Oral History Interview: Harry Reed of Danville

November 16, 2007

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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Transcript for file: harryreed2007-11-16.mp3


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
let’s get started and you can tell me where you were when World War


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


different time zone for mother cell phone nobody Baldwin 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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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
all I hear you did some written tests however you want


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


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
so you didn’t have anything to do with plain to dislike them know I was all new to me


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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
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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Eisenhower Road in charge debt


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


I don’t know what a surprise to us
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


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
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


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


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
dis dis flying the People
getting there were they need to go is correct pinched give me


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


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


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


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