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with a Western Pennsylvania connection.
September 2015 | Episode #19 | Larry Miller
In our September episode of Veteran Voices: The Podcast, we have a conversation with Larry Miller, researcher, videographer, and field oral historian with The National WWII Museum.
Josh Galiyas: Camp Pennsylvania
Josh Galiyas of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania served in the 101st Airborne Division and United States Southern Command from 2001-2008. He was in army basic training during the 9/11 attack and in 2003 he was among the first troops to enter Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While awaiting orders to launch into Iraq from Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait, Josh’s unit was attacked by Army sergeant Hasan Karim Akbar, a Muslim convert who feared that US troops would harm fellow Muslims.
The original interview was recorded September 14, 2015 at the Heinz History Center by the Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh Oral History Initiative. This audio short was engineered and produced by Kevin Farkas.
Wendell Freeland was a member of the famed group of African-American WWII flyers we now call the Tuskegee Airmen. He joined the Army Air Corps in 1943 as a student at Howard University. A bright and ambitious student who grew up in a poor, segregated neighborhood in Baltimore, Wendell entered military service not so much to fight for his country but to advance himself and stop the fascist takeover of Europe.
Wendell was a lieutenant, a bombardier on a B-25 with the 477th Bomb Group. But, despite his rank, he remained a second-class citizen in Army. “I never spoke with a white officer. They never spoke to us, unless to bark an order.” He was arrested twice for defying the Army’s strict segregation policies.
The second arrest occurred at Freeman Field, Indiana, when Wendell and other black officers entered the all-white officers’ club and waited to be served. When Wendell refused to sign, read, or even acknowledge the regulation strictly separating white and black officers, he was charged with mutiny, a crime punishable by execution. Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall eventually ordered the charges to be dropped for most of the men, including Wendell. The Freeman Field Mutiny was an early blow against official segregation in the armed forces, an important step in the Civil Rights Movement.
Read the complete transcript from our interview with Wendell Freeland.