Biographical Notes re

Robert H. (Bob) Weisburn


I was born in Canton, Ohio, January 30, 1920. I was the oldest boy and I have two sisters and two brothers, all in the Canton area and all are still alive. My father was an automobile mechanic and my mother was a housewife. We lived in the country. I attended a rural elementary school and then attended Massillon High School, graduating in 1938. I had Paul Brown, the football coach, for a history teacher. He is the Paul Brown of the Cleveland football team.

After high school, I worked as an apprentice carpenter building homes for about one and a half years and then for Republic Steel in the Bar Finishing Department as a machine operator. My work there involved grinding bars on a Cincinnati Centerless Grinder, also work on turning machines, bar straighteners and cracker shears where we cut thousands of bars to length for machine gun barrels.

Bob Weisburn at 4 1/2 years

I was drafted when I turned 21 years of age and inducted into the service October 29, 1941. From Massillon, Ohio we went to the Cleveland Armory and then on to Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, an infantry outfit. I was offered the opportunity to enlist for a three year hitch in either the Army Air Corps or Signal Corps. I chose the Army Air Corps and was sent to Chanute Field, Rantoul, Illinois, for A & E (Airframe & Engine) School. We trained on Curtis PB2As, pursuit biplanes, as well as the P-35, P-36, P-40 and P322 (the English version of the P-38).

I enjoyed the training and the work, getting good grades in all my classes. I was held over to be an instructor, where the only drawback was lack of promotion opportunities. The school graduates were promoted to the rank of corporal with two stripes, which was an insult to the instructors who weren’t moving on.

We moved to Lincoln AFB, Nebraska, and opened up the base —We were the first to arrive and it was a muddy mess. I made PFC and almost lost that rank when I failed to salute my Colonel’s staff car. Needless to say, I got my rear end chewed out. The Colonel ordered me to go back to the barracks and sew that single stripe on, immediately. Next month I made Corporal and about six months later Buck Sergeant.

By that time I was completely disgusted. Having seen a notice on the bulletin board for volunteers for paratroopers, I went down to volunteer. The recruiting sergeant said he thought I was crazy and suggested I try volunteering for aviation cadet training. I took him up on his offer. Because I had an enlisted rank, I was classified as an Aviation Student, rather than an Aviation Cadet.

Pvt. Bob Weisburn
A & E Instructor
Chanute Air Base, IL, 1941

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