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Interview with Pompey Hawkins [August 12th, 1992]

Douglas Clanin:

My name is Douglas Clanin and I'm an editor with the Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis. I'm on the near northwest side of Indianapolis on August 12th, 1992, beginning this tape recording at approximately 5:30 p.m.. I'm in the home of Mr. Pompey -- P-o-m-p-e-y -- L. Hawkins, to discuss his military service as a member of first the U.S. Army Air Corp and then the U.S. Army Air Force before, during and after World War II. Mr. Hawkins, where and when were you born?

Pompey Hawkins:

Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1915, April 20th.

Douglas Clanin:

What were the names of your parents, sir?

Pompey Hawkins:

The name of my parents? My father's name was Pompey L. Hawkins. My mother's name was Beatrice B. Fitzgerald.

Douglas Clanin:

When you were growing up, what were your parents' principal occupations?

Pompey Hawkins:

My father was a physician and a surgeon. My mother was a homemaker.

Douglas Clanin:

Did you have --

Pompey Hawkins:

My father was also the first black on the Board of Education in Atlantic city. He was a county physician for the county in which we lived.

Douglas Clanin:

Where did he attend medical school?

Pompey Hawkins:

He attended medical school -- I believe it was Fitz University (ph). He went over to Germany to study in Germany and came back to the states to practice.

Douglas Clanin:

So he had a distinguished medical career, then, following his training?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yes, quite.

Douglas Clanin:

How many years would you estimate that he was a practicing physician?

Pompey Hawkins:

It's hard for me to say because he died at the age of -- somewhere around 49. He was very young. But he had, you know, raised a family of five children when he died. But he died as a comparatively young man.

Douglas Clanin:

Your mother, was she primarily a homemaker during the years you were growing up?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yes, yes.

Douglas Clanin:

How old were you when your father died?

Pompey Hawkins:

20 -- 15 -- I was about 14 years old.

Douglas Clanin:

Did the death of your father coming as it did -- it was during the beginning of the Great Depression, then --

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, right, it was murder. It was rough.

Douglas Clanin:

It was rough on your whole family?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yes. Right.

Douglas Clanin:

How many brothers and sisters did you have?

Pompey Hawkins:

I had four sisters, no brothers.

Douglas Clanin:

So a total of five?

Pompey Hawkins:

Very good.

Douglas Clanin:

You say five, I wasn't sure if that meant a grand total of six.

Pompey Hawkins:

No.

Douglas Clanin:

Where did you attend elementary and high school?

Pompey Hawkins:

Indiana Avenue School in Atlantic City, New Jersey, went to Atlantic City High School, first year. At the time of my father's death, while I was in that first year, I went to Washington, D.C. to live with my aunt and uncle. It was a traumatic time for me because my father and I were very close, so my aunt took me to live with her and I went to school at Dunbar and Armstrong High School in Washington, D.C.

Douglas Clanin:

What year did you graduate from high school?

Pompey Hawkins:

I graduated -- I came back to Atlantic City after probably being up there a little over a year and graduated in 1934 from Atlantic City Technical High School.

Douglas Clanin:

You mentioned that it was a technical high school. Did you take a technical course --

Pompey Hawkins:

Course?

Douglas Clanin:

-- of study while you were in Atlantic City?

Pompey Hawkins:

I started off with the college preparatory because my father wanted me to be a doctor. At his death I just went on to pursue the mechanical part and technical part because I was interested in that, so I went to pursue technical.

Douglas Clanin:

Did you have odd jobs, things you did during the summers or even during the school year, to help support the family?

Pompey Hawkins:

Not -- not really. Not -- I was in -- we were pretty well off, you know, until my father died. And then, between living with my aunt and uncle in Washington and then coming home, I went into CCC, which sends money home to the family. So I was in there for -- I was working all the time. I've always worked, right, boss? Huh?

Interviewee's wife:

Yeah __________.

Douglas Clanin:

You were in CCC camp in New York?

Pompey Hawkins:

Oh, no, no, the camp in which we worked was in Tuckahoe, New Jersey, and they sent us around to different places.

Douglas Clanin:

How long were you involved with the CCC?

Pompey Hawkins:

Six months.

Douglas Clanin:

And what year would that be that you were in the CCC?

Pompey Hawkins:

I don't remember.

Douglas Clanin:

But was it sometime after your graduation from high school?

Pompey Hawkins:

Oh, yeah, yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

I just want to get a feel for that. This is your first experience -- based on my other interviews with men who served in the CCC, these camps were administered by the United States Army, is that correct? And --

Pompey Hawkins:

No, no, it was a spin-off of WPA and, you know, during that time it wasn't -- or it might have been. I really, you know, wasn't that -- we were building duck ponds, clearing forests, but it wasn't in a military type of camp so I don't -- I really don't think it was.

Interviewee's wife:

______+ wasn't it governmental?

Pompey Hawkins:

It was governmental, yeah, but it wasn't Army.

Douglas Clanin:

Well, the ones in the camps here in the midwest, at least, they did have Army officers who administered the camp. You know, they had an Army doctor and the head of a camp used to be an Army officer and they might have some civilians working under them, teaching, you know, various skills and supervising the people who were sent out to the various camps and that's how they were administered here. But, of course, as you say, you were working out of Tuckahoe, New Jersey --

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, and we were working under the forestry, forest rangers, so whoever that would come under, because we were doing forestry work and mines, so --

Douglas Clanin:

Do you recall the camp routine? Did you have inspections and --

Pompey Hawkins:

Oh, yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

-- march to and from your various facilities like --

Pompey Hawkins:

No, no, I don't remember any marching. It was working, cutting down trees and --

Douglas Clanin:

Was it a sunup to sundown kind of workday?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, it was a long day, right. Yes. It was.

Douglas Clanin:

Now, the people in this camp, were they all black, the people who were working with you --

Pompey Hawkins:

No, uh-uh.

Douglas Clanin:

-- or was it a mixture?

Pompey Hawkins:

No, it was mixed.

Douglas Clanin:

So there's another difference. The camps here were segregated. I know about that from a yearbook of 1938 that I saw. So this would be during the height of the Great Depression. Are there any other instances that you recall from your CCC experience that stand out in your mind?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, they went wherever they were needed; clear forests, build duck ponds, walkways in national parks, fight fires, forest fires, all types. But it had to do with -- in some way or another -- conservation, I guess, was my impression. But I don't remember anything that's a military thing, per se.

Douglas Clanin:

Looking back more than 50 years, do you think a program similar to that would be helpful today, to have something like that for inner city youth and people out of work, to bring back a program like the CCC?

Pompey Hawkins:

Apparently they're trying to do that in some areas, you know, where the -- taking people off of welfare and perhaps a way that they're trying to administer it is not the correct way because we got along very well and it helped the families, but what they're doing now -- and I know there are some programs where they are trying again but they're not -- apparently they're not working too well at the moment. So I really don't know, you know, the reason why, but it worked for us.

Douglas Clanin:

You felt it was a positive experience, then, from your standpoint, going through the CCC program?

Pompey Hawkins:

It was very good, yes, yes. It was real -- it was real good. I enjoyed it and -- well, I didn't enjoy it that much. It was hard work, but it was good.

Douglas Clanin:

Following the completion of that CCC camp experience, could you relate some of your other work experience prior to your entry into the United States Army Air Corp, maybe summarize some of the other things that you did?

Pompey Hawkins:

I had a -- my own repair shop. I --

Interviewee's wife:

Is it all right to interrupt? You didn't tell him about your going to electronics school.

Pompey Hawkins:

I went to --

Interviewee's wife:

You know --

Pompey Hawkins:

I went to New York and I went to RCA to study radio and television repair.

Interviewee's wife:

That's right.

Douglas Clanin:

Do you recall the approximate date that that occurred?

Pompey Hawkins:

19 -- what -- somewhere around '34, '35?

Interviewee's wife:

I don't know the year. You'd have to sort of map it out according to your age.

Pompey Hawkins:

I don't -- I went to RCA, went to school there and finished that RCA in radio servicing, and we were working on television then and it was just coming into being and we worked with the scanning wheels and set up relay stations every 60 miles, you know, to transmit through disks and I went -- the WPA, I was involved with that. In fact, that's where I went, finally, to CCC, through WPA. I moved from Atlantic City up to New York and lived at the Y and I went to school and studied machinist -- machining. They had night school for -- I don't know if it was -- they had night school that taught machining so I went there and studied machining and finished that and got my apprenticeship as a machinist in New York through WPA or whatever it was. And then I went and got a maintenance job right after I finished that at a fabric house in New York City, became head maintenance man there, and along with everything else I got to be a chauffeur. And when I wasn't maintaining, I traveled with the owner and we went all over the United States to the different theatrical supply offices. He was a wholesale house from New York and I went with him.

Interviewee's wife:

You chauffeured him.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, I chauffeured him around and got my head split in Dallas because I wouldn't go through the back door of a hotel that we were staying at, at which he was staying, and the doorman split my head open because I wouldn't move. And I just couldn't accept, you know, the segregation that they had down here. That was in Fort Worth, Dallas, one of the -- the Baker Hotel. The guy told me to move on and go get a room somewhere else and I wouldn't go, so he smacked me in the head with a billy. So that's one reason why I kind of -- I'm such a rebel, I guess, because I had a lot of problems with that. So I came back after I left Maharam's what did I --

Interviewee's wife:

Maharam's is a --

Pompey Hawkins:

It's a theatrical supply house.

Douglas Clanin:

How would you spell that, sir?

Pompey Hawkins:

Capital M-a-h-a-r-a-m. It was four brothers that ran it. And what after Maharam?

Interviewee's wife:

After you left Maharam's I think -- I believe --

Pompey Hawkins:

I came out here.

Interviewee's wife:

No, when you left Maharam's I think that's when you --

Pompey Hawkins:

Oh, enlisted.

Interviewee's wife:

That's when you enlisted, see, that's how you --

Pompey Hawkins:

Oh, yeah, yeah.

Interviewee's wife:

You volunteered to go into the 99th pursuit squad.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, at that time they had decided that they would open the Air Corp --

Interviewee's wife:

To Negroes.

Pompey Hawkins:

-- to Negroes, and it was the Army Air Force then.

Interviewee's wife:

Right. Because they --

Pompey Hawkins:

It wasn't the Air Corp, it was the Army Air Force, and they were going to pick probably two blacks with the highest score in every co-area or so many from every co-area, which turned out to be approximately two men from every state or three men from every state, because I think we had 176 that were the final count of the whole thing. And we took exams. It was a competitive exam and you had to have the equivalent or two years college equivalency if you didn't have that. So it was a very high scoring, you know, set up. And most of those guys got -- the ones that went in -- had an average of around 98.9999. And this, you know, included the Virgin Islands. Alaska was not part of it then, but the Virgin Islands was included. And it wound up with 176 men from all over the country.

Douglas Clanin:

Cream of the crop _______+.

Pompey Hawkins:

Right.

Interviewee's wife:

And we were kind of proud of him because he really had not gone to college and he scored real high.

Pompey Hawkins:

It was an honor, you know, to get in. And it was highly competitive and most of the fellows came from colleges from different states and we got a very large group from Moorehouse in the final thing, so we felt good about that. And then we went to Chanute, went into training and stayed there for probably -- what, five months? How long? We stayed at Chanute to -- I don't remember. At that time, the time was irrelevant.

Interviewee's wife:

Yeah, I don't remember. That's when we got married.

Douglas Clanin:

Okay, and that occurred September 20th, 1941, the day of your marriage?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Interviewee's wife:

Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

Douglas Clanin:

In Chicago, which Chanute is near Chicago.

Pompey Hawkins:

Right.

Douglas Clanin:

But you actually joined -- your date of entry was April 7th, 1941, is that right?

Pompey Hawkins:

Right. Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

Okay. So that training period was, you say, about six months at Chanute?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah. Right. April, May, June, July -- September -- yeah, it was about five months at Chanute.

Interviewee's wife:

That was before war was declared.

Douglas Clanin:

Do you remember some of the details of your training there at Chanute?

Pompey Hawkins:

Do I remember?

Douglas Clanin:

Yes.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yes.

Douglas Clanin:

Can you relate some of the things that you studied while you were at Chanute?

Pompey Hawkins:

Mathematics, meteorology, administration, clerical, typing, mess -- diet -- what do you --

Interviewee's wife:

Dietary?

Pompey Hawkins:

Dietary. These are the things that I studied. Different individuals studied different -- other different things but we had to have a very wide range of knowledge because we were going to set up SPE Army Air Field. So each man that was there had to take a number of courses. And we would start at 5:00 in the morning and study, go to class, come to breakfast at 7:00, eat breakfast, go back to school, go to lunch, go back to school, eat supper, go back to school. We got two years of training in five months.

Douglas Clanin:

So you had your college equivalency, then, of two years of college, rigorous college training, but they packed it down into this five-month period of time?

Pompey Hawkins:

Five months, right.

Douglas Clanin:

So all these officers are the cadre for the training command so most of -- some of you were not signed up to be pilots. Did you --

Pompey Hawkins:

None of us were.

Douglas Clanin:

You were not going to be pilots --

Pompey Hawkins:

No.

Douglas Clanin:

-- you were going to be ground support for training of the pilots?

Pompey Hawkins:

Right.

Douglas Clanin:

Was this a conscious decision on your part? Did you decide you didn't want to become a pilot or was that option not given to you, just say, you're going to be part of the training cadre?

Pompey Hawkins:

It was our option.

Douglas Clanin:

It was your option?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yes.

Douglas Clanin:

And you decided not to become a pilot?

Pompey Hawkins:

Well, we signed in to become ground.

Douglas Clanin:

Okay.

Pompey Hawkins:

Ground personnel.

Douglas Clanin:

Okay. Because I know the pilots that came in, they were volunteers and they wanted to become a person like Mr. Palmer and Louis Hill and the rest of these people, they volunteered that they were geared for the pilot training and they went through all the --

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

-- I guess IQ tests and skills tests to see if they could pass muster as pilots?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah. Well, we enlisted so that we could train the cadets that would follow us.

Douglas Clanin:

Did you have any racial prejudice --

Interviewee's wife:

Didn't you do some flying, too?

Pompey Hawkins:

Oh, yeah, we had to -- a number of us had to learn how to fly. We took flight training at the school, at Tuskegee, because we had to know how to fly, how to land the plane and how to maneuver it because most of us were on flying time. We were flying personnel. These are none -- these are enlisted men but they were on flying time. Most of us were.

Douglas Clanin:

What was your rank during your Chanute flying days?

Pompey Hawkins:

We had no rank.

Douglas Clanin:

You had no rank at that period of time?

Pompey Hawkins:

No. We were privates, you know, we enlisted and we were privates.

Douglas Clanin:

Do you recall the type of aircraft you flew in at Chanute?

Pompey Hawkins:

We didn't fly anything at Chanute.

Douglas Clanin:

Did you fly an aircraft that other people piloted? In other words --

Pompey Hawkins:

Not at Chanute.

Douglas Clanin:

Not at Chanute?

Pompey Hawkins:

Chanute was strictly the training in the technical and administrative devices that would be used at Tuskegee. Weather forecasting, armament, aircraft mechanics, ordinance men, chemical warfare men, administrative personnel, gunnery and bomb training.

Douglas Clanin:

So this is the end of the Chanute phase when you received this diploma? It says "Administrative and Technical Clerk" and the date of the diploma is September 5th, 1941. Would that be the --

Pompey Hawkins:

Yes.

Douglas Clanin:

-- completion of the --

Pompey Hawkins:

Right. Yes. Right.

Douglas Clanin:

Okay. I'm just trying to get this clarified in my mind because you're the first person that I ever talked to and maybe the last that actually had this experience, you know, going through a different route than the pilots did --

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

-- because you were there first. So that's September 5th, '41 --

Pompey Hawkins:

Right.

Douglas Clanin:

-- prior to Pearl Harbor?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yes.

Douglas Clanin:

All this was done prior to any of the Tuskegee airmen, the pilot people, ever showing up --

Pompey Hawkins:

Coming, right.

Douglas Clanin:

-- for training?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yes.

Douglas Clanin:

So after that, September 5th, 1941, then did you go to Tuskegee?

Pompey Hawkins:

We went -- the majority of the group went to Maxwell Field.

Douglas Clanin:

Okay. Next?

Pompey Hawkins:

Then --

Douglas Clanin:

Then did you --

Pompey Hawkins:

Huh?

Douglas Clanin:

Does that include you? Did you go to Maxwell Field?

Pompey Hawkins:

We all left Chanute and went to Maxwell Field by train. Some of them -- most of them stayed at Maxwell Field. A very small number of us went -- got in trucks, Army trucks, and were taken over to Chehaw, Alabama.

Douglas Clanin:

How do you spell that, sir?

Pompey Hawkins:

How do you spell it?

Douglas Clanin:

Yes, sir. Chehaw.

Pompey Hawkins:

You don't spell it, you just say it. Capital C-h -- C-h-a -- C-h-e-h-a-w -- something like that. I don't know. It was just a whistle stop. And it's about 14, 15 miles outside of Tuskegee, the city of Tuskegee. We were taken from Maxwell Field over to Chehaw.

Interviewee's wife:

Chehaw is a railroad stop.

Pompey Hawkins:

The railroad closest to that area. And we set up tents and that was the start of Tuskegee Army Air Field. And I imagine it was less than 46 of us that went over as a cadre and we didn't even stay at Maxwell Field, but the rest of the guys did. And we worked with the Corps of Engineers and helped set up the tents and they made the runways and they laid out the field, built the barracks, and eventually the first group of pilots, the cadets came in, and we trained them.

Interviewee's wife:

Did they come from Maxwell Field?

Pompey Hawkins:

No, they didn't come from -- they didn't go to Maxwell Field. None of the -- none of the people from Maxwell were there to be pilots. That was the support group. And they came over after we had set up tents -- what we called tent city.

Interviewee's wife:

_________+

Pompey Hawkins:

So, you know, we just went over and broke ground for them over there.

Douglas Clanin:

Many months did it take in that period of time when you first initially went over to the Chehaw area until the first group of pilots or trainees arrived?

Pompey Hawkins:

I really don't remember. I wasn't aware, you know, of a time thing. We were having so much trouble over there with the local Sheriffs and the people in town that I don't even remember. And it really didn't -- at that time it didn't matter, you know, to us, except trying to get the things ready and when it was ready they sent in 6 cadets.

Douglas Clanin:

Do you recall the names of these cadets?

Pompey Hawkins:

Debeau (ph) was one of them.

Douglas Clanin:

Cal Debeau. Indianapolis?

Interviewee's wife:

Here's some names here, is this --

Pompey Hawkins:

No, I think that's ground people, mom

Interviewee's wife:

That's ground? Okay. I was trying to see if --

Douglas Clanin:

Benjamin O. Davis?

Pompey Hawkins:

No, he didn't come until way later.

Douglas Clanin:

Was Buster Hall -- was he one of the early ones?

Pompey Hawkins:

Hall was one of the early ones, yes.

Douglas Clanin:

Brazil, Indiana.

Pompey Hawkins:

Hall --

Douglas Clanin:

DeBeau.

Pompey Hawkins:

-- DeBeau, Cappie (ph) -- Cappie --

Interviewee's wife:

Oh, yeah, Cappie. Was his name Davis?

Pompey Hawkins:

No. Cappie -- well, he's a general now. Cappie --

Douglas Clanin:

That's all right. I imagine it's listed in some __________+ --

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, you probably have it _________+.

Douglas Clanin:

Well, in his autobiography, Benjamin O. Davis's autobiography, I'm sure there's a -- I know there's a picture in there showing some of those early people that came over there.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

Now, when they arrived, what was your job assigned to these group of aviation cadets? What were you to teach them?

Pompey Hawkins:

Gunnery. I taught them gunnery, the bomb runs, and we had skeet -- I ran the skeet range, which taught them how to lead a target and the BB range, which let them simulate machine gunfire. I taught bombs and I was a gunnery and bomb range officer. Administrative, paperwork, showing them how to fill out the forms and the requisitions. That was about it with my work with them. The records -- I kept the records, this type of thing. We had -- we had to do a lot of different things for the cadets.

Douglas Clanin:

So you didn't specialize, really; wherever you were needed you would go in there and do whatever was required to finish the tasks to get them along --

Pompey Hawkins:

Yes. Yes. See, we had no -- they brought in white pilots to teach flying, teach the cadets flying. The same instructors also taught the ground personnel or the enlisted personnel that was on flying time. We got the same instructions that they did, only a lot less. So we did, we wore a lot of hats. We did whatever had to be done to fulfill the vacancies -- or not the vacancies, the things that were needed to get them out, to get the cadets to fly. We had to do a number of different things, so that's the way it was.

Douglas Clanin:

How long did this process go on that you fulfilled those jobs as gunner and training in administrative work? How long did you continue to do that at the Tuskegee Army Air Field?

Pompey Hawkins:

Until the end -- probably near the end of '42, I went to OCS. See, they drafted us.

Interviewee's wife:

Whenever it was you went to O --

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, I went to OCS. That was not a choice. They --

Douglas Clanin:

December of 1942 you graduated from OCS.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Interviewee's wife:

Yeah, and they were 90 days --

Pompey Hawkins:

Ninety days.

Interviewee's wife:

So it was three months before that.

Pompey Hawkins:

So up until -- three months before then.

Douglas Clanin:

Before the 9th of December?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Interviewee's wife:

Three months before the 9th of December, that would be so that was around September.

Douglas Clanin:

So September 9th, approximately --

Interviewee's wife:

Uh-huh.

Douglas Clanin:

-- to December you were in OCS in Miami Beach, Florida?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yes, sir.

Interviewee's wife:

Uh-huh.

Douglas Clanin:

Did you stay in a hotel at Miami Beach?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yes.

Interviewee's wife:

You know who he was there with?

Pompey Hawkins:

Bill Holden.

Interviewee's wife:

Clark Gable, Bill Holden --

Pompey Hawkins:

Clark Gable.

Interviewee's wife:

-- and who was that comedian -- he probably doesn't know that comedian because he's too young. I can't remember his name.

Pompey Hawkins:

I just remember Holden and --

Interviewee's wife:

Oh, he was a funny guy, but, anyway, those movie stars were in training with him.

Pompey Hawkins:

In our same class.

Interviewee's wife:

The same class.

Douglas Clanin:

Were you segregated or --

Pompey Hawkins:

Yes.

Douglas Clanin:

You were segregated?

Pompey Hawkins:

Not in the hotel. Not with OCS. But we could not go to the movies in Miami Beach.

Interviewee's wife:

But in the training, he wasn't.

Douglas Clanin:

Did you have any classes with Clark Gable and William Holden?

Interviewee's wife:

Yes. Yes.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah. They were our upperclassmen. Bill Holden was in the same class. Clark Gable was our upperclassman.

Douglas Clanin:

Did you have a chance to get to know them on a personal basis?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah. Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

Know something about them?

Pompey Hawkins:

Right.

Douglas Clanin:

What kind of men were they? Could you describe some __________+ they way they were?

Pompey Hawkins:

All people were equal down there. We went through the same thing and when we had free time, then we mingled and you really didn't pay that much attention to them after the first shock of being there and being on the same plane, same level, with them. It was, what, a privilege at that time, you know, to meet somebody like that, and we were aware of that, but they were the same as we until they finished. Then when they finished, of course, they became captains right off and were assigned to some other, you know, USO or social work or something of that sort.

Interviewee's wife:

What happened to you when you finished?

Pompey Hawkins:

Oh, I was sent to Keesler Field, Mississippi.

Interviewee's wife:

Second Lieutenant.

Pompey Hawkins:

As a Second Lieutenant.

Interviewee's wife:

That's in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Pompey Hawkins:

Biloxi, Mississippi.

Douglas Clanin:

In the heart of Dixie.

Pompey Hawkins:

In the heart of Dixie.

Douglas Clanin:

Jim Crow country and the rest of it.

Interviewee's wife:

Is it Biloxi, Mississippi or is it Biloxi, Missouri?

Pompey Hawkins:

Biloxi, Mississippi. Jefferson Barracks, Missouri.

Interviewee's wife:

Okay.

Pompey Hawkins:

The man --

Interviewee's wife:

Don't get him started. You will be here all night.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah. Anyhow, we did not --

Interviewee's wife:

When he arrived there he said that -- he called me and told me, "Don't come down here." Because I was at Tuskegee with him for a while. And he said, "Don't come down here, because it's a mess." He said when he arrived there all polished in his --

Pompey Hawkins:

Spit and polished.

Interviewee's wife:

-- in his uniform and everything he went in there and -- what did you say, pop? THE WITNESS: The commanding officer said, "Nigger, what you want?"

Interviewee's wife:

__________+

Pompey Hawkins:

And we had -- we had been trained in all this military courtesy at OCS, how to report to the commanding officer, and, you know, our $200 uniforms, spit, polished, brushed, shiny, everything.

Douglas Clanin:

Like a mirror, right?

Pompey Hawkins:

I'll tell you. Right. And I go in there real on the ball: "Sir, Lieutenant Hawkins reporting for duty." And "Nigger, what you want."

Interviewee's wife:

That's what the commanding officer said.

Pompey Hawkins:

Welcome to Keesler Field.

Douglas Clanin:

What was his name? Or do you care to tell us?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah. Goolrick (ph).

Douglas Clanin:

How would you spell his name?

Pompey Hawkins:

I don't know how you spell that.

Douglas Clanin:

Goolrick?

Pompey Hawkins:

Goolrick.

Douglas Clanin:

What rank was he, Colonel?

Pompey Hawkins:

He was a temporary Colonel.

Douglas Clanin:

Temporary. Okay. Was he from the south?

Pompey Hawkins:

Huh?

Douglas Clanin:

Was he a northern officer or a southern --

Pompey Hawkins:

He was from Biloxi, Mississippi.

Douglas Clanin:

Oh, that was his home turf, then?

Pompey Hawkins:

That was his home ground.

Douglas Clanin:

Oh, my.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah. Oh, my.

Douglas Clanin:

Did other black officers come and get the same reception?

Pompey Hawkins:

No, there were two other blacks in OCS with me. There were five blacks in OCS. They sent five of us. Three of us got sent to Biloxi. The other two, I don't know where they went. The others, they were, quote, handkerchief -- you know, Uncle Tom -- they did great, boy. They were captains by the time I -- I drove down -- the thing that upset him was I had gotten one of six new Buicks that were manufactured that year, because of the war, and they were rationed. They drew names or something and they allowed six people in the country to get new cars. I had to travel, I was in the military, and I got the privilege to buy a car. So I get this brand new black Buick Teardrop and drive down -- I drive down to Biloxi from -- and when I pulled in, the MPs told me that the colonel was expecting me, to report up there right away, so I did. And that's the way he greeted me. Now, I couldn't live on the post. I was a commanding officer of a service squadron down there, and I had to go into town and live with a colored family. I could not live on the post.

Douglas Clanin:

Did you have mostly black --

Pompey Hawkins:

It was all black in the service squadron.

Douglas Clanin:

-- in the service sqadron?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, draftees.

Douglas Clanin:

Were they in the same boat, that they have to live off base, too?

Pompey Hawkins:

No, they were inductees, draftees. They lived on post.

Douglas Clanin:

Okay. But you were forced off and you were the only one that had to stay off the post?

Pompey Hawkins:

The other two officers probably had to stay off the post, too. I didn't see much of them. We didn't -- we weren't in the same ballpark. They were -- they were on good terms with the man. I wasn't.

Douglas Clanin:

What dates are we talking about? This would be early 1943, when you went -- reported to Keesler?

Pompey Hawkins:

Early -- yeah, early '43.

Interviewee's wife:

That's when he graduated from there.

Pompey Hawkins:

Right after I graduated from there. I drove down and I had to -- three or four days driving time, something like that.

Douglas Clanin:

You got off on a bad foot.

Pompey Hawkins:

Oh, boy.

Douglas Clanin:

Is that one of the incidents that led up to your court-martial?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yes.

Douglas Clanin:

Do you want to explain some of the things that were pulled on you, things that were done to you, in terms of discrimination and the rest of it?

Pompey Hawkins:

Well, the reason -- let's go through some of the reasons why these things were done. I was commanding officer of a group of young black draftees. There were probably 2,000 of them. They had no noncoms in the group. The white noncoms were picking on them, they were abusing them, they were calling them names. So when I took over the squadron I told them that if any of the white noncoms kicked them again -- because a lot of these kids came up and, you know, were telling me about the problems they had had. I said, if they kick you again, just kick them back and come on up to your squadron. Well, the next day, almost everybody was back up to the squadron. So -- so that kind of aggravated the commanding officer, so I had to report to the commanding officer. He would pull me in the office and make me stand at attention and not even talk to me for a half hour. He never returned an salute. Okay, so then I appointed -- I made a request for the allocation of noncommissioned officers for our group, for the service squadron. And they said they didn't have any so, I appointed some myself. And we got all the stripes and sewed them on, just, you know, set up the thing the way that we had been told to set up at OCS. I set them up and that upset the man. I had to go to headquarters

Interviewee's wife:

Every time he turned around he had to go to headquarters.

Pompey Hawkins:

So then they wouldn't let the men in the post exchange. They'd have to send a white soldier in to get it or else they'd have to go around to the back door to get food, buy it, and take it back. They could not go into the post exchange or the post restaurant. So I said, okay, get in Class A uniform, make sure you're clean, shine your shoes, pull tie your tie up, I don't want anything wrong, then I want you to go to the post exchange and buy something. So the guy didn't have money, you'd give them money, so 2,000 troops went to the five post exchange to buy stuff. They wouldn't wait on them, and the guys wouldn't move. So they had to shut the post exchanges down because each one had -- had almost 500 men in there wanting to buy chewing gum. They wouldn't get out of the way and nobody else could get to the cash register, so they had to close them down. And I had to go to headquarters. They wouldn't let them eat at the restaurant, and I said, okay, get cleaned up, put on Class A, make sure your tie is on straight and go in and get yourself a sandwich. Go in the front door. So they went in the front door, nobody would wait on them, so they just sat. This was before Martin Luther King.

Douglas Clanin:

This was before the Montgomery bus boycott and all that.

Pompey Hawkins:

Right.

Douglas Clanin:

Years and years before.

Pompey Hawkins:

Right.

Douglas Clanin:

1943.

Pompey Hawkins:

That's right. And so they went in, they wouldn't get served and they wouldn't move, so they closed the post restaurant. Okay. I had to go to headquarters.

Interviewee's wife:

That man was calling him to headquarters all the time.

Douglas Clanin:

I'll bet Colonel -- Colonel Goolrick was sick of seeing you by this point in time, wasn't he?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

And vice versa.

Pompey Hawkins:

And they wouldn't let them go to the post theater. I said, okay, let's go. Make sure you're clean, shine your shoes, make sure our tie is on, no buttons missing, let's go to the post theater. So 500 men went to the post theater and they went early, got in the front of the line, they wouldn't sell them tickets, and they wouldn't move. And I had to go to headquarters. The man said -- he shook his head and said, you know, I was asking for it. I wouldn't leave there alive.

Douglas Clanin:

He said you wouldn't leave there alive?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, with all the names thrown in and everything. So I was up there -- the troops had never been in a parade and they had parades every weekend, you know, every Saturday, and all the people from Gulf Port and Biloxi came out to the air field to watch these parades, and this particular day was Founders Day or something. I don't know what it was, but it was a big day. And the Governor of Mississippi and all the town fathers from Biloxi, from there and Gulf Port and all the families were, you know, on the --

Douglas Clanin:

Apron?

Pompey Hawkins:

-- around the hangars where we had the parade. And that night before the parade, I had -- everybody was up washing clothes, pressing them, and shining shoes -- everybody was helping everybody else. And the next morning --

Douglas Clanin:

You had them all get cleaned up, ready for the parade. Now, they had never been allowed to march in the parade, is that right?

Pompey Hawkins:

No.

Douglas Clanin:

And this is the next morning, probably a weekend, probably Saturday?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah. Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

Getting ready for the big parade. Okay.

Pompey Hawkins:

And Founders Day, and all that good stuff was coming on, a huge crowd. It was mostly white. In the meantime, in our own area, we had established and had been doing what we called a monkey drill with these rifles. And they were good. I mean, these guys were really -- they were really proud this morning. So we went down on the apron and stayed behind the hangar, nobody was seeing us, and then there was an open space, and we jumped in. And within a very short space between where we jumped in this line and the reviewing stand -- because we were going to the reviewing stand for the Governor. And we got into sight and people started yelling and shouting and whistling and clapping, because these guys looked sharp, these little draftees, and they were really prancing. And we went on, we got close, real close to the reviewing stand, and all of the sudden the MPs -- I was leading. I was in the front of them. And the MPs drove up alongside of me and told me to come up to headquarters right away. And I told the MPs, as soon as I get, you know, my troops past the reviewing stand, I'd be up there. So he took off and we were about that far from the reviewing stand, this Jeep comes back again, and they threw me in the Jeep and take me up to headquarters. So the troops went on through. I told them, I said -- I had told my adjutant to go ahead, take the troops through. And the people were screaming.

Douglas Clanin:

Were they?

Pompey Hawkins:

They're clapping. And the more the people clapped, the harder these guys pranced. They were sharp. And, so, anyhow, they went past, and the crowd went nuts. And the guys, when they finished, when I finally got back, they were telling me about it, and, you know, the crowd was -- they were -- they -- you know, it was unbelievable, the response that they got. Anyhow, I'm up at headquarters, standing at attention, the man is cussing me under his breath and over his breath. And so he just told me that, you know, he was sick of it and he was going to file charges. Oh, incidentally, something that we didn't mention. When I first went to Keesler Field, every -- there would be a sign all around these different places, "no coloreds, no coloreds, no coloreds," and all over, in the latrines, at the post theatre, the restaurant, the post exchange, everywhere they had all these signs. And what I did, I took pictures of these signs and initialled on the wall, put my initial on it, then took pictures of it. And I'd send them, send different signs to the Inspector General. Every week I'd send one through channels and then I'd take the other one into Gulf Port and mail it. And I called the Inspector General, told him about the discrimination that was going on, and I never got any answer from him. But I must have sent over 200 pictures, all of them initialled and where they were I had initialled. So finally the man called me in and we got into it in his office. And he swung a knotted cane at me and missed or something. Anyhow, we got into a knock-down, drag-out. I -- I just blew it. I couldn't take any more. I just went stark-raving nuts. So I storm out, out of his quarters, and everybody tried to stop me, and I was swinging the man's club, his knotted cane. And I jumped in my Buick, left everything, went on out the front gate. They tried to stop me at the front gate, and I went on through. And I got halfway to Gulf Port and the state police stopped me and brought me back to Keesler Field. Well, you know, I went on back.

Interviewee's wife:

I think he thought that was the end.

Pompey Hawkins:

I said this is it, because the man, you know, he had -- he didn't know what to do and I had an idea of what he was going to -- what he would do, but I got to the gate, got brought back to the gate. The Inspector General was there, and he's waiting. And he laughed. He's says, "The Lord is with you," he says, "because I just got in." And he told the MPs that he would take charge of me. And the MPs weren't going to turn me over to him. And the man says, you know, "Hey, you must be crazy, I'm from the Inspector General, I do whatever I want to do. I'll take him." And he took me. And I got in his car and we went up to headquarters and he confronted Colonel Goolrick with me and, you know, asked about, you know, what was going on. And in the meantime they had taken all the -- I told him, "Hey, we've got signs in the latrines." And we'd go back there and all the signs are gone. And I said it ain't no big deal, you know, because he had these pictures and I said my initials are still on the wall, you know, where I had lifted up the sign and initialed it. I said, my initials are still there. Because we went all these places and the Inspector General looked. And so he wanted to see my 201 file. So he brings out a little -- nice little file, you know, like this, nothing really bad in it. I said, "That's not the one he threatened me with. He threatened me with another one that's that thick that's got charges." He's got the Provost Marshal, it's signed, you know, where he had witnessed me attacking the Colonel's wife and I had attempted to rape her daughter and everything. He had a stack of charges and every time I'd go in there he would bring this book out, you know, and add something else in it, put it on, he'd have the Provost Marshal witness it. He had me -- he had me being -- inciting a riot, everything, you know, a race leader, inciting a riot, treason, everything. Disrupting the post. And so I said, you know, "He's got another file in his drawer that he pulls out every time he brings me up here. It's in -- it's in the bottom drawer." And so the Inspector General -- his name was Winters.

Douglas Clanin:

Winters, W-i-n-t-e-r-s?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah. I'm almost through, I think. He looked in there, he said, "Well, let me see it, Colonel." The Colonel said, "That's my -- you know, my personal desk, and, you know, I don't have to." And the Inspector General said, "Well, you're just relieved of command." He said, "I'm taking over. I'm taking over the post. Now, you understand that?" So that's where we started. And he opened the drawer and got this 201 file out and here they had all these things -- I don't remember the dates, but he had things that were posted -- that were dated three months ahead where I had taken the troops and had riot -- led a riot against so and so.

Douglas Clanin:

He was building a case against you by post-dating or pre --

Pompey Hawkins:

He was predating it. Yeah, the stuff was predated.

Douglas Clanin:

Putting the stuff in there like three months ahead.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

He had this all planned out how he was going to do it.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah. Yeah. He had -- he said, you know, you're not going to leave here without a whole lot of trouble. He had told me that a thousand times. So I said, oh, shucks, you know, I don't care. So he took that and the man took -- the Inspector General took that 201 file, took it with him and he told me, he said, "Well, he has filed charges against you and you will be court-martialed. You have to be court-martialed because he's filed it.

Interviewee's wife:

That's probably how come he came there.

Pompey Hawkins:

Huh?

Interviewee's wife:

Maybe that's why he came there, the Inspector General, because he had filed the charges.

Pompey Hawkins:

Well, he had brought me all in all, so, anyhow, he came and he told me that he would have to file -- you know, I'd have to go through a court-martial. So he took me down or gave me tickets to go to Forth Worth, Dallas, Forth Worth area, because that's where they held the court-martials for that area, you know, for the Southeast Air Corp Training Command. So I was in there and I had to stay down there -- oh, I don't know how long before the court-martial. They had set it up. I had to report every morning, call in to the office and, you know, let them know where I was, what I planned to do that day, until the court-martial. And so finally the court-martial came up, the court-martial convened and they had brought all these officers from Kessler Field down to the -- to Fort Worth or Dallas, wherever it was. And I was acquitted. And they said, well, you start off with a clean slate and we're going to reaffirm you, and all this is -- all your 201 is gone. And I said, hey, that's great, that's fine. They said we're assigning you to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. You take off, you know, within the next couple of days and report to Jefferson Barracks. I said, that's fine, and I thanked them and --

Interviewee's wife:

That's where our son was born.

Pompey Hawkins:

So I went --

Douglas Clanin:

Well, you followed him when he was going through that experience?

Interviewee's wife:

I only went to Tuskegee.

Douglas Clanin:

Only went to Tuskegee.

Interviewee's wife:

Uh-huh. And Jefferson Barracks.

Pompey Hawkins:

So I reported to Jefferson Barracks. The first thing the man said was, "Hey, we know about you, we're going to keep an eye on you, and we don't want any trouble out of you."

Douglas Clanin:

Even though supposedly the 201 was -- had _______.

Interviewee's wife:

Even though the 201 was gone. THE WITNESS: Well, here we go again, you know. But it really wasn't that much of a problem at Jefferson.

Douglas Clanin:

And what was your job assignment there at Jefferson Barracks?

Pompey Hawkins:

Commanding officer of the service squadron.

Douglas Clanin:

Comparable to what you had at Keesler Field?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

How long -- you were there, probably, toward the tail end of 1943?

Pompey Hawkins:

I don't remember. I mean, these dates--

Interviewee's wife:

Probably -- he was there in '43, because Butch was born there.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, Butch was born there.

Interviewee's wife:

He was there, like you said, in '43. And then, ironically, when you left Jefferson Barracks, ironically, you went back to Tuskegee.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah. Well, I always wanted to get back there, you know, because theoretically, I was supposed to have gone there after OCS.

Interviewee's wife:

But they sent him to Mississippi.

Pompey Hawkins:

Because that was the way, you know, that it was understood, because I didn't want to go. I didn't want to go. I was a Master Sergeant. I was a Tech Sergeant Specialist, a Technical Sergeant with a specialty, and I had everything I wanted. I was doing photography, I did public relations, I set up the photo labs.

Interviewee's wife:

So you really didn't want to Officer's Candidate --

Pompey Hawkins:

I wanted to go back. I didn't want to go to Officer's Candidate School, but we had to have officers, so they picked, and they sent us. It wasn't our option. Not mine, anyhow. And --

Douglas Clanin:

When did you go back to Tuskegee then, 1944?

Pompey Hawkins:

Around that time, yeah, somewhere around there.

Interviewee's wife:

Yeah, it was probably about the end of '44, because, see, Rene (ph) was born in Tuskegee and he was born in '45.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Interviewee's wife:

He was born in '45.

Pompey Hawkins:

And so I went back, you know, when I finally got back to Tuskegee, then when I got back, I took on the public relations officer, gunnery and bomb range officer capacity there.

Interviewee's wife:

That's great fruit juice, if you want some.

Douglas Clanin:

Could you tell me something about Benjamin O. Davis, something about his personality, and if you had any contact with him at all?

Pompey Hawkins:

Oh, yeah, I had a lot of contact with him.

Interviewee's wife:

Here, this you would like. This has the 50 -- this has the names of those --

Pompey Hawkins:

This is the first -- I think that's the first book.

Douglas Clanin:

Really rare. A picture in the Pittsburgh Courier. It has a list of all of the original ones. I've never seen that before. Extremely rare. This has got the names of everybody down there.

Pompey Hawkins:

The names of all of them.

Douglas Clanin:

I probably couldn't read this on the tape. I wonder if I could borrow this one, too, to get it photocopied. Or would you rather prefer to copy it?

Interviewee's wife:

That is in -- that's at Chanute. That's at Chanute, but that other one is probably ____.

Douglas Clanin:

This is Chicago Defender and offers alternative ______+ army air squadron. That's an interesting headline there.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah. Yeah, there were people that, you know, had different views about it.

Interviewee's wife:

Because that's somebody else's article,

Douglas Clanin:

Oh, uh-huh. You had contact with Benjamin O. Davis on several occasions?

Pompey Hawkins:

Right. We -- he was a heck of a soldier. He was a heck of a soldier. He came from West Point but he was not -- he was -- he was a good soldier but he had a little problem with his flying. Well, no, back up. No, he was -- he was good. Everybody liked him and they liked the way he marched. He was very erect, very straight, very handsome -- good looking fellow. And he was -- he took over as commanding officer, and as commanding officer he had to fly to the scene of all of the accidents that we had. We had a number of accidents with the P-40s. They were -- everybody was saying we got the old ones, the wings dropped off, and everything happened. So he would -- after he got there he would fly to the site of the accident, where it was possible, and as the PR and the photographic officer, I would have to go and take pictures of the scene, and I flew with him a number of times. But he was -- he was injured in one of the accident, at the scene, and he received numerous cuts. He was badly injured around the head and everybody was concerned, you know, that he would carry that scar with him. He was a handsome -- he was a handsome guy.

Douglas Clanin:

Afterward did you ever have the opportunity to meet him again?

Pompey Hawkins:

No.

Douglas Clanin:

And you haven't returned to any of the Tuskegee airmen reunions? I know it's been said at the last reunion in Detroit that he was present, and he, of course, had written his autobiography. Did you have an opportunity to read his autobiography?

Pompey Hawkins:

No, I did not.

Douglas Clanin:

We might make mention, too, of Colonel Noel Perry (ph)?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

And he was -- what was his role there at Tuskegee on the air field?

Pompey Hawkins:

He was the first commanding officer of the 99th.

Douglas Clanin:

This was prior to Davis assuming command?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yes.

Douglas Clanin:

So they did have white officers in charge, initially, before Davis took over?

Pompey Hawkins:

Oh, yeah, yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

What kind of a man -- an officer -- was Colonel Perry?

Pompey Hawkins:

He was fair. He was congenial. He was okay. He was a good officer and he looked out for everyone. He was fair. He was good.

Douglas Clanin:

Do you recall any other white officers who stand out in your mind who were equally fair, unprejudiced, or tried to give you a square deal?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, Colonel Cummings was the surgeon. He was head of the hospital. He was Surgeon General at Tuskegee Army Air Field.

Douglas Clanin:

Do you recall his first name, sir? Colonel --

Interviewee's wife:

Richard.

Pompey Hawkins:

Who?

Douglas Clanin:

Richard? Richard Cummings.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah. And he was --

Interviewee's wife:

From Ocala, Florida.

Douglas Clanin:

There you go. So you probably knew him better than your husband did.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, she worked at the --

Interviewee's wife:

For a while.

Pompey Hawkins:

No, she worked at VA.

Interviewee's wife:

No, I worked there first.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, she worked under Cummings.

Interviewee's wife:

You remember when I used to _______+

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, yeah.

Interviewee's wife:

Richard -- I think it was Richard C., but, anyway, Richard Cummings.

Douglas Clanin:

Richard Cummings.

Interviewee's wife:

From Ocala, Florida.

Douglas Clanin:

What about some of the flight officers? What about them, the operational type people? Any of those --

Pompey Hawkins:

The instructors? The instructors, apparently, through the cadets, we had more -- much more contact with them than I did. They tried to intimidate the cadets by being hot shots and doing barrel rolls and stuff when they were teaching them, you know, how to fly.

Douglas Clanin:

Kind of think they would scare them.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, right.

Interviewee's wife:

_____________+

Pompey Hawkins:

The pilots, the instructors were young and they were seat of the pants, so to speak, you know, pilots and they gave us a rough way to go was the opinion of most of the people that had to fly under them. So that's the way it was with that. We were aware of that.

Interviewee's wife:

__________+

Pompey Hawkins:

No, no, it's fine. It's just right. Thank you.

Douglas Clanin:

So they were trying to wash you out of the program if they could?

Pompey Hawkins:

No, I don't think it was a case of trying to wash us out, but they tried to appear that they were trying to scare us, because we weren't -- we weren't in a position to be washed out, but we were in a position to want to quit and, you know, I didn't want to fly. I wasn't interested in flying. And I was scared, I'd get sick as a dog, you know.

Interviewee's wife:

_________+

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, I was scared to fly at first.

Douglas Clanin:

You photographed the crash sites, too, you had been.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

So you knew what it looked like when a plane came down.

Pompey Hawkins:

Right.

Douglas Clanin:

It wasn't a pretty sight.

Pompey Hawkins:

That's right. And I had seen them take off before they cleared the ground good they were barrel rolling. And the first time I had to go up they gave me such a ringing out with the loops and barrel rolls and all this type of thing that I went right home and spread newspaper all over the bedroom. I was sick as a dog, sick as a dog. And, I know, if it had been something less that I wanted, if I hadn't been wanting to do the work, I would have quit right then and there.

Interviewee's wife:

_________+

Pompey Hawkins:

That happened and this isn't even talked about because it was -- we had officers that were very prejudiced when we started, some of them. And one of the flight officers were -- or one was by the name of Hawkins and they used to -- they used to tease, you know, tease him and me, call us brothers. And he couldn't take -- he couldn't handle that. And one time he was in a crash and he was in a bad crash. They brought him into the hospital and he was almost dead. He was all cut up, torn up, inside-out, and he needed -- he needed blood. And all the black guys wanted to give him blood. So I was one that -- and at that time they were using direct transfusions and so they put him on the table and laid me beside him and transfused. And after that, boy, you know, they called him blood brother. Oh, it just drove him nuts. That was one of the outstanding things at our training school. Now he's part black, too. If you've got one drop of black blood, you're black.

Douglas Clanin:

Dr. Carl Eller is one of the Tuskegee airmen I interviewed, who lives up in Gary, he's an optometrist up there, he told me this same story, about Hawkins.

Pompey Hawkins:

That's right. Q But you were the one that gave him a transfusion so he --

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah. He had to have -- he had to have blood

Douglas Clanin:

He said it mellowed the man. Did he change to a certain extent, after that happened?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah. He was my brother.

Douglas Clanin:

He became a nicer --

Pompey Hawkins:

Right. He got some of my blood. I don't think my wife believed me when I told her

Interviewee's wife:

______+ I thought he was making up a tale.

Douglas Clanin:

I got a confirmation on it. Two men tell the same story and they live a couple hundred miles apart, so --

Interviewee's wife:

I know.

Douglas Clanin:

There's no way they could exchange notes if you didn't know Dr. Ellis. I think he was not one of the original group but he went over a little bit later, over to --

Pompey Hawkins:

He went probably with the 232nd, which was a split-off.

Douglas Clanin:

Right.

Interviewee's wife:

What's the -- what's that fellow's name that --

Pompey Hawkins:

____.

Douglas Clanin:

What was Dave Hawkins's job function there?

Pompey Hawkins:

Instructor.

Douglas Clanin:

He was one of the instructors?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

Were any of the other black officers, did they give anything, or enlisted people give transfusions besides you?

Pompey Hawkins:

I don't remember.

Douglas Clanin:

He may have lost quite a bit of blood. If you could only give like one unit, they may have had other black --

Pompey Hawkins:

He would have -- in all probability, they would have had to have been black because at the time they got him in, I don't think -- see, the instructors didn't live on post.

Douglas Clanin:

This was an emergency situation --

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

-- so they had to have it right then and there.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

In a direct path --

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

-- from one to the other.

Pompey Hawkins:

Right. We didn't have a blood bank.

Douglas Clanin:

Did they do blood typing?

Pompey Hawkins:

No, they just stuck it in there. You know, it's kind of _______+ if you kill him, he's going to die, anyhow. He said he would rather die, you know, and he either passed out or they gave him a needle. They stuck them in and let the good times flow. That was the high point of. [Interruption in recording]

Douglas Clanin:

There was a lot -- a lot of medical changes have occurred in the last half century. Probably they didn't have blood typing at all. I know our dog tags had, you know, the blood type on them but I've seen some early World War II vintage dog tags without the blood type on them. And I think they were giving most of them plasma --

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

-- rather than whole blood, I mean, overseas.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah. Right.

Douglas Clanin:

It was bagged plasma mixed with distilled water with it and shake it up and then they'd use that on an emergency basis. They would use it for plasma. Of course, anybody when they take any blood product and take out all the blood type antibodies and just make it a plasma you can donate to anyone. ________+

Pompey Hawkins:

Well, he was one of the original cadets and he went way up. I think he was --

Douglas Clanin:

He was a general?

Pompey Hawkins:

He's a general, yeah, or he was. I don't know if he's still alive. And Cappie --

Interviewee's wife:

Cappie. I don't remember his name, though.

Pompey Hawkins:

Chappie --

Douglas Clanin:

There's a Cappie Gaines (ph) who was a --

Pompey Hawkins:

Cappie Gaines, right. Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

He was a general in Vietnam.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yes. Yes. He's one of the originals.

Douglas Clanin:

He and Robin Olds (ph), they would call them Batman and Robin. They were two of the hottest pilots we had flying the skies over Vietnam.

Pompey Hawkins:

Olds wasn't in Tuskegee.

Douglas Clanin:

Well, Robin Olds was a white pilot.

Pompey Hawkins:

Oh, okay.

Douglas Clanin:

But these were two of our best pilots. They used to fly together and they would call them Batman and Robin.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Interviewee's wife:

In Vietnam? Vietnam?

Douglas Clanin:

Oh, yes, in Vietnam. Cappie Gaines flew in combat in Korea and Vietnam.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yes.

Interviewee's wife:

Yeah, that's right. I saw an article on _____+

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, he was hot.

Douglas Clanin:

He was a real good pilot and then he died of a heart attack a few years ago. It's unfortunate. He was famous during the war. We saw a number of stories about --

Pompey Hawkins:

Right.

Douglas Clanin:

-- they wrote up a lot of accounts about Batman and Robin.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

Did you ever meet Buster Hall or Cal Debeau (ph) either during or after the war?

Pompey Hawkins:

Cal Debeau, yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

What kind of a gentleman was he?

Pompey Hawkins:

He was -- he was quiet and reserved, a gentleman, like you say. That's about -- see, I do not socialize that much. I'm an introvert. My wife says I'm antisocial but I have so many hobbies of my own that I don't -- I just don't go out, you know. I'm satisfied to stay in the house. I got my darkroom, my color _____ processing and enlarging, it enlarges, do my videos, editing, do graphics, computer graphics.

Douglas Clanin:

What about Armor McDaniel (ph), did you have an opportunity to get to know him?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah. Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

And could you also describe something about his personality?

Pompey Hawkins:

I did not know him that well. In fact, I don't remember meeting him until I went to the organizational meeting for the Tuskegee -- Tuskegee airmen, our chapter, the local chapter. But I didn't know him at all, personally.

Douglas Clanin:

Do you recall any other incidents when you went back to the Tuskegee Field, which would be probably, what, about 1944, '45, in that period, some of the other incidents or work-related experiences you had during that period?

Pompey Hawkins:

It wasn't -- it really wasn't that newsworthy or out of the routine, you know, that we got them, we trained them and moved them up to _____ and on the 232nd bombardment group, so I -- there was nothing unusual. The camp grew, we built new facilities. When we started the 99th, I had the darkroom and the public relations office in the BOQ. I lived in the city but I took my BOQ quarters, and made it -- I got permission and -- oh, we had a commanding officer by the name of Byran, B-y-r-a-n, Clyde -- Clyde Byman -- Byran -- he was from Pennsylvania, somewhere in Pennsylvania. He was also one of the commanding officers of the 99th down at Tuskegee. And he was young, very quiet, and he was -- he was very friendly. He was nice. He was a nice guy. And he was another one that I recall. He was young, like most of us, and he was really being exposed to blacks, apparently, you know, for the first time, but we got along very well. He was -- he was a real nice guy. No problems whatsoever. But then going back to the time that you asked, it was nothing that I can remember that was out of the ordinary. It just went along as it was supposed to. We just grew, got bigger and added more facilities to the field and built amphitheater. It was built into a real nice field from --

Douglas Clanin:

You showed me the picture. It just looked like a pasture, pasture land.

Pompey Hawkins:

Right. We moved graveyards and replanted -- reinterred the people, the bodies that were there, and we broke ground after cutting down a lot of an area where they harvested trees, turpentine, and corn fields, cotton fields, just plowed them under. They used mule teams to pull logs out. I think -- did you see those in the packet? We really cut a hole in the wilderness, and it's not in Tuskegee like a lot of people seem to think. It was quite a ways from Tuskegee. But it was named Tuskegee Army Air Base. That's what it was.

Douglas Clanin:

Have you been back to that site and that area since the war to see what it looks like today?

Pompey Hawkins:

I have no desire to go back down because the memories that I had from down there, they were not that pleasant. No, we have not. My wife was -- she was familiar with it down there, too. She was carrying one of the boys when she was, you know, told she couldn't go in a certain waiting room while she was waiting for the train or bus, had to get out of it and go around to the colored waiting room. So we had no desire to go back there.

Douglas Clanin:

Well, the situation has improved, though, today. In fact, they do have black representatives down there and a lot of the voters are beginning to count down there so there's been some changes.

Pompey Hawkins:

Well, yeah. The south, in general, theoretically, has changed. They have made a lot of progress, but mine is a personal thing and I still feel that though the political picture has changed and we've made a lot of changes in the political things, personal, there's too many bad memories to even want to go back to visit, so we have not, nor do we have any intent to go back to that particular area for the specific reason of visiting the field to see what changes -- in fact, I don't know if the field still exists.

Douglas Clanin:

Probably not.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, probably not.

Douglas Clanin:

They might have some kind of historical monument in that general area, the field, I would imagine.

Pompey Hawkins:

Maybe, maybe not. I don't know. That I can't comment on at all. I haven't --

Douglas Clanin:

When did you leave the Tuskegee -- on the air field -- as soon as you acquired your official discharge from active duty? Do you recall the approximate date you might have left the field?

Pompey Hawkins:

It must have been in the early part of '46, because, if I remember correctly, I went to Fort Dix from Tuskegee to be -- to be discharged. It was in '46 sometime but these dates have not really registered with me because I haven't thought that much about it. You get tired of fighting.

Douglas Clanin:

It will be on your discharge paper or _______+

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

One question I always ask the veterans are if the war changed them in any way from the time they went in until the time they got out, and in what way. You've already hinted about this. So what ways did you change as a person?

Pompey Hawkins:

Which or what way did you change as a person. I was a lot happier before I went in than I was when I came out, to put it very --

Interviewee's wife:

_____+

Pompey Hawkins:

You know, I was happy when I got out, but the viewpoint had changed. I was, you know, upset about the way things had been handled in the military, the discrimination that was still there, and we had been studying so much about Army regulations and how fair it was going to be. You know, you couldn't do this, you could not discriminate on an Army post, and yet still it was so prevalent, and without regard, you know, to the way the regulations were. So -- what did you say, to present? So I was really upset about that and somewhat bitter. I'm still -- things hang on. I mean, I'm bitter about the way that the pilots disregard the enlisted men. It still gets me upset. I had almost gotten over it until they started this about it Tuskegee airmen, and it renewed all these things that had happened. And I just didn't want to be associated with that, because in actuality they were discriminating against ground personnel saying that the whites were discriminating against the blacks. So I couldn't go along with it. By the same token, we tried to get ______ to give more attention or give some attention to ground personnel. We got no response at all. Every time you see that particular program you hear pilots. And none of the pilots, as far as I know -- now, I may have missed something, but as far as I know, they never brought up, you know, that, hey, there were other people besides the pilots. And I -- I was just kind of fighting for the underdogs, I guess, because I was it. I was the underdog. And though I was an officer, had the same privileges as they -- as they had, I still didn't see it being passed on to the other enlisted men or ground personnel. There was no credit given to the others, so I was a little upset about it. They asked me did I want to join the reserves. I didn't want anything else -- you know, hey, I've been court-martialled. I was acquitted but I was still -- I still had to go through it and I had to prove that I Was right. So I was upset. So what else?

Douglas Clanin:

Since the war have you had any contact with other ground personnel, either enlisted people or officers? They probably share your frustration, I would imagine. Has there been any contact at all with these people?

Pompey Hawkins:

No. No. I have not been in contact with any of the personnel that I knew. One or two individuals, but not as a group or not as a crusader or anything like that. But I have seen one or two of the men that were working with me. They were in my command when I was CO, a few individuals. But we were not meeting nor at that time were we trying to establish anything. We were not really aware of the Tuskegee airmen and that's what burns me up. I don't feel that it should be the Tuskegee airmen. The 99th Pursuit Squadron was the name and I don't think they, you know, should have changed it because there were ground personnel in that group, also. Without the ground personnel, they would not have gotten started.

Douglas Clanin:

And it was the maintenance people that kept them flying, the armorers, the ordinance people, the _______ --

Pompey Hawkins:

The Quartermaster section.

Douglas Clanin:

Quartermaster.

Pompey Hawkins:

The chemical warfare guys, the weather men, navigation officers.

Douglas Clanin:

Radar operators _______+ administration, you've got to have clerks and people that handle payroll and finance areas and personnel records. I think they're missing the boat by leaving them out.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, they really -- they are really missing the boat. They say that they want people that are interested in advancing navigation, whether they were civilians or military, whether they were officers or whether they were enlisted personnel, but everything they do goes to an officer. They had their meetings at the officer's club at Fort -- out at Fort Harris, whereas we had been offered to use the churches, any church in the area where one of us had been a member, we could have met at the churches. It wouldn't have been as far, it wouldn't have had the -- we would not feel --

Douglas Clanin:

They feel uncomfortable at that --

Pompey Hawkins:

I thought that they would and I didn't think that we should have had it at the officer's club. It was my -- that was my way of feeling and I brought it up at the organizational meeting. They had it in a -- the lounge, cocktail lounge of the officer's club. And I don't drink. My wife doesn't drink. I'm not particular about going out there, you know, to have a meeting in a cocktail lounge. But none of this was -- you know, it wasn't even taken into consideration. They did not vote for a president. They set themselves up as president of the Indianapolis Chapter of the Tuskegee airmen. When they came back from Michigan or wherever they went to learn about it, when they came back we had a president and we had these officers were all -- we did not elect anyone. We were not given that opportunity. And these are -- these are things that I felt were not the way to set up the chapter. I mean, right or wrong, it's just my -- the way I felt, and that is the reason why I did not join and I do not care to join. I don't believe in their principles then and now it's getting too late. So, you know, I just don't --

Douglas Clanin:

They could have made a more dynamic, vital group, I think, and not have it so elitest --

Pompey Hawkins:

That's right.

Douglas Clanin:

-- if they had opened it up, made a conscious effort to, you know, reach out and welcome everybody. Some groups are like that.

Pompey Hawkins:

They said -- they said that it was open for this and for this and for this and for this but when they establish it in the officer's club of a military post, it just doesn't appear that they -- you know --

Douglas Clanin:

Officer's only.

Pompey Hawkins:

Even though it was not that -- it was not the policy out at Harrison that it was for officers only, it was not that, but that is the way that it appears, you know. Or it has that -- it makes other people feel that way. But there were other -- most of us went to church every now and then, anyhow, and we could have met in a community center, we could have met at the Y, we could have met any number of places that we had contacted and had been told that if you have someone within the group that is a member of this church, a member of the Y, a member of here, a member here, we'll be glad to let you, you know, use our facility. But out there they had to buy -- buy the lunch or buy the dinner or buy the breakfast and that was the condition under which we could have had the meetings out there. I eat dinner at home. My wife eats dinner at home. I don't want to go out there to eat dinner to go to a meeting. I mean, I get -- I'm just radical, but that's the way I feel and I expressed it. That's that. Next?

Douglas Clanin:

Are there any other incidents that we haven't covered, Mr. Hawkins, earlier, that -- this is your story. We want to make sure we get any anecdotes or incidents that we haven't covered up till now about the wartime experience?

Pompey Hawkins:

No, I think Dave Hawkins was the greatest

Douglas Clanin:

The transfusion for Dave Hawkins, the racist.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

Did you have a lot of static from whites who saw you on the street with an Army uniform on or your Air Force uniform? Did white people, either north or south or both, give you a lot of trouble when they saw you walking down the street? Was there any catcalls or --

Pompey Hawkins:

Tuskegee? In the city of Tuskegee?

Douglas Clanin:

Yes.

Pompey Hawkins:

We caught it every time we drove through, because we'd have to drive through Tuskegee, around the monument in front of the City Hall to go out to Chehaw. We caught it. We got stopped every time. They searched the cars, they'd make us get out -- it was harassment. Other places, it was no problem. We did not run into any problems anywhere else that I remember -- well, we weren't that exposed to people at --

Interviewee's wife:

Tuskegee is a small place.

Pompey Hawkins:

Huh?

Interviewee's wife:

Tuskegee is a small place.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah. You know, we weren't -- we weren't in areas where we were exposed to people. At Chanute we stayed on the post.

Douglas Clanin:

And that's an isolated place.

Pompey Hawkins:

Isolated.

Douglas Clanin:

Jefferson Barracks?

Pompey Hawkins:

Jefferson Barracks we stayed on the -- we lived in the town but it's no problem there. We'd come on, we'd go -- go home, because we lived with a private family. We had -- my wife was there, and the son was born there. Oh, one of the incidents at Jefferson Barracks, when our son was born at Jefferson Barracks he was the first --

Interviewee's wife:

Black.

Pompey Hawkins:

-- black baby that was born --

Interviewee's wife:

With an officer in that hospital.

Pompey Hawkins:

-- in the -- in the hospital, in the post hospital, in the officer's quarters, in the officer's section. My wife was up on the second or third floor -- where were you?

Interviewee's wife:

I don't know.

Pompey Hawkins:

She was up on one of the higher floors in the hospital I was on the ground floor of the same hospital. I had been operated on. I tore my knee open and they had operated on me downstairs. I was in the bed, immobilized, she was upstairs having a baby, then they brought the baby down and I was there holding this baby, a newborn baby, and that was -- that was quite a thing, you know. It stopped a lot of people when they saw me holding a newborn baby. And they spoiled him rotten. All the personnel in there were white. They had all --

Interviewee's wife:

And it was the first black baby that was born.

Pompey Hawkins:

It was the first black baby. They often had a hospital and enlisted men had either another hospital or a second -- anyhow, within the officer's area of the hospital, he was the first black baby to have been born in Jefferson Barracks.

Douglas Clanin:

That was an old military post.

Interviewee's wife:

Uh-huh. And they spoiled that baby to death.

Pompey Hawkins:

Oh, yeah. And he --

Douglas Clanin:

Which one of your sons was this?

Pompey Hawkins:

That was Butch.

Douglas Clanin:

That was Butch.

Interviewee's wife:

The one that just called.

Douglas Clanin:

That just called?

Pompey Hawkins:

He hasn't grown out of it yet.

Interviewee's wife:

They spoiled him. Boy.

Pompey Hawkins:

And then the people we lived with. But that was the -- that was quite an incident.

Interviewee's wife:

He would cry at night a lot and the nurse would -- would -- she would take him and lay him across her lap while she was working on papers and stuff like that, in the middle of the night. You woke up, the baby would be -- he was spoiled.

Douglas Clanin:

We might mention on tape, too, your wife's maiden name, where and when you were married, Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins. What is your full maiden name, ma'am?

Interviewee's wife:

My maiden name is Winston, Margaret Winston.

Douglas Clanin:

Margaret Winston?

Interviewee's wife:

Uh-huh.

Douglas Clanin:

And where were you born?

Interviewee's wife:

I was born in Norfolk, Virginia and raised in New York City.

Douglas Clanin:

And you were a registered -- you were a registered nurse then?

Interviewee's wife:

I'm a registered nurse. I took my training at Lincoln School for Nurses in the Bronx, New York. And then at a later date I got my Baccalaureate degree at IU here.

Douglas Clanin:

Do you specialize in any type of specialized type of nursing?

Interviewee's wife:

Well, public health nursing. I did public health nursing for about 16 years, and I retired from Ivy Tech College teaching practical nursing over at Ivy Tech College. That's where I retired.

Douglas Clanin:

Thank you very much for the comments. And you had two sons. One -- Rene was tragically killed in an airplane crash while he was in the Army --

Interviewee's wife:

Uh-huh.

Douglas Clanin:

-- going through paratrooper training.

Interviewee's wife:

Uh-huh.

Douglas Clanin:

That was in 1966. And you had a son, Butch, who was -- or do have a son, Butch, but he was in the 101st Airborne in Vietnam at that time

Interviewee's wife:

Uh-huh and --

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

You have one grandson?

Interviewee's wife:

He -- Butch works with Allison's.

Douglas Clanin:

Oh, great. What is his job out there at Allison's? Is it technical?

Pompey Hawkins:

He's the support engineer for the gas turbine and he has gone all over the world. He's been to Japan to service equipment. He just recently got back from Germany to do support on the engines and trouble shoot, to find out, you know -- to help the dealers that they have in different countries trouble shoot that particular engine. It seems that there is very, very few people that are familiar with that particular gas turbine in the way that it is used. It's one of their prime turbines that they use for generation of electricity in different installations. He's been over in -- where? He went to Japan -- he went to -- did he go to --

Interviewee's wife:

I think it was Sweden? I'm not sure.

Pompey Hawkins:

Somewhere in the desert, Sudan or something, because he said the oil -- they had it in great big pools or something.

Interviewee's wife:

_____+ better not put all that in there.

Pompey Hawkins:

He travels quite a bit.

Douglas Clanin:

And then you have a grandson?

Interviewee's wife:

Yeah, and he's attending Fisk University.

Douglas Clanin:

In Nashville, Tennessee?

Interviewee's wife:

Uh-huh.

Douglas Clanin:

And what's his name?

Pompey Hawkins:

His name is Pompey Hawkins.

Douglas Clanin:

Namesake, then.

Pompey Hawkins:

They're all named Pompey Hawkins, but my son's name is spelled differently from -- my son's name is spelled P-o-m-p-e-i-i, so it's pronounced Pompeii.

Douglas Clanin:

Oh I see the name in the directory. That's to differentiate the two names, huh?

Interviewee's wife:

Well, and so they'll pronounce it Pompeii, instead of Pompey.

Douglas Clanin:

As in the town of Pompeii in Italy?

Interviewee's wife:

That's right. Uh-huh. But my grandson is named Pompey, named after his grandfather.

Douglas Clanin:

Well, I don't have any other questions. Can you think of any --

Interviewee's wife:

Did you tell him -- did you bring him up to date, where you worked after you came out of the Army? Are you up to date now? You're retired --

Douglas Clanin:

Oh, _______+ jobs.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Interviewee's wife:

Retired from Honeywell.

Douglas Clanin:

We've got that summarized on there, but there's electronics in here and of course you continued active in your photography. That's kind of an avocation and vocation, too, partly, now that you're retired.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Interviewee's wife:

And while you were talking, I called -- I called Onita (ph) and Onita was in the Army.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, she was a nurse.

Interviewee's wife:

She was an Army nurse, but she did not go overseas. Does that mean anything?

Douglas Clanin:

No, no. She'd be a good person to talk to, maybe have her on the program.

Interviewee's wife:

I don't know, but, anyway, I got her name and telephone number, if you want to call her --

Douglas Clanin:

Oh, sure, thank you.

Interviewee's wife:

-- to let her know who you are. If you want to call her now, you can, or you can do it, you know, later, but I told her that you might be getting in touch with her pertaining --

Douglas Clanin:

Is this Miss or Mrs.?

Interviewee's wife:

Mrs.

Douglas Clanin:

Oh, okay. I'll put that.

Interviewee's wife:

Pertaining to some of her experiences in the Army.

Douglas Clanin:

I'd love to talk to her.

Interviewee's wife:

I don't think she's had experiences like Pompey has had. I think her Army life was apparently okay.

Douglas Clanin:

Well, that's good. At least some people had -- I know Dr. Ellis said he had good experiences because he was mostly overseas flying combat. It was different there.

Interviewee's wife:

Yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

He said the white crew members loved having the Red Tail Angels over there because he said those guys saved our lives.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah.

Interviewee's wife:

Well, see, she said she never did go over there. I forget where she said she was.

Douglas Clanin:

But it's still good to have her experience.

Interviewee's wife:

But she said it might be -- she said she might be willing to talk.

Douglas Clanin:

A black woman, that would be a good person to have on the program. See, this is black male and female, so I would have had her on the program last year, if I had known about it. But it's never too late and we're still in the process of thinking about who to have on the program to have a nice balance to it.

Interviewee's wife:

Yeah. And if I can think of somebody else, I'll let you know. Then you can --

Douglas Clanin:

I appreciate it. Thank you again for your hospitality, and I hope I didn't ruin the whole evening _____+

Interviewee's wife:

No. I enjoyed listening to it, to all this, and I'm glad I did come in because I think Pompey might have left out a couple of things.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah. You know, we were in a combat zone in OCS and I got a combat ribbon and medal for that because they anticipated attacks by -- you know, at that time --

Douglas Clanin:

Submarines?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, coming into Miami.

Douglas Clanin:

Did you go out into the ocean on any kind of training maneuvers?

Pompey Hawkins:

No, we just patrolled the beaches under -- with arms and full ammunition and --

Douglas Clanin:

What type of weapons did you carry, .45 or the carbines?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, we carried the .45 and the -- what was it, 30/30s, I think. Not the carbines.

Douglas Clanin:

The M-1?

Pompey Hawkins:

M-1, yeah.

Douglas Clanin:

M-1 Garand rifle?

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, right. M-16 -- what was that, M-16?

Douglas Clanin:

M-1 --

Pompey Hawkins:

M-1.

Douglas Clanin:

-- in those days.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah, the big one.

Douglas Clanin:

I've held that.

Interviewee's wife:

It's about as big as you are.

Pompey Hawkins:

Yeah. And we were -- you know, on discharge we were given combat ribbons and a medal for that and we would patrol the beaches. But other than that, I think that was about it.

 
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