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Oral History interview of John Raaen. Interview conducted by Thorp, Alex at Winter Park, Florida.


0:30 Birthplace and date; 0:58 Growing up on military base; 1:25 Fathers occupation in the Army; 1:45 Acceptance into West Point; 4:10 Life at military prep school; 4:40 Friends at prep school and West Point; 5:10 Life at West Point; 6:05 Topics of instruction at West Point; 7:15 Family reaction to attendance to West Point; 8:25 Effect of WWII on West Point; 9:00 First assignments after graduating; 10:25 Readiness status of unit in 1943; 11:25 Going to Europe and joining the 5th Ranger Bn; 13:00 Duties and responsibility as a Ranger Platoon Leader; 13:55 Scout and Raider school and Infantry training; 15:00 Sailing from the States to Europe; 17:15 Training in the U.K.; 18:40 Going to London; 19:05 Duties as headquarters company commander; 20:15 Training at commando school in Scotland; 22:40 Landing on Omaha; 28:35 Operations in Brittany; 30:40 Interacting with the French civilians and underground forces; 32:05 Living conditions in France; 32:30 Hedgerows in France; 34:05 Moving east with the breakout; 35:30 Fighting on the Saar River; 37:00 Instructor at West Point; 37:50 Experience with ordnance; 38:40 Ammo development; 40:23 Experience in Korea; 42:25 Assignment at AROD and technologies developed; 45:40 Assignment and duties in Vietnam; 47:50 Withdraw from Vietnam; 49:25 Getting promoted to General; 51:15 Various major commands; 52:10 Experience with changes in the Army; 53:55 Work after retiring from the military; 56:40 Reaction from the community about military service; 59:35 Advice for prospective recruits.

Date of Birth


Place of Birth

Ft. Benning (Ga.)




White - Non Hispanic

Home State


War or Conflict

World War II



Begin/End date of Service - 1st



Entrance into Service


Branch of Service

U.S. Army

Unit of Service

WWII 55th Armored Engineer Battalion, 5th Ranger Infantry Battalion

Location of Service

Normandy (France); Brittany (France)

Highest Rank

Major General; MG

Prisoner of War


Service Related Injury



Battle of Normandy; Battle of Brittany; SAAR Offensive


Army Distinguished Service Medal; Silver Star; Legion of Merit; Bronze Star; Combat Infantry Badge


Landed D-Day, Omaha Beach


Raaen had extensive research experience with Ammunition Development. Was a West Point graduate. More information on Major General John C. Raaen Jr. can be found at: http://www.goordnance.army.mil/hof/2000/2009/raaen.html, http://valor.militarytimes.com/recipient.php?recipientid=89046, http://www.nramuseum.org/guns/the-galleries/wwii,-korea,-vietnam-and-beyond-1940-to-present/case-44-general-officers-pistols/major-general-john-c-raaen,-jr's-uscolt-m15-semi-automatic-general-officer's-pistol.aspx.

City of Birth

Ft. Benning

Country of Birth

United States


Thorp, Alex

Interview Date

Summer 6-1-2016

Location of Interview

Winter Park, FL.


Raaen, John; World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal Narratives; 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


Thorp, Alex

Length of Interview

63 Minutes


Department of History, University of Central Florida


Video; MovingImage


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