Sharp, Earl 1982-09-20

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Earl Sharp tells of his military service in the Air Force and involvement in World War II and Korea, especially his experience as a POW in Germany during World War II.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Earl Sharp

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: September 20, 1982

Location: Lubbock, Texas

Interviewer: Mark Wells

Length: 1 hour


Tape 1, Side 1: Born: Batesville, Arkansas (July 16, 1917), Interest in aviation started at age 7 or 8, High school, Little Rock Junior College, World War II interrupted college and he never finished, Mobilization (September 16, 1940), Civilian pilot, Army pilot training, Primary training (1942), Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Basic training (1942-43), Newport, Arkansas, Advanced 3-phase training, Arkansas, Graduated (May 28, 1943), Older enlistee than average, Enjoyed hazing, Aircraft flown, Reasons for multi-engine rather than fighter pilot training, B-17 transition, Florida (June 1943), Course length, Flight hours earned, Crew, Student pilots, Combat crew training at Peyote, 10-man crew, Dalhart training, Peyote training (again), Snakes, No pleasure, No town, Traveled by train, Being trained as aircraft commander, Salary, Base pay, Service time increases, Flight pay, Allowances, Finished crew training at Dalhart, Combat qualified, Overseas assignment, Squadron size, Shot down (May 19, 1944), Base establishments, Airfield, Runways, Close cities, Time off, Duties, Leaders, Colonel Groves, Target locations, Most in Germany, Feelings of being in combat, Anxious, Realization, First mission, Heavy fighter attack, Description, Number of aircraft involved, Types of aircraft, Risk due to lack of technology, Visibility over England, Reunited with original crew, Experience of crew members, Loss of crew members in combat, Typical combat missions, Dependent on weather conditions, Listings of crews involved, Briefings, Information provided, Preparation for take-off, Procedures, Fuel load in relation to bomb load, Formation, Spacing, Significance of spacing, Air speeds, Average hours per mission, Altitudes flown, Effect of temperature, Ease of flying B-17, Name of aircraft, "Blue Champagne" B-17 G Plane, Maintenance quality, Communication while flying, Enemy radar, Restrictions during missions, Evasive actions, Consequences, Tactics of enemy attacks, Experiencing planes shot down, Feelings.

Tape 1, Side 2: Airplanes lost, Sharp’s squadron, Aircraft lost at Berlin (March 6, 1944), Plane went down (May 19, 1944), Last mission (May 19, 1944), Good mission, On time, Weather, Clear over Germany, Target, Berlin, Sharp was leading high squadron, Two planes hit by Germans, Location of hit, Altitude of hit, Ramifications of hit, Losing oil, Engine #3 hit, Failure of super charges on two engines, Fire, Efforts to make it to Sweden, Lost electrical system, Dropped their bomb, Flames growing, Danger of explosion, Abandoned plane, Plane in control, Altitude at bail out, Oxygen problems, Unconscious, Everyone escaped aircraft, Navigator’s chute did not open, Sharp picked up by four German soldiers, Bombardier picked up, Taken to hospital in Frienwald, Location, Length of stay, Rank, Injuries suffered, Operation, Potential causes of injuries, Hospital stay, Treatment, Interrogation center in west Germany, Threats, Wanted a tail number from aircraft, Sanitarium, Food, Living conditions, Separation center, Permanent prison camp (POW), Movie "Great Escape" based at this same camp, Treatment, Living conditions, Rations, Chain of command, Negotiations with Germans, Punishment, Not on escape committee, Role of escape committee, Never witnessed any brutality, Prisoners who escaped, "Picture parade", Both recaptured, Letters, POW camp (again), Length of stay, Liberation day, Number of Americans in the camp, Total number of prisoners, Coming home, Physical condition, Activities after the war, Signed an indefinite commitment, Marriage, Training, B-25 airplanes, Transfers, Offered to appeal indefinite commitment, Released from duty, Ranked as Captain, Stayed in Reserves at Reese Air Force Base, Recalled for Korean War, Minimum of 21 months, Korean War, Rank, Ports of entry, Planes flown, C-47 airplane, To San Marcos, Texas (1955), Aspired to go to Reese Air Force Base, Returned to Reese (1956), Supply officer, Flew T-33s for four years, 2 years at Reese, 2 years in Japan, Lubbock of the 1950s, Growing rapidly, Quiet place, "Dry town", Instructing young officers, Family, First child born (1954), Stayed at Reese until 1960, Transferred to Japan, Ranks and jobs, Rank upon retirement, Returned to Lubbock after retirement, Reasons, People.

Range Dates: 1917-1982

Bulk Dates: 1940s-1950s

Access Information

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Recording Format Notes:


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