Kenneth Jones was born in 1921 and grew up in Illinois and Ohio. During World War II, he joined the Army Air Corps when he turned twenty-one and worked as an airplane mechanic in the European theater. He later worked on developing atomic bomb technology at Los Alamos before he began working for a paper products company. While working there, he patented technology that automated the production of French fry cartons. He now resides in Fort Myers, Florida, where he enjoys his hobby of clock-making.
In this interview, Kenneth remembers being a young man during World War II. He recounts memories of his basic training and being near the fighting in Europe while working as an airplane mechanic. He also speaks about his childhood and witnessing the terrible aftermath of World War II.
Memories of the War
We were not a combat group. We did repairs on aircraft and stuff like that. We went in thirty days after D-Day in Normandy. We were not combatant, but we could hear the guns going off, and we saw the destruction and everything. One of the things that disturbed me most was on one of my trips around I went past a field and they had corpses stacked like cordwood. I guess what they were doing probably was getting the dog tags off to then send back. And I realized the horror of the war, although I didn’t participate in that.
We followed Patton up, and I stayed with them as long as about a month, maybe, up around Paris. There was still gunfire around Paris when we were there. And they started a rotation then, sending men back to the States. And because I’d met my Florence, my wife, in England, and we had married and had a baby—and there were older men than I that were in the first group that they rotated back—but I was [still] in the first group that they rotated back to the States.
So that’s about enough about the war.