graduation night, the auditorium was draped in red,
white and blue streamers and American flags. All the
mothers cried because the entire class of boys would
volunteer for service the next day.
first went to the Navy recruiter who turned him down
because he didn’t weigh enough. The old doctor
who gave his physical said, Son, you go home and eat
a lot of cornbread and butter, drink a lot of sweet
milk and come back in the fall. Red was so angry with
the Navy for rejecting him that, come fall, he volunteered
for the Army Air Corp instead.
family was living in Hot Springs then, and through
the summer, Red worked as assistant to an ambulance
driver. He was to report for duty right after Christmas,
just a few weeks before his eighteenth birthday. The
war was going badly. His friends and relatives knew
he would be in the thick of it very soon. He insisted
on going alone to the bus stop and walked down the
street, carrying a book under his arm. Red’s
mother cried for weeks, saying over and over again,
“He looked just like he was going off to school.”
is how Red Roberson came to become the tail-gunner
for Crew 37 of the 39th Bomber Group. He made 32 missions
over the South Pacific from their base in Guam and
came through the war without a scratch.
the time the war was over, Red’s family had
moved to El Centro, California. He moved in with them,
went to junior college by day and drove a taxi by
night. He played football, but was so small he was
constantly being clobbered on the field; had his nose
broken twice and got one of his front teeth knocked
out. Later, he returned to Arkansas and played football
at Ouachita Baptist College in Arkadelphia. During
this time, Red served in the ROTC. As a member of
the ROTC, he knew he could be called up at any time,
for any branch of service, as a “filler.”
He graduated with a degree in English, secured a teaching
job at an Arkansas junior high school (where he was
also the basketball coach), but just a couple of months
into the term, he was called to serve in Korea as
a Second Lieutenant, Infantry.
often said that it was there in the frozen, muddy
trenches on the Korean Peninsula that he set his sites
on flight school.
sister, Vera, writes, “We were very proud of
him, and he was handsome in his uniform . . . curly
red hair, gray-green eyes, a lop-sided grin and lots
of freckles. He was quick-witted, loved to tease,
had a scrappiness about him that got him in trouble
sometimes, and had a jaunty walk. He was a wonderful
big brother to me. He tried to teach me to jitterbug,
and he was great at it!!”
C. Roberson enlisted in the Army Air Corps on 20 November
1943 at the age of 17 yrs old, at the time a resident
of Garland County, Arkansas.
WWII, he returned home and attended Ouachita Baptist
College in Arkadephia, Arkansas on the GI Billl, active
in ROTC and the Reserves. After graduation he taught
High School English then returned to active duty with
various stations include:
Ft Leavenworth, KS.
Ft Rucker, AL.
Ft Bragg, NC.
Ft Sill, OK.
He was hospitalized at Fitzsimon’s Campus in
Aurora, CO. with lung aliments for 6 months
He returned to Ft Leavenworth
Ft Rucker, AL.
married his wife Jolene – they have 2 daughters
– Thoma who was born while on their first assignment
to Ft Rucker and Robin while stationed in Heidelberg,