Index to the Val McGee Interview,

Veterans History Project Collection,

Record Group 024

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

NARRATOR:  Judge Val McGee

BIOGRAPHY:  Val McGee was born October 15th, 1920 in College Park, GA. He grew up in the Hartford, Al area. He attended the University of Alabama were he was active in ROTC.  After graduation Mr. McGee was inducted into the Army Infantry in 1943. Mr. McGee attended OCS training at Fort Benning, GA, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1944. Mr. McGee was stationed at Camp Rucker before entering the European Theater of Operation. Judge McGee retired from the military as a Lieutenant Colonel. He is the author of the book The Origins of Fort Rucker.

BIRTHDATE: 10/15/1920

OCCUPATION: Retired State Judge

INTERVIEWER: Jason Searcy

DATE: 07/24/03

PLACE: McGee Residence, Ozark, AL


INDEX

No. of tapes: 2

No. of Sides: Tape 1, Sides A & B; Tape 2, Side A

Length of tape: 70 Min

Date: 07/24/03

Initials

Tape

Side

Counter

Topic

VM

1

A

002

Introduction

VM

1

A

012

Military branch of service Army Infantry. No Air force at this time.

VM

1

A

019

Rank upon retirement 22 year career- Lieutenant Colonial

VM

1

A

030

First military experience University of Alabama-1938 ROTC

VM

1

A

045

Enlistment After college, worked for one year in Birmingham. Continued in ROTC. Commissioned at end of the year. Went to OCS. Inducted 1943.

VM

1

A

072

OCS Training Fort Benning, GA-May 1944

VM

1

A

083

Inducted 1943

VM

1

A

090

Commissioned Second Lieutenant- Infantry- May 1944

VM

1

A

093

After commissioned Sent to Fort Rucker-66th May-May 1944. Trained with Division

VM

1

A

112

Sent to New York. Port of embarkation. Arrived in England. Crossed channel to Europe.

VM

1

A

119

Command experience Commanded infantry platoon.

VM

1

A

133

Arriving in Europe 66th Infantry-historic tragedy

VM

1

A

152

New York to England Arrived in England in waves.

VM

1

A

158

Waiting to cross channel to France Waiting in South Hampton. Infantry division of 15,00 men. Sent in waves.

VM

1

A

174

Battle of the Bulge Important part of the war.

VM

1

A

177

Ships in South Hampton Located sleeping quarters. Time passed to leave. Convoy ahead, 2,000 to 3,000 men, sunk by German submarine. Navy tragedy.

VM

1

A

205

Crossing the channel Lost 1/3 of division. Left crippled

VM

1

A

211

Germans scattered Turned toward west. Coast of France. Stayed in France.

VM

1

A

227

Time in Europe One and a half years.

VM

1

A

237

Germans well armed Had different weapons than U.S. Tanks built better. Had famous 88-mm. cannon mounted on tanks.

VM

1

A

244

American weapons Used 75 and 76 mm cannon;  M-l rifles-reload every eight shoots. Used clip.

VM

1

A

252

German weapons Good weapons. Portable sub machine guns.

VM

1

A

256

German surrender Seized piles of weapons. U.S. soldiers picked out weapons they wanted to keep. Carried for six months. Traded.

VM

1

A

267

Schmeizer-German machine gun Took weapons to range. High velocity.

VM

1

A

277

Travel to Southern France Marseilles. Soldiers would assemble for embarkation to U.S. or the East.

VM

1

A

284

Atomic bombs No idea about atomic bombs. People have disputed moral aspects of using bomb. No debate among troops. War is a terrible thing.

VM

1

A

303

Marseilles, France Men assembling by units. Shipping to Japan. Fall of 1945-stayed in Europe.

VM

1

A

311

Sent to Austria 42nd Infantry = line infantry.

VM

1

A

319

Assigned to Division Head Quarters Assigned to Salzburg. Personnel department. 1945-1946. Shipped to embarkation port. Returned to the U.S. in 1946.

VM

1

A

329

German resistance Fighting in several directions. France and Belgium. German soldiers were well trained.

VM

1

A

337

Change in mission Germans would not give in. Continued fighting. .88 ~er being used against the U.S. Could not let them move.

VM

1

A

353

Tragedy in English Channel Set to go to the Battle of the Bulge. Lost 2,000 to 3,000 men. Turned west. Remained in France.

VM

1

A

360

Took enemy fire Never wounded. Some were wounded, died. Artillery shelling.

VM

1

A

365

Experiences in Salzburg Received message from Head Quarters. Report to director of personnel office. Selected to be Asst to Division Personnel Office.

VM

1

A

376

American troops use hotels  Stayed in Downtown Salzburg. Music house-opera music. High quality.

VM

1

A

395

Stayed in Austria In Austria until returning to U.S. Occupation forces.

VM

1

A

400

Letters to family Poor correspondent. Had a girlfriend. Married someone else. Received Dear John letter.

VM

1

B

003

Family Home Grew up in Hartford. Wiregrass.

VM

1

B

009

Personal diary Not meticulous. Would have kept one if had known then what he knows now. No word processors. Pen and paper.

VM

1

B

024

Personal relationships during the war Some kept up with colleagues. Units have reunions. Never pursued.

VM

1

B

047

Occupation after the war Judge in Ozark. State trial judge 1986-1987.

VM

1

B

075

Major divisions Marker recognition 81st and 66th Infantry.  Participated in marker project.

VM

1

B

089

Typical infantry company Five or six officers.

VM

1

B

099

Veterans organizations Came to him. Participate in reunion. Good memorabilia.

VM

1

B

104

Medals and citations Combat Infantry Badge. Blue background- silver outline. Medals for European Theater participation

VM

1

B

129

Law school & Attended U of Alabama in 1946. Entered as a freshman. U.S army reserve-3 years.

VM

1

B

141

Came to Ozark Originally from the Wiregrass. Sister had family in Ozark.

VM

1

B

144

Joined local National Guard Served 22 years. Armored unit.

VM

1

B

150

Unit called up during Korea Got back from oversees 1946. Back in 1950.

VM

1

B

155

Stationed in Japan Never went to Korea. With administration in Tokyo.

VM

1

B

160

Education and GI Bill Bill passed before the war was over. Helped go to college. No doubt about going back.

VM

1

B

174

Local National Guard Unit Well run organization. Mostly veterans. Armored in 1941.

VM

1

B

188

North Korea attacks South Korea Here we go again. Sent to Armored school- Ft. Knox Kentucky. Battalion administration. Unit expert ran unit training.

VM

1

B

214

Return from Japan Summer-1952-2 Years in Japan

VM

1

B

220

After Japan Returned to Ozark. Working with Doug Brown. Practiced law. Elected as judge.

VM

1

B

231

Military experience and outlook on war and military Cannot experience that detailed without influencing your life. War and military different today. Military has changed in 60 years. Understand how military units function.

VM

1

B

247

Origins of Fort Rucker- Inspiration for writing On the bench during the day. Worked on book at night. Interested in history.

VM

1

B

263

Mentors Creel Richardson. Presence in Dale County history.

VM

1

B

276

Stories of Ft Rucker Interesting. Heard stories thru Joseph Adams. Wanted to write a small book on a narrow subject.

VM

1

B

292

Henry B Steagall Congressman. Lived on Broad street-built in 1905. Democrat in 1930's.

VM

1

B

308

FDR elected Succeeded Hoover . Democrats take control of Congress. Steagall becomes Chairman of the Banking and Currency Committee. Middle of the depression.

VM

1

B

314

FDR closes banks Steagall wrote key legislation

VM

1

B

321

War upon us Starting looking for location. Need to raise large army. Need training camps. Adams family. Key figure.

VM

1

B

338

Steagall convinced Fort Rucker was a good idea Key figure in Washington. After December 7th ,1941 urgency increased. Post built in 109 days.

VM

1

B

360

Serving at Camp Rucker Did not know would be serving at camp. Spent entire career in Ozark.

VM

1

B

366

Death of FDR With remainder of 66th Division. Turned west. Occupied French city. This was a sad time. Elected 4 times-Only President we knew. Very admired.

VM

1

B

385

Overall experiences-effect on life No dramatic change. Had uniform since a freshman in college. Pick up rifle one day a week.

VM

2

A

002

Introduction

VM

2

A

010

ROTC uniform Blue/Grey-different from regular uniform. No dramatic change. Good to have military experience.

VM

2

A

043

Infantry Officer Candidate School Another world. Instructors of high caliber.  Learn what you need to know in 90 days.  Everyone knew his or her jobs. High demand on students.

VM

2

A

094

History professor-McPherson Retired. Hobby- work with Assoc of Fort Benning officer graduates.

VM

2

A

119

History of OCS High pressure military training.

 

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