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Oral History interview of Dewitt Francis. Interview conducted by Miller, Mark and Hazen, Kendra at Veterans Residence.


0:01 Mrs. Francis birth, education, officer's club at March Air Force Base; 2:30 Describes March Air Force Base in 1963; 3:05 Her transition to Atlanta, GA/ how she met and married D.T Francis; 4:40 Their life together as a married couple/ places they travelled together, story about Alaska trip when they ended up in Hong Kong; 7:58 They stayed at army bases when they traveled, DT visited Germany many times in 1989 when the wall came down; 8:56 Transition to discussion Dewitt Talmage Francis, childhood story, early education; 11:20 Story of joining the Army early and first experiences shoveling manure; 12:25 Joining Flying Sergeants at Maxwell Field, AL; list of training sites; got win further training as bomber and assigned crew on B-24 Liberator; 14:43 Crew's first orders opened over water and were assigned to Chinese Theater list of DT's crew members; 17:50 How the crew got to Kunming, China: Darlene reads DT's memoirs from West Palm Beach, FL to Brazil, South America, Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia, India to Gen. Chennault's Air Force in Kunming, China; 27:38 Shows book (China Up and Down) which includes chapter on DT's 1st bombing mission; 28:27 Describes DT's last mission when they had to bail out, describes &shows DT's parachute piece; 32:30 Describes patches on bombardier jacket, story of name of aircraft "Floogie"; 34:34 Darlene shares DT's pilot's log and diary from bail out, reads diary entries form bail out journey back to base (July 23-30, 1944); 39:15 After left China, mustered out of Army and job with FAA; 40:30 DT returns to Air Force by request of government to participate in the Berlin Air Life, describes Air Life experience and PBS documentary on Lift; 42:57 DT's career in Army after the Air Lift 9England, Germany, Libya, N. Atlantic story of how he got hepatitis, problems with ear drums flying in unpressurized cabins; 45:08 DT's saying from Army "Can't catch DT Francis" lives on with son; 45:45 Retirement at Patrick Air Force Base in Melbourne, FL; 22 more years working for the FAA; 48:10 Darlene shares DTs identification cards and photos and final words.

Date of Birth


Place of Birth

Greenwood (Mass.)




White - Non Hispanic

Home State


War or Conflict

World War II



Begin/End date of Service - 1st



Video; MovingImage


Entrance into Service


Branch of Service

U.S. Army

U.S. Air Force

Unit of Service

The Flying Tigers unit: 374BS 308BG

Location of Service

Blytheville (Ark.); Lawrenceville (Ill.); Smyrna (Tenn.); Tucson (Ariz.); El Paso (Tex.); Topeka (Kan.); Kunming (China); Berlin (Germany); Libya; Dover (Del.); El Paso (Tex.); Ipswich (England); Brevard County (Fla.)

Highest Rank

Lieutenant Colonel; LtCol

Prisoner of War


Service Related Injury



Asiatic-Pacific Theater


Distinguished Flying Cross; Air Medal; Army of Occupation of Germany Medal; American Defense Service Medal; China Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon; Berlin Airlift Ribbon; World War II Victory Medal; Air Force Outstanding Unit Award; Good Conduct Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Air Force Longevity Service Award; Armed Forces Reserve Medal


The crew bailed out of the B24 over China, the aircraft was lost, but all of the crew walked in; Berlin Airlift. Flew the North Atlantic for 7 years.


Combat record includes 110 Aerial Combat Missions and 515 Combat Hours in B-24 Aircraft in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater. Served in Blytheville, AR; Lawrenceville, IL; Smyrna, TN; Tucson, AZ; El Paso, TX; Topeka, KS; Kunming, China; Berlin Airlift; Libya; Dover, De; El Paso, TX; Ipswich, England; Patrick AF Base, FL. More medal details: Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster; the Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 3 Bronze Stars and 1 Bronze Arrowhead; the Air Force Longevity Award with 4 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters. "There is a written diary of some of his adventures. There is an audio account of some of his stories and of course pictures. Also have his jacket that he wore in the B-24. The jacket is in excellent condition. Mr. Francis is deceased. His wife Darlene conducted the interview." - The interviewer.

City of Birth


Country of Birth

United States


Miller, Mark; Hazen, Kendra

Interview Date


Location of Interview

Veteran's residence


Francis, Dewitt T.; World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives; Women and the military -- United States; United States. Air Force; United States. Army

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


Miller, Mark; Hazen, Kendra

Length of Interview

50 Minutes


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 and University Archives

Contributing Project

UCF Community Veterans History Project

Document Type