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Stanley Duhan Oral History

Identifier: MS-2889

  • Staff Only

This interview with Stanley Duhan provides a firsthand account of military life and the civilian development of military tools. Although Duhan never saw action in a foreign country, there are plenty accounts of the camaraderie and organization of the Navy in World War II. Duhan provides detailed descriptions, including entertaining narrative, about his time working on the Titan and Atlas missile projects for Avco Lycoming. The interview is full of information regarding each job that Duhan performed in his life from the military to his final position as a nuclear consultant.


  • 2002 March 14, 2002 April 11

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This collection houses the transcript of Stanley Duhan's oral history. In this interview, Duhan recollects aspects of his life, including time in the Navy and Air Force Reserves during World War II and the Korean War and his time working on the Titan and Atlas Missile projects.

Biographical/Historical Note

Stanley Duhan was born in New Rochelle, New York, on 1926 March 12. His mother was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and his father was born in Latvia. His family was Jewish and Duhan celebrated his Bar Mitzvah, but he notes that the family did not keep kosher. Mr. Duhan's father owned an auto repair shop in Tuckahoe, New York and his mother was the book keeper there.

Following high school, Mr. Duhan enrolled at Virginia Tech because of their exceptional engineering program. It was at Virginia Tech that he received his first taste of military discipline. When he enrolled in the school at seventeen, he was required to join the Cadet Corps, a similar entity to the ROTC. The hierarchy in the Cadet Corps was based upon the class one was in. After one year in school, Mr. Duhan received his draft notice and was required to enlist in the Armed Forces for World War II.

Upon his draft notice Mr. Duhan was given the choice between Army and Navy, and he chose the Navy. Duhan was sent to the Finger Lakes region of New York, which was the site the Sampson Training Facility. After completing his training, Duhan was sent to Chicago to study at the Naval Electronics School. It was in Chicago that Duhan became aware of television and radar. Following his three months in Chicago, Duhan was shipped to what was then Oklahoma A & M for more electronics training. The next assignment was in Gulfport, Mississippi at the Naval Radio Operator's School. Duhan's final assignment was in Bambridge, Maryland. His job in Bambridge was discharging sailors, and when there were no more sailors, he discharged himself. Duhan returned to Virginia Tech on the GI bill and eventually received a degree in industrial and mechanical engineering.

During the Korean War, Duhan was an active reservist in the Air Force, but never saw action. At that time he worked in Waterbury, Connecticut at Chase Brass and Copper, which manufactured shell casings as well as plumbing tools and flower pots. Duhan then worked for Avco Lycoming. It was here that he was the project manager for the Titan and Atlas missile projects for the Air Force. After Avco, Duhan worked for Boeing as the supervisor for maintainability on the CH-47 helicopter during the Vietnam War. After Vietnam, helicopter production went down, and Duhan went to work for the TVA. After 15 years in the Office of Construction and Design, Duhan went to work as a Nuclear Consultant. This job took him to the various nuclear facilities around the country helping with such things as waste disposal.

Stanley Duhan passed away in Knoxville on May 12th, 2006. He was 80 years old and had a wife and two children.


This collection consists of one folder

Acquisition Note

Donated to Special Collections by the Center for the Study of War and Society at the University of Tennessee.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA