Oral history interview of Mr. Thomas H. Ratner. Interview conducted by John Grande at the Masonic Home of Florida in St. Petersburg, Florida on 03/22/2018.
0:34 Interview Begins; 1:23 Growing up in Washington D.C.; 2:35 Education-teachers were wives of military officers; 3:11 Visiting Congressmen's and Senator's offices in D.C.; 3:31 Higher education in Maryland and London; 3:55 Why he joined the Navy; 4:45 Flight school; 4:53 "Dempsey Dumpster" anecdote; 6:09 Discipline in eating; 6:54 Sent to naval air station in California; 7:45 Cross training into helicopters; 7:59 Piloted helicopter in Vietnam: SEAL team insertions and extractions; 9:22 Wounded soldiers and their treatment; 10:44 First impressions of Vietnam - 1960's; 11:10 Conditions in Vietnam; 11:57 Training in Vietnam; 13:53 Techniques for staying awake while flying across the Pacific; 15:18 Experiences in Da Nang; 17:07 Most difficult flying conditions; 18:18 Disagreement with a senior officer; 19:19 Pulled a prank on a battleship; 20:44 Camaraderie among men; 21:36 Returned home and decided to leave Navy; 22:55 Received a letter of commendation and promotion from commander; 23:23 Served short time in Army and Air Force; 23:52 His reception in the community after his return; 24:58 Easy transition to civilian life; 25:21 Special Agent in Fugitive Extradition Operation (DOD) for 17 years; 25:57 Traumatic brain injury and recovery; 29:11 Current life in retirement; 32:43 Interview concludes.
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
White - Non Hispanic
War or Conflict
Begin/End date of Service - 1st
Entrance into Service
Branch of Service
U.S. Air Force
Unit of Service
SS Kitty Hawk CV63/ 111
Location of Service
Lieutenant Colonel; LtCol
Prisoner of War
Service Related Injury
National Defense Service Medal; Rifle Marksman Badge
The veteran piloted helicopters.
City of Birth
Country of Birth
Location of Interview
Masonic Home of Florida, St. Petersburg, FL.
Ratner, Thomas H.; Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Personal Narratives; United States. Navy
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, "Ratner, Thomas Henry interview" (2018). Veterans Oral Histories. 600.