Looking back at his service during WW II, William Tingle considers himself the luckiest man in the Army. Poor eyesight kept him out of the Navy in 1943, but the Army found use for Bill Tingle supporting the 8th Air Force in England. A week after the Normandy invasion, Bill landed on the continent and followed Allied ground forces racing toward Germany. “I wasn’t even issued a rifle,” he says. “Didn’t need one handling supplies.”
With the assistance of Jamie Stoner, curator of the Alle-Kiski Valley Historical Society, we made our first veterans oral history recording foray into the Allegheny River Valley. AKVHS’ home is a former VFW Post built circa 1931 in Tarentum, Pennsylvania. The building’s fascinating art deco ornamentation harks back to a by-gone era when the valley breathed coal, glass, aluminum, and steel production—a time still remembered by the region’s oldest residents, such as WW II veteran, William Tingle. At 92, Mr. Tingle can tell us a lot about how things used to be in “the valley.”
On a lovely, sun-filled July 2nd 2014, we met with Bill Tingle at the AKVHS to record his story. He was accompanied by his son-in-law, Marshall Krumpe, himself a veteran of the Vietnam War who agreed to record with us. “What should I talk about,” each man asked us as we set up our audio-visual equipment for the interview. It’s a common question. Reasonable. We hear it a lot. “Let’s start with this,” we often say, priming the pump, “how did you get into the service?”
In My Own Words
This audio interview is a production of the Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh Oral History Initiative, in partnership with the Veterans Breakfast Club. It was recorded July 2, 2014 at the Alle-Kiski Valley Historical Society, Tarentum, Pennsylvania. Interviewer & audio production: Kevin Farkas. Special thanks to Jamie Stoner, AKVHS curator, Marshall Krumpe.