WORLD WAR II
Oral History Interview with Guilford M. Wiley, Jr.

Previous Next World War II Exhibit Page Home Search
Record 12/959
Copyright Oshkosh Public Museum
Image
Enlarge Image
Image
Enlarge Image
Image
Enlarge Image
Admin/Biog History Guilford "Bud" M. Wiley Jr. served in Company C, 17th Armored Infantry Battalion, 12th Armored Division, during World War II. He saw action in the European Theater of Operations and was wounded on April 12, 1945.
Classification Archives
Collection World War II Oral History Project
Dates of Accumulation 2001 - 2001
Abstract Oral history interview with Guilford Wiley by Brad Larson for the Oshkosh World War II project. Mr. Wiley discusses his experiences in the 12th Armored Division.

TRANSCRIPT
Interviewee: Guilford ("Bud") Wiley, Jr. (W)
Interviewer: Brad Larson (L)

Interview on October 17, 2000

L: The war had been raging for a while before December 7th [1941]. Do you recall any thoughts you might have had about the war?

W: Well, my dad was Superintendent of Schools in LaCrosse [Wisconsin] and I remember that when Germany invaded Austria he said, that's the start. That made an impression on me, I was pretty much a kid then, wasn't really conscious of what was going on in China.

L: But what about if we carry it through after Great Britain declared war and France fell?

W: Well, there was this big discussion about Lend Lease and so on and so forth, but when you're in High School that doesn't make a big impression on you. I remember the discussion was about the 50 destroyers going to England. That was the first really big piece of Lend Lease.

L: Do you think your thoughts were mirrored by the other kids in your class. Your other High School companions. Did they have any similar thoughts on that?

W: Ya, but it didn't really impact anybody until Pearl Harbor.

L: Well what happened in Pearl Harbor. That day came and what happened with you and what did you think?

W: Well it was a Sunday and I'd been out skiing and came home about 5:00 and heard the news and it was pretty sobering because we figured that would affect an awful lot of people for an awful long time. Before that this Chamberlain going to Munich and so forth and I think a lot of people thought that we were going to avoid a war with Germany. Because the Chamberlain government was pretty much of a pacifist government and they were just pretty much plain giving the store away.

L: So how about when Germany and Italy declared war on the United States?

Well this was after Pearl Harbor so everyone realized that it was going to happen after that.

L: How old would you have been at that time?

W: Seventeen

L: So what were thoughts on the draft, patriotism, or, there was a big flood of Americans rushing to enlist after Pearl Harbor. Here you are a seventeen-year-old boy - what were your thoughts on that?

W: Well, I remember the first one that I knew that rushed out to enlist was a kid by the name of Amundson. He was a Marine on the [USS] Arizona at Pearl Harbor and I visited Pearl Harbor afterwards and I didn't see his name and I was wondering if I was mistaken. Well the second time I went to Pearl Harbor they had the Marines at a seperate place, their names were on a seperate place on the plaque,
and he was the first Marine on the list. I thought he was kind of; I was surprised when he enlisted anyway. We graduated in June and he enlisted right away and he was dead in December.

L: So were there a lot of people rushing to enlist?

W: Not really, no.

L: Well, what did you know at the time of what was happening over in Europe with the concentration camps or what the Japanese were doing to the Chinese. Did you know any of that? Had you heard anything?

W: Didn't hear anything until '45 and then there were rumors around that there was these big, well they called them slave labor camps rather than concentration camps, that, and we didn't have any idea that it was as bad as it was ¾ just thought they were really using people as slave labor. I wasn't really conscious of what it was until I was at Dauchau about ten days after it was liberated and it was [pause] ¾ They were stopping everyone on the road and saying you have to see this. And they were conducting sightseeing tours in there for people. What impressed me is even ten days after [the war ended], I mean the whole town had ashes all over the place. I mean, the German civilians that lived outside the walls of the concentration camps said we didn't have any idea of what was going on. Baloney. They knew, they were just ignoring it.

L: As a combat infantryman you saw a lot of awful things but how, going into that camp, how did it affect you?

W: Didn't shock me particularly, I mean it was bad but mainly made me mad. I mean, just irritated me. I'm pretty intolerant of what went on in Germany and everybody said they didn't know. They all knew they took it to heart that they were the super race.

L: When you first heard about these slave labor camps did you believe what was said or did you believe it was exaggerated or propaganda? Do you have thoughts about that?

W: We didn't really pay that much attention to it. The first time we bumped into it actually somebody had liberated one and there was all kinds of Polish workers and so forth guys that were half starved and so forth and they showed up looking for food and that's when we actually heard about it. Before it was only rumor.

L: Well in listening to some of the other tapes [Wiley had brought two tapes, done at a previous time, for the interviewer to listen to] and to me it was very interesting. You were talking about your training and deployment and shipping overseas and I was wondering if you want to talk about that a little bit.

W: Well just historically, I was a sophomore in engineering school at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and they had ¾ anybody that skied heard about the ski troops and I decided that's what I wanted to do. By that time there were no enlistments but you could take a voluntary draft and if you took a voluntary draft they guaranteed that you'd go to the ski troops. So that's what I did in March of '43 and tossed over my deferment and went to Ft. Sheridan and got on the train expecting to go to Camp Hale in Colorado and woke up at Camp McClelland in Alabama. This was in March and it was already hot down there. They didn't tell you anything. We went through basic infantry training down there. But they didn't say anything about getting transferred but in May about six of us, a couple of boys from Wausau. One of them was Joe Dusky [spelling?], actually there is a Dusky trail up there at Rib Mountain named for him because he got killed in the 10th [Mountain Division] but about six of us went to Camp Hale in Colorado. Now Camp Hale is in a valley at about 10,000 feet and everything is up from there. And it was really a neat outfit because they; it was composed primarily of kids who had been in college out east and mountain guides and professional ski instructors and it really was an intelligent outfit. When you went in the Army they give you kind of a half-baked intelligence test that they called a Army Ground Classification test. And a regular infantry division would probably test at about 75 on it, had to have 110 to go to OCS, the whole Mountain Division tested at a 129.





L: Holy Smokes

W: There wasn't a vehicle in the thing [Mountain Division]. There was pack artillery on mules and everybody else walked. And they always said the biggest problem they had was they couldn't hide the 10th Mountain Division 'cause all you had to do was follow the horse shit. But, I liked that outfit but I decided that I'd just as soon go back to school so I put in for Army specialized training and if they took you, you went back to engineering school and it was an accelerated course every 3 months would cover almost a year in regular engineering school, so in less than a year and half you covered four years of engineering. And I got assigned to Texas Tec at Lubbock, Texas and it was a real tough academic course but if you could keep your grades above 90 you didn't have any Army discipline at all. Do whatever you want. It was like going to college practically. It was a good program if you wanted an education. But in March of '44 they decided they didn't need that many engineers the war was gonna; what they needed was ground troops. So they threw everybody in the nearest combat division so they had probably the most intelligent guys in the army. I ended up in the infantry and I went to Abilene Texas. 12th Armored Division was there and they had been together for about a year and half had a full compliment of officer and noncoms. The night before we got there the captain of the company called all the noncoms together and said we got 60 smart college kids coming in here in the morning all looking to take your stripes away, so treat them accordingly. And it was murder from March to September when we sailed for overseas. I mean life was miserable. There was no real reason for that. We left New York in September, had a couple of nights in New York before we left, had a pretty good time. Saw the Andrews Sisters one night and then I saw Mae West in "Catherine the Great." She was 55 at that time but I didn't think anybody was that old but she put on a pretty good show. We sailed to England on a big convoy, there was over a hundred ships. We sailed on a thing called the Empress of Australia, which was really built during World War I to be the Kaiser's Victory Ship. It was suppose to hold about 2,000 passengers and, well actually about 2,000 all together counting the crew and passengers, and when we sailed there was something over 15,000 on the whole thing. We had our own equipment with us and we were expecting to land in France and go right to combat but the American Army broke out of St. Lo and they lost a lot of tanks and so forth so they took our equipment to the 4th Armored Division and landed us in England to wait for resupply. So we landed in France at La Harve about the middle of October, maybe it was little later than that, but we didn't see combat until the 5th of December.

L: Well thinking about combat at that time, in reading some of the other interviews, like what Stephen Ambrose has done, he's had some observations about folks thinking about combat. Do you recall what you thought about entering combat for the first time?

W: Well, I was pretty naïve. I mean, we thought we had the best equipment and we didn't think there would be any question we'd just go in and take whatever was there. Had no idea how snafu'd things get in combat. I mean, you had maneuvers. In the states and so forth and there is a difference between blanks and live ammunition. (laugh) So going in we weren't too worried really. What we moved into this little town called Binning Barracks [spelling?] and it was an L- shaped French town just short of the Maginot Line and we relieved the 26th Division. They held one part of the L and the Germans had the other. We came in about 10:30 at night, colder than the dickens, and we took up our positions and the next morning a couple of us were sent back to company headquarter and among other things were bringing some water back and the sun came up, started to come up, and the first thing I saw were about five or six dead soldiers lying around and they were all Americans. No Germans. Like fellas run up on the porch bang down the door and got shot down right on the spot. So that was kind of sobering. It looked like all the casualties were Americans not Germans. And they had a sniper up in the tower [who was] shooting at us but that's when I realized shooting someone with a rifle at any distance is a lot harder than it looks. When they are running or something it is hard to hit them. And we stayed a couple of nights at those frozen . . . ; or in that stationary positions, and the next afternoon about 1:00 they said we are going to attack that part of the town that the Germans held. And we moved out and things started getting a little hotter. From then on after we took that L part of the town, this shows how snafu'd things get, we chased the Germans out of town on the far end, and when our boys got to the town limits there was suppose to be a flare go up so that the tankers and stuff up on the hills wouldn't shoot anybody that came out the other end of town. Well I don't know I wasn't - either the flare didn't get fired or the tankers didn't see it because the first big bunch of casualties we got, about four or five, were by our own tanks. The thing that struck me that day is that I had a friend by the name of Larthy [?]. He was from Pennsylvania and he was just a nice kid and he was first scout in the rifle squad I was in, and that is the absolute worst place in an infantry squad, is the scout. And the second scout was a fella from Texas by the name of Goodman [spelling?] who was just kind of. Well, he was real Texan. But in any case, Larthy came to me the day before the attack and says, 'I just don't feel real confident with Goodman in back of me would you mind trading with him?' So I traded. And on the first attack, Larthy was ahead of me and I never saw the guy that shot him, I was suppose to be covering him but I never saw the guy that shot him; shot him through the elbow. And the first thing I knew he was hit he came, he was probably 20 yards from me, he got up and got hit and came running back and says, 'Where's the Battalion Aid Station?' And I said, 'I didn't know, but back there some place.' And this has bothered me ever since. Number one, I didn't do him any good after he had asked to have me there, and number two, my first thought when I saw him was, 'Jeez, you lucky son of gun, you're out of it.'

And I got trench foot about a week later and went to the hospital for a little while and while I was back there I found out that Larthy died. He went into shock and died. I couldn't believe it. I was ….[long, insightful pause] Made an impression.

L: As a scout your job was to be the first one out there, is that what a scout does?

W: Yes, a scout is kind of a romantic name for being the first one there. The first one they start shooting at.

L: So had you thought the Germans were on the run prior to this first combat experience?

W: No, they were dug in. They held the Maginot Line and they'd been there for a while and once infantry is dug in they are really hard to get out. So they were a long ways from beaten at that point. That's December of '44.

L: When we spoke last week you mentioned that the Germans had some pretty good equipment.

W: They did. Their tanks were far superior to ours. The fact is, our tanks were faster and we had a mechanical device for turning the turret so our boys would always get the drop on them, but they were so heavily armored in front that the shell just ricocheted off. And the German 88-mm tank guns. I don't know what the velocity was but it was about twice ours and we ¾ so our boys had to either get around the side or back of them or they didn't have a chance and that's hard to do. Also their machine guns were a lot better than ours. Fired a lot faster. The thing, we had two weapons that were better than theirs. Our standard M1 Garand rifle was better than theirs. They had a lot of bolt action rifles and ours were semi automatics, meaning you had to pull the trigger each time but there were eight shots in the clip, so a lot faster than a bolt action rifle. And also they could be dirty as the dickens, all full of mud and everything else, and they'd still fire. And we had a .50 caliber machine gun that was a terrific weapon. Fact is, a couple nights ago I tuned into The History Channel and they were talking about modern day weapons, oh maybe it was 60 Minutes, they were talking about equipment we had and here was that same .50 caliber gun still being used today.

L: It sounds like you put it to quite a bit of use in combat.

W: There weren't many of them, that was the worst part. There should have been; a tank had one on top, and actually the armored half tracks that we rode in each had a ring mount on them. Ordinarily we had a water-cooled .30 there or maybe an air-cooled .30, but if we ever found any disabled tanks we always took the .50 off it. But there weren't a whole lot of .50s.

L: So here you are now in December and learning that things are not quite as you thought they might be and Battle of the Bulge comes along.

W: Well, we weren't even aware of it [Battle of the Bulge] as far as that goes. The Battle of Bulge, it was sort of reported over there like they were having a tough time up north and a couple of units were surrounded and help was on the way. And there wasn't anything as dramatic as reported I just think the publicity happened to settle there because it was a dramatic defense, I don't think it was a whole lot different than any other combat. But, and then when the Germans were repulsed up there they came south and hit us. That's when we really took a pounding. But talking about things being snafu'd, we went into combat in the coldest winter in 25 years in Europe and you had leather boots that were not waterproof and trench foot was a real problem. We lost about 20 % of the guys to trench foot the first month. In fact, I went back for two weeks with trench foot. I was lucky. A lot of guys lost part of their legs and stuff. But it comes from feet being cold and wet and impairing the circulation. Well I was just about ready to go back to my outfit and I came around the corner and bumped right into General Patch who was the 7th Army commanding officer. He had about 10 guys with him and he looked at me and I think he thought I was a malingerer or something because he looked at me and said, 'What's wrong with you soldier?" I says, 'Just going back to my unit after trench foot.' He says, 'How did you get trench foot?' Said, 'Those lousy boots you people have.' Says, 'What do you mean? Those are good leather boots and everything.' And I says, 'They aren't waterproof and that's why you got so many guys in here with trench foot.' I says, 'I came from the 10th Mountain Division originally and they had something called a shoepack which was leather on the top and rubber on the bottom with a felt insole and that takes care of the problem. But I don't know if there are any of those around.' And he told the major with him to make a note of that. And about three weeks later we all got shoe packs. And come to find out, it's in the Citizen Soldiers book, where those shoepacks they were back in Paris and the service troops were wearing them. And it wasn't exactly where they should have been.

L: Small things like that make a big difference when you're on the front lines.

W: Well that probably took 60 guys out of the company

L: How long were in the line then? From the time you were there in the first part of December, was there any relief for you?

W: The armored divisions …

[At this point the interviewer flipped the tape to Side 2. In so doing, he did not realize that it would erase or garble parts of Side 1. So that this point, Side 1 begins to be garbled for a short time. The story that was related in this garbled part was how Wiley had been riding on a tank. He usually was in the .50 caliber ring mount of the half-track, but this day he decided to ride on the back of the tank. His squad was in the half-track behind the tank. The column came up to a town that was, unknown to them, the location/headquarters for a panzer division. A German soldier in the ditch hit the half-track with a panzerfaust, totally destroying it. One friend burned to death right before his eyes. Of the 12 men in his squad, Wiley was the only one to escape without injury, although he had many bullet holes through his clothes. The photo that is part of this interview shows those twelve men and lists the men killed during this attack. I also asked Mr. Wiley if they had time to think of what was happening on the Homefront back in America. He replied that everyone just "took it for granted" that everyone was working to the utmost. He also stated most emphatically that the only thing that mattered to the men at the front was what your buddies thought of you. Your friends were like one big family and you did things for your friends and what they thought really mattered. He also explained that replacements had a very difficult time because they didn't know anyone and they were just thrust into the unit and if they survived the first few days, it took weeks for them to become part of the group. Armored units, he explained, did not have it as bad as infantry units because armored units were only called up when needed. So they got to stay in houses and in relative comfort compared to infantry units.]





SIDE 2

L: Sounds like a terrible day. Really awful.

W: Well it was. I couldn't stop crying for about a half an hour. But I got over it and they give you replacements and whoever is left standing becomes the noncom. So I had a squad then. And the third thing that was kind of a shock was that on the 12th of April, this was not quite two weeks later, that's the day, incidentally, that President Roosevelt died. And it was also the day that my wife went into the Army Air Corp as a nurse. Anyway, the night before we had come into this German town and occupied it at about midnight. And we knew there were Germans in the area but we hadn't any problem. And the next morning our platoon and specifically my squad, was suppose to lead out. And I was up, about 7 o'clock in the morning I was up at company headquarters looking at the map and all of a sudden there was all this firing. And what had happened was there was a German barracks about 500 yards out in the - maybe it wasn't that far - anyway out in the field. And ¾ I don't know how many there were ¾ maybe a hundred of them, something like that, came marching down the rode with a white flag. And we'd been traveling a lot and we weren't getting any sleep and everyone was tired and that night we didn't dig, guys didn't dig in as well as the should have, and they got about right on top of our first fox holes and they threw down the flag and started firing. Their surrender flag and started firing. Well, they overran our first line of defense and I came out of the company headquarters, ran down the field, down the street towards where my squad was. The platoon lieutenant was right with me, and I laid down in the ditch on the left and started firing and he ran into the barn where the rest of the platoon was. Then he started getting them out of the barn where they could fire back and he got shot, he was just pulling his .45 pistol out of his hip holster, and he got shot in the hand. Blew a couple of his fingers off. But if it hadn't hit, ricocheted off his pistol, it would have killed him for sure. But anyway, I never saw the fellow but my buddies told me afterwards that he wasn't more than about 60 feet from me. German with a rifle. And he shot. And just as he shot I turned my head and the bullet came right through the front of the helmet and out the right side. It was on a slant downward and just left a dent on the rim of the helmet. And it bled right away, almost instantaneously. And I thought to myself, 'Jesus, he shot me right through the eye.' But I thought, 'That can't be or I wouldn't be thinking about this.' And my friends they saw him and finished him off so. We started the attack from there but because I was hit in the head and I had a terrific headache, I wasn't really hurt I just - But they, the platoon lieutenant and I and the rest of the guys that got nicked that day were in the ambulance and they started the attack that I was suppose to take and a boy by the name of John Cook from Appleton took my squad and he got killed about 10:30 that morning by a mortar burst out in the field. So I kinda felt I was living on borrowed time. The whole squad got wiped out on the 31st of March and where I should have been on the 12th of April the guy got killed so I thought I was about out of luck. So I was real relieved the war was over while I was still in the hospital.

L: While you were up there on the line on those days had you thought the war was coming to a close?

W: By March we did. Yes. Because we really - it was sporadic. Nothing would happen for half a day and then you'd run into a bunch of them that thought they could still win the war so . . .

L: Did it surprise you that they were still fighting with such …

W: It did when we really ran into a pocket of them. Because it was pretty obvious it was useless. They didn't have any air corp. We had fighter planes all over the place. Lots of times you could look right and left and there'd be American armor in the distance.

L: Well now, I guess maybe we'll move into some thoughts on the war in retrospect. You had some terrible experiences there…

W: Well the thing that, I think the thing that I am proud of is that any of my friends that survived they all, the squad that I went over with, twelve guys, everyone had one Purple Heart so. . . After the war I went back to school and got out of the Army in December went back to school in March I got married in September. Following April, I was diagnosed with service-connect TB [tuberculosis]. I'd had a Mannto (sp?) test just before I went into the Army down at Madison and didn't have any TB bug then but that proved I got it some place in the Army. And I spent five and a half years in a Veterans Hospital with that TB. They didn't know quite how to cure it then. And during that period of time, all the guys that I knew well took their vacations and brought their wives and came to see my in the hospital. I mean that, that really pleased me. But I think in retrospect, we really should pay more attention to world economics and so forth. War is nothing but wholesale robbery is what it is. And robbery is caused by economics. So the diplomats, it's a shame that diplomats are politicians. There is a difference. Politicians are concerned with themselves and getting themselves reelected and career jobs. I don't say all politicians are self-centered but it sure gives them an opportunity to be. And I really don't think that they get the big picture. There should be some way of - war never settles anything.

L: Well, do you think the public's perception of World War II had changed over the years? Do you think it is looked at differently now than in the past, and if so how might it be looked at differently?

W: Well, when you came home after the war it was a big euphoria after the war because it had been a just cause and we won and so it was - Since then, and this is what bothers you, I think people have forgotten what caused it. I'm not interested in people knowing what happened in the war but I think it's important they know what caused it. That's the only way you avoid it in the future. The big mistake in, before World War II in my opinion, is all signs were there that Hitler was out of control but nobody did anything about it until it started and by that time when the war started, Germany had one hell of a military machine. Germans like to fight. [laugh]

L: So what should we be telling these kids today? If our educational thing goes through the way we hope it does, what should we be conveying to these students today about the war?

W: I think there ought to be more emphasis in school on economics because that's a bug with me. I think economics runs the world. It determines what happens. And this aid we give to countries I don't think it's accompanied with a rational expectation. Helping countries help themselves is - I think we tend to dish it out indiscriminately. You can't, like right now in Jerusalem, nobody really wants peace over there. You can say what you want, but they don't. Particularly the Arabs. don't. And they got a beef. They got kicked out after World War II. The Jews got a beef because they were mistreated in the Holocaust and so forth. But in my opinion and just getting right down to it, it was a real big mistake to establish the state of Israel right there. I don't see any real good reason why they couldn't have established the state of Israel where there weren't any other people. The Jewish people are tremendously capable and ambitious and intelligent. They could have started a state in the middle of South American and it would be an absolute paradise now and they could go over the visit the Holy sites and so forth but they didn't need to have the government there. Fact is, I bumped in, about ten years ago I bumped into a Jewish fella that had come from Palestine and he was had a school learning ornamental ironwork. And I had just read a book called The Haach (SP?) about the situation there I asked him if that were accurate. And he said about 85%. I said, well that book was pretty darn believable about a solution over there. He says, well, he says, got a problem. He says, the people who established
Israel, and the first generation after them, felt so passionately about it, but my generation, he was about 35 then, really don't want to fight. We don't want to fight all our lives. He says, and the way the Arabs look at it, it's black and white. Either they rule or they are ruled, and they can live with either one. But they can't live in the middle when they aren't the rulers and think they can be. They're going to keep after it. I says, well what's the solution? And he says, maybe we should leave, referring to the Jewish people. Now that was a real shock when a Jewish boy himself said that. And I'm not so sure as what he's right. Now that won't get any votes for Hillary, I'll tell you that, but … [laugh]

L: You know, I have a tremendous respect for all those folks, the World War II generation like yourself, just tremendous respect. And I'm wondering if you have thoughts about your generation and what you did.

W: Well, it was a different time and you're talking about this generation maybe being soft and that, I think they are a little a little softer because there's no reason not to be. Life's been pretty good. But if they were put to the test they'd pass it for sure. There's no problem with that. But every time when things are too easy people like - it's just natural. So I'm not down on this generation I don't think they're any different than our generation but they just haven't had the same call, that's all. But it really does bother me, but I don't know what you do about the economics in the world. The haves and the have nots are always going to fight about resources.

L: Well as we wind up here is there anything else that you want to add or talk about?

W: Not particularly. I talked a lot.

L: It's been a good interview. A real good interview.

W: Well, I am a little surprised and real happy to see that your getting some stories about World War II because they are disappearing pretty fast and I know, I never had any idea of what happened in World War I. They talk about kids being ignorant about World War, that's not their fault. There is one thing that does bother me. I should have brought this up before, this revisionist history bothers me a lot. And I think it's all through our educational system. Because people dislike war so much they rationalize that it shouldn't have happened and the things that it took to win the war shouldn't have happened, like the atomic bomb. Well there was no question in 1945 when that bomb dropped that that was the thing not ¾ it was the thing to do. This revisionist thing afterward saying it was a terrible thing to do, well baloney. Saved a lot of Japanese lives and it saved a lot of American lives, got it over with quick and it was too bad for those people that were there but then, so the same number of people died in incendiary bombing in Germany and so forth. It just didn't happen in a half an hour, that's all. It was more dramatic. But I gave a talk in Atlanta to my grandson's seventh grade class and the first two questions I got bothered me a lot. What do you think about the atomic bomb? Well this is a planted question from the educational system no question about it. And the intonation was negative, that is should never have happened. And the second thing was, what did you think of the imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Well, it wasn't imprisonment. They were confined, but it wasn't like being in prison. The whole family was there, they weren't starving. It was like everyone else, their life was sort of on hold. And I think most of those people themselves felt that way. They didn't feel really nearly as negative as the sobbing hearts in this country were for them. We panicked and who knows, I mean the Japanese had attacked us at Pearl Harbor, how did we know what was going to happen? And everybody was … it shouldn't have happened, but it did. And it wasn't the end of the world. So, people that say these things shouldn't have happened in war have no idea of what goes on in war. When you're in war you win, that's all. And you're not going to do - there's no way of pussyfooting around it. This idea that we've been fighting wars in Desert Storm and Kosovo and stuff and the whole measure of our success is that we don't lose any men. Well what the hell that isn't the way it goes. It's really stupid.

L: I have a question. I did an interview last week with a gal and she was an army nurse and she said that at times there were difficulties between men in service and men on the Homefront who were working in production factories. Men on the Homefront earning a lot of money, war industries, the guys in service a private earning $21 a month. And she said that there were sometimes when there was a little bit of tension there. Did you ever recall anything like that?

W: Not really because once you went in the Army all you ever got was a week's furlough or something and you didn't have time to be messing around with somebody. I could see on an individual basis if a guy left a girl at home and came back on furlough and she was dating somebody in the factory then I could see an individual thing, but I don't think that was a real big item.

L: Did you get a sense during the war that again, aside from the fact that you were in relative isolation in the Army camp, but did you sense that everyone in the nation was pulling together to get this terrible job done?

W: Yes, sure. I mean I didn't have any question about that. So I don't think that was a big item.

L: Well Mr. Wiley, that's all I have.

W: Well, thank you.

L: Thank you.
Event World War II
Category 6: T&E For Communication
Legal Status Photographs, Copyright Bud & Pat Wiley
Permission to use is on file
Object ID OH2001.3.2
Object Name Tape, Magnetic
People Wiley, Guilford M., Jr.
Subjects World War II
European Theater of Operations
United States Army
Armored vehicles
Tanks (Military science)
Soldiers
Title Oral History Interview with Guilford M. Wiley, Jr.
COPYRIGHT INFORMATION ~ For access to this image, contact scross@ci.oshkosh.wi.us

NOTICE: This material may be freely used by non-commercial entities for educational and/or research purposes as long as this message remains on all copied material. These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format for profit or other presentation without the permission of The Oshkosh Public Museum. © 2005 Oshkosh Public Museum, All Rights Reserved   
Last modified on: December 12, 2009