Oral History Project World War II Years, 1941-1946 - Art Pejsa


Arthur Pejsa was born 8 March 1923 in Custer, Wisconsin, where he spent his childhood. After graduating from high school in 1940 in nearby Stevens Point, Art attended Central State Teachers College (CSTC, now UW-Stevens Point) for 1940-41, then moved to Milwaukee and Wausau and worked during 1941-42 as a machinist. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in summer 1942 and in January 1943, after another semester at CSTC, entered active service. After Basic Training at Sheppard Field, near Wichita Falls, Texas, Art took advanced training over the next twelve months and qualified as a bomber pilot. In June 1944 he was selected for duty in the new B-29 Superfortress bomber, and after several months schooling at Clovis, New Mexico, was posted in November 1944 to the 20th Air Force base at Karaghpur, India. Art remained here for six months, and as lead pilot flew missions to Singapore, Saigon, Bangkok, Japan, and other targets. In May 1945 Art was transferred with his crew to an air base on Tinian, in the Mariana Islands, and from here flew more than fifteen missions over Japan. For a mission over Himeji, Japan, on 22 June 1945, Art was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. In all, he completed twenty-six combat missions before rotating back to the US in October 1945. Art was discharged in January 1946 with the rank of 1st lieutenant. After military service, Art quickly completed undergraduate (CSTC, 1947) and graduate (Marquette, 1948) degrees, then joined the faculty of the US Naval Academy, where he taught from 1948-56. He then worked more than twenty-five years as an aerospace mathematical physicist for the AC Division of General Motors and for Honeywell, in Minneapolis, retiring in 1985. He remained active in the field after retirement, and authored several books on ballistics

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