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War stories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Growing up in Nazi Germany

     

    "Most of the French [prisoners] were farmers (peasant) back in France and all came from small villages. Only one of them had a higher education; his name was Jean from Trouville near Bolbec. He had studied engineering and also spoke English fluently, a fact he had kept secret. Instead he passed himself off as a farmer, as he felt that he would be better off in the long run. One day he wrote me a note in English, asking if I would come and watch the next soccer game so that he could talk with me. ... he wanted to know if I had any connections to get him false papers and some civilian clothes from Berlin, as he was planning to escape. "  Read more.


  2. Forced labor for the Nazis

     

    "We were in a camp of 100 to 150 people. The watchman, he was a good guy too. You found bad and good. One day an airplane went over us high in circles. I said, 'Phil, tonight there's going to be trouble.' We came home, and the dogs started howling. At 12 o'clock, the bombs started."  Read more.


  3. Hard time in Germany during wartime

     

    "I was then about 12 to 13 years old and Adolf Hitler was always news on the radio and the newspaper. He was now our Reichs Fuehrer and we had to greet each other by raising our arm and saying 'Heil Hitler' instead of 'Good Morning.'"  Read more.


  4. Attack on Pearl Harbor

     

    "Mom came out of her bedroom with a gun in her hand. She had just heard on the radio that the Japs were landing on Waikiki Beach. We lived about a mile away. She said, 'Bonnie gets the first bullet, and then you get the next one. No Japs are touching you girls.'"  Read more.


  5. Getting to know baby

     

    "Pat was 2 years old at that time and pretty shy around Harold and would not let him hold her. ... She sat there sucking her thumb and twirling her hair, and suddenly got up, pushed the paper aside and climbed onto his lap. It was as if she decided, 'I guess he belongs to me,' and from then on, she was Daddy’s girl."  Read more.


  6. You're in the Army now

     

    "Upon my arrival at Fort Dix, life became hectic. You were treated awful. Do this, Do that, until you did everything their way. We got our physical, clothes, etc., and a test in a big room with all kinds of items and experiment and told us to find something we liked to do and gave us a time limit."  Read more.


  7. Occupation of Germany

     

    "I was assigned to Mannheim, Germany. I was first sergeant of a transportation company over there. I brought my wife and two children with me. We spent three years living there in a little village called Feudenheim, Germany. There we lived the life of Reilly. We had a maid, a gardener, everything. ... My children were only 3 and 4 then, and our maid was like a surrogate mother to them. It was one of the highlights of my Army career."  Read more.


  8. The calm at the 1939 World's Fair before the storm

     

    "The sun was setting near the Golden Gate to the West. I remember thinking that this was truly the nearest spot to Paradise on Earth. But strangely, I felt a chill and the thought engulfed me that something or some time was coming to an end. It was as if we were not only saying goodbye to our beloved fair, but to an entire era in time."  Read more.


  9. Aircraft carrier life during the Korean War

     

    "When we were flying from the carrier, we had to load the rockets with the wings folded. That meant one had to stand on a wheel, put one arm around the exposed 20mm cannon for stability, and with the other arm lift the rocket to the launcher. They weighed about 100 pounds. On one occasion, I had just gotten the rocket in the launcher when the gun plumber, who was working on the gun around which my arm was, cranked off a round. I fell to the deck and suddenly I was having an out-of-the-body experience."  Read more.