Streaming Media


Oral history interview of Mr. Thomas Ratner. Interview conducted by John Grande at the Masonic Home of Florida in St. Petersburg, Florida on 03/22/2018. Interview topics include, Introduction; Growing up in Washington D.C.; Education-teachers were wives of military officers; Visiting Congressmen's and Senator's offices in D.C.; Higher education in Maryland and London; Why he joined the Navy; Flight school; "Dempsey Dumster" anecdote; Discipline in eating; Sent to naval airstation in California; Crosstraining into helicopters; Piloted helicopter in Vietnam: SEAL team insertions and extractions; Wounded soldiers and their treatment; First impressions of Vietnam - 1960's; Conditions in Vietnam; Training in Vietnam; Techniques for staying awake while flying across the Pacific; Experiences in Da Nang; Most difficult flying conditions; Disagreement with a senior officer; Pulled a prank on a battleship; Camaraderie among men; Returned home and decided to leave Navy; Received a letter of commendation and promotion from commander; Served short time in Army and Air Force; His reception in the community after his return; Easy transition to civilian life; Special Agent in Fugitive Extradition Operation (DOD) for 17 years; Traumatic brain injury and recovery; Current life in retirement; Conclusion.

Date of Birth




Interview Date

Spring 3-22-2018

Collection Description

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

33 Minutes


Department of History, University of Central Florida


video / mp4 DVD


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.


University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives

Contributing Project

UCF Community Veterans History Project

Document Type