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Oral History interview of Santiago Gonzalez. Interview conducted by Goldstein, Joan at Village on the Green in Longwood, FL.


0:01 Introduction; 0:51 Early Childhood; 3:14 Being Sent to a Catholic School; 6:24 Return to New York City and Mother; 7:00 Manhattan School of Aviation; 8:05 World War 2 Begins; 9:00 Being Accepted into the Aviation Cadet Plan; 9:40 Basic and Advanced Training; 10:20 Pre-Flight training; 10:47 Flight Training; 11:08 Graduation and B-17 Training; 12:55 Assignment to 8th Air Force; 13:34 Typical Bomber Mission in England; 17:40 B-17G Advances Over Previous Models; 19:02 German Pilots; 19:20 Length of a Typical Mission; 20:12 Vulnerability When Returning Home; 20:41 Anti-Aircraft Hazards; 22:44 Film "12 O'clock High" About 303rd; 23:13 Tail Markers & Naming Aircraft; 23:51 Flight Crew & Bombing Formations; 25:01 Post Mission & Off Time; 26:21 Abnormal Flight Days & Continuous Training; 27:11 V-Mail; 27:53 Return to States/Air Rescue Assignment; 30:04 End of War & Staying in Service; 31:31 Transfer to Massachusetts & Switch to SA-16; 32:29 Marriage/Deployment to Korea; 33:06 Part 2 Introduction; 34:03 Korean Mission; 35:06 Okinawa/Helping Japanese Fisherman; 36:59 Travels While Stationed in Okinawa; 37:43 Best Memory of Okinawa Assignment; 38:51 Various Assignments and Promotion to Major; 40:42 Eglin AFB Future Planning Operations; 41:26 Panama Mission & Promotion to Colonel; 44:10 Vietnam Deployment with 1st Air Cav; 47:17 Military Retirement/Working for C&A Financial; 49:26 Favorite Aircraft to Fly (C-118); 50:19 Final Thoughts & Conclusion.

Date of Birth


Place of Birth

Humacao (P.R.)




White - Hispanic

Home State


War or Conflict

World War II; Korean Conflict



Begin/End date of Service - 1st



Video; MovingImage



Entrance into Service


Branch of Service

U.S. Air Force

Unit of Service

303rd Bomb Group; 8th Air Force; 5th Air Rescue Squadron; 3rd Air Rescue Group; 33rd Air Rescue Squadron

Location of Service

Trinidad; British Guiana; Morrison Field (Fla.); Westover Air Force Base (Mass.)

Highest Rank

Captain; Capt; Colonel; Col

Prisoner of War


Service Related Injury





Distinguished Flying Cross; Air Medal; European & American Theater Ribbon; Victory Medal; Bronze Star Medal; Korean Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal


Qualified Pilot: B-17, C-47, PBY, C-54, C-118, HU-16; Over 10,000 total flying hours; Command pilot wings; Instrument rating; HU-16 pilot (Grumman Albatross, Amphibian); Picked up downed pilots and air crew from land and sea.


Transferred to 1707th Flying Training Squadron, Palm Beach AFB, FL: Mar-May; Transferred to Brookley AFB, Mobile, AL: June-July; Attended Command Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, AL: Aug-June; Transferred to pentagon, USAF HQ: July-Feb; Transferred to USAF Mission, Santiago, Chile: Mar-Dec; Transferred to Special Air warfare Center, Eglin AFB, FL. Walton Beach, FL: Jan-Aug; Transferred to US Southern Command, Panama Canal Zone: Sept-Aug; Transferred to South Vietnam- Served as Tactical Air Liaison Officer, 3rd Corps Area, Vietnam: Aug-Sept; Rewarded Air Medal 6 times; Served in 8th Air Force during World War II; Flew 20 combat missions as pilot on B-17 during World War II; Flew Air Rescue Missions and was Tactical Air Liaison Officer in Vietnam.

City of Birth


Country of Birth

Puerto Rico


Goldstein, Joan

Interview Date


Location of Interview

Village on the Green, Longwood, FL.


Gonzalez, Santiago; World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives; Korean War, 1950-1953 -- Personal Narratives; United States. Air Force

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


Goldstein, Joan

Length of Interview

51 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