Navigation School

Officers' Civil Disobedience Leads to No Overseas Combat

"When the bomb was dropped, we were at Louisiana."

"Our group, B-25, was supposed to go in the Pacific, and we were supposed to fly a mission from some island near…Japan onto Japan to the Japan mainland, that’s what we were supposed to do. And this thing got so bad, so very bad, that the commander was removed from his command. It got so bad that many of the officers who were being trained to go to fight were court marshalled.

Most of the personnel were black. Some of the commanders were not black. Some of the trainers were not black. So there’s…in the military, we have clubs, officer’s club. Off duty, you go to the officer’s club and…you have a sandwich or a drink or something or play pool. It’s a relaxing place. I imagine you have faculty clubs here. I imagine you do. I imagine you have student clubs, I don’t know. But…this commander ended up with two clubs: club number 1 and club number 2, or club number 2 and club number 1, whatever. And those people who looked like me were expected to go to one club and those who looked like someone else were supposed to go to another club. And that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. Officers are supposed to go to officers clubs, and…when…some of the officers would go to the club that the commander thought they shouldn’t go to, they were arrested for going there. And that precipitated the whole thing.

The officers felt that the commander was breaking the rules of the…army, so they were arrested, they were court marshalled. And it got so bad until that commander was removed, and then they went to Europe and got Commander Davis, and he came over and he took over.

And then…we were…still training and we were no longer gonna be just plain bombardiers or plain navigators. One man was going to do both, be a navigator and a bombardier. So the bombardiers were sent to navigation school, and the navigators were sent to bombardier school so one man could do their job on the plane. My class was in navigation school when the war ended, when the bomb was dropped, we were at Louisiana.

If you don’t go in harm’s way, you probably won’t get harmed. And when you go to combat, you get it in harm’s way. So the fact that I did not go to combat, well, I never was exposed to combat conditions, so I’m still around, so I don’t regret that."