Segment 1


Malcolm Hershel Higgins was born on April 7th, 1921. He was delivered by his grandfather. His father was a World War I veteran and he died a few months before Higgins was born. When Higgins was three years old his mother got remarried. The new dad was fantastic. Higgins went to school in Oklahoma. In 9th grade he was in Duncan, Oklahoma. He graduated high school in 1939 and upon graduation was working at a bowling alley in Duncan. He attended a junior college in that town. At about that time war talk was firing up. Higgins had no feelings of wanting to live with Hitler or Hirohito. In 1941 a friend of Higgins and he went to a movie called Buck Privates. They knew the draft was imminent. They figured it looked so much fun that they would join. At the time they could volunteer which branch they wanted to go in. Higgins joined on June 5th, 1941 and his first assignment was at Kelly Field. Higgins went through boot camp and that was an awakening. He joined the service before the war started because he knew what had happened with the Great Depression before, and the military sounded like a great deal. They had gone through the dust storms in Oklahoma and now they were lined up to go to war. Higgins feels that the time period had conditioned people to fight the war. Things were so bad that the military felt like a step up. Higgins’ stepdad worked for the Goodyear Tire company. He made enough money to feed everyone. Gasoline was 9 cents a gallon. It was a good life all the way up until high school. Higgins had great friends in high school. It was all and all a good growing up experience. No one had anything so everybody was in the same boat. It was a great time. Higgins felt like he was blessed in terms of the people he met and the people he grew up with. Higgins got free medical attention in the military. Higgins had always wanted to fly since he was a kid. Flying an airplane was imminent with Higgins. He figured that if he got into the Air Corps he could get into the flying game. They had around 200 hours of training before they got into a combat aircraft. To get those 200 hours it took about six months. The first military aircraft Higgins flew was in Boise, Idaho on a B-17E. The training was 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They had four hours in the air and then four hours in the classroom. Higgins was with the 100th Bomb Group and went in as a copilot. He went through phase training. Higgins went through phase 3 training in Sioux City. They finished training but were brought back to Blythe, California to instruct new crews. Higgins picked up his crew again and they went through some of the training again. Higgins got aerial gunnery training when he went through advanced training. Higgins ended up in Kearney, Nebraska. They were issued a brand new airplane that they ferried overseas. They went to a replacement pool.


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