Frank Riesinger was born August 20, 1926 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He recalls moving around the American Midwest during the Depression years, as the family went where work was available. Still, Frank doesn’t remember being poor; he said everyone was, and that’s what they were all used to. Frank describes his childhood in positive terms, remembering the schools, the small towns, his dreams of being a cowboy and delivering the Saturday Evening Post. When the war came Frank was in high school; he remembers hearing FDR’s Pearl Harbor speech on the radio, and the feeling of disbelief that followed. Frank continued his high school education and enlisted when he was 17, waiting his turn to be called to duty. He opted for the US Army Air Force, and was selected to be trained as a B-29 navigator. Basic training took place at Fort Amarillo, Texas, and from there Frank was getting ready for advanced training, where he expected to learn the ins-and-outs of being a B-29 navigator. But the war was winding down by that point, with the war in Europe ending on May 8. The war in the Pacific was still intense, and with the bloody American victory at Okinawa, Frank and the other men expected they’d be transferred to the infantry for the inevitable invasion of Japan. But while on the move between training camps, Frank was able to obtain a pass to stop in Tulsa in early August 1945. While there, he learned of the two atomic bombs dropped in Japan, and of the Japanese surrender. Tulsa erupted into a street party that day, as did so many other American cities and towns. Frank used his GI Bill benefits to return to school to complete his education, and soon he married and raised his family, falling into the rhythms of life in postwar America. He has also become actively involved in the cause of commemoration, attending World War Two commemorative events in France and Luxembourg to name a few; in addition he created a VJ Day memorial event in his hometown of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Crestwood students were fortunate to zoom with Frank Riesinger in April 2022.
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