Index to the Harlon J. "Joe" Butler Interview,

Veterans History Project Collection,

Record Group 024

Date processed:   5-2005
Processed By: M. Olliff

NARRATOR: Harlon J. "Joe" Butler

BIOGRAPHY:  Butler served in the Alabama Air National Guard from 1959 to 1965, attaining the rank of Airman Second Class.  He served on active duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  After leaving the Guard, Butler worked for Hedstrom Industries in Dothan, AL.

BIRTHDATE:  12-18-1936

OCCUPATION:  Retired.

INTERVIEWER: Jeremy Sizemore

PLACE: Dothan AL

DATE: 24 September 2003


Index to the Tapes

No. of tapes: 2

No. of sides: 3

Length of tape: 67:44

Initials

Tape

Side

Time

Topic

JS

1

A

001

Introduction

JS

1

A

0:32

Decision to enlist in the U.S. National Guard. Did not want to go to Vietnam so National Guard was the best alternative.

JS

1

A

2 :51

Train trip to basic training. Attitudes and experiences on the trip. Arrives at basic training camp where he met his drill sergeant nicknamed "the black panther". Experiences while there.

JS

1

A

11 :26

Reason basic training was successful for Joe. Story about the Irish boy and Black Panther.

JS

1

A

14:18

Glad that Basic was now over after thirteen long weeks. Graduated 2nd in the class.

JS

1

A

15: 18

Service after basic training was over. Left for summer camp after being home for only one week. Now considered basic training an easy task to accomplish.

JS

1

A

17:25

Became an Air Policeman guarding the encrypted codes used by all military forces. Very tight security measures were used to protect these codes.

JS

1

A

20: 19

A superior officer tried to enter the code area and was not allowed to enter. Joe was commended for this.

JS

1

A

21 :37

Called to active duty during the Cuban Missile crisis on two different times. Active duty only lasted for about seven days total No combat experience with a few minor accidents in the unit.

JS

1

A

24 :08

The "Beer Truck" memory in Phoenix Arizona.

JS

1

A

25:42

Insecurity of active duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Never knew what was going to happen.

JS

1

B

30:00

Stayed in touch with family when on duty by calling on the telephone. It was tough to leave because of having two small children. How the family dealt with Joe leaving to go on duty. A story about Cathy's gift from Illinois.

JS

1

B

34: 17

The food in Guard was in all good. It took a southern boy a while to adjust to the items offered during breakfast.

JS

1

B

37 :54

Entertained by attending lounges and bars. Partying was a big part.

JS

1

B

38:33

Traveling during his service. The traveling expanded his horizon by introducing him to different cultures in the United States.

JS

1

B

42:23

Civil Rights movement during Joe's service in guard. African Americans in his unit were treated as a member of the family.

JS

1

B

46:24

Another memorable moment pertaining to a train trip in which some men kept pulling emergency stop cord.

JS

1

B

47:31

Came away with high regard for fellow officers and other members of his unit. Trusted each other with the other's life.

JS

1

B

49:24

Honorable discharged from the National Guard. Story of having to still take shots even though getting out. Thought about staying in the guard and retiring out of it.

JS

1

B

50:45

Leaves the Guard and goes to work with Hedstrom

JS

1

B

51:15

Doesn't keep in touch with many ex-unit members. joined the VFW in order to have an little something to do.

JS

1

B

52:48

Military experience influenced the rest of his life. greatly affected his work ethic and family life both with his wife and children.

JS

2

A

002

Military experience influence continued.

JS

2

A

 

Third child was born

JS

2

A

 

Major influence on his life by the military experience was that it drove him to travel.

JS

2

A

 

If he had it to do allover again, he would join the Air Force and would make it a career.

JS

2

A

 

Military made him a better person. Recommends that all young people need to serve at least two years in the military in order to learn a code of ethics and discipline.

JS

2

A

 

Closing remarks about the possibility of going to war. People never now when war was going to happen so the military had to be ready in a moments notice.

 

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