James O. Rambin
U. S. Army Air Forces
WWII US Military
Mechanic 51st Services Squadron, 51st Services Squadron

Born in Powhatan, Louisiana, to Elmo and Annie Ethel Rambin, James grew up on a farm where he plowed with mules and picked cotton, among other chores. James recalls abject poverty during the Depression. "People would take a car tire and cut a sole out and put straps on it, and those were the shoes they wore," he recalls. After James graduated from Natchitoches High School in 1939, he worked at his father's cotton gin. "Then one day some of the boys came by and they said to me, `Let's go join the Air Force. Just like that," he recalls. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps at Barksdale Field in Bossier City, Louisiana, before Pearl Harbor was attacked. An airplane mechanic, James sailed aboard the SS Monterey, a converted ocean liner, in a convoy of "about twenty ships." He was sent to Algiers where he was stationed at Oudja as part of the Fifty-First Service Squadron. James worked on several kinds of aircraft including the P-38, B-25, B-26, and B-17, which he calls "the greatest plane there ever was." James remained in North Africa "maybe a couple of years," and then was sent on to Sardinia and Corsica. James followed the fighting as the front advanced into Germany. He was stationed at an airfield in Stuttgart, Germany when the war in Europe ended. After he was discharged at Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg, Mississippi, he worked in the West Texas oilfields, drove a Continental Trailways bus, and then spent thirty years with Schilling Distillers. He married Lou Martin in July of 1951. They had two children, and two grandchildren.