MAY 27, 2015, SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – New York Army National Guard 1st Lt. Carleen Calypso earned her commission through Officer Candidate School, responded to the World Trade Center attacks in 2001 and deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in 2004 and 2005.
It was sandy, hot, she did not like the spiders, there were indirect fire attacks and she drank a lot of water, Calypso recalled in 2007.
“I was lucky to be in two sand storms, unbelievable,” she recalled. “It came fast and furious. We had sand everywhere.”
Her story, in her own words, as well as those of 600 other New Yorkers who served in World Wars I and II , Korea, Vietnam and Iraq can now be seen on YouTube thanks to the efforts of the New York Military Museum.
The interview videos are among 2,050 collected by the New York State Military Museum and which are being made available on a new YouTube Channel.
Previously the public and researchers had to visit the Saratoga Springs museum to see these veterans telling their stories, explained museum director Courtney Burns. Putting them on YouTube allows more people access to the interviews which have been collected since 2000, Burns said.
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, said Jim Gandy, the museum’s librarian.
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:
* 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 anti-tank 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 1960’s 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
* Elizabeth Ball from Elmira who talks about working at the Eclipse Machine Division of the Bendix Aviation Corporation there
The New York State Military Museum YouTube Channel can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnLkbEOR0MZg1p2S5fNLfKQ.
Web users can also find the You Tube Channel by going to the New York State Military Museum website and clicking on the YouTube link. http://dmna.ny.gov/historic/mil-hist.htm.
While the Military Museum is initially putting the veteran’s interviews online, other historic videos in the museum collection will eventually be available as well, Gandy said.
These include digitized video of National Guard troops training before World War II and Soldiers serving at Fort Drum after the war.
The New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center is located in a historic National Guard Armory at 61 Lake Avenue 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.