Segment 1


Robert Dale Rosendahl was born in Thief River Falls, Minnesota on 20 April 1921 and grew p in a small agricultural town. During the depression years money was short but they never considered themselves poor. The family did not have any money for him to go to college after high school so Rosendahl joined the army. He had tried out for the St. Louis Cardinals farm team. Someone from the team told Rosendahl to come back the following year so Rosendahl joined the army. He enlisted because everyone could see that another war with Europe was coming and he wanted to get in before that happened so he would not be drafted into the infantry. Rosendahl never had a day of basic training. When he enlisted he was immediately assigned to a company. The division had a shooting competition and Rosendahl got a perfect score. He was assigned to a traveling exhibition shooting team for a while. When that ended in the fall he transferred to recruiting duty. Rosendahl did not like recruiting duty so he asked his colonel if he could volunteer for the Army Air Corps. The colonel let him and two days later he was in the Army Air Corps. He wanted to join the Army Air Corps so he could attend school and get some training. He was trained as an aircraft mechanic. When he got to the Philippine Islands he was the only man in his outfit with an FAA certification. Having the FAA certification got him promoted to first class aircraft mechanic. Rosendahl went to the Philippines in February of 1941. He shipped out from Fort McDowell aboard the army transport Entolin [Annotators Note: USAT Entolin]. The Entolin had been sold as surplus after World War I and was used as a cannery ship in Alaska before being reacquired by the US government and converted back into a transport. The ship was loaded with 9000 tons of dynamite and artillery shells and 101 privates. The trip to the Philippines took 32 days. When he arrived in the Philippines he was assigned to the 3rd Pursuit Squadron. The equipment the Air Corps had in the Philippines was obsolete. The newest aircraft they had was a P-12 [Annotators Note: Boeing P-12 biplane]. Duty in the Philippines was easy. They worked half days servicing the groups planes then had the other half of the day off. Rosendahl had six aircraft that he was responsible for maintaining. Each plane had a crew and he was the line chief who over saw them. He was later moved into the mechanical section doing inspections. He specialized in hydraulic propellers and brakes. Rosendahl was in the Philippines for about two months when things started to heat up. They started working eight hour shifts and lost their half days off. They started putting forth a serious effort to train the young pilots who were arriving from schools in Texas with little flight time.


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