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"I had not realized what a mountainous country China was…the mountains looked like ice cream cones upside down." (Audio Interview, Part 2, 11:29)

   Robert H. Haines
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War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army Air Forces/Corps
Unit: 14th Armored Division; 14th Air Force
Service Location: Arkansas; Kentucky; Burma; China; Tennessee; China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater
Rank: Captain
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Although his first assignment during World War II was with the Armored Force, Robert Haines eventually found himself in China with the Army Air Force as a communications officer. Due to the limited number of U.S. forces serving in the China-Burma-India Theater, Haines spent much of his time with British, Indian, and Chinese troops. He offers colorful accounts of the British habits and mores, including their affection for Scotch, and was also a keen observer of the dire poverty in China and the toll that war and the Japanese occupation had taken.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (8 clips)
»Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 
Download: audio(1) | 
Download: audio(2) | 
Download: audio(3) (69 min.)
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»China, Burma, India
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (8 items)
Training in ground-to-air communication in Meridian, MS, by the British, who had perfected the technique; nephew of Baden Powell among his instructors. (02:02) Training included flying in numerous aircraft and a hyperbaric chamber, so that they could understand what it was like for the pilots they were communicating with. (02:26) Assuming that his training and French language background would mean assignment in Europe; he went to China instead. (00:50)
As the only unattached officer, Haines was put in charge of the USO troop and the Red Cross nurses who were on the same ship; despite severe restrictions, fraternization still took place. (01:49) In Bombay, going to a party hosted by actor Melvyn Douglas, then a captain. (01:01) Much of Haines's time in India spent with a mixture of British and Indian troops. (02:57)
Shortages in China meant little to eat; sharing his malaria tablets with a sick Chinese child. (02:20) Observing that the Chinese placed a different value on life. (00:52) 

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