News: Saratoga Springs man is 2,000th veteran to record his story at New York State Military Museum
SARATOGA SPRINGS , N.Y. - A 94-year old Saratoga Springs resident who flew B-24 bombers in World War II has became the 2,000th veteran to record memories of his service with the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center.
Charles P. Evans who was born on Feb. 3, 1918, told his wartime story to Wayne Clarke, the museum's oral history program coordinator, Feb. 13.
The oral history program was inaugurated in 2000.
Clarke learned of Evans from a museum volunteer and reached out to him last week to set the video interview.
"I told him how important his story was to us, and he said he would be delighted to come in for an interview," Clarke said. "He was somewhat surprised that we would be interested in his experiences."
Evans enlisted in what was then the Army Air Corps in 1941. He was already a civilian pilot working for Vultee Aircraft Company, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant after military pilot training.
He learned to fly the B-24 "Liberator" bomber and flew 30 missions as a member of the 93rd Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force stationed in England. His first mission was on June 5, 1944, the day before the allied invasion of Normandy.
Among his 30 mission was the bombing of a heavily defended synthetic oil factory in Politz, Germany. Although Evans plane was hit by flak on many missions, his crew of 10 made it back home with only one man slightly injured.
When World War II ended in August 1945, Evans was in the United States preparing to fly against the Japanese in the Pacific.
Following the war he flew planes for American Airlines and had a long and distinguished career there.
Established on Veterans' Day, 2000, the New York State Veteran Oral History Program, administered by the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs, involves professional military historians using the latest digital technology to preserve the story of New York's Veterans in their own words.
Each interview conducted enters an individual veteran's experiences into the permanent public memory of the state and nation, and builds a collection of irreplaceable value for historians and the general public.
Each veteran who desires to participate is asked, as a first step, to complete a veteran's questionnaire. The information entered on this form not only helps the historians prepare for the interview. It also helps get the veteran ready to be interviewed. The modern version of a form in use since the Civil War, it becomes part of the permanent record along with the actual interview itself.
The 2,000 interviews are available to the public and researchers at the New York Military Museum, located at 61 Lake Avenue in Saratoga Springs.