Army Life – Dave on Okinawa (4) – June, 1945

The following was recorded with Dave about his memories of Trumbull and his military service. He is speaking of going on to Okinawa.

When we were ready to go in, my Sergeant, who was a buddy of mine, came up to me and he said, “Dave, I have a special assignment for you.”, and I said, “What’s that?” He said, “When we get on land, your job is to bunk with and take care of Marvin.” Now Marvin King was a guy who was so stupid he wasn’t bright enough to get a Section 8 and get out. I can remember whenever we were on the ship and they called out the anchor detail, he would run to the side and start throwing up. We hadn’t even moved yet, and he was already seasick. My job was to take care of him. When we got to Okinawa, finally landed, we dug ourselves a little two-man foxhole. I was bunking with Marvin. My job at that point was to go and get water and the mail – –ho, ho, ho…. there wasn’t any mail – and bring it back to the company. Now some time had gone by and Marvin and I were in close quarters. Needless to say, there was not a lot of friendship between the two of us. So anyway, one night, near dawn, a plane came over and obviously was hit. It was a Japanese plane, he was hit and so he was jettisoning his bombs which were small 25-pound anti-personnel bombs. One guy didn’t believe in being in a hole, so he was in a hammock. When he woke up in the morning, he looked up, put his hat on and realized that half of the visor was gone. So, needless to say, he decided he was going to sleep in a foxhole. That morning, when I went to get water, I went alone. I usually went alone. When I came back the hole that we had dug was now two levels – one level where I was and one deeper level where Marvin was. It was very, very easy to dig, like clay, no stones like we get in Connecticut, so it was easy to dig out but he wasn’t about to dig me a place, so I was one level above him.

But anyhow, between the time of August 25th and September 7th when they signed the Treaty, I left Okinawa and went down to Manila. Here I am now – the war is over – all I have to do is go home and they’re shipping me out in a plane to Manila. The pilot spent about 20 minutes, maybe, trying to start one engine and I said to myself, “I’m going to die in the ocean and the war is over.” Anyhow, we got to Manila. That was quite a sight – buildings where the first floor was completely gone and five or six or seven stories would be on top of it, canted…. all kinds of destruction. If you went into City Hall and looked up, you’d see a room with curtains on the windows. That was MacArthur’s headquarters. So he had curtains on his windows and the Filipinos were watching dead bodies float down the river.

That reminds me of another story. I had a friend who had a friend who was MacArthur’s driver, chauffeur, and this guy said that whenever MacArthur went in someplace, he’d always get one of these oriental houses where there was a porch all the way around the building. He had his staff come up and sit in chairs around the building. He’d go up to the first one and say, “Give me a your report”. It might be a question, it might be a problem, or it might just be a report. Then he’d go around the whole building, see the whole staff, all giving him these questions. Then he’d get in his car and tell my friend’s friend, “Drive me”. They’d drive around and pretty soon MacArthur would say, “OK, let’s go back.” Then he’d say, “You,- – – blah, blah, blah. You, – – –  blah, blah, blah.” He went all around the whole thing telling each one of his staff members what to do about his problem. What a brain. There shouldn’t be enough room in there for an ego, but there was.

Tomorrow, I’ll post a letter from Biss to her big brother, Ced, in Alaska.

Judy Hardy




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