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"Forecasting at that time was primitive compared to what it is now... we didn't have satellites, and furthermore, Hitler didn't cooperate by giving us weather reports over Germany or occupied France. So the underground, [they] supplied weather reports for us." (Video interview, 38:12)

   Herman F. Monoschein
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Herman Monoschein, Leawood, Kansas [11/24/2003]
War: World War, 1939-1945; Korean War, 1950-1953
Branch: Army Air Forces/Corps; Air Force
Unit: 18th Weather Squadron; 339th Fighter Group
Service Location: New York, New York; Savannah, Georgia; Bradley Field, Connecticut; Kellogg, Michigan; England; Fort Meade, Maryland; European Theater; Boston, Massachusetts; Chanute Field, Illinois; Mather Field, California; also: Scott Air Force Base, Illinois
Rank: Master Sergeant; First Lieutenant
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"How's the weather?" might sound like a mundane question, but it can be a significant one during wartime, particularly for pilots, when passing clouds can obscure a target or an enemy plane. The son of Jewish immigrants from Russia, First Lieutenant Herman Monoschein joined the Army Air Forces even before the US entered World War II, though his dreams of flying ended upon discovering he was colorblind. While stationed at Bradley Field, Connecticut, he became intrigued by weather forecasting, and became a qualified weather observer. In April of 1943, he shipped out to England, where he worked at a number of weather stations, finally serving as Station Chief at a weather station near Fowlmere. Working around the clock, without the benefit of modern satellite imagery, his team prepared the weather charts that provided critical information on conditions that could make or break a combat mission.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (6 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: video (73 min.)
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 Video (Interview Excerpts) (6 items)
Deciding to join the Army Air Forces; failing color test; realizing he was colorblind; choosing to serve at Bradly Field, CT over Bangor, ME. (02:33) Basic training in Georgia; adjusting to segregation. (01:38) Getting interested in weather while at Bradley Field; becoming a weather observer; at symphony concert when Pearl Harbor was attacked. (01:37)
Arriving in England; serving at weather central for 8th Air Force; transferred to East Anglia; preparing a weather forecast for the Brigadier General; being thanked for his report after a successful bombing run. (02:43) Preparing weather charts for forecasts that affected bombing missions and cross-country flights within England. (02:46) Duties as a warrant officer; primitive tools for forecasting; what types of conditions they forecast; they weren’t always right. (03:51)

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  October 26, 2011
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