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Interview with Edmond J. Reizck

Interviewee: 
Reizck, Edmond J.
Interviewer: 
White, Jane
Date of Interview: 
1979-05-22
Identifier: 
OHRE0135
Subjects: 
WWII; North Carolina National Guard; Charlotte, NC; Charlotte National Guard Unit
Abstract: 
Edmond Reiczk, a North Carolina native, talks about his experiences as a member of a National Guard unit comprised of divisions throughout the state. Mr. Reizck gives the names of Charlotte natives who served with him. He also gives a brief description of changes he has seen in Charlotte.
Coverage: 
Charlotte, North Carolina
Interview Setting: 
Interview as part of the WSOC-TV Oral History Project. Interviews conducted at either the downtown public library or the Midtown Shopping Mall.
Collection: 
WSOC-TV Oral History Project
Collection Description: 
The Oral History Project of 1979, headed by Dr. Edward Perzel, was an effort to gather and preserve spoken recollections. Interviews were conducted with older citizens, primarily over the age of 65, who were encouraged to share their memories and stories.
Transcript:
JW (Jane White): Alright Mr. Reizck, are you a native to Charlotte and then you came back to Charlotte?
ER (Edmond J. Reizck): No, I'm not a native of Charlotte, but I am a native of North Carolina
JW: Oh.
ER: I came to Charlotte after I retired because it's the largest city in the two Carolinas and it has more facilities, job opportunities, culture, etc.
JW: Where, where in North Carolina did you come from?
ER: I came from the eastern part of North Carolina around Wilson and New Bern.
JW: Oh, yes, yes.
ER: Originally. And in the interim, prior to my retirement, I have lived in Greensboro.
JW: Oh, I see. Well, can you give us your impressions of Charlotte?
ER: I'm very impressed with it. I've been familiar with Charlotte over the years being a native of North Carolina, and I have visited Charlotte many times in the past years, which is one of the reasons I decided to come here upon retirement. I'm very much impressed with it now in its progressive inclinations.
JW: How, how, when you see those changes come about in the years that you've visited?
ER: Well, the physical structure of downtown has changed quite a bit.
JW: Do you remember any of the old buildings that were downtown?
ER: Oh, yes. During the early 40s when I was in the Army at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina. I used to visit Charlotte, come through here. I remember certain old buildings such as the Selwyn Hotel, which was one West Trade Street. I think--,
JW: What can you tell us about that?
ER: Nothing, except that I remember it. That's I remember the old YMCA, which was on South Tryon. I believe that's, it's located where the Mutual Savings and Loan Association is located now. I recall that as an old building.
JW: Did you come in on the train or you drove?
ER: No, I would drive through or come in on the bus as a soldier. And driving through during these intervening years.
JW: Well, let me ask you something about New Bern.
ER: New Bern, I know very little about. I was born there and left there at an early age.
JW: I see.
ER: I know in general some characteristics of it presently, but as to present day activities in New Bern, I would know very little.
JW: Well, how long have you lived in Charlotte now?
ER: Less than two years.
JW: Well, we're happy that you came to Charlotte. Chose this you know, a place to live. You've noticed all these changes.
ER: Certainly. And these changes are some of the factors that have drawn me to the city. I believe that the quality of life here is quite high. North Carolina, which I have lived in many, many years of my life, I have always thought, had a high quality of life. We've been spared many of the natural types of problems such as floodings, tornadoes, hurricanes, that many other areas get.
JW: Have you noticed a difference since you've been back in relation to the white and the black ( )?
ER: I've noticed that there is a difference. I, I don't know of anything more than what would strike the average citizen as we are maturing and growing older.
JW: When you were here before there was nothing going on about busing, that's for sure.
ER: That's quite true. That happened I guess in the 60s probably, there abouts.
JW: It's been nice to talk with you. Can you think of anything else you'd like to tell us about?
ER: Well, I the only part that I thought you might be interested in this notice said something about World War II. Well are you interested in any of the military activities or just
JW: What you did?
ER: in relation to the city of Charlotte?
JW: Well, yes, and--.
ER: Well, if you ask whatever questions you want to ask, I'll try to answer it.
JW: Well, were you in the army?
ER: During the, the early 40s for about five years.
JW: Did you go to Europe or were --?
ER: Yes, a year and a half. I served with the, what was called, 30th infantry division which was a North Carolina National Guard unit with components units from cities all over the state of North Carolina. Now, my regiment was called the 120th infantry regiment. My company was from the city of Wilson, in Eastern North Carolina. There were about fifteen to twenty companies in the regiment. One company of which was from the city of Charlotte.
JW: Oh I see. And then you trained here in ( )?
ER: Ft. Jackson, South Carolina.
JW: And you went right from there to ( )?
ER: No, not right from there. We were called into service in September 1940. And we trained at Ft. Jackson for two years and then in other parts of the country, in Tennessee and Florida and went overseas as a unit in February 1944 and we overseas until about August or September 1945.
JW: I see. You were there all that time.
ER: About a year and a half.
JW: Do you have family?
ER: No, I'm here alone. I have relatives throughout North Carolina, but I have no family in Charlotte.
JW: I see. Uh-huh. Well, it has been nice to talk to you and for you to tell us some things about your life, your experiences in World War II. If you can think of anything else?
ER: Well, in as much as this conversation pertains to Mecklenburg County and to Charlotte itself, I could give you probably the names of some of the individuals from Charlotte who were in the Charlotte unit of our regiment.
JW: Do you still, excuse me, do you still contact them?
ER: I'm not in contact with them, but I'm in contact. Our division has an association and we have a reunion once a year. And many of the members of our, our association are from throughout North Carolina. One of the officers in our reg-our division used to be the postmaster of Charlotte, Paul Younts. He was a colonel in our division at Ft. Jackson. And I understand he was the postmaster here for a number of years, and later possibly after the war, became a general. I'm not sure whether it was in the Reserve or in the National Guard.
JW: Is he still living?
ER: No, he's deceased. I understand that he's deceased. In fact part of I-77 south of here is named for him.
JW: I see.
ER: If you ever, travel that way, you'll see a little road sign that calls it the Younts Expressway or Brigadier General Paul Younts Expressway or some name like that.
JW: Do you know when it was dedicated? Was it before he died?
ER: Well, I don't know. I've only been in Charlotte less than two years, but I am familiar with his name because he was one of the officers with our division at Ft. Jackson many years ago. There was another name from Charlotte that comes to my mind. This person was killed in 1944 during our combat activities in Europe. His name was Leyland Lambe. L-A-M-B-E. He was in the Charlotte National Guard Company, which was part of our regiment and division. And he served with us in training and in combat overseas until he was killed sometime, I'm, I'm thinking around August or September of 1944. And he was originally from Charlotte. There were certain other names that come to my mind. Joseph Whitlock was a Charlotte native. I think he's still living here. Jim Whittington, who ran for mayor, was in that Charlotte unit. The Charlotte unit incidentally was called Company F 120th infantry. My unit, being from Wilson was called Company M 120th infantry. Another name that comes to my mind was Pinkney Rankin.
JW: Rankin.
ER: Rankin. I, some of these I are just names. I haven't seen them in thirty-five years. But they seem to stick out in my mind. Another name was Ed, Edward Anthony, who died here within the last year or two because I saw his obituary in the paper. He was part of the Charlotte unit. He served with us in combat and was captured by the Germans with his battalion staff sometime around August of '44 and I believe remained a prisoner until the end of the war. These are just some Charlotte names that come to my mind in passing since this discussion pertains to Charlotte.
JW: Um-hum. This is what they would like to know.
ER: I don't remember too many other names. It's many, many years.
JW: Oh, yes. We do appreciate this very much.
ER: You're quite welcome.
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