This interview for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society is being recorded
on March 2, as part of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society Oral History
Project. The interview is being recorded at the home of Mike Segal at 524
Winningham Place, Columbus, Ohio. My name is Dave Graham and I am interviewing
Mike Segal about his World War II experiences. And now we’ll begin. Oh, I need
to add that this is March 2, the year 2000 on the Christian calendar. I forgot
the year. And now we’ll begin.

Interviewer: (Indistinct) Yeah, your family situation… How many
brothers and sisters?

Segal: Uh huh. Okay. Two brothers, one sister.

Interviewer: Mom and dad situation, the religious perspective?

Segal: Okay. All right. And I’ve got some, couple of real religious stories
to tell you of a Passover and a Rosh Hashonah and the one bit of anti-Semitism,
one man made one remark…

Interviewer: During the war?

Segal: During the war. Other than that, none. I mean I never felt
anti-Semitism except this one smart aleck son of a bitch and…

Interviewer: …at the time or…

Segal: When you get to that particular part of Jewish war experiences.

Interviewer: How about your family? Did you…

Segal: We…


Segal: Okay. I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. Mother and father, had
an older sister and brother and a younger brother.

Interviewer: Their names, real quick?

Segal: Well my sister was Bess, my older brother was Walter and my
younger brother was Art. I’m Michael Segal.

Interviewer: All the Segal family?

Segal: All the Segal family with a good mother and father. We were


Segal: My father was in the clothing business all his life and worked
hard. My mother was a wonderful homemaker. They raised their kids. Nobody
ever got into any trouble. Nobody did anything wrong. We had good moral
standards. We had good teachings. We were not great Temple-goers…

Interviewer: How often?

Segal: Well, maybe six times a year, basically what we call “Rosh
Hashonah and Yom Kippur Jews.” That you could depend on. A Seder,
Passover. Other than that, it was spotty and it was a good life. We were
on the poor side of the tracks, south end of Louisville, Kentucky, and we
lived in an area that was largely Jews in the area but everybody was poor.
But nobody knew it because we were all poor so we were just part of the
flow. My education was, high school education, but I got a heck of a high
school education. I went to Louisville Male High School which was a land
grant school which meant that it had to have an R.O.T.C. unit. And because
we were poor, I saw a chance to, I never had to buy school clothes because
the uniforms were free. So I had free uniforms for four years of high
school. That gave me a little bit more spending money because I went to
work at 14 in a men’s clothing store, working whenever I could get
hired, particularly on Saturdays because…

Interviewer: What was the name of the store?

Segal: Believe it or not, Two Legs. It was a mens’ furnishing goods
store and mostly sold mens’ pants.

Interviewer: How about your father’s store? What was the name…

Segal: My father’s store was, oh this will slay you, it was a Royalty
Clothes Shop right across the river in Indiana and the Depression came
along and he couldn’t pay insurance on the building and he didn’t own
the building; he rented the building, but he couldn’t pay insurance on
his inventory and six months after the policy went down the drain, the
store caught on fire and he ended up with nothing. So he ended up working
for other people.


Segal: …the fire with no insurance. This was the Depression and
the fire and he was wiped out. He was down to ground zero. So it was, we
were a close-knit family…

Interviewer: How many in the family at the time?

Segal: Four kids.

Interviewer: Six of you then?

Segal: Yeah. So he went with my brother and my sister…got old
enough to go to work and get jobs. We did and we brought home piecemeal
stuff and I worked at Two Legs. That was my first job. I was just short of
14. I got the job in September and I hit 14 in October so I…

Interviewer: …run by a Jewish family?

Segal: It was a chain where they had a Jewish manager and I’d gone
looking for a part-time job. I started at Fourth and Broadway and worked
north to Main Street and I was just going to go up one side and back down
the other and I got about three-fourths of the way up and this guy hired
me and it was a great job. It paid 25 cents an hour and I could work from
9 to 9 on Saturday and I had to have lunch time and dinner time and it was
a quarter apiece for lunch and a quarter for dinner.

Interviewer: Now what year was this?

Segal: This was like 1937.

Interviewer: 1937?

Segal: Yeah, and it cost me a hamburger and a coke for lunch and a hot
dog and a coke for dinner.


Segal: Yeah, two bits apiece. So I had two dollars left over minus
Social Security which was 1% so it didn’t kill me. (Laughs) That’s how
it started. And I left that job with Two Legs and went to work for a place
called Livingston’s, a credit clothing store because I got 35 cents an
hour and spiffs. You know what a spiff is?

Interviewer: No.

Segal: That’s a p.m. for selling old merchandise or higher-priced
merchandise. You were paid an extra dime on a pair of pants, you were paid
an extra dollar on a suit, you were paid fifty cents for a sport coat if
it was something that they wanted to get rid of or it was higher than the
average bracket. You got a bonus out of selling that piece of clothes. So
then I left there and went to work for Levy Brothers ’cause I got 50
cents an hour and p.m.s. So…dead merchandise, that’s why it’s
sometimes called spiffs. But the spiffs, if you were really good, and I
was good, I’ve always been a salesman, the spiffs could more than equal
your hourly wage. So basically, I was progressing.

Interviewer: What did you do with all this money?

Segal: Basically, what little expense I had, lunch money
at school. It kept me off the family dole and…


Segal: That’s correct. I supported myself and met all of my needs,
and so forth and if I ended up someplace along with five or ten dollars, I
gave it to my mother for groceries. So it was not a bank account. There
was nothing like that. I put it to use for the good of the family.

Interviewer: Now in 1937 there was some talk of war…

Segal: Yes.

Interviewer: in Europe. Were you aware of all that?

Segal: Not that much in ’37. When it got to be about ’39 when the
war started really… the R.O.T.C. training was excellent. It was
what they called Junior R.O.T.C. which, if you started college, that would
be your first two years.

Interviewer: Did you get infantry training?

Segal: Yes, it was all infantry training, map reading, close-order
drill, all the things that you needed as a private in the army.


Segal: Free clothes?


Segal: That’s exactly…


Segal: Not at all, not at all. Never thought of a career in the
military. It was a way to get free clothing and I didn’t mind it. To be
honest with you, I needed the discipline. I never said “Sir” in
my life. Even I’d say “Yes Sir” and “No Sir” to my
father. I’d say, “Yes, Dad.” I never said, “No,
Dad.” You got whomped.


Segal: He just, he worked hard…and made a living.


Segal: No, no. He had responsibilities. A wonderful man, wonderful,
wonderful father.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Segal: And he lived a lot of years and it was, we had a great family

Interviewer: Now let me ask you here…also want to touch on
ancestry. Do you recall grandparents, great grandparents?

Segal: I recall my mother’s parents. No, my father, on my father’s
side, he was a damn yankee. Now my heritage because my mother’s family
were in Louisville, it was all Southern and it was…

Interviewer: Southern Jewish?

Segal: Southern Jewish Louisiana pre-Civil War on my mother’s side.
All Jewish. My father’s family was a later arrival and my father’s
mother had died when the youngest, when his brother Jack was born, and my
father was 13 and he, his father remarried and he didn’t like the
step-mother so he checked out. He left home.

Interviewer: I see.

Segal: And I never met my grandfather. He died when I was just a very
young kid and maybe second or third grade…

Interviewer: Now is your family name originally Segal or did they
change the name?

Segal: Well as far as I know, it’s been Segal.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: See, it’s an old, there’s a million ways to spell Segal and
but this is the lazy man’s way, S-E-G-A-L and so I figured, I thought
that was probably…because we were not Southern.

Interviewer: Had you ever heard where the family came from?

Segal: It was sort of a hodgpodge or Jewish moving around, moving
around, you know how it was in Europe. They had…

Interviewer: No name for a village or…

Segal: No, nothing, no. My mother’s family, my mother’s father’s
family were from Germany. Where in Germany I don’t know. My mother’s
mother’s family was Sabel, S-A-B-E-L and they were French. They were
French Jews. And they landed in Louisiana when they came to this country
which is really a freak and they were, believe it or not, plantation
owners and owned slaves.

Interviewer: That’s amazing.

Segal: That’s right.


Segal: Yeah. Not many but…

Interviewer: French…

Segal: French and German.


Segal: Right. So that’s where they were. They came over probably as
near as we can tell, around the 1850s.

Interviewer: You have any historical records…

Segal: None. If it is… I remember this clearly. We were living
in Louisville in the 1937 flood. And we were living in an apartment
building. We were on the third floor and every family had a locker in the
basement. Now there were only six apartments in the building but we had a
bunch of surplus stuff stored down the basement. And in the basement was a
suitcase full of Confederate money.

Interviewer: Oooh.

Segal: A lot of Confederate money, like a quarter of a million dollars
worth. And it went with the flood in 1937. There went the inheritance of
useless paper which was useless at that point in 1937. If we’d have had
that in 1961, for the anniversary of the Civil War, genuine Confederate
money to collectors, then it was valuable, not face-valuable but it had a
value to it.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Collector’s value. That’s correct.

Interviewer: Genuine Confederate money?

Segal: Genuine Confederate…


Segal: It was garbage. It was wet, muddy garbage and we threw it in the
garbage and it went with all the rest of the slop for World War, from the
flood of 1937.

Interviewer: I think what we’re saying here is your Jewish ancestry
history is going to be oral and it’s got to be captured ’cause it’s
not written?

Segal: That’s right.

Interviewer: …the part of the French heritage?

Segal: Yeah, the Sabel, the…that part of it.

Interviewer: …something else to consider, or you might think
about it… interview…

Segal: I think it’s really, that…


Segal: …it’s not a great, lengthy history. My grandfather, God
bless him, he was a wonderful man. Everybody loved him.

Interviewer: On your mother’s side?

Segal: On my mother’s side. I knew my mother’s parents. I did not
know my father’s parents and…

Interviewer: His name was?

Segal: My mother’s maiden name was Wolff. Her father was, W-O-L-F-F.
On her mother’s side, her maiden name was Sabel.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And believe it or not, she was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and
you can find generations of the family buried there in one cemetery and it’s
incredible. It’s unusual in Jewish life.

Interviewer: Uh huh…. how you got started in the war?

Segal: Okay.

Interviewer: …look at this tip?

Segal: You going a lead on, or not?

Interviewer: No.

Segal: You got a lead? You want a lead?

Interviewer: No, we’re okay.

Segal: Okay. You want a name or anything?

Interviewer: No.

Segal: Okay.

Interviewer: Just start off…

Segal: Just start off…


Segal: Okay, let’s start off with my military training. Okay, ’cause
you got it on the tape but I think we better put it on this tape too. My
military training started when I went to R.O.T.C. high school as a young
man in Louisville, Kentucky. So I had what they call the equivalent of
Junior R.O.T.C., which would be if you went to an R.O.T.C. college, which
would be the 2 years of that training. So that’s when I really got my
first taste of military. As we got into the war, the big war…

Interviewer: Like Pearl Harbor Day?

Segal: Pearl Harbor Day.


Segal: No actually before Pearl Harbor Day. You remember war was going
on in early 1941 and Pearl Harbor Day was December 7, 1941. Sometime in
the Spring of ’41, I decided that sooner or later, I was going to be in
the military and we were going to get very much involved in this thing so
I decided, since I had no college education and I wanted to come out, if I
was going to be in the army, I wanted to come out with a skill. I wanted
to be a pilot because I could always get a job with an airline. So I went
down and I enlisted. But what happened to me, they changed the regulations
that you’re going to have to have a college degree to apply to Pilot
School. You could have a high school diploma but you had to pass a
horrible test; they gave me a mental test, educational test, to get in.
And I could have waited several months and done the test in Louisville,
Kentucky but somehow or other, the recruiting guy told me if you went
across the river day after tomorrow to Indiana, New Albany…
Jeffersonville, Indiana, that you could take the test there and get busy
with it, see. So I made arrangements to go across the river to
Jeffersonville, Indiana, and take the test. And there were about 50 young
men there in the same boat I was in, high school diplomas and nothing
else, and they wanted to enter pilot’s training. We all took the test
and it was a mean one, I’ll tell you that. And six of us passed it.
There was about 50 young men took it. Six guys passed it. We took a lunch
break. The rest of them were dismissed. The other six of us took a lunch
break and then we came back for our physicals. Well, to be honest with
you, I didn’t last long. My height and weight and everything was fine,
my eyes were 20/20 and then they put that color blind test on me with the
numbers that blend according to the colors. And they blended the numbers.
And I didn’t get three pages into that sucker and I didn’t even know I
was color blind. And they, that was the end of my air force pilot training
career. It started in the morning and it ended shortly after lunch. I was
declared ineligible because I was color blind.

Interviewer: How did you feel about that?

Segal: I was mad. They tried to recruit me as a navigator or a
bombardier and I said, “No the heck with this. If they don’t want
me, I’ll find another way to come under my own terms. I won’t have
anything to do with the air force.” Well that was fine. And then I
still wanted, if I was going to be in, I wanted a skill. So I got involved
somehow or other, I heard about this thing where they went to a radar
school while you were working and then you reached a certain point and
they sent you to Lexington Signal Depot, Lexington, Kentucky, and I
figured, electronics. And I was right, it was going to play a big part in
the future of this country. And radar was the one way to get into it. So I
ended up learning radar while I worked at Levy Brothers and by golly, when
the time came, I went to Lexington Signal Depot at Lexington, Kentucky,
and I was there and I learned the S.C.R. 268, which was an anti-aircraft
weapon and it (laughs), it was antiquated by the time I got overseas and
the S.C.R. 270 and 71, those were long-range detector radar units and had
about a 150-mile range. That was my first kick. Once I got through with
that, I was ordered into the service by the Chief Signal Office and they
sent me to Camp Crowder, Missouri, for basic training, which was really
redundant because I had a better training at Louisville Male High School
in the R.O.T.C. unit.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And it was pretty evident from the first day I got there that I
had some kind of training and the sergeant found out that I’d gone to
R.O.T.C. school so I became what they call an “acting corporal”
and I had an arm band rolled around me that had these corporal’s stripes
on it.

Interviewer: …you had been sworn in, raised your right hand…

Segal: Uh huh, yeah.

Interviewer: …an enlisted man, volunteered…

Segal: You got it. Yeah.

Interviewer: Somewhere in ’41, you say?

Segal: ’42.

Interviewer: ’42?

Segal: Yeah, ’42 ’cause Pearl Harbor Day had come and gone.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Segal: This was after Pearl Harbor Day and so that was really the start
of my military career at Camp Crowder, Missouri.

Interviewer: What did your parents think about you joining that way?

Segal: They didn’t fight me. They knew that the war was there…

Interviewer: They supported you?

Segal: Oh yeah, they supported me. They were proud of the fact that I
was going. They didn’t mind that I was enlisting and they were worried
about the draft, you know. I had a 1 in front of my serial number,
15326885, which meant I had enlisted and I left home.

Interviewer: Let me ask you this.

Segal: Yes.

Interviewer: Did you or anyone in your family or friends know what was
happening to the Jews in Europe?

Segal: Yeah we knew but not as bad as it was. We didn’t know it was
as terrible. We knew things were bad in Europe for the Jewish people but
not as horrible as it turned out to be. My older brother had registered
for the draft and so forth and when his numbers were called, he was a 4F.
He has a tremendous, horrible case of vericose veins from his ankle, the
full length of his legs, both legs. He eventually had to have major
surgery to have those veins worked on. I don’t know what they did to
them but he couldn’t take army life. He didn’t have the legs. My
younger brother, later on, he was drafted and they turned him down because
he was the little guy in the family. He was short and skinny. We were all
scrawny. My older brother to this day has a waistline of 26 inches. He’s
still scrawny. But I’ve kept my weight, I was only 119 when I went into
the army. I mean I came out 38 months later, I weighed 120. I mean I
really grew up. I gained one pound in a little over three years. My
younger brother was called up for the draft but flunked his physical
because of his size/weight and he begged them, “Let me try to get
this weight.” He was short about 3 pounds. So he went out and ate a
bunch of bananas and drank a bunch of water and went back and got weighed
again and they took him. It turned out he never left the states, he went
to Camp Lee, Virginia, spent his whole military career there and because
he was little and underweight, he had to prove he was as much a man as
anybody and when they went through the obstacle course and the
infiltration courses, he couldn’t be at the end of the pack. He couldn’t
allow himself to be in the middle. He had to be the first one through and
he forced himself physically to go through this thing, broke himself down
mentally and he’s been disabled, 100% disabled, ever since. He’s still
on 100% disability. He’s now…

Interviewer: Does he live…

Segal: He lives, thank God, he’s learned to live, when he first . . .
. he was in a military hospital, a veterans’ hospital in Lexington for a
bunch of years. And the wonder drugs brought him out of that and he is out
and… live with my parents. My father died and he still stayed with
my mother. And she was determined she was going to live long enough for
Uncle Art, we called him, to be able to take care of himself. She hit 90,
had a little birthday party and says, “Well Art can take care of
himself now. It’s time for me to go.” And two weeks later she died.
She just wore out. But what a woman. She stayed healthy enough to teach
him how to take care of himself and he’s still alive. Lives on his own
in Louisville.


Segal: That’s correct. He was the casualty. And unfortunately, he
never even got overseas. He never left Virginia. But he was ready and
willing to do what he could. He didn’t want to be turned down for the
military and he forced his way in and paid the penalty.

Interviewer: So you’re the one who then actually goes on and served?

Segal: That’s correct. So my military career actually started. I was
ordered into duty by the Chief Signal Office and I guess you might, this
is my first Ohio connection, they sent me to Fort Hayes, right here in
Columbus. And I came up here and stayed overnight at the Deshler-Wallick
Hotel . It was still standing then obviously and I reported the next
morning and was sent from there to, and by the way, that’s the first
place I ever knew of where they made a difference between draftees and men
who had enlisted. Men who had enlisted pulled no detail. Men who had
enlisted got a free ride; men who were drafted, they pulled all the K.P.,
they pulled guard duty, they pulled all the latrineograms. And all that.
They pulled, all the dirty work was done by draftees. Enlisted men pulled
no details. Now when we got to Camp Crowder, Missouri, that’s where I
went through basic, and…

Interviewer: Did you have any Jewish friends in the military at this

Segal: Not really. I ran into some Jewish kids. But you know, you’re
so transcient that at Fort Hayes, you’re not there long enough and then
you get to your company and it was funny because there were four platoons
in my training company and two groups were New York and New Jersey, two
barracks, and the other were Kentucky and Tennessee. And nobody got along.
I mean, it was like the South and the North, like the Civil War, I mean,
without the war, but we competed. So I didn’t even know the guys from
New York and New Jersey and I’m sure there were some Jewish boys in
there but I was the only Jewish guy in the Kentucky-Tennessee delegation.

Interviewer: In the whole thing?

Segal: Yeah, in the whole thing.

Interviewer: Any reaction to you or…

Segal: No, I was accepted.

Interviewer: …know you were Jewish?

Segal: I don’t think it made any difference, I don’t think it ever
really came up. They may have know, may not. I don’t really know. It
never became an issue or something that they would even consider.

Interviewer: Now at some point, you were issued dog tags.

Segal: Yes.


Segal: An H on there.

Interviewer: Did you put the H on there?

Segal: Uh huh.

Interviewer: Did you know that that might put you at risk if you were

Segal: Oh yes and I really decided what I was going to do if I was in
danger of being captured was get rid of the damn things. I’d have buried
them or… put a rock on top of them or something. I was not going to
take those to a POW camp. And I’d say I lost them, that’s all…
or something or other. I’d have lied, believe me.


Segal: Yeah, I was going to get rid of that H on my dog tags if I was
going to be captured.


Segal: Not as far as… They asked you to do it and I didn’t
have any problem with it. I did it because I was Jewish and I was proud of
my Judaism and that was it. I had an H on my dog tags. I was a Hebrew.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: So that went there and Camp Crowder was a good experience. It
toughened me up and I became an active something-or-other there because of
my R.O.T.C. training again and was in charge of the barracks, you know, of
the regular cadry who had their own quarters. But I had a decent career.
The one thing it did to me and, having my R.O.T.C. stuff got me a good
spot, got past work details… the job in Missouri and I had one
week-end-pass into Springfield, Missouri. Now that’s really going out on
a limb. I mean, that’s really recognition when you get to go all the way
in Springfield and come back on your own. I was actually there overnight
and had a good time in Springfield and back to where I belong.

Interviewer: Did you have any girlfriends at the time?

Segal: No, I was not involved with anybody. I dated a bunch of girls in
Louisville, Kentucky, and I always corresponded with them but I would say
no serious connections. I always felt sorry for guys who were married or
engaged or involved, heavily involved with a woman during the war. In
fact, at Camp Crowder, some of the wives followed their husbands down
there and I felt sorry for them because the wives were staying in little
rooming houses and stuff like this and working small jobs, waitresses here
and whatever little jobs they could get ’cause everybody knew they were
just temporaries.

Interviewer: Was your family writing you?

Segal: Oh yeah. I never had a problem, the family and girlfriends wrote
to me. I must have had five or six girlfriends writing to me and…


Segal: yeah, and always, I played the field pretty well. Anyway, Camp
Crowder came and went pretty quick. Then from there, all the radiomen were
sort of, it was sort of an elite group at that time. We were sent to Camp
Murphy, Florida.

Interviewer: What was the group?

Segal: The group. I don’t even remember… just a basic training
group, whatever it was.

Interviewer: …training…

Segal: That’s correct. Just basic military training.

Interviewer: …this radar stuff then?

Segal: No, not at Camp Crowder. But after that I was going to be sent
to Camp Murphy, Florida. That was predetermined by the Chief Signal
Office. Camp Murphy, Florida, was the advanced radar camp. It’s near
where Jupiter is.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: It’s gone now. It’s not there any more. I’ve been by that
area. It’s long gone. But at that time, Camp Murphy was the camp with
the highest I.Q. of any camp in the United States, including West Point or
Annapolis ’cause you had to have 120 to get into Camp Murphy and only
115 to get into the academies. So it was a brainy bunch that got to Camp
Murphy, Florida.

Interviewer: …I.Q.?

Segal: I was tested someplace along the line at 143.

Interviewer: Your genuine I.Q.?

Segal: Yeah.

Interviewer: That’s very high.

Segal: Yes, it’s very high. And my oldest son is the same and then my
next son is higher and my daughter is higher than that.

Interviewer: Now is this Mensa level?

Segal: No, not quite Mensa level.

Interviewer: …I don’t know… Mensa…

Segal: It’s way up.

Interviewer: …my I.Q.


Segal: No, we’re not Mensa level but we’re all pretty sharp. All my
kids had scholarships to college based on brains, not on means.


Segal: I’ve got three kids and, well actually, I’ve got five but
two of them… We’re a blended family…


Segal: Three of my own and two of my wife’s and we’re a
wonderfully, wonderfully blended family. She’s got a boy and a girl and
I had two boys and a girl so we now have three boys and two girls and
spouses and ten grandkids…


Segal: We’re getting off the track now, we’re on the…

Interviewer: …family relationships… You had girlfriends
writing you and so you had…

Segal: Oh yeah.

Interviewer: sort of social support there?

Segal: That’s right. I had a good support at home, at home base, and
the CARE packages were always coming and all the little goodies. So as we
got ready to leave Camp Crowder, Missouri, my travel orders didn’t come
through. Not just mine but about 60 some odd people, 60 some odd men who
had come out of Lexington Signal Depot. We’d gone to basic together. Now
we’re going to go to Camp Murphy. They didn’t come through and the
army isn’t going to let you sit there and wait. So they put us in wire
school. Wire school is from Signal Corps and we belong in the Signal Corps
and wire school, that’s where you string field wire either across
fields, under roads, under gullies, through culverts, up holes. You learn
to climb a pole and put the yardarms on them. I hated that job. If I’d
of had to make a military career of wire, I’d have been really, I’d
have been miserable. But the worst of it was I didn’t realize what
illiteracy was in the United States until I got there. The men in wire
school, other than this bunch of radar men, I was surprised. About 30% of
them were illiterates. They couldn’t read or write. And when they’d
give a test, after lecture on something and you work on something and then
they give you a test. These men couldn’t read or write. They’d go to
the back of the room and the cadry would fill in the papers for them. They’d
give an oral exam instead of a written exam. And that’s when I first
realized the rate of illiteracy in the United States and it shocked the
socks off of me.

Interviewer: You think that’s why they were in wire school?

Segal: Probably.

Interviewer: That’s all they could do?

Segal: Yeah, they were, they just didn’t have the ability to absorb
anything that was really great. And it’s…

Interviewer: There’s a lot of wire that was strung out all over . . .

Segal: Oh God yes.


Segal: Absolutely. Millions and millions of miles of wire. Just wire,
wire, wire.

Interviewer: That was just to fill in your time, was it?

Segal: That was to kill time ’till the orders came through. We were
there about three weeks and I hated every second of it. So we finally got
out of there and we took a train and went down to Camp Murphy, Florida.
Camp Murphy, Florida, was a military camp like you’ve never seen in your
life. It’s like somebody flew over the place in this giant airplane with
a bunch of pre-fabricated barracks and when they got over this big place

with nothing but trees, and jungle and stuff and swamp, not swamp but I
mean, roughage, they pushed them out the door and when they fell, they
staked them down because there was no pattern, there were no streets,
there was no nothing. They were just highly camouflaged in this natural
environment. And there were wooden pathways between the different
buildings. It was the most intensely-camouflaged camp I could possibly

Interviewer: This was purposely secret—…

Segal: That’s correct. And we had 200 foot radar antennas sticking up
in the air. And pilots from the air force bases down there, a cousin of my
wife’s, my first wife’s first cousin was in an air force base near
there, I found out years later, and I said… “I heard about
Camp Murphy. Where in the devil was it?” And he said, “I’ve
flown over it a thousand times, I never saw anything.” And it was an
amazing camp. If nothing else but this, you had a lot of talented bridge
players. A lot of talented people play bridge. And there was always
something going on with bridge but when you got out of the camp and you
went into Palm Beach on a pass, you really said you were from Camp Murphy
and nothing else. That was all you could utter. You couldn’t say what
kind of equipment you were working. That was it.

Interviewer: Do you recall if you were required to sign some document
stating that you would never reveal what you were doing?

Segal: I don’t think we ever signed a document, no. ‘Cause boy we
got lectured but good and then reminded continually.

Interviewer: Were there any background checks done on you…

Segal: Yes, back before Lexington Signal Depot, they were doing
background checks on me and everybody else I knew in radar. Even after we
got home, they were still doing background checks to see if we had a
change of heart. We could still sell secret stuff at that point.

Interviewer: …after the war?

Segal: After the war. There were still background checks going on.

Interviewer: This would be done by the F.B.I.?

Segal: Yeah, or something. Some hocus pocus group that was tracking us
down. It was highly secretive; all this radar stuff was highly secretive.
I’m not sure. I’m sure, the stuff that I worked on is, you know, it’s
like the covered wagon. I guess I could talk about it now because nobody
would give a darn. Nobody cares. But the radar that we had in those days
was ultra, ultra secret and the detonators and everything. And it was
incredible. It was the miracle stuff of its day. It was exactly what the
computer is today.


Segal: So it was, it was quite an experience learning this radar. It
did pay because after the war I was offered jobs in that particular field
and I didn’t take them. But I had a hard time recovering. But that’s
later. We’ll talk about that later. Anyway…

Interviewer: How long were you out there at Camp Murphy?

Segal: I was at Camp Murphy probably about three months, four months,
something like that. And I learned, and this will slay you, I learned the
APN2 which became, I think it was so funny. I learned the APN2 and all of
its intracies. I could take one apart and put it back together darn near
blindfolded. I knew every component, every resistor, every tube, every
capacitor, you name it. I knew every wire in that bloomin’ thing. And I
left there. By the time I got around to seeing to it again, I didn’t
even recognize it. I said, “Oh, I think I’ve seen this unit
before.” And it was like out of the blue because of circumstances,
and I’ll touch on them later, I lost my identity with it because it was
so long getting back to it. But I spent a great time down in Florida. Had
a real good time. Great bunch of men. A lot of sharp guys. Some of them I
knew from before, some I didn’t. Oh, I damn near got killed down there
but that’s beside the point.


Segal: The instructors, there were only, in the one unit I was working
on, there was a heavy gun laying, SCR524. It was shore-to-ship – to aim
long-range guns.

Interviewer: Are these radio you’re talking about?

Segal: No, radar units.

Interviewer: Radar units?

Segal: Yeah, we used to track ships. It was like a heavy gun laying
from shore-to-ship and we used to track convoys coming down the coast of
Florida, by that area and they were heading for Africa or wherever… I don’t know where they
were going. But there were convoys going up and down the coast all the
time and we had gun mounts but no guns and what we would do is we’d
practice from the time they came into our range, say they were going south
or north, we’d track them from maybe 75 miles south until they were 75
miles north, and see how many shots we could get off and how many ships we
could possibly sink. And then what the instructors would do, at night,
they’d come in at night and cut a wire, they would put a dead tube in
instead of a live tube, they’d take a capacitor out or a resistor out
and weld the wires, solder the wires together and the piece was missing.
Or they’d take one that was a resistor out and put in one that’s burnt
or out of date or whatever, stick a bad one in there and then we had to
come in the morning and turn the thing on and, “Hey, this thing isn’t
working right.” Then you had to figure what was wrong. Now you really
got the experience of a radar technician and that’s what we were. We
were radar techs, not operators, we were radar techs. We had to keep them
on the air. That’s what we were learning. We were not learning to be
operators. We were technicians. Yeah. That was the skill and we learned
that and boy, it was so valuable.


Segal: Well this one time, whenever you worked on one, and it had
safety signals on the panels but to work on it, you couldn’t, oh if you
turned it on, you could get all your images on the meters and so forth on
your oscilloscope, but now you got to get inside the thing, but you had to
turn the power on so you could test it to see what’s going on. So you’d
take the panels off and you would work on testing the performance inside
with the circuit tracer to find out what was the bad thing that was in
there that caused it to goof up. Okay? So I was working with another guy
who was brilliant. Oh was he brilliant. He knew more about electronics
than anybody in our group. He was really sharp. Big puffy kid from the
east somewhere. I can’t remember. But he was a big boy and he was big
but he was soft. But he had brains, man he had brains between his ears.
And he was working on the back and I was working on the front. No he was
on the front and I was on the back. And he got to a problem, we were
working with it cold, I mean the power was off. And he turned it on and my
hands were inside there. And luckily they were in a place where I only got
a good, heavy jolt. But I could have been killed. And it blasted me off,
and I was working on a high stool. It was on a work bench between us. He
was on the front end and I was on the back end and we were working,
sitting on high stools. It actually knocked me back and off that stool. It
hit me so hard. See? And the lieutenant who was teaching that course,
teaching the equipment, who was also brilliant, he tore into that guy. He
was ready to kill him. He said, “You’ve been told, you know this.
My god, you could have killed that man,” and they busted him out of
school. And guess what happened to him? He ended up at MIT. (Laughter) He
was so brilliant when it came to the physical work. He ended up in design
and creation and he ended up as an engineer.

Interviewer: You recall his name?

Segal: No.

Interviewer: Okay.

Segal: Anyhow.


Segal: But he went to MIT.


Segal: That was the first goal of training, see. Now (laughter)…

Interviewer: …hospital that day or anything?

Segal: No but I sure as hell had a headache. Oh man, I had a horrible


Segal: I did get electrocuted in England. I really got a good one. That’s
when I fried.


Segal: And that was in England. But we’ll get to that later on. Yeah.

Interviewer: Okay, so does that wrap up your training?

Segal: So we did this and I learned the APN2 and the… stuff, and
after I learned all about this heavy gun stuff, I never saw it again. So
then I head out to an outfit in San Joaquin Valley, California. What the
heck’s the name of the town? I’ll think of it. Having a Medicare
moment. Out in the Santa… What the heck was it called? Oh,

somewhere, it was in the grape area. Anyhow, we go out there and I get
inside… ready to go on maneuvers and we’ll all, oh I take it
back. We stopped in Reno on the air force base and I don’t know why
(laughter), long enough to go into town and win enough money to get drunk
a couple of nights. Other than that, we got back on the train and we went
to California. And we get to the camp in California and I join this outfit
and we’re going on maneuvers. Turns out there were like six outfits,
signal companies, all signal companies, all radar, same as mine. It was
really a great set-up. We were all going on maneuvers together and we
headed out to a place called Campbell Mountain and I’ve never been able
to find Campbell Mountain since. It was a hunk of desert with a mountain
in the middle of it and all around this mountain were military troops
bivouaced. Hotter than the Billy blue hell. I mean, it had to be 120
degrees out there every day. Sweat like a mule. And it was a weapons
range. And that’s where we developed most of our weapons skills. We
learned the weapons in basic and at Camp Murphy we learned more. They had
a range at Camp Murphy. Oh I was a range noncom one day a week because I
was a hell of a shot. I’m still a good shot even at my age now.

Interviewer: Small arms?

Segal: Small arms and rifles. Rifles, yeah. I’m an expert rifleman.
So anyhow, we blew up Campbell Mountain for about a week and never saw a
bath. You’d get two canteens of water a day. It was roughing it. That’s
all right. You know, that didn’t bother anybody. It’s soldiering. Then
we went from there to Sequoia National Park. And that was camouflage
maneuvers. And if you couldn’t camouflage yourself in that place, you
were stupid. You could camouflage yourself so well nobody could find you,
including your first sergeant. Another guy and I, we took our pup tent
outside the limits where we were supposed to be and we had our own little
hideaway where we could screw off and disappear from the drills and stuff
like that and hikes and stuff. We did it. But anyhow, we got to the
camouflage maneuvers there and it’s a beautiful place to be on
maneuvers. It was great. Then we went near Yosemite and we were in Badger
Path and that was to really toughen us up. Yosemite National Park is a big
glacier and we toughened up up and down those mountains, up and down the
side of that glacier — thirty mile hikes here and thirty mile hikes there
but it’s hard to believe Dave, but all this running around and all this
roughhousing and nobody complained because right around the bend in the
next road was a sight that was just more spectacular than what you’d
just seen. It was like being on the greatest vacation tour in the United
States. And we’d get this big paycheck (laughter) to do it but all your
meals were included and your uniforms were included and it was an
adventure. It really was. And nobody really complained about all the hikes
and the sweats and hauling the packs and the equipment and all the things
you had to do, all maneuvers, and it was great. We were there for months
and we got tough and time we got back to Fresno, about three days later,
they had what they call a “red line.” That means you’re
moving, you’re going somewhere. You don’t get to telephones. All tele-
phones were monitored and you could say nothing to anybody about where you
were going or what you were doing or you’re leaving here or going
somewhere. I was a soldier who never called home ’cause long distance
calls cost money. You wrote letters. But I knew we were red line and we’re
going to go overseas and as near as I could tell we were. I had a feeling
that we were going to go in the east, we were going to go not to the
Pacific, I just had a feeling that what was going on, that we were going
to be going in a ship. So I called home collect and I know better than
that. You don’t do that. Well I had some money. I could have paid but I
called collect ’cause I wanted my folks to know this is the real thing.


Segal: So, “How you doing?” “How’s everybody?”
“How’s Walter and how’s…” my brother and sister, you
know, kibbitzing and “How you doing? Everything’s fine out here.
Beautiful here in California. How’s all the family? And how’s Aunt
Caroline and how’s this one and how’s that one? By the way, have you
heard from Aunt Jenny?” And Aunt Jenny lived in Brooklyn. (Laughter)
See. That’s, “you haven’t visited her in a long time. Has she
come down to Louisville?” She never came to Louisville. And I says,
“Why don’t you go and see her? It’s been a long time. It’d be a
good visit for you.” They took the hint.

Interviewer: Oh yeah, they did?

Segal: They think, “Oh he’s coming that way and he’s going to
be comin’ to New York and he can’t say anything.” They were sharp
little people, I’ll tell you. Sure as hell, they got a train and they
came to New York.

Interviewer: They did that…

Segal: Yeah, they went to live with Aunt Jenny and sure as hell, I
boarded a troop train going east. Five days on that filthy damn troop
train to get to New York, to get to Camp Crowder, no, Camp Kilmer, New
Jersey, and they tell us that you’re red line and you can’t tell
anybody where you’re going, where you’re coming, what’s going on.
But we worked it out. Half the company would go to town every night we’re
here for whatever many nights it is. We don’t know. And you’re
processing, you’re upgrading your shots or…

Interviewer: Okay. You’re on the train. The tape ran out and this is
side 2 now… You’re on the train and your folks were alerted?

Segal: Yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh… headed for New Jersey?

Segal: Right.


Segal: Okay. Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. It’s a short train ride into
Pennsylvania Station.

Interviewer: So we got you into New York.

Segal: We got me in New Jersey so the first chance I got to get off the
base and wouldn’t you know it’s the first night we were there, and
they had trucks to take you into the train station and, six by sixes, and
we went into the train station and that’s the first telephone I could
get to that wasn’t monitored and I called my aunt’s house and sure as
the dickens, my folks were there. I said, “I’m catching
such-and-such a train into Penn Station. I’ll be there six, six-thirty,
whatever it was. I’ve got all night.” “Oh wonderful, wonderful
…” Keep in mind through this entire military career this far, I’d
never been home. I’d never had a furlough.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Segal: Never had a furlough.

Interviewer: Well I was wondering. You know, your parents are dropping
everything… their lives to come and see you?

Segal: Uh huh. Because they hadn’t seen me for over a year.

Interviewer: …jumping on a plane or flying home?

Segal: Correct. It was, it’s a train ride.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Segal: Louisville, it’s a 20-hour train ride. So anyhow, they’d
come into New York and they meet me at Penn Station and oh, it was a great
sight and my aunt was with them and my cousin was with them, and my dad’s
brother was there. My dad’s brother, Jack, was the Vice-President of
Columbia Pictures. He was in charge of foreign distribution worldwide. He
had a pretty healthy job. And Jack and I always had a good relationship.

Interviewer: Your Uncle Jack, huh?

Segal: Uh huh. Jack Segal. Yep. So anyhow, they all meet the train and
we go out to dinner and we talked and we talked and they took pictures.
And we talked and talked. I caught a train back like 3:00 in the morning
and got in the same old junk the next day, processing and I wanted to go
back the next night.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: So I bought a pass. I bought a pass from a kid who didn’t
particularly want to go into New York…


Segal: No, it was every other night…. had his name on it. I didn’t
care. I went out to the bloomin’ gate and I went into the same thing
again. Well the third night, I had a pass with my name on it. I went in
the third night and they got a big party planned. Family was comin’ from
all over, my dad’s family, you know, and they were, it was a big party
planned. It was, God knows how many people.

Interviewer: The third night?

Segal: The fourth night.

Interviewer: Fourth night? What happened to the fourth pass?

Segal: Well, I’m going to buy one.

Interviewer: You’re going to buy one?

Segal: I’m going to buy one again, see? This kid: “Well, I’ll
sell you the next one if I get one.” So I get back out there and the
next one, he says, “You’re red line.” Now it’s not AWOL, it’s

Interviewer: You specifically or…

Segal: Anybody.

Interviewer: Anybody?

Segal: Anybody. If you go out of here under any circumstances, it’s
desertion. Well I’m not going to desert. I don’t mind being in the
hoosegow for ten days or whatever it is. And a lot of guys went overseas
on a troop ship, and they’re in the brig. But that, this is desertion.
This is serious. I missed the party. Missed the party.


Segal: And I drew the Queen Elizabeth. I’m going first class. 15,000
men on this ship besides the crew.

Interviewer: Do you know what division was on there with you?

Segal: It was a mess.


Segal: It was every—, there wasn’t even, I don’t know, and they
had a bunch of women on board, army nurses or whatever…


Segal: Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy…


Segal: It was Fall.

Interviewer: Fall of ’42, ‘3…

Segal: Uh, forty—

Interviewer: Three?

Segal: Yeah, ’43. Yeah, Fall of ’43…


Segal: …was the Fall of ’44. It was the Fall of ’43 like…


Segal: It was like September or October?


Segal: Because when you go on board that darn thing… troop ship

Interviewer: …Queen Mary?

Segal: Same kind of ship. What were you, when you’re at the head of
the gangplank, when you come up the gangplank to get on board, and in the
first place, somebody goes to identify the unit and there’s a sailor
there to guide the troops to where the area is, and there’s a guy there
who’s arm’s going like this, “You go to the right and you go to
the left, you go to the right, you go…”

Interviewer: …Queen Elizabeth and there’s nobody…

Segal: Sailor, shoving one to the right and one to the left and there’s
a guy taking this column down, which means that you’re company assigned
to two areas of the ship. That’s going to be your living space while on
this trip across the Atlantic. And one area was down in the hole
someplace: hot, miserable, must have been right near the boiler room. I
don’t know how hot it was but it was abominable and that’s where I
spent the first night. The other area for the company is on the open deck.
It’s freezin’ cold out there. See you went from hot flashes to cold
flashes and everything in between. The area below hold was bunks but not
one or two. They were five or six high and you had to climb up like a
monkey and you’d get into your bunk and if you had to turn over, you had
to get out and get back in again ’cause it was, they were so close
togethe; the guy’s head above you was saggin’ down in your face and
you’re saggin’ down in the… the guy below me. The only
difference was I didn’t weigh anything, see? And this is how you’re
going to cross the Atlantic. And you were sleeping raw or in your jockey
shorts because it was hotter than a furnace. And it was, it was
abominable. And then the second night I’m up there, I’m freezing to
death, see? On the open deck but it… . you changed places. There’s
another thing they did to you. You came on board, they gave you a great
big badge, must have been about four inches in diameter. That right?

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Big round badge. Had numbers on it from 1 to 12… that’s
your eating badge. If you drew a 3, that meant you eat at 3 a.m. and 3
p.m. You’re 11, you eat at 11 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Interviewer: Twice a day?

Segal: Twice a day.


Segal: No, twice a day. That was it. And the food was absolutely lousy.
You’ve had airplane food, you’ve had hospital food; this was swill. I
mean it was pathetic. We lived on boiled potatoes, boiled beets and Limey
tea. And it was el sicko. Eggs we got for breakfast. Hard-boiled
eggs in the morning, you could smell them. They were so full of sulphur
and they were garbage. I mean it was not fit to feed humans. Thank God
someplace along the line I got to the PX. I was allowed to buy a box of
Hershey bars and I got 24 Hershey bars and that’s what I lived off
crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Now the Queen Elizabeth travels by itself. It
doesn’t go in a convoy. So you’re…


Segal: …chasing us or not


Segal: The Q. E. outruns a torpedo, yeah. So you’re always nervous
because there’s no battleships, aircraft carriers… no destroyers,
no nothing out there to protect you. So at any time you’re on deck, or .
. . . you’re looking for periscopes (laughter) what do you call them?
Periscopes on submarines, you’re looking at, you’re going to get
whomped. Somebody’s been there waitin’ for you… he’s waiting
for you, and he’s going to get you. So you sweat it out; but we made it,
obviously. But the food was terrible. The worst part of it was, this was a
deluxe passenger ship and there were not enough rest rooms. And we found
out what those helmets were for ’cause you just couldn’t get to a
toilet every time you needed a toilet. So you did your business in your
helmet and you walked to the rail and you dumped it overboard. And that’s
what those helmets were for. You thought they were to keep bullets from
going through your brain. Wrong. You’d wash in those things. You’d
puke in them. You’d go to the potty in them. You cooked in them. You do
everything in there but swim. And that’s what those helmets were for.
You keep the liners clean but the helmet is a mess. See? Okay? Okay.
Anyhow, we get across the thing and it’s five and a half days. And we
land at Greenich, Port of Glasgow. You’ve heard this kind of stuff
before from other people?


Segal: Okay. So we get to Greenich, former Glasgow. Now we got 15,000
men to get off this ship, and only so many trains that can take you south
to jolly old England.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: So you wait your turn. They finally call your number and they
lead you out of your area. Oh by the way, I only spent one night on the
deck and one night in the hold. The rest of the time I spent in a
stairwell which was warmer than the outside and cooler than the furnace
room I was sleeping in. I was slightly out of place. But I made my mess
call for whatever I could eat. Anyhow, I survived the trip across. Now we’re
in Greenich, Port of Glasgow, and we get off the ship. Ain’t no trains
sittin’ there. They’ve already gone. They’ve left and they’re
waitin’ for more trains to come in to haul people. You got 15,000
soldiers. So what do they do with all these soldiers? Well there was a big
… prison. It was a hold over prison that they had, it was an ancient
building. They were taking prisoners in North Africa and different places
and ships they’d sunk, there were German and Italian prisoners that they
had, and they were shipping them to the United States. And this was the
place where they had the prisoners. Well to get us off the streets, to get
us out of the way, they stuck us in this prison. So I spent my first day
in Scotland in a prison.

Interviewer: (laughter)

Segal: In a prison. I wasn’t indicted, I wasn’t convicted, but I
was in a prison.


Segal: Not what I expected. And it was so full of, shall we say, bugs,
cooties or fleas and I don’t know what the hell else. You sat on your
duffel bags. You wouldn’t dare sit on the floor. There was no furniture
in there. Oh we had one meal there. Here again, boiled meats, boiled
potatoes, no salt, no pepper, no butter, no nothing. Cup of Limey tea.
That was our meal. By 10:00 that night, they called… called our
numbers and we head out. (phone rings – pause) Where were we?

Interviewer: We were in the prison.

Segal: Okay, we’re in the prison. Okay.


Segal: Okay. Finally about 10:00 at night, maybe 11, they call our
number. There’s a train ready to take us where we’re goin’, wherever
that is. Now the one good thing about it was… gettin’ off that
bloomin’ ship was a bagpipe group of Scottish soldiers that played when
we got off the ship. And then we were in the prison and then we get to get
on the train and this is like 11:00 at night and we’re starvin’ to
death. We haven’t had anything decent to eat the whole day and finally,
by the grace of God and the sweetness of humanity, the Scottish Red Cross
shows up, a bunch of lovely Scotch women, with coffee and donuts
unlimited. I’ve never seen a prettier sight in my life, whether it was
the women or the donuts, but I’m telling you we were so grateful. I mean
(laughter), we’d have fought the war right there in Scotland right then
and there. Those people were just, those ladies, in the middle of the
night, they were out there feeding us soldiers.


Segal: Right. So we left there and went down to a place south of
Manchester called Delamer Park. It had been an English base of some kind
and they turned it over to the American soldiers. And we got to the
bloomin’ place and it was filthy. So we were at Delamer Park for a bunch
of time and oh, by the way, it was a major thing I left out. Remember when
I told you we were on maneuvers and there were all these companies. Every
company got an assignment to a battalion except us. The reason we didn’t
get assigned to a company was because our company commander was only a
first lieutenant and he was mad because he wasn’t captain. So he did not
fulfill, did not fill his Table of Organization. He had a bunch of
privates and PFCs and T-5s and he refused to fill the Table of
Organization until he got his captaincy. So they had one too many
companies so guess which one they broke up? Ours became a repple-depple

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Segal: Yeah. That was before the 1075th.


Segal: We were like, we were nobody. We were a repple-depple company.

Interviewer: The 1075th is what, Signal Corps?

Segal: Signal Corps. Right.


Segal: 1075th Airborne Signal Company.

Interviewer: Signal Company?

Segal: Signal Company. Part of the Army Signal Corps.

Interviewer: A company is usually around 200 men.

Segal: Right, except this was 100-man.

Interviewer: A hundred man company?

Segal: Uh huh. Uh huh.


Segal: No, I was not in there, I was not in there yet, no. We were . .
. . a repple-depple company.

Interviewer: …a repple-depple?

Segal: Right.

Interviewer: Replacements?

Segal: That’s…

Interviewer: You don’t know where you’re going?

Segal: We don’t know what we’re going to be part of anything. So I
was repple-depple from the time I left maneuvers, all through Scotland,
through most of my career in England until I was assigned to the 1075th
which was months after I was in England.


Segal: Right.

Interviewer: You had a long time in England?

Segal: In repple-depple.


Segal: Right. And I saw a lot of England…


Segal: I had a great time. My Uncle Jack was wondeerful when I left.
When I saw him in New York; that’s the one with Columbia Pictures . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: he gave me a list. We didn’t know where my boat was going so
he gave me a list of all the foreign offices all over the world and who
the managing director was, and said, “You got a contact and a friend
in any of those places and look these people up and we were alerting
everybody that you could be coming their way. And if you show up do
everything you can for me and charge New York for my account.” So I
had an expense account in my tours of Europe. That was the only luxury I
had throughout the entire war, was Uncle Jack’s connections.

Interviewer: So it was used for more than just England then?

Segal: Yes, it was for the whole regular world. And he… when you
get into Europe, I made contact in Paris for instance. And there was a man
there who, thank God, Alex Stein, S-T-E-I-N, Stein but not a Jewish Stein.
He was a Catholic Stein. And he was the managing director before. The
office was at 88 Boulevard Hausman and that’s where the office was by
the time we liberated Paris…


Segal: You know the city well.

Interviewer: I know the city.

Segal: There you are.

Interviewer: It’s parallel to the Champs Elysees.

Segal: You’ve got it. You got it. And Alex was wonderful. He had a
wife named Romaine who didn’t speak any English. Alex did everything.
Alex’s brother was in a concentration camp. They were both in the
Resistance, but his brother was caught and he was in a concentration camp.
He came out looking like somebody out of Buchenwald, a skeleton of a man.

Interviewer: Did you meet him in Europe?

Segal: Yes, I met him in Paris. The brother?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Segal: Yes. I spent a lot of time with Alex. Whenever I could get into

Interviewer: A survivor of Buchenwald?

Segal: No, he looked like he got out, I’m not sure what camp he was
in. He was in one of the camps. But he survived. And he came out. And he
looked like hell. But Alex was never caught. Alex and two other men had
taken the entire film library of Columbia Pictures in Paris and buried
them out in the country. Yeah.

Interviewer: Saved them?

Segal: Saved the entire library. It did not fall into German hands. And
he spent time with the Resistance.

Interviewer: Was he a Jew?

Segal: No not Jewish. Catholic.

Interviewer: Catholic? Well that’s…

Segal: Yeah, that’s Stein. Yeah.


Segal: So he fought his war his own way but what a wonderful, wonderful
bunch of people. I had a wonderful time in London, even when the bombs
were falling because when I could get a pass (laughter). The Managing
Director was a guy named Joe Friedman, an American and he lived in a place
called Dorset House. And it was like an apartment hotel so (laughter)
first time I was up in Manchester. And they didn’t even have an office
up there. But when I got down Oxford, Redding and that area, I got into
London on 24-hour passes practically every week. And Joe had set me up
with an apartment in Dorset House, a guest apartment, just a bedroom, it
was like a hotel room with a little sitting room. A bedroom, a little
sitting room and a bath. That’s all it was. In the same building. And I
had what they called a Class A pass to every movie theater and every
theater in England and he was good, all the booze I wanted. It was just
great. And when it really came in handy though, there was a time that we
were between drops; it was mostly before D-Day… And I was with the
1075th. We were in England and we were cleaning up equipment and what we
were cleaning up, I was… on work. I was back with the 60 men who
had to repair and maintain all the stuff out of all these airplanes and
all the TPN3s and all the PPN1s that had hit the ground.

Interviewer: This radar stuff?

Segal: All radar stuff. And I’ll explain those units to you. And I
was in this what they called Radar Shack. I was in the radar shack working
with a guy from Texas, a guy named Jeff Woodard. Definitely a damn good
radar man. And he was, he was the genius on what they called a G-unit,
letter G. It was a navitational radar unit and it was, when there was
clouds and rain and such and you couldn’t do any celestial navigating
and that kind of stuff, the G-unit is what they used.

Interviewer: Is that in an airplane?

Segal: Yes, it’s an airplane dome. And mostly in troop transport and
some heavy stuff. If you look at any heavy-duty planes in those days,
every DC3 or 4 was a troop carrier and did not have one. The lead plane
would have the APM2. The lead ship would have a G and an APM2. The G unit
would get them close to where they were going to go. The APM2 was good for
27.727 miles. That’s what I worked on.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Jeff would get them close and I would get them pin-pointed.
Okay? So he was working on a G unit and I was also workng on a G unit. But
we were back-to-back in a room. He was working on one unit and I was
working the other. And here again (tape fades out)

Interviewer: Okay.

Segal: Okay. We were working back-to-back in the radar shack…


Segal: And there was, had all the stuff sorted out from this unit and I’m
corner-to-corner with my hands and (tape fades out)

Interviewer: Say it again?

Segal: Okay. This 11,000 hit my left hand, this 11,000 volt line and it
didn’t kill me but I’m cooking.

Interviewer: You can’t let go?

Segal: I can’t let go. I’m hooked. Jeff sensed back-to-back and we
kept a 2X4 in the radar shack, in the radar room and he grabbed that 2X4
and he came down across my arm, the forearm right here, just hard enough
that it was just enough power that it broke the contact; my hand came
loose and it broke the circuit. I’m out. I’m on the floor. Jeff
screamed for help to the radio man in the next room. And the medics came
and in the meantime, Jeff’s giving me artificial respiration…


Segal: Unconscious. They brought me out of it… artificial

Interviewer: You stopped breathing?

Segal: I don’t know. I didn’t stop breathing but I was unconscious.

Interviewer: Oh.

Segal: But he did that out of desperation. I came out of it and I was
woozy and I had a strange feeling and I couldn’t believe I had done
that. And everybody said, “What did you do? How? What hit you?”
And I said, I described the line that hit me and one of the guys said,
“Hell, that’s 11,000 volts.” Now the difference is 11,000
volts but at what amperage? It was a very low amperage. See? It’s
wattage that kills you. It’s voltage and amperage which makes wattage.
Well there wasn’t enough wattage to kill me but it was enough to cook
me. So I got up off the floor and measured it. See? It was about a quarter
of an amp, with 11,000 volts. Anyhow, they took me over to the hospital
and it was raining. They sent me out and they said, “You’re going
to be okay. You’ve come through this real good. But you’ve had a jolt
in your whole system. Now if you haven’t played tennis all winter and
you get out and you play the first time in the Spring, and you play tennis
and you come in and boy, the next day your arm aches and your back aches,
muscles you hadn’t used for six months. When you got that shot of
electricity, muscles you’ve never used got jolted and tomorrow morning,
you’re going to be one sore, stiff person. You’re going to be
screaming sore.” They gave me some pain pills of some kind or other
and they worked it out that I would get a three-day pass to London and
gave me a letter to the MPs where they told me, “If you want to, the
best medicine is you get drunk. Get drunk and relax. That’s the best
thing you can do for those muscles.” But just in case I got drunk and
got in trouble, they said, “What kind of a drunk are you?” And I
said, “Basically I’m a sleeping drunk. When I get drunk, I go to my
hotel room or go to my bunk or bed and I go to sleep.” “Well
just in case you get picked up for being drunk,” they gave me a
letter for the MP explaining my condition, hold me and return me to base.
(Laughter) I had a license to steal… a license to steal. From that
point, Joel Friedman’s apartment came in handy. I had a place to go to
hole up for three days. And oh, it was a pleasure. I had a great time. And
so I recovered. That was one of my near-death episodes.

Interviewer: Were you physically burned on your hands or anything?

Segal: No, but what it did is, this is where it got me, in the back of
my neck and shoulders, muscles and nerves for years, I mean years and
years after into the 1950s, I would have neck pains every so often that
would absolutely drive me up the wall. Whatever I was doing, I had to quit
work and remember Stanback? It was a Daytril-like aspirin?

Interviewer: Oh yeah.

Segal: Aspirin, Empirin, Stanback, only thing that would help me,
Stanback and an electric pad.

Interviewer: Were you eligible for any disability payments on that?

Segal: I didn’t even apply. I should have. But I was so just, I just
wanted out and I didn’t want to string it out, I just wanted out. I’d
had enough. I had the points and I had the years, I had the time, I had
the scars. I wanted out. I didn’t even ask for a pension or any kind or
disability. I’ve always been able to work. I’ve always kept on, you
know, so it didn’t affect my…


Segal: future, didn’t really affect my future except I suffered. Oh
many times I suffered.

Interviewer: Really?

Segal: And if it hadn’t been for Stanback and an electric heat pad to
put around the back of my head, ’cause I could scream; it hurt so bad.

Interviewer: You know, electric shock therapy is a treatment for some

Segal: Yes, my brother’s had that.


Segal: Yeah.

Interviewer: Very effective from what I’ve read. Did you have any
memory loss? It causes memory loss.

Segal: No, I had no memory loss. But my brother Art, the one that was
disabled, he had water shock and electric shock both and he got fat. He
was a little skinny guy. He’s tubby. He’s five-by-five, so to speak.

Interviewer: …no memory loss?

Segal: No memory loss at all.

Interviewer: No memory loss?



Segal: Thank God for Jeff Woodard.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Segal: That he got me off of there in a hurry. He really got me off in
a hurry, he was…


Segal: yeah, he saved my gut or I would have died right there. That’s
one of my near-death things.

Interviewer: Well that was for aircraft?

Segal: That was for aircraft. Now…

Interviewer: Did you…

Segal: Okay. Now we get to Normandy and Cherbourg. Okay. The 1075th was
very much involved in getting all the equipment ready for the invasion.

Interviewer: 1075th, Signal?

Segal: Airborne Signal. Our job primarily was to install the APN2s on
troop-carrier planes. You didn’t go on every plane and troop carrier. It
was like one out of six. And the APN2 was a highly-classified beacon
receiver. Now it was the thing that triggered the beacon. There were two
beacons involved. One was called PPN1. The other was called the TPN3. The
unit in the plane was called an APN2. The PPN1 went down with a Pathfinder
paratrooper. He had a good map. He went down at night to get to a fixed
location. The PPN1 he carried down strapped to his leg had a battery that
was good for about five hours. It was also coded, coded to trigger certain

Interviewer: Uh huh. It was all radar stuff?

Segal: It’s all radar stuff.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: He was taken over by a plane flying with a G unit ’cause there’s
no sense in using an APN2. He got as close as they could with navigational
stuff. Then he had to find his way to where he was supposed to be to
signal the plane leading in the glider with me and a squad of men and

Interviewer: How do you know all this stuff?

Segal: That was… explained to us because that was our niche.
That was…

Interviewer: … were you told about that technique and all that

Segal: Well basically, to understand the APN2 that I had to…

Interviewer: … Pathfinders and paratroopers…

Segal: That was all explained to me when I got in the 1075.

Interviewer: Oh okay.

Segal: Just…

Interviewer: … dealing with coastal artillery and…

Segal: Never saw that. In fact, it was amazing…


Segal: when I got to the 1075 and they said, “According to your
records, you know about an APN2. That’s why you were assigned
here.” I said, “I don’t remember that.” And then they

Interviewer: … earlier, yeah.

Segal: Yeah, and then…

Interviewer: Okay.

Segal: they took me back in the radar shack and said, “This is an
APN2.” And I said, “Oh hell, I know that thing like the back of
my hand. I learned that years ago down in Florida.”

Interviewer: When did you get in the 1075th?

Segal: (Signs)

Interviewer: … date, time of year?

Segal: About two months before D-Day. Three months.

Interviewer: Okay.

Segal: Yeah.

Interviewer: … about March, ’44?

Segal: Right.

Interviewer: You finally got out of the repple-depple?

Segal: I finally got out of the damn repple-debble. I was so tired of
sorting mail, any kind of job to keep…


Segal: off of dirty details.

Interviewer: Any of your buddies come with you in that assignment?

Segal: They were, I was the only one that was in the 1075th.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Segal: Others were scattered all…


Segal: No I went to the 1075…


Segal: Yeah. It existed. Yeah.

Interviewer: … at that time?

Segal: No, it existed and I was filling in a spot on the team.


Segal: I was filling in a replacement, open spot on Team A.

Interviewer: Did you know where you were in England?

Segal: Redding or Oxford.

Interviewer: Okay.

Segal: I think it was Oxford. I wouldn’t swear. It was either Redding
or Oxford. And that’s when I caught up with the l075th.

Interviewer: … division that was affiliated with ?

Segal: No. It, the 1075th was the property of the First Allied Airborne

Interviewer: Okay.

Segal: Which meant the 82nd, the 101st and the British whatever it was


Segal: Sixth, lst, British lst, and eventually the 17th when they got
involved. But that was the First Allied Airborne Army. That was it.

Interviewer: So then…

Segal: It was even a patch. There was a shoulder patch.

Interviewer: Do you have that, that shoulder patch…

Segal: Yeah, got the shoulder patch.

Interviewer: So you’re Airborne now?

Segal: Yeah, I’m Airborne.


Segal: I’m fourth echelon. I’m in repair and maintenance.

Interviewer: You’re not going to get…

Segal: I’m not going to get into this chicken-shit stuff. I’m going
to keep repairing the stuff they bring back here.

Interviewer: You’re going to stay in England.

Segal: I’m going to stay in England and roast my toes over a
pot-bellied stove. See?


Segal: … English girls up and down the street.


Segal: I’m going to have a good time. See? So when I learned…
with all the equipment, you got to know what… and so forth.

Interviewer: … learning the Pathfinder equipment?

Segal: You got it.


Segal: That’s right. So the guy with the PPN1…

Interviewer: Which is the point. Now you’re getting into operations
not typically repair?

Segal: Well…


Segal: Job description changes – we become secondary Pathfinders – we
relieve the PPN1 Pathfinder with a glider drop and a TPN3 unit. We are
both 4th echelon and 1st echelon.


Segal: And I get used back and forth the whole time. This became sort
of the function of these Airborne Signal Companies. Airborne because we’re
supposed to fly the equipment for the airborne drops and all, and maintain
it. Now they’re going to go from fourth to first, to first to fourth, to
fourth to first, echelon, like a yoyo.


Segal: We never knew, didn’t have a home. You had the 60 men of where
we were rear echelon, two 20-man teams made up of radio and radar men and
they all had their things to do in conjunction with the drops. Okay. Now,
the guy goes off with the PPN1. He gets as close to where he’s supposed
to be as possible. He turns that thing on at a given time because at that
particular time, he’s got to bring in this one DC3 with a glider loaded
with me, 2 TPN3s, basically 8 to 10 men, and a zillion, as many wet-cell
batteries as we can carry. See? Then he beacons me in. Now it’s just not
me and it’s not just him. There’s a whole bunch of Pathfinders out
there. There might be 15 or 20 of them out there. And each one of them is
coded so that if I’m supposed to go to you, you’re the Pathfinder, you’re
down there with that PPN1, my…

Interviewer: … down there?

Segal: Huh?

Interviewer: Jumped?

Segal: You jumped down and put that thing up.

Interviewer: I’m a true Pathfinder?

Segal: I come over, we come over with this APN2. Now I’ve got to pick
him up, 27.727 miles away as close as possible. Doesn’t take long to fly
27 miles. And I fly to that beacon and the glider cuts loose and I get as
close as I can. Then we get caught up with him or as close as possible. If
we can’t haul all this stuff all that distance, we find the right place
and then try to get ahold of him to join us. And now we got to get this,
now we know when and what we have to do to bring in more paratroopers.

Interviewer: Now let me just get a grasp of this operation. You’re
told about this; you can’t experience it. Right? You’re not…
practice run of this before D-Day?

Segal: No, D-plus 7 was my first practice run. I’d only been up in
the glider like three times before on a pleasure ride when the pilots were
trying out the bloomin’ gliders.

Interviewer: But you did get to ride a glider?

Segal: Oh just for the fun and games. Never left England, I mean, I got
to go up in a glider and come back down.


Segal: It’s beautiful. You ever been in a glider?

Interviewer: No.

Segal: Oh for God… Go to Marion, Ohio, some day and go in a
glider. They’re wonderful. I even had my wife in one out in California.


Segal: … be a bird. It’s so quiet and peaceful and the wind
goes through the wings like sssssssssss.


Segal: Yeah. Uh huh.

Interviewer: … You had no practice in this?

Segal: None.

Interviewer: You’re going to do it first time. It’s got to go?

Segal: Uh huh.


Segal: Uh huh. Uh huh. That’s it. This is why I was saying my
R.O.T.C. training came in dang handy.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Segal: And my basic training came in handy. ‘Cause I’m a soldier
first. Okay. I’m an infantryman first. Okay? Now my plane comes in, my
glider come in. We get where we’re going…

Interviewer: … actual experience?

Segal: This is the way it works in, in…


Segal: This is the way it’s supposed to work.

Interviewer: Okay.

Segal: And then when I set up, I’m told to turn that dude on to
such-and-such a time and such-and-such a time and they drop a pattern of
paratroopers. And then a patterns of gliders.

Interviewer: You’re speaking theory now?

Segal: Theory. Yeah

Interviewer: All right.

Segal: Right. Now. But each one is not just one of these things because
you can’t drop all these things. And so they’re trying to lay this
thing in an orderly, military pattern to defend or control railroad
bridges, automobile bridges, truck bridges, key roads with key crossings,
whatever strategic points, but we wanted number one to keep the Germans,
we’re over the German lines now. We want to keep them from retreating
back over or to keep replacements from coming up. So we got it from both
sides. See? That’s where you got to have a lot of men on the ground in a

Interviewer: So that’s all in the theory?

Segal: That’s the theory.

Interviewer: That’s the theory.

Segal: And that’s basically how it works.


Segal: D-plus 4, I’m with a special contingent of radar technicians .
. . .

Interviewer: You never left England?

Segal: Right.

Interviewer: Okay. You know the invasion has happened?

Segal: Yeah, the invasion had happened. They’re on the ground. No, it’s
before the invasion. D-plus 4, D-minus 4.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: D-minus 2. ‘Cause the invasion’s supposed to be the 5th.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: The fourth of June they gather up all these radar technicians;
there must have been 50 of us from all over the place. And we’re sent to
an A-20 base. I don’t even know where in the heck it was. In England.
They got these A-20s. And these A-20s, some brilliant sucker someplace
gets the idea that they got to wipe out certain key locations, radar
units, railroad bridges, bridges over creeks and rivers and so, to block
these things. They got to be knocked out before the invasion. So we’re
up like, they tell us the invasion is the 5th. We got to get this done
because we, to install… APN2s with G units. In the bombardier
section of an A-20… Now number 1, that sucker hasn’t got much
room to move around there or breathe anyhow. To see the screen that’s on
his left shoulder.

Interviewer: An A-20 is an aircraft?

Segal: It’s an attack bomber.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Segal: Okay. He’s got to screw his head around something God-awful to
even see the screen and then work with the parabolic map to find out how
to steer, to tell his pilot where to go to find this bridge and this radar
unit that’s buried and camouflaged God knows where. They got to fly
things before the invasion and knock those things out. So we get involved
and then the morning of the 5th, we’re waiting. There’s no damn
invasion. There’s no planes and what the hell? It got postponed because
of the weather.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Segal: It’s now the 6th. Actually we heard, from the night of the
5th, we heard the planes for the invasion on the morning of the 6th. And
the sky was alive with airplanes. Everything that would fly. See?…
You’d make a one-way trip. So I packed my stuff, they took me over to
the base, and I’m on the glider and I’m headed for St. Lo.

Interviewer: How did you know that?

Segal: I didn’t know until they told me that’s where I was going to
end up: east of St. Lo about 8 miles, something like that east of St. Lo.

Interviewer: St. Lo…

Segal: Yes.


Segal: Yeah, we were there a long time.


Segal: We’re going to get east of St. Lo.


Segal: There were some troops there eventually when they finally hit
there. We were going east of St. Lo to keep reinforcements from coming up,
heading for Normandy and Cherbourg.

Interviewer: Okay.

Segal: We’re not going to get any more Germans in that area. And then
we hit St. Lo after this group landed and the forces from the beach came

Interviewer: That was the idea…

Segal: That was the whole idea.


Segal: Huh?

Interviewer: You got orders to get ready on the 7th, or seven days

Segal: The 13th was the day we went down. We went down the 13th.

Interviewer: … land the glider?

Segal: Yes.


Segal: Oh, nine-ten men.

Interviewer: Nine-ten men and you had this radar stuff?

Segal: Uh huh. Had two TPN3s and a glider full of batteries.

Interviewer: Okay, what happened?

Segal: Then get on the ground. We got on the ground…


Segal: DC3. Thank God. I love DC3s. I’d fly…


Segal: Small arms fire.

Interviewer: Day or night?

Segal: During daybreak.

Interviewer: Daybreak?…

Segal: Daybreak. Yeah.


Segal: Daybreak. Yeah, we flew, we flew daybreak so you can get, in
other words you go across the channel, you’re flying at water level, you’re
flying low.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And then you’re tree-top level. Then when you get reasonably
close, they bring you up a little so the glider pilots got a little better
pick of what he can land in.

Interviewer: Did you…

Segal: Uh, it was too dark to really see how… You knew it was
there and you’ve seen indications of light but I would say I saw very

Interviewer: Okay.

Segal: I didn’t. But oh, when you got on the ground, we missed our
point… like three quarters of a mile from where we were to be. We
didn’t quite make it. We made about a half a mile and hauling all this

Interviewer: Do you recall the landing? Was it rough?

Segal: It was rough… Glider was shot to hell. I mean it was
garbage. But they all are…. 99– 95% of them are garbage when they
get through hitting the ground.


Segal: Huh uh.


Segal: Right. So we got our stuff to this little knoll with plenty of
woods around it and this sergeant who was in command of the squad picked
it out. He said, “Will this do?” and I said, “Hell, yes. It’s
perfect.” So we sent a guy to pick up the Pathfinder; we got the PPN1
and brought him in and we sat there and it wasn’t long. It was like four
hours. And here comes paratroopers and we had a lot of company.

Interviewer: … This was an arial drop or they were already on the

Segal: Well they came down.

Interviewer: They came in?

Segal: My TPN3 on the ground guided them in.

Interviewer: … 13th… glider… parachute drop?

Segal: Uh huh. At St. Lo.


Segal: 101st.


Segal: I don’t know for sure. I spent a lot of time with the 506th.
It seemed like they were in on almost everything I did.

Interviewer: Huhmmm. At St. Lo?

Segal: At St. Lo. East of St. Lo.

Interviewer: Okay. Well what happened there?…

Segal: Yeah, eventually we saw a lot of combat and it was rough. And I
was on the ground there probably six weeks.

Interviewer: Six weeks and you were armed?

Segal: Oh yes.

Interviewer: Well what happened? Do you recall? Were there some major
battles you were in?

Segal: It was the Germans trying to get out and the Germans trying to
get in. First the Germans tried to get in to reinforce and then the
Germans tried to get out when the main body from the beach came up.

Interviewer: Do you remember any specific contact you had with the

Segal: I’m sorry.


Segal: Oh yes.


Segal: Yes, yes.


Segal: (Sighs)

Interviewer: When you had a close call for example with a…

Segal: With everybody shooting at you, it’s always a close call.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Correct? When you… when I’m shooting with a carbine and
somebody’s shooting at me with something, it’s close. I would say they
probably got as close as 50-75 yards. You’re scared and you’re
panicked. Your life is in danger. Somebody’s shooting at you and you’re
shooting at somebody else and it’s, all you think about is, I hate to
say it, “kill or be killed.”

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: ‘Cause you go back to basic when you saw in those movies
“kill or be killed” and all you want to do is bring the other
guy down.


Segal: Yeah, that was later.

Interviewer: That was later?

Segal: Yeah.


Segal: It was probably… was the first time I used a knife. That
was miserable.


Segal: That was the first time.

Interviewer: … Well, what could you say about that…

Segal: Yeah. It was about six weeks which would take us into July.

Interviewer: … July, almost into August?

Segal: It took a while to get you out.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Segal: They wanted us out of there as quick as they could and it was
quite often we used that TPN3 to bring in supplies, to bring in more men,
to bring in gliders, bring in medical stuff. We used that TPN3 a lot.

Interviewer: … successful?

Segal: Yes it was. It was successful until the British screwed up
Arnheim. And we had to hold the bridge so the British could retreat, that
glorious, victorious retreat. I never heard a retreat called
“victorious.” Only the British can do that.


Interviewer: Well… I don’t know what more can we say about it
… survive…

Segal: Well, I wouldn’t say it was quite safe. You had K rations,
then you had C rations.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And…

Interviewer: … taking chances. You were sort of like unique to
this organization?

Segal: I was from the l075th, I was it. The rest of the men were 101st.

Interviewer: 101st men?

Segal: They were 101st men. And they came and went and they did their
thing and they were moving around and I was the beacon who brought in the
other people.

Interviewer: You really…

Segal: Yeah. But I was surrounded by good soldiers…


Segal: and I wasn’t sitting there on that little mound by myself.


Segal: … do it over.

Interviewer: That’s right….

Segal: Right.

Interviewer: Okay so…

Segal: Okay.


Segal: There was a bird colonel, there was a bird colonel who seemed to
give all the orders around the place.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And either he or one of his lieutenants would come over and say,
“The colonel wants this thing on at 5:30 tomorrow morning. We got
stuff comin’ in. Keep it on when we tell you.” That was it. We
wanted to make sure the sucker was on the air and it was working…

Interviewer: Just for our tape purposes, we’re on the third side of
this tape being… here and… . This is the second side, the
first side of the second tape of this interview with Mike Segal here on
March 2, 2000. Do you recall the name of that officer?

Segal: No. I don’t think I ever, I’m not sure I even knew…


Segal: It’s such a blur…


Segal: It really is because as I say, I was in a unique position there.
I’m one man, the 1075th. These are all strangers and they’re givin’
orders and you take orders from officers and you do what you’re told to
do. You turn the sucker on at 5:30 when they tell you that’s it and you
turn it on. And then you make sure, you got to keep your batteries dry.
You got things to do and then you’re waitin’ for hell to break loose
and then sooner or later, it breaks loose. And it gets noisy as hell and
we were under artillery…


Segal: Yes, we came under artillery…


Segal: Yeah, we came under artillery. No planes. No planes came in my

Interviewer: What about tanks?

Segal: Tanks? I saw tanks coming out of St. Lo.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: But they were runnin’ for home. They just kept moving.


Segal: No, they weren’t attacking us but they were heading for home.
I did see tanks. But we left that to the 101st guys to take care of them.

Interviewer: How close did the artillery come to you?

Segal: Very. Within 30-40 yards. That’s close enough. Close enough to
wet your pants.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Yeah. Okay. Anything you want to say to describe
about that six-week period?

Segal: That six-week period was generally just worried about what’s
going to happen.

Interviewer: How about the French population? Did you have any contact
with civilians?

Segal: None practically as far as I was concerned.

Interviewer: I’ve heard that some French were firing on Americans and

Segal: With the German soldiers?

Interviewer: And on other occasions, became snipers against Americans.
Did you ever hear anything about that?

Segal: It could have happened. I didn’t see it. I didn’t see
anything like that, I’ll say that, Dave.

Interviewer: You didn’t?

Segal: I found what contacts I had with the French populace was all
positive. All positive. There was, well I’m sure there were women
checking over the German soldiers and… .


Segal: That’s correct… Just like they shacked up with us.


Segal: I mean, it was, it was, normal situation.

Interviewer: … describe how you got out of there?

Segal: How we got out of there? A truck, well… they picked up a
whole bunch of them once the area was secured.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And they went and rounded up all the radar men…


Segal: from the 1075th and others and they got us the hell out of there
and took us to a piece of highway they were using for a landing strip and
the DC3 flew us out.

Interviewer: Uh huh…

Segal: Back to England. Then as the planes come in, the DC3s and the
TPN3s that got to be worked on and fixed and so forth, you’re back to
the fourth echelon again.

Interviewer: Doing repairs…

Segal: Doing repair…

Interviewer: and putting them back…

Segal: Putting them back. Sometimes you didn’t have enough parts to
do certain things so you cannibalize; you’d take one of the ones shot to
hell and take pieces out of that one to fix another. That’s the first
time, first place I actually took out a German soldier.


Segal: At St. Lo.

Interviewer: … yourself?

Segal: That’s when I first shot people.

Interviewer: You knew you hit him?

Segal: Yeah, I know I hit him.

Interviewer: How?

Segal: I’m a damn good shot.

Interviewer: Did you see him fall?

Segal: Yep. I’m a damn good shot.

Interviewer: With a carbine?

Segal: With a carbine.

Interviewer: Which is not a long-range weapon.

Segal: No, it’s not long. Very short.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: You could see him fall.


Segal: Yes, yes.


Segal: Correct. The only thing is I couldn’t do, I couldn’t get far
from my TPN3. Because they’re all detonator-rigged.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: … someplace where I should show you how the damn thing


Segal: No I can’t even lay…


Segal: You want to see how, you want me to draw you a picture to show
you how it works?

Interviewer: No. That might be later on to kind of wrap up the…

Segal: Okay.


Segal: Let’s go back to catch this.


Segal: Okay. All right. I got you. All right.

Interviewer: All right. So you… in close combat with the enemy.

Segal: Yes.


Segal: No.


Segal: I caused casualties and I got out. And this is, this is
basically the story… of the drop. They’re almost all alike in
that regard. You go in, you do your job and they get you the hell out ’cause
they don’t want to lose you.


Segal: That’s right. That’s the long one. The way I went it was
long. Except I think back, that still wasn’t that long. And because they
got us out quickly.

Interviewer: … back in England… August…

Segal: That’s about right.

Interviewer: … September…

Segal: That’s correct. We’re going back to Nuimegen…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: and Nuimegen was a victory as far as we were concerned. It
turned out to be a failure because we didn’t hold them.

Interviewer: Do you recall the day you took off…

Segal: No I don’t.


Segal: Is that when it was?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Segal: Okay.


Segal: No I can’t remember, really… anticipation of Day 1.


Segal: See? In anticipation of Day…


Segal: The troops came down on Day 1.

Interviewer: You were already there?

Segal: I’m already there. We got in a day early.


Segal: Yeah.


Segal: Excuse me.

Interviewer: … landing zone…

Segal: Well for the paratroopers they had those landing zones. With us,
it was all key-coded into our units.

Interviewer: What units, your…

Segal: Into the radar units.


Segal: The PPN1 guy came down.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: We came down in the glider. Took over his spot. Put the TPN3s up
and his beacon, everything was coded between these radar units.

Interviewer: … Your pilot had to know where his beacon was to go
to that?

Segal: He didn’t have to know. He just had to follow it in on his

Interviewer: From what distance?

Segal: 27.727 miles.


Segal: He’s pretty close if he goes in by G.

Interviewer: Okay but now that we know…

Segal: Because there’s no beacon at Arnheim for him to respond to.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: See what I mean?

Interviewer: He’s just searching around for the…

Segal: He’s going to have to search. He knows about where he is on
the map.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Segal: This is where he’s supposed to be on a map. So he knows if he
hits near that spot by G, he’s going to be give-or-take 27 miles away
and he picks him up…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: On a, here’s an oscilloscope…


Segal: You listening?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Segal: The broad base, the base line is here. That’s the base line .
. . . Don’t think there’s something going around like you do on a
weather channel. It goes around but here’s the base line and this, the
base line, the middle of that base line is where that radar unit is. ‘Cause
the line goes right up the middle of the screen. That line is 27.727 miles
and when he picks that thing up, when you’re right, there’ll be a blip
right at the top.


Segal: And it’s a horizontal blip. Okay?

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Now. I was going to draw this but I’ll do it in the air.

Interviewer: Fine.

Segal: All right. Now when this thing comes, as you get closer, this
thing comes down and when it coincides with this line, you’re over that


Segal: Right. You’re over that beacon.


Segal: It cuts you right before it gets there.


Segal: Yeah.

Interviewer: That pilot… I mean…

Segal: You’re not that far from it.

Interviewer: You’re being towed… You don’t communicate with
the guy who’s…

Segal: He’s got the release. The guy in the glider doesn’t have any
radar unit.

Interviewer: You don’t know. You’re relying entirely on that pilot?

Segal: Correct. You’re at his mercy.


Segal: You’re at his, really, he can cut you off 25 miles before . .
. . Then you got a hell of a long walk.

Interviewer: … you’re out of the plane?

Segal: You’re out of the plane. You’re sailing that glider and that
co-pilot and that’s it. There’s a pilot in that DC3.


Segal: Of the DC, the plane towing it.


Segal: Yeah, so he cuts you loose when he sees that sucker come down.
Now this thing’s going up like this. This, presume this is the blip,
this length of my finger…


Segal: Now the blip is comin’ down this line. If it moves over here,
guess what that means?


Segal: That means he’s got more signal on this side than that side.
That means his plane is, he’s movin’ to the right. So he’s got to
move the plane to the left and then it will come over like this. The plane
has an antenna on both sides of the DC3.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Now he sends out from the APN2 a beep. It triggers the TPN3 and
sends out a beep coming back. Now this, the plane is heading off to the
right. The left antenna is getting smaller, a bigger signal than the one
on the right. It doesn’t have a heavier signal on this thing coming down
the line. Signals have got to move to the left. That’s the way it works.


Segal: That’s what’s going on in the DC3, that’s towing that

Interviewer: That’s the way it was on the day you went…

Segal: Any time they go down, whatever. I don’t care where in the
heck you’re going, you got to have that beacon on the ground to tell you
where you’re going.


Segal: The guy who has trouble is the paratrooper ’cause there’s no


Segal: There ain’t no beacon. He’s the guy, that’s the guy that’s
really scared. That’s the guy who really is the key element…

Interviewer: The Pathfinder?

Segal: The original Pathfinder with that PPN1 right…


Segal: tied to his leg.

Interviewer: Now do you recall as you’re going in with that glider .
. . .

Segal: Uh huh.

Interviewer: did you have any radio contact with that beacon?

Segal: No.

Interviewer: How do you know what…

Segal: Well, number 1, it’s going to come up in the air a little bit.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And you get further from the ground to give the pilot and the
glider a little better clearance away from, try to put that dude down.

Interviewer: Did that happen on…

Segal: It happened everywhere. They pull you up a little bit, then you
know you’re getting close to the DZ.

Interviewer: … experience…

Segal: Yeah.


Segal: That’d be another thing you experience riding that glider.


Segal: Every kraut on the ground has got a pop gun of some kind and he’s
shooting up at you. If he doesn’t hit you coming toward him, he’s
going to, as you go away… that’s where he’s really going to get
you. Because he doesn’t have much warning as you come at him, but as you
go away, he’s got a better shot. So if he sees you coming here, he’s
aiming there. And then when you come into the line of sight, bam, bam,
bam. And guess what he’s shooting at? An inch of plywood. That’s
what you’re sitting on.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: So you’re vulnerable to being hit in mid-air and you are hit
in mid-air.


Segal: Frequently. Now being… in the position we’re in as
radar technicians, we’re around airplanes all the time. So whenever you
get back from mission, you start looking for your next piece of equipment
you’re going to need for your next drop. You want a piece of a flak
suit, either the pants or the jacket. You want a piece of a flak suit to
wrap around your lower extremities, your crotch, your tuches, your
equipment and you don’t disturb your manhood.

Interviewer: Did you find some?

Segal: I always made a point to get me a flak suit.

Interviewer: You did?

Segal: And you wrap it around your equipment so you don’t get
anything, if you ever want to become a father, you’re got the toys to do
it with.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: So I always protected myself in that regard.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: That was the… in your head or your heart. I mean, you
protected your extremities.


Segal: Yeah, they came whistlin’ through all the time.


Segal: Yeah. Any kraut on the ground, ’cause you’re not that high


Segal: Well, how does a bullet sound going… Well…
plywood, just go get a piece of plywood.

Interviewer: Yeah?

Segal: Just CHOOOEY. Just…

Interviewer: … quiet in the glider . . .





Segal: You don’t hear anything. It’s quiet back there. You hear a
little reverberation from the plane that’s towing it…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: ’cause you’re getting a little of his sound waves comin’
back from him.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: But it’s not deafening by a long shot. And it’s prop-driven,
it’s not a jet. Didn’t have jets, well they had jets at the end of the
war for fighter planes.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: But DC3s don’t have…


Segal: goes right through the damn thing.


Segal: Yes, I mean, many guys getting wounded.

Interviewer: In your…

Segal: In the glider. Oh yes. Guys getting wounded. People… any
kind of rifle.

Interviewer: Your glider?

Segal: Yes.


Segal: On any drop. It happened… And then you leave the poor
sucker in the glider if he wasn’t able to go with you until you finally
got to a medic of some kind, you’d, first aid. That’s all you could do
but whether he got it in his leg or…

Interviewer: … What were the guys doing? You’re all just kind
of sitting there in silence or were you… or praying, or what?

Segal: You’re going over…


Segal: Well, there’s always the guys who were praying. There’s
always a lot of praying going on. And then some people just sitting there

Interviewer: Praying out loud?

Segal: Some out loud and some to themselves. And then you, if there’s
any conversation at all, it’s about going through again what the DZ’s
supposed to look like, what the landmarks are going to be that are going
to help us get to our point. There’s a barn supposed to be here and a
shed here and a road here. If you’re on the right side of the road, you’re,
it’s, the beacon’s on the left side. And if you’re on the, it’s,
you know…

Interviewer: … your plane maybe…

Segal: Correct.




Segal: BINGGGG. Like a rubber band. Like a rubber band and then you
shoot forward and then it floats.

Interviewer: And your pilot… fighter pilot…

Segal: He’s gone. Oh the glider pilot takes over. He’s flying it
anyhow because he’s got to be careful that he doesn’t get too far up
or too far down. He’s got to follow the plane.

Interviewer: I’d like to ask you if you remember the names of any of
your glider pilots?

Segal: They were passing in the night.


Segal: I never saw them before.

Interviewer: You were just a passenger?

Segal: Right.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Yeah, “You the radar man?” “Yeah.” “You
the pilot?” “Yeah.” “Well get it, give me my
ride.” And that’s it. See? That’s it.


Segal: And… Signal Supply that helps you haul the crap out to
the glider. Comes out of the weapon carrier. You put the stuff in the
bloomin’ thing. You tie it down so it doesn’t float all over the

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Then you got to pack it so it can survive the landing. And of
course, the radar unit’s the key item. It won’t work without
batteries. So you got to protect all your bloomin’ equipment. That’s
my job as a technician. Protect that equipment, destroy it if there’s a
potential of capture.


Segal: We hit pretty close to Nuimegen. We hit real close. I don’t
think it’s more than a quarter of a mile from my DZ. And it was, we were
inside of a bridge.

Interviewer: A bridge?

Segal: THE bridge. The one we had to cover to let the British retreat
from Arnheim.

Interviewer: So you were near a bridge?

Segal: Yeah, that was where the main battle was, at the bridge of

Interviewer: … the bridge at Nuimegen?

Segal: Oh yeah.


Segal: Which they, that’s right…


Segal: I was at Nuimegen which was further south than Arnheim. Arnheim
was the furthest, the dead end. That was the bridge that was by-passing
the Siegfried Line. That’s the whole idea.

Interviewer: The target?

Segal: That was the whole target, by-passing Siegfried.

Interviewer: … bridge on the way too…

Segal: That’s correct.

Interviewer: Now the 82nd Airborne did a river crossing and assaulted
that bridge at Nuimegen.

Segal: Yes.

Interviewer: Were you there at that time?

Segal: Not at that point. That’s a different point.

Interviewer: Yeah?

Segal: Yeah. I was there then but I’m not part of that battle. I was
nearby, like three miles away, four miles, something like that.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: The 82nd crossed the river there.

Interviewer: Now you had these close encounters there where you had to
fight with a knife…

Segal: Yeah.


Segal: That was at Bastogne.

Interviewer: Oh that was down at Bastogne?

Segal: Yeah and that was definitely with the 506th. That was definitely
with the 506th. They got in awful close. They were all over us. That was

Interviewer: … personal diary kind of stuff?

Segal: I started a diary at one time and I lost it. I didn’t
“lose” it; I burned it up. I burned it up. I needed a cup of
water so I could make instant coffee and I was just, I’d been in a hole
for about three days…


Segal: No it was before Bastogne. Must have been Nuimegen. Must have
been Nuimegen. And we were pinned down and it was awful. Germans were just
throwing everything at us. And we were pinned down. Couldn’t get out of
the hole. Couldn’t retreat. Couldn’t advance. It was bad. We weren’t
… we just had, we had to… and it was miserable. And it was so
bad that they started throwing K-ration boxes in quarter of a mile back .
. . . the hole, full of the hole, and finally a box landed in my hole and
I opened that thing up and that’s one time in my life, I hated cheese. I
could not stand cheese. I couldn’t eat cheese. Wanted nothing to do with
cheese. But the K-ration box that hit my hole had a cheese…
(laughter). I became a cheese lover. (laughter) I ate that cheese like it
was the best meal I ever had. It was better than filet mignon. I ate
everything in that box ’till I got down to the four cigarettes. There
was a cigarette sample in there. And though I’ve never smoked one an

Interviewer: Did you smoke?

Segal: Yeah. I was smoking then. I just smoked one an hour. Those four
cigarettes could last me four hours. ‘Cause I didn’t know when I’ll
see a cigarette again. So I lit the first cigarette. And I smoked it ’till
it was ready to burn my lip. And I lit the second cigarette from the first
one. There went the rule I was going to smoke one an hour. I lit number 3
from number 2, lit number 4 from number 3 and then took the four butts and
rolled them into a piece of toilet paper and lit that so I had four and
two burns of a cigarette. Whatever it was… But I smoked that stuff
down to nothin’. And then they got cleared out and we got some air in


Segal: I was stuck.

Interviewer: … 101st…

Segal: Uh huh.

Interviewer: Do you recall any of the officers’ names or…

Segal: … as far as I was concerned, there was a staff sergeant
command. He was running that squad.

Interviewer: … and used your radar equipment…

Segal: Uh huh.


Segal: Uh huh


Segal: Was it…


Segal: You got a guard in…

Interviewer: You’re still guarding? Oh…

Segal: You’re still guarding.

Interviewer: You have secret stuff?

Segal: You have secret stuff. You still got to protect that darn thing
and you never know when they’re going to need it again.

Interviewer: And you’re tied to that?

Segal: I’m tied to that.


Segal: I’m attached to that sucker. I ain’t going nowhere.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: I think… out that TPN3.

Interviewer: … the soldiers know that?

Segal: Oh hell yes. They know that the whole purpose of being on that
damn glider, this is the sucker that, I’m the guy they got to save, keep
alive, and that helps. It makes you feel better in that you’ve got a lot
of friends lookin’ out for you.


Segal: They got to keep me alive… that sucker… work. They
don’t know what that damn box is. That’s a key element… raise
that antenna up in the air and keep that sucker on the air for when you’re
supposed to have it on.


Segal: Nuimegen? About three weeks.

Interviewer: Now you, was it near the highway? There’s a highway

Segal: Yeah, it wasn’t far off the highway.

Interviewer: Do you recall any landmarks…

Segal: I recall farmyard, a couple of barns, a fence. Nothing that you
would say would still be standing.

Interviewer: No hills, forests or rivers…

Segal: A rise, not a hill.

Interviewer: No?

Segal: It was on a rise. You always try to get on a rise.


Segal: And we found one.

Interviewer: … on a rise?

Segal: … getting on a rise. And they were just, they were on a
higher rise. And they were just lobbin’ that stuff in on our position.


Segal: Yeah, they were…

Interviewer: Could you see the river or were you far from the river?

Segal: Yeah, I could see the bridge over the river.


Segal: I could see the bridge. Yeah, we could see the bridge.

Interviewer: … close enough… the bridge was…

Segal: Yeah.


Segal: For a while when we took it, and then we had to hold it.


Segal: Then we had to hold it so the British could get their butts out
of Arnheim, what was left of them.


Segal: And that was stupid.


Segal: Yeah, terrible.

Interviewer: … three weeks…

Segal: Right.

Interviewer: How’d you get out of there?

Segal: Same damn thing. They hauled us back to a piece of highway they
could land a DC3 on. The highways were just… and, no, that wasn’t
a highway, it was a farm. It was a piece of farmland. It was not a

Interviewer: I didn’t ask you, while you were in the fox hole…

Segal: No, I did not have any trouble… Bastogne was probably the
goriest of the bunch.


Segal: When they get so close you can take a knife…


Segal: Okay, okay, let’s talk about, let’s talk about…

Interviewer: … Bastogne here?

Segal: Bastogne was ungodly.

Interviewer: That’s December so after Arnheim, you’re back in
England again?

Segal: Right. Getting equipment ready.

Interviewer: … October, November…

Segal: Oh, in between, no, that was in the Spring.

Interviewer: You got two months back in England after Arnheim?

Segal: Yeah.

Interviewer: October, November?

Segal: Right.

Interviewer: And most of December?

Segal: Right… month of December. It was in the Spring that I had
that adventure at Frankfurt.


Segal: I got to tell you about that.

Interviewer: What is that?

Segal: That was a crazy thing. That’s my second chance of losing my

Interviewer: Was that…

Segal: No that was a plane wreck.

Interviewer: A wreck?

Segal: Yeah. They used us in between, whenever possible, they used us
guys as radar navigator to haul gasoline to Patton’s tanks. And they
filled jerry cans, 5-gallon jerry cans, full of gasoline, tied them down
in DC3s…

Interviewer: Huh.

Segal: and they used us to navigate these things to keep up with Patton’s


Segal: Right.


Segal: And we’re haulin’ gasoline to him. You’re right, there was
a fifth. And it was a rainy, messy day and I’m in the lead plane and
there’s three planes behind us…

Interviewer: What are they, B24s?

Segal: No, DC3s. We’re hauling gasoline.


Segal: We’re freight cars.


Segal: And the whole idea is land on this piece of farm and then the
trucks pick it up and haul it to where the tanks were to be gassed up. And
it was muddy. So from the ground, they told the lead pilot, “Come in
slow because it’s muddy down here. Come in slow. Don’t rush it because
your wheels are not going to roll in this mud. You’re

going to sort of just dead stick in.” Well, so we’re coming in.
And then he relays it to all the other pilots. “Come in slow. Give it
spacing.” Well the guy behind us came in too fast. And he caught up
with us and we’re about 10 feet off the ground. And his right prop chews
into our tail and the two planes come down like this. Now here are two
planes full of gasoline drums. You’re flying two bombs. And we pancaked
into that damn mud and everybody jumped and ran. I mean, everybody got
out. And then they went WHOOOOM.

Interviewer: Did they explode?

Segal: They exploded.

Interviewer: Did everybody get out?

Segal: Everybody got out.

Interviewer: Of both planes?

Segal: Both planes. It was a miracle….


Segal: Everybody got out. They were bombs, I mean, all this gasoline.
My God.

Interviewer: What detonated them do you suppose?

Segal: A spark of anything.

Interviewer: … They actually collided? Your…

Segal: Yeah the prop of one plane, probably an electrical spark from
one engine going into, or friction as it chewed into the tail end of our
plane, there was some spark off of something. That’s all it takes. You’re
flying two bombs. We pancaked into that bloomin’ mud and everybody got
out. We had some bumps and bruises and some cracked ribs I think. But
other than that, nothing.

Interviewer: That was a sight to see.

Segal: Oh it was a hell of a good bonfire. It was a heck of a bonfire.

Interviewer: And they were using you to do some radar…

Segal: They used us as radar navigators.

Interviewer: Oh.

Segal: We were flunkees.

Interviewer: Navigators. So they had radar on the ground or something?

Segal: Yeah, yeah, even on the ground.

Interviewer: … Uh huh. Well how many landings did you have . . .

Segal: Well that wasn’t even… I made about… Oh God,
counting the flying bombs, I don’t know, I mean, in heavy combat, you
know, where you were going… There were four main drops, four big
drops. There was St. Lo, Nuimegen, Bastogne and Wessell.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: When we crossed the Rhine, the Rhine River cross…

Interviewer: … other glider landings…

Segal: Yeah.


Segal: Yeah we had…


Segal: Yeah, we had, but they weren’t major battles.

Interviewer: … the same thing?

Segal: Yeah, you do the same doggone thing.

Interviewer: Where were these?

Segal: They were just scattered all over the place. Little jerk places
you never heard of.

Interviewer: Why?

Segal: Why? Because they had to get the paratroopers in, maybe two
companies to do something or other… three companies.

Interviewer: Any idea of times and places of these others?

Segal: Just scattered. Just scattered. It was just such a mess. But . .
. . to do, you did. You did it. And Wessell was the biggest milk run of
all. Bastogne was, Bastogne was the toughest.

Interviewer: … Bastogne?

Segal: Okay. We’ll go back there. We cheated that to get to the
airplane ride.


Segal: Bastogne was good because number 1, they sent four gliders in.
The book says two, no four…


Segal: They sent two of them.


Segal: Yeah. Two of us did get…



Interviewer: You get orders to do another glider?

Segal: Right.

Interviewer: Okay. Did you know it was Bastogne?

Segal: Yeah, we did. We knew it was Bastogne. We knew it was trouble.
We knew, God knows if we’d ever get out of there.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And we knew…

Interviewer: … winter clothing?

Segal: Yeah, we had good clothes. We had good clothes. That was no
problem. It was still cold and I hate cold. I’ve always hated it all my
life and I hated it even worse. And after that, I’ll hate it forever.

Interviewer: Now you say you did fly… loaded… and

Segal: That’s right. They didn’t know if anybody’d get in.

Interviewer: Now we don’t know the exact date but you’re saying
before Christmas?

Segal: Before Christmas. I think around the 20, 21, 22, something like


Segal: in that area. Yeah. And two of us got in…

Interviewer: Day or night?

Segal: Daybreak again.

Interviewer: It was at daybreak?

Segal: Yeah.


Segal: Yeah. Daybreak again.

Interviewer: Do you recall if there was snow on the ground…

Segal: Yes.

Interviewer: … significant?

Segal: Yes, there was snow on the ground.

Interviewer: Snow occurred on a certain day?

Segal: Right.

Interviewer: So we know there was snow. . . .

Segal: Right. There was snow on the ground.

Interviewer: … snow.

Segal: And it was…

Interviewer: Did the glider slide on the snow?

Segal: Oh hell yes. They don’t have any wheels.

Interviewer: Yeah?

Segal: They go on runners.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: So it’s like a scooter (laughter) that’s hard to stop
(laughter). And they do have a brake on that thing. But it’s (laughter)
ineffective. A tree is your best bet. Or a barn (laughter). And we never
did hear from the other two gliders. I don’t know what happened to them.

Interviewer: Did they take off? Did you see them?

Segal: Oh we all took off.

Interviewer: You all took off?

Segal: Yeah…


Segal: Four took off. Two made it! I don’t know what ever happened to
the other two.

Interviewer: … other gliders?

Segal: That’s right. ‘Cause we weren’t flying side-by-side ’cause
we all had different places to go down.

Interviewer: Oh you all had different places?

Segal: We had a different place to go down.

Interviewer: When did you last see him?

Segal: Last I saw of him was over the Channel.

Interviewer: And that’s the only one you saw? Did you see him?

Segal: Yeah. I saw one, well I saw another chan—. I’m not sure that’s
the one that went down, that made it. I saw another plane with a glider.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Yeah. But I’m not sure that’s the one that even made it ’cause
it was pretty dark then. Time we got to Nuimegen, the sun was just creepin’
up, you know, it was just…

Interviewer: … Bastogne?

Segal: Yeah, I’m sorry, Bastogne. It was just comin’ up and you’re
(laughter), you’re concentrating on what the hell you’re doing. You
want to survive this dude. So you’re sitting there and my hand’s on
the detonator wire. I’m sitting in the co-pilot’s seat and there ain’t
no co-pilot. I’m it.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Segal: See? So I’m sitting there next to the glider pilot…

Interviewer: … Bastogne?

Segal: Right. So I’m sitting there with my hand on the two detonator
cords, one for each unit in case we crash land and we ain’t where we’re
supposed to be. Then I got to blow them up.


Segal: No, no. They’re pretty self-contained and I’m just going to
blow them up internally…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: and the circuitry will be shot.

Interviewer: Oh.

Segal: It’s not enough to blow up the glider or me or…


Segal: Oh no, no, no, no. no. It’s not a suicide bomb. It’s just,
everything’s in a steel case and you press that thing and it sets off oh
I don’t know what kind of explosive. Man it just blows up and makes a,
that’s it, it’s just, they’re not going to be able to learn anything
from it. That’s about it. Just to destroy the units. And you just fly it
in and of course, you hold your breath, you don’t know what the hell you’re
going to run into and you do, and you run into everything that sticks up
out of the ground. And then you ride to a stop. And then before I knew it,
there were guys from the 506th there.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Yeah. They were right there. We were lucky. We really did good.

Interviewer: Just you and…

Segal: And that one glider. And then the other glider hit someplace


Segal: I was on the south end…


Segal: south end of Bastogne where the 506th was and they knew where to
take me, believe it or not.


Segal: Here again, on the horizon of farmland.

Interviewer: Was there a bunker there?

Segal: There was a bunker there on the rise and we got the damn thing
up and got it ready and the 506th guys were great and then we stayed
there. Well number l, the weather was still el crapo and when it
began to lift, then we got on the air.

Interviewer: Do you recall how much time passed? Okay?

Segal: It was probably two days before we really got on the air.


Segal: Now what we did do; take it back, I’m wrong. I’m telling you
it was two days we got on the air but we were trying to bring in
ammunition and medical supplies, stuff like that, they were dropping
parapacks. Up until that point, they were losing the parapacks. The
Germans were getting them.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: The Germans were getting all of the materials they were dropping
’cause we couldn’t see anything. They could…

Interviewer: Had no radar or…

Segal: They had nothing to guide them in and they were doing the best,
at Bastogne, they couldn’t see.


Segal: Yeah.

Interviewer: Was there a Pathfinder on the ground to… after the
normal operation?

Segal: No.

Interviewer: Well how’d you find the place?

Segal: Just by dumb luck. Dumb luck.

Interviewer: You had no Pathfinder…

Segal: That’s right. There was no Pathfinder on the ground…

Interviewer: … the Pathfinder in this case?

Segal: You got it. There were no Pathfinders.

Interviewer: Dumb luck!

Segal: Because you couldn’t see to get a Pathfinder in there. I mean,
it was just bad.


Segal: There was nothing to guide the Pathfinder in. So we just took
them in there and took a chance…

Interviewer: You finally decided that…

Segal: This…


Segal: This, well he was low. I mean, he had some breaks, he had some

Interviewer: Was there anything on the ground he could see…

Segal: There were yard markers (laughter).

Interviewer: … pass over…

Segal: He had a pretty good idea of where he was going. I don’t know
how he had an idea but he figured that if that’s the city limits, then
this is it and he cut me loose and we made it. That’s all.

Interviewer: Dumb luck.

Segal: Dumb luck is what it boils down to.


Segal: And I don’t like the damn fire comin’ out of the ground. I
want out of this goddamn place and I can’t take him back. I’m going to
get rid of that sucker. (Laughter) So that’s… what went through
his mind ’cause there’s always some smartass on the ground who’s
going to shoot at you.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And any guy with a rifle, not a handgun but a rifle, any guy
with a rifle can hit you. I mean, how far up are you? Three hundred feet?

Interviewer: So it’s dumb luck puts you down at…

Segal: Dumb luck’s the whole, surviving is dumb luck.

Interviewer: And they had you set up in a bunker?

Segal: They knew what we were looking for and they had a place to take
me to… .

Interviewer: And you’re saying a couple of days passed, and still bad

Segal: Bad weather.

Interviewer: and you really were not… in any aircraft or
whatever you call it?

Segal: They were parapacks.

Interviewer: What do you call them when you direct them…

Segal: It’s a beacon.


Segal: It’s a beacon. It’s a radar beacon.

Interviewer: You set up the beacon?

Segal: I set up the beacon. TPN3

Interviewer: Uh huh. No incoming planes for two days?

Segal: Correct. And we thought, well we had parapacks coming in. See?
And I could guide them in.

Interviewer: Oh you were guiding parapacks?

Segal: Oh I was guiding the parapacks in. And then we probably got
three fourths of those in.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Which was better than the 15% we were getting before.

Interviewer: I see.

Segal: But the Germans were getting the biggest part of what we

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And of course what they wanted was gasoline ’cause those tanks
were, that’s what really screwed them up.

Interviewer: They needed gasoline… ammunition…

Segal: Actually, they made a big mistake. They never should have farted
around trying to take Bastogne.


Segal: They should have by-passed it and just kept on going.


Segal: That’s right.

Interviewer: Now, at what time did you get into close combat there?

Segal: Right before Patton showed up.

Interviewer: Okay… December 24th, he shows up I think?

Segal: Right.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: That’s when it was bad ’cause they were all over us. There
was a lot of them, a lot of them.

Interviewer: And were you worried, you were under heavy attack in

Segal: What was it really like in Bastogne?

Interviewer: … fighting off an attack?

Segal: You see, you’re on a knoll and in a bunker and there’s a lot
of stuff that keeps the heavy stuff off of you. But then it comes down to,
they’re, it’s beyond that. The infantry’s coming. The infantry that
followed the tanks. And it’s just a lot of them. And you’ve got help;
you’re not by yourself. But you know the closer they get, the tougher it’s
going to be. And they do believe in just mass firepower. But I was never a
person that believed in mass firepower. I want a target to shoot and hit
and bring it down. Therefore, I want them closer when I start cutting. And
when I started cutting with the carbine, I’m bringing them down, one at
a time. I aim at a person, not mass stuff, and I go BRRRRRRRR, like a
machine gun. I can’t do that. First place, I haven’t got the
equipment. I don’t have any automatic fire. So I’m picking off German
after German after German. And they kept coming.

Interviewer: Daytime was that?

Segal: Yeah. And finally it’s down to the point where you’re lookin’
at them and your clip is empty. When you haven’t got, they’re as close
as we are and you’re, what are you going to do? You got a boot handle in
your hand.

Interviewer: Huh?

Segal: So you go to the only thing else you got to defend yourself with
is a knife. And I don’t know why but I always had three. I had one on my
sheath on the side and one on my boots, and one across my back. And so it
was parallel to my belt. And the first one you go to is the one that’s
on your side. And I left that in a German.


Segal: The biggest trouble about a knife, it’s a wonderful weapon.
Number 1, the guy dies slow. Number 2, it’s hard to get the knife out
because it gets stuck around the intestines. So you leave it and that’s
when I went to the boot knife. And I lost that.

Interviewer: Another one or the same one?

Segal: Lost the second knife in another German. And then I went to my
back knife and I took out a third one that I could get the knife loose.
And that’s the knife I still have.

Interviewer: You still have it?

Segal: Yeah.

Interviewer: Were they jumping in your fox hole or were you out of your
fox hole fighting?

Segal: You were, you’re sort of meeting them half-way because, when
you realize you’re out of ammunition, the sooner you close, the better
off you are, because he might not be out of ammunition.

Interviewer: That’s it. Why weren’t they shooting you?

Segal: You get to them quick. You come at them.

Interviewer: So you were out?

Segal: You have to be agressive. You got to go at ’em.

Interviewer: You got out…

Segal: Correct. I’m out hand-to-hand. And keep in mind, I’m not the
biggest, toughest guy on the face of the earth.

Interviewer: You’re a hundred and twenty pounds?

Segal: Well I might have been a hundred and twenty-six then or
twenty-five. But I came out at 120. I went in at 119. I came out at 120. I
was in the 120s somewhere. I was hungry probably so I might have been down
below 120, who knows? Anyhow, I was scrawny.


Segal: And I’m going against guys who knows, with all the winter
clothes on…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: and the worst thing is that it’s tough to get a knife through
all of that stuff.

Interviewer: Were you hitting them in the back or the stomach or . . .

Segal: Gut.

Interviewer: Huh?

Segal: Guts. Yeah.


Segal: Gut shots, all of them. All three of them were gut shots.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Segal: You get in here. You can’t get to the rib cage. It’s hard to
do to get through all the clothing, the jackets and whatever the hell they’re
wearing, uniforms. So you go to the easy place to get to and sometimes it’s
the lower part of the gut because you’re hopefully just going through
the upper, the tail of a jacket or into the pants.

Interviewer: Had you been trained in this?

Segal: Yeah. In R.O.T.C. training in Louisville, Kentucky, as a high
school kid, I was on the rifle team and we were a lot of… training.


Segal: Yeah we never stuck anybody…


Segal: Then on maneuvers in California, we did quite a bit of this.

Interviewer: Knife fighting?

Segal: Yeah. Learned a lot of training and knife fighting.

Interviewer: And you were trained in how to do it?

Segal: Uh huh. And it’s not pleasant. Just because you stick a knife
in a guy, in the movies, they just stick a knife in and they’re dead.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: It doesn’t work that way. They got to bleed. And you got to
hold them ’till he’s, you know, you put a knife in him, you got to
hold them ’till they quit fighting.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Then you let go, if nobody jumps on your back, which thank God
nobody did, I was able to stay with this kraut until he was finished. And
then the second and then the third.

Interviewer: Was this going on around you…

Segal: Everybody’s in the same trouble I’m in. Everybody’s in the
same damn bind. Everybody’s fighting for their life and you’re lookin’
at how many, we didn’t have that many men in Bastogne. We were
outnumbered 15-20 to one. The Germans should have won that battle. I don’t
know why in the hell they didn’t except they were stupid.

Interviewer: … They had their ammunition…

Segal: Well as you slowly run out of ammunition, what are you going to
do? Just because some of us were still shooting because even though I was

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: But some of us were still shooting. But sooner or later, it gets
down to man-to-man in the snow.

Interviewer: … Then what happened?

Segal: Then it started to calm down.


Segal: No but I did have my other knife left. And it was not one of the
big ones… about yo big. It was the knife my brother sent me.

Interviewer: So you needed that?

Segal: I used that knife my brother sent me. Yeah. The two of them, the
two knives, one on my hip and one on my boot were issue.

Interviewer: Yeah?

Segal: The one behind my back was not.

Interviewer: Uh huh. It saved your life?

Segal: Saved my life.


Segal: So Patton came in and thank God for that, “Blood and

Interviewer: Did you ever see him personally?

Segal: No.

Interviewer: He just had some tank units…

Segal: Tank units came in. Oh we were so glad… everybody was . .
. . I cried. I was so glad to see him. I cried.

Interviewer: You actually saw them?

Segal: I saw them, I saw…

Interviewer: … that came in on the south?

Segal: That’s right. They came right from the south.

Interviewer: Right up the road there?

Segal: You got it.


Segal: That’s right.


Segal: And I saw them coming in and I cried. Some of the guys cheered.
They were jumping up and down. I cried, I was so damn glad to see them. I
was going to get the hell out of there.

Interviewer: Did you see the tankers engaging any of the Germans in the

Segal: By the time they got to us, they’d already broken through the
circle. They’d broken through the circle.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: I think… fought like a mile and a half away. But you
could hear it. You could hear it.


Segal: Yeah. (Laughter) I was glad to see those suckers, glad to see
them, Dave.

Interviewer: What an experience that you had. You know, that
breakthrough… part of that encirclement and the experience…

Segal: I tell you, it, at our place, most of it’s luck. You know
that. Most of it, I’d say 90% of it’s luck and 10% is skill.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And I did have good training. I still go back to high school.
You’ve heard me say it several times. That basic R.O.T.C. training in
high school gave me the edge and then my experiences in training before I
went overseas. I think we got damn good training. I can’t complain about

Interviewer: Just to touch on the Bastogne and being an actual
Pathfinder then, they were able to bring in planes, not… in your
area, but they dropped gliders and…

Segal: Oh yeah. They brought in reinforcements.

Interviewer: Did you vector in gliders or…

Segal: Yeah.

Interviewer: … air drops… then did you do that?

Segal: Then we brought in the gliders.


Segal: … We brought the help in. (Blank area on tape.) Young
married life. First husband.

Interviewer: Okay. This is the fourth side of recorded tape here of
interview with Mike Segal. Today’s date is March 10, in the year 2000,
and the interviewer is Dave Graham and we’re going to begin sort of
where we left off chronologically with Mike’s war experiences. Mike, if
I recall, we had a couple of major topics. We wanted to for sure cover
your war experiences with the operation “Varsity” it’s called
or crossing of the Rhine and Bastogne… the 17th Airborne drop. You
were part of that. We also want to touch on the religious events that took
place. You had some interesting experiences during those war periods too.
Those are at least two major topics. Of course, there are other things
that we’ll touch on so…


Interviewer: … beginnings with a chronologically… We last
had you at Bastogne. Maybe we could start there as to how you got out of
there… preparing for the last big operation you were in.

Segal: Okay. Well you remember…

Interviewer: No…

Segal: If you remember correctly, after the breakthrough by the armored
forces under Patton… and the Germans ran out of gas and they tried
to head for home. The pursuit was east. As far as I was concerned and my
activities, I was basically through with Bastogne and they hauled us out
of there by truck into someplace where there was an airstrip or they could
use it for an airstrip. It was in the middle of nowhere. And they hauled
us out in a DC3.

Interviewer: Did you recall how long you were there in Bastogne?

Segal: I was in Bastogne probably about four weeks.

Interviewer: So it would be some time in mid-January then that you got

Segal: In January, mid- to late, 15th to 20th of January I would guess.
. . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: would be about right. And they got us out of there and…

Interviewer: Did you see anybody famous while you were there, any major
names or… anything in particular?

Segal: No. There was, I was never around anyone what you’d call
generals or famous colonels or something like that.


Segal: Our unit was, we were in such an isolated thing to do. Our
function was so small. Important but small. Like I said, even the 1075th
only had 100 men and there were two 20-man combat teams. And the teams
were spread all over heck and back. So we were pretty much as individuals
doing our little bits and drabs here and there to keep the thing going on
behalf of the major effort that you saw very little of. You’re only
seeing your little corner of the war. You don’t really get a good, broad
picture of what the heck, in fact you wonder what in the devil’s going
on around you or what’s happening here or what’s happening there and
you get a little frustrated sometimes trying to carry out a piece of the
action not knowing what is the over-all picture. And you don’t really
know, you’re just, you’re taking care of your little situation and
trying to do what it takes to accomplish your mission and stay alive. That’s
about it…. your war can depend on your next meal or your next box
of food, your socks… where you’re going to fill your canteen,
where you’re going to get more ammo or, in the movies they never run out
of ammo. They just keep on shooting. They might fire 3000 rounds and never
put a new clip in their weapon. Not realistic.

Interviewer: Now you got to… injuries to you, no frostbit feet

Segal: No, I came out cold but other than that, that’s the cold . . .
. a little bit of a life.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: But no, not frostbitten. Maybe because I went in prepared for

Interviewer: Really?

Segal: Yeah. Yeah, I went in prepared for cold.

Interviewer: How was that? How were you prepared?

Segal: Well number 1, you prepare by layering a heck of a lot of
clothes and one thing that was important was clean, dry socks. And you try
to keep yourself in clean, dry socks and you can’t carry a month’s
supply of socks with you but… change socks. Well someplace along
the line (laughter), you change socks. And you change from dirty socks to
dirty socks. But they had a chance to air out or you know, just go over or
whatever they do when you change socks. It really is keep your feet dry.
That’s the most important thing you can do. It was funny, I’d never
been a person who required a lot of water. There were two things that I
was a nut on. One thing is dry feet and brush my teeth. I would rather do
that than shave or anything else. The heck with the beard and that kind of
stuff or wash under your arms. But clean feet and brush my teeth. That was
my two main… when I was around… to freshen up to any kind of
degree at all.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: So, and I still got good feet because of that.

Interviewer: So you got out of there without any major…

Segal: Without major anything. I was lucky as the dickens. There were
only two places where I had trouble was when I told you about the
electrocution in England…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: and did I tell you about the time we were hauling, when I was in
the plane crack-up? Is that, is that on the tape or…

Interviewer: Yeah, the…

Segal: Right. That’s correct.

Interviewer: You got out of there without injury also?

Segal: Right. Uh huh. Without injury. I was just plain lucky as the
dickens. There’s no accounting for it. It’s just the luck of the draw.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And it was just an amazing situation.

Interviewer: Didn’t you say you boarded some kind of airplane there

Segal: Yeah, outside of Bastogne and then we took it back to England
and we started cleaning up for what went on after that.

Interviewer: Do you recall the name of your base in England?

Segal: We were stationed basically in Redding, near Redding and Oxford.
That was the center of our activity in the Ninth Air Force Troop Carrier.
Redding and Oxford, England. There were small kinds of fields scattered
all through that area.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Do you recall the name of the air base?

Segal: No.

Interviewer: Uh huh. But they had airplanes there?

Segal: Yeah. Because our primary function, we seemed to lose a lot of
radar-eqiupped planes. Now just remember, every DC3 and the troop carriers
did not have radar on board. Only the lead plane which would be leading a
flight of four or six glider-pulling planes or full of paratroopers,
either one, depending upon their mission. And well the number 1 plane, the
lead plane, cut gliders, they all cut gliders. When they all supposed to drop… of paratroopers went out, they all jumped. See
what I mean? But only one plane out of the bunch had the APN2 on board.
And therefore, we lost a bunch of those planes. And therefore we were
continually putting, mounting APN2s in DC3s and occasionally some DC4s,
which I hated. I hated the DC4s. But the DC3s I picked…

Interviewer: You know, I was reading recently, since our last meeting,
the DC3 tow plane a lot of times had a wire wound around the tow tope back
to the glider so there was communication with the glider pilot. Do you
recall anything…

Segal: Very rarely.

Interviewer: Rarely?

Segal: Very rarely. Very rarely. Yeah. There was not much
communication. It was just good training and when they got the radar
signals from the ground, that’s when they popped them loose.

Interviewer: Huh.

Segal: That’s when they did it. I’m not sure you got a clear
picture yet, Dave, of exactly how the radar worked. Do you think you’re
pretty clear about that?

Interviewer: You were going to, I don’t know, I’ve sort of been
drawing a little diagram here of your PPN1…

Segal: The PPN1is the unit on the ground.

Interviewer: That’s, that’s…

Segal: No, no, it’s not… it’s bouncing the signal. The
signal originates in the plane, in the APN2.


Segal: And it goes, it’s picked up by the PPN1 on the ground or later
on the TPN3. And it sends a signal back to the plane and the indicator in
the oscilloscope on the plane, the APN2 in the plane. Or I think I gave
you a nice picture of that…

Interviewer: Yeah.

Segal: oscilloscope with the line going up the middle.

Interviewer: So then, okay, this APN2 in the lead plane. . . .

Segal: The line is not on the glider or the TPN3, it’s in the DC3.

Interviewer: Oh really?

Segal: Yeah, it’s in the DC3.

Interviewer: What’s in the glider?

Segal: Nothing. There’s no radar unit at all in the glider. Well we’ve
got the TPN3s with us but they’re not doing anything. What the TPN3 does
is it replace the PPN1 on the ground because it’s battery is only going
to last five hours.

Interviewer: Oh, so you’re bringing in the TPN3…

Segal: To replace the PPN1. Our whole purpose is to bring in the TPN3
which is a bigger, stronger, longer-lasting unit because it uses wet-cell

Interviewer: You say like a car battery.

Segal: Yeah. It’s a wet-cell battery. And it’s the same size, well
a little bit smaller, than a car battery. Like an old 6-volt battery used
to be.

Interviewer: Okay, now I think it’s coming together.

Segal: Is it coming together better for you?

Interviewer: Yeah. You’re bringing in a replacement for the PPN1 that
came in by paratrooper.

Segal: By paratrooper. Right. That’s exactly right. Now you got it.

Interviewer: And you say they would last five hours so you, this glider
started coming in early too then?

Segal: Yeah but he doesn’t run it continually but it’s right behind
them. It’s within six or eight hours after, when that guy gets on the
ground, he’s got to get to his location as near as he can get. And they
don’t always get to the exact location but if they get within a quarter
of a mile, you’re pretty good. And set that dude up and turns it on. And
then we hone in on that with the APN2 in the DC3. It cuts loose the glider
and it brings in the TPN3 which replaces the PPN1.

Interviewer: Okay, so, coming in, you don’t have anything to do with
radar. You’re just going to be dropped. You’re carrying your cargo?

Segal: I’m cargo. I’m cargo and the stuff I’m bringing in is

Interviewer: Okay.

Segal: Right. Ask…

Interviewer: You’re not operational until you hit the ground?

Segal: That’s correct. Until we replace the PPN1. Then we’re
operational as far as radar.


Segal: And then the same thing happens. The APN2 hits this signal and
it bounces off of the TPN3 and comes back to the plane and directs them
toward the signal and I told you how the reflection looks on the
oscilloscope screen.

Interviewer: Yeah, you described that.

Segal: Okay. That’s right. And it’s 27.727 miles is the range of
that scope.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Okay.

Interviewer: Well that’s good. It’s good technical. A lot more of
it than… the Smithsonian article from 1994.

Segal: Right.


Segal: Then in England, well we’d clean up the junk ’cause you got
to get the TPN3s out of there, you got to make sure they’re all
operational working. You go to make sure all the TPNs and the PPN1s are
generally replaced. They’re rarely worth fixing. So…

Interviewer: I meant to ask you, do you bring the TPN3 back…

Segal: … The TPN3 comes back with us. Yeah. They come back with
you. It’s almost like it’s, it’s not attached to you but it’s on
you. That’s your baby. You’re responsible for that dude. You bring the
TPN3s back. The hell with the batteries. But you’ll bring back the TPN3
and if you can salvage the PPN1 from the mass and so forth, but generally
speaking, when they get through with them, they’re pretty well, you can’t
depend on them. Once they’ve actually been used once. They’re cheap.
They’re not real expensive so whatever’s there, you just make sure it’s
destroyed and you get rid of them.

Interviewer: Good, good.

Segal: ‘Cause the TPN3s are worth repairing and the APN2. The APN2
has to be monitored to make sure it’s working properly for the next

Interviewer: So you’re working on those things…

Segal: So we’re back in fourth echelon again.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: See?

Interviewer: Well then you got to be drunk coming up near the end of
the war in March of ’45.

Segal: Correct.


Segal: That’s in Wessell.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Okay.

Interviewer: What do you recall about that?

Segal: What I recall about that was we didn’t know much about it
until right literally before the drop. And all of a sudden, the 17th
realized they didn’t have enough radar men assigned so they borrowed
them from the 101st. And I was (laughs) fortunate to make that…
drop over… the Rhine River and it was basically a milk run.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Because there wasn’t much left of the German army and what
there was of it, they were a bunch of senior citizens and kids. I mean,
they were 14, 15, and 16 year olds and they were scared to death.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Segal: And they knew the war was over…


Segal: and the old men certainly weren’t interested in dying at that
particular time…

Interviewer: Do you recall the airborne event yourself, I mean flying
over the Rhine, the weather conditions, flak or anything like that?

Segal: There was nothing. It was as close to nothing as you’ll ever
get. It was just a trip over and they cut us loose, we replaced the PPN1
guy and I saw very few Germans, very few. And most of them, if you saw
anything, you saw the back of them running. It was either that or they
were coming out of the bushes and the brush and they’re walking up to
you with their handkerchiefs waving in the air to surrender. They either
ran or they surrendered. It was nothing and as far as I could see, the
American, or the Allied armies could have just gone right into Berlin. But
they stopped them, they let the Russians go in first.

Interviewer: There was some resistance…

Segal: Oh it was miminal. We had some casualties but it was minimal
compared to the rest of the stuff. It was like a milk run.

Interviewer: … that you’re on the ground early on. You’d be
an eye-witness, you’re… truly fosuced on the machine and you don’t
see what’s going on in the sky.

Segal: Well…

Interviewer: … the sky?

Segal: The sky, it was reasonably clear.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: It wasn’t…

Interviewer: But do you see the aircraft coming in or are you focused
entirely on this piece of equipment?

Segal: All you have to do is turn it on.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Oh really?

Segal: Yes, all you do is turn the dang thing and make sure it stays on
and if it goes off, you got to figure out how to make it…

Interviewer: … do to anything with it?

Segal: No, you just turn it on. That’s all. And protect it. That’s
the main thing. And destroy it if you’re going to be overrun. That’s

Interviewer: So then you can witness what’s going on around you?

Segal: Yeah. Yeah. And in this situation, it was a… (laughs).
Not where I was. There wasn’t much going on. And I don’t, of my whole
team, I don’t think anybody got hurt at Wessell of the men of the

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Keep in mind, out of 100 men in the company; in A team, there
were 20 men and there were only 8 radar men in that and I don’t think
any of the 8 of us got a scratch.

Interviewer: So you didn’t even have to fire your weapon?

Segal: No. I didn’t fire my weapon on the whole bloomin’ mission.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: So as far as I was concerned, it was sweetness and gravy.

Interviewer: Okay.

Segal: It was… I was not part of it. There was the airborne drop
on Southern France from Italy.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And that was about… Did I cover that or not?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Segal: I covered that?


Segal: … the cut of the cards.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Segal: But nobody got hurt on that thing either. It was just nothing
going on.

Interviewer: So and then what happened?…

Segal: Wessell. Got out of Wessell and in fact they trucked us back all
the way back into France and there was really not much going on. That was
pretty much the end of the war for us. And then as the war wound down, it
became obvious after Wessell that the war was over and as it wound down
going into summer, it was just a question of time ’till they surrendered
and they did. Then the question was, what are they going to do? Are we
going to home or army of occupation, what are we going to do about Japan
and so forth. And someplace along the line, they informed the 1075th that
we were going to be redeployed through the States.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: We were going to go home and be redeployed to the Pacific. Well
that was great. I sat down and I wrote my family a letter. I didn’t do
much E-mail. I tried to write letters and, V-mail, not E-mail…

Interviewer: You mean you could select V-mail or a regular letter?

Segal: Oh yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Interviewer: Oh I see. I didn’t know that.

Segal: You could do either one.

Interviewer: Either one? That’s…

Segal: And so I would generally write regular letters ’cause I was
kind of verbose as I am today, and those little squares weren’t that
big, you know.

Interviewer: Oh yeah.

Segal: And so I was in the… and most times I did. My letters
were, well when I was in a good situation, my letters were frequent. And
when I was in a bad situation, there weren’t any at all.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: But anyhow. I wrote and told my family and this was legal, that
we were going to be redeployed to the States. I didn’t give any dates or
any—-, we didn’t know dates. And so I told them I was going to be
redeployed to the States. So what happens then was real simple. Two days
later, you know what army spec numbers are?

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Okay. I had four of them, 952, 953, 954 and 955.

Interviewer: … that’s your job and specialty?

Segal: That’s right.

Interviewer: It’s what you do?


Segal: I had coordinator of radar. There were four different radar
categories and I had every dang one of them.

Interviewer: Huh.

Segal: I was trained in every one of these particular types of radar
equipment. So every one of those… essential. And I’m pulled out
of the 1075th and to be sent to a repple-depple company to go direct to
the Pacific. And I was not a happy camper. In fact I was madder than, you
can imagine. So immediately I wrote down… a V-mail to my family and
my parents got the two letters the same day.

Interviewer: Two letters. What was…

Segal: One was the one saying I was coming home, be redeployed to the
States, and the other one says I’m not coming home at all. I’m going


Segal: … So I was taken out of the 1075th, that’s when I fought
it like crazy. I lost. I had all these spec numbers. So they pulled me out
of that thing and put me in a, what they called a repple-depple company.
It was 200 men and two officers. And we were all in the same boat: men who
were either radar men, they were… they were ordinance, they were
cryptographers, they were men in critical categories of what they needed
to get ready for the invasion of Japan. So anyhow, they sent us to one of
the cigarette camps. We had several of them known as cigarette camps. I
think it was Lucky Strike but I won’t take an oath on that.


Segal: … retooled and everything.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And you were, it was either… full organization was going
to go and attack direct to the Pacific or an outfit like I was in, they
had this bunch of stumblebums and there was no organization whatsoever. No
table of organization. It was 200 men and two officers. That was it. And
we went to the cigarette camp and we got new equipment and everything, new
clothing, new boots, new everything. And it was really funny ’cause
(laughs) I wore a 13AA, no a 12AA at that time…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: in boots. And that, you can’t get those in shoe stores. But
the army never ran out of them. I never had trouble getting boots. Never.
I was always wishing they would have trouble. Then they couldn’t use me
where I needed them. (Laughs) But I never had trouble getting boots and I
got new boots there, new everything and ’cause we were going to go
direct and whatever. So that’s when it happened that they dropped the
first Atomic Bomb. We were at the cigarette camp on…


Segal: and the place went absolutely insane. The celebrating, oh the
this and that and the other and some damn fool in some organization fired
a bazooka up in the air.

Interviewer: Wow!

Segal: Came down and killed two men.

Interviewer: You saw that?

Segal: No, I didn’t see it. I heard the boom and oh, I couldn’t
believe it. Some idiot. ‘Cause everybody, if you had something to drink,
you were getting drunk and raising heck, I mean the war is over. You’re
going to go, that’s it. So then they started, this repple-depple, oh, we
still didn’t know what they were going to do with this 200 men. So now
was this going to change the picture or not? Well it didn’t change the
picture because they’re on the way from the cigarette camp to Marseilles
to get a boat to go somewhere. We didn’t know where. And on the way to
Marseilles, and we were stopped someplace in an open-air place where we
spent the night. And you know, on the ground. No city, no nothing. And we
were on the ground. We spent the night there. The next day we had
breakfast mess and then we started, went back on the truck… the
rest of the day to go to Marseilles and when we were passing through some
little town, the war was over. The Japs, they’d dropped the second bomb
and the war was over. So we get to Marseilles. Well, what are they going
to do with us now? Well there was nothing much to do in Marseilles except
lay around in garrison tents. And that’s all we’d do. We just waited
for them and then all of a sudden here come a, well we’re going to
leave, we’re leaving tomorrow and we’re going to get a boat. Okay. We
never once said we were going to get a train to send us into Germany for
army of occupation or anything. Never once. We were always going to get a
boat. We were going to go somewhere. Where? See? We were either going to
go to Japan for the occupation. What’s the story going to be?

Well, we were scheduled for about four or five boats and every time we were
scheduled, we were cancelled. Like they just didn’t know what the
dickens to do with us. Finally the order came down and we actually, there
wasn’t any cancellation and we’re all packed up and marching down and
we get to the boat and we get on this pretty-good sized ship and we sailed
up to Marseilles into the Mediterranean and we’re probably a mile or two
off the shore and we hear this announcement: “Attention all hands.
Attention all hands. This is the captain. I want to inform you men and
women on board that the next port of call will be,” and our hearts
are like this, “New York, New York.” And we went absolutely
insane. We were going to go home. And that was… home. Now the ship
that I was on was called the U.S.S. John Erickson. It was the name of the
ship. But that wasn’t the original name. And I get the two ships mixed
up. Which one was the Swedish repatriation ship, the Gripsholm, was that
the one?


Segal: Well there was a Gripsholm and a Kungsholm and I think the
Gripsholm was a repatriation ship they used for prioner swaps and all that
kind of stuff.


Segal: But the sister ship, the Kungsholm, K-U-N-G-S-H-O-L-M, I think
that’s right, was in New York Harbor when Pearl Harbor Day hit. And the
Americans leased it from Sweden to use as a troop ship and it was equipped
as a troop ship and it made, I don’t know how many trips back and forth.
But this was the ship, theoretically, it was to take people directly from
Marseilles through the Panama Canal to the Pacific.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And it was provisioned for that kind of a trip. But the trip
instead, since it was recycled, it was going to take people to the States.
Well that was wonderful because it was provisioned for a good long boat
ride and the food on board was fantastic.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: It was great. We ate, that was the best food we’d had in over
two years. So we ate well, we could actually clean up and it was a smooth
cruise and there wasn’t anybody shooting at us or anything. We weren’t
worried about torpedoes. We weren’t convoying, by the way. We just
individually, by itself. And it took about 12 days to get from Marseilles
to New York. And we debarked there and then it was back to Camp Kilmer,
New Jersey, and we started reprocessing there and that’s when I got to a
telephone. The line was forever. And did you ever hear about the guys
coming back from overseas, the things that could happen to you?


Segal: Well the first thing you did was your first meal, which ours
turned out to be dinner but it wasn’t dinnertime. It was a like 7, 8:00
at night, was to go to this special mess

hall where you could actually, this was your welcome home dinner. And
you’d go to the mess hall and you can’t believe this. It’s big,
thick steaks, baked potatoes, french fried potatoes, I don’t know how
many different kinds of vegetables, salads of all kinds, I mean it was,
“glory, glory, glory hallelujah” in the food department. Several
kinds of pies, cakes, ice cream, and you could have all you wanted and we
pigged and we pigged and we pigged and ate and ate. I went through the, I
took everything the first time. It was more than I could carry. And
everybody did the same thing. Got the biggest steak you could get your
hands on and french fried potatoes and fresh vegetables and I was never a
salad eater so that didn’t bother me. But I got plenty of vegetables and
pie and ice cream and the whole doggone thing. When I got through, I went
back and got another steak and another pile of french fries and another
piece of pie and ice cream and I ate that and on my way to turn in my mess
tray, I stopped to pick up another ice cream bar on the way out. I mean
everybody, just, it’s a wonder we didn’t get sick or… because
we hadn’t eaten like that. Well, we’d eaten well on the ship but not
like this. Anyhow, on the way back from mess hall to my barracks, there
was a telephone building and they just had, you went up and you told the
person at the desk, a bunch of women working, WACs, and you say, “I
want to call Louisville, Kentucky, the number is such-and-such.” You’re
allowed one phone call. And you go there and they give you a number and
you wait and you wait and you wait and you wait.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Finally the phone goes through, it was something like 12:00,
1:00 in the morning. And everybody’s exhausted. You’re waiting there
dead and they call your number and you go to a phone that they assign to
you and I’m talking to my mother and my father.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Segal: And that had been two years. So it was a good feeling, wonderful
feeling. And, oh I forgot to tell you about the trip home on the ship. The
trip home on the ship was leisurely but it encompassed Rosh Hashonah . . .

Interviewer: Huh.

Segal: The Jewish holiday of New Year.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And I didn’t give it too much thought until there was an
announcement on the P.A. system that some GIs had requested to captain’s
permission to have Rosh Hashonah services that night. And believe it or
not, there were a limited number of prayer books on board. I don’t know
why but there were. And these few GIs had put this thing together. They
assigned them a stand-up mess hall down in the hull of the ship. Do you
know what a stand-up mess hall is?

Interviewer: No.

Segal: There’s no tables and chairs, just tables but they come up to
here on you.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Segal: In other words, you stand up, you eat standing up instead of
sitting down.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Okay.

Segal: And that way they can feed a lot of men in a lot smaller
territory and a lot closer together, but it was hot. God it was hot in
that place. It must have been, we were right next door to the boiler rooms
or something in the engine room because you walked in there and it was
stifling. So the first thing you did, you took off your jacket. Then you
took off your shirt and when you got… into the services, you
actually just took everything off except your jockey shorts. It was a
sweat box. And I call it “my jockey short Rosh Hashonah…”

Interviewer: Huh.

Segal: and you know, at home if you go to the synagogue or the temple,
you put on your best because it’s the High Holydays and you sit with
your family. Well, I was with my family of soldiers but my best part of
that was, and I was in these jockey shorts that I’d had on for several
days. (Laughter) And that was my saved-up Rosh Hashonah jockey shorts
holiday. And I got home and it was, believe it or not, it was a Sunday and
they shipped us from Kilmer, New Jersey, they shipped a bunch of us to
Aterbury, Indiana, and then I took a bus down to Louisville, Kentucky, and
then we scattered to the winds for 30 days recuperation leaves. ‘Cause
when I got to Louisville I was

finished. And from Aterbury, I told my family I’ll be on this bus and
that bus or that bus and sure as heck, I caught one of those buses and
arrived. Well that was before air-conditioned buses and I was sitting next
to the window and this other guy says, you know, “That’s my home
town.” And the guy says, “Where’s the train station?” So
I was telling him that he could go out here on Broadway and you turn left
and this was the bus station was Fifth and Broadway. You go to Tenth. You
could walk it easy enough. But the guy says, “But the train station
is,” and I point down that way to tell him and I feel an arm hit my
shoulder. It was my brother outside tapping on my shoulder. My brother and
my father met the bus.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And…

Interviewer: Were you in uniform at the time?

Segal: Oh yeah, sure.


Segal: … in uniform. I mean, I hadn’t seen civilian clothes
since I’d gone, since…

Interviewer: I’m curious. What kind of uniform did you, you probably
didn’t have a paratrooper outfit? What kind of army uniform?

Segal: I had an army uniform. It was, I had my jump boots on. That’s
the only kind of boots I had.

Interviewer: You got jump boots?

Segal: Oh yeah. We had…

Interviewer: … jump boots?

Segal: Yeah I had jump boots even though I didn’t jump. I had jump

Interviewer: So did you kind of get the respect of, that was usually
given to paratroopers?

Segal: Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah, sure did.

Interviewer: Those guys kind of, you know…

Segal: Well we were glamour boys.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Segal: And…


Segal: With the Screamin’ Eagle on your shoulder….

Interviewer: You had that shoulder patch?

Segal: That shoulder patch on one and the First Allied Airborne on the
other side. And…

Interviewer: … patches?

Segal: Yeah, I got them on my shirt stickin’ in my closet.


Segal: Not the original shirt. But the original shirt (laughs) no, I
had to go out and buy these patches but…

Interviewer: Do you have any of these 1075th patches laying around?

Segal: There were no 1075th.

Interviewer: Nothing?

Segal: No. First Allied Airborne and 101st. That Screamin’ Eagle and
the First Allied Airborne.

Interviewer: That’s all you had, huh?

Segal: That’s all I had.


Segal: That’s it. And there were no 1075th patches at all. And most
companies, I don’t think they had individual patches.


Segal: Anyhow, I got off the bus and of course, the duffle bags were
underneath the bus and they pulled them out. All the GIs were picking up
their duffle bags and my brother who, my older brother who had the
varicose veins and was exempt, he tried to pick it up and he fell down on
the sidewalk. (Laughs) And I said, “I’ll show you.” Ruff,
ruff, up on my shoulder it went and I took it to the old beat-up car and I
got home and here I was in the army clothes, full uniform, and at least,
well, I’ve got huge feet as you can see. And my mother didn’t want me
to go out of the house, “You can’t go to Temple tonight with those
boots on.” And I said, “I’ve got nothing else to wear, Mom. I’m
not going barefoot.” Well she insisted I wear a pair of my brother’s
which were a full size too small. And I had to wear a pair of these
civilian shoes.

Interviewer: You had none of your own, huh?

Segal: No, I didn’t have a stitch of clothes. See, I’d worked in a
men’s clothing store before I went to this, into the radar…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: the signal depot and I had a ton of clothes. I was a
well-dressed little son of a gun. I even owned a tuxedo in those days.
Because when you worked in a clothing store, it was twice a year you got
huge discounts on stuff ’cause they wanted the salespeople to be very
well dressed. So I’m, it’s okay with me if they wanted to give me
like, probably a third off or 40% off on whatever you bought in the store.
So I had a bunch of clothes. But just remember, when I went in the army, I
only weighed 119. But when I left there, left home, they sent me to Camp
Crowder, Missouri, and I went through basic training. At the end of basic
training, I weighed 137 and I wrote to my brother Walter and said,
“Walter, I’m going to be a man after all.” I’d gained 18 or
19 pounds, whatever it was, and I said, “By golly, take my clothes
and wear them. I’m not going to need them. They’re not going to fit me
and there’s plenty of good clothes. Have a ball.” So he did.
(Laughs) From that time, oh by the time I got home, I’d gone from 137
back down. I got out of the army, I weighed 120. So I gained one pound in
38 months.

Interviewer: Ummmm.

Segal: So my brother’d worn out all my clothes and I didn’t have a
stitch of anything. And luckily, I had a few friends that worked in
clothing stores and stuff like that and my father had some connections
from the clothing industry and anyhow, I got a couple of suits and I. But
the toughest thing was finding shoes.

Interviewer: I kind of got you off track there. You’re going to
Temple with…

Segal: … going to Temple and I’m going with my brother’s
shoes on, an army uniform and oh, wasn’t that a good feeling.

Interviewer: Yeah?

Segal: A great feeling. So I was there for Yom Kippur and I could atone
for my sins and be with my family and it was great. Just great.

Interviewer: That was sort of the big culmination of the…

Segal: Of the thing.

Interviewer: of the war?

Segal: Of the war. Right.

Interviewer: Now…

Segal: There’s one other incident that I wanted to talk to you about.
That was my Rosh Hashonah jockey short deal.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: The other story was the one Passover when I happened to be in

Interviewer: Okay, good.

Segal: We were retooling and getting reequipped and we were at a base
and it was in violation of everything we’d ever heard. It was a hospital
area. They’d taken over some big buildings out in the middle of nowhere,
like an industrial plant or something and they made it into a field house
and it was full of wounded and so forth. They had an airstrip there and we
were there doing our work on the APN2s. And somehow word got around that
Rabbi, I can’t remember the guy’s name. Anyhow, there was one rabbi in
the whole 101st Airborne. Rosen, Rabbi Rosen from Brooklyn, New York. He
was not a pulpit rabbi, he ran a heder, a Jewish school in New
York. But the nicest little guy you ever met. And you saw him just
occasionally. He’d made a regular, he would give Sabbath services
starting on Thursday and he’d do it through Sunday. It was always . . .
. and he’d do three or four a day, as fast as he could get around in a
jeep to make contact with soldiers. He was remarkable. Anyhow, word got
around that they had arranged, worked out a deal. We were near Chartres .
. . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: and evidently and this is how I got the story and I presume it’s
the truth. That most of the Jewish residents of Chartres, when the Germans
were breaking through, picked up their families and as much as they could
take with them and they headed for the Pyrenees Mountains. And they spent
the war in the Pyrenees and after the

invasion and they pushed the Germans back and Chartres was liberated,
they came back from the Pyrenees Mountains and they went back to their
homes and the synagogue there, had been used as a warehouse. So the group
pitched together and they cleaned the place up, repaired it, put it back
together, made it where, rededicated the place and as Passover approached,
they approached the army to, if the army would give them the food, they
would prepare the Passover Seder and conduct services for as many Jewish
soldiers as they could find and it…


Segal: … The French Jewish community. . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: was going to prepare the Seder. Well it worked, I don’t know
how they ever worked it out, but there was a bunch of 6X6s, you know,
trucks, they had routes, and they were going to pick you up at certain
intersections and different rows and so forth. So I had to walk two miles
from where I was to a road at the junction and hop a truck, go over to
Chartres to this synagogue in the middle of nowhere and it was incredible.
Most of us went to the service for an hour; it was a very short service.
And then outside they worked it out that they actually had a Passover meal
for us, a Seder supper.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: So you got home cooking by French Jews in the middle of nowhere,
in the middle of the war. (Laughter) It was remarkable.

Interviewer: It was well attended you said?

Segal: I was amazed. The place was packed.


Segal: Every hour there was another bunch of soldiers there. Maybe, it
was a small synagogue, maybe only a hundred and fifty people if that many.
Maybe a hundred and twenty-five. But I never saw, I saw a lot of 101st
Airborne patches.

Interviewer: I was going to say, they were 101st…

Segal: I was amazed how many 101st Jews there were. I thought I was the
only one in my outfit but of course, I was attached to the 101st. I wasn’t
really 101st. I was attached.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: So it was Passover and it was in the middle of nowhere with this
bunch of, it was done by the Jewish people once they came out of the
Pyrenees Mountains.

Interviewer: And the Temple is actually in Chartres?

Segal: Yeah. Uh huh. The French city. Yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: So it was just an amazing experience and the crazy part was it
was, it was an Orthodox service, all in Hebrew and I’m Reform and I don’t
read or speak Hebrew.

Interviewer: So you remember that…

Segal: Yeah. It was all Orthodox. Yeah. I didn’t care. I’m here and
it’s Jewish. That’s all I cared about. And then we had the ritual . .
. . we had the matzos, the matzo ball soup and the haroses and the
horseradish and the whole bit that you have for the Seder supper. Have you
ever been to a Seder?

Interviewer: No I haven’t.

Segal: You should be.

Interviewer: I’ve been to Temple.

Segal: Uh huh

Interviewer: On occasion. I really enjoyed the breakfast.


Interviewer: … and not any High Holydays.


Segal: Uh huh.

Interviewer: So well attended and it was well done?

Segal: Oh everybody was just thrilled.

Interviewer: Was this your first opportunity to participate in
religious services for quite some time there, I mean…

Segal: Well of that nature. There were… for example, Rabbi Rosen
came around… area and there’d be a reasonable number of Jewish
soldiers so… ten or twenty five.

Interviewer: What I recall is the drop at Nuimegen in Holland…

Segal: Right.

Interviewer: occurred during September. Wouldn’t that coincide with
holy days during that time?

Segal: If it did, I wasn’t even aware of it and…


Segal: … that’s, you lose contact with reality.

Interviewer: Yeah.


Segal: Yeah. You, you lose contact with reality. I can’t tell you
when, of course, the holidays move as you know, the Jewish calendar.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And I don’t know whether it was in September or…


Segal: Well still they vary.

Interviewer: … September, yeah.

Segal: September, Rosh Hashonah and Yom Kippur are September or

Interviewer: Ahhhh.

Segal: They could be anywhere.

Interviewer: So those holidays passed and you don’t even recall?

Segal: I don’t even recall. They just went right by.


Segal: Right. So it didn’t, as far as I was concerned, it didn’t

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Of course it happened. But the Jewish calendar is a calendar of
28-day months because it’s a lunar calendar.

Interviewer: Uh huh. . . .

Segal: … you have a leap month. We had holydays this year late,
about two months before Christmas.

Interviewer: About two, two weeks as I recall this year on the calendar
or maybe even three, three weeks.

Segal: Well Hanukkah comes around Christmas time

Interviewer: How about Hanukkah?

Segal: Hanukkah, you can forget it.


Segal: That’s not even a major holiday.

Interviewer: Did not happen?

Segal: Because it, Hanukkah would be in effect. Hanukkah is for little

Interviewer: Okay, so you didn’t…


Segal: … effect at all.

Interviewer: Hanukkah…

Segal: Hanukkah is what you do to pacify the Jewish little kids because
Christmas, all the Christian kids are having all the fun.


Segal: So we make a big deal out of Hanukkah. (Laughter) They make a
big deal out of it and… competition.

Interviewer: So really there was a stretch of time there…


Segal: Up until that…


Interviewer: Well how about the Christian event there, Christmas in
Bastogne? Do you recall anything happening there? Do you recall the
Christmas in Bastogne?

Segal: I recall the fact that the guys became, there might have been
formalized services in some areas. I wouldn’t know. Wherever there were
chaplains if there were any there, but I remember the guys, you know, it’s
Christmas, and they would do a lot of praying. The Christians will do a
lot of praying.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: They were, I’ll be honest with you. I was just what you’d
call, I didn’t have a great Jewish background. Remember we were Reform
Jews. We belonged to a Temple in Louisville. We were not regular
Temple-goers. I was confirmed. I had a tolerable Jewish education. It wasn’t
really great. And I was not a heavily-practicing Jewish young man.
However, someplace along the line…

Interviewer: (Tape switches.)… make sure we got a little bit
more detail on it.

Segal: Okay.

Interviewer: … So this is our third tape here. We’re just going
to… a few topics… a little bit more detail to see what we

Segal: Okay.

Interviewer: find of interest there. There you were talking about . . .
. and K-rations and that was probably in Holland?

Segal: Yeah, that was probably in Holland. That was Nuimegen.


Segal: It was Holland. And then after a month like that there in . . .
. keep your head up out of the hole, it was close, it was close to death.
And someplace or another, I said, “God get me out of this hole and I’ll
do something for you some day.” And I did.

Interviewer: Ummmm. So you sort of had a…

Segal: Got out of that hole.

Interviewer: a spiritual… I don’t know… trying to find
the words.

Segal: … of religion. You’ve heard that expression I’m sure.

Interviewer: … religion…

Segal: And it hit me. And I…

Interviewer: … Nuimegen?

Segal: Yeah. Pretty certain it was Nuimegen.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Stuck in a hole for three days?

Segal: Yeah. And we… it was not a happy time. It was bad. But I’ve
done a lot for the community, not just the Jewish community, the overall .
. . . at the American Cancer Society as a volunteer. Course…
according to my wife, but I’ve been responsible for a lot of other
things. In Portsmouth, Ohio when I lived down there.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: The development of a branch of Ohio University down there.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Educate these Appalachian kids which is now Shawnee State


Segal: I was very, very much involved in that. The development of
Shawnee State Park, the Scioto County Speech Therapy Committee because my
son had a speech problem, my second son. He had what they call “a
lazy tongue.” That’s the kid that was… and he’s now grown
so I was bringing my son to Columbus for speech therapy at Ohio State
University in the clinic there on Saturdays and I’d come up here and he
would be in a class for three hours and I’d be in a parent’s class for
three hours to learn how to work with him during the week at home.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And then I realized how many kids had speech problems of various
kinds, stuttering and you name it. And they weren’t going to Ohio State
then. They just weren’t aware of it or couldn’t get in at the time, or
couldn’t get somebody to haul them. It’s not exactly what you call
“around the corner.” It was 90 miles. So I formed the Ohio
Speech Therapy Committee which was me. I was the President, Chairman, the
total membership, the flunkee, the secretary. What I did is I arranged
with the school system to have kids evaluated and if they needed help, I
worked it out with a doctoral candidate from Ohio State University would
come down to Portsmouth on a Saturday, every Saturday, and have these kids
in small groups depending upon their problems, their speech problems. I
worked out a free deal from Y.M.C.A. for a room where they could meet and
conduct classes. And it was available. It was two bucks a kid for time and
the doctoral candidate would come down on Saturday morning. His first
class would be about 9:00. Every hour, he had another bunch of kids there.
And when he got through at 5:00, 6:00 Saturday night, he maybe had seen
70, 80 kids.

Interviewer: Now you’re saying that this sort of dedication to
community service comes from that war experience where you…

Segal: Yes.


Segal: Other than my cancer work, it was basically a “pay back my


Segal: And I’ve been involved in many, many, many… involved in
my life as a volunteer.

Interviewer: Have you ever seen any of your old war-time buddies,

Segal: One.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Segal: Yeah. As I mentioned earlier of, oh I don’t know whether I
mentioned it earlier or not, of the original 20 men in the 1075th…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: there were only three originals left.

Interviewer: You mean now, after all these years?

Segal: No, when it was over. There were three originals left. So we
went through 60 men.

Interviewer: What do you mean “going through 60 men?” I mean


Interviewer: … in action or what?

Segal: Right. We went through 60 men.

Interviewer: Sixty. How did you know that? I mean, how did you know?

Segal: Well, you just kept getting replacements and replacements.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Segal: Yeah. When there was a major drop, a lot of them didn’t come
back. Out of those 20 men who went through, there was only three of the
originals, the original 20s…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And the rest were just replacements and replacements and

Interviewer: So at times, I guess you would form up together so you
would know that?

Segal: Yeah.


Interviewer: … You’re so disconntected, you don’t know what’s
going on?

Segal: The 20 men, they were okay. Because we would get back, when the
drops were over, we’d get back together and…

Interviewer: Twenty men?

Segal: Yeah.

Interviewer: … What was the unit designation of those 20 men? Was
that a company?

Segal: No, the companay was the 1075th Airborne.

Interviewer: All right. That was a…

Segal: That was Section A.

Interviewer: Oh you were Section A?

Segal: Section A. There was a headquarters company which was rear
echelon. That was 60 men.

Interviewer: Okay.

Segal: We were in Section A, was 20 men. B was 20 men. That was it.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: … men.

Interviewer: Okay. And you’re in Section A…

Segal: I was in Section A.

Interviewer: of the 1075th Signal Company?

Segal: Right… Signal Company. 1075th Airborn Signal Company.

Interviewer: And so you did some visibility as to how many men were
left, huh?

Segal: Yeah. So out of the 20…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: but one of the guys, Don Reeback… And Don Reeback came
through. I was married and living in Portsmouth and he came, he and his
wife and two kids came through Louisville, Kentucky, chased down my name,
found my older brother Walter who sent him to me in Portsmouth and we had
an overnighter together and we talked all night while the kids slept and
our two wives slept and we talked the whole damn night. And it was morose.

Interviewer: How do you mean?

Segal: It was just we talked about dead, dead, dead. It was not a happy

Interviewer: Let me ask you something. You both had had those kind of

Segal: Well we were in the same team, we were part of Team A.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And that was our piece of the war. And it was just, it was
morose. And when he left, I was tickled to death and I’m sure he was
just as glad to get on the road and I’ve never heard from him since.

Interviewer: In other words, you had shared a lot of losses and…

Segal: That’s correct. That’s correct.

Interviewer: Is he still alive?

Segal: I have no idea.

Interviewer: Do you know where he was from?

Segal: Henderson, Kentucky.

Interviewer: Henderson, Kentucky?

Segal: Yep.

Interviewer: Oh.


Segal: Since Jim Goldenberg is my son-in-law’s father…

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Segal: He was from Mansfield, Ohio, originally. He lives in Richmond,
Indiana, now. And he participated in the liberation of Dachau.

Interviewer: … What unit was he in, do you know?

Segal: I don’t know the name of the unit at all. I don’t know
whether you want to talk to him or not.

Interviewer: Where is he?

Segal: Richmond, Indiana. That’s just over the Ohio line into

Interviewer: He’s living there now?

Segal: Yeah. Wonderful guy. Well that’s, I don’t know whether you


Segal: … could be part of this or not.

Interviewer: I’ve been to Dachau and… This is your son-in-law’s

Segal: Correct.

Interviewer: What’s your son-in-law’s name?

Segal: Marc, M-A-R-C Goldenberg.

Interviewer: Okay.

Segal: There’s quite a big Goldenberg family here in Columbus.

Interviewer: Uh huh. What is your daughter’s, what’s her first

Segal: Barbara.

Interviewer: Barbara?

Segal: Uh huh.

Interviewer: Where does Marc live?

Segal: Marc lives, they live in Worthington, the kids.

Interviewer: Oh in Worthington? I see.

Segal: I don’t know whether he’d be a good subject for you…

Interviewer: Well let me call him. What’s Marc’s phone number?

Segal: Marc’s phone number…

Interviewer: … your daughter?

Segal: 436-9473.

Interviewer: Okay.

Segal: Okay. Just wanted to mention, somebody mentioned that, Bobby
mentioned it the other day when I was telling him about your being up here

Interviewer: Well it’s interesting. Do you know of any other Jewish
war veterans in Columbus who have moved in in the past few years or
whatever? We might be able to… as we can… who were born and
raised here.

Segal: Right.

Interviewer: … member of the community?

Segal: Twenty-seven, twenty-eight years…

Interviewer: Yeah.

Segal: But you never know the guy next to you on the bus or in the next


Segal: you know, to…


Segal: I was someplace, where the hell was I? It was on a trip
somewhere. It wasn’t in Columbus; I was on a vacation trip, Florida
someplace. And I stumbled on a bunch of veterans and one from the 506th .
. . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And we talked for, I don’t know, as long as I had time. I don’t
know, I spent an hour, an hour and a half with the man just pulling
numbers and talking about people and this and this, and then he was damn
near everyplace I was.

Interviewer: But you don’t remember say back in Bastogne with the
506th, you’re engaged in combat with the other guys there? Was there
anyone in particular you made friends with in the 506th or…

Segal: No.

Interviewer: saved your life or you saved theirs or…

Segal: It just happens, it just happens. . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: it was particularly Bastogne, particularly Bastogne. There were
on that little rise…

Interviewer: You were always on a rise at that point?

Segal: We were on this little knob or rise, whatever you want to call

Interviewer: The 506th?

Segal: Yeah. And we’re defending what little we have. We’re
defending the unit and the TPN3 and our position. . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: of course, it was that if the Germans don’t go any further
into Bastogne they had to keep them beyond the perimiter. And one minute
you’ve got 10-15 guys around you fighting, then all of a sudden, you’ve
got 50. Then you look around and there’s only 30 or they’re just . . .


Segal: Huh?

Interviewer: Of your own troops?

Segal: Of our own troops.

Interviewer: What happened to these other guys?

Segal: They just, either they, the squad moves here or the squad moved
there. It’s an individual sort of group, it…

Interviewer: In your case you’re tied to that…


Segal: … I’m tied to that little knob. See? And then there’s
the certain guys that got me to that little knob that’s some of my
protective force.

Interviewer: Oh, who’d come there with you?

Segal: Not with me, I came in with a glider pilot.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And he disappeared. (Laughter) I was… who the heck he
was. And he disappeared.

Interviewer: The glider pilot?

Segal: Yeah. See after D-Day, we lost so many glider pilots because
they weren’t trained for combat. They didn’t know what to do. They
were trained in hotel lobbies and air strips and they didn’t know what
to do when they got on the ground. And they died ’cause they weren’t
good soldiers. And they began to train them for combat. But they still got
them out of sight as quickly as they could. They pulled them into…
. When they got them, when the gliders stopped moving, they automatically
became privates under any non-com that was on board the glider, whether it
was a corporal or a sergeant. Whoever the non-com was on board that
glider, the glider pilot, even though they were second lieutenants and
senior warrant officers, they became privates under that particular
non-com. They were not commanding that little group.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Once that plane, that glider stopped moving, they became

Interviewer: Huh. After all that training?

Segal: Uh huh. Well, they just didn’t know how to fight. They didn’t
know how to protect themselves so they were dead meat out there.

Interviewer: Okay now, starting that… Bastogne there…
around the area and numbered locations where the 506th was, now you must
have had some opening way to bring well. . . .

Segal: At first we brought in parapacks.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Actually in your case, it was the same. . . . you
bring in, they were dropping the supplies from the air or from gliders and
the gliders…

Segal: No… the parapacks came from DC3s, not gliders.

Interviewer: Okay. So you act—, your activity was, was not with


Segal: Didn’t need it… anyplace you could drop them.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And just cut them loose and then you fly (laughter)… the
Germans over them.

Interviewer: I’m just trying to get an understanding of… and
see what you recall… at Bostogne, you were trying to supply by
drops and then they brought gliders in…

Segal: Well the original drops, they weren’t getting in…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: that’s why they knew they had to get some kind of beacons in
there so that became our job. And… the parapacks coming in and when
the weather got a little better, they brought the gliders in and

Interviewer: So that was kind of interesting. . . . This buddy you met
after the war, had he been in Bastogne or…

Segal: Reeback was not in Bastogne. Yes he was. I know he was in
Nuimegen. He was in St. Lo. And that’s one thing I want to straighten
out with you too. You said that St. Lo was not occupied until later in the

Interviewer: September…

Segal: Okay. Well see, we hit the ground east of St. Lo, not directly
in St. Lo. But there were other drops that went in closer to St. Lo when
they finally took it. But my job, our job that early, D-plus 7…

Interviewer: D-plus 7?

Segal: which was D-plus 7, was to keep reinforcements from coming into
that area.

Interviewer: Uh huh. But then again with your secret equipment, I can’t
find any reference to that drop…

Segal: Isn’t that something?

Interviewer: Yeah. But there was a drop on D-plus 7 east of St. Lo . .
. .

Segal: East of St. Lo. I’d say about 8 miles east.

Interviewer: As you know, there was a big carpet bombing for the
breakout there.

Segal: Uh huh.

Interviewer: They came so close to their troops, many U.S. soldiers
were killed by our own bombers.

Segal: Uh huh.

Interviewer: Were you out of there by that time or did you have
anything to do with that?


Interviewer: You recall the carpet bombing?

Segal: I think we were, I think we were far enough east that we didn’t
get it.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Uh huh. You weren’t involved in that?

Segal: I don’t think so.

Interviewer: Well that was, that was…

Segal: You want to fill your cup again, or?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Segal: Okay. There’s plenty in there… some pictures of old
buddies and…

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Segal: that sort. War pictures and…

Interviewer: Yeah. But you sold the other souvenirs huh?

Segal: I sold those and stuff. I got money out of them.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: The lugers… and the two good cameras, I think I got $300
for one, $350.

Interviewer: Did you take any pictures with those cameras then…


Interviewer: combat times?

Segal: Yeah…. take pictures.


Segal: … I didn’t take any combat pictures.

Interviewer: Did you have any contact with German civilians or…

Segal: Very, very little. Very, very little. Because we never lived in
what you’d call city areas. Now after the war ended, I had some great
times in France. I had some wonderful times in France. I met a lot of

Interviewer: But you didn’t have any occupational time in Germany?

Segal: No, no occupation…

Interviewer: That time in Frankfurt was just that one event where that
plane crashed and then you were…

Segal: Then I was out.

Interviewer: taken out of there?

Segal: Uh huh… meeting them there. That was my first change,
that was my first sighting of a concentration camp.

Interviewer: Well did you see something there? There was a…

Segal: I didn’t see a concentration camp, no.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: But someplace along the line stragglers from concentration camps
were in that area.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And GIs would pick them up and then, since we had that strip
there, or that piece of dirt, that lawn (laughter), they brought them
there and we, they were flying from a place… jerry cans of gas.
They were hauling these guys back into England to start straightening out
what little life they had. Oh God, it was a horrible sight. Horrible. . .
. .

Interviewer: So you saw some around Frankfurt?

Segal: Yeah. . . .


Segal: I did not see a concentation camp.

Interviewer: Uh huh… life-threatening situations there at that .
. . .

Segal: That’s probably the worst of it. I know the other day when we
were talking, the hardest part was talking about the close fighting.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And that got to me. That really got to me. I’ve had lots of
thoughts about that since last week.

Interviewer: Uh huh.


Interviewer: … you had a sort of nightmare which had no…


Interviewer: relationship to reality with…

Segal: I don’t know whether it happened or not.


Segal: Yeah.


Segal: I remember firing a BAR.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Now maybe I fired one in over Holland but I don’t think so. I
don’t remember, I’d swear to this day I… if that event ever
occurred or not.


Segal: Yeah.

Interviewer: … a marksman with carbines?

Segal: Well I was a sharpshooter. I was…

Interviewer: … mission ran out of ammunition in Bastogne?

Segal: Yeah, ran out of ammunition and that’s when you had to go in
close and, thank God I…

Interviewer: Was that night fighting or daytime?

Segal: It was dusk, about dusk. ‘Cause you could see me. It wasn’t
what you’d call mid-day sunshine.

Interviewer: Snow on the ground?

Segal: Yeah.

Interviewer: Was that…

Segal: Everybody’s screams…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Everybody’s screaming? Everybody’s hollering. You’re in .
. . . like everybody’s a quarterback. You know what I mean? Or you’re
… like a basketball floor more than a football field ’cause the
quarterback’s the only one talking in a football game, he’s calling
the signals. Then you hear grunts and rolls and flumps. But on a
basketball court, there’s a a lot of conversation going on.

Interviewer: Were you in a bunker or a fox hole…

Segal: In that particular…

Interviewer: event?

Segal: In that particular event…


Segal: it wasn’t a bunker, it wasn’t a fox hole. It was just sort
of a make-do type of where you dug in and you threw dirt on top of dirt.
And you had a little, didn’t have sand bags, nothing like that. There
was no concrete poured or nothing. It was just where you dug some holes
and you built some dirt piles.

Interviewer: Now an infantryman would have a fox hole buddy. Were you
without anyone to cover your back?

Segal: Oh no, it was like a, it was like a dirt bunker. All right,
maybe you’re right. It was like a…


Segal: Yeah, there was other men with me. They were not that tight. We
were not that close together. We were reasonably close.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: We were in an area, well if you took all the way through to the
dining —-, you haven’t seen the rest of this place have you? You’ve
never been out of this room?

Interviewer: No.

Segal: Well I mean, take here and the kitchen together and maybe a half
again that much, where you got maybe anywhere from… men are coming
and going. And they’re getting hit and things are happening. And one
minute you look around, you’ve got ten people with you and the next
minute, you’ve got 25.

Interviewer: Was that like a command post of the 506th?

Segal: It was no command post; just keeping that sucker on the air. And
protecting the holding there.

Interviewer: So you really didn’t have a captain in that bunker that
was commanding a…

Segal: No we had some top sergeants. We had some good top kicks in

Interviewer: Sergeants?

Segal: Yeah. I tell you, if it wasn’t for the enlisted men, from
corporals on up to the sergeants, and I think that’s why we won the war.
I think the enlisted men if they had officers or they didn’t have
officers didn’t make a heck of a lot of difference because there was
always some corporal or sergeant or staff or tech or master, they would
just take over command and things, made things happen. And they’re
calling the signals of the quarterbacks and the guys are; it’s a team.

Interviewer Well that’s… one of my typical topics is what did
you think of your fellow soldiers and officers? Were they competent? Did
you have cowards for example?

Segal: No, I don’t really want to call it any real cowards. I
remember guys being scared to death…


Segal: … I was too.

Interviewer: … poor leadership?

Segal: Poor? I was so (laughs), I’ve heard of some poor leadership in
the States. Thank God I didn’t see poor leadership when I was…


Segal: Right.

Interviewer: Mike, another thing you… talk about sort of
anti-Semitism. You did experience one…

Segal: Yeah. This was in England. And one of the radio guys there was,
I don’t remember his first name but his last name was Green. And he had
red hair. So he was called Pinky. Pinky Green. And he was a replacement. And he was not too smart.
And I kind of defended the guy a little bit and when we went in combat
when we were working together and I tried, told him what to do, how to
keep your eyes… And we were back in England and… and we’re
getting equipment repaired and maintained and so forth, and during I took
a break out of the rain…the radar room, ’cause that was secret. No
one came in there unless you were a 950 something or other…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And I came out and I was taking a cigarette break with a bunch
of radio guys and he was one of them and it was, we got some new equipment
in or some kind of radio equipment and there was a label on the thing:
“Manufactured by” and I don’t even remember the name, Goldberg
or Cohen or Goldfarb or a Jewish name, Silverman, you know.

Interviewer: A piece of radio equipment?

Segal: A piece of radio. It was made by a…

Interviewer: … a Jewish…

Segal: It was made by a Jewish name and he said, “Another one made
by a kike, a kike outfit.” And I just got off the bench and of course I
wanted to kill the son of a bitch but I knew that wasn’t legal so I just
got up off the bench and I went back in the radar room and that was it. I
never said a word. But the guys in there who knew I was Jewish let that
little son of a bitch have it… And after that, he was on his own
and he didn’t make it.

Interviewer: What do you mean “he didn’t make it?”

Segal: He died.

Interviewer: He did? In combat?

Segal: Yeah. Yeah. He got hit and I just didn’t care whether he lived
or died after that so Pinky Green was no more… of an anti-Semite
and I didn’t have to kill him. The Germans did it for me.

Interviewer: Huh.

Segal: So…

Interviewer: That’s was about the only time…

Segal: … Yeah. 38 months in the service. That was the only
anti-Semitism I ever saw and a lot of guys saw a a lot of it. I didn’t
and I was the only Jew in my outfit. I could have been made miserable and
I wouldn’t have had anybody to talk to or gripe to or complain to or
anything. Those guys can give me a hard time and they didn’t. I mean, we
were a close-knit bunch. The only time was that little sucker from Texas.


Segal: … There was an anti-Semite from Texas and the guy who
saved my life when I got electrocuted was also from Texas.

Interviewer: Oh.

Segal: Ken Woodard. And it was, you could come into shmucks no
matter where you go. But the, the average soldier was a pretty darn
intelligent human being.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Segal: And we came across, I have not much love for British soldiers.
British soldiers were not that good.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: The Canadians were good. The Anzac troops were wonderful,
Australians and New Zealanders.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Segal: I was not around French troops. But the best of them, the
Americans and the Australians and the New Zealanders were the best,
closely followed by the Canucks. The Canadians were good. But the British
soldiers, I have no love for them. They were not good soldiers.

Interviewer: … You know we didn’t wrap up your wartime
experience by getting you back into occupational life again…


Interviewer: starting a family, that sort of thing. That’s…
want to do that.

Segal: My adjustment was bad. When I got home from the Army, I was not
what you’d call a great human being.

Interviewer: I think that was the case…

Segal: I don’t know, I just had a hard time settling down and getting
back to the normal life. I was wild and I was restless. Probably drank
more than I should. Ran…

Interviewer: Had you been drinking in Europe, I mean…

Segal: Well you had, whenever you could get good booze, you drank good

Interviewer: Well I guess you had a different life style there than
your family relationships. You had the chance to get out and party?

Segal: That’s right. And you didn’t, and when you’re over there,
which day is going to be your last? You don’t really think about it but
subconsciously you know that you’ve lost A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H. When
are they going to call S?

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And you just don’t know. So if there’s something to drink,
you drink it. If there was something to do, you do it. And you don’t
really think about making plans for when you get home. You’re just
thinking about getting through the day. And you get through the day and
then you go on to the next one. Then when you get home, you’re still
living one day at a time. It takes a while to get that out of your mind
and to get your sense of values back. It was wonderful being around my
parents and my siblings and I had a couple of nieces by that time from my
brother and my sister. And it was great coming home and seeing families
together. I’m very family oriented. But it just took a long time to get
my feet on the ground and try to figure where I was going, what I was
going to do with my life.

Interviewer: That’s a long time, was it six months, a year?

Segal: It was six months when I was over—-, remember the 52-20 club?
Fifty-two weeks at twenty dollars a week?

Interviewer: No, I…

Segal: That was the government subsidy for veterans coming back ’till
you got a job.

Interviewer: Okay.

Segal: And I took that for six months.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: ‘Cause I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. I
didn’t, and finally I got back into the work force slowly.

Interviewer: Back into retailing?

Segal: Yeah.

Interviewer: Clothing?

Segal: Uh huh. Uh huh. And I was offered, well I had good opportunities
coming to me. There was one, I think I told you about my Uncle Jack with
Columbia Pictures.

Interviewer: Yes, yes.

Segal: And he wanted me to go with him. I’d met a lot of Columbia
Pictures people in England particularly, just Alex Stein in France. But he
wanted me overseas with Columbia Pictures. He wanted me to get on a boat
practically as soon as I got home to go back, join him, whatever, join his
Columbia Pictures overseas. And I said, “For God sakes, Jack, let me
get my feet under me. Let me do something, you know, let me settle down
here. I don’t want to get back on a boat. I just got out of the danged
mud. I’ve had enough of that for a while.” And I said, “Give
me a year or two.”

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Blah, blah, blah and I just, I couldn’t see it. I didn’t
want to go. And I said, “Well give me a job in the States.” See?
He found me an opening in Indianapolis, Indiana. They had a distribution
place there and he got me a job there. And I went there for two weeks and
it was a stinking, lousy job that I was unhappy with so I just says,
“Forget it.” I came home and that was that. In the meantime,
Philco manu- factured a lot of radar units, a lot of radar equipment. When
the guys started coming home from overseas and replacements were going
back over to take our places in the Army of Occupation, not that they
needed radar for offensive work, but they still had radar equipment on
these planes and so forth and they had field equipment and who knows what?
Things weren’t that great with Russia in those days and they wanted
veterans like me to go overseas to train replacements with the field work.
It’s nice when you got a great big repair room right here and you got
all the parts in your imagination and everything to work with. It’s
great. Get out in the field. And it blows a tube or a resistor blows our
or a capacitor runs out or whatever, if something goes wrong with the unit
and you don’t have a big test bay to work with, you got to figure out what’s wrong with that unit in the field; it’s a heck of
a lot different to do it in the field than it is to do it back in
civilization. So they needed men such as me to go in the Fifth Service
Command, that’s Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia. There are
nine service areas. Did you know that?

Interviewer: Huh. No.

Segal: There are nine service areas in the United States.

Interviewer: It’s like military…

Segal: Military…


Segal: In the Fifth Service Command, there were like 8 or 10 men that
qualified that they wanted and I was one of them. And they came to you
with a heck of a sweet offer, a heck of a big pay check for those days. It
wouldn’t be a big pay check today. But you stayed in officers’
quarters, ate in officers’ mess and you were treated like you were a
civilian with the Army… you were treated like an officer. And they
only paid you a fourth of the salary that you lived on overseas, which was
more than ample. The rest of it was held in the United States for you. It
was all tax free.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Because it was basically overseas-earned. So it was a heck of a
sweet proposition and they came and they wanted you to sign up for four
years. Well it’s the same dang story. I just got off the boat and I didn’t
take it. And then later on they came back with, you take three years, they’ll
give you one in the States at the same deal. And I turned that down. Then
in the meantime, I got my life straightened out and I was back in the
sales field and I was comfortable. So I just let it go.

Interviewer: What were you selling?

Segal: Originally, I was selling shoes on the road.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And then I got straightened out, it was in ’49. I got married
the first time.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And I was working for America Shoe Company out of St. Louis. And
my father-in-law who was a food broker said (laughter): “Shoe
business is not good for a married man. You’re on the road too
long,” and you’re out there four, five, six, eight weeks at a time
… life for a married man. And he says, “Let me get you started
in the food brokerage business and we’ll see what happens.”

Interviewer: So four years after the war you kind of began to…

Segal: I was really getting civilized.

Interviewer: So you, you’d been four years for you to sort out . . .

Segal: It took me a good…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: took me a good two or three years to get straightened out.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: It took me a while to really get my feet on the ground.

Interviewer: And so then you…

Segal: Then I became a food broker, got married, and then we merged the
two companies. I was just a peanut and then we finally got big enough that
we merged them and then later on he had a heart attack and after the
second heart attack, he retired and I bought him out. And third heart
attack, he died. But I was a food broker from 1949 to 1973. My first wife
died in ’72 from cancer. She got cancer in ’62. She died in ’72 but
she had a six months’ prognosis.

Interviewer: Now what was her maiden name?

Segal: Helaine Kuhn.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Where was she from?

Segal: Portsmouth, Ohio. That’s what brought me to…

Interviewer: Jewish?

Segal: … Jewish family from Portsmouth, Ohio.

Interviewer: Did you have any children…

Segal: We had three kids.

Interviewer: Their names?

Segal: Dave is the oldest one. He lives in Columbus. He’s a corporate
attorney for Lancaster Colony. Son Robert is in High Point, North
Carolina. He owns his own business.

Interviewer: What’s his business?

Segal: He is an expense reduction facilitator. And it’s a
contingency-based operation. It’s as wild and crazy as a March hare and
he’s a master at it. He’s a genius when it comes to…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: to money and numbers and so forth. And my daughter Barbara lives
here in Columbus and her husband’s with Banc One and she is an Account
Systems Analyst but she doesn’t work at it. She’s busy raising three
wonderful grandchildren…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: So she’s doing very well.

Interviewer: So that’s a pretty good-sized family.

Segal: Right.

Interviewer: Then you remarried?

Segal: Right. I was single for eight years. My wife died in ’72. I
came to Columbus in ’73 and I met Sue in ’78 and we got married in
1980 so we’ve had just short of 20 years, August 2 was 20 years for us
and she has two children and we don’t call them “mine and
hers.” That’s long gone.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: We have a beautifully merged family.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: And the kids, our kids like each other and they get along and
they communicate and they visit back and forth as well as they can and
they get along. The grandchildren are just one big bundle of love. And we
got ten of them.

Interviewer: Ten. Well that rounds out to complete, I would say, a
well-rounded family.

Segal: Yes it is.

Interviewer: … bring us to the 21st Century as your family moves
on into hopefully a peaceful century…

Segal: Yeah.

Interviewer: compared to the century of war that we had.

Segal: Well we’ve had so much even since World War II…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: Followed by Korea and Viet Nam if you want to call that thing
and Desert Storm a war. I don’t call it a war. I call it a skirmish.
Because a world war lasts more than 100 hours… .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Segal: it was just a complete farce.

Interviewer: Well I think we’re at a fine point, I mean a good point
to stop the tape. Unless there’s any other war-related…

Segal: Umm…

Interviewer: …events or…

Segal: I think you got the biggest part of it.

Interviewer: We’ve done our best.

Segal: What amazes me is I survived this interview.


Interviewer: You did it in good style.

Segal: Thank you.

* * *

Transcribed by Honey Abramson