lot of presence of mind, didn't it? A lot of people would have

D: Well, if he'd have panicked he would have died, too.

P: So everybody got out okay?

D: All of us got back safely.

P: Where did you land?

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 20

D: Well, you know, the plane was moving, so you didn't land in a cluster, you landed
two or three miles apart. Depending on how fast you pulled [the rip-cord]-a guy
on the crew [who] went to college and he always wanted to see how far he could
free-fall [after] he jumped, he waited till he was about 1,000-1,500 feet before he
pulled his cord. He broke both his legs; spent time in a German hospital over
prison time. So he went down a lot faster than you would have floating down.

P: When you were down, because this was daytime, you could see where you were
going to land, right?

D: It was daytime. We knew about where we were going to land. I missed landing in
a bunch of pine trees by about as far from here to the end of the living room. It
was November 6, it was cold, and I landed in a puddle of water about that deep.

P: Were you hurt at all?

D: No, I wasn't hurt. I didn't have a scratch. I decided to see if I could hide to try to
get back to the lines. I don't know, we were about five hundred miles behind the

P: Did you try immediately to get up with other members of the crew?

D: No, not necessarily. You are more or less solo because you don't know where
the other men from the crew were.

P: Did you have a weapon?

D: We weren't allowed to fly with a weapon because it would cause paratroopers to
shoot us on sight.

P: Some of the pilots had an escape kit where they had a map of the area and
some water.

D: I don't recall having an escape kit, to tell you the truth. When I landed in that
water, there was ice in the water, and I went about as far from here to the mirror
in there to a hedgerow. Just before I got to the hedgerow, what I didn't know,
there was water, November ice water, waist-deep. We didn't get a change of

P: Plus you had that fleece-lined jacket, and all that would have retained a lot of

D: Well, that electric flying suit. We didn't have no fleece-lined, it was just a flying
suit. But it retained water, yeah.

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 21

P: So at this point, did you have any concept of where you were and where you
wanted to go?

D: No.

P: So what did you do?

D: Well, I was going to wait till dawn and try to find something, but about thirty or
forty minutes later-you could see the Germans coming toward us when we were
coming down from the towns-so about thirty or forty minutes later, there was a
group of civilians and soldiers and dogs came out and found me in that ditch of
water. When that German pointed that gun at me, I walked straight up out of that
ditch bank with my hands up. Then they escorted me back about a quarter mile
to where they had a vehicle, and they put me on that.

P: What was your first reaction to being captured? Were you afraid they were going
to kill you?

D: We knew the Germans were a part of the Geneva Convention, and we felt like
we'd be captured if we didn't offer resistance, and we didn't have nothing to resist
with, like on the plane we weren't allowed to carry firearms.

P: Once you got to the point of being captured, where did they take you? Did they
interrogate you at that point, or did they take you elsewhere?

D: We was captured about one o'clock one day, and they kept us there overnight.
We had ate before we took off, we didn't eat that day, and we went all the next
day before we got our first meal. Then they put us on a train and sent us down to
Frankfurt-am-Main interrogation center to interrogate us down there.

P: Did you get a change of clothes, because obviously your clothes were soaking

D: I didn't get a change of clothes. I wore the same clothes for six months.

P: It's a wonder you didn't get pneumonia.

D: Well, I had just gotten over pneumonia.

P: That's why I said that.

D: But I never caught a bad cold out of the deal.

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 22

P: That's amazing. What was the temperature at that time? Because if it's in
November, it was pretty cold.

D: You had some lows in the thirties [degrees Fahrenheit].

P: They took you to the interrogation center, and obviously they would be speaking
English. What kinds of questions did they ask you?

D: Well, all we were allowed to give them was name, rank, and serial number. They
told me a lot that they knew. They knew where I was born. They even told me
where my grandpa and grandma were buried in north Baker County. I just kept
my mouth shut; I figured if they knew that much, there wasn't much I could tell

P: Did they know much about the planes and the crews and the location of the

D: Well, they had captured some earlier, they knew quite a bit about the plane. They
knew the capacity of the plane.

P: Yeah, they knew everything. At this point, did they give you any medical
treatment? Did they treat you kindly?

D: Well, when we first got there a civilian pointed at me and called me, swine, pig. I
was heavy, see. But as far as any mistreatment, we weren't mistreated.

P: At what point did they move you to a Stalag?

D: Well, from there they sent us to a transit camp, we were in the transit camp for
about four days. At that time we were issued a Red Cross parcel for two men, it
was supposed to last a few weeks.

P: What would be in a Red Cross parcel?

D: Well, coffee, Spam, crackers, raisins.

P: Candy bars?

D: Well they had a few candy bars, yeah, and cigarettes. After we got to Stalag Luft
4, they'd issue a parcel every two weeks, because it had to last two weeks.

P: That was pretty good, because a lot of POWs didn't get any Red Cross help. At
this point now you're at the transit camp, and where do you finally end up?

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 23

D: We ended up near Stalag-4 up between Stetin and Dansig out on the Baltic.

P: This is on the Baltic Sea. This is northern Germany. It's still pretty cold up there.
What kind of facilities did you have? Where were you housed?

D: They had barracks, but they had twenty-four men in a room. When Leonard and
I got there, all the beds were filled.

P: You got there with one of your buddies?

D: Yeah, the radio operator. He and I stuck together the whole time.

P: You met up with him at the transit camp?

D: No, we all met the day after they captured us. They brought us all together, see,
except the one who was injured, and he was in a German hospital up in Emon.

P: Did you have enough heat, blankets, and all of that?

D: Well, I had one blanket. Like I said, when we got to the room, all the beds were
filled with other prisoners, so we had to put our junk under the table and he and I
had to sleep on the table for three months. We didn't have a bed we could call
our own.

P: Did they put you to any work duty at all?

D: No, we didn't do any work. See, the Air Force doesn't fly anything less than
sergeants, and under the Geneva Convention, they couldn't work a non-
commissioned officer.

P: So what would a typical day be like for you, and how much food would you get in
a day?

D: Well, a lot of it, you had to know what you had, and you had to ration what you

P: From the Red Cross packets.

D: Right, and then you took what they give you. A lot of times it was soup, cabbage,
or whatever. I remember one time they said, we're going to have stew. I talked to
one of the boys in the kitchen and he said, do you know what was in the stew the
other night? He said, that was dogs. They had a dozen or so dogs killed
downtown, they brought them out here and we made stew out of them.

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 24

P: You were probably glad to get a little meat though, right?

D: That's right.

P: Did it taste okay?

D: It tasted good.

P: You must have had that coarse black bread for most of the time, didn't you?

D: Well, we had brown bread. The bread we was eating in 1944 was dated 1938. It
was made and wrapped in sawdust to keep it fresh and moist. You had a little
coal stove where you could heat it, and you had a little margarine you could put
on it. It was edible.

P: One thing I've heard about POWs that's critical is that you want to maintain your
health and eat everything you can.

D: Eat whatever they give you, yeah.

P: Were you conscious of that, maintaining your health, as the most important thing
in terms of survival?

D: That's right. You ate what they gave you. Now at the time I was at Stalag-4, I had
chilblains. When the Russians got pushing them at Stalag-4, they knew they
were going to have to back away the perimeters. I got to where I couldn't walk.
They had what they called a hospital train, and they put us on that. When I got to
get on the hospital train, Leonard said, I'm going with you, so he went with me.
We were on that 40 x 8 boxcar that had fifty men in the car. You sit like that for
six days, and they let you out every two days whether you need to go or not.

P: Where did the train take you?

D: It took us up to Barth, Germany. It took us to the officer's camp up there.

P: Another element of survival is staying clean, making sure you have a positive
attitude about things. Were you able to maintain a good mental attitude through
all this?

D: Well, yes. You were in with a bunch of people in the same boat as you are, you
had to. As far as keeping clean, we got a shower every thirty days whether we
needed it or not. They steamed our clothes in case they had lice or something
like that on it, but we got a shower, like I said, every thirty days whether we
needed it or not. It was mandatory.

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 25

P: Did anybody die in prison?

D: I think they had some deaths, but it wasn't real often. After we were liberated at
Barth, they cautioned us against overeating, and of course in that camp, they had
some British and Canadians. They had a Canadian that over-ate and busted his
stomach, and they buried him there.

P: Did you have any British and Canadians with you?

D: Not in our compound, no.

P: All Americans.

D: All Americans.

P: Were there any escape attempts?

D: No, there weren't no escape attempts because in January, the 8th Air Force-we
had radios we fashioned to get the news-the 8th Air Force sent out orders for all
captured personnel not to try to escape. They was wanting us to get back where
they could use us in the Pacific, so there weren't no attempts while I was there.
Earlier there had been attempts.
P: Had they been successful?

D: Some were, some weren't.

P: I know at some point they would punish the rest of the unit if some people tried to
escape. Did they have that rule?

D: Like I said, I wasn't in with a unit, I couldn't tell you that.

P: How much weight did you lose while you were in prison?

D: About fifty pounds. I weighed 195 when I got shot down, I weighed 140 when I
was liberated.

P: I know you had difficulty walking because of chilblains, but were you physically
weak otherwise?

D: I was strong enough.

P: You were strong enough otherwise.

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 26
D: Yeah. I thought about walking. The men that were left that didn't go on the
hospital train, the Germans put them out between the American and Russian
lines and they walked back and forth between the lines with no shelter, they had
to scrounge for their food. They walked for sixty days; out of over 2,500 men,
they lost over six hundred.

P: Trying to walk out?

D: They call that the second death march. Marching between the Americans, when
the Russians get close, they'd walk to the American line. When the Americans
got close, they'd march them back.

P: You would have been in that group had you not been in the hospital?

D: That's right.

P: A lot of this is like the guy whose shrapnel just barely grazed his skin. Another
inch either way, or if you had not gotten chilblains, you might not have made it.
It's a matter of chance.

D: Like in Barth, we had orders not to go out during an air raid. One of the fellas was
asleep, he never heard. He started to go out and one of his buddies pulled him
back. But one of the guards in the guard tower shot and it hit the window at an
angle. I was sitting over here about twenty feet from it. It broke the window out, it
was a wonder it didn't hit me, but the way it hit, the radio operator, Leonard, was
sitting on a blanket with towels over his head. It went through his towels about six
inches above his head, went through two walls and a feller was sitting on the
john, and it broke the john out from under him.

P: Nobody got hurt?

D: Nobody got hurt.

P: When you were aware of the bombing runs, were you worried that the 8th Air
Force might drop them on you?

D: No, because they knew the locations of the prison camps.

P: Were you aware that the war was coming to an end in May 1945?

D: Well, like I said, they had radios in the camp, and we got the BBC News about
once a day and they'd put it on a piece of paper and come around and read it in
each room. Actually they weren't supposed to have a radio, but the British and
Canadians-some of them had been there three or four years-they'd learned how

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 27
to scrounge up a lot. There were some Americans that had radios that they'd

P: So you were aware that Germany was near surrender?

D: Oh yeah.

P: Tell me the specifics of the day that you were liberated.

D: We knew that the Germans was there one day, and the next day they were gone.

P: So you just woke up one day and all the Germans had just gone.

D: Well, we expected it, but we knew the Russians were coming. They were gone.
Some of the boys got out and went to town, but I didn't go there.

P: How did the Russians treat you? You mentioned this a little earlier, if you would,
go over it again. How did the Russians treat you when they first confronted the
American prisoners?

D: They didn't confront us. Officers met with the Russians. As far as us having any
contact with the Russians, we had none.

P: You said they wanted to send you to Odessa or somewhere?

D: They talked about sending us to Odessa. Like I said, Zempke and Gabreski,
both fighter aces, helped talk them out. They talked the 8th Air Force into coming
in and flying us out.

P: Is that what they finally did, the 8th Air Force came in?

D: I flew out with the same group I flew in with, but a different squadron. We flew
out and went to near Rhemes, France. In fact, they flew us a quick tour over
Germany at one thousand feet so we could see the damage that was done to the
various towns. You can't imagine the damage that had been done. Thousands of
square miles were leveled.

P: At that point, could you walk?

D: Oh yeah, I could walk.

P: So you'd recovered.

D: Yes.

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 28

P: When they got you back to Allied lines, what did they do with you first? Did they
debrief you again?

D: No. After we got back they had a twenty-four hour chow line. All of us had been
hungry almost the whole time we was in the prison camps, we hadn't had no
decent food. They had a twenty-four hour chow line, and we had food.

P: What was the first thing you wanted to eat?

D: Well, to tell you the truth, they used cigarettes in the prison camp as money. I
had three or four packs of cigarettes when we flew out. When we got to France, I
traded cigarettes to a Frenchman for some white bread, me and another fella.
We went down the street gnawing on a piece of white bread. It was the first
bread we'd had in about six or seven months, and some of them it had been
longer than that.

P: Then when you went through the chow line, I suspect, like most people, you
probably ate too much too fast?

D: Well, I tell you, you could go through the chow line, it was a twenty-four hour
chow line, and we could go to it as many times as we wanted to. They were
officers and enlisted men all together. With prisoners there weren't no rank, so I
put on forty pounds in three weeks.

[voice] What'd they give you to eat?
D: A little of everything.

P: So you had French food, American food, everything?

D: I had mostly American food, it was Army food, but we had it [a lot].

P: When you were in the stalag, how well did you sleep?

D: You got to where you'd sleep pretty good.

P: Did you dream about anything?

D: Oh yeah, we all had dreams.

P: What'd you dream about?

D: Home, more than anything else.

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 29
P: Did you spend time during the day playing cards, talking? How did you pass the

D: We'd talk. There was a bunch of playing cards. We'd get out and walk around
the compound for exercise. It was a compound with four walls, 2,500 men, we
could walk around the compound several times get your exercise. We were trying
to keep fit.

P: It was a pretty boring experience, I guess, in many ways.

D: Oh yes, plenty boring. We didn't have much to read.

P: When you finished your time as a POW, how did that effect your life both then
and later?

D: When I got home, I did pretty well what I wanted to.

P: Do you think it changed you in any way?

D: Not particularly.

P: A know a lot of people who come close to dying see themselves as lucky to have
survived, and try to make the most of the rest of their lives.

D: Well, we were lucky that we survived, but we when we got home I started
thinking about making a living.

P: What was the process from the end of your capture to being free to getting back
to the States?

D: At the end of being captured, we was in France for about three and a half to four
weeks before we got back to the States. My folks knew I'd been liberated, but
they didn't know when or where I was going to get home.

P: By the way, they did know you were a POW?

D: Oh yeah. I was shot down in November, it took them till the end of January to find
out I was a POW. I was Missing In Action [MIA]. Then they knew about the time I
was liberated. When we got back to France, I wrote them letters, but they didn't
know when I was going to get home.

P: Did you get any letters while you were in the POW camp? Would they let you
write out?

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 30
D: They'd let you write out, but as far as receiving anything from home, I didn't get
anything. I didn't hear from home for about ten months.

P: Where did they bring you back to the States? Were you released from the
service at that time?

D: No. We were shipped out of France on a transport ship and went to Newport
News, Virginia. Then from Newport News, Virginia, they shipped us to Fort
McPherson, Georgia. There I was given a sixty-day delay enroute to Miami. I
came to Jacksonville on a train. I called my sister in Jacksonville, [but] she wasn't
home. So I caught the bus and went to Macclenny where my brother had a
barbershop. I walked into the barbershop and I said, I want you to take me home.
He closed the barbershop and carried me home. When I walked in the yard, my
momma and daddy didn't know I was back in the States.

P: I know they were glad to see you and you were glad to see them.

D: That's right. I was home sixty days, and before sixty days was up, they sent me
another thirty days. So I was home ninety days, and then I reported to Miami and
went back to the same hotel I went to to begin with when I started my basic
training down there. I was on the same floor, two rooms down, from where I
started out at. I spent my last three months at the Orlando Air Force Base in
Orlando before I separated.

P: Was there any chance they would send you back to the Pacific theater?

D: No, because before my ninety days was up, they surrendered in Japan. I was on
a train headed for St. Louis to visit a girlfriend up there and I heard it on the train.
There wasn't no chance of being sent to the Pacific at that time.

P: In retrospect, do you think it was the right decision to drop both atomic bombs
considering the fact that a lot of civilians were killed?

D: It saved many American lives, had they hit the beaches.

P: And Japanese lives too, as well.

D: It would have cost a million men to hit the Japanese beaches.

P: When you were bombing Hamburg and other cities like Cologne-Cologne has a
beautiful cathedral-were you specifically told not to bomb those important
cultural sites?

D: I'm not sure what they told us to bomb or not to bomb. We didn't have no say-so

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 31
in what we were bombing.

P: Now when you went in for the bomb run, the bombardier had control of the plane
at that point, right?

D: That's right, he released the bombs at the right time.

P: All of that was determined, as he looks through the site, he knows there's a
prearranged area that he's supposed to drop. He recognizes that site.

D: He had a target, yeah.

P: You have to take in wind, weather; it's fairly complicated, I would assume. Do
you think most of the time you were pretty accurate?

D: Well, if we dropped it, we pretty well destroyed it.

P: Did you worry about, after you dropped your bombs, killing civilians?

D: No, we didn't worry about it. I mean, we knew they were down there.

P: Before your fifth bomb run, I understand that you were on board [the plane] and
the bombs fell out through the bomb bay before you took off?

D: That's right.

P: Describe that incident.

D: We were getting ready to go and all of a sudden one of the bombs fell out and we
ran like hell. It wouldn't have done no good to run if it had gone off. Actually, the
bombardier never did arm the bombs till we were airborne. They were not armed.

P: How did that happen? Did he hit a switch and drop them or what?

D: We don't know what happened.

P: But you got out of there just in case. You decided the better thing to do was to
get away from it as far as you could.

D: Yeah.

P: When you look back on your experiences in World War II, how would you
characterize this experience?

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 32
D: I wouldn't take nothing from it, but I wouldn't want to go through it again.

P: Do you feel like you made an important contribution to defeating Germany and
Hitler and Naziism?

D: I think as a group we did, but one person can't do a hell of a lot.

P: But without individuals working together as a group, [not a lot gets

D: That's the same thing in the infantry. You've got to work as a company or squad.

P: Tom Brokaw referred to this group of Americans as the "greatest generation."
They had come through the Depression, fought World War II and had been
successful. Do you think of yourself in that context, that your generation was the
greatest generation?

D: I felt like we got along pretty good, but it was a matter of circumstances. Like I
said, when I got out of high school, there wasn't much choice. Either you
volunteered or you'd be drafted.

P: I understand you keep up with some of your crew.

D: That's right.

P: Tell me about who's left and how often you might see them.

D: We used to have crew reunions, and then some of them died. Right now there's
only four of us left: the co-pilot in Kansas and the navigator in Detroit, and a tail-
gunner down in Brooksville. We were up there last March to see the tail-gunner
in Brooksville. We plan to go and see him again before too long. I talked to him
last night and his family is sick. I don't want to go down when he's sick. I try to
keep in contact with the ones that are living, I try to talk to them every month or

P: So you've really stayed in close contact with them.

D: That's right. We had crew reunions. I first went in 1984. Here's some of the

P: When you first look back at your experience as a veteran, and you look at
America fighting wars since that time, do you think we've done the right thing in
fighting in Korea and Vietnam and Iraq? World War II was fairly easy, we got
attacked, and we were fighting dictators, so that was a fairly easy war to decide

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 33
that it was a good war.

D: Well, I tell you, I think there's a lot of politics involved in them. I had a friend that
went to Korea. He joined the National Guard after World War II. I spent three
years with the 124 Infantry. Anyway, before my enlistment was up, we had the
war in Korea. I had at that time taken the series ten course-I thought I wanted to
be an officer. When that war broke out, I dropped that series ten course, and
when my enlistment was up, I got out, because that war wasn't bothering me.
The main reason I went into the National Guard-a fellow I worked with, the draft
boards were bothering him. I said, well, I'll join it with you and we'll serve
together. So he served about six or seven years in the National Guard.

P: At that point you were not going to be taken to Korea at all then.

D: I wasn't going.

P: Are there a couple other stories that you can remember you can tell us before we
sign off?

D: I can talk about the intelligence-how good the German intelligence was. You had
the "Berlin Bitch" [Mildred Gillars, also called "Axis Sally," an American who did
radio propaganda for Germany] over the radio. She called up one day and told us
our clock [in the mess hall] was ten minutes slow. My God, it was ten minutes
slow. I don't know how the hell she got the information.

P: That was like Tokyo Rose [a Japanese-American woman, Ikuko Toguri, who
broadcast anti-US propaganda for a Tokyo radio station].

D: Yeah.

P: Did you hear any of her broadcasts when you were there?
D: Oh yeah, we heard it.

P: What would she be telling you? What sort of propaganda?

D: She'd tell us a lot of stuff we knew damn well was a lie.

P: Was she telling everybody that you were fighting the wrong war and you needed
to go home and all that?

D: Yeah.

P: What was the American approach to that? They didn't stop the broadcasts? They
didn't care?

WWII-15 Dugger, Page 34

D: No.

P: They just let you listen to them?

D: Yeah.

P: [Since] you finished the war, have you ever been back to Germany?

D: Nope, and I ain't planning on going.

P: You have no desire to go?

D: No. Several of my crew members have been back, but I haven't.

P: So you have no desire to go back and see where you were?

D: No.

P: Since you got back, you've lived most of the time in Hawthorne?

D: Yeah, I've been in Hawthorne all this time. Our family moved on the place in
1929-of course I bought the place from my daddy in 1955 and I've been here
ever since.

P: Is there anything else you'd like to talk about, or anything we didn't cover you'd
like to bring up?

D: No. I'll tell you what I've got. You say you're interested in World War II? Have you
ever seen Overlord, put out by the Southern Baptist Convention? It gives about
the first four or five days of D-day.

P: Yes.

D: You have seen that?

P: I have indeed. It's very good.

D: Yeah.

P: Okay, well, on that note, we'll go ahead and end the interview. Thank you very

[End of Interview.]

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