These are the memories of my Father and his siblings, recorded over several years. When my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that I had better get started recording the memories of Dan’s siblings before they were also gone. I was able to have two recording sessions with my Father, Lad in California; two with Uncle Ced in New Hampshire, a three-day cruise in our boat with Aunt Biss; one session with Uncle Dave in Stratford, CT and one hand-written session (I forgot my tape recorder going up to the Island in New Hampshire, where Uncle Dick lived) with Uncle Dick. I transcribed them once exactly as they were spoken, again removing the ums, ahs, half sentences started over, etc. I then produced a final copy that was easier to read, but it still needs work getting the chronological order correct. Memories are not recorded with a date stamp. I created 75 binders for family members which include all three translations, pages and pages of photos and memorabilia and the actual recording. Now family members can actually heat their ancestors speaking. It was my first project with all the material my Father saved for me and a true Labor of Love. I hope you enjoy these memories of A Slice of Life at a different time and place.
David Peabody Guion
The Beginning (56) Childhood Memories of Trumbull(56) – Dave and World War II
DAVE – After Missouri, I got shipped out. So when it was time to leave ….. We were a Company – I can’t get away from radio – we were a company that, when we got overseas, we were supposed to police the other nets (networks), conversations between one company and another or one unit and another. The guys that were the operators really hated that. The guys really hate doing that because they felt like they were spying on their fellow soldiers.
For some reason or other they decided to send an advance party so there were twelve of us plus three officers. We shipped out quickly – very short notice – and went up to Ft. Lewis outside Seattle. We went from there to Hawaii. We were on a different ship after we left Hawaii – and we went down across the equator. I got the full initiation when we crossed the equator. A tank of water was set up on deck. You would have water dumped over you again and again until you yelled, “Shellback”. A Shellback is one who has crossed the equator for the first time. Now, I’ve always, even to this day, been afraid of the water. That was an ordeal for me. After the dunking, you had to run down a long line of Shellback’s that had paddles or rolled towels and they would hit you with them as you went by. I forgot to say you had nothing on but underpants. So that was my initiation into being a Shellback after having crossed the equator.
We got down to Ulithi, (https://www.warhistoryonline.com/world-war-ii/hidden-ulithi-naval-base.html) which was a weird sounding name, and they started talking about someplace called Okinawa. They said, “We are going to Okinawa and we are going to invade Okinawa.” At dawn they were going to send in a flotilla to the center of the island but the real invasion would be on the other end of the island, further up. I said to myself, “What kind of outfit would do something as stupid as this? Why did they think the feint would work?” I was attached to Army headquarters at this point, at least our company would be when they got there. What happened was that the feint worked so well that we were supposed to go in, I think it was the third day, we were supposed to land. We didn’t plan for ten days because the Americans went through so fast that they left us behind. They couldn’t afford to have us valuable people in Army headquarters get shot. So, we didn’t get in for some time. 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 that he wasn’t bright enough even 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 was no 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 foxhole, 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, I was one level above him.
Tomorrow, I will finish the week with one more post of The Beginning, Childhood Memories of Trumbull.