William P. (Bill) Cart, Interview by Jack Bass, 3 November 2008
Cart, a Charleston native, enlisted in the Navy at the end of his sophomore year at The Citadel in 1942. After finishing the Navy V-7 aviation cadet program at the University of Georgia, he began flight training at Lambert Field in St. Louis, followed by advanced training in different types of aircraft at Pensacola, Florida. He applied for and was accepted by the Marine Corps, commissioned as a second lieutenant, and became a dive bomber pilot in spring 1943. He tells of his combat flights in the Pacific Theater and also of taking the remains of two childhood friends back to Charleston for burial after crashes during their period of flight training. He was among the first to fly Corsairs in a unit that worked with company engineers to resolve a major safety problem. At the end of 1944, he went overseas to the Marshall Islands, flying from a land base to attack Japanese supply craft and other targets. He recalled that during the dive "you could see a grey streak. That meant the bullet just went by you." He later flew more advanced planes, roughly 50 combat missions in all. After the war, he returned to Charleston, feeling a duty to take over his ailing father's jewelry store. Twelve years later, he went into regional sales, flying a company plane while covering a large area during one period, and selling private planes during another. His Citadel experience, he recalled, taught him sufficient discipline that when he went into the Marine Corps, "I was ready for it."
This interview is a part of the "Citadel WWII Alumni History Project." With generous support from the Humanities Council of South Carolina (http://www.schumanities.org/), the Citadel Oral History Program collected thirty interviews with Citadel alumni regarding their experiences during WWII. Journalist and historian Jack Bass conducted the interviews during the Fall of 2008.They serve as a powerful testament to the veterans' experiences and their critical contributions to the war effort. The digital recordings and transcripts are part of The Citadel Oral History Program Collection at The Citadel Archives & Museum.
Interview transcriptions are intended to reflect the words and sounds of the audio recordings as closely as possible. Even the best transcriptions, however, are imperfect representations of the recordings. For a full discussion of The Citadel Oral History Program's transcription guidelines, consult the program's website.