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Interview with John R. Lemons, Jr. [5/28/2010]

Kristie Mantsch:

Good afternoon, my name is Kristie Mantsch. Today is, May 28th

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Correct.

Kristie Mantsch:

2010, we're at the Court Reporting Institute of Dallas, in Dallas, Texas, with John Lemons. Would you please state your name and address for our record today.

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

My name is John R. Lemons, Dallas, Texas. You want my street address?

Kristie Mantsch:

Sure.

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

10515 East State Line.

Kristie Mantsch:

Okay. I have some questions.

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Okay.

Kristie Mantsch:

And you can fill in anything you want to.

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Okay, ad lib if I need to.

Kristie Mantsch:

Absolutely. Were you drafted or did you enlist in the service?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Well, I volunteered to be a Fighter Pilot, and I got through the written test, passed everything and passed the physical and some doctor who examined me said you have a scar on your left leg, we've got to look at it again. And I said that was something that was when I was eight years old. He said, it doesn't matter; I can't pass you because it's osteomylitis. And I said, what's that have to do he said you couldn't stand the Gs, couldn't stand the Gs, what are the Gs? He said, you can't fly that just you can't handle that. I said, well I was a kid when this happened. He said, do your mother have all the records you think? I said, I don't know, he said, if you got the X rays to bring to me we'll get you a waiver. So, sure enough I went home and my mother said, yes we have them. I took them to the doctor, he sent the waiver off to the Surgeon General in D.C. to get the waiver and I kept waiting and waiting, and never got it and I was drafted. First thing I said when I was drafted; I don't want to be the Air Force they won't let me fly. Good, we'll let you know what you're going to do a little later on. So, when I got to my reporting base, I said where am I going? I said, I don't want to be in the Air Force. I said I was in ROTC and all that kind of stuff, so I don't know, I'll just take the Army; they said okay and my orders were cut; Air Force.

Kristie Mantsch:

Where were you living at the time?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

I was living in Dallas and I had a wife and no kids, at that time. And first thing I know they said your orders are made, you're going to go to Miami Beach. And we lived in a hotel on the beach and trained there for about two months.

Kristie Mantsch:

Why did you join the service?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Well, like everybody else we were patriotic thinking about what happened on December 7th, so the, the thing was everybody wanted to participate and I knew that I wanted to fly a P 51, so that was my immediate reason for getting in.

Kristie Mantsch:

Do you recall your first days in the service, when you first enlist were in?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Oh, the routine you go through and as a raw recruit is just, you know stuff that I had when I was in ROTC in high school.

Kristie Mantsch:

What did it feel like?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Well, I just knew that, that couldn't be what was going to be happening to me a little later on.

Kristie Mantsch:

Everything was about to change?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

About the same; that's right.

Kristie Mantsch:

Tell me about your boot camp training experiences.

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Well, of course having been sent to Miami Beach was a good place to to go because we were on the, right on the beach, and we ran all over downtown, Miami Beach. And like most of the Air Force people did in the early days, you had to go singing everywhere you went. We marched like every day for an hour an hour of, you know, getting on the treadmills and all that stuff for about an hour and then go back to the base. And then being a Buck Private we get to serve the officer wives at at the afternoon bar at all the hotels. {Laughter} and of course my job, a lot of days at the hotel was to use a toothbrush to GI the lobby. A toothbrush; clean the tile. You know, what do you call that kind of stuff? {Laughter} we had a word for it.

Kristie Mantsch:

Yes. Do you remember any of your instructors?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Not really. I was there, you know, during different days you had a Drill Instructor, and you had a guy that puts your calisthenics for you every day, and then of course we had class we had to go to classes every day, so, I don't remember any of that. Not by name, no.

Kristie Mantsch:

Where exactly did you go after basic training?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

I went to Buckingham Field, in Fort Myers, Florida. And I was sent there to become a Aerial Gunner, so, we trained there for a certain period of time and of course every day we had to fly an AT 6, which is a twin seated air plane. We got over the Key of Florida and toe target and shoot at toe targets, practicing use of your guns. Until we were graduated from the class there and you had a next base coming up somewhere.

Kristie Mantsch:

Where did you go next?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Next base was boarded me on a train and wound up going to Sheppard Field, Texas, Wichita Falls. Hotter than hell {laughter} as they called it in those days.

Kristie Mantsch:

Did you ever see any combat?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Oh yes, I saw combat. My after I got through there see I was trained there to become a Aircraft Mechanic, which made you a Flight Engineer on the air plane. So, I had gunnery and mechanical abilities as a flight engineer. So, from there I went to Kearns, Utah. We got to Kearns, Utah, we were put together as a crew of some kind of a plane, we didn't know what it was; they assigned all of us a plane. And so from there we were sent from Kearns, to Colorado Springs; Peterson Field. Where we were assigned as a crew to a B 24; it's a liberator, four engine plane, and that's what I wound up flying until it was over for me.

Kristie Mantsch:

So where where did you first go for missions after training and all of that?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Well, the first mission was to Hamburg Germany. And that was of course we got over there let me back up a little bit. To get over there we all thought we would fly our airplanes, that's was what everybody wanted to do. But for some reason we didn't get a plane, so they rushed us out of Peterson Field and took us up to Kansas and on a train finally to New York City, and got on the Queen Elizabeth. And the last 500 men getting on board were Airmen, as us, and they had 15,000 already on there. And we were leaving there going to, somewhere; they wouldn't tell you where until you got out in the water. It turned out, of course, England, and from there we were taken to Scotland; from there we went to Ireland to do some more training and learning about what happens in European theater of operations, and we were then assigned to a base, and wound up going to, near the town of Norwich, which is north of London about 80 or 90 miles. And we were assigned to the 8th Air Force, the 2nd Air Division; which, was they had one, two, three, divisions; 2nd Air Division all B 24s. Air Division 1 and 3, were B 17s; so we were assigned to a B 24. And I had a ten man crew and we were still all intact at that time. So my first mission as I said earlier was to Hamburg.

Kristie Mantsch:

Wow.

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

And it wasn't much fun.

Kristie Mantsch:

Wasn't any fun?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Well, the Bombardier for some reason got sick and they made me the Bombardier. So, my job was to drop the bombs, and um on the bomb run, if you know what I mean by bomb run, the bombs were ready to go out and I'm suppose to drop the bombs on the lead airplane, which I did, and about that time, flak was everywhere. If you know what flak is, it's anti aircraft shooting up at 25,000 feet, picking you apart and a blast hit my turret. And the glass turret is about that thick, it shattered it blew the turret off like this, blew the doors off, and I was hanging out the front of the airplane. And the navigator was lucky enough to get me back into the plane somehow, and get the turret straightened out, the doors were gone and we had to fly back to base with a messed up nose turret.

Kristie Mantsch:

Oh my.

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

My first mission, I said that's the way I fire that's the way it is.

Kristie Mantsch:

Were there many casualties in your unit?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Huh?

Kristie Mantsch:

Were there many casualties in your unit?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Not on that mission at all, no.

Kristie Mantsch:

Tell me about a couple of your most memorable experiences.

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Well, my third mission was to a place called Dessau, Germany. And we were flying with about 35 planes, 445th Bomb Group out of the 702nd quadrant, and we were kind of in the back of one of the positions, the middle element or something, and you know what a diamond shape is? You got a lead plane and two on each side and one behind it, kind of like shaped like a diamond. And I happened to be flying the, the waist gun that day on the right hand side. And our wing man, flack was just coming up; right there just peppered us all. And a big hunk of metal hit his wing and broke off the wing of the plane. And it of course went upside down, crashed in the plane immediately in front of us, and we flew into the other two of them, and there was three of us that went down. Well, we went down upside down and wing didn't break off the air plane and somehow or another the pilot and the co pilot was able to get that plane straightened out. If I could have got out of the plane I would have but I was pinned with centrical force, hanging on the ceiling. And the other gunner was with me and the tail gunner was thrown out of his turret. And he come crawling up there trying to get out, too, of course, he couldn't move either. But luckily the pilot got the plane straightened out and they reported three planes down, but we didn't go down. But we were an hour and a half late getting back to the base and my one of my gunners who didn't fly that day because we had taken the ball turrets out, which was another mistake, we had ten men crew, like I told you earlier, and then we only had nine, so what did we do with that extra man? All enlisted men agreed to rotate so that way nobody would get thrown off but we all had to sit on the ground one mission. He the ball turret gun didn't fly and he was out there sweating this out and they said you know you lost three planes. So, sure enough we didn't we got there, and he was elated that we made it back. That was mission three.

Kristie Mantsch:

Mission three. Were you ever a prisoner of war?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Yes, I was. Mission number eight I call it seven and a half. You know why I say that? I got half way there and didn't get half way back. Anyway, my eighth mission was to Kassel, Germany, and our Bomb Group was leading 300 airplanes. So, our the 445th Group was leading 250 60 planes behind us and for some reason we made a deviation on approach to the target, and made a turn and everybody was supposed to follow us but turns out we were wrong and they were right. They refused to go, and we went on and within, five minutes we dropped our bombs and all along no fire escorts, nothing, no ball turret and all of a sudden the sky was full of planes, not ours. 125 150, ME 109s, FW 190s, attacked us. We had 35 planes, three minutes we lost 25 planes just like that, and I was one of those and we were on fire, plane was burning, the the everybody's firing at you cannons and we were shooting .50 calibers, they were all shooting 20, 30 millimeter cannons the German fighter planes. And as it turned out, I was with the waist gun, and I got the waist gunner out and myself and the tail gunner, and I bailed out at 235. Plane on fire, I knew it was going to blow up any minute, it did blow up a little later on when I was out, and I didn't know whether anybody ever survived, but I pulled my rip cord at 235, and I'm right in the battle, I mean, the fighters are shooting at everybody, and shooting planes are still burning and on fire, and here I am within five feet of the fighter and of course I passed out because I've been out of oxygen a few minutes I'm sure, for a minute or two at least, and when I came to, I was still above the cloud, the solid cloud cover. We were at 235, as I said and at 12,000, I probably came to and I could see the clouds beneath me and when I broke through the clouds I could see the ground and of course, then I was trying to figure out how can I miss those trees, I didn't want to land on those trees. So, you got your guys who pull out your shoot, so I was able to get my shoot to let me clear the trees from here to that ball out there. And so I missed that and as soon as I hit the ground I folded up my shoot, and before I could say boo, two German farmers had me with pitchforks. They asked me and I said, Americans, Americans, and they were after me and two young soldiers about 16 years old, which were Wehrmachts not Germans came to my aid and they took me away from those two farmers, and probably saved my life, because they were probably going to kill me. So, they marched me to town and of course, and it was a lot of problem getting to town and finally was put in a basement, in City Hall. It turned out it was a Wehrmacht barracks, I didn't know that at the time, and we had by that time 25 or 30 Airman like me, who had been in my Bomb Group and had been shot down and captured, some with wounds, and lots of burns and all kinds of problems and we had no, no medical help at all. So, the next morning they asked us all that could walk, to take and literally carry all those that couldn't, and put them on the train. And so I was able to walk with a litter to get one Airman on the train. And of course they took me to interrogation camp from there. Which is probably about 80 miles from where I was at that time.

Kristie Mantsch:

Do you know where they took you?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Yes, Wesler Weslar, Germany, it's close to the town of Frankfurt. If you know where Frankfurt is. And there you go through interrogation, you know it's like the Air Force had a training film that shows you, if you should be shot down or captured what you're supposed to do and what to expect. Of course, you know that, so it was just like sitting in the movie. Like me sitting in a movie watching what I've already seen. Of course, they threatened you that they were going to turn you over to Gestapo and all that kind of stuff. After three or four days they finally turn you loose and put you on a train, and I wound up going to prison camp, in Old Poland. You know where Poland is now? It's on the Baltic Sea; we were about three miles from the Baltic Sea, in old Poland, real east of Berlin. And we stayed there until certain things happened and that was from September the 27th, which was the day I was shot down. I got there on October the 5th, and by December we could hear artillery fire, we knew what it was, the Russians were coming and the Germans had already told, what we had what we called a man of confidence, who was our contact in a prison camp to go to the Germans and, you know, learn what was supposed to be happening and what they're going to give to you or do for you, and we were told that we would be marched out. At 10,000 Airmen in that camp and each camp was divided into four parts, 2,500 in each one, so we had 10,000 and we were the first ones marched out. 2,500 one morning, like January the 31st, about two o'clock in the morning and dogs and lights and getting you and out and we marched for a while and they put us on a train, and that went on for about six or seven days went through Berlin, dodging air rays and all that kind of stuff, until we got to another camp which is called, Nuremberg, it was kind of like 13 days, 13 days and I stayed there until certain things happened. When we got to that camp it was an Old Italian prisoner of war camp, the Germans, you know, got mixed with them. So we were in there and that was a lice infected place. You had no place to sleep, no room for you, and again something was happening. We knew what was going to happen, again, and like I said we had contacts. We got BBC every day, if you think we didn't have means of knowing what was going on, we did. So we knew that the Americans and British were about to roll on this camp so the Germans did the same thing again. They said we're out with you and out you went. They took out 2,500 of us again and where we marched for 13 days to go to Lewisburg, which is near Munich. Across the damn you know down to the [sp]Esau River and that's where I was when General George S. Patton, kept coming, and sure enough on the 29th day of April. He ran through the camp, ran over all the barbed wire with all of the tanks, and we were free.

Kristie Mantsch:

Wow.

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

but we didn't get to go home yet.

Kristie Mantsch:

Not yet? Were you awarded any medals or citations?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Well, the usual stuff you know Air medal clusters, stuff like that, yeah.

Kristie Mantsch:

You want to tell us about how you got any of them? Any special stories?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Well, like I say there're awarded to you based on the missions you flew and what kind of combat you got involved in. As I said in seven and a half, three were bad, the rest were not bad but you know okay. And usual problems but no no one was injured and of course all my crew got out. I don't know if I told you this but out of the nine of us that flew that day, the pilot, the co pilot, and I got out okay; pretty much okay. The tail gunner and the top turret gunner were both shot badly and I had to get my tail gunner out. But my waste gunner had both legs blown practically off and they wound up spending the rest of the war in what they call an over mass fill, which is a hospital, and they were side by side and didn't know each of them were in the same room, bed by bed, each together and neither one of them knew it for months. Of course, they were liberated hostages and all that but one of them is still alive and one is dead. So the pilot, and I and the tale gunner were the three left.

Kristie Mantsch:

How did you stay in touch with your family?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Well, in Germany you could write a little letter, about once every two weeks. They said four words, you could use, you fill in the blanks. What's that

Kristie Mantsch:

When you were a prisoner of war

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Yeah.

Kristie Mantsch:

you had?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Yeah. Of course when I was A men, yes I wrote home all the time. I never got any letters back though from family never got any food from family. I asked for peanut butter and of course never got that.

Kristie Mantsch:

What was the food like that you got maybe you should go with not your prisoner of war food, but the other food?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Well, you go for prisoner of war food you had no food. The thing you may have heard of, maybe you haven't heard of, I don't know, is the American Red Cross is supposed to send to prisoners of war what they call a food parcel. It's called it's kind of like a ten in one, if you heard of the military called a ten in one pack. It's a little box that would be about that big and about that thick and had enough food in there to last you one week, for one man, you had 1,000 calories a day. And they would have cigarettes and pipe, cards, soap, wash rag, and canned goods, cheese, powdered milk, stuff that could actually go for a week, but Germans never gave you that. What, they would do, in my first camp, they were able do give me what they call two men on one parcel, accept that they robbed half of it so they gave you half of a ration and divided by two; so, it was nothing. So we had the German food which was usually black bred, a little margarine, and sometimes a piece of [sp]baughslaughter, a bucket of we called green hell, which was a bucket of grass with water in it and a gallon bucket. We had 25 men to a room and we had one loaf of bred about that big and the thing you had to do there was after you make everybody happy with that piece of bread in 25 pieces and make them the biggest piece they got, I want that one, so, we had a system, you know a card system so that's what you'd do. Put your card down and that's what you got and that was it. So that's what we did for everything, so that means shut the call yard down. That was in my first camp, the food was always a problem and after we were robbed by the Russians, food was always a constant problem and the only way to get food is either you could trade for it, if you could find a German soldier or guard who would take one of your cigarettes, if you had some. I saved all mine, I didn't smoke, so that was like money. You could trade a cigarette for a loaf of bred. One cigarette gets you the whole bread.

Kristie Mantsch:

Wow.

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

So, of course if you're marching on the road, you know, we slept in barns and slept on in the woods, anywhere they could park us. Every night we marched 13 days from Nuremberg to Lewisburg, see so we learned how to find potatoes buried in the farmer's yard and we even got a few chickens. Potatoes were easy to find, turnips were easy to find and occasionally they had chow chew and had a couple of cows. The guards couldn't watch us, the farmer couldn't watch, they had three, four hundred guys in a barn, he couldn't watch us all if he had to, one guard couldn't watch so we were pretty much loose.

Kristie Mantsch:

Did you ever feel any pressure or stress?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Oh, I probably did but I always knew that I was going to get to go home soon. I didn't know when but I knew the war was going to be over. Of course, when I was shot down, you know, that's the first thing that guys already captured would bring you your brand new, you just flew in yesterday and got shot down, you know. Well, I know the war is over at Christmas we come in optimistic, the war will be over before Christmas and we'll all be home for Christmas, and Christmas came and went and we still weren't home. So that's the next guy behind me we asked the same thing. They were optimistic too, but it didn't work as fast as we thought.

Kristie Mantsch:

How did the soldiers entertain themselves in

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Oh.

Kristie Mantsch:

I don't know if you want to do before and after.

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Well what we did in a lot of in the first nearly every camp we got into was like the first camp I was in, had what they call a compound, you could walk around all day. Of course you had barbed wire and they had towers with guns up there that if you wanted to crossed that line they would shoot you anyway. But you didn't dare get over the warning wire like if you're playing with a football or a baseball and the ball fell over there in the wrong spot, you get somebody to get him to let you know. We didn't want to go get the ball because we knew he had his hand on his gun. So that's the only you didn't dare go by the wire is what I'm trying to say but we had the deck of cards like came in those parcels and we would play cards, we would play drinking games anything you could think of, 25 guys in the room that was the first camp I was in. So we tried to entertain ourselves most of the guys were willing to keep their sanity no problem.

Kristie Mantsch:

Do you recall any particularly humorous or unusual events?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

They had sometimes they had what they called entertainment over at the mess hall, and put on a show and guys would play dancing girls, or something like that you know, dress up. I didn't participate in that but it was entertainment watching them.

Kristie Mantsch:

What did you think of the officers or your fellow soldiers?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

You mean my officers?

Kristie Mantsch:

Yes.

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Oh they were all good. My pilot was a great guy and we had a navigator, bombardier. One was a first lieutenant and the rest were lieutenants. They were great we were my pilot and I are still just as close as we were then and he lives in Dallas, believe it or not, and he and I were both on Channel 11, about last Memorial Day.

Kristie Mantsch:

Oh wow.

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Yeah.

Kristie Mantsch:

Did you keep did you keep a personal diary?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Well, such as a fashion yeah, you weren't supposed to do that and I had about 20 pages that I kept with my notice that I worked on.

Kristie Mantsch:

Do you recall the day your services ended? Was it when you were freed or after that?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

I didn't understand your question.

Kristie Mantsch:

Do you recall the day your service ended?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Well, my service actually ended officially when I became under control of the Americans, which would be August April 29th, 1945, but see I had to wait until I could get from there to France which took me from 29th of April to I flew out of there in a B C 47 about two weeks and went to France. And I had to go to what they call Camp Lucky Strike which is where they bring you in and check you. You know what's your dehydrated and all those things and we are all skinny and stuff, of course and they fatten you up. And milkshakes and eggs and everything you can eat and get sick until and it's 30 days after that you're ready to go home, hopefully, and that's what they do in the militaries.

Kristie Mantsch:

What did you do in the days and weeks after you got home?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Well the first thing I did was I got home and saw the family and I had a son by then, who had been born because I was still in the station when he was born and I had a baby shield I flew with around my neck and the Germans took that away from me when I was captured but when I was liberated at the after the first camp the Germans gave me back my baby shield. And so I kept it and got home with it and I had it bronzed and made a thing for the coffee table or something, and I don't where that thing is today. We still haven't found it.

Kristie Mantsch:

Did you go to work or did you go back to school?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

No, I came back and the first thing I did they sent me to California for 30 days of R and R. So I went to San Monica, California, and had 30 days living in the Delmar Hotel, which is a first class place right across the street from the beach. And at that time 30 days we knew what we were supposed to do then was R and R and go back to our training to go to B 29s to go do Japan. So, while we're in I decided I would learn how to be a surfer. So I got on to the beach one morning and the water was horribly high, rough, and I was out there all alone, with my wife, got out there in deep water and ride the thing in and it went [making sound] and drove in my stomach; I wound up being in the hospital, ruptured spleen.

Kristie Mantsch:

Oh no.

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

So, anyway when I got out of the hospital then of course I came back to the place at the hotel and about that time, what came along? Nagasaki, Hiroshima, wow, and of course that changed everything. We knew what was going to happen and the war was over which is what it was. So, then I went back to Texas well I stayed in California a while and you know wanted do see California. Came back do Texas, where I had a car out there. My wife had an old car we had and drove it back to Texas. And I worked for an oil company when I went to service and I thought I wanted to go back to Colorado, I love Colorado Springs. I'm going do get a job up there. So, I drove up to Colorado Springs and sure enough, unless you're into tourism, we don't have a job. I think you better go back do where you came from. So I went back do Texas went back to the company and they offered me a job. I stayed there until I retired.

Kristie Mantsch:

And tell me about your close friendships that you made while you were in the service?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Oh, I had a lot of friends that you meet in different places of your training, most of them wound up going different places and used to keep up with each other even after the war, but it seems like they all disbursed or not around anymore. And it seems like the ones that are close to me in the service are the three remaining members of my crew and we do get together. Not only talk on the phone, we personally get together. One lives in Florida and two of us are in Dallas, believe it or not.

Kristie Mantsch:

Good. Did you join any Veteran's organizations?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Any what?

Kristie Mantsch:

Any Veterans organizations?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Oh yeah. I belong to, a lot of things: The VMW Post, I belong to Happy Warriors; I belong to Kassel Mission Historical Society. We had what we called

Ms. Young:

How you guys doing?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Good, I hope.

Ms. Young:

I have a news channel that's here. He's trying to get some footage, if you guys want to pick and interesting part of the story and go from there.

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

What was I about to answer to?

Ms. Blanch:

I can't remember.

Reporter:

You were answering what different societies you were in.

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Oh, the units I might have been in, yeah. We have what we call a Kassel Mission Historical Society, which is an organization for that Particular Mission, which I may not have said elaborated about, too, much, about which was where we lost actually lost 31 planes out of 35, which was the worst loss of any day or any one Bomb Group in World War II, there's something in the picture and you don't want to be in it but we were in. So 31 one of us went down that day out of 35 planes that's 310 men right there. Half of them were killed, and half of them became prisoners of war.

Kristie Mantsch:

Did your Military experience influence your thinking about war or about the military in general?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Repeat the question.

Kristie Mantsch:

Did your Military experience influence your thinking about war or about military in general?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Well, I don't think I have any different opinion of war then I do now. It was necessary then I know and sometimes I'm not sure about now.

Kristie Mantsch:

Do you attend any reunions?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Yes, I do. I plan to go to Barksdale Air Base next week for four days. They have what they call a POW, MIA, Purple Heart attendees for four days and they have the eight hundred people there, including wives and of course family and 300 vets involved, it will be a nice affair. And we got to the go to I belong to the Second Air Division, 8th Historical Society, go to their conventions and I belong to the VFW Post and go there and I belong to the American POWs National Convention and we also have a local chapter, so, between Happy Warriors and other functions the Dallas area, I've got more than I can keep up with at times.

Kristie Mantsch:

How did you service and experiences affect your life?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Well, I think it's something that I'm was glad I was involved in and I hope I did what my little part was in trying to do what we were trying to do and I think it also gave you a pretty good foundation to think about what you want to do in life and hope that you are around long enough to do it.

Kristie Mantsch:

Is there anything you'd like do ad that we haven't covered in this interview?

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

No, not really, I just I think the things we always hope for was the war was to be quicker over than it was. As it turned out it was maybe quicker than it could have been to so I guess the thing always worried us Japan, so that didn't happen.

Kristie Mantsch:

Well thank you so much for your service.

John R. Lemons, Jr.:

Okay, thank you.

 
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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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