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Oral History Interview: Harry Reed of Danville

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(Duration: 33:22)

During World War II, Harry Reed was a flight engineer on a plane that was the equivalent of today’s Air Force II. His plane carrying Secret Service members flew about 20 minutes in front of the plane carrying the President and landed in time to give the Secret Service people adequate time to secure the area for the President and other dignitaries. His assignments included flying Eleanor Roosevelt after FDR died (The President’s body was moved by train). Reed’s plane flew the President and others to vital meetings at places like Yalta and Pottsdam, as well as making a flight to South America that gave the U.S. options for a possible new way to reach Japan by air. The plane also broke the round trip speed record to Paris. Harry Reed will tell you that is proud that he was able to serve his country and that he sees himself as being very lucky to have gotten the assignments he did.


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    Pop Up Archive Item: “Oral History Interview: Harry Reed of Danville” : https://www.popuparchive.com/collections/3496/items/24432
    Transcript for file: harryreed2007-11-16.mp3

    00:00:00

    this is an interview with Harry Reid November 16th 2000
    7in Studio X of will building in Urbana Illinois
    video ographer is Harry Red Cliffs Henry red
    Redcliffe an island answer Russell interview
    alright
    let’s get started and you can tell me where you were when World War

    00:00:30

    who started working in the Chicago
    Chicago Illinois hello
    babe on Pearl Harbor on December 7th 41
    and I was sworn in February 42
    I am victim Air Forces one branch of service I would like to
    why to serve in H&M hours center Texas
    Texas for basic training and also to go to on a motor Air Force

    00:01:05

    Porsche mechanic school from there I would love some
    from Center Kansas City to TWA two former school
    schooling africana City hours of sunshine
    find a wharf and DC today at sea which is Eric Transport Command
    are out fire red burst of light fable
    people who run the war how is in place
    placed on Fri star general Orange private plane but he didn’t fly

    00:01:40

    fly rhyme much do the business of the war so his flame review
    MERS used to fly people that was running the world
    such as some Harry Hopkins and Stephen early who was FDR
    FDR’s private investment advisor
    what was your job on a plane with your job on the plane
    how is a flight engineer operate all the controls
    accept them stick landing gear flaps on everything

    00:02:15

    alright
    arm field had the responsibility of flying all the Allies
    such as a the Potsdam Conference
    Quebec conference and the Yalta Conference
    big tree was FDR Joseph Stalin and William Belcher
    Russian will Winston Churchill
    the girl was not included in this but he was put out about it

    00:02:50

    show after they are sent early in Hopkins up to parents to explain
    plane what they’re going on at the big 3
    FDR was not allowed to fly over the ocean but causes
    browser he’s in a wheelchair and they don’t know how they can handle in mouth
    wheelchair happy yoga conference
    he returned or Feb in United States in February and passed away on April 9th
    Warm Springs Georgia Mrs Roosevelt

    00:03:25

    flu down to Georgia to bring a body back but instead put
    Donna playing the field brought it back on the train why I do not know
    p**** Vice President Truman took over at a time
    what time during the war was over

    it was important to fly the Secret Service man had about 20 minutes ahead of the
    the President to make sure it was a scattered among the people make sure

    00:04:00

    picture or save for him to land
    so are you flying like the equivalent of Air Force One
    yeah then them they didn’t
    Air Force woman in that something will come up with later
    you would be surprised road Roosevelt named desire playing the sacred cow
    you actually flew the Press
    the President or did you fly the Secret Service set up

    00:04:35

    some say that again you fly the President or to fly the Secret Service
    serviceman Secret Service we fly 20 minutes ahead of the President show Lakers
    Skyrim underground make sure it was safe for him
    how are always fly
    please find missions was done in C 54 chrono Skymaster
    how was the largest plane that the military had at that time until
    until the B 29 come out the Superfortress

    00:05:10

    we set our rules record flying from Horsham
    m.c. Stephenville Newfoundland nonstop preparers to Bermuda
    nude to a source to Bermuda back to Washington and we’re going 45
    45 hours we were in there for 3 hours and 15 minutes out of 45 records
    that’s a long time up there
    the day
    escort with those planes

    00:05:45

    one time near the end of the world a dead fly
    a couple of fighter planes alongside for security
    security when they were here in Russian
    so they were afraid for the president being shot down well
    well bathing baby in sink
    when do the boards necessary there wasn’t anything Kayden Kross
    cover that much area that time that they do now

    00:06:20

    different time zone for mother cell phone nobody Baldwin really
    really

    couple of those comments down here we were photographed in the West
    the west coast of South America 2
    move the supplies and men and the men to get in Australia
    the come up to Japan but them Truman ok the fly

    00:06:55

    flyover to drop the atomic bomb
    the second one that dropped they told him both times
    but they were going to be that should get out of the area they drop
    leaflets pamphlets and tell him to get out of there but then people in
    pain tension through it true they drop one on Hiroshima and 1 on megashare
    sake and after that that was the end of the war and

    00:07:30

    Japan come to the Missouri
    Boulder Missouri with the general
    General MacArthur relation and unconditional surrender


    about all I got to say
    how old is some questions what was it what was the reaction

    00:08:05

    remember when FDR died everbody was very sorry
    bird The Hulk
    cool country was so down everybody
    respect for his judgement and when he pass
    free passed away unbelievable dark
    dark cloud
    and how are they say what was your reaction to Truman taking over

    00:08:40

    are you what’s going on my Harley under hurt nobody today you know the width
    house with the present vice president during the news all time nobody even heard of
    heard that room they didn’t know he was invited
    for all of you you knew you were going to be flying them hard
    if you were going to fly right to know him
    a little bit little bit
    what’s the difference between FDR and Truman Forester

    00:09:15

    far is just meeting them
    I think Truman didn’t have the foresight the road
    Roosevelt did
    everybody had a lot of respect on and thought for Roosevelt Island
    Truman Mercer the dump in there no hurry and
    he didn’t really know what’s the walrus
    was going to be done it was a hit happens suddenly

    00:09:50

    what was your reaction at the beginning of the war before
    before you were why would why would you take an enforceable
    new enlisted are you were drafted drafted
    profiles for Rite Aid on the right physical condition
    natural reason
    have you worked on planes before no God
    got my training in Texas if I didn’t know anything about airplanes in

    00:10:25

    then how did they decide that you were going to do that are asked to do the
    to do that make women dress man I ask him
    I had a choice night I asked him to do that
    did they did they do some testing
    no I don’t think so let you pick wild
    Wow
    all I hear you did some written tests however you want

    00:11:00

    written test trying to figure out what your skills were
    did they stop making right out test
    mo that’s a big job
    I’ll take that back then didn’t we didn’t have to run
    droid 1 test
    in Texas we had to write on the Texas pick up
    written test I forgot about that that’s true we did

    00:11:35

    test cyp want you fit into
    what you wanted to do that instead of gold go with
    with to the South Pacific or go somewhere else right what did you do
    to do before the war how is in hum
    sales house salesman
    sodas
    so you didn’t have anything to do with plain to dislike them know I was all new to me

    00:12:10

    much more than this today I did it with
    the back of those days or one minute much flying in much
    airplane engine people flying like a bitch common diss common Livermore
    everbody you know you will keep track of what was going on in the world
    how to keep track of it as best I could how did how did
    how did people find out about it you didn’t have television
    through radio newspaper

    00:12:45

    they were pretty good
    I wondered if you were in Washington if you got more news and other paper
    other people I don’t think so this is everybody got the same
    on the the news in the newspaper in the newspaper
    newspaper in them H&M radio
    resolve this right now NBC ABC and CBS
    CBS intro for big news when the war was over though

    00:13:20

    good news everybody were celebrating
    was it all worth it
    I think so probably make a difference in this
    country I think so
    you would live through the depression
    s how does that compare to after the war
    IRA cannon

    00:13:55

    I was fortunate Maya my dad had a real good
    real good job and we were whenever the depression
    effectus what did you do when you came out of the war
    what do I do when they’re going out

    celebrate No
    19 nude gym

    00:14:30

    got married
    now wife now by mother follows him to Washington d.c
    how is work where got married in Washington DC
    back to the Midwest yeah he was born in Washington DC
    a man without a country
    was there anything you want the ass
    oh no conditions of food

    00:15:05

    how the conference alright that’s a good when where and when when you were
    you were at Yalta who was the big three what was it
    what was it like being there with everyone feel good quarters
    how I hate to say this but it was pretty bad
    where were there in 13 days and it was in the wind
    in the winter time snow and the
    the food was lousy hair was worse than that

    00:15:40

    it was on tell you about it was we had one meal in the mess hall
    in Russia and the rest of time with mouth airplane with head
    rad 13 c54 is on the Yalta Conference in 1 hour
    supply food and water and when they don
    airplane from neuron where did the people eat
    all of us all of us 8 on the airplane
    read the send food back into Roosevelt

    00:16:15

    that’s true funny picture
    picture how to say was that true of all the other
    all the other conferences the Potsdam and the others Quebec
    I have nothing to do with my life Foo up them back but I don’t know
    I don’t know I think we’re alone now
    Bosch hammer shirt in Quebec was only through
    Group 34 days all that was there

    00:16:50

    can you describe what it was physically like beautiful place to go
    how terrible terrible
    can I was really bad
    bad 3 buildings 204 the sleeping
    one was the forum food
    business intro for its like I said they had a wire puller
    cheap slide back and forth between the difference of the

    00:17:25

    people running the world crew members
    the food was bad find crew members
    verse for all the other of the other to work with you or were you is all separate
    temporary who never got a chance to talk to them
    people
    right so you do if you feel that how did that affect
    that affect the people who lived in the in the area I mean you all commands

    00:18:00

    and you know this is true or Alta removed during body out
    bipolar Russia is awesome
    pretty strict and loose going to have the car
    comfort road they told her about a move on or try on that can move back in
    San Antonio in the United
    states that would have been able to do that
    where’s all the difference at that time and promise

    00:18:35

    probably still a little bit now but more so than the difference between Russian Lana
    United States was black black and white that far apart
    do you think because you have flu
    the plains and metformin what did you call the the groups that you flow
    allies of the Allies and the what was the Other category
    big for the big 3
    big wigs that what you said how eyes

    00:19:10

    but when but when you when you flew them all in
    to think you knew more about what was going on the most people because
    because you heard thing talk about it
    No what would have happened if
    happened if you had I don’t think anything

    no no nobody wanted to call a newspaper and tell them something extra

    00:19:45

    extra mo
    that’s interesting
    you want to talk a little bit about your trip to South America
    what you were doing and what people thought you were doing
    where William free food
    fruta pana mall and then cast up there and food Durham
    Quito Ecuador that’s so Capitol record or skit on the

    00:20:20

    the YUM Ecuador is a
    the equator going right through the city and you had to fly
    why is it before 10 o’clock in the morning
    toys are there clouds come down on the city have a pretty good intern out on
    tone it up to 1000 in the morning

    they were taken

    00:20:55

    I think I told him no dinner about taking pictures of the west coast
    South America why are you taking them though they were going to the trip to LA
    too long to ship man and material by boat
    I want to get down there and it Australian come up to Japan
    hello good speed it up that way Soleil
    new watch cities I could take it
    cousin it was slow getting a prostate exam ocean weather

    00:21:30

    Kenworth mulch and it will be faster this way to use mana
    Manon troops and supplies are crossed the ocean
    ocean to Air Australia to come up against Japan
    what the atomic bombs dropped that they didn’t have to do it
    troops yeah but the people
    that was all a secret cell Starbucks
    dignitaries from South America

    00:22:05

    Tina plan it was either the belly filler
    how will you when you do that it was a planned
    and it was a possible planned invasion ride
    who was in charge of that you know

    probably
    Eisenhower Road in charge debt

    00:22:40

    Robert Douglas MacArthur I think we’ve been and Charles would have been in charge
    charger that he was in the Pacific area
    who was in charge of modifications
    if your plane to be able to take the pictures and everything
    just took a window out and they had a camera was about that big
    big and take the pictures out of the side airplane
    men put the window back in still pictures

    00:23:15

    racing
    somebody had a lot of film in the back
    the back of your plane how long did that take

    Huntsville talk about 3 days to do it
    they weren’t taking pictures all at time but from town to town
    where they stayed and then go up and take the picture then the next town

    00:23:50

    season 1 through africanus tan Plymouth
    Lima Peru Santiago San Diego
    San Diego Chile
    not talk about 3 days I just say crew remains
    I need the same for those 4 years nobody knows
    do injuries no
    you were lucky per Ryan Lochte

    00:24:25

    how about them 2500 hours up there
    total in the four years I was in the service
    never shot at no 1 buffet in Manhattan
    I can’t her gym saying that something happened in Italy
    shot out it in Italy poem
    Rihanna multi altimeter training where’s the
    rendezvous for the Yalta Conference

    00:25:00

    one plane golf
    recovery radio shilings sono buoni
    put their enemy couldn’t keep track of what was going on
    schooner Panda interCall
    jerk off from mom molten core
    go after Russia and the Warner
    interpret the first airplane got 3 shots put through the

    00:25:35

    nothing wrong with the router but there’s a little bigger
    this will be changed we’re going instead of going up that way
    from Malta to run over to Athens Greece
    loosen up that way and I got to see all that happens with food around
    twice around this is silat
    destruction New York over the years you’ve seen it was picture
    pictures of Russia Iran job in Greece Athens

    00:26:10

    British man on up to ever figure out
    figure out who shot at them
    a friend of mine was in another airplane I was never one a gunshot
    name Coleman when he was sitting in the seat back in the back
    back and God are most walking up to the flight deck and a woman
    shop swamp ride through the city
    maps shaky Betty couldn’t wait

    00:26:45

    good way to tell you right
    they didn’t have to put down in order to repair anything
    with that was when you were on your way to yoga
    so he was one of them did you say three planes how many planes
    1313 12 passengers and one supply
    reply me I’m the only put one or two exact
    allies in a plain color phone went down they didn’t want to lose you ever buy

    00:27:20

    everbody never lost nothing but
    they were playing it safe use me
    lot of stress prone did you feel a lot of stress when you were on the plane
    why not just got used to it and it just routine
    from the very beginning After Hours dental
    you just get used to it nothing nothing
    nothing all the stories about all the

    00:27:55

    all the hot spots around the world where people are being shot didnt you didnt think
    didn’t think you might be next brave
    rape me away from anything
    but today but today you would have people shooting at
    at the kind of people who were there around Metroid
    what is it makes the difference in the time
    why didn’t anybody go after them I don’t know

    00:28:30

    I don’t know what a surprise to us
    amazing
    amazin what I think we’re
    do you want to kind of sum up
    give me a brief couple sentences on your experience in what year
    what you Saud of ww2
    hello hello hello

    00:29:05

    how about your part in it how about your
    but your part in it important things to do
    what’s your job important or think so because why
    swai
    I was so many people had to do this
    just part of it what did you and your doing it well
    what did it accomplish for the war I don’t think

    00:29:40

    I don’t think your compass mushroom more people get killed in Mandan
    I want to see all over there’s always something going on
    going on over there people
    can you kill the armored in the newspaper
    AirPlayer on automobiles blow up kill people
    I never that I don’t understand why they don’t settle down and have peace
    what you did

    00:30:15

    contributed to the exposed tributed to the war being solved Fitness Parker
    I think so I hope so because
    because the people you talk or what what was your contribution
    dish
    dis dis flying the People
    getting there were they need to go is correct pinched give me
    correct

    00:30:50

    you got to see a lot for less in the war was around you
    found you set about is that a good picture
    when you got to see you got a lot of places
    I got to see a lot that’s true
    will you lucky or unlucky fly
    Mirana in trouble never gonna end
    never gone into trouble by that I mean we’re on our way

    00:31:25

    Riverway were nothing happened there that you could get killed her son
    stopwatch that we’re never them I guess we
    does we are at the right place at the right time Honda
    never never got any worries
    are we going to get in trouble proud of what you did brown
    I want to do Proud Mary huh
    I am how I feel lucky but also it was founded

    00:32:00

    how to be a job to be done and I’ve on in enjoyed doing it
    and feel very lucky everything worked out
    proper way PlayStation
    the great ending pretending that you feel good
    feel good about it true
    Angeline world
    France

    00:32:35

    birthday and she had these wonderful letters from him
    when I was little I remember I found
    dry phone and I’m red and they were so wonderful and when we moved here
    Pennsylvania to ask to me come from you ask her if she
    and when she died and went to all the things in the world
    so I feel really bad because im fat

    00:33:10