George Jackson, 326th Airborne Engineering Battalion
#11

The whole thing is the COMFORT level. I have found that out during the last six years or so.

 

When first meeting "my boys", I found some were a bit reluctant, but as they became more comfortable with me, more and more came spilling out. And not everyone is the same of course; some still say very little, that's just the nature of the beast. Some have shared some very intimate things, and now there's nothing to stop them.

 

My buddy and I were filming one day, but when we got to one point, the vet asked if we could turn off the camera, and said, this is just for us. You have to respect that. And when you do, you gain that trust. Very important. I know you already understand that, and it's great.

 

Also, this is not directed at you, but those who are going to perform interviews in the future; know your STUFF. Be prepared. One of my vet friends was got very annoyed when interviewed by a twenty-something, a while back. The interviewer wasn't very knowledgeable, and the vet was getting very impatient. He made assumptions he landed at Normandy, and the vet was had already been at war since 1942! Many of the questions were mundane, and there were times when he should have let the vet talk about things important to him, instead of cutting him off and going on to another question. It's all a learning curve.

 

 

 

 

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#12

Marion - Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! I've never done this before and I appreciate the guidance. I feel very lucky that he has been a friend of the family for many years. It really takes the edge off of things and I hope that after the camera is on, that continues. I'm glad I spent a few hours getting to know his story and get all my personal wanderings and questions out of the way. I really want to make this all about him to share his story. What I know about the war differs so much from his experience that it has made this whole process such an awesome learning experience. I never gave much attention to the engineers, and the more I hear about what he did, as well as all the stories I've been reading here, have opened my mind to very new and exciting people and events. I'm very glad we have the technology we do can capture this history so well. At least there's one good thing about the internet. :pdt12:

 

Wish me luck! And if this doesn't work out the way I hope it does, I'm grateful to live only 3 hours from a great man who comes to my dads house every week like clockwork and enjoys to talk.

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#13

Oh, it WILL work out. For no matter what you do, the world will be much richer for learning his story. It also helps, for you already have established a relationship with him. It's not like you are arriving at a total strangers house. Plus, he appears to have a wonderful personality. You can just see that in the photo. I think you have your work cut out for you.

 

I am excited for you. Tell him I eagerly await every word he had to share. I know I will eat them up.

 

Hugs to both,

M1

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#14

Let me say that this was one heck of an experience. I have over 1.5 hours of material. He recounted some of what I typed in the first post in this thread, and added a whole lot more. He was really excited to do the interview and it really boosted his spirits. I honestly prepared 5 pages of questions (large font, double spaced) but after 2 or 3 questions, he just ran with it. I'm glad I had the questions which helped provide some clarity to what he was already talking about. But, I made this HIS video and he was a ham.

 

He said he wished he would have met me a long time ago and that he hasn't talked about the war like that since the days right after the war when people would BS about some of the stuff they went through. He still can't believe that anyone would care about his stories, but he also said he had seen documentaries over the years about this officer and that officer, but "what about George?" Well, he's going to have his time in the limelight.

 

I'm going to work on getting this video sorted out, hopefully, sooner than later. We covered some odds and ends at the end of the session, which I'd really love to have added to other portions of the video. I may have to splice them in with a fade. Marion, any suggestions? Anything I should avoid? I haven't seen your documentary yet (life is hectic and I need to make that happen one day) but since you have some experience in this, it's best to ask you now before I start. Thank you!

 

ETA: When he brought this photo with him, before the interview, my jaw hit the floor... http://97vette.com/~pat/images/geo1.jpg Adding it to the original post now...

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#15

Thanks for the suggestions as I made sure to ask these questions. It's going to take some time to get this video ready for upload but I got some answers to your specifics and want to share them. Now, this is based on his memory, and that's a long time ago, so other vet stories may not match. According to George, they didn't jump with anything extra, no extra clothes just their gear, 2 chutes, etc. He only jumped during training, none in Britain and none into Europe (flew in on a glider). There wasn't really much discipline at all back then, other than making sure you shaved and keeping a coordinated uniform. No hazing among the troops. The guy who dropped the Bazooka wasn't punished because no one outside his squad knew about it. There was only one time where they took a situation into their own hands. After training with the 101st as an Airborne Engineer, they were transitioning to Europe, and one time some higher ups thought they could push those guys around. George don't know who did it, but after some guys in his unit put together some dynamite and placed it under the floor of the orderly room, and it was discovered the next day, those higher ups quit pushing those AEBs around. George said that today, they all would have been sent to the stockade and gone through court martial. But, back then, they needed the guys so whatever happened came with some discipline but nothing like we would go through today.

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#16

Yes, my questions will help to get it started, but do go for the "mundane" too. The little things turn into great stories. Talk about sex, drinking, food, mail from home, the weather, etc. If he jumps into something (so to speak), let him take off on that. Tangents turn into wonderful moments.

 

Thanks for your thoughts, Todd. :armata_PDT_37:

 

 

Thank you so much for the encouragement and the suggestions, Marion! We really got a lot of things discussed here and it is so neat to hear what he experienced. I told him he has a much better memory than me, as he could remember details, but not dates, so we avoided questions about dates that I knew he didn't know. But we did get into a few tangents that were terrific. However, he did keep a lot of personal stories off camera and his privacy will be respected. Let's just say that boys will be boys! :armata_PDT_01:

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#17

I saw the added BEFORE shot. That was really cool. They are identical. It's great to be able to see what he looked like during the war.

 

So glad you found our suggestions helpful. Sounds like everything went splendidly and we are eagerly awaiting the release of the interview.

 

Right now I would KEEP everything as is. I always keep the original, and then make a final cut-down copy to share with the public. It's great having both. Let me know if you have any questions as you go along, and I will be most happy to help. When you are finished, we can even make a page for him on the main site (if that's okay with both of you), and include photos, text and of course the interview.

 

:armata_PDT_37:

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#18

Marion, that would be great to have a page for him on the main site. I clarified to him that his video, story and pictures would be posted online and would be searchable by the world and he said that was fine, he had nothing to hide. He joshed me about being in the witness protection plan and that this would blow his cover at first. What a guy! But, after that, I got his permission. I would be honored if you could host it. I'm working with a few free tools to perform my editing, just like I did for my European Vacation WWII related videos. I may host the video on YouTube, obviously separated due to 10 minute per video upload restrictions, but as a playlist. They can afford the bandwidth. Let me know if that would work. Thanks again!

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#19

Vette97,

 

Great job! I absolutely loved the original photo you took of him but after you put his photo from the war next to it i hit the floor! Perfect! Definitely give him a big thank you from me for sharing his stories, I cannot wait to hear them.

 

Brian

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#20

Hi folks. I've been extremely swamped as a lot of things have come up over the past few weeks. I don't mean to disappoint but I haven't worked on editing the video at all. I promise to make more time for it but it is a task that is going to take a lot of concentration. I want to add some personal discussion and include some of the pictures he allowed me to scan, so I don't need to do that much, but I want to set time aside specifically for this.

 

Marion - I was able to purchase and watch the 2 DVD set of No Bridge Too Far, Part 1. I love it. The stories and the history are great and the music, well, I dance to that stuff so it really helps put me back in that era. I can only imaging how much work this is for you!

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