Oral history interview with Charles Konsler. Interview conducted by Andrew D. Ortiz in Clermont, Florida on March 1, 2017.
0:53 Birthplace; 1:28 Siblings; 2:50 Childhood; 4:02 Great Depression; 4:58 Family Service; 5:34 Pearl Harbor; 6:48 Joining the Army Air Force; 8:14 Keesler Army Airfield; 9:23 Flight School; 11:27 Advanced Training; 12:07 Heading Overseas; 13:00 Fourth Fighter Group; 14:03 Training Memories; 15:37 Best Friend; 16:27 Flight School Graduation; 17:56 England; 19:12 Queen of England; 20:02 Debden Airfield; 22:22 Royal Air Force; 23:25 Flying P-51 Mustangs; 24:25 Missions Over Germany; 25:58 Strafing Missions; 27:17 Delivering P-51 Mustangs; 28:27 Dogfighting; 30:34 King of Sweden; 36:30 Gold Medal of Vasa; 38:03 Medals and Citations; 39:38 Renting the Hotel; 41:54 VE Day; 43:33 Bombing of England; 45:07 War In the Pacific; 46:02 Atomic Bombs; 46:45 VJ Day; 47:51 Reserve Program; 48:14 Korean Communism; 48:57 Clermont; 50:34 Steel Fabricating Business; 51:42 Korean War; 55:13 Coronation of the Queen; 56:24 Reserve Program (Continued); 57:46 No Complaints; 58:31 Length of Service; 59:04 Last Day of Service; 59:20 Civilian Life; 1:00:06 Fourth Fighter Group Association; 1:01:37 Closing Comments; 1:02:15 End of Interview.
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
White - Non Hispanic
War or Conflict
World War II
Begin/End date of Service - 1st
Entrance into Service
Branch of Service
U.S. Air Force
Unit of Service
355 Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, Eighth Air Force
Location of Service
Keesler Army Airfield (Miss.); R.A.F. Debden (England: Air base); Ellsworth Air Force Base (S.D.)
Lieutenant Colonel; LtCol
Prisoner of War
Service Related Injury
Air Medal; World War II Victory Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; Order of Vasa; ETO Ribbon; National Defense Service Medal
"Became a pilot for the Army Air Corps by passing a test that was given to those interested at the beginning of the war. This changed later to those with college background. Dad had his high school degree and lots of common sense so passed the test. Did complete two years of college while training to be a pilot at a special school in Shreveport, Louisiana. Major highlight of his career was near the end of the war while waiting for orders to head home to the USA. He and others were asked to volunteer for a special mission to deliver P-51's to Sweden for their air force. This is while the war was still going on but at the very end of the war. While flying to Sweden he did encounter a German Messerschmitt and engaged in the only dogfight of his flying time. The plane was shot down and he continued on. After delivery they had time before being picked up to return to England so Dad and others were able to watch the King of Sweden play tennis (something Dad had never seen). After the match, the King asked to meet the pilots and Dad got to shake his hand. A picture of this was in the paper the next day. Years later on a trip back in 1990 to highlight the planes arriving, Dad was able to shake the great-grandson's hand as he was the new King of Sweden and wanted to meet the pilots. This event has always been a special part of our family lore. During Korean Conflict, Dad was assigned to map Spain and Italy as nothing had been done since the war. He and two other pilots flew for 24 hours at a time out of England. While in England he was able to enjoy the festivities surrounding the Coronation of the Queen of England." -- The veteran.
Konsler has completed 74 strafing missions over Europe-low flying to hit trains, plane depots. He was awarded Air Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters, ETO Ribbon with 4 Battle Stars, and Gold Medal of Vasa (presented by the Swedish Government). The Combat Action Badge was currently being issued retroactive to Iraq by his previous commander. "Dad has always been very proud that he has been able to serve his country during WWII and beyond. He has not only stayed active as a reservist but also helped begin the 4th Fighter Group Association back in 1968. Even though this group is now mainly made up of non 4th personnel such as myself, he still attends the reunions that occur every 18 months and shares his stories with all that attend." -- The veteran.
City of Birth
Country of Birth
Ortiz, Andrew D.
Location of Interview
Konsler, Charles E.; World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal Narratives; United States. Air Force
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 of, "Konsler, Charles E. interview" (2017). Veterans Oral Histories. 529.