Making History Project
"Preserving Veterans' Stories"
501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization

Oral History Archive

World War II Veteran Stan Saltz Interviewed

WWII Veteran Stanley SaltzOn June 18th, I was honored to meet and interview World War II Veteran Stanley Saltz in Delray Beach, Florida.  PFC Saltz served with the 75th Infantry Division as a combat engineer.  Stanley Saltz was primarily responsible for finding and disabling mines and boobytraps.

Stanley participated in the Battle of the Bulge, the Rhine River crossing, and the liberation of the notorious concentration camp, Dachau.  The most memorable memory for PFC Saltz is his rescue of a German police dog on Christmas Eve during the Battle of the Bulge.  After patching up the wounds of the dog, Stanley named his new friend “Santa” and swears that Santa saved not only his but the lives of his squad countless times.

For his service PFC Saltz received the Bronze Star, Combat Infantry Badge, and the French Legion of Honor.  Stay tuned for a video excerpt of the oral history interview.

WWII Veteran Gerald Haviland Interviewed

MHP Completes Another Veteran Oral History Interview

WWII Veteran Gerald HavilandThis past weekend, I had the honor to complete an oral history interview of World War II Veteran, Gerald Haviland, in his home in Caryville, Florida. Caryville is a small rural town in northwest Florida approximately ninety miles west of Tallahassee.  Mr. Haviland who is 99 years old, was a Master Sergeant in the Ninth Infantry Division and worked as a radio operator for Headquarters Company, 60th Infantry.

Master Sergeant Haviland began the liberation of Europe by first invading its underbelly in Africa beginning with French Morocco.  Gerald’s military service took him to Tunisia, Sicily and eventually the D-Day landings in Normandy, France.  Gerald watched the D-Day invasion on June 6th from a ship and he stormed ashore a few days later on Utah Beach.  After breaking through the hedgerows in Normandy, Mr. Haviland made his way through France and witnessed the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge.  While on the front lines, Master Sergeant Haviland observed a massive buildup of German tanks and called in his warnings to upper command.  While Mr. Haviland’s warnings did not prevent the eventual German onslaught, it did however result in the removal of his unit from the area which prevented its destruction or capture.  Until the end of the war, Gerald spent the last of his military service in the Rhineland and Central Europe on brief occupation duty.

Gerald Haviland was the recipient of two Bronze Stars, the Rifle Badge, Good Conduct Medal, Distinguished Unit Badge, and the Campaign Medal with 8 Stars and 2 Arrowheads.  Throughout the interview, I learned that Gerald was a bit of a free-thinker and rebel while in the Army which lead to some interesting exchanges with his commanding officers.  Additional highlights include the capture of a German spy in his unit, holding out in town while totally surrounded, and seeing the Russians at war’s end.

Stay tuned for a video excerpt of the interview.

Oral History Technology Updates

Technology and Preservation

oral history technologyWhile there have not been many updates lately, rest assured that I have not been idle.  After having a brief and some would say inevitable computer and hard drive mishap, I have been diligently working behind the scenes upgrading equipment and taking pro active steps to ensure that all project information and digital assets are properly organized, stored, backed up, and preserved.  Thankfully no project data was lost due to my redundant backup schemes.  However, since preservation is the chief responsibility and obligation of an oral historian, technology failure can be unnerving regardless.

My equipment upgrade and data reorganization was a massive undertaking to say the least as it involved the full transition from a Windows platform to Apple.  Given that I work with my video and audio files in Apple, the transition was an easy call to make.  Executing that transition was an entirely different story.  Moving all the data and taking the time to reorganize it as efficiently as possible took a lot of patience.

All of my hard drives had to be formatted to an Apple format which meant that the contents had to be copied over to another hard drive before formatting.  Once the formatting was complete, all the data had to be copied back to the newly formatted hard drive and from there backups could be made.  Since I changed the entire directory structure for all of my data during the reorganization so everything can be found in three clicks or less, I had to upload everything all over again to the cloud.  When you are uploading terabytes of information, that takes a very long time.

Now that I am done, this project is being run on a Mac Book Pro computer that is accessing an external 8 terabyte thunderbolt RAID hard drive with matching external 4 terabyte USB hard drives as backups together with a cloud backup configuration that utilizes both Dropbox and Google Drive.  I can finally breathe again and it is time to have some fun.  Let’s get that camera and audio recorder rolling…