Video interviews of more than 600 New Yorkers who served in conflicts from World War II to Afghanistan and Iraq can now be seen on YouTube. The interview videos are among 2,050 collected by the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center, which are being made available on a new YouTube channel established by the museum.
Previously the public and researchers had to visit the Saratoga Springs museum to see these veterans telling their stories. The New York State Military Museum began conducting video interviews with veterans in 2000. In some cases people were interviewed by museum employees, and in other cases family, friends or third parties conducted the interviews and submitted the videos.
Local historical societies like the Herkimer-Fulton County Historical Society, the Chemung County Historical Society and Rome Free Academy, are participating in collecting veterans stories.
Among the stories available on the YouTube Channel are:
• New York Army National Guard Capt. Carleen Clypso recalling her deployment to Forward Operating Base Speicher outside Tikrit, Iraq with the Troy-based 42nd Infantry Division in 2005.
• Troy resident Terrance Shanley talking about commanding a patrol boat known as a “Swift Boat” during the Vietnam War and “surfing the waves” to keep from sinking in rough weather.
• Kiameshia Lake resident John A. Baily talking about how he was drafted into the Army in February 1941 and trained to man a 37 millimeter antitank gun and fire the M1903 Springfield rifle in the 27th Infantry Division in World War II.
• Newburgh resident Sammy Leon Ballard talking about serving as an Army supply clerk in the 1960s in Germany.
• South Glens Falls resident Katherine Abbott, a U.S. Army Air Forces Nurse in World War II tells about working as a flight nurse on aircraft flying wounded Soldiers from the Philippines to Hawaii and San Francisco.
• And Elizabeth Ball from Elmira who talks about working at the Eclipse Machine Division of the Bendix Aviation Corporation there.
Web users can find the channel by going to the New York State Military Museum website (www.dmna.ny.gov/historic/mil-hist.htm) and clicking on the YouTube link. While the museum is initially putting the interviews on line, other historic videos in the museum collection will eventually be available as well. These include digitized video of National Guard troops training before World War II and soldiers serving at Fort Drum after that war.
The New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center is located in a historic National Guard Armory at 61 Lake Ave. in Saratoga Springs. The museum’s collection dates back to 1863 when the governor of New York assigned a New York National Guard office the responsibility of collecting items and information relating to New Yorkers participation in the Civil War. Today the museum, administered by the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs, has one of the largest collections of historic battle flags in existence and holds items covering all of America’s wars from the Revolutionary War to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The museum’s permanent exhibits cover the Civil War, the 19th Century New York militia, World War I and World War II and special rotating exhibits are featured regularly. The museum also hosts free talks on weekends.