Oral history interview with Henry Pruitt. Interview conducted by Karen Kelly in Orlando, Florida on the 26th of April 2017.
0:27 Birthplace, growing up, siblings, parents occupation, farm life; 1:19 Growing up with a big family, family in the military; 1:44 Education, Cold war at the time: Cuban Missile Crisis, why the military; 2:50 Why the Navy, family's in specific branches, families reaction; 3:38 Boot Camp in San Diego, what it was like, adjusting to military life; 4:44 Moments that stood out during training, moved to band; 5:34 Not a lot of free time, mostly chores, free time when moved to band; 6:31 Graduation, advance training for jet mechanic; 7:22 Advance vs basic training, average day like in advance training, classes; 8:42 Length of training, first station in Beeville, TX with the VT-24; 9:10 B-school for more advance jet training, volunteered to go Vietnam; 9:44 Why volunteer to go to Vietnam, went to Japan instead, reactions; 10:42 Culture shock, assignment in Japan with VQ-1, became an air crewman; 11:25 Type of aircraft he worked on, average day like, working with Apollo rocket; 12:31 Entertainment, staying in contact with my family, length in Japan; 13:21 Back to school in Memphis, VAQ-123 in Alameda, CA; 13:40 Stationed to Adak, AL in 1976, before then in Brunswick, ME with VP Squad; 14:02 Living in Alaska, returning to USA from Japan; 15:19 Back to Japan, working with Japanese air craft Carrier repair inspector; 15:49 Camaraderie; 16:38 Living off base and traveling over Japan; 17:22 Returning the U.S., Married, got out for a couple of months, Alaska; 17:59 Brunswick to Spain to Bermuda, time in Spain and culture shock; 20:20 Stationed in Maine as a jet mechanic with P-3s, family, weather; 20:58 Memorable moments in the service; 21:38 Staying in contact with family; 22:03 Humorous events during his service, monsoons in Japan; 23:27 Medals, awards, and citations; 23:52 Visiting in and out of Vietnam while in Japan with VQ-1, experience there; 25:02 Reactions to Vietnam War while service, mostly back at home; 26:50 Story of a friend with a violent Vietnam protester, being at home; 27:00 What military was like when first joining vs after wards; 27:39 Looking back at his career, time in the Navy, last day; 28:50 Influenced to leave the Navy, too political; 29:29 Staying in contact with some servicemen, readjusting to civil life; 29:47 Working with IBM, plans for after the service originally; 30:39 Experience in the military helped while a civilian; 31:40 Final thoughts on the military and society today; 32:32 Experience in the military affected him as a youth; 34:07 Changes in the military, politically focus; 35:01 Advice to young people wanting to join the Navy; 35:55 Ending the interview.
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Black or African American
War or Conflict
Begin/End date of Service - 1st
Entrance into Service
Branch of Service
Unit of Service
VT-24, VQ-1, VAQ-64, COMFAIRWESTPAC, AMD NAS Adak, VP-24, COMFAIRWESTPAC
Location of Service
Beeville (Tex.); Atsugi (Japan); Alameda (Calif.); Adak (Alaska); Brunswick (Me.)
ADJ-1; Aviation Machinist's Mate (Jet Engine Mechanic) Petty Officer 1st Class
Prisoner of War
Service Related Injury
National Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal; Vietnam Campaign Medal; Meritorious Unit Citation; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Navy Unit Commendation Medal; Good Conduct Medal; Air Medal; Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
Please see video
City of Birth
Country of Birth
Location of Interview
Pruitt, Henry; Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Personal Narratives; United States. Navy
Contains logs, audio and video recordings of interviews with Central Florida's veterans as part of a history class project for the students at the University of Central Florida (UCF). The UCF Community Veterans History Project(CVHP) started in fall 2010. It collects, preserves, and makes accessible to the public the experiences of Central Florida's veterans so that future generations will better understand the realities of conflict. It is a collaborative endeavor supported by multiple departments and offices at UCF. The veterans' histories are archived and made digitally available through the UCF library and selected materials are contributed to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.
Contributor Affiliation / Organization
RICHES; University of Central Florida
Length of Interview
Department of History, University of Central Florida
All rights are held by the respective holding institution. This material is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. For permission to reproduce and/or for copyright information contact Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries, (407) 823-2576. http://library.ucf.edu/about/departments/special-collections-university-archives/
University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives
UCF Community Veterans History Project
Central Florida, RICHES, "Pruitt, Henry interview" (2017). Veterans Oral Histories. 543.