Student Plans Research on World War II Veterans

A recently retired Navy veteran wants to know more about World War II veterans of all branches of service.

John Ford, who retired in 2002 after 22 years of service, is now a student at William Woods University, where he is majoring in history and unified science. He wants to interview WWII vets from Audrain, Boone, Callaway and Cole counties for a history research project.

He is particularly interested in speaking to those who were involved in the post-war occupation of Germany, but does not want to limit his interviews to only those veterans.

“I’m looking for anyone who served who wants to tell their story,” Ford said. “They are an important part of our American and local heritage and should not be lost to future generations.”

He plans to compile the information he gathers for a senior seminar research project he is doing with Shawn Hull and the continuation of last year’s Mentor-Mentee project with Brett Rogers, both history professors.

The senior seminar research project is centered on the U.S. occupation of Germany, which started as early as February 1945 with the U.S. Ninth and First armies crossing the Rur. The Mentor/Mentee Honors Program was established at William Woods several years ago to encourage faculty and students to engage in joint research or creative projects.

Ford plans to use an audio recorder to assist in maintaining the accuracy of the testimony, as well as a digital camera and laptop computer with scanner. The scanner will make copies of pertinent documents, such as letters diaries, discharges and photographs.

The camera can record items too large for the scanner such as uniforms, framed photographs and medals, and anything else that lends itself to the veteran’s story.

A copy of all recorded documentation will be presented on CD to each veteran who participates in this project.

Any World War II veterans willing to speak with Ford should contact him at (573) 220-6551 or