File #3979: "warnerMarkerReport[1].pdf"


PDF Text


Oral History report


an interview with Dr. Truman Warner

Christopher W. Marker
Intro. Hist. Research
5/06/89 Dr. Janick

In the last century, our world has benefited from the technological advancements
created by the scientific community to a higher and more widespread degree than ever
before. The ability to record the events of history as they unfold gives both future
and current researchers the chance to more fully and accurately depict the era. Our
assignment was to seek out an individual who was alive and aware in the early 19401s,
and to have them discuss what they did during the second World War. As each person has
his or her story to tell, one can gather a wide array of perspectives from those interviewed, and from this a larger scenario can be drawn.
The subject that this student sought out had many unusual experiences during the
war. Dr. Truman Warner is an Anthropology Professor here at Western. A lifelong Danbury
resident, Dr. Warner graduated from the Highschool that is now White Hall, continuing his
education next door at then Danbury StaG Teachers College. When the war began, Dr. Warner
was teaching at his first assignment, having just graduated from college in June of '41.
The following interview was 90 minutes in length, and wasrecorded in the El Gross library
in the basement of White Hall. An index has been provided so that the listener can pick
and choose from a number of topics that the interviewee has discussed.
Side A

Tape begins.


His graduation and subsequent employment at Center Elementary School in Brookfield Center.// December 7 , 1941 / / Rebuked at school by administration for
allowing students to listen to the radio about news of the war.
Civilian Defense duty - appointed as an Air Raid Warden in Danbury / / discusses
the silly rules and regulations of the CD - "people having a sense of duty"
Drafted into the Army (given notice) in early 1942 / / the feeling that "not whether
but when" the U.S. would win the war.


Travels to Fort Devens, Massachusetts along with a number of local men in Nov.'42
Processes into the Army, then travels by train to Boot camp.


Recalls his train derailing in Indiana.


Arrives at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma (Grapes of Wrath country) / / Begins training, eventually ending up as a Medic. / / Division unique in that all men will stay together
during and after training, as opposed to being sent as replacements to already
existing uni.ts- his unit known as the 88th - the Blue Devils.


Unit moves to Lousiana for further training in the summer of '43.
Transfer and promotion to Corporal in 3rd Battalion, 350th Regiment Aid station.


Describes the function of the station(triage center, primary care)

3 90

Describes typical Army Ineptness of command : troops not given adequate water
supply, many experience heat exhaustion on long, hot marches.
Tells story about commanders looking for their missing troops.


Transfered to Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas


Sightseeing in san Antonio// further training.


Takes his first and only leave / / 3 days by train thru New Orleans ending up
in New York. // only a week at home and then back to San Antonio.


Receives word to prepare for debarkation in Fall of ' 4 3 / / Unit transfers to
Norfolk, Virginia (staging area)

4 70

Screens troops for final processing to ship out at Dispensary // reprimaanded by
officer for giving out immunizations, but is exonerated by realistic officer who
understands the difficulties.

5 00

Travels in a giant flotilla known as a convoy in Nov. ' 4 3 across Atlantic.
recalls that the journey was long and crowded, not breaking any records for
crossing the Ocean - over 3 weeks.

5 20

Arrives at Casablanca, Morocco. / / story about curious medics who drink strange
brew that has "fallen off the back of a donkey cart." - turns out to contain some
hallucinegenic compound which causes medics to experience horrible visual and
audial illusions.


Troops board trains heading north, then east across North Africa.
"Lister bags and K-rations" - crowded as usual.

5 70

Recalls being fascinated by journey.

5 90

Turns south towards the Atlas mountains arriving at Magenta, Algeria ? / / Cold
desert nights - only officers have sleeping bags - little food, as the majority
of supply trains are attacked by nomadic Arabs, cargoes pillaged.


Side B
0 00

Officers get guns and jeeps and hunt gazelles - which become "gazelleburgers"


Wanders around local country during free time exploring; credits these times as
crucial to developing his interest in Anthropology.

0 70

Goes to city of Bellabes - the headquarters of the French Foreign Legion // vivid
memories : bazaars, unique architecture and a real meal at a French restaurant..

1 00

Given orders to prepare, once again, for journey to points unknown


Arrives in Italy after many harrowing accounts crossing the Mediterranean


Describes the Screaming Mimi shells that the Germans used in the war.

240 - 2 66

Recalls his duties as medic during the fighting that his unit was involved
with// retrieving the dead and wounded in the middle of the night.
Use of sulfa drugs and the importance of suchdrugs in fighting infection.


290 - 360 Discusses the May push - U.S. troops drive north in May '44 - unit reaches
the Arno river in late May.

Transfers to Anti-aircraft batteries unit / / All-Black troops, highly decorated
but commanded by white officers, causing a degree of tension.


Told by Warrant Officer that he is accepted by the troops.


Recalls watching hordes of aircraft flying overhead on their way to France, durinc
early June '44.


Given a commission as Medical Administration Officer.

Transfered to France in middle of Summer of '44 / / in charge of a medical
480 - 500
supply unit preparing items for the South Pacific.

Gets appendicitis.


Takes a recuperative leave on the French Riviera, at Cannes.


Finds unit gone after he returns from leave.



Relocates to Lgon, where he stays until the end of the war and when he finally
returns to the States and seperates from the military.
End of tape.