Segment 1


John Gibbons and the interviewer discuss what got the interviewer interested in World War II.Gibbons and the interviewer talk about Bud Anderson who flew the Old Crow [Annotators Note: USAAF/USAF Colonel Clarence Bud Anderson flew the P-51 Mustang named Old Crow]. John Gibbons grew up in Saint Marys, Kansas. When Pearl Harbor came along Gibbons knew he would be drafted. He did not want to be in the infantry or in the Marines so he tried to join the Navy. He was a high school graduate. At the time the military had dropped the requirement that an aviation cadet have a minimum of 2 years of college. He went to Fairfax Field and tried to join the Navy. He passed the mental tests but failed the physical because of his blood pressure. The doctor told him to come back another time which he did and failed the test a second time. The Navy doctor offered to call the flight surgeon at Fort Riley so Gibbons went there and took a blood pressure test there. He passed it and went into the Army Air Corps. Before he went into the service Gibbons was working for Firestone and was in training to be a store manager. His secretary was dating an aviation cadet and that interested Gibbons. Gibbons had no trouble in primary flight training. He soloed in eight hours. When he got to basic he had a lot of trouble and almost washed out. After basic he went on to advanced and then to B-17 training. Gibbons did not have a choice as to whether he would be flying bombers or fighters but he wanted to fly bombers. He did not think he was qualified to be a fighter pilot. Gibbons had training flying four engine aircraft. Gibbons was initially supposed to fly transport planes but was assigned to fly bombers instead. He went to Moses Lake where he picked up his crew. Many of the B-17 copilots had wanted to be fighter pilots.


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