Navy Veteran Recalls USS Indianapolis Sinking and Days in Life Raft

...when I joined the navy, went in at Pearl right after about middle of January. Went aboard the ship somebody the group ...


...when I joined the navy, went in at Pearl right after about middle of January. Went aboard the ship somebody the group we went over.. somebody said.. officer said well here’s four or five ships pick one. The guy picked this ship and I said oh my god my brother’s on it. He was a first class baker and I came aboard at night about 10:30 he was in sickbay with an infected toe and he was reading a letter from my folks that I had just joined and then after the Sullivan brothers they transferred him off.


USS Indianapolis underway during WW2

The sinking of the USS Indianapolis was a tragic moment following the completion of a secret mission that directly contributed to the end of World War II. After a successful high-speed run to deliver atomic bomb components to Tinian, the decorated Portland-class cruiser continued to Guam. Indianapolis was en route from Guam to Leyte when she was torpedoed and sunk by the Japanese submarine I-58 within the first hour of 30 July 1945. 900 sailors lost their lives, many due to sharks. Only 316 survived. Here is one survivors story…
To learn more read this book:

The Interview:

Question: The first thing I’d like to do is get your name just to have it on tape first and last? You want to go ahead and give me that?
Answer: Eugene Morgan.
Question: And you go by Gene? Did you have any nicknames in the service?
Answer: In the fire department I was known as Blackie and when I came out one guy that used to in the navy you know, you couldn’t think of something to say damned gizmo, well one guy started to call me Gizmo, but Blackie most I was known in the fire department.
Question: WWII veterans and homefront people and but what we’re also doing is building a library of tapes and transcripts so for example if I’m a high school student or teacher and we’ve read in the history book about the Indianapolis well they are going to go to that web-site and type in USS Indianapolis and will come up with any interview that we did from somebody that was actually there so you’re.
Answer: OK, I got my thing there that. My girl was going to Fairfax college for a term paper and I sent her a whole bunch of stuff and stuff and she got an A in it and I got her copied.
Question: Oh wow, well, this would be the kind of stuff where now if she called now you could say well just go look at and she can type in your name and it will have this full transcript, this and all sorts of other ones I mean we have people that were at Bataan.
Answer: Grandson at his junior high school.
Question: See and now that’s what is really important.
Answer: Lot of our guys are doing this all over. Every once in awhile I get word, you know, and they go to the school and do it.
Question: That’s the most valuable teaching you’re going to do.
Answer: We’re going fast and we’re forgetting it.
Question: And the other part is that I want to know that these are real people.
Answer: Yea.
Question: Because like I told somebody when I studied a history book Abraham Lincoln was just a character to me, that’s not a real person. Well now that I’ve met these veterans I can talk to that were at Iwo Jima were at Pearl Harbor that were just names now it’s real people and that’s a lot of what we’re trying to do here, and another thing is that a lot of them were just kids.
Answer: Yea, 17 or 18. You know after we came back from Okinawa we took that suicide plane. Well they, 250 young kids just out of boot camp, and they only got 14 days
Question: Wow.
Answer: We didn’t have time to tell them to abandon ship or hardly nothing. We didn’t have time. They was scared. Here these kids, I call them kids, here I’m 25 years old, I figure I’m an old man, I’ve been on there four years see and that’s the way I felt. These were just kids and I’m an old man.
Question: Was that your first ship?
Answer: I went on it when I joined the navy, went in at Pearl right after about middle of January. Went aboard the ship somebody the group we went over.. somebody said.. officer said well here’s four or five ships pick one. The guy picked this ship and I said oh my god my brother’s on it. He was a first class baker and I came aboard at night about 10:30 he was in sickbay with an infected toe and he was reading a letter from my folks that I had just joined and then after the Sullivan brothers they transferred him off. You remember the Sullivan brothers?
Question: Yea.
Answer: So that was it.
Question: Wow.
Answer: I didn’t go hungry for awhile.
Question: Now how old were you when you got in?
Answer: Twenty-one.
Question: Twenty-one.
Answer: All I wanted to do was play baseball, I was playing semipro around here. That’s all I wanted to do was play ball. The war broke out, I started that night, Sunday night started to sign up, and I wanted a few days and they said well come back Saturday and you’ll be on your way to boot camp. Went to San Diego. We left here Saturday December 13th, got to San Diego, was there about a week and a half and then they moved us to Balboa Park and we was there about a week and a half. Next thing we know we’re on a ship and we pull into Pearl Harbor the middle of January, aboard the ship.
Question: Had you ever been out of Seattle before that?
Answer: Oh, yea, I’d been down to Los Angeles.
Question: But, Pearl Harbor?
Answer: No, I’d never been, the farthest I was from here was Los Angeles.
Question: So that is amazing. December 7th, Pearl Harbor gets bombed, and December 13th?
Answer: I’m on my way to boot camp.
Question: Wow.
Answer: About the middle of January I’m aboard the ship ’42,
Question: So what was it like on the USS Indianapolis? Do you remember the first time you saw it what you thought?

USS Indianapolis underway during WW2

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Answer: No, I don’t recall that, no. I remember we saw all the ships you know. Somebody says well they are sending you guys over to help clear up this mess.. all those ships see. We saw them all you know and couldn’t believe it. Of course I don’t remember about going aboard the ship what I thought, maybe it was all so new, probably but that’s it.
Question: When you arrived at Pearl Harbor was it still working, what did it look like? We see pictures of the bombing but now a month later.
Answer: It was wreckage you know, just twisted steel, I can remember.. just twisted steel, they were all working and oil all over, working all over, you could see them cutting. Yeah, that was it.
Question: Now being a young buck you probably could never imagine that could never happen to any ship you were on?
Answer: No, and first cruise in February we went down south and we cruised around down there and the Japs were coming down about New Guinea so the carrier force and us we were off Port Moresby. The planes flew over the San Leone Mountains and caught all the Jap troop ships that were ready to invade Australia and they bombed the heck out of them. And then we cruised around again and we was going to go to Rabaul, The main Japanese base. I think it was in the Carolina Islands and 18 big bombers came. And I remember O’Hara he shot down 6 in 5 minutes.. went through this formation. And so we scooted out of there then and we came back to Pearl Harbor back to Frisco.. and 9 liners.. fully mechanized troops we took them all the ways to Australia. Because they figured Japan was going to invade Australia we took these 40 thousand fully mechanized all their equipment we took them all alone to Australia and we was south when the Coral Sea Battle took off. And then we came back to Pearl and they sent us up to the Aleutians because they knew, they had broken the code and they knew that Japan was going to hit Wake Island and the Aleutians and so we stayed up there. We was off of Dutch Harbor when they bombed it. And we stayed up there all the time until they took everything back, we was from one end of the islands.. And that was the scary part because we figured if he went down in the water 15-20 minutes you know.. and that’s the way we were. And so, that’s when the Midway Battle and uhm.. Spruance you know, he won that. That was the turning point, they caught the four carriers and that took the best of the Japanese pilots because it takes 3 or 4 years to train a pilot. They lost four carriers. Then we came back I guess they started in the Gilbert and the Marshals and we went all through Iwo Jima and Peleliu And all those islands and Guam and all that.
Question: And what was your duty?
Answer: I became a coxswain then the master of arms, boson’s mate second class and then I went into the master of arms force.. and that was like a policeman you know, we took you know like a policeman keep his duty, do what the captain says, you know you carry out his orders. In fact I have a picture of our crew up there, in fact my buddy, I met in boot camp, he was from Gretna Louisiana, him and I went in the same division, made coxswain at the same time and we made our liberties together and he got off before the last cruise. I saw him ten years ago went down and found him there in Louisiana. He thought I was dead, but we buddied around you know.
Question: So what was the day in the life like on the ship for you? Did you always feel you were at war? Was some of it?
Answer: Some of it was the same thing and then of course you did your work, stood your watches. At first it was four on and four off continually you know, except at meal time. You know, two on and two off, but 4-6 and from 6-8 but rest of the time was 4 on and 4 off you know. Later on we got one out of three watches and finally one out of four near the end of the war. Most of the time it was, you stood your watches, you did your work, like I was on the 40 millimeter, begun to be a first loader you know 40 millimeter. And when I was a coxswain and we had this crew.. and I had this crew we had to clean up the mess hall after chow you know then we’d have to scrub them down and all. That’s what you did, you stood your watch, then if you was going to bombard someplace well usually they did it early and then you could have sunny side up eggs, that was a big deal. One time up in the Aleutians we was going to, but we had a fire in the galley and ended up with scrambled eggs but I think they scraped them off the deck. But that was a big deal when I was in battle you know, and then of course you’d hear sound of general quarters. You had general quarters every hour before sunrise and before sunset general’s quarters, that was the routine you did.
Question: The hour before sunrise and sunset that was a drill, I mean that was a pattern?
Answer: Yea, that was the pattern you had, everybody would man everything and they’d have little drills you know. You know to get everybody working together.
Question: Then you talked about the shooting down some of the planes you mentioned the name O’Hara or something like that.
Answer: Oh yea, going through this formation, bombers way up there, and here we had one point ones then, we didn’t have the 40 millimeters then. We fired straight up and I don’t know the range of the planes were but you could see that little plane and the formations would flow together and another plane would come down. That was the first you know we saw.
Question: So what is that like? I mean I can’t imagine.
Answer: I don’t know, we were there looking at it, the planes coming down and everybody is cheering. Like we’d shoot down a plane and everybody would cheer and yell. I mean that was it.
Question: I mean, again, it sounds like you never had the thought that they were going to hit you?

USS Indianapolis history of how it was sunk

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Answer: No, shoot the guy and swear when I’d shoot them down and that was it. Kill the son of a gun. I guess that is the way it was, probably saw all these soldiers cussed and swore and yelled at one another.
Scared, sure I got scared. The planes coming in, especially when they started those kamikaze suicide planes, they kept coming, kept coming, and you wondered how they could get through that fire, you hope, they’re aiming right at you… Remember one time we was all set to bombard Attu Or Kiska.. all formation, somebody says look, and it looked like a couple of hundred planes flying in formation and I figure, no aircraft carrier, but I figure here come the bombs you know. But it turned out to be ducks or geese flying in formation but at a distance it looked like, no fooling you know, oh God, was we scared. And then like at midnight they sounded GQ up there and (inaudible) big Jap force discovered you know. God, scared, you know, up there 15 minutes in that water and as it turned out we were chasing ourselves. I later found out one of my friends in the fire department he was mechanic in the PBY’s up there. One of his planes spotted us and goofed us up. He told me afterwards.
Question: He was chasing his tail. Now, when you got on the Indianapolis they was just another ship, right? I mean, today everybody knows the USS Indianapolis, but when you got on, it was another ship in the fleet?
Answer: Yea, it was, found out afterwards it was a well known ship because President Roosevelt, took the cruise, my brother was on it when it went down to South America you know. And he was a wrestler on a team and he wrestled you know for the President and that and it was a well known ship and a lot of guys wanted to get on it because it was a good ship.
Question: Now where did it come, was it to San Francisco or San Diego that it picked up pieces of the bomb.
Answer: San Francisco, Hunter’s Point.
Question: What was that like, do you know what was going on or?
Answer: They just put this big crate 15 by 3.. 15 by.. something in a port hanger, nobody knew what it was. I seen that picture where these two sailors between a bar they are carrying this drum. Did you read about that? I saw the picture. I don’t, I saw the picture, I don’t know, I haven’t found that picture but I saw that picture where they are walking along the deck.. before it came aboard ship. Yea, and ah. That big crate in the port hanger, the marines were supposed to guard it, they were supposed to keep guys away and I know they sat on top with blankets and they played cards, you know, and tried to keep you away. Somebody said that is a PBY engine they have to get over there, you know. But I found out after checking this that the 13th of July we was in Mare Island just before we got repaired from that suicide plane. McVay got called in, he said they were going to get the ship ready and on the 15th-16th they were going to have a secret mission and so from. Usually when you come out of the shipyard you have a breakdown cruise you go wide open and turn and this and that you know to make everything is ok, well we didn’t have that.
Question: You just been in getting everything fixed up ship shape again and
Answer: Go over to Hunter’s Point in San Francisco. That’s when they loaded this stuff on they said.. and told they were going to leave in the morning. And I found out I’m checking up on this stuff that we got out of the harbor and there was planes and boats and everything and ship paused a minute and a motor boat came alongside, and the navigator got this message and it was a special order from the commander and chief to speed as fast as you can to Tinian.. and nothing was to get in the way, if anything, it was supposed to be destroyed or sunk or something, but they had orders to go, nothing can stop you. So we went wide open to Pearl Harbor, took on some fuel, maybe some supplies, wide open again.
Question: Now how fast is wide open on a ship like that?
Answer: We would go about 32-33 knots, a knot is a mile and an eighth, so we was going 30-32, wide open.
Question: What does a ship do at that speed? Does it get hot or noisy?
Answer: Oh, it’s hotter than heck below deck, vibrates to beat heck you know, vibrates, hotter than heck because we had no air conditioning. Pulled into.. Tinian has no harbor so anchored out, a barge came alongside, they loaded this stuff in the barge and that was it. Then we went down to Guam. Stayed over night there. We was going to go meet one of the task force, we was going to join up with them, but first we wanted some practice for all these young recruits we got aboard. We had had exchanged.. you know 250 and even some officers. So we had a lot of, and we didn’t have time to do any of this because we was wide open, and we was supposed to have some practice when we got to Leyte Gulf. And he wanted to do it off of Guam but they don’t do it off of Guam, but they said we’d have to do it at Leyte Gulf, it’s all set up, we’ll meet our task force and have our practice with them. And he wanted a destroyer because a cruiser don’t have anything to pick up a sub, don’t have no sound, you don’t need any, it’s clear out there and nothing in your way but they knew the Japanese subs were out there, just been reported some ships and planes that was in that area spotted, they even named the I-58, they knew where they were, they didn’t tell us. They said it was secret they didn’t want the Jap to know we knew the code was broken. But they didn’t tell us three days before we got there this destroyer Underhill was sunk there. When those Kayten..Kaitens.. suicide, well they rammed it and it blew up, blew the destroyer in half and they didn’t tell us that.

Question: Same area?
Answer: About the same area, but they didn’t tell us that. Planes was spotted, ships going through had spotted, contacts and subs, but they never told us.
Question: And so here you have?
Answer: That’s why this book, In Harms Way, they sent us.
Question: And you have a crew that is pretty green?
Answer: Yea, we have 250 green, we are not in A-1 shape.
Question: May never have been on a vessel before?
Answer: Yea, kids right out of school, some probably not even out of high school, but they only had 14 days and they didn’t tell us this, they just went on, and.
Question: Theoretically what did they want you to do for practice out there? What would you do for training?
Answer: Well, we was going to meet this task force and a plane would come out. Tow a sleeve and we’d have antiaircraft you know and we was supposed to have gunnery practice. They’d set up tow sleeves and stuff and we’d fire at them. I don’t know where it’d bombard anything if it chose that. Had to have something to teach these kids. Well, we didn’t show up, we didn’t show up at Leyte Gulf when we was supposed to. You are assigned when you leave one area the other area is notified you are going to be there a certain date so you got a spot you are supposed to be. We didn’t show up that morning, this one young officer I guess told his senior officer, well the Indie isn’t there. Well maybe it got orders to change at sea? It happened because we was a flag ship see, we was waiting for Spruance.
Question: Spruance?
Answer: Admiral Spruance.
Question: Oh yea yea.
Answer: Then Admiral King Put out an order that non-arrival combatant ships didn’t have to report in. But the guy misinterpreted that and he figured that a combatant ship if they didn’t arrive, but he figured if they didn’t arrive he didn’t have to report them. He messed up on that see. They may have had orders changed at sea. So for that reason here was the orders we didn’t show up so we don’t have to report them and that’s why nobody knew that we was gone, that we was missing. It just so happened that but Gwinn Flying that Ventura plane out in.. happened to spot the oil slick. He was ready to bomb it remember? Open the Bombay door ready to drop a depth charge. He got down there where he could see what was up. He didn’t know who we were. And then pretty soon they.. there’s people in the water, didn’t know who they were, Japs.. didn’t know who they was, no report of ship, nobody knew, you know. And I guess a little later on they, more planes came and they found out there was more and more people out there.. so it must have been a large ship then. So then somebody asked back there at Leyte Gulf got a little worried, well what ship should be in that area and we was supposed to report to this one task force and they asked him, “did the Indy report to you?”, that was the one we were supposed to meet for target practice and everything. He said the Indy, we didn’t meet it. So then all heck broke loose they figured it out and they are in trouble, and the navy is unhappy. They are in trouble now and they know this is a mess up. They were in trouble.
Question: How many people on the Indy?
Answer: 11,097 and 317 survived.
Question: So a small city.
Answer: They figured 300 got killed right off. The first one hit 3500 thousand gallons of high-octane gasoline. The first torpedo blew about 60 feet of the bow right off. The second one hit in the forward engine room and hit a fuel tank and ammunition for one of the turrets and a.. that is what did the damage. The forward part of the ship from the quarter deck forward was gone and it blew this big hole in, power was out, and they couldn’t get word back to the aft engine room, screws are still turning back there and here’s this great big hole. The ship is going kind of to the starboard; water is pouring in, the water pressure kept breaking the bulkheads. They couldn’t get word back. If they had.. they’ve saved cruisers that had the bow broken off by getting it stopped you know, getting relieving that pressure. It kept pouring the water in and breaking everything.
Question: Right into the water?
Answer: Yea, water just.
Question: Where were you?
Answer: I was in the port hanger sleeping in a cot and it woke me up, no, no right off the quarterdeck, just main deck, and jar woke me up and I looked and sparks and flames coming across the quarter deck, forward part of the deck, the officers quarters. Somebody said oh what happened. Someone said someone blew up in number 1 fire room you know. This one guy, he was chief master of arms, he said good back to yards we go. All I had on was my shoes and my skive shorts on, my clothes was down in the MA shack which was in the starboard side just below the quarter deck. So I went aft was going to go up the starboard side to get my clothes and some guy says you can’t go up there, so I didn’t. About that time I could hear this stuff in the galley pots and pans and the ship started to list to starboard and I went up figured I’d better get a life jacket so went got a lifejacket walked over to port side where the motor whale boat was talked to some guys there. The ship was leaning more and more and they couldn’t do anything with that. So then some young kid he said well what should I do well follow me so I went down, you’re supposed to go off the high side but I couldn’t get up there, so I just went and jumped in the water and started swimming away. It’s dark. It’s black. I don’t know if this kid behind me followed me or not. Somebody said.. I heard somebody say here, and there was a raft, it was so darned full so I hung on the side for about 2 or 3 days before it thinned out.
Question: So you had a lifejacket?
Answer: That’s all.
Question: And skivvies?
Answer: Skivvies and my shoes and I finally kicked my shoes off. We was covered with that oil, that sticky, bunker fuel oil and then I know I got sick in the morning and threw up you know. I guess I drank it. Everybody didn’t drink a mouth full of that stuff. And so then I uhm.. I had rubbed my eyes and everything had got blurry and I could hear the guys but I couldn’t see it, but I heard the guys that first warned sharks you know and here I’m in my white skivvies shorts and I’m hanging on and trying to get my feet up in there you know. I couldn’t see, it was blurry, but I could hear what the guys were saying.. yelling.
Question: Was the raft just a conglomeration of the stuff or was it one of the whaleboats?
Answer: It was a raft. Like a raft they’re open in the center with latticework. You know and it’s down about a foot. There’s one behind there.
Question: Like an inflatable raft? One of those.
Answer: It’s a balsa wood raft.
Question: Oh, it’s a hard one.
Answer: Wood raft.
Question: I’ll study that.
Answer: And in the middle it’s like a cargo net, down about a foot or foot and a half.
Question: Oh, ok.
Answer: And there are slats in there in the bottom so you sit and your feet mostly in the water and there are so many, it’s barely floating, and the waters.. so.
Question: So everybody has piled in, you’re hanging on to the sides?
Answer: Side, tied on rope you know little ropes, I don’t know just kept going.. going and.
Question: When you think back can you remember what you thought at all?
Answer: There’s a lot of it.. I laid in bed.. a lot of it completely blank, it’s gone. There are just little parts I can remember. I can remember you know. And you couldn’t make out anybody unless you recognized their voice cause they were all black you know with oil and of course my eyes is blurry, I can’t. And I can remember the guys would yell planes, you know, I couldn.. I could look up in the sun and oil and everything, most of guys had.. their eyes were scratched you know and a lot of it is blank I can’t think of it. And then finally there was room enough in the raft, thinned out. Guys that were hurt or burnt they didn’t last too long, you know. But every day they said they were going to pick us up because we’re supposed to be.. they got an SOS off and this and that, we didn’t know for sure then, you know, or they’ll be looking for us. And of course every day.. how come they should be coming pretty soon you know and how come they are not looking for us. Then I think the third day it got desperate then a lot of guys were getting thirsty and some guys started to drink salt water, then guys started to have nightmares and dreams, and that’s when I remember guys swimming up to the raft and saying “we was just over to the island over here, beautiful women and all you want to eat. Who wants to go back with us?” Then there was guys “we’re going down to get another drink of nice cold water from the scuttlebutt in the #1 mess hall”. That’s where our drinking fountain was.
They’d dive down. I can remember that. Guys come up, “oh there’s a Chinese ship on the horizon just waiting for us, who wants to go. We’re ready to go, we’re going to swim over to it”. This was when guys were losing it, going out of their head. I don’t know if I went out of my head or not. Just kept going on and how come they are not looking for us? and I think a lot of guys figured they left us you know. Guys were drinking salt water.
There were even fights when they thought there was a Jap, even reports that some guys got stabbed you know and that guys going out of their head.
There’s parts I remember I guess I stayed sane. I remember I was fighting, I seemed to be walking, tried to walk when the boat came to pick me up. It seems to me I was thrashing and fighting a little bit and I said hey don’t wait for me and but I remember when all the planes came and everybody and my eyes started clearing up..I could see the stuff floating down and I remember a lifeboat came down with three big parachutes and certain guys swam over to it. Another part of all this stuff coming down, I visualize turkey sandwiches come floating down. I could never figure out how come turkey sandwiches. But it just seemed stuff came from all over. All these planes all of a sudden it was all over, but there is a lot of it completely blank. I mean what can I do. I remember I’m sitting there and it’s getting morning and I’m shivering it’s cold. When you’re in the water it lowers your body temperature, and I wish the sun would come out. Then sun would come out and then that’d have to duck down in that oil and.. But then we had these salt water ulcers all over us. They started eating into you. Most of the guys had those all over, and then anyplace you got kicked you’d have a.. but that was it. And got picked up.
Question: Did the survivors did they as days went by did everything spread apart so you guys were all over the place?
Answer: They figured we was spread out about ten miles by fifty miles, because there were guys on the ship blown off and the ship is moving and guys going off different times, twelve minutes it went down. The current and the tide got different groups and they figured we was spread out ten by fifty miles. And there was one group found last day and they were.. but then all heck broke loose when they found out it was us.. because they was in trouble.
Question: How many days were you in the water?
Answer: Almost five, almost five.. Got picked up sometime in the morning on the fifth day, after midnight. I seem to remember there was only about six of us on the raft then and a couple of guys came in little life rafts that had little what do you call it that little water thing.. what do they put the water in, yeah canteen, we had a swig of water, that’s the first water we had in five days. So that was it.
Question: Who picked you up, or what vessel?
Answer: The Basset.. Basset And they took us to Samara. And it was three groups, really large groups, one large group didn’t have rafts and they are the ones that took the beatings by the sharks, because they tried to keep together, and anybody was injured and the sharks came up in the center of them and anybody drifted away or falling asleep at night, they tried to stay together, tied together, and they had fights and everything. In fact one place this one raft was damaged and the shark came right up in the center of it. But I can remember on the last day looking down through the bottom of the raft and sharks swimming around, great big sharks swimming around, just swimming around. It didn’t seem to bother me you know, but I never did see that one group, where the sharks the guys I could hear yell and scream the sharks and their buddies, you probably read that. And so.
Question: It sounds like you never thought you wouldn’t make it? It doesn’t sound like that was part of your thought process?
Answer: Everybody, everybody, they thought oh God, we’re going to be this and that, we’re not going to, we’re going to be good, everybody made that confession, I know they did because I talked to a lot of guys. But you know I figured we were.. every day I just kept going and going and I don’t know where half of it. What gets me is why I can’t remember so much of it. Somebody says well there is a lot of it (inaudible) the real bad stuff nature has a way to black it out.
Question: Survival. I mean if we remembered every bad thing that ever happened. I mean that is why we build calluses is for protection
Answer: I laid in bed oh a lot of times and try and think all these hours and all I can remember are bits of it.
Question: Do you ever remember anything funny happening? I mean it’s a very tragic situation you’re in but you’re three days..
Answer: Oh, yea, when we got picked up.. this one guy had a bucket with diesel in it,, trying to get..and the guy stuck his head in it trying to get that diesel out and his feet went out from under him and he almost drown in that bucket of diesel. I can remember I’m laughing to beat hell, here it is serious, but I’m laughing. I told a guy, his wife, he passed away, but I told his wife that. She just laughed. I says (inaudible) serious the guy almost drown in diesel oil but it was funny.
Question: Were there conversations or were you spending all your energy surviving?
Answer: I know I was sitting there with guys but I can’t make them out.
Question: Did you know any of the people? Because if you recognize their voice then you can identify.
Answer: There was a guy, a pharmacist mate when I first got in the raft but he was kind of in charge but he didn’t make it. That’s the only guy that I remember. Other guys I don’t remember. Oh another young kid yeah, a baker came up tried to get this young kid to swim with him.. and I hung onto the young kid, those are guys that I remember, but that’s it. Guys came up swimming; those are things you remember, thinking they could make it.
Question: How did they get you out of the water, I mean?
Answer: Well, cargo net and they said can you climb and I said I didn’t think I could climb so they took me up in a stokes stretcher you know. Some guys climbed up and some guys fell back couldn’t make it. And.. oh the next to the last day I saw something out there I thought was a K-ration was in a big gray thing 5-gallon buckets in gray canvas. So I went swimming for it and some guy yelled look out and something hit me and I pushed on it and I felt back and half of my skivvies shorts were gone so I got back to the raft
Question: Fast.
Answer: And so I figured I’d tell people well how did you make it? I says the sharks don’t like polish sausage. I’m Polish. That’s what I figured. He hit me, he must have been a shark and I pushed on him I know that. The guy yelled at me look out, so. I swam back to the raft.
Question: Where did you recoup?
Answer: They took us to Samara and most of the guys went down to Pelelui You know and then came back on the hospital ship. We all met at Guam later on.
Question: When did you discover that you had taken the bomb over?
Answer: When we was after when they dropped the bomb we was in Samara and they dropped the bomb and they came in and told us that is what we took over there. It was scary then you know.
Question: What did you think about that?
Answer: I wish they didn’t even invent that, you know, we found out what it did and I thought gee why did they invent that. But then after we all got together at Guam we all came back went to San Diego. And then I had a month’s survivor leave and I came home.. and that damn phone, telegrams and letters, people wanting to know if I knew. I told my mother, I says, I can’t take take this, so I went clear across town. This girl that I met before.. she lived next door to some friends of mine in High Point, you know where High Point is, so I went over and stayed there and then I guess I did a lot of drinking then.. anyway we got married and then I went into the fire department and all this stuff left my mind, cause I got married got in the fire department, new job, new. That was 1945. I got married November 8, got discharged the 27th, went right in the fire department around the 1st of December.
Question: I never thought about the aspect of a survivor coming home on leave and everybody being able to figure out oh he survived, I want to find out if he knows something. So they started calling and telegraphing?
Answer: Finally I just whew, I couldn’t take any more. We were supposed to tell them as far as we knew know they went down with the ship, you know. And then I found out a Marine from West Seattle and I went and saw his folks and I found out he lasted three days in the water. So his mother but I said as far as I know he went down with the ship, and she says no his master sergeant called me and told me he was in the water three days.
This was a kid I got to, anybody from Seattle, you on the phones aboard ship, you know you talk anybody from Seattle. Anyway he married at that time the warden of Walla Walla penitentiary, Smith, married the daughter so he’d go home on leave and that’s where he went to the prison, so we used to raze him about that. But anyway he was a good friend but then the guy on the fire department was a good friend of him went to school with him you know (inaudible) This guy’s name was Dick Tracy. He was a red headed marine; we had some pretty good marines aboard, pretty good bunch. I got along with them. Of course, the master of arms, you know, you’re all over the ship, you’re in charge of this, you know, you get to know, names I don’t remember, but everybody.
Question: Rank and who they are?
Answer: You got to take the guys to court.
Question: So the navy instructed you when you got to go home they said we’re going to debrief you basically?
Answer: This is all they told us as far.. if anybody wants to know what happened just says as far as you know they all

went down with the ship. That’s all I’m supposed to say. We didn’t know anything else.
Question: Wow.
Answer: I don’t know when I found out it was a Japanese sub that sunk us.
Question: Oh yea, cause you didn’t even know that when it went down did you?
Answer: I remember the journey back, and looking and the ship is (gestures sinking), I saw that. It seems like it’d be quite a ways from it then, of course the ship is, and I swam. I remember looking and seeing it do that and some guy, what’s that. But as far as knowing any of the guys on the raft, I couldn’t, except that one guy is all. But what gets me is why is so much of it blank? Hours and hours. What’d I do sit there in the sun? Sometimes it was rough, sometimes the sun would come out, that night you know it was black you know because that’s why the captain didn’t zigzag and it was up to his discretion. And even the top naval officers in sub said zigzagging wasn’t 100% proof. And the Japanese commander said once we spotted you, you was dead ducks.. he said I had suicide torpedoes I could have used but he didn’t. He didn’t believe in them, he didn’t believe in that. He said you was dead ducks.
I’m a little bit, not too happy with the navy after they found out. We got proof that SOS was picked up 3 times.
Question: From your ship?
Answer: Yea.
Question: From your ship?
Answer: Yea, it was picked up. One place this uh.. he went and woke up his commander, read him this message and he said he smelled like booze and he asked if there was any answer and the guy said no and he said call me in the morning if there’s any more. And then another place it was picked up this one young officer sent out two sea going tugs, his senior officer found out later was playing cards, found out later this officer sent out two sea going tugs, they had been away for seven hours and he called them back. Another place they figured Japan usually put out messages like this that they.. and they figured it was just a crap deal. They even picked up the message that they had sunk a large war ship in that area.. they never checked it out. I mean, all this stuff they goofed up, they just kept…
Question: They just kept going?
Answer: And why didn’t they give us the destroyer? They knew the subs were in that area, they even knew cause the subs (inaudible), the destroyer was sunk three days ahead of time, other ships going through that area had spotted periscopes and had to report them, and they didn’t tell us.
Question: Was it, do you think it was a result of just one little mistake, and one little mistake, and one little mistake that led to it or?
Answer: Well the biggest one was why didn’t they tell us the subs was in that area. Why didn’t they tell us that destroyer was sunk and all these reports,. Knowing the subs were in the area, knowing we was going through there, knew we didn’t have any anti sub devices to pick up subs and knowing that they’d usually send a destroyer with a ship like that. 1,197 men to send them out?
Question: Were you pretty much at stand down? I mean ‘cause you were going off to do some drills and stuff so were things a little more relaxed?
Answer: Yea a little more relaxed, and of course aboard during the war it was a little more relaxed and the ship wasn’t different conditions you’d dog down so much but it was so hot most of the guys were sleeping on the top side most of them.
Question: Plus you just got done doing a big mission. You brought the bomb over, dropped it off, and gone full steam and
Answer: And we that knew we was going to invade Japan, we knew that was coming up, and going to have some. Then we found out later I read a book written by Japanese what they had waiting for us. How many suicide planes that they had waiting, all the people were trained, they were going to fight with everything they had, bamboo, everything, men, women and children on the beaches. We would have had to slaughter them. They had all these wooden boats they could send out. It would have been a slaughter, because we knew the islands that we fought they wouldn’t give up and we would have lost millions and they would have lost millions.
Question: That’s pretty much the consensus has been, everybody I talked to about the bomb. They said it was a terrible thing but what it prevented.
Answer: A lot of people say oh we shouldn’t have dropped the bomb, but I say wait a minute, you don’t know what would have happened if. You know there was a big typhoon that went through there and destroyed a lot of our stuff before the invasion, you remember that, they didn’t tell you that, I didn’t find that out until after, lot of this stuff on Okinawa was destroyed some of the ships, they lost a lot of things, it would have been a slaughter.
Question: They talked about the military had already minted thousands of purple hearts, yea, they already had them minted knowing, because we knew what would have happened had we gone in there.
Answer: Because we knew from every place we’d been every island we fought the Japs that they didn’t give up, and even on Okinawa, we knew even that the people, not the Okinawan people themselves, but other Japanese they fought.. suicide.
Question: Now did you ever you talked about after the war meeting who was a young Japanese soldier at that time you met him later and talked to him. During the war did you get close to any Japanese soldiers or was it after the war?
Answer: We had some prisoners aboard you know we never got to talk to them but they just, we had a few aboard. They’d bring them, I remember one time we had Japanese interpreter from the University of Washington you know. They’d bring them aboard to have them questioned, Oh I remember, Tarawa We got to go ashore right after it was secured ,and there was dead bodies laying around and stuff, lime spread on them. Stuff was scattered all over, hand grenades in fact one kid from Queen Anne walking down the beach and some guy screwing around with a rifle and killed him. Anyway I picked up a bunch of papers and stuff and anyway sitting on the way back was a guy scraping brains out of a helmet, some guys were bringing hand grenades back. The ship stunk of rotten flesh you know. But anyway some of these papers, I could take these up to the Japanese commander so I did anyway he says I’ll look at them, I found out some of these was the diagram of the island defense. He wouldn’t give me those back. Amazing.
Question: I’ve never been to war but war seems to change your psyche a little bit, I mean, because you have to adjust, like you said, you came to the beach and there were all these dead bodies. If you were to walk outside now that would be shocking.

Answer: Hand grenades, and these.. this big deal compound this shell’s hit reinforced concrete that thick you know, big shells, and that, hand grenades and stuff, palm trees blown you know palm trees didn’t splinter bad you know that’s what a lot of their dug outs they had palm trees you know. And spider traps that they called them, you know.. a Jap down in a hole.. trap door there’d be. They spread lime over these bodies they didn’t have time to cleanup. That was the first time we got to go ashore like that cause that one guy got killed, stupid. But somebody picked up a gun. But then in the Marshals, I was coxswain and I got to go ashore to pick up the mail you know. Beautiful islands you know, palm trees and coconut trees, and after we’d blown everything off and then afterwards I understand we had to pay the French and the British for all the palm trees we knocked off those islands. And oh one of these lagoons in the Marshals I remember taking a work party over to a ship to help unload it or something and the motor conked out we were drifting you know, and I didn’t know if these other islands were secured we’re drifting and I come to one last ship and I just was able to grip with the boat hook otherwise we’d have gone ashore on that little island and I don’t know if there were any Japs on that one or not.
Question: But you didn’t want to find out.
Answer: Then there was this one place, but after we took the suicide plane to Okinawa they moved us to this little group of islands where they have supply ships and ships would rest and we sat in there and the ship almost got sunk you know. They dis-secured from bombaring Okinawa and turning away the plane came right out of the sun and the guy in the front, 20 millimeter and the wing hit this shield, the plane hit the side of the ship and the bomb dropped off the wing and down in the mess hall it went alongside the table where the guys were sitting, went down hit the shaft, blew the two propellers off on the starboard side and knocked the evaporator out. Big hole.. Got over in the islands. Somehow they made a wooden patch, they got it pumped out, they poured concrete down in there.. and here while the concrete.. a carrier behind and the Japs suicides diving around hit a carrier behind us and we couldn’t fire because they didn’t want to bust the concrete. We sat there but anyway we came all the way back to the states.
Question: See now, you describe that, and you just smile and laugh, is the mind so powerful that you really don’t think you’re going to get it?
Answer: Yea, you’re sitting there and you go like this, just like when I talk about all those planes off of Kiska or Attu You know. I’m thinking the planes, the bombs, we don’t have any carriers up there.
Question: These are close, right? And neither one of these planes are.
Answer: And they look like formation you know.
Question: You talked about playing baseball before you went in the service did you have a team aboard ship or not?
Answer: We started one day and one day we got it.
Question: One day of baseball?
Answer: We was in Pearl Harbor and we was up to the ball field and that’s when a ship blew up down there. Something happened and a ship blew up and that was the last of it. We never did have enough time. I don’t know if you ever talked to anybody that ever had recreation on the Mogmog, the Ulithe group. They brought you off the ship.. so many in this place.. barbed wire around it. You waded in there and then they’d march you up in this other place. You got two cans of warm beer, you had to drink it there, but you got finished, just like cattle, but everybody talked about the recreation on Mogmog in Utile Two cans of warm beer.
Question: Do you remember what type of beer?
Answer: All kinds. Like at Pearl Harbor at the, what do they call that place, The Breakers? The was a USO place. Well everyday you go out there, they could make you hamburgers, they had a few girls there and you could dance and every day they’d have a different beer from all over the country and that was recreation at Pearl Harbor.
Question: My dad was in the navy air and he said if you take a sock and put your beer can in the sock and then dip it in the jet fuel and spin it around because it evaporates so fast it’ll cool that beer off for you. So Yankee ingenuity was pretty amazing sometimes but, what did you do for fun because I know there is battle time and then there is just a lot of
Answer: You just talk you know, talk and BS and play cards. After chow and everything cleaned off they put the tables down and they could play cards. They weren’t supposed to show any money see, had to use chips you know and huh play cards.
Question: So did they find away around that, did you get chips for money?
Answer: But then we had a couple of guys that were working together, card sharks, and we had the word anytime we saw them in a game they’d kick them out. They’d get in there and start raising each other see but we found that out,. And oh, at about that time the coloreds for officers had their own compartment but they weren’t allowed to come play cards at the mess hall. And so the guy in charge was master of arms he says what about if down in our compartment can we play cards until 10 o’clock when I turn the lights off and we’ll keep it quiet because there’s a guy sleeping in another guy sleeping in the compartment over here, white guy, you know and we’re not allowed up there and well we’d like to play cards, but I said sure. They’d clean it up. I’d go down just before I turned the lights off and they’d be cleaning it all up, no squawk, I said yeah.
Question: Was the ship segregated?
Answer: Just there yeah.. And then later on the coloreds started coming in their as regular stewards they called them, didn’t they, yeah, for officers. They took care of the officers. They had but
Question: What about music, can you remember favorite songs?
Answer: Some guys had banjos and that some guys.
Question: When you think back is there a song that comes into your head or is it?
Answer: There was the guy from Texas. He sang that damn yellow rose of Texas and we were about ready to kill him. Yellow Rose.. he kept singing that thing. Oh we used to the south and the north, we used to battle the old civil war you know. Yea, we had quite a few guys from the south you know and we’d kind of razz one another over it about the battle battles. We got along though.
Question: That Civil War still ain’t over. Now the people that were on the raft with you, do you know today who any of those people were?
Answer: No. I’ve asked them if they remember. Some guys were in that group; I don’t know how many rafts there was in that next group I was in. There were 4 or 5 rafts I think. You know I never did see those rafts come to my eyes. I never did see those. I could hear them but I couldn’t see them. In fact, I got in trouble. One officer sometime I didn’t like what he said I said oh forget the Gaul darned gold braid out here, we’re all the same. He says if we ever get picked up I’m going to have you court marshaled. Shark didn’t care if you was.. and I mean everybody out there wanted to be alive, right, that’s the way I looked at it.
Question: Some people want to keep protocol or try to keep rank?
Answer: Oh yea, in fact this one officer when that plane landed.. That PBY marks landed, that by that busted up.. you know they tied all the. He said next one that starts swimming towards that plane I’m going to have court marshaled. And here’s guys out there.. what a stupid thing to say, here’s guys that the shark’s been nipping at them, they’ve been out there and they want to get out of the water and this and that, and he makes a stupid statement. He even wrote that in a book and bragged about it and I figured hey I mean that’s it. We had good officer support. We got good ones. We had some other.. the worst we got these ones that flunked flight school, came aboard, they were. I remember we was out in the Aleutians and the army navy game and we were cheering for the army, one officer came by and he said what’s this? That isn’t our team that’s your team. Gerri and walks away. That’s the way I was, I was just. You don’t know my dad, you know when I went down to go to boot camp, he comes and says, well you’re good for something after all. I was twenty-one, I was living at home you know.
Question: It changed a lot of young kid’s lives. I mean.
Answer: A lot of the kids.. lot of my friends I went to school with and grew up with, they joined CCC camps. They said that was the best thing that ever happened to them. When I got on the fire department now this one battalion chief he said the best group of men I ever saw in the fire department was all you guys that came out of service because you had some discipline you knew. Yea. They should have kept the draft. They should have kept the draft.
Question: It might come back.
Answer: These kids don’t know nothing they don’t know how to take orders. The teachers are afraid of them. They are.
Question: Yea.
Answer: I went to Catholic school you know when I was still a little. You’re there that teacher box your ears so don’t come home and tell me you come home and get boxed again.
Question: I went to the Episcopal school and it was a little softer than that, but it was still yes or no ma’am. Now when you get together with other survivors?
Answer: We talk. That’s when you find out about your friends.. and you find out about all the other stuff. You find out the guys talking about.. you know.. seeing these guys and the sharks you know. I was lucky I didn’t get to see that. The sharks coming up in the.. seen their friends, scream and all.. the blood and that.
Question: When you get together is it refreshing, is it like counseling session where you have something in common ‘cause I never been where you been.
Answer: I want to know about this guy what happened you know. There’s a million stories, just like one guy, the reporter said you know this is interesting he says. All you guys got different stories. Naturally you know, we was in different places and different things happen. Just goes on and on. You go back there and you find out more and more. You find out more of what happened. Every time I read a book, I learn more. But its sure married. After I got married and was in the fire department this thing my mind was off of it. It didn’t come back until that first book was written. I read that book and then whew. Then from then on all this stuff starts coming and it’s all coming back.
Question: And a lot of veterans did that. They came back to run the country, raise a family and put World War II behind.
Answer: Then I got drunk quite a bit too.
Question: Before and after.
Answer: In fact, nightmares.. it got so bad later I thrashed so my wife says I’ve got to get a different bed. This was after I read that book and all this stuff started coming back. She says you thrash around in bed all the time. You’re going to break my nose or something. She said I’ll have to get another bed because all this stuff comes back.
Question: Do you still face that?
Answer: I go on the ferry over to Bremerton to see a couple of guys and you know, I like to look at the scenery and that… and lot of times when I just start staring at that water.. and I’ve got, got I’ve got to look up at the trees.
Question: Certain things like that will trigger it?
Answer: Then at night when I’m laying in bed all of a sudden.
Question: Is it movie in your head or?
Answer: Sometimes.
Question: What about smells? Because it seems like, you talked about being in the diesel being in the bunker fuel.
Answer: I smell diesel now it doesn’t. One thing gets me is why.. why is so much of it blank? Other guys I read their stories, they can remember a lot of stuff and I can’t.
Question: When you read stories does that trigger things and bring back?
Answer: Then you start thinking well what about. Some guys saw some real bad things you know.
Question: When you look back is it a bad memory, a good memory, or part of life?
Answer: Part of life I guess. Part of life. Things happen just like I tell people.. I get up every morning.. get my cup of coffee.. get my maple bar.. get the paper.. look the obit.. good my name ain’t in there I made it another day. Let’s go. I go from day to day.
I lost my wife about two years ago, but, I’m the youngest of six ok, my two older sisters, an older brother, died with MS and now my older daughter has got it. So I’ve seen a lot of you know, some people say, I said that’s life, things are happen. But some days things look so bleak and the next day you get up and everything is rosy. How many times does that happen. How many days you wonder how am I going to make it or what? I can remember going through the depression. My dad working in the fire department and getting $5 awards and $10 awards and (inaudible) wanted discounts and my mother saying she didn’t she we had to go, I don’t know if you remember John Cherbourg, he used to be lieutenant governor, his brother ran a grocery store on Queen Anne Hill and he says well, because it’s a big family, six of us kids you know, he told my mother, he says, I’ll give you food but I won’t discount you because. And then all these guys, I just went to two firemen that were seven or eight years younger than me, all these guys are dying younger than me, like all these guys, five in a month and a half, and about 100 of us left. How many will be left for the next reunion?
Question: Wow. Is that hard, to go back to the reunion and.
Answer: I kind enjoy, enjoy it, I look forward to it. Some of these guys you know, you find out more and more. Go back and have a good time. They take care of us back there. We have one guy that sets it up back there. He has people adopt us. In fact one year.. the owner of the Colts, there was 86 of us back there, he sent us all $1000 check and a jersey. This one guy takes care of our hotel bills back there at Indianapolis, and we got a national memorial.
Question: Wow. And you deserve that. I assume you just thought you were doing your job but yet what you did for our country I mean now 50 some years later we’re just beginning to more fully appreciate it.
Answer: You know was you on that ship? Yea. You were? I want to shake your hand. Thank you for what you did. The guy said, you know you’re a hero? I (inaudible). You know what you did, I think some people.. I think they are realizing what cause they are finding out what happened what could have happened. I tell some people you don’t know how lucky you are you aren’t speaking Japanese or German.
Question: It is interesting, when you were out there did you realize who your enemy was? I mean did you see your enemy as a person a country just those people?
Answer: Just those people, those slant eyes.
Question: Anybody shooting at us, we’ll shoot back.
Answer: Yea, that’s the way I understand it. They’re going to get me or I’m going to get them, that’s war you know that, but I was scared every time we went out. You know boy when you come back to the states; oh boy do we have to go out again? It was scary. You kind of figured we weren’t going to come back.
Question: Did we learn anything? Do you think there is a message from World War II for generations to come that we may never meet?
Answer: Never what?
Question: Well for future generations, for great great grandchildren that you’ll never meet, that I’ll never meet, is there a message for them for World War II?
Answer: War, war solves nothing we found that out. Right? What is it now for most of us now? It is religion. Isn’t it. I was raised a catholic you know, there was always that brotherly love, and here Ireland, the Catholics and the Protestants killing one another. I figure well, what the heck, and is there any truth in this. You know the big battle, the last big one is going to be down there in Israel and all this and you wonder, is there anything there, I don’t know. Here I was taught one thing and this stuff ain’t jiving out like I was taught right and they are finding out stuff.. history, scientists are finding a lot of this stuff that is there other people up there? When we go is that it, is that it?
Question: Well, the more we know the less we understand. You know.
Answer: I’ll find out when I get there, why worry about it and there is nothing I can do about it. We know we’re going to be here so long so I go to the horse races on the weekend, I go play bingo once in awhile, and I go to these deals, I do what I want to do from day to day, just enjoy it. My kids say. Go do what you want. You earned it, it’s not ours. Go do what you want to do. So I’m going to go to Indianapolis my next reunion coming up in April.
Question: Oh this April?
Answer: Yeah, sailors cruises association, it’s when I have the reunion at Indianapolis.
Question: That’ll be fun. Napa is beautiful. I love it. What did you think on 9/ll?
Answer: I couldn’t believe it. My daughter woke me up you know. It was on TV and I couldn’t believe it. What the heck, what they trying to do, are they nuts?
Question: Does that compare to, I know a lot of people said that will be my Pearl Harbor. Did you have the same feelings or is it different. Did you have the same feelings?
Answer: Pearl Harbor, I came home that morning, listened to the radio about Pearl Harbor you know, my mother came down the steps, and of course we knew our brother was in Pearl Harbor. I can remember the look on her face as she came down the steps. And I figured I’m going to join right now. That was it. Knew it wasn’t.. and this I figured ye Gods, now what? So, the feeling, you don’t know.. what’s going to happen next? Something is always coming up.
Like sports now I’m unhappy with sports the way it’s going. I think they ruined it and can’t they realize that they are ruining it, sports. Seventeen and a half million dollars now with six months of play. And these companies are crying they are losing money. Money is the ruination of everything I’ve found out. It is. Right? People kill their own parents for it. Money or oil. That is what Japan wanted needed oil?
Question: Which meant money, which meant commerce, which meant?
Answer: And now what they are doing all these companies moving overseas? This country is going to get bad you knock this factory out, the guy is out of work, how many guys below him are going to lose work and who benefits, the stock holders right now, but then later on. It’s just like the factory moves over seas they don’t pay those people enough to buy the thing, the people there are out of a job, they can’t buy it. I says can’t they see that? The heck with them, let’s take care of our own.
Question: Dominoes… Are you proud of your service?
Answer: Yes I am. Did what I did. As I read afterwards I found out what could have happened if we didn’t do this and then any time anybody goes in the service, I well, good for you. And I figured, do something for your country, everybody should. Even if you have one eye or one leg there is a desk job, there is a place, go serve 2 or 3 years. Everybody come out of high school go put 2 or 3 years in there or something.
Question: Well, you know it’s interesting, when we started this project, one of the big arguments is that the veterans just want to glorify war.
Answer: No.. no, it’s not. You watch that Private Murphy (Ryan) and the beach, gee and I saw that it looked so real, the arm and the leg.
Question: Private Ryan. Yeah, yeah.
Answer: Being aboard ship you know… And then firing right over the heads of the marines as they go ashore, you know. And then later on I remember off of Guam and Saipan and Tinian And these bodies come floating out. Japs and marines floating around, bloated you know. And then we’re setting there, we’re having a nice warm meal and those guys over there sitting in the pouring down rain, flies off of Guam, blue flies, and then they’re trying to eat K-rations and every so often so many would come out and we’d have them aboard ship and open the gedunk fountain and stuff.
Question: Did the marines and the navy get along at that point?
Answer: Aboard ship we got along. There was a little. But a.. But was is war is awful. But looking at these bombs they’ve got now they’ve got one they are going to build twice as big they are talking about that can blast through how many feet. Bomb explodes a foot above ground covers an area, kills everything. It’s like after the war you know.. They had all this deal when Russia got the A-bomb and that. God they got all upset here, build these underground deals, under the fire station we had first aid and all this stuff and we was supposed to take the rig out by Sea-Tac in the tunnel and I figured now wait a minute if they start dropping those A-bombs I says the ones we dropped was tiny compared to what we have now and once they start dropping those things I says that is the end. There is no defense against but here they.
Question: Yes, I remember the fall out drills, the civil defense, the times we’d practice hiding under our desk or we’d go down to the bomb shelter or we’d.
Answer: I said hey it’s ridiculous because you take a little one and now the one is ten, fifteen, twenty times bigger and they don’t know today if they start dropping if its going to be chain reaction. They don’t know. And look what they got now. Sub and they can pin point.
Question: Yea, I think it comes down to, almost every man I’ve talked to says that war is not the answer, but they don’t think it won’t happen again. It may be different, but to get everybody to get along is.
Answer: To get everybody to think right. You know, hey, this ain’t going to do nobody any good, but then you got some nuts but why can’t they all sit down together, all the leaders, and hash this over and say here, what’s going to happen, why can’t we sit down and live in peace cause we start these wars and destroys each others country. Blowing up cities, blowing up billions of people, can’t they get together, but then you always got a couple of nuts. It’s so darn simple. I wish I could run this country, I’d say let’s get all these guys, here ok, let’s use some common sense but no.
Question: And the sad thing is and people point this out, it is a couple of extremists, it’s soldiers fighting for one person whether it’s Hitler or Mussolini, or whoever, it’s not always the population that believes that way it’s a charismatic person who
Answer: And then they brainwash, that is the worst thing, brainwash, brainwash, no matter where you look you get brainwashed, you go to school you get brainwashed.
Question: Brainwash can be good and it can be bad.
Answer: Then some guys get fanatic about certain things. Maybe I’m fanatic about I want the navy. A couple of navy guys, the last old guy says you sticking up for the navy? One officer I was talking to was on one of the ships you know and he says what are you trying to do run us officers nose in the dirt, and I says no, that is the way I feel.

Other stories from those captured during World War II in the Pacific and lives as POWs that I recommend. It is just unfathomable what they went through…

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

– George Orwell

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