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John Schumacher Oral History


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John Schumacher was born in Loretto, Minnesota to Conrad and Mabel (Russell) Schumacher on October 5, 1924. He attended St. Cloud State Teachers College during the 1942/43 academic year. He was drafted into the United States Army as a gunner/second engineer in August 1943. In August 1944, Schumacher was deployed to the European Theater, where he participated in 13 flight operations as the second engineer on a B-24 airplane. In October 1944, Schumacher became a prisoner of war when his plane was shot down over Austria 1944. He was liberated by the Soviet army on May 1, 1945. He was sent to Camp Lucky Strike, and then returned to the United States in 1946. Schumacher was a Purple Heart recipient. He worked at Camp Ripley near Little Falls for 37 years and retired 1983. On September 3, 1949, Schumacher married to Joan J. Jarvis and they had three children – Russell, Kevin, and Jane. He passed away on June 3, 2009 at the age of 84. He was buried at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery.

Transcript Summary:

John Schumacher detailed his experience as a gunner and second engineer for the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. He was drafted in August 1943 as an 18-year-old and trained as gunner and a second engineer for airplanes. Schumacher discussed being deployed to Europe in August 1944 as part of the 451st Bomb group. He talked about going on 13 different missions, then shot down during the last mission. Schumacher said shells went through the gas tanks and the crew bailed out of the plane. He explained the reaction of German farmers as they landed in the fields, then marched to a local jail until retrieved to be taken to a prisoner of war camp. Schumacher recalled being interrogated for seven days in Oberursel, Germany He went into great detail about his time at Stalag 4 and how later they were sent to Stalag 1 in Barth, Germany. Schumacher described his liberation by the Soviets on May 1, 1945, as well as his time spent at Camp Lucky Strike and London before returning to the United States.

Interview by David Overy


Image ID: 14287

See additional files below for the full transcript.

14287_transcript.pdf (284 kB)
John Schumacher oral history interview transcript

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