CENTER FOR U.S. WAR
VETERANS' ORAL HISTORIES
World War II
World War II / Cold War Oral History Interview
US Army Air Corps, 11th Air Force
Date: June 23, 2008
Interviewer: Carol Fowler
Summarizer: Samantha Gottlieb
Editor: Professor Melissa Ziobro, Monmouth University
Dominick Galione was born in 1918 in Newark, New Jersey. He developed an interest in airplanes around the age of seven which became a lifelong passion. When Galione graduated from high school at the end of the Great Depression, he did not have enough money for further education. There were very few job options available, and so he joined the United States Army Air Corps in 1940. Galione was the first member of his family to enlist in the military.
Galione received basic training at Mitchel Field on Long Island, New York. He stated that basic training was much different in 1940 than it is today; Galione recalled that he and the other recruits spent a lot of time with mundane jobs and guarding prisoners. He had hoped that by joining the military he would have an opportunity to go to aviation school, but he was trained as an aircraft mechanic. The training did not involve much in the way of formal classes, and was almost entirely “on the job.”
In 1941 Galione’s unit was sent on maneuvers to various locations in the South, including Jackson, Mississippi, Augusta, Georgia, Daniel Field, Georgia, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. They returned to Mitchel Field at the end of November. One week later, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. With the advent of war, Galione was sent to Florida as part of a mobile repair unit, and was eventually stationed at Warner Robins Army Air Depot in Georgia to conduct maintenance and repair on B-17 bombers.
Galione was subsequently transferred overseas to North Central India, part of the China-Burma-India theater of war, also known as the “CBI,” where he was assigned to the 10th Air Force and worked on supply transport planes flying to China “over the Hump” of the Himalayan mountains. Many of the planes crashed in the mountains, causing the route to be nicknamed the “Aluminum Highway.” Although maintaining the aircraft was demanding, Galione did get some leave time and was able to visit the Taj Mahal and other interesting sites. As the war wound down, he was reassigned to New York, from where he was discharged at the end of the war.
In 1947, Galione joined the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 119th Fighter Squadron, a lineal descendent of the National Guard’s prewar 119th Observation Squadron, based at Newark Airport. In the late 1940s, the airmen of the Air Guard trained at Newark and at Sea Girt. Galione recalled that one of the unit’s pilots landed a P-47 fighter on the Sea Girt Parade Ground, which was pretty risky, and “had quite a time taking off.”
During the Vietnam War, Galione was called to active duty for a time and stationed at Myrtle Beach. Eventually he was sent to Turner Field, Georgia, with his wife and 11-month-old son. Galione later became a federal technician stationed at the Atlantic City airfield as a full time jet engine repair supervisor. He retired at the required retirement age of 60 in 1978, and then traveled with his family, visiting places in and out of the country, and occasionally running into people he knew from the military. At the time of his interview, Galione was a member of several different veterans’ groups, including the American Legion. In conclusion, he stated that he had enjoyed his time in the military, and he passed that appreciation along to his son Dominick Galione, Jr. who, inspired by his father’s career, joined the Air National Guard. Dominick Galione, Sr. passed away on October 21, 2011.