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Interview conducted with John Daniel “Dan” Vaughan as part of the Nash County Cultural Center’s Oral History Project. Vaughan was born 1/16/1926 at Bone’s Chapel near Sandy Cross, Nash County, NC. His father was a farmer who worked on several area farms after losing his own during the Great Depression. Vaughan reflects on his father’s death in 1938 from blood poisoning, and the limited healthcare available at the time. His mother went to college in Farmville, VA and came to NC to become a teacher. Vaughan remembers the various jobs she held later in life. He tells how she overcame several difficulties, including losing the fingers on one hand following an accident involving an exploding dynamite cap. He discusses their house burning down just five year after his father’s death, once again leaving his family with nothing. Vaughan says he has been working full-time since the age of 14, recalling long days of farm work done as a child and going to work at Overton’s Barbecue. He mentions Bucky Overton being his mentor, and says he has had two generations of family who have worked at the restaurant. He tells stories of hitch-hiking to and from Overton’s where he was the head waiter, making $7 per week. He recounts hearing of the Pearl Harbor bombing over the radio while working at Overton’s, and the patriotism the event caused for himself and others. He talks about the wide range of characters who ate at the restaurant, including soldiers from Ft. Bragg, German P.O.W.s on their way to Camp Butner, marching bands with majorettes, and more. He discusses how he learned sales techniques during his time at Overton’s which he’d later use throughout a 45-year career in tobacco sales. Vaughan describes enlisting in 1944, joining the Army Air Corps’ 315th Bomb Group under Gen. Frank Armstrong. He gives detail about being stationed in Guam as a member of the ground crew of a B-29 bomber before later becoming Crew Chief and Flight Engineer of a B-24. He recalls a chance meeting with Gen. Armstrong, and discusses training missions on Rota in the Mariana Islands. He mentions this as being the same location of the Enola Gay’s bombing runs, and talks about training fighter pilots to fly B-24s as preparation to flying the heavier B-29s. Vaughan speaks on the bombing runs done in Japan following the dropping of atomic weapons, eventually forcing the Japanese to surrender. He discusses administrative flights to Shanghai, giving details on spending ten days there after WWII ended.

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