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Singing Jet Pilot War Vet, Milton Herman, Part 2
Episode 1756th June 2022 • Your Positive Imprint • Catherine Praiswater
00:00:00 00:14:03

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“We’re risk takers so there's an anxiety. You know what you're training for.” Milton Herman is a career Air Force pilot, consequently a war vet. In part 2 he shares his positive imprints as a singing pilot. Singing and performing inspired him with positivity during war time. 

Transcripts

Milton Herman:

we're risk-takers so there's an anxiety and, and

Milton Herman:

you know what you're training for.

Catherine:

Your positive, positive stories are everywhere.

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People and their positive action inspire positive achievements.

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Your positive imprint.

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What's your PI.

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That piano intro is 92 year old milton Herman.

Catherine:

Milton was born in 1929 during the era deemed as the great depression.

Catherine:

This is part two with air force, singing, pilot and instructor.

Catherine:

Milton Herman.

Catherine:

Mary, Milton's wife who was heard here on this episode, passed away recently.

Catherine:

This episode is of course, dedicated to Mary.

Catherine:

Michelle Herman is also here with her parents.

Milton Herman:

When I was going to college at New Mexico Highlands University, I

Milton Herman:

took a lot of music and we'd sit on the stairs there and almost everybody there

Milton Herman:

would talk about, oh gosh, I'd like to get a job teaching music, but many of

Milton Herman:

them would say, gee, you know, I would love to give a concert at Carnegie hall.

Milton Herman:

Wouldn't that be wonderful?

Milton Herman:

I didn't even know what Carnegie hall was.

Milton Herman:

I'm probably the only one from Las Vegas that's ever given

Milton Herman:

a program in Carnegie Hall.

Milton Herman:

We got invited because I was part of the West Point Glee Club because

Milton Herman:

I was in music to give a concert at Carnegie hall, 54, I think 1954.

Milton Herman:

That was with the chorus, we might've had a piano accompaniment

Milton Herman:

because Jackie Gleason was probably

Mary Herman:

on a TV

Mary Herman:

show.

Mary Herman:

One of the primary early TV shows.

Catherine:

And why were you on the Jackie

Milton Herman:

Gleason show?

Milton Herman:

The West Point Glee Club, we're just sort of famous and known and

Milton Herman:

they invited us and military people at Westpoint allowed us to do it.

Milton Herman:

So we went.

Catherine:

So how long were you in the West Point Glee Club?

Milton Herman:

All four years.

Milton Herman:

I was able to get in it when I was a freshman.

Milton Herman:

But we were called plebes.

Milton Herman:

And in Greek armies, that was the lowest ranking soldier, I guess.

Milton Herman:

And they had to do everything.

Milton Herman:

So that's just, what's the slang name?

Milton Herman:

We're actually Freshman.

Milton Herman:

We were on ed Sullivan show.

Milton Herman:

That was all four years.

Milton Herman:

It was the same thing.

Milton Herman:

He invited the chorus to Shang and we sang a couple of numbers

Mary Herman:

in the early days of TV.

Mary Herman:

Those were the prime

Milton Herman:

shows.

Milton Herman:

Everybody wanted to get on the show.

Mary Herman:

All of the name entertainers, which I suspect, I don't know, either

Mary Herman:

performed for free or very small fee.

Milton Herman:

You feel heard

Mary Herman:

by the American public outside of Carnegie Hall.

Mary Herman:

And so early TV was incredible.

Mary Herman:

Jackie Gleason show had every name, entertainer, Ed Sullivan,

Mary Herman:

every name, entertainer

Milton Herman:

in the world.

Milton Herman:

Yeah.

Milton Herman:

And I never thought to tell my folks about any of those.

Milton Herman:

Usually we only had a few weeks notice anyway, but I knew they

Milton Herman:

couldn't attend And I didn't even know if they had TV themselves.

Milton Herman:

So I never told my folks about any of that.

Milton Herman:

I know some people saw me because I have a friend that he tells me I

Milton Herman:

was there sitting with my friends.

Milton Herman:

And then look, there's Milt Herman from Las Vegas.

Mary Herman:

yeah.

Mary Herman:

When you were, um, y'all had to get up in your dress, whites to go to the

Milton Herman:

parade.

Milton Herman:

That was for the inauguration parade for Eisenhower.

Milton Herman:

We were 2,400 strong at that time, so that I think they took half of

Milton Herman:

us, maybe just a quarter of us.

Milton Herman:

Anyway, I was in part of the group we were part of the inauguration parade.

Milton Herman:

So we took our whites and we wore the top part while we

Milton Herman:

were being transported by bus.

Milton Herman:

And then we stopped as we were getting to New York or in New York city got out and

Milton Herman:

changed pants from the grays to the white.

Milton Herman:

So, and then we stood up on the bus so we wouldn't crease them

Mary Herman:

Gosh!,

Milton Herman:

I don't think hardly anybody even knew that or noticed it

Milton Herman:

so that they would still be starched and looking sharp during the parade

Milton Herman:

so, we could then sit down after the parade was over and on that same

Milton Herman:

occasion, uh, I was in Glee Club then.

Milton Herman:

And.

Milton Herman:

They were eight parties for the Eisenhower integration and all

Milton Herman:

of them were held in big areas.

Milton Herman:

I got to go to one of them where we our glee club was there and we sang a couple

Milton Herman:

of songs when Eisenhower came in with his wife, we sang a song 'Once in Love

Milton Herman:

with Maime', because that was her signed name, Maime, 'Once in Love with Maime'.

Mary Herman:

Most popular song in the day, it was a song

Mary Herman:

called "once in love with Amy".

Mary Herman:

Um, similar

Milton Herman:

and

Milton Herman:

we changed it

Milton Herman:

to Maime

Mary Herman:

using Mrs.

Mary Herman:

Eisenhower's name,

Mary Herman:

which was Maime,

Milton Herman:

yeah, Maime..

Milton Herman:

So when they came in, we sang that song, which we heard because we couldn't tell

Milton Herman:

a great big auditorium, it was like being in a double gym, like being in the pit.

Milton Herman:

That's how big the room was..

Milton Herman:

So when Ike came through there, then we sang that song plus a couple of

Catherine:

Did you feel anything or was it just a

Catherine:

little bit of excitement?

Milton Herman:

So it was exciting.

Milton Herman:

A pain in the butt too..

Milton Herman:

Because that's sort

Milton Herman:

of hard work and it's sort of hot.

Milton Herman:

And then we got to actually do what we're doing all the time was, is

Milton Herman:

march and keep order and then we want to be perfect and the rifles.

Milton Herman:

So it's a chore, even though sort of fun, but it was also a choice.

Milton Herman:

And

Catherine:

so you're all trying to be in unison, no creased pants.

Catherine:

I think that is hilarious.

Milton Herman:

You didn't want them wrinkled.

Milton Herman:

Most of us thought that was really silly, what they were going to March in a parade.

Milton Herman:

Who's going to see us.

Milton Herman:

We'll just the people that around there.

Milton Herman:

I'm

Catherine:

going to look for

Catherine:

. Milton Herman: Now we did walk in front of

Catherine:

I bet you wouldn't even have noticed it either, even though he was a West Pointer

Catherine:

so Michelle had been going through some of your things and she found

Catherine:

this album of when you were singing.

Catherine:

You were a civilian singer as well?

Catherine:

As in the

Milton Herman:

military.

Catherine:

Okay.

Catherine:

And how did you get to Vienna to sing??

Milton Herman:

Because this civilian put on which I was part of whenever

Milton Herman:

they had a concert, usually I could be there cause I was also in the

Milton Herman:

military, so I might not have been there, but I was able to be there.

Milton Herman:

So we gave concerts different places and started charging for

Milton Herman:

it to make $150,000 to pay for airline tickets to go to Vienna.

Milton Herman:

That's what it cost at that time to send about a hundred of us to Vienna.

Milton Herman:

Wow.

Milton Herman:

We had a lady that was very good pianist who served served with

Milton Herman:

the chorus was our accompanist.

Milton Herman:

Our director was named Hesh.

Milton Herman:

Uh, they were just pretty good leaders and had enough had enough people that

Milton Herman:

knew German and maybe had lived in Germany that they made arrangements and got places

Milton Herman:

for us to stay on the trip and got us on the airplane and got us off of it.

Milton Herman:

Been a wonderful experience.

Milton Herman:

Every place we went, we gave concerts.

Milton Herman:

So we did a parade in that course, we happen to have one member that

Milton Herman:

was an actual Indian chief at one of the Indian tribes in Arizona.

Milton Herman:

And he went with us and he dressed in his Indian garb.

Milton Herman:

So every place we went, he was usually in that Indian garb.

Milton Herman:

So he was a hero

Milton Herman:

every place we stopped when we'd go eat something.

Milton Herman:

There's nothing else for us to do.

Milton Herman:

So usually after we ate, we almost always gave a two or three song

Milton Herman:

concert at wherever we were eating.

Milton Herman:

And so therefore we knew the music really very

Catherine:

well.

Catherine:

And what types of songs did you sing

Milton Herman:

for that Fiesta there and Vienna

Milton Herman:

we sang a German Shaun, which I was told, cause I didn't know German, that

Milton Herman:

it was about, uh, the memories of being back in your home country during war.

Milton Herman:

And uh, when that concert went on and we sang that last the audience all

Milton Herman:

started crying and we could see it before, you know, it, all of us were

Milton Herman:

crying because of the emotional impact.

Michelle Herman:

Everyone in the audience started crying and

Michelle Herman:

everyone's singing started crying.

Michelle Herman:

And I happened to just look through a stack of albums and I pull out

Michelle Herman:

the album from his glee club.

Michelle Herman:

And on the back of the album is the description of how they all went

Michelle Herman:

to Vienna, Austria, and the whole

Michelle Herman:

audience was in tears.

Michelle Herman:

Yeah, that was a big one of the biggest auditoriums in Vienna, Austria.

Michelle Herman:

So there must have been a couple of thousand people in that concert.

Milton Herman:

We were a fantastic hit.

Milton Herman:

We got written up in newspapers.

Milton Herman:

We did make a record of some of those songs, which I think

Milton Herman:

I have a copy of that record.

Milton Herman:

I listened to it maybe once or twice when I first got it, but I don't

Milton Herman:

think I've listened to it since.

Milton Herman:

And that was in 1958 or 59, quite a while back.

Milton Herman:

I probably couldn't sing any of those songs again, but I'm sure I'd remember.

Milton Herman:

So I do remember the Schoenberg palace.

Milton Herman:

There's a famous palace in Austria.

Milton Herman:

We got a tour of that.

Milton Herman:

So we got to see one of the rooms, which was plated in gold.

Milton Herman:

During the war they had stripped all that and hid it in some mines and caves.

Milton Herman:

But when we were there, they'd put it all back in that room again,

Milton Herman:

I've been in a gold-plated room

Catherine:

well, you have done some wonderful, amazing activities

Catherine:

in your long, wonderful life.

Catherine:

And this has really been thrilling.

Catherine:

Are you going to sing us a song?

Milton Herman:

my favorite song if I did do that as God bless America.

Milton Herman:

Now, when I was younger, I wouldn't do any of that kind of stuff.

Milton Herman:

And then as I got older, And more willing to sing solo.

Milton Herman:

I don't have a fantastic voice, but I have a good voice.

Milton Herman:

Mean lots of times I do have a nice voice, but I wasn't interested much

Milton Herman:

in opera and that kind of stuff.

Milton Herman:

So I could voice lessons.

Milton Herman:

It was mostly for the courses.

Milton Herman:

In Saigon, I wanted to hear music.

Milton Herman:

So I happened to buy a set of speakers and a tape recorder.

Milton Herman:

And I played some tapes of some of these things when I was in Vietnam.

Mary Herman:

We sent the tapes back and forth.

Mary Herman:

I'm sure your mom and dad must've done that.

Mary Herman:

We did audio tapes.

Mary Herman:

We had letters.

Mary Herman:

What we'd had audio tapes also, I would tape over his and he would

Mary Herman:

tape over mine which is a shame

Mary Herman:

. Milton Herman: I have a couple of

Michelle Herman:

Oh, actually, when he did break out in songs, you know,

Michelle Herman:

have you ever gone to the movie theater here on Kirtland air force base?

Michelle Herman:

Well, I don't know if they still do.

Milton Herman:

It used to be a tradition.

Milton Herman:

So they would sing the star Spangled banner.

Milton Herman:

I did it a couple of times, but it really wasn't a tradition, but it

Milton Herman:

was okay, but it just embarrassed.

Michelle Herman:

Uh, he had to stand up when it was playing and he was the

Michelle Herman:

only one in the theater with a booming voice, singing the star Spangled banner.

Michelle Herman:

And we were crawling under the seats, horrifying embarrassment

Michelle Herman:

at the end, every time.

Milton Herman:

Oh, say, can you see by the Dawn's early light,

Milton Herman:

I just burst it out and sang

Milton Herman:

, Catherine: wow.

Milton Herman:

And that is such a wonderful place to end right here is with your absolute

Milton Herman:

wonderful voice and your services.

Milton Herman:

And obviously your absolute wonderful positive imprints.

Milton Herman:

Thank you again, Milt Oh,

Milton Herman:

you're welcome.

Catherine:

Listen to part one episode one hundred, one hundred and seventy four.

Catherine:

Oh my gosh.

Catherine:

With Milton Herman, as he shares interesting historical perspectives

Catherine:

during the world war II era.

Catherine:

Along with, of course, his experiences during different wars in his lifetime

Catherine:

as an instructional air force pilot, a singing pilot for that matter.

Catherine:

And thank you listeners again for entering the contest last week.

Catherine:

And for sending me feedback on the types of episodes you'd

Catherine:

like to hear coming up soon.

Catherine:

You want to hear about climate change.

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So next week climate change, and don't forget, my shop is opened.

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Check it out your positive imprint.com and go shopping.

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I am having a contest for a design, your own hat, t-shirt sweatshirt

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Start thinking about that design as I will bring you the information next

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If you win.

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Of course.

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You receive your design for free

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on your hat, sweatshirt, hoodie, or t-shirt.

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And it will be featured on my shop.

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Well, I would love to have you enter, start thinking about that design.

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Climate change next week, your positive imprint.