Segment 1


[Annotators Note: Shoens and the interviewer start the interview with some small chat about experiences both men had flying in B-17s] Bob Shoens has flown in different types of B-17s even after the war. One of the ones that he flew in postwar was called Yankee Girl. The interviewer notes that sometimes these traveling air show groups come to the New Orleans lakefront to provide flights to the public. Shoens has participated in a few other interviews. Shoens has been interviewed in England. Shoens went to England a year before the interview. He got the chance to see the air base from which he flew his missions from. Shoens and the 100th Bomb Group association are currently looking for people to help in their fundraising effort. They have second and third generation relatives helping to keep the memory of the 100th alive. Shoens joined the Army Air Corps because he always wanted to become a pilot. His love for flying started in school. Shoens graduated high school in 1939 and then went to a community college for two years in Dearborne Michigan. While he was there the government announced the CPT. [ Annotators Note: Civilian Pilot Training] Shoens got about 40 hours of training with the CPT. After junior college he came home and went to work. Shoens mother was on the draft board so she told him to make up his mind soon. Shoens dad was in the Navy in World War I so he tried the Navy. The Navy told him he was one credit short. Shoens signed up in April of 1942. Shoens was home sitting next to the radio when Pearl Harbor happened. Shoens did not expect Pearl Harbor but he had been following world events. Shoens had one sibling a younger sister. For the first six months he did no training. Shoens was told after signing up to return in 30 days. He returned in 30 days and they told him to wait 60 days. Shoens and his family were on vacation during his leave. The day before Shoens was ready to come home the state police showed up and told him he had to report. His first stop was in Santa Anna Army Air Base but they had no airplanes. It was basic training. They marched and read books on airplanes. Shoens thought he had a leg up because of his 40 hours of experience. They informed Shoens and the men he was with that having a pilot’s license meant nothing and that they were going to learn everything from scratch. Shoens trained on the PT 22. It was an open cockpit aircraft with a radial engine. Instructor sat in the front. The Army way taught more precision then what he learned in the CPT. A lot of guys washed out. In primary training Shoens went up one day with a check pilot. Every 10 hours of training they had you fly with a check pilot. The first time Shoens flew with a check pilot he got a warning for not using the rudder. Two warnings total during the training and you were kicked out. On Shoens last training mission he was given a warning for using the rudder too much. This would have gotten him disqualified but he was able to argue that since his previous citation said he had not used the rudder enough he should not be punished.


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