Bob Buckler of Glenshaw, Pennsylvania is ninety, but he clearly remembers joining the Army because high school wasn’t working out for him. Besides, his buddy had already enlisted and he wanted to do his part for the war effort, too.
Bob trained as a B-17 tail gunner, flying 22 missions during 1943 and 44 out of England. Most flights were with “Glory Girl” of the 562 Squadron, 388 Bomb Group, 8th Army Air Corps. However, on his last mission over Germany flying the ship, “Veni, Vidi, Vici,” Bob’s plane was fatally hit and the crew landed in Sweden—then a neutral country. No one could have imagined how they would be treated by the Swedes.
Years later at the family dinner table, whenever Bob’s wife would remind him to watch his manners around the children, Bob felt proudly compelled to remind his wife that he once had dinner with the King of Sweden. The occasion, including the bomber crew’s entire stay in Sweden, was a grand affair.
On March 16, 2015, Pittsburgh area WWII veterans Bob Buckler and Harold Hall shared their stories of military service with the Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh Oral History Initiative. We set up our mobile oral history studio in a new location for us—the Thomas & Katherine Detre Library & Archive at the Senator John Heinz History Center.
Todd DePastino of the Veterans Breakfast Club conducted the interviews, while Kevin Farkas managed the audio and videography.