World War II Central Illinois Stories - August 23, 2007

Oral History Interview: Delbert Augsburger of Flanagan

It was Delbert Augsburger’s boyhood dream to fly planes—and part of his dream came true when be became a crew member on an Army Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress during the latter half of World War II. Augsburger didn’t fly the plane—he was a ball turret gunner, defending his plane from enemy fire during bombing missions over Germany. Augsburger talks about his experiences—and why his pacifist Mennonite background didn’t stop him from enlisting.

World War II Central Illinois Stories - July 27, 2007

Oral History Interview: Merlin Taber of Champaign

Merlin Taber served during World War II, not in the military, but as a conscientious objector in the Civilian Public Service. His Quaker upbringing shaped his decision to seek an alternative to military service. During the war, Taber built roads, fought forest fires, cared for patients in a mental hospital and served as a test subject for medical research. He talks about his experiences—and the reasons for his pacifist response to war.