A 13 year old who managed to get into the Army in WW2

army-airborne-recruiting-ww2Question: One thing I want to do just so I can get it on tape to begin with is your first and last name, just so I have that and I can set my levels. So if you’d go ahead and give me that, your first and last name.
Answer: James Clark.
Question: And it’s spelled traditional — C-L-
Answer: C-L-A-R-K.
Question: No “E”.
Answer: No “E”.
Question: Everybody has a little different aspect.
Question: Now you grew up where? You grew up back in Florida?
Answer: No, growed up in Pennsylvania
Answer: But we spent most — most of my family’s all in Texas now, that’s where they settled. I was brought up in Pennsylvania during the depression. And lived in a tar paper shack. Did you ever see that movie, Tobacco Road?
Question: Yeah.
Answer: Well, this was something similar like that where I was growing up. It was — this was — they call it Kerry Hollow. But it was a line of shacks, tarpaper shacks, and just plain poor people, you know, all on welfare.
Question: That’s pretty much how everybody was, thought, right? I mean it was —
Answer: No, there was some that lived in the city, they lived better, you know.
Question: Do you remember where you were when Pearl Harbor happened?
Answer: Yeah, we had moved — we had moved to the city when Pearl Harbor happened. And my brother was already in the service when Pearl Harbor happened, in the Army. He was going to make a career out of the Army. He went in in probably ’38 or ’39.
Question: Wow. So I assume an older brother?
Answer: Yeah.
Question: And which branch was he in?
Answer: He was in the Army also. And when they — the time of his furlough I had decided that that’s what I wanted — kind of take his place, I guess. So I couldn’t wait to get in. I couldn’t wait till I was 18, so I went and lied. I’m not on this now, am I?
Question: Yeah.
Answer: Oh, I am. So I lied my age, and went in the service at 13. There was supposed to be another one that was supposed to be — I think he was to be 12 that went in the Marine Corps but I think he died here about six years ago, seven years ago. So I don’t know of any other one that’s younger than I — than me that went in at that age, 13. I know there’s some that went in at 14 and what have you, but not at 13.
Question: That’s amazing, because you were just a little kid.
Answer: No, I wasn’t a little kid. I was tall for my age at 13. I was the biggest one in the classroom, and I left 5th — or 6th grade right out into the Army. And everybody in World War II, when World War II was going on, everybody wanted to be in the service. You know, either the Army or the Navy or the Marines. Or the Coast Guard or something, everybody was patriotic. Which seems to have died out in this time, you know.
Question: Yeah, it’s changed, hasn’t it.
Answer: Since the Viet Nam War. But World War II, it was — even though we had a ration, we had — things were rationed, people were living on ration books, meat was rationed, gas was rationed, cigarettes was rationed, the women’s nylon hose was rationed, a lot of stuff was rationed. But people still had patriotism, you know. And they all formed the letter “V” for victory, you know, and down with the foe and down with Hitler, and Tito, and people just patriotic, so it was almost a sin to be of age to be in the military and you not being in there. So a friend of mine came to me and he said I just joined the Marine Corps. Well, he was 14, and I says well how did you do that? He says well I’m leaving next week for boot camp. He says I’ll tell you how to do it. He says, go to the draft board up there in the — at McKeys Port, Pennsylvania, and tell them that you’re 18, but have it all ready figured out when you were born and everything. And I said well you have to have a birth certificate? No, you don’t have to have nothing. Just go up and tell them — they’re drafting, he said. So I went up there and they interviewed, you know, give me an application to fill out. And I put down my age as 18 and they said, they said well, you’ll be getting a notice from us in a week. So then a week later I got the notice to go take a physical. So I took a physical with all these grown men, you know, down in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the old post office. And they say it was an all day physical, and at the end of the physical they said you passed, and next thing I know I got a thing in the mail that says you are 1-A and you are now drafted in the Army. I got drafted. So I got caught up in the draft, see. So then I went to — well, my mother — I had to kind of talk her into letting me go, cause at first she didn’t want me to go. And then I explained to her, you know, we were having hard times, you know, just working out of the depression at that time. Then I told her that private in the Army in them days was getting $50 a month. And I encouraged her that, I said, hey, Mom, $50 a month, I could send you home $30 a month or $35 and I’ll keep $15. And have the allotment coming home. And I says I’ll be all right and everything, you know. And she knew that I didn’t like school and she knew that I was kind of running with the wrong crowd, you know, playing hookey from school, really. And so she agreed. She figures maybe the Army will do me some good. And since my father wasn’t home — my father was an alcoholic, and he was in the Merchant Marines and he’s never home. And we never knew where he was, see, that’s why we was on welfare. So anyway I came from a large family, sisters and — only had one brother and he died in the service. And then my sisters — they started joining the service. They went in the — well, one sister went in the Navy, my brother-in-law went into Seabees.
And so then I — when I got sent to basic training, I went to Camp Walters, Texas. Now, Camp Walters Texas is probably closed now, but I think it used to be a helicopter center after the Infantry center gave it up and they weren’t training for Infantry anymore, the helicopters took it over. But I don’t know if it’s still open now. But then at Camp — basic training at that time was a lot more strenuous and more — and longer weeks than it is today. Today it’s about eight weeks. Then it was about 14 weeks. And — and they really laid it on you, you know. Thirty mile hikes with full field packs on, and all that kind of stuff, going out in the field for three weeks, living in trenches, and trying to get used to, you know, war — getting you used to being in trenches and stuff you know. So anyway, Audie Murphy, I don’t know if you knew him or not, but he’s the most dedicated soldier in World War II, and he’s from Texas, Texas boy. And he — he had just — he was over with another company than I was when he was taking his basic training. You know he became a movie star after he got out of the Army.
Question: Oh is that right?
Answer: Oh, yeah. He got a battlefield commission and everything. I’m surprised you don’t know about Audie Murphy. But anyway, you can go down to Texas and in the capital building down there and in the senate chambers they have a great big picture of — painted — painted picture of Audie Murphy, cause he was a Texas boy, you know.
Question: Yeah.
army-airborne-scgool-ww2Answer: So anyway after basic training, infantry basic, then I volunteered for airborne school. Went to Fort Benning. And stayed there about five weeks, graduated from jump school, and then I got my first leave home. And then I got sent to New Cumberland, I went to a school there, a special school that the Army wanted me to go to. And then I went to Fort Meade and then I got another leave home, and I bought, now World War II, when you go home on leave, you buy a round trip ticket. Train ticket. Everybody was going by train at that time. They wasn’t flying like they do today. Everybody was traveling by train. So I bought me a round trip ticket to go home on leave and I was home on leave and met a real nice girl and kind of fell in puppy love, I guess. And my time was up and I figured, well, I’ll just be a little late, you know. Couple more days. And next thing I know I was about ten days over. So I went back to — back to my reporting station and they — at Fort Meade. And they put me under arrest of quarters. And they was going to court martial me for being late. And I thought my goodne — and then it dawned on me, these people aren’t kidding around, you know. So I volunteered to go over — I says, well, I’m late and everything, for punishment, why don’t you just send me overseas. Send me to Germany or somewhere, you know, put me, get me into war. Nope, you goofed up, so you got to face the consequences. And I was facing court martial. And so my attorney told me, he says you probably get — you could be sentenced to five to ten years in Leavenworth. So I thought, oh, I can’t — I just can’t go through this, you know.
Question: How old are you now?
Answer: I was 14 then, 14-1/2. And I said well, look. I’m underage, to my attorney. And I told him how old I was and he says boy, don’t you wish you was. He didn’t believe me, see. And I said I am. He said well, if you can prove this, I’ll give you — can hold off the court for 15 days and you can prove this he said I can get you out of this. He says, but if you’re lying, you’re really going to be in trouble. So I sent home to my mother and got an affidavit from her and copy of my birth certificate and so they still had the trial. And — but my lawyer told the judge and jury, and it was all military jury, that this boy is a minor, he don’t know his own mind, and the judges at the court says well, get him for fraudulent enlistment. And my attorney says no, you can’t, because boy didn’t forge anything to get in the service. It was the draft board’s fault for drafting him and didn’t ask for any proof of his age at the time. So anyway they dropped the whole thing and then they gave me an honorable discharge with all the GI bill and everything, you see. So honorable discharge, so I was happy about that, but I wasn’t happy of getting back out of there — getting out of the service. It was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made was be late. And I came back then, I just didn’t fit in. I come back out of the service, you know, and tried to take up where I left off before I went in the service and I couldn’t do it. Cause I was — I had been with older men, you know, older men, and done adult things, you know, and been trained for war, throwing hand grenades and going to the rifle range and doing bayonet drill and all that kind of stuff. And drilling with soldiers and marching with them, and I just couldn’t adjust to the young kids my real age, you know. So I figured I’d just strike out on my own. So I hitchhiked across the United States on my thumb at 15 and became a hobo. But now being a hobo, there’s a difference between a bum and a hobo. I found that out on the road, you know. And a hobo would work his way, you know, he’ll do odd jobs and what have you. But a bum, he won’t — he don’t want to work, he just wants to bum.. But anyway, I hitchhiked across the United States and I can thank the Salvation Army. They took — took me in — each time I’d hit a big city, you know, they’d take you in. I did odd jobs from washing dishes to, on dairy farms, to chicken farms, to just about every kind of work I could get along the way.
Then when I hitchhiked down to Florida from New York. When I was in New York I was working at Bear Mountain Inn as a busboy. I don’t know if you’ve ever head of Bear Mountain Inn. It’s up near West point. It’s a ski resort. Then after that I took off for Florida
Answer: And I hitchhiked to Florida
Answer: Took me about, oh, five days to six days to hitchhike to Florida from New York. And I got to see all the states, you know, by being out on my own. Alabama and Georgia, all those, and the Carolinas. But anyway, when I got to Florida, by this time the war was — it was just over. And I went to the unemployment office to apply for a job. They said well what state are you from and I told them, you know. And they says well we don’t have enough hard jobs here for our own servicemen in Florida, you know. You’ll just have to take what’s left over, you know, see us in a week or two. Well, I was — had no place to live so I was living on a park bench in Florida in Miami. Living on a park bench and going uptown to find a dishwasher’s job now and then. But then I landed a job with a — they sent — the unemployment office sent me out to a dredge. Do you know what a dredge is? A dredge boat? And was dredging the swamps in the Everglades. And I worked on a dredge boat for about three months, 65 cents an hour, 15 hours a day. And hard work, very hard work. You had to stay aboard the dredge all the time. And mosquitos would carry you off alive at night. But anyway, I turned 17 on the park bench. I had quit the dredge job about in a, just about three weeks before my birthday — 17th birthday. And I went back to the park bench and turned 17 on a park bench. And I went up to the Army recruiter and told him that I’d like to get back in the service. And he says well, since you told me that you lied your age at one time, he says I’m going to have to have proof that you are what you say you are, you know. If you can prove to me that — get a birth certificate and what have you, sworn affidavits from somebody that’s known you all these years, that you are that age, I might get you back in. So I went up and got a post office box number, and I wrote home to my mother and had her send my birth certificate and what have you and permission to go in at 17. And she did. And next thing I know I took a physical and I didn’t have an arrest record, I was good at that, you know. I didn’t get in any trouble from the time I got out of the service under age until the time that I went back in at 17, so that helped. So then after took a physical and everything and they said well you won’t have to take basic training. The rest of the group that I was — that I took the physical with at 17 that was going in the service. They all had to go to basic training. And he said that I would not have to since I already had that basic training — that I would be going right — probably get sent overseas right away. So sent me to Fort Meade and next thing I know, I was on a troop ship going to Germany.
And I got to Germany, and the war had just been over see. And they assigned me to — after we got to Bremerhaven off the ship, and got processed, they assigned a few to Berlin. Now Berlin was a — at this time was a — under a blockade for the Russians. The Russians had throwed a blockade around Berlin. And we only had what we called a small unit in Berlin. It was just one regiment, and had a constabulary outfit, and had this 6th — the 6th Infantry Regiment up in Berlin. And the Russians had it surrounded. And so when I got to Berlin I went to a rifle company, and it was pretty good duty. But then one day I was out drilling and a lieutenant came up to me. I had never seen him before. He said to me, he said — it was on break. We had our company drill, and then we had a break, a 10-minute break at the end of the field, the parade ground. And this lieutenant come up to me and said if I wanted to — if I was interested in joining a — getting into an honor guard, cause he was forming a new honor guard for the regiment. And I told him well I don’t know nothing about it but I’ll give it a try. So got permission from the company commander of the unit I was in and the lieutenant went and talked to him and he said he’d like to have me, so I went into the honor guard. And we did fancy drills and we were always out at the head of the parade of the rifle companies, you know, and doing the ceremonials before the actual parade would pass in review, we had to do 30 minutes of silent drill. You know the honor guard platoon. And in — when the officers or anything big going on, why, throwing parties or something, we had to be there to direct traffic or what have you, and escort them into the doorway and what have you. And it was good duty.
And then after I left Germany, I came back to the States and the Korean War had just started up. I came back in 1951 and got sent to Indian Town Gap, Pennsylvania to train recruits, cause I’d made sergeant over in the honor guard. I got promoted to sergeant in the honor guard and so when I came back to the States, at Indian Town Gap, training recruits, it was getting hot over in Korea at that time, so I got orders for Kore
Answer: And was sent to the 3rd Infantry Division in Korea up in the front line in the trenches. And I really don’t like to talk too much about the war, you know, kind of gets to me. And after living in the trenches and eating C-rations and having body lice and — and all kind of bugs on you and not taking a bath for about three, four weeks, but sometimes they’d try to get us to a shower point. They had a shower point set up five or ten miles back of the front line, take so many off the front line, have you walk about three miles to get on a truck, take you back, get you showers. And then during the Korean War, it was never brought up. They would issue us clothing that had been saturated in — in DDT. That was to keep the bugs off you for awhile. This was before they realized that DDT was bad for you, you know. But this clothes that they gave you was just saturated with insecticide, you know. DDT or whatever they put on it. And it would work for awhile until, you know, you wore them for a couple months, it would wear off, the bugs would get on you. But we went on ambush patrols and we took our punishment every night of our artillery rounds coming in, and we got our causalities, and every morning we had to give a report of our dead and wounded.
So after I got my rotation from Korea, I was asked if I wanted to go to Japan or to the States. And I took Japan. So I stayed in Japan for about a year at Sindai, Japan, that’s up in the northern part of Japan, a real nice little city, at Camp Shimalfan. And there I left — I just got there — I just got to Camp Shimalfan when the 24th Infantry Division — one of their outfits was there, and they were going — they was packing up to go to Korea and I’d just left. And they assigned me to this unit. So I figured here I go again, back to Kore
Answer: And they were going over to guard prisoners at one of the islands over there, and they were having trouble with all the prisoners from the North Koreans and the Chinese that were captured. We had them in stockades. So the commander called me in and said that there was another — two other guys — two had just returned from Korea with me. And he told us that we didn’t have to go if we didn’t want to. That we would stay there in the camp and be a — be a detachment — small unit they were leaving behind. So I stayed behind, and — cause I didn’t want to go back to Korea if I didn’t have to. So he gave us a choice. So I decided — I was getting — and I found out they were short MPs. They were recruiting for MP duty there at the camp. So I volunteered to go into MPs. And I stayed in MPs there almost the year that I was in Japan. And then I got orders to come back — to go back to the States. I came back to the States, got sent here to Fort Lewis, Washington to train recruits. And then I got — well, no, wait, I didn’t — I didn’t go to Fort Lewis then. I came back to the States from Japan and when they were processing, this one guy looked at my records and he said, well, we’re going to process everybody but you. You’re going — we’re going to hold you off and you’ll be the last one to be processed. He says I got a deal for you. So he wouldn’t tell me what it was. So they processed everybody and everybody got their assignment, and he — I got my interview and he said well, we looked. My father was in World War I and he was — and then like I say he was in the Merchant Marines and he was alcoholic, next thing we know, he was in the Army in World War II. And what he had done, he came home on leave. We got to see him when he was home on leave, we were — in fact we was on leave together. He was home on leave and I was home on leave. And I was too young to be in and he was too old to be in. He had lied his age, made himself younger so he could get in on World War II. That’s how patriotic people were. Even ones that served in World War I wanted to go into World War II but they were too old, you know. But my Dad liked his age to get in. But, that’s my story about Viet Nam.
Question: That’s amazing — you know, being — I still have a hard time imagining, 13 years old, and being in this adult world. Because I’m thinking when I was 13, I was still playing with hot wheel cars.
Answer: Well, that’s — that’s what I told you when I got out. After being with grown men and doing men things, when I was 13 years old, I’m not bragging about this, but at 13, I was in uniform. I could walk in any bar, sit up at the bar and drink with the best of them and never be asked for identification. My identification was my uniform. They figured if you was old enough to serve in World War II and — and get ready to die in war, you were old enough to drink. So I could — I could go in a bar and drink with the best of them. But I never — I never acted — when I was in uniform I tried to act like an adult at all times, even when I was drinking. I always tried to act older than I was. See if you start acting a fool and start showing you age, then you’d be in trouble. But I never got in any trouble other than being late for reporting in, but I never got any serious trouble, you know. But I did my drinking with the best of them, even with the older guys, I drank with them. But I — they would have USO shows come in. They had — bring dancing girls into the service club from town, busloads of them. And they were 21, 19, 21, 22 years old. I was dancing with them when I was 13. Matter of fact I even dated a couple of them. But they never knew my age, see. But I remember this one particular time when my — my sister — she joined — when I went in at 13, she had joined the Navy as a — as a WAVE. And she got stationed in Washington, D.C. working for the Navy there — Navy office close to the Pentagon. So anyway I finished my parachute airborne training and I got my leave home, on the way, by train, I got off the train in D.C. and figured I’d surprise her, see. I had a 15-day leave so I was going to spend a couple days with her, or a day, at least a day. So I found out where she was working. I had her address, so I went right to where she was working. And I walked in this Navy annex building with all these WAVES working, these young, good looking women, you know. Here I am, I’m about 13-1/2 then. And the — all these good looking women. But I was in uniform. And they showed — somebody took me to my sister’s desk. She had her back to me, she was typing. And girl told her somebody’s here to see you. And she turned around, and saw me and you know, happy, brother and sister can be at that time. So she asked her boss if she could get off the rest of the day to show me around D.C., you know. And they said sure. So some of the other girls from the other desks start coming this way, you know. They wanted to — because I was a soldier and they were used to seeing nothing but sailors. So she seen them all coming, she told them, back off, this is my brother. And I said, I said to her, quietly, I said to her, well introduce me to some of them. She says I will not. She says, you’re only 13-1/2. If you think I’m going to introduce you to some of my girls that I have to work with in this office and they’re all older than you are. They’re in their 20’s. She said if something serious went on, how could I explain this? So she hurried up and got me out of there and then she showed me D.C. Took me up to the Washington Monument and — and some of the other monuments they had and showed me all around D.C.
Question: Wow. You had a brother in the service, too, right?
Answer: Yeah. He — my brother was in – went in ’38 or ’39 and he was going to make a career out of it. And 1942 he contacted, while he was in the service, he got leukemia and he died in the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. And he was in the service. And when — at his funeral I had already made up my mind that I was going to take his place, see, so that’s the story.
Question: It’s amazing that because the amount of patriotism that you talk about that was in America at that time.
Answer: Yeah. Patriotism was really strong and — and even kids would take a dime or two to school to buy a stamp for the war effort. People were buying bonds for the war effort. Mother were putting in — in their window, a little flag, a little cloth flag and real pretty little flag and it had stars, big stars on it. Blue was for how many stars, ones that were serving. And then gold for wounded and I think silver for, could have been the other way around, was killed. But everybody — just about everybody you looked at, down, in the houses, had a little flag in the window showing how many stars they had their — in their family serving or been killed or wounded.
Question: You were pretty — you were big for your age. Were you mentally an adult or were you mentally a little kid?
Answer: No, no. When I was 13, I — I was girl crazy. And I hung out, after we moved out of the country, and out of the tar paper shack, and we moved to the city, and close to the city. And my mother got a job in a drug store or what have you and my sister was working, and I was hanging around with the guys over at the pool hall, and around town. And I always ran with guys older than me. I never ran around with my own age. They were either 16 or 17 years old, I was 13, 12 or 13. Always ran with the older bunch. I went to dances, you know, would go to dances. But kids my age weren’t doing that. The other kids my age weren’t doing that. And I always liked to dress neat to go to a dance and everything, hair slicked back, you know, and a nice sport coat. And looking nice, you know, to go to dances. I was 13, I was doing that, you know.
Question: So when you got in the barracks and stuff, that — you didn’t have a problem with that?
Answer: I didn’t have a problem with it. And — and most of these guys, you know, World War II, they were drafting guys with five and six kids — they had five or six kids at home. Some of them were in their 40’s, you know. They were in their 40’s that were being drafted in. So I never said nothing to them, that I was 13. But I — I looked up to them as a father figure too, you know. As I went along with them and hell, you know, did my training along with them, going on 30 mile marches and all this and that and running all these courses. When I took my training, in Texas in July and August, it was hot. And guys were passing out from heat stroke that wasn’t used to that down there. Well, I wasn’t used to it either. But I never did have a heat stroke. And we warned, like when we was having a parade, when I was taking basic training, we was at parade, if the man next to you passes out, you look straight at attention. You didn’t see him fall. You look straight ahead, you’re at attention, soldier, you don’t render a hand, you don’t do nothing. We have medics in the back of the company, that stay in the back, they’ll come up and take care of you. So you have to stand at attention, here I was 13 years old, maybe a guy had passed out next to me, you know, and I had to look straight at attention. Or even when we was having classes, different classes on map reading and stuff like that in the service, out on bleachers, out in the sun, no — no overhead, nothing overhead, out on the — outside on them bleachers, and the sun beating down on you, you’d see guys pass out, you know, from heat stroke, down in Texas.
Question: Now you were a paratrooper?
Answer: Yeah, at Fort – I took my training at Fort Benning.
Question: At 13, 14 years old?
Answer: Thirteen, well, 14, I was 14 then, yeah.
Question: Jump out of a plane.

Answer: Yeah. Got qualified. But when I graduated from basic training and went straight on, some of those guys, after basic training, they went home on leave. But guys who volunteered for parachute training had to go to parachute training, then you’d go home on leave. And that parachute training, boy, I’ll tell you. It was — it wasn’t just — it wasn’t rifles and stuff, you know, cause you already had that. It was physical. You know, double time and push ups and physical training. And out on — in, excuse me, Fort Benning, they had a place that they called the Fry Pan. It was a lot of sawdust and these guys would get up on these platforms with their shirts off and you’d have your shirt off and they’d say before you leave here, you’ll hate your own mother just like I do, and boy they’d lay it on you, push ups and exercise, you know. And then run. Before breakfast, run five miles before breakfast, then come back and eat breakfast, and then go out and run more and do some more exercise. And everything you had to do was on the double. If you moved, if you was on a ten minute break and a water fountain was out in the middle of the parade ground, you had to double time over there and double time back and why you’d keep your feet moving while you was drinking the water. Then we packed our own parachutes and everything too at that time. I don’t know if they do now.
Question: Did you ever think when you got in there, my God, I just want to be a little kid again?

Answer: No, no, no. I loved it. I loved the service. That’s why, when I goofed up and was late and got throwed out of the service, but you know, not throwed out, but I got an honorable, I was — I was just devastated. I just couldn’t fit in. Who, what was I going to do? I couldn’t fit in with my — my grade, my age, I couldn’t go back to the 6th grade, I didn’t want to go back to the 6th grade. So that’s when I guess I struck — well, I got that job on the river, on the paddle boat, as an oiler, but then too I wasn’t really satisfied with that because they put me ten days on, five off. That would be ten days away from — away from girls and going dancing, and, (laughs) you know. I was on there with older men on this boat but I wanted to go out and dance and jitterbug and go dancing and go out with girls, you know. That ten days on a boat was just killing me. But I was making good money, ten bucks a day was good. That was room and board. It was a good time though. So then when I struck out on my own, I got another education. You know, I was on my own. I was not a follower, you know, I didn’t follow somebody else. I made it on my own. There was times, days where I didn’t even know where I was going to get a piece of bread or a bowl of soup. And here I was, 15 years on the road, 15 years old. Now my mother didn’t know I was doing this. She — she thought I was going to go — I told her I’d landed a good job in Florida and I had a nice room and everything, but I was living in the park, you see. And I didn’t want to worry her. And while I was hitchhiking to get to Florida, and the different states, I went to New York and worked up there, hitchhiked to Florid
Answer: I — like I say, the Salvation Army took care of me. Th

ey would — each town, they’d give you a place — they’d let you take a bath, give you a place to stay and a bunk, you know, a bed. They would feed you, and every town, they’d take care of you. But I just didn’t depend on them either so I — I worked my way doing odd — any kind of jobs. I’d be hitchhiking and some farmer would pick me up. And I’d ask if he need an extra hand. Why sure, yeah, I could use an extra hand. I’ve slept in guys’ barns — slept in the barns. And do farm work.
Question: And — doesn’t sound like you ever sat idle.
Answer: I’ve slept under bridges with — with hobos that — that’s all they ever wanted to do, though, they just wanted to be a hobo all their life. I didn’t — I was going to stay — I stayed with them and act like a hobo, but I didn’t want that to be my life. Cause I was too young for that. And a lot of them would sit me down, you know under a bridge, around a fire, and cook a pot of stew. Anybody that had anything they — to donate to the pot, why they would, you know. A couple cans you have in your backpack or whatever. But them hobos always slept close to railroad tracks, you know, and they knew exactly what time what train was going to come through there and where it was going. And I didn’t — I didn’t want to do that because I’d get on a train or a box car and I don’t know what direction it’s going. And they do, they knew where they were going. But I — I only rode the train one time on a box car and it didn’t — it didn’t go the direction I wanted it to go in and so I didn’t — I got off and I got on the road. I can look at a map and I knew where I’m going. Hitchhiking, at those times, people didn’t mind. In the ’40s, people didn’t mind picking somebody up. Yeah. Cause it wasn’t all this crime that’s — and dope that there is today. In all the time that I was in the service up to the — up to the Viet Nam War — up to the Viet Nam War, I didn’t even hear of dope and marijuana
Answer: On any — I didn’t even know what it was. And I didn’t — but anyway, when I got to Viet Nam as a civilian, I was over there as civilian and we would — dock, when I was on that survey boat, we would dock into the Port of Saigon. Saigon was Sin City. You know. Lot of GI’s that come out of the jungle and that, they wanted a couple days rest and bar girls. Bar girls were plentiful. But anyway I walked in a couple bars in Saigon. It — they were just saturated with marijuana smoke. And it was just terrible. I wouldn’t even go in a place like that. Matter of fact, it was dangerous in Saigon, for civilians and GI’s both. When I was in Saigon, working as a — as a civilian, there was a lot of civilians there — that was their main office. Well, when we pulled up to — and docked at Port of Viet Nam, we’d go up to the main office. We got to know everybody that was working around the main office and that, and they were – they were living — them civilians were living in villas in Saigon. And some of them had their wives over there. So anyway, as a civilian over there,

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