Texas Oral History Collection - Browse
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- Oral History Interview with Lewis R. Hopkins, January 15, 2004
- Interview with Lewis R. Hopkins, a pilot during World War II. He describes growing up on a farm in Georgia, going to college at Berry, and working for Sears, Roebuck, and the Royal Typewriter Company before joining the U. S. Navy. He tells an anecdote about joining the navy so he could go to New York to see the World's Fair, since he had heard the Atlanta Reserve would be making a trip to the Fair. He began flight training in Florida in December 1940, finished the next September, then drove cross-country to San Francisco after the Pearl Harbor attack. He eventually joined the USS Enterprise in April 1942 and saw the B-25 bombers in the Doolittle Raid take off. He was part of Bombing Squadron Six and trained under Commander Best to learn how to do scouting flights, navigation, and dive bombing. He then describes his participation in the Battle of Midway, the hours before take-off, his first view of the Japanese fleet, and his bombing mission. He was later assigned to the USS Hornet and had to fly off to a little island so that planes from the USS Wasp could land on the Hornet after their ship had been torpedoed. He contracted malaria while he was on the island. He transferred to the USS Northhampton, then back to the United States to train pilots in dive-bombing at Jacksonville, Florida. He then received post-graduate training in aeronautical engineering at Annapolis and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in order to research and develop aircraft logistics.