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Oral history interview with John Leier. Interview conducted by Karen Kelly in Winter Springs, Florida on April 13, 2017.


0:30 Birthplace, siblings, parents occupation, childhood, mother's education; 3:25 Story from childhood; 5:17 Story about Booker T. Washington that means a lot to him; 10:22 Story of Booker T. Washington in Tuskegee, AL that he recalls; 16:04 Booker T. Washington as advisor to President Theodore Roosevelt; 17:11 Education prior to the his military service, family in the military; 18:04 Taught woman machine shop training: Riveting; 18:38 Enlisted, influenced to join the Navy; 19:33 Basic training at Norfolk, VA, different between South and North; 20:38 In California, made binoculars and repaired periscopes on submarines; 21:24 Woman's contribution to the war effort; 22:33 His ship was a converted Liberty ship: USS Guadalcanal; 23:16 Introduced to 'liberals', selling candies on ship, experience with Officer; 26:08 'Atheist in Foxholes', experience with atheist in the military; 27:55 Going through the Panama Canal; 29:18 Running into the roughest storm and injury he sustained on deck; 34:08 First assignment: binocular repair and construction; 34:30 What it was like being aboard the USS Guadalcanal & experiences; 36:10 Assigned to a submarine to repair periscopes; 37:32 Average day like on a submarine, potato story; 40:24 Stay in the family: first born and his name; phone call; 42:15 Duty while on board his ship, chasing down enemy aircraft and subs; 43:00 Operation ship participated in capturing a U-boat, enigma and code book; 44:21 Reactions to dropping of the Atomic Bomb, dropping pamphlets to leave; 47:48 Remembering the greatest picture of WWII: Iwo Jima; 50:36 Three monuments that changed his life; 52:17 Passionate for helping other veterans; 53:28 Writing a book "They Did It, So Can You", story of inspiring people; 55:20 Writing a book, can not see well, able to see with help of technology; 57:25 Non-profit organization: Vets Legacy Trust helped with his publication; 58:00 Length of time in the Navy, last day in the Navy, wife; 59:41 Readjusting to civilian life, jobs after the military, working all his life; 1:03:15 Created his own business, went into remodeling dry cleaners; 1:06:15 Going into the asphalt business; 1:08:10 Going to Florida with the family, set up business in Florida; 1:10:38 Various businesses he's been in, health is most important, vitamins; 1:12:20 Very experienced at his age, in court for his business, business partner; 1:14:58 Frank D. Roosevelt son in law, talking about the government, his property; 1:18:40 Wife stayed with him after everything, living with daughter, IRS; 1:19:15 Explaining how he can related to people and help them, Dr. Carson; 1:22:23 Ending the interview.

Date of Birth


Place of Birth

Brooklyn (N.Y.)





Home State

New York

War or Conflict

World War II



Begin/End date of Service - 1st



Entrance into Service


Branch of Service

U.S. Navy

Unit of Service

USS Guadalcanal

Location of Service

Norfolk (Va.); Panama Canal (Panama); Guadalcanal (Solomon Islands)

Highest Rank

Petty Officer 1st Class; PO1

Prisoner of War


Service Related Injury







See video for details.


Not applicable

City of Birth


Country of Birth

United States


Kelly, Karen

Interview Date

Spring 4-13-2017

Location of Interview

Winter Springs, FL.


Leier, John; World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal Narratives; United States. Navy

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


Kelly, Karen

Length of Interview

83 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 & University Archives

Contributing Project

UCF Community Veterans History Project

Document Type