Ayers, Ross 1970-10-28

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On Tape 1, Major General Ross Ayers relates important details of his family background, early life and educational career. On Tape 2 he discusses his college career and army career and relates events leading to the 36th Division’s invasion of Europe in Italy.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Ross Ayers

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: October 28, 1970

Location: Austin, Texas

Interviewer: Fred Carpenter

Length: 5 hours, 50 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: (Tape one: 1 hour) Family background discussed, Memories of grandfather's trading and barter system told, Self-sufficient character of grandparents recalled, Discussion of maternal grandparents, Recollection of parent's background, Mother's education mentioned, Parents married on Wolverton Mountain in Van Buren County, Arkansas, Father's education mentioned, Father became Baptist minister, Father had career as preacher, teacher, and farm laborer

Tape 1, Side 2: Moved to Sherman, Texas, Unfamiliarity with indoor restroom remembered, One room school learning experience described, Cites presentation of dramatic production, Remembrances of early automobile, Had difficulty dealing with the discipline of homework and grades, Various family movements and educational career discussed

Tape 2, Side 1: (Tape two: 1 hour), Discussion of civil war history, Recollections of running away from home, Participated in high school athletics and debate at Cuero, Attended Texas Tech beginning in 1928, Athletics at Tech recalled, Pete Cawthon discussed, Tech's entry into Border Conference reviewed, Entered National Guard in 1932, Explains treatment of horses in the guard, Traces move up in army ranks, Taught at Lubbock High School, Received an army commission in 1938

Tape 2, Side 2: Describes army maneuvers in Louisiana in 1940, Training in artillery at Ft. Sill recalled, Interviewed to determine reasons for lack of unit competence, Corrected mistakes and problems as a result, Move to North Africa cited, Desert training related, Remembers German surrender in Africa, Speculations concerning American proposed attack, Had border patrol duty in Spanish Morocco, Preparing for Italian invasion, Comments on Italian surrender and subsequent invasion of Italy

Tape 3, Side 1: (Tape three: 1 hour), Describes moving amphibious vehicles, Details of invasion related, Reasons for various interpretations of the invasion explored, British, French, and Indians gave aid in the Italian campaign, Mentions difficulty of offensive operations in the Italian terrain, Failure of river crossing reviewed, Recollections of bombing assault on Casino and Monte Cassino, Statement on German defensive positions, Discussion of Anzio action, Notes on the conquest and entry into Rome

Tape 3, Side 2: Contact with Italian communists recalled, Components of the 7th army described, Reviewed of a campaign into the Rhone valley (French invasion), Evaluation of the battle of Monte Lamar, French campaign traced, Sightseeing in Paris remembered, Mention of fellow officers, Citation of date of entry into Germany, Participation in maneuvers in Southern Germany, Surrender of Germany cited, Comments on Jewish prisoners and the beauty of Bavarian mountains, Capture of German leaders recalled

Tape 4, Side 1: (Tape four: 1 hour), Discusses invasion of Southern France by 7th Army, Explains why it was successful, German 19th Army tactics noted, Vosges Mountains Campaign described, Comments on occupation of Strasbourg, France, Types of casualties of war listed, Division called to help at Battle of Bulge

Tape 4, Side 2: Division's position stabilized for part of winter, Remembers division's April offensive, German line assessed, Broke Siegfried line, Recalls attempts to get bridge at Speyer, Germany, Division became occupation force, Occupation techniques listed, Results of fighting from August 15, 1944 to May 7, 1945

Tape 5, Side 1: (Tape five: 50 minutes), Transferred to Sixth Corps which was discharging German soldiers, Techniques used in discharging prisoners described, Took a trip to England, Experiences as education officer for First Armored Division recalled, Discusses difficulties in getting back to United States, Separation process explained

Tape 5, Side 2: Comments on life after service, Earned M. A. from University of Texas in 1947, Veterans Administration employed him as counselor for severely handicapped, Became full-time farmer in 1950, Preston Smith appointed him Adjunct, General of National Guard in 1969, Defines difference between National Guard and State Guard, Functions of National Guard listed

Tape 6, Side 1: Reviews material that may be donated to the Southwest Collection, Lists sources of information about Governor Preston Smith, Discusses his work as Adjutant General of Texas National Guard, Notes personal criticism and newspaper stories, Recalls Smith's support, Explains National Guard activity during student demonstrations, University of Texas, Camp Mabry, Prairie View A & M demonstrations mentioned, Offers philosophy of crowd control

Tape 6, Side 2: Talks of his retirement, Tells of flood in New Braunfels, Mentions Bean Foster, assistant, adjutant general in Montana, Keep America Beautiful Committee noted, Changes made by General Bishop and personnel on his staff, Discusses 36th Division archives and association, Brings up German exchange program

Range Dates: 1928-1969

Bulk Dates: 1928-1969

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