Jimmie Giles
Lt Col
U. S. Army Air Forces
WWII US Military
Aircraft mechanic, HQ USAREUR

Born at home in Shreveport, Jimmie spent several boyhood years in Winnfield, Louisiana. While there, his father left the family. His mother reared him during the Depression, a time he describes as "no jobs, no money, and no hope for any income. People helped one another out. They bartered things. There was no welfare. And it was just a hard way of life," he recalls. Jimmie delivered papers, cleaned up the theater, delivered handbills, and repaired bicycles. Drafted into the U.S. Army Air Forces in January of 1943, he was trained in personnel records and later served as a staff sergeant in an aircraft depot maintenance group in California. When the unit was deactivated, all members shipped overseas as individual replacements. In October of 1943 Jimmie sailed on the SS Argentina to England, where he was stationed at an air depot near Wharton. There he worked as a modifications inspector, checking planes newly built in the United States. He recalls hearing about D-Day, June 6, 1944. "That was one of the best-kept secrets," he says. "We absolutely had no idea that that was coming off when it did." Late in the war, Jimmie entered Officer Candidate School and graduated on May 12, 1945. He was ordered to Linz, Austria as platoon leader in the 261st Infantry Regiment, Sixty-Fifth Division, and then was sent to a replacement depot in Nuremberg, Germany to await orders to the Pacific Theater. After Japan surrendered, however, he was shipped back to the states. Jimmie served at bases in Alabama, Virginia, and New Jersey where his unit processed troops going to Europe in late 1945 and early 1946. He next served as assistant transport commander on a vessel returning German prisoners of war to Europe, making seven round trips across the North Atlantic. After he was discharged he attended business school, then went to work for Southwestern Electric and Power Company. A reservist, he was called up twice, and finally remained on active duty. In Europe he helped in repatriation efforts, including assisting Jews to reach Palestine. Other duty stations included the Pentagon, Korea, and Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, where he was assigned to headquarters of Fourth Army. He later returned to Europe in the comptroller division of U.S. Army forces on the continent. After retiring on August 1, 1966 as a lieutenant colonel, he worked as general manager for Smith Office Machines, and then as a salesman for The Vernon Company.