Title: Interview with Warren Glasser
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00072028/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Warren Glasser
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: March 2, 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: UF00072028
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 19

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Full Text


This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
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Interviewee: Warren Glasser
Interviewer: Jay Bubla
Date: March 2, 2005

B: Mr. Glaser, where did you live before the war?

G: In Bronxville, New York

B: What type of schooling did you have?

G: Well, I had just finished college about 1940 or so, no, maybe a little bit

later than that, 1941 or 1942 or somewhere in there. Yes, it was 1941

when I got out.

B: Why did you join the armed forces?

G: I was drafted and [I had] finished college and was working. There was

no reason not to draft me. I was twenty-two I think. Lets see 1943 was

when I was drafted, so I was twenty-two.

B: So they drafted you into the Army Air Corps?

G: No, they just drafted me and we took our tests, intelligence tests and

quick tests and answers, without any particular rhyme or reason to it.

This time I ended up assigned to the Air Force.

B: Did you have any concerns about being drafted, when they called your


G: No, I didn't. I originally, believe it or not, wanted to be a flier. The Air

Force and Marines turned me down because I couldn't see well enough.

B: Do you remember your first days in the service?

G: I remember some of it. We were out on Long Island where we first got

the call. We started at the train station in Bronxville and went to New

Interviewee: Warren Glasser
Interviewer: Jay Bubla
Date: March 2, 2005

York. Then we were escorted out of Long Island and we really didn't

know what was going on. Matter of fact, the time I saw it was an airfield

that the army used I went out to take a look at it. There were lots of

planes around and I thought they'd be interesting to see. I started

walking over to one of the planes which was about a half mile away or

so. I was on a paved road, that I thought was a road, and it turned out to

be a road that the airplanes travel on. Well, the MPs came up and told

me I was in the wrong spot. And that was my start in the army. I got off

to a good start, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

B: Where you trained was on Long Island?

G: It was on Long Island, yes.

B: Approximately how long were you there?

G: About two days, [then] I got on a train and we were taken down to

Miami, Florida.

B: About how long were you in boot camp, training?

G: Well, at Miami, Florida I was there for, gosh I couldn't say. Maybe three,

four, five, six weeks, somewhere in there.

B: What did you do down there, in Miami?

G: We learned how to march, how to dress, the rules and regulations of the

service. They would give us intelligence tests and they'd examine us,

once again, physically. That's about all. Basic training. Where this is a

Interviewee: Warren Glasser
Interviewer: Jay Bubla
Date: March 2, 2005

gun, and this is the command to stand at attention, when you stand at

attention you don't move. Just a thing like that.

B: Where did you go after basic training?

G: After I left Miami, I was sent up to an air base in southwestern Illinois, I

forget the name of the base. [It was] not too far from St. Louis. It didn't

make me feel bad because my father was raised in St. Louis and my

grandmother and couple of granddads were living there and they knew

me and I knew them. I was able to visit with them a couple of times

before I got moved again. In the meantime, we were taking a lot of

courses and they were checking to see how we could learn to be a

radioman. We'd listen and try to put down the letters that the codes

were spelling out.

B: How long were you in southwestern Illinois?

G: Southwestern Illinois about a month, a month and a half.

B: After that where did you go then? About what time would this have

been, in October?

G: Let's see I got drafted in September. And I guess was in Florida a little

longer than that, past the end of the year. It was in January I think I

moved. With all the tests, apparently, they liked how I answered some

of the questions because I was then sent from Illinois to Pennsylvania to

Interviewee: Warren Glasser
Interviewer: Jay Bubla
Date: March 2, 2005

the military school in Pennsylvania. There we started hearing about

radar and what they expected us to be able to do.

B: What did you do in Pennsylvania, was it more intensive training?

G: Yes, it was all intensive training. It was learning radar: why it works,

how it works, and learning how to fix it. You had quite a few civilian

instructors, but some army teaching us the intricacies of microwaves.

B: Do you remember any of your instructors?

G: No, not any more, no. It's a little bit long now, that I had those uses


B: When would you eventually meet up with your crew?

G: Oh well no, what happened was we went through this radar school and

apparently I made enough right answers that something like maybe 100

out of 120 or so. Ten percent were sent down to Florida and we went

through aviation school down there. That was in Boca Raton. It was

there that we were taught how to operate the radar machines. We got

together with the pilot so that we could tell the pilot where we were

going. They taught us navigation and also radar.

B How long were you in Boca Raton?

G: We were in Boca for quite a few times. I don't know whether I got out of

Boca too fast or not, but it seems that one of things I did wrong while I

was there. But I thought it was a good deal. I tracked an unknown

Interviewee: Warren Glasser
Interviewer: Jay Bubla
Date: March 2, 2005

vessel in the Atlantic ocean. We kept it on radar until we were called

back by the local air force base in Boca, [they told us] to return to base.

They had an intercept that we could see, a pit coming and picked up our

quarry. We got good marks for the fact that we picked up a strange ship

and maintained the surveillance of it. We don't know what happened to

it, I never knew, but they had the Navy after it, so that must have been

something. In the meantime we weren't assigned crews, but we were

assigned flights to practice what we were doing.

B What year was this? 1944?

G: I was drafted in 1943, so it was 1944 when it happened. I had a sudden

exit as a result of my fault, it had to be my fault. I was doing a bombing

run as a radar navigator and we bombed the place that was supposedly

our target. The only problem was there was two places that looked

exactly alike, and I picked the wrong one out and I dropped my bombs

and happily said, Yes sir, it looks as though I destroyed whatever it was

supposed to be. And I was very happy about it. When we came back I

was asked to go in to see the general who was running the school. He

said, Alright, your ready. Your going up to Mitchell. Then they took me

to Maine, and from there we will proceed to England. I said, Oh gee!

That's great. Did I do everything right? He said, Yes, you did

everything alright. That house you hit was a farmer's outhouse. So that

Interviewee: Warren Glasser
Interviewer: Jay Bubla
Date: March 2, 2005

was the part of my career that got me into Europe. Anyhow, when I got

to Maine, because of waiting orders, I was suddenly told I should go

over on a B-17 [Flying Fortress]. I had never flow in a B-17, we were

flying B-25 [Liberators] in Florida. They said, doesn't make a difference,

it's the same equipment. Go Ahead. I had a pretty good reason to think

that I was going to make it [to England], because the pilot who I said

goodbye too, a long time before, at least a year or more. He

volunteered for the Air Force and went in. He was a neighbor of mine

that I used to play ball with constantly. So he was the pilot and I was his

navigator and we got there, we got there.

B: Going back a little bit, in that training mishap, did you really drop


G: No. It was training.

B: And that [training mishap] was in a B-25?

G: Yes, that was in a B-25.

B: So, you make it over to England okay, where were you in England?

G: Well, I landed and got my orders to go up to Ethell and report to the

squadron commander. [Ethell] is up in the northeastern part of England,

in an area called the Wash, obviously it's below Scotland on the

northeastern shore, and it was very close to the water. It was made

famous because this is the place where we bombed, quite often, the

Interviewee: Warren Glasser
Interviewer: Jay Bubla
Date: March 2, 2005

areas in western France, right across the channel. We were afraid of

the Germans had found, for a time, the so called "Buzz-bombs" which

was a long distance approach to bomb England. What we were trying to

do is get rid of those sites and certainly not allow them to fly

transcontinental bombs.

B: Was that a rocket?

G: Well, it would be more or less of a rocket, I don't know. But that didn't

stop us as a bomb group, we also were on regular bombing missions.

B: What unit were you attached to? What bomb group?

G: I was with the 784th squadron, 466th bomb group, and that was part of

the 8th Air Force (the interviewee fiddles with a case of his plaques and

service papers). And that's the reason [the case] is down here, I don't

remember that [stuff]. I know it was the 784th but I didn't know whether it

was bomb group or a squadron.

B: Were you back in B-25 doing these missions?

G: B-25's.

B: You like the B-25?

G: Yes. It made a good deal, made a good deal.

B: You said you flew to western France to drop bombs.

G: Yes. In our flights we were all over the place. I had one flight down to

South Africa and back. Every once and a while we'd help out the 15th

Interviewee: Warren Glasser
Interviewer: Jay Bubla
Date: March 2, 2005

Air Force make a bomb run. They were bombing north and we went

south and we'd link together to bomb the target, to mix them up.

Obviously I was in the main area, we had Europe. For sure.

B: How many bombing runs or flights did you make?

G: I made a lot of flights, but not too many contact bomb runs. I [only]

made fifteen. But the rest of the time I made an awfully lot of flights,

where we were. At night we were waiting for the Royal Air Force. We'd

take off and make deliveries along northern Germany and the [Royal] Air

Force would go down south. They were going directly to Vance and Le

quiex. We'd go one direction and they'd go another. At the same time

we were learning where their radars were, looking for radar contact. So

we knew what frequency their radar were on and we could jumble, make

it confused. They couldn't figure out our altitude or our speed or

direction. They were fairly constant, up and down, and up and down,

and up and down.

B: You said you made some other runs, but were you really assigned a

crew when you went on a bombing run?

G: I generally flew with two crews, I flew with them most of the time. But

you were liable to be in almost any place. It depended on whether we

needed an extra radar navigator or not.

B: Did you ever experience any casualties while flying?

Interviewee: Warren Glasser
Interviewer: Jay Bubla
Date: March 2, 2005

G: No, we lost an engine one time, but knock wood. We didn't have any

particular casualties I guess.

B: Were you awarded any medals or citations?

G: No, not specifically. One citation we did get, that surprised everybody in

the group, so to speak. Our squadron was leading our bomb group,

several squadrons in a bomb group. Then the bomb group would get

together with other bomb groups and form a bomb wing. We were

leading our bomb group and when we dropped bombs we were not with

the rest of the crews. The rest of the crews you tell them, so and so, we

were approaching our target, and be prepared, any they were already

prepared anyhow. But we let them know anyway that we were

prepared. The deal was they wouldn't drop a bomb, until they would see

a bomb drop from our bomb bays. And you could see that. Well, one

time we were supposedly up to bomb the North Sea one, of the targets,

I think it was Hamburg. When we got there, there was so much static

and so many clouds, and so thick we went past it. We decided we'll do

an alternate, see if we could see any targets, drop our bombs and go

home. But we were up on the North Sea, so knew we were going to hit

eventually some open seaports, and well we did. Apparently we ruined

everything, because by the time we got back we had the god damned

German Navy almost sunk. We hit the right seaports, at the right time.

Interviewee: Warren Glasser
Interviewer: Jay Bubla
Date: March 2, 2005

We hit the right ships and we ended up with a presidential citation for

flight. Which was a mistake because we couldn't hit the original target

but that's the way it goes, can't get worried about it.

B: Any other memorable experiences?

G: No, I remember we used to get a lot of flak up there. But we never got

seriously] damaged, we would have a mark on the plane somewhere.

But you couldn't ever hit anything. We lost an engine, because all of

sudden it decided not to run anymore, it was a maintenance fault.

Something went wrong with the engine that wasn't ammunition that

exploded in it. But the one thing that I remember was we going over a

hill, in the north part of Germany on the North Sea .We got word from

the commanding officer, the general who was leading the wing, watch

out, don't get too low don't stay too close to the land. They have pretty

sharp airmen. He no sooner said, then about 5 minutes later I was

looking out the window and I could see one of the planes get hit and go

down almost head first, you don't like that. But it was a lot of fun, I

shouldn't say fun, but it was certainly kept us on our toes. We did have

one thing that amused us. All of a sudden at our own base in Ethell, we

kept getting chicken and we wanted to know why we were getting chick

for chow. It turns out that somehow or another, they couldn't afford to

keep the chickens going in our hen place, from which we got our fresh

Interviewee: Warren Glasser
Interviewer: Jay Bubla
Date: March 2, 2005

eggs for breakfast. So we didn't have anymore fresh eggs, so they

killed the chicken and served them. Which is a chicken way of getting

out of a bad spot.

B: Other than that, what else was the food like?

G: Well, I didn't run into anybody I didn't like. They were all glad to be

home, or came home, at the time we came home. They didn't make too

much noise in the barracks, if they had a card game going it was very

quiet. Being in Pop Dogs room, there were only two rooms in the

barracks, and then there was the big barrack room where everyone

slept out in the open. You learned not to make too much noise when

you had to get up early in the moving, so the rest of you could sleep.

Maybe till 7 o'clock, instead of 4 o'clock. It was nice, it was

understandable, we didn't worry about it.

B: How did you keep in touch with your family?

G: Wrote letters. I met both my brothers in England and my older brother

was in the engineers. He was also over with the engineers in the area

they called "The Gap". When the Germans made their last big push I

was worried about him and I decided I'd like to see him. We were

starting to run out of gas. Patton's troops, when they were fighting the

Germans which were trying to get the land back from getting the land

back, were running out of gas so we had to fly gas to them. Well I knew

Interviewee: Warren Glasser
Interviewer: Jay Bubla
Date: March 2, 2005

we were going to a base right near him, so I volunteered to be united

with him on that flight. We landed and I got to see my brother in France.

My kid brother came, he went in the Navy and had graduated high

school. He was on a destroyer escort, he called me up and said, Hey,

I'm in town in London. Can you come down? Well, I checked with my

squadron leader and sure enough, I could take a couple days off. We

were always entitled to couple days off, after you made a couple of

missions or so, but we'd never went anywhere really. But I did, and I

went down there and the only problem there is the first place I went to

go in and it was for officers only. Here was a regular seaman, so we had

to find a new restaurant, but outside of that it was pretty good. We had

a lot of fun.

B: Do you remember any particularly humorous or unusual event, besides

the bombing of the port?

G: No, that was one of our biggest events. I remember the flight home was

a great flight because we were going west instead of east, and I knew

where we were.

B: Did you ever pull any pranks?

G: No, we didn't think too nasty stuff or funny stuff.

B: And you were in England until when?

G: Let's see when was the war over? It was over in 1944?

Interviewee: Warren Glasser
Interviewer: Jay Bubla
Date: March 2, 2005

B: In Europe?

G: In Germany.

B: May of 1945.

G: Middle of 1945. That's when I came home. When I came home I was

assigned to [an air base in Montana for training]. Which was B-25s and

we were being prepared to fly against the Japanese, wherever they

would be. Fortunately I never had to go up on that one.

B: So you were just in Montana?

G: I stayed in Montana and that's where I was on ready. When the war was

over, I was allowed to go home.

B: What did you do as a career after the war ended?

G: That's a good question, when the war ended. I was asked if I wanted to

stay in the reserve or go on to be released all the way. I said, Release

me. I don't want to be in the reserve [They said], Well if we release

you, you could be called back in 5 years" I said, There's nobody to fight,

that's okay. So when Korea broke I got a telegram from the president, a

very nice telegram, I hated it, It said, by order of the President of the

United States, you are ordered to report to Mitchell's field and you will

be assigned your air force base. I was married by then, I had a year old

daughter, and my base turned out to be in Rapid City, South Dakota. I

was there for just about the whole Korean War I was flying B-36s. I had

Interviewee: Warren Glasser
Interviewer: Jay Bubla
Date: March 2, 2005

an assigned crew, we had a larger crew than on the B-25s, we had ten

or eleven men. On the B-36, which I flew out of South Dakota, we had a

crew of twenty-six. We had seven bunks in the back. We had a pulley

that you could lay on to go from the back of the plane to the front of the

plane. Which is where we had to go to replace people who were ready

to take a snooze themselves. Our normal flying time was usually

around twenty-five or twenty-six hours and the longest we were ever up

at once, was something like thirty-seven hours. We did refuel in the air,

so the B-36 was quite a long aircraft. Our main job in B-36 was to pick

up enemy radar systems, find out where they were, tell the pilot so

everybody knew we'd be making a journey somewhere. We knew the

Japanese were good at radar, didn't know how well we could change

their frequency, so we never let anyone know too much about it. We

were all assigned special crews and such.

B: This is during the Korea war?

G: The only problem with South Dakota was one of these days they

decided to put me on overseas fights, combat flights. I was a little bit

concerned about that because my wife had a two year old daughter and

she was quite pregnant with our next one. I was told the only reason

why I ended up on the list to fly out, was because I hadn't bragged about

the pregnancy. I didn't think you were supposed to brag about that.

Interviewee: Warren Glasser
Interviewer: Jay Bubla
Date: March 2, 2005

Anyhow, I stayed in South Dakota until the war was over, then I came


B: How did your time in the service and your experiences there affect the

rest of your life?

G: It showed me there were two sides to every story and don't get too mad

too often. It's foolish to get silly, besides when you're mad you're not so

sure you've got what you want to do, because you'll do the wrong thing.

B: How do you think you got through WWII?

G: I was glad to have served in the service. I am happy I was in the Air

Force. I liked that. It was quite a different way of living. I'm glad I

decided not to stay in but at the same time I know it's a good life, I'll

never say don't do it. It's a good life.

B: Is there anything you'd like to add, that you don't think I adequately

covered in the interview?

G: No I don't think so. I think my story is quite simple: I went overseas, I

did what they told, and I went home. I was lucky, I didn't ask for

anything and I didn't say, I want to do it. I didn't try to get out of

something I was in. Incidentally the B-36 that I was supposed to go on,

never did fly out. But I was glad to get off the waiting list. Outside of

that, you know I was happy that I was able to see my brothers when I

was in the service. They never did meet, at least normally, no reason

Interviewee: Warren Glasser
Interviewer: Jay Bubla
Date: March 2, 2005

for the Navy to meet the Army. The people overseas, used to tell me,

when I was visiting my brother Clark. He'd like to switch jobs with me, if

I was going to fly back, that's how I get home. He didn't want to get on

the ship, he was sick the time he hit the ship when it left the United

States. He stopped being sick by the time he got to England. He said if

he got on a boat again, he'd be sick again. Believe it or not he was and

he finally got over it and decided there was nothing he could do about it.

But that's one of those things. So my kid brother was in the navy all the

way, he wasn't sick. So that's the story.

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