James Young was born in Winnsboro, South Carolina in 1921. Young volunteered for the Army Reserves in 1942. After completing basic training in Miami Beach, Florida, he went to Shepherd Field, Texas for munitions training. He was sent to Las Vegas, Nevada, for gunnery school, then Dalhart, Texas, for combat crew training. At gunnery school, Young recalled firing at a target pulled by an airplane: “Each person had a different color of shells, and he could count his hits by whether they were yellow, black, green.” Stationed in Polebrook, England, Young served as a Technical Sergeant, tail gunner in the 8th Air Force, 351st Bomb Group Heavy, 509th Bomb Squadron from the March 6, 1944 to May 2, 1945. He flew 28 missions, the first of which was into Poland on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1944. He later flew missions over Poland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and Belgium. In this interview, he recalls details of several of his missions and discusses the annual reunions he attends with the men with whom he served.
In the spring of 2012, Citadel graduate students in Dr. Lauren Rule Maxwell’s Advanced Composition class conducted oral history interviews with a diverse group of area veterans regarding their military experiences during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. In addition to conducting interviews, the students incorporated the veterans’ stories into a range of writing exercises, including feature articles, which appear online. In organizing the project, Maxwell teamed up with Fred Lesinski of the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston. The digital recordings and transcripts are part of The Citadel Oral History Program Collection at The Citadel Archives & Museum and also will be housed in the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. By capturing these histories, the interviews aim to do justice to the veterans’ stories while paying homage to their legacy and the principled leadership they inspire.Interview transcriptions are intended to reflect the words and sounds of the audio recordings as closely as possible. Even the best transcriptions, however, are imperfect representations of the recordings. For a full discussion of The Citadel Oral History Program's transcription guidelines, consult the program's Web site.