This oral history interview with Raymond W. Nyls was conducted by Kathleen A. Mitchell in Salem, Philomath, and Portland, Oregon, from April 4 to September 12, 1992. The interview was conducted in six sessions.
In the first interview session, conducted in Salem, Oregon, on April 4, 1992, Nyls discusses his family background and early life in Portland, Wauna, Warrenton, and Astoria, including learning to swim, the divorce of his parents, and his memories of the amusement park at Jantzen Beach. He also talks about family trips by train. He speaks at length about his childhood recreational activities, games, and hobbies. He also talks about his relationship with his step-father. He discusses his interest in military history and geology.
In the second interview session, conducted at the Benton County Historical Museum in Philomath, Oregon, on April 25, 1992, Nyls continues discussing his early life in Portland and Wauna, including his memories of the amusement park at Jantzen Beach, his social life during his teenage years, and his relationship with his step-father. He speaks about his step-father's work as a sawyer at sawmills in the company town of Wauna, describes the town, and discusses his education. He describes the houses he lived in, speaks about his recreational activities and childhood games, and discusses the Japanese American population in Wauna. He then looks at photographs of Wauna and talks about them, as well as a fire that burned down the town's school house.
In the third interview session, conducted at the Benton County Historical Museum in Philomath on May 30, 1992, Nyls continues discussing his early life in Wauna, including his social life. He describes the railroad service to Wauna. He again looks at photographs of Wauna and talks about them, as well as the fire that burned down the town's schoolhouse. He briefly discusses living in a small town near Westport during the Depression. He then talks about living in the sawmill company town of Warrenton, including his education, his involvement with sports, and fishing in the Skipanon River. He also talks about his social life in Warrenton. He discusses living in Astoria, particularly his experience during high school, including dating, playing in a band, and his experience in the National Guard. He also briefly describes a photograph of his family picking hops during the Depression. He speaks about roller skating, dancing, and drinking alcohol.
In the fourth interview session, conducted in Philomath on June 20, 1992, Nyls discusses living in Portland and working for the Forest Service through the National Youth Association. He then talks about working for Boeing in Seattle, Washington, in the years before World War II and about joining the Army Air Corps. He speaks about morale at Boeing after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and describes his feelings about the U.S. government's incarceration of Japanese Americans. He describes his Army Air Corps training at length, including both boot camp and flight training. He also talks about his marriage to Lucile Tinker.
In the fifth interview session, conducted at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland on July 26, 1992, Nyls looks at photographs dating from the Korean War, describes them, and speaks at length about his experiences as an engineering officer and fighter pilot during that war. He also shares his thoughts about friendly fire and the United States military. He discusses training other fighter pilots and speaks at length about training to become an engineering officer at the end of World War II. He also talks about his marriage to Peggy Garver and the death of his mother. He discusses the differences in the way the Air Force fought during World War II and in the Korean War and speaks about his career in the Air Force after the war's end.
In the sixth and final interview session, conducted in Philomath on September 12, 1992, Nyls looks at photographs from his career in the Air Force after the Korean War and describes them. He talks about serving as a squadron commander, describes serving on an Air Force base in Alaska during the Cold War, and shares his experiences serving at Camp Adair during the 1962 Columbus Day Storm. He talks about his reasons for settling in Eugene after retiring from the Air Force and reflects on his career, revisiting the topics of his service during World War II and the Korean War. He also describes more photographs. He discusses his children, their families, and their careers; shares his opinion about the Gulf War; and speaks at length about his hobbies, including his interest in history, geology, and astronomy. He closes the interview by talking about his work as a UFO investigator while in the Air Force.