World War II; Copper Mining as Part of the War Effort Haldeman: One of the strange things about fate- -here fate comes in. In September of '41 I took the job, Pearl Harbor came in December, and immediately after that Guam and the Philippines were invaded . (Haldeman had turned down job offers at both Guam and the Philippines in order to accept the one in Chile --RS) Swent: You were kind of glad you weren't there. Haldeman: Yes. Fate also took a little bit of a role in that 1941 period, because when I went to work in San Francisco I was also registered in the draft. I was 1-A, and I said I wanted to be a pilot. They had this program they were starting with 50,000 planes and 50,000 pilots a year, when they were starting to mass-produce airplanes. I went up to Hamilton Field, north of San Francisco, and passed the examination there to become a pilot, a lieutenant in the air corps. I was on a standby basis there. One of the many long concrete staircases at Sewell: In 1942, I got a call to report to Hamilton Field, that I had been accepted in the air corps, and they finally had enough airplanes. I took this letter over to my boss at the mine, he gave it to the mine superintendent, who gave it to the general manager, who sent it up to the New York office, who had at that time declared to the government that they needed so many people down there to get the copper as part of the war effort. So myself, along with the other boys, were classified as 4-F and frozen in our jobs. The fickle finger of fate.
Index to Haldeman Interview