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"We didn’t realize how bad it was at the time." (Audio interview, 20:26)

   Wilkins A. Dixon
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War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army
Unit: 11th Air Force
Service Location: Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Lee, Virginia; Fort Holabird, Maryland; Aleutian Islands (Alaska); Umnak Island (Aleutian Islands)
Rank: Corporal
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Corporal Wilkins Dixon jumped at the chance to serve in the Aleutians; when his commander asked for volunteers, he woke up at 4 am the following morning to be the first in line. Serving with the 11th Air Force on Umnak Island presented many challenges: wading through constant mud and volcanic ash, sleeping in an uninsulated Quonset hut and waking up to snow on his blanket, and a steady diet of mutton, courtesy of a nearby sheep farm. Despite these hardships, he was grateful to be stationed there--and not in combat in the Pacific Theater.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (4 clips)
»Complete Interview  (63 min.)
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»Aleutian Islands: WWII’s Unknown Campaign
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (4 items)
Volunteering for service in the Aleutians. (00:42) Three week journey by liberty ship to the Aleutians; losing refrigeration aboard ship; eating spoiled bread; arriving at Umnak Island. (03:25) Damaging cold; wearing long fur coats; getting lost in a snowstorm. (02:46)
Quartered in an uninsulated Quonset hut; snow getting in through the cracks; eating mutton from local sheep farm. (00:58)  
  
 
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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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