Oral History Interview: George Myers of Springfield

March 20, 2008

George Myers grew up in Hoopeston on a family farm with his widowed mom. He enrolled in the U of I to major in agriculture, thinking he could learn something to make the farm more successful. Myers served on an LST in the Pacific from 1944 to 1946. He didn’t get shot at, but he recalls being scared. “I still remember the full moon on the water and how it seemed like we were visible to everybody, but we couldn’t see a thing,” he said. Myers has been president of the national LST Association. Of the some 100 men on his ship, only about 7 are left.

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Transcript for file: georgemyers2008-03-20.mp3

00:00:00

Thursday March twentieth two thousand and eight. And Major avoidance
and I am interviewing George Myers for the Veterans History Project
of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center we are at Studio X.
Campbell Hall on the University of Illinois campus and Urbana. Henry Radcliffe is
the director of lighting sound and camera.
George I’d like you to tell us a little bit about your background before you went into

00:00:32

service and how you came to join the Navy.
And I’m glad to.
Back at that time he had no choice. You would not be in the service and
I was a farm boy. When my mother
was a widow. We were on a poor farm small farm
up by hopes then. And maybe I could have
been drafted to the farm. But I didn’t choose to be

00:01:06

because I was going to college too. And when the war broke out.
Well I’d I had three years of college and when.
The war broke out. I had I dropped out for a semester
trying to decide what I was going to do. I was in the R O
T C. Here at the University of Elmo line. And starting
the third year I would have to signed up for an advance
school or training in the Army. And I wasn’t sure that I

00:01:42

wanted to be in the Army. I’d seen enough of the arrow to see that
I had questions. Is there something better.
I didn’t know anything I did didn’t know anything except that the
naval publicity looked pretty good to me and
I I had grown up in a time when there.
The the.
United States were very much stuck on isolation. It isn’t. And

00:02:16

I can remember those pictures in the in the star in the picture in the newspapers
of.
Pieces of humanity that were slaughtered in World War one.
And they really turned me off. And
I didn’t wish to get into this but I knew I had to be.
There I could just imagine the millions of people that would be slaughtered.
And was there a better way for me to serve in that and

00:02:50

so were while I was at home. I decided possibly.
And maybe a naval program would fit for me and I you know I
think it was April of forty two. While I was home.
I. I I.
joined the Navy. The seven program that was the R. O.T.C. for
the Navy but it was operated differently than in the Army because
I would to see in the army we were marching and doing this and that and sending guns

00:03:27

up and so forth.
But but.
They weren’t equipped. We had booms that were we were carrying around
instead of real rifles. Early on when I was in
basic R. O.T.C. we had in field rifles had been
used in World War one. But when the war broke out. They
took all those due to war somewhere. We didn’t get. They were grilling with them.

00:03:55

And so I joined the. V seven program which would allow
me to take courses getting ready for naval
service. Like a spherical Korean trade. The number
three.
It’s very cool. So you could have a three ninety degree
angles in this as they are in an honest way or.
So as the effort. I took an astronomy. I took math. I

00:04:28

took things that I thought might be of help to me. And I did.
And I didn’t. Oh I was going to happen. So when I I I went through I went
to summer school to get out earlier when I got out of summer
school in the fall of forty three. I waited
until they called me and maybe called me I got very impatient
because I wondered what was going on. My friends that were.
that I’d served with him and knew were getting going through a lot

00:05:03

of hell and I here. I was sitting in sitting it sitting it out.
And I was glad too. But I I felt I was doing my part. I had
a classmate at high school at host in my same
class. He’d you know join the V five program which was
at the naval area. Officer Training for.
naval pilots and he was in all kinds of combat.
When the war was over he had twelve or thirteen

00:05:38

Japanese planes he shot down. He was a super
hero an awfully lucky to
survive. I don’t see how a man could have gone through as much as he did.
The.
Power P.C. people that I was with they were already in the service and they
got they were catching all kinds of hell. And
I was.

00:06:06

On the outside. When
when I was called up and.
Lo and behold I was assigned to the employee of this hadn’t even heard of them. And I
don’t think anybody in the country had heard of the unfairness. Really.
And even to this day. They don’t know very little about them because the M. fans
who are. Live in the new ship
the L.S.D. that that could land on beaches.

00:06:40

And that was I think a surprise to both Japan
and Germany that a big ship longer than a football field.
And it could be carried in heavy tanks
like armament four hundred men or more shore.
Put them ashore. On a beach and then retract from the beach
and go back for another load.
I didn’t know anything about that. I was sent to

00:07:18

camp. Bradford Cohen.
On the East Coast. Gold Coast in Norfolk. And there they were putting this
together putting our crews together and I got to be.
got assigned a crew. So you you have been commissioned as an ensign.
Yes there was another step in here that I haven’t mentioned.
But after I got out of.
College they called me out for midshipman training at Notre

00:07:50

Dame. And so in ninety days. I was one of those
wonders had a commission and then in the Navy I had maybe ever
seen that done. Oceania. And I wasn’t very confident in
that but they had done a tremendous job with teaching us
what we need to know giving us the book work and that sort of thing. And.
We were well prepared because the Navy in their in their.
And wisdom had put half a dozen or so

00:08:28

tricks.
Tried and true veterans on the ship with us. And one such A veteran was a
guy the name of Whitehead who’d been a an enlisted man in the
Navy had been on a destroyer that was sunk in the Coral Sea
He said that they were in in formation. In
a column. And got caught
some fire. And in there. They were a destroyer was

00:08:59

hit and sunk before the ship and they lay behind him come to that spot the ship. This
went on through there. The other ships were right on through there. And these guys were down in the
water. And and it was only nine people on that destroyer.
That survived. And he was assigned to our ship.
And he was an enlisted man and that was. What we call a
Mustang that he and he got a commission even while he was in the service
for the kind of work that he did and he was a

00:09:33

tremendous leader for for us. And one of the
things that I’ve done in recent years. Fifty years after
we served and now it’s sixty.
We start looking for the crew that was on our L.S.D. six thirty five
and three I was searched searched in needle in the haystack. It’s very
hard to find those people and we found enough to have a reunion.
And in this year

00:10:10

next month.
We’ll have our eleven three union. And there’ll be about six or
seven of the original crew but there’ll be other people that
are family and that sort of thing. They will be there. The reunion will have about
thirty people down at Tampa Florida. And one of
things. I never ever expected.
We found we find that we were very very close. We

00:10:42

served together. We were particular friends. We were just
serving together. And when we search for the crew
and found enough to have a reunion. My Lai
it was just it was a lot of these are our wives and our families all
bought into that. And we I have another family. It’s being
depleted by years. Now that other people that I served on an
L.S.D. with.

00:11:14

That this is a good example. I
have.
gotten active in the Elmo like L.S.D. Association. I
got into that. Because it with our thought maybe it would help us find
crew members and the National Association. And.
I’ve been president of the don’t know eye Association twice.
So total. I’ve been president for four years. But

00:11:47

those contacts that I’ve made through the associations help
me help me to find. More of our crew and help some
people who had lost their. Loved ones aboard
and L.S.D. like the five seventy seven I met some people down in
Florida. One time is tell me that they had that there was a brother in law that had been lost on
that ship there. They never knew what happened to the ship. I found out
information through the contacts I had and. I found a

00:12:22

world of information because there were others that were looking for the information
and they put it together and made a log of it.
So this bond started to bargain with the bond which you established was a man and your
crew started on the East Coast right after you’ve been through the
ninety day program at Notre Dame. So what sort of training did you have where you
was your ship there or were you just training on or was this was that Ellis to you
there.

00:12:53

They had they had that couple. Al Estes there. Most of our training was
was on on there with your. But they had it
smell. Estes and they would sign us
on a cruise and we went on some cruises on the East
Coast. And.
And then.
It was sort of a shakedown for cruising. And we

00:13:21

got the experience that we needed.
And then.
Now this this was roughly the one hundred man that would later serve on the sands
with raft so they had you grouped together already.
They group is there on the East Coast. And and the after
this training that we had. They put us on a troop
train and it was July. God it

00:13:48

was hot and there was no air-conditioning and we went through the
tunnels. with the windows down and the steam engine
or the coal-fired engine blowing smoke out in the
tunnels when we when we got to. Navy
Pier in Chicago are our Navy or naval whites were just black with
with sweat and all that so.
And that was a probably about one of the first experiences I had

00:14:20

with with crew.
And.
If I was as just a stopover in Chicago or as or more training or.
OK. What we did. They send us to a naval pier at Navy Pier
and lo and behold they were building.
L.S.D. a few miles from Chicago on the alloy river
at cynic Illinois. Here is a little town of about two

00:14:50

thousand people. And the real building
L.S.D. is there. They built one hundred fifty seven L. Estes at
Seneca.
And they had.
Twenty thousand people working there in a shipyard that’s close enough to
Chicago and close enough to the rural areas that they had people coming in
to work in the shipyard.

00:15:19

And.
was quite a show. Is that where your ship was built.
And that our ship was built at Seneca was six thirty five AM
and it was launched. I think in August of forty
four.
And it and.
I were on those outlets that were in their original crew. He called

00:15:41

them play co-owners. And we played the orders were there
and they they launched the L.S.D. sideways in the
river because if you could let it in the river. One wide enough to launch it in a
conventional way.
And then.
One of the things it’s been very interesting to me is that.
There Elmo L.S.D. Association has been holding their annual New York. Now

00:16:11

annual monthly meetings in Seneca. And the
library at Seneca has got quite a bit of information about Ellis things
that activity that was there during World War two.
Era. And two years ago. Our
association build a monument in khaki park
at Seneca commemorating Alice days.
And.

00:16:41

So there’s something there that for generations to see there.
That Seneca was a very important. Park place during World War
two Not a thing left. Not a thing left.
Still only about two thousand people live there. There is that there is not
a sign of the shipyard. It’s all gone. What it will at one time
it was a tremendously busy spot close to Chicago on the river
and we went and it launched the L.S.D. into the river.

00:17:15

They put our put our crew on the ship but they
included the Coast Guard people onboard. The L.S.D.
to do.
To navigate the river and we went down the river. We went under the bridges and
I-. There was people on the bridge is watching us go through and.
You know we were almost close enough to the people on the bridge that they could hand
cigarettes down to us and that sort of thing. And it was it was quite a show.

00:17:48

But we went down the river. And lo and behold the river had trees
along this side. So you couldn’t see what towns or anything. You were going through just were going
down the river.
That we got down to New Orleans and then.
They would say finished construction of the L.S.D.
But the mass in the in the parts of the ship
above there. The main deck on on that ship

00:18:19

because it you couldn’t have them on again under the bridge and then. And so then we
went. From there after we got fitted
for a shakedown in the Caribbean. And we made an
invasion on an arm.
Or one of the towns there in in Florida.
And.
course they didn’t tell the townspeople what was going on there. There were military

00:18:48

people there and.
And and and.
There was an alarm that went out and all the people in the military had to report and so forth
and so forth. It was a it was a training for sure
people as well as on the ship.
How many how many of the A-Listers were in your flotilla. Come again. How many of the
ships were in your hotel and your group in this invasion

00:19:14

or how many ships in the flotilla. You know you know roughly.
I.
think a dozen but we never saw those ships.
I don’t know how they did it but we were all independent
that we get or shake down in a lotus with Theo. And I retained you needed to go
overseas. We went through the Panama Canal.
And we knew we were who I think it was two ships going all the way

00:19:48

where we kept the.
Next morning at we went through the canal zone. It was a little reassuring to look out see
destroyers out there. going back and forth and
protecting us and that was all day and then the next night when we got
after the next night we got out there were you know no nothing there no destroyers we were
on our own one ship. It was to ship those ships. But
Ally stays there don’t have the kind of armament do. To

00:20:17

protect themselves very much. We just felt we were expendable.
And with. Putin We travel all over the Pacific.
We were we would by ourselves we would wear it on except when we made in
big invasion in the in game Gulf where there was all kinds of support
there. But most of the time we travelled alone.
As and.
When we had loaded troops on. We were important enough to have

00:20:51

an escort. But I’d say. Ninety five percent of
the time. Would this travel by ourselves in the Pacific. It’s a big big
ocean. We were we were thirty days outside of Lyon going from
Panama Canal Zone to new hammered is Islands menace island that that area.
Thirty days we never saw anything any any
land. Just how did it leadership.
How did your commanding officers know where you were and know if you were going to arrive

00:21:25

safely or didn’t.
Well.
That was before. A lot of things we have now but.
It’s.
Maybe people been or ship ships have been traveling the
oceans for generations and generations. It’s one of the things that
I.

00:21:49

That training I had was to be a navigator and you
took a year. I guess you call an asthma and you took a
reading on the star. Pull it down to the. horizon
write that down button there to the second and then find another star and
bring it down right and write it down and then go in go in the chart room
and and we could figure out where we were
by celestial navigation. I was a navigator.

00:22:25

We were off the coast of China quite a bit later.
And then.
And I was rusted out the second.
One morning right after sunrise and you guys struck me and said
come up where. Get up here the sun come up in the wrong direction. This morning
is the air’s myth. Or the reason.
Or whether you call it the.

00:22:55

Dry roller Jarrod compass had gone out during the
night. The thing had been to swing around like that. And our ship had been falling
around.
And so we did know our we were accepted
that we were we were following this this
giant row. And and I had
only done celestial navigation. So I knew there

00:23:27

was in the training they give you a lot of things. I knew that
that. You could do. You could do some lines. So the
only time I ever did is sunlight. Some lines was that morning and I
did some sun lines going on where the sun was and brought it down to the
horizon and found where we were and.
That’s when you felt good about the training you had that they had they train you on many
things that you never use. But who knows. Maybe you would some time. So

00:24:00

it.
was it was navigation officer. Your primary duty or did you have other duties.
However as the officers.
I was an officer after aboard a ship of over nineteen had nine
officers aboard on the selling of the ship. And I
was the communication officer in that radio room was
my responsibility and we had about four or five radio men there taking

00:24:29

messages messages messages and then sometimes they were
coded in that. And then I had the secret.
Code that I could be code those messages. But that was my main
responsibility was communications officer.
I was navigator. Not all the time I was aboard ship.
So let me come back tears as he left the Panama Canal. And thirty days
later you arrived at your port destination port where you were going to be. We

00:25:01

went into. Oh well whatever. Go ahead. Well what happened.
We never did arrive at ports. As you know you’d say
as readers said oh this is just an island and we were a bunch of Alice thieves and we
just go up on the beach and then.
Our ship was loaded with all kinds of war material in
there and it was packed full. And then on the deck on the deck. There was an
L.C.D. T.V. little land. Little landing chip.

00:25:34

That would go on a beach and had a crew of I think came.
In and. Now this team is a remarkable ship and
it was built by. It was designed by a submarine architect.
And.
So when we got to. And men are silent. And we wanted to get rid of it would
launch our L C T off the deck we had just released
all the cables that pass in that pump the water out of one side

00:26:08

made the ship. March over to the side because of the tanks. It slid
off in the water.
They work it. I take it that worked. It didn’t sink or anything silly like that.
No.
And everything it was you were hauling on an L.S.D.. It was all.
Always buckle down because an
Alice T. is a flat bottom chair and I don’t know. I don’t know how they

00:26:39

could survive in the Atlantic. But the. Pacific for the
most part is very camp. And so it was just this kind of a
cruise that we had we got into one or two
what we call him. In life those are typhoon.
And in fact is a typhoon that right at the end of the World War. Two
when we would have been going getting ready to go to
Japan. We’d if it would have we’d

00:27:15

had a big big problem with that typhoon that
typhoon was so strong that some cattle ship sank. But
L.S.D.. There were broken out that Alice dea’s written all wrote it out.
And it was a long flexible ship and some
people said it kind of snakes through the water. Well when you’re in that kind of water
you could see the ship the.
There bending if you’re down below where this

00:27:50

is the blockage would crack and pop as it as it is just went on
him. But the ship would could write those things down. It’s a
remarkably well designed ship.
Why don’t you tell us what you were doing after riots in the Pacific center.
What sort of activities were were involved.
We were assigned to MacArthur his group.
And he started down in New Guinea.

00:28:27

You know flew for menace. We went to to New Guinea
and dad Jim. Jim Fisher had a lot of
experience in that area. He’s going to be talking to you later.
We would indeed New Guinea and I copy and
land here and loaded up. equipment and
personnel to to take up to the Indian Gulf invasion. And that’s the first
activity we saw. And that was is that

00:29:02

you run this operation.
The ships as far as you could see thirty miles that way. thirteen miles that way. Thirteen.
Thirteen and you were just in the center of that as far as you could see where ships.
In and.
So down in New Guinea. We loaded up to make the
invasion in the Philippines.
And you were you were saying you had personnel as well as a cabin on your.

00:29:32

Oh yes. You know we have that where these marines were.
Well I believe in every case they were army and they we might have had
Marines on at one time but we had Army personnel. And
well I remember we had one group that wars that were part of
MacArthur And. Headquarters. And I can I can
still picture the little. shouldn’t say
little. But the. Army guy. He

00:30:06

didn’t have any right. But he had he felt like he was responsible for these
things that were my partners and that he had more.
Say than you could imagine because he was protecting the Carters equipment on
board. MacArthur I have a
great great admiration for him.
Because quote We were doing and taken a part that was going from one
island. Where it were a sort of security perimeter

00:30:42

and put in an airfield and then then they
picked that up and secure another perimeter that got up
to secure another runway. We. went all the way to
Philippines and then Japan by. This
this island hopping. And MacArthur didn’t care
didn’t seem to worry about the Japanese that were in the caves and that sort of
thing. In the battles that we you know heard

00:31:16

about this horrific horrific battles with dragging the
Japanese out of the caves. Very little of that happen under MacArthur is
command because all he was interested in was was securing a perimeter.
If there are caves. Arie had to do that but. We just
island hop all the way to the Philippines. And
we were. We were getting ready to make the invasion of
Japan. When we were. I know we were out to sea somewhere when

00:31:51

they notice came through over the radio and then see if
that was a part of the thing that I had responsibility for that. The war was over.
And.
As you already heard that they had dropped the first atom bomb. We heard about the bombs and then the
end of the war.
And then the end of the war come a few days later I felt a little bit frustrated
had a little bit of scientific training here at the air. You lie.

00:32:19

And I was very blown away with the idea of an atomic bomb.
And I can remember I was talking to different members on our ship and
they said oh it’s just another bomb. Well no one’s trying to say this is the beginning
of the new age and atomic age. And then
then come the. surrender of Japan because
it was. Terrific.
Terrific plan. And so then after the war was over we said

00:32:56

Wait we’ve got I was on a couple islands in Japan. We went to
Yokohama in and on liberty. While we were.
There on Japan. And the thing that impressed me so much.
That the war had been over just a matter of a few weeks I
doubt whether these Japanese folks had seen any Americans but
we went on liberty and we went on liberty. After Dark.
As the two or three or four of us. Separately

00:33:32

And we didn’t feel that we were in any danger at all. We might have been but we didn’t feel
that we were and I never heard of the Japanese
taking out a their anger on the on the Americans. If it was
our country. I don’t know whether we did it. We couldn’t walk through the
dark streets of Chicago. Let alone like we were walking through the
streets of Japan immediately after the war and the other thing that I was so
impressed about the Japanese. That we

00:34:08

had we had just destroyed. So much of that country
DNS this trip was a was a very
industrial. And.
developed areas where I’m trying to say. And that was gone.
This is gives history. What was nothing there but a park ring grass and everything they’d
picked up all the roads. They refuse in and did something. Whether
we were in Japan. And then in China and other places. And

00:34:44

they were the rubble from previous wars were still in there and
here a month after the war was over. And the Japanese had cleaned up
the debris that in the areas where were where I was. They were
very very very industrious people.
And I had an opportunity who we had an
opportunity. You know after immediately after the war to go to China.
Also And in fact.

00:35:17

was that at that that I got rotated off
the air.
Before the ship was decommissioned in the late yank Lou river
of China. But I had been there with the ship in the
ankle and then. I had a mike come
away from experience aboard this ship with a
lot of respect for the A.G. Eric. People there are

00:35:48

different but they’re all.
We’ve just had an enormous respect for him. And
well you know.
What was your ship doing something military when I was down on the China
and in China or.
Well we were doing things that it’s like oh you were just moving personnel
and equipment around. One way to Japan or China.

00:36:20

Sea There was a there was a.
sort of revolution going on in China. And we
knew we were the moon when I kind of say well we were
moving the Chinese around so they could so they could
continue their revolution. And.
So these were the Chiang Kai shock troops perhaps you know and I can’t quite
right but but but.

00:36:52

When the World War two was over. But something else was going on in. In
China Korea and.
After the war there. We had a United Nations relief organization under
L. and you got over to China. We had Sun Ra C
N R eight. And so we were moving stuff in that
the Chinese needed.
And and it’s.

00:37:26

True every country every place you go is different. And so
I can remember where they downloaded stuff. And
it seemed that. That the stuff was unloaded
on China. And then when you go through certain Providence in the
New Year. Each province had its own go.
At. But.
Part of me. And so.

00:37:57

If you’ve got to go through here. We’re going to take this and this is the way it would seem to
work. And so the provincial officials. Yes there are. And so.
It is. It went from around around the local people
the local government seem to be really able and Rahul and
allowed to sort of taxes stuff that was going through that they
had a cake. Here’s what they want let the rest go through. was an interesting
thing to observe.

00:38:28

An interesting administrative situation here. There are naval vessel. But you’re being
taxed by the local governments was.
You know this was the equipment the things that we all do in their town.
But you’re still like bureau in America. And.
stuff and then you know that we do with Chinese
relief. OK but but how much it was going to get where it need to be.
Well maybe it’s and that’s just the way it was done.

00:38:55

Well but before we talk about your being leaving the service. Would you like to go back and discuss any
of the those divisions that year of whom your craft was on and what was what would
happen in an invasion would you be landing early in the invasion or later.
After the bitch. Had it been established. How did these work.
With Jim Fisher can talk much more about that because
as a matter of fact. That’s when we made the made the
beaches. No one ever fired at us.

00:39:29

Things were pretty well secured. So I had a trip in the
cruise that was.
Very uneventful. Even the fact that I can show you about twenty
different places in the Pacific that we were it was uneventful as far as
combat it. We were just moving things.
So you were like a truck on water. You were clear. You were the Transportation Corps as a
Navy.

00:39:56

Yes that’s what it was in the Army. I mean we you know. We
carried fifty ten tanks on that. Alice day
and put him on shore. But most the thing. We were the
things that we needed for a war for rehab. You know but we had to build
it for the donation or what will we hear we’re been
bringing the shore and then there was. The
red all lines. These were there were a whole series of trucks

00:40:31

with.
Red balls painted on them. And those
they’d load those trucks up and they. traveled through in
terrific speeds and then.
We were just bringing him to where these kind of people could get a hold of it. And
and and run with it. Go with it.
So it must have given you an appreciation for all of the logistics that go on in

00:41:01

planning the battle all the things behind the scenes that have to occur.
I don’t know about that logistically when you’re part of those logistics in a sense that you
were on your ship was I mean.
Yes we just took the orders and carried out while
we were assigned to do. We were not. We were not
heroes. On the six thirty five. We’re going to talk some other people that are
heroes in the lost people in combat. We didn’t lose any private body in

00:41:34

combat. We lost some people but that’s still some more stories.
But.
Who is in does. You want to talk about any of the losses that you had
to walk because you want to talk about any of the losses that occurred on your ship or
we don’t really have any loss although you said you lost some people. Now I know.
We had people that said we had that one that I
felt so badly about. We had a full blooded in me and.

00:42:08

I can’t recall what tribe he was his name was blue arm
and he got sick. And died aboard our ship
and it turned out that it was some kind of the.
disease if you know it was in his in his inheritance
in there and.
The poor guy. Right. in.
And Lou we’re land. Lubbers. And and

00:42:49

so I would wasn’t a part of
it but I knew it happened.
We put him in the cooler that we got to.
That.
Run along the land and why he should have been buried at sea.
We didn’t do that because that we knew we were going to that.
Kind of thing. But one time

00:43:15

we we had a very very competent a
pharmacist made. And.
Since we were a flight officer flagship we got word
that there was a man that was sick on board. Another L.S.D..
He seemed to have him inside his. And so
our pharmacist made got a boat got on board a small boat.
And went over to the other L.S.D.. He

00:43:52

performed at the neck of the knee all the sailor he’d never seen it
done. But they need to be done. And he had had
had a medical doctor on the telephone talking to him as he did that the guy
survived and did all right. And I I’ve heard stories
being told that this happened in other board
other ships but it had aboard our pharmacist. Nate
performed a appendectomy. If he

00:44:26

was a good pharmacist mate but he’d never seen an appendectomy operation.
But he performed go on without having seen one. Things like that that happened to.
him.
where there’s where a lot of heroes out there in the war.
But there were so many. Most of them were unknown
like this by staying in the zone that.
This took command of ours and took control over a ship and saw that we knew how to

00:45:00

do survive in combat and so forth. He was a real hero that I saw
him in the in the. mightiest
naval period because he knew a lot had to be done. He knew how
to train us to do it. And and he made it was real hard on ensued
any time night or day that he thought that that we ought to be.
learned you know what to do it as such and such a thing happened.
How many how many ships were in that were under the command of your

00:45:39

flag officer.
You know I don’t know around a dozen I guess so. Did you move as a group or were
never as a group I say.
And when we moved to L.A. skis around and here
be an Alice day we’d never see a scene before. And another one we hadn’t seen before. And we
move together. And then when the next time may be. Some other.
I don’t know. There was a lot of organization that I didn’t see

00:46:07

but it worked. I didn’t see any snack foods that were.
serious. Except like I think I.
was I’m thinking about the fact that we were a flagship
and then we had it two lieutenants
assigned one for the skipper and one was an executive officer and
they were trained with the idea that they were in command of the ship.
And they were. But here come a flag officer aboard who was there in

00:46:45

the cab of the man who he was a commander.
Who. I doubt whether he had a very spacious naval career up to that
point. And he probably had been retired from the Navy
because he couldn’t be promoted. But the war came along and here he was out there
as a. And as our flag officer.
And he was out there to make a name for himself.
And.

00:47:19

He was in charge of everything. And the skipper and the exact say what
we thought we were supposed to be in charge. They were supposed to be all just one of them.
So you know that was a.
Common and satisfactory situation. So.
There commander had those head to our skipper and our executive
officer.
court-martialed on a trumped up charge so get him off the ship so he could

00:47:51

do it so he could be what he wanted to be.
So they work for their lives got rid of them. Oh my gosh. Then we got
two more officers said to be skipper and executive
and they were good officers. And so. It was. No
no loss really as far as our ship was concerned. I just feel
bad for the careers of the levies to.
Their previous exact illness. And the skipper. But of course they were just

00:48:29

the.
reserves like reservists like I was. And so.
That was just a part of their career and their gender ruined their life. But it was a
very hard thing to see the skipper Darren. I
mean this commander. I have none of us
had much. Good feelings. No good feeling
for him because he was trying to make a career. And we

00:49:01

were just trying to get the war over there. And so he would take
charge he would and I in our minutes we
can and I could show you that. We will go and some buy would see
something floating out in the ocean. And he’d come up and pronounce it
this or that. And so by Alice would say well I don’t think so. But he whatever he
said he that he would stick by it. And he would he was.
Always wrong and that

00:49:35

for example.
We had these small boats that go ashore back and forth ashore. One day at one
time he. Two that was taken the small boat
ashore. And in the Cox in the course was piloting this small boat
where he knew weeks should be. And the commander said no. I will go over
here. Go this way. No that’s not the way to go. I said go
this way. And so. They ran the small boat

00:50:06

aground or here at Coral Reef.
And had to back off and made the trip around to come back and
tied the small boat up to the balloon and that night.
The small boat sank. And so will
the.
Commander come out. The next day and found out who was the officer that day.
When the small boat sank. He didn’t tell anybody that that maybe had an accident

00:50:39

with the boat. The cops who knew about it. And he told us the boat the boat
sank and the and even rode a reprimand in the officer in the decks.
jacket for allowing that thing to happen.
And he was he just was. He was just focused on
what he saw and it might make a career for himself and not
not winning the war or anything like that. And he probably saved our lives because
Jim will be talking to you. Probably made.

00:51:18

Tin invasions.
And we were out there going kind of like on a cruise because
this this commander didn’t get to our ship in any trouble initially. But
it was a great was an experience of a lifetime. That was compressed in
four years.
So now that the war is over in Europe. You’re still working. The ship is still
transporting things harder and harder to come to you. Where finally you know

00:51:50

discharged from the service. And come again. How did you what was the circumstances of your
discharge.
Or when I got my points you. The
everyone. Depending on their points and their points were by
age and by.
And.
By the time. You served in Bye Bye dependents. I had no dependents. So

00:52:16

I I didn’t my points didn’t come up
till way late. And that’s the best part of my whole
naval experience was that the war was over. And
I could have gone home. If I had the points. But since I didn’t have
the points. I made a lot of I made trips
to Japan and China and some of those exotic places that I had never seen
without.

00:52:49

With that.
We we were just going places in the
during the war. Where. We were
assigned. Who wouldn’t be places you would go if you also love
were those South Sea island some number of beautiful places I
wouldn’t mind going back and visiting some but narrow. Make it now.
But I you know. I have a son who is very

00:53:22

successful in tool and dye he has.
Started out in a little shop in Chicago.
Working for the.
Owner of the shop and they got to do everything in the shop
and then do everything in the office. You know everything out on sales.
And then. Then he.
bought the business then he expanded in other

00:53:55

shops in United States. And then and then. down
in Florida Fort Lauderdale they need. Then he had a factory in
in Scotland. And then he had a fire at the end factory in Singapore for years and years.
And he got rich he’s got rid all those. And now he’s got
factories in China and Malaysia. So I have some contacts there
in the Orient after on through my son and.
Then a wonderful experience for me. I was just a country boy and

00:54:31

still am. I’ve worked agriculture all my life and I’ve been
lucky. I I know how to handle Agriculture and my own
farmland. That I got through being able to do
that.
Now was there was one other story about when you finally were just charge on your flight back
home. was that.
Well we were we were I

00:54:58

believe we were in Hong Kong. When I got my orders to come back
home. And since I was an officer.
And then they were.
flying somewhere. Some war-weary bombers back to United States.
And I had an opportunity to fly back to the United States. Well I
wouldn’t chose that. But hey why not. I’ve been through everything else at
night and I while I had climbed through the twenty ninth in

00:55:31

tinny and then I’d never been in the air with any old enemy bombers.
So I could. I said sure I’ll fly back and when we got aboard
that. bomber. They just had out
of Bombay who has no seats. No nothing in their biggest plane
just a cargo area. And lo and behold we did we flew through a
storm. Wow. that you were dropping.
And.

00:56:05

Then you were in another breath. And so you know you’d be
lying there wrapped up in a blanket and then getting an easy and thinking
oh maybe I better get up set up. And so then
you try to set up and you were in an updraft. You
couldn’t get up so I had to tried a little harder. And so the next time when you try to get
up. You’re in a downdraft you just throw yourself in the air.
So you were just rattling around in that thing and it would have been a lot of fun. If we

00:56:40

weren’t scared as we were and it was.
It was pitch black in that cargo hatch but it was an experience.
And you made it. But yeah we made it everywhere that
everything was was quite an interesting was an interesting.
You know where you when you were your return in the States via that flight and
then you did you take a train back to the show. And what were you doing. You know where was your final
discharge.

00:57:14

Well it was kind of fuzzy because I was in the reserves. Though And I was
released released from active duty. And I think that was out in
in California. And I was assigned.
assigned to Treasure Island right by
San Francisco. So I was there about a month.
They they.
Looked at us as naval officers we just got back from

00:57:53

from overseas. And they and I was signed. First and security. And I
was an investigating sin.
From property that had been. Supposedly lost and so
forth. But my my heart wasn’t in it. And I even if I was on
maybe on the track to solve it. I didn’t solve
any of the problems that I was assigned to. And the other thing was
that. Here a good head and just barely got back to the United

00:58:29

States and the darned.
The president with Truman.
In the in the room.
Not the Coast Guard but the the
Navy people.
went out on strike. And lo and behold.
It really is. People it’s a very nice day. It’s a longshoreman one ounce marker on.

00:59:17

The longshoreman one on strike or the people loading their car goes one on Stryker
well.
These were just ships out in the harbor area in.
San Francisco or.
Good. And then San Francisco.
And they the.
Civilians that were manning the ships had gone on a

00:59:47

strike. And here I was just getting back from the service
from overseas. And I got assigned it to to be in charge of a
ship out in the harbor. Well that was a way to do it. I.
Guess. But it I thought that was something that I.
I didn’t have to have but I did.
So those were nationalizing the private shops and put the Naval officers in
charge and you were one of them. My gosh.

01:00:22

That week. But it was solved. So I did never to see a powder or anything.
I was. Oh you finally did get home.
I did get home and then come back to their home farm
and it all started because.
We were not very. successful mother had
been widowed ten years both in thirty one and my mother was
widowed and we lost my father and brother in a drowning

01:00:52

accident they were trying to save. Some people that were in the
water and that preacher my
father and my twelve-Year Old brother were drowned in an effort to try
to to save. Somebody that was
out in out in.
The.
This is at the River Caf and we were we were.

01:01:23

We didn’t really know what was going on. Who would looking back.
Had it. And after it happened. There was a on
a river.
Barge went by and we should have known that would make an under
Joe and current. We didn’t know what we were swimming. But there was some other
people swimming and my father and the preacher and mice brother
made a living chain. And tried to reach out to him but

01:01:55

somebody in the chain did not.