Central Illinois World War II Stories – Oral History Interview: Hale Burge of Hoopeston
Hale Burge started his career in the Air Force (then the Army Air Force) when he was drafted into World War II as a teenager in rural Illinois. Like all inductees, he was tested in a lot of areas in order to best match his skills to the job he would be assigned. For him, that meant that he would be working on planes. Burge served in the Aleutian Island chain, frequently taking parts from a number of broken planes in order to create single plane that could be safely put back in the air. He saw terrible crashes and talks about the loss of life. Planes from these northern Pacific islands bombed Japan and other sites. America’s presence in the area prevented invasion of Alaska and gave the enemy another area to worry about and to have to spread their forces out more. Burge, a man who lived through the dark Depression years, also talks about involvement in the war as positively affecting this country.