Segment 1


Theodore Finkbeiner and the interviewer discuss the interview they did three years before this interview. Finkbeiner grew up in Monroe, Louisiana. His father was a pipefitter. He had finished high school and had started at the local junior college when the war started. He decided to join the service but he had to wait until he was 18. On his 18th birthday he joined the army. He wanted to join the Air Force but he was color blind. Being young man he wanted to do the most exciting thing he could so he volunteered for the paratroops. He was the first person from Monroe to be accepted into parachute training. Finkbeiner chose to join the airborne because he thought they would be the best and he wanted to be the best. He also felt that he was uniquely qualified to be a paratrooper. He grew up with a rifle in his hands. He started hunting when he was just a young boy. He had also read a lot about the wars that had taken place prior to World War II. When Finkbeiner went overseas he was a sniper. He was a very good shot. If he could see it he could hit it. Even though he was made a sniper he never had the opportunity to work as a sniper. He just carried a rifle with a scope on it and was a good shot and that is how he worked. When he went on patrol or on outpost he acted like a true sniper. But if he shot he would have had to get out of there fast. Finkbeiner was at home in Monroe when he heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor. He remembers walking around talking about it. His good friend joined the Marines and he wanted to join with him but could not pass the test. Finkbeiner volunteered for the paratroops when he enlisted at the recruiting station in Monroe. He was sent to Camp Wolters, Texas for basic then on to Fort Benning for jump training. Jump training was tough. It was designed to make guys quit. Finkbeiner's first jump was easy. It was jumping from the tower that bothered him. When they jumped out of the plane they were not looking right at the ground. After getting out of the plane the descent was enjoyable. Finkbeiner made five jumps during his training at Fort Benning after which he was a qualified paratrooper. After they qualified they moved on to infantry training at a base in Alabama. During this training they ran everywhere. Everywhere they went they double timed it. They were in very good shape. Finkbeiner took his sniper training and got his rifle at Fort Bragg. The two guys with the highest score on the rifle range were selected from each company. They were each issued an 03A4 [Annotators Note: Springfield M1903 .30 caliber rifle] with a stargazer barrel and a four power Weaver scope. They were able to pick up as much ammunition as they wanted. They did a lot of shooting there. When their time was up there they returned to their outfit and got back to regular training. The only specialized training he had to be a sniper was the shooting he did at Fort Bragg. When he got to North Africa they would go out with a spotter and shoot at extreme ranges, out to 1,100 or 1,200 yards. The longest shots they made in the United States was 500 yards. They also learned to judge long distance with their rifles.


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