Stevens, Larry

Larry Stevens was born July 10, 1924 in Alhambra, CA. He attended school up to the 8th grade, leaving early because of the reality of the Great Depression. The family needed to make ends meet, and saving spare change – even a nickel – was a lot of money.  When Pearl Harbor was attacked December 7, 1941, Larry said that he had no idea where it was when informed at school.  He said that everyone wanted to do their part. Larry said that his family talked about war, and when he graduated from high school, his parents backed him 100% to enlist in military service.  He said he would have been left without any friends, so at age 19 he enlisted with them.  From April 10 – May 10, 1943 he received basic training at Atlantic City, NJ.  The training was conducted at the Claridge Hotel’s 14th story. He was asked what he wanted to do and was given 12 questions which he answered perfectly.  As a result he entered the Air Corps, receiving 6 months additional training in Colorado and Florida.  He was assigned a crew there in Dec.  He admired the glamor of the Air Corps and said that there would be no foxhole for him.  He transited April 1, 1944 overseas from NYC to Scotland aboard the Queen Elizabeth 1.  It zig zagged all the way over.  On arrival, Larry was assigned as a tail gunner to the 412th Squadron.  Larry said that he swapped with a waist gunner for the tail gunner position. He flew 35 missions with the 8th Air Force 95th Bomb Group, and during those missions Larry said that he did not shoot down any German fighters.  He did see other planes go down, and he experienced loss.  That sadly included the death of his brother in Messina, Italy. Larry Stevens was interviewed over zoom by Scott Masters and his students in January 2024 – we thank Mengtao Wu and the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, California for their help in facilitating this interview.