CENTER FOR U.S. WAR
VETERANS' ORAL HISTORIES
World War II
Harry C. Myers
World War II Oral History Interview
US Army Air Corps, 98th Bomb Group
Date: February 23, 2018
Interviewer: Carol Fowler
Summarizer: Alexis Martin
First Lieutenant Harry C. Myers is a World War II, United States Air Corps veteran of the European Theater of Operations. He served from 1942-1945. The current Manasquan, New Jersey resident served as a member of the 345th Bombardment Squadron and the 98th Bombardment Group. In this interview, Myers provided personal accounts of what it was like to serve in a war that affected the lives of individuals nationwide. With no servicemen in his family, he admitted that he “doesn’t know” why he enlisted. Myers said that it must have been the indirect influence of his peers, as everybody he knew at the time was joining the military; and, the Air Corps appeared to be the preferred branch of his fellow New Jersey Hackensack High School students.
Myers recalled being in uniform within five days of enlisting. He traveled from Newark, New Jersey to Atlantic City and then throughout New England, before eventually flying around the world. Myers described his transition from civilian life to military life as “quite a shock” but found himself comforted by his companions. Everybody was in the same boat as future airmen, sharing the same lifestyle changes, concerns and experiences.
Myers’ initial training consisted of IQ testing, collegiate level classes and navigation training. In his interview, he shared the course of becoming a navigator and making his way through different stages of flight school. An honor student in high school, Myers enjoyed every level of his training. Eventually he became a navigator in the U.S. Army Air Force. Myers took part in missions all around Europe, including Germany, Italy, Yugoslavia, Romania, and Austria, suffering no personal injuries, yet the unfortunate loss of many fellow airmen.
Returning home after the war, Myers was offered a series of promotions, with the agreement to continue serving as a member of the active reserve. He declined the promotions and went on to work for the commercial airline, American Airlines. In 1950, Myers left American Airlines and returned to his military ties, taking on a navigator position with Flying Tiger Airlines, America’s first cargo airline. The company was used to deliver military goods during the Cold War. He completed 35 missions to Vietnam, eventually receiving praise for his assistance during this “very sad” war.
Like many, Myers describes World War II with great acknowledgment of the toll it took on the lives of civilians nationwide. Noting the rationing and increased war efforts on the home front, he called this “a big war” and noted that “everybody did something; you couldn’t ignore it”. Myers’ interview offered more than just his personal accounts. The interview was conducted in his home and included three of his family members (Pat, Diane, and Frank). These members of his family share feelings of pride in their veteran, finding themselves impressed at his coherent ability to present his military experience in chronological detail in old age.
Harry Myers’ interview is completed in two parts; the second videotape included a look at a homemade scrapbook comprised of personal photographs, letters and postcards.