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Record 25/959

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Oral history interview with John Galica conducted by Brad Larson for the World War II project. John tells of his experiences as a ground crew radio operator for a B-24 squadron in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He left Oshkosh (Drafted) in 1942 and returned December 1945. He grew up on a farm north of Oshkosh. John Galicia Interview April 30, 2002 By Bradley Larsen {L: indicates the interviewer, Mr. Larsen. G: indicates Mr. Galicia}. L: The way I like to start out John, is to have you give me your full name, your date of birth and who your mom and dad were. Where you lived when… G: Okay. My name is John H. Galicia. And ah, I was born in Neenah, Wisconsin. And my mother, my mother's maiden name was Catherine {Robard}. And my dad was John S. Galicia. And both of them, they were from Poland. They were born and raised in Poland and they came over to this country when they were around 13 or 14 years old. And all of their relation came over at the same time. A lot of them settled in the Chicago area. And a lot of them settled in the Pennsylvania area. And a lot of, some of them settled in the northern part of Wisconsin. L: Well then, no doubt the topic of war in Europe was very close to your family, wasn't it? G: Yes, because there was some of, some of their relation was over there. And they talked about it, how bad things were. I mean how they were taken over by Germany and all that kind of stuff, you know over there. And ah, and so we just got bits and pieces from them because there were, they kept some contact but not too much. With the people over there. L: As a boy, did you think that the United States would eventually get in the war? Or did you think much of it? G: No I never thought of it. See, I was born and raised on the farm and ah, in Neenah for a short time. Then we moved and my dad bought a farm in Oshkosh. And so I was, spent my life on a farm. L: Where was the farm? G: The farm was in ah, on Jackson Drive north of Oshkosh. And ah, my dad had ah, he ran a, he ran what they call a truck farming garden. Where they used to plant a lot of vegetables, then they used to sell em in the city. And I remember as a boy, I used to go into town with a horse and a buggy. With ah, we put vegetables in there and we sold vegetables. That was, that supplemented his income. And he worked in a factory called The Waite Carpet Company for about 37 years. He started workin on the farm and of course there was - I come from a big family - there was six brothers and three sisters. And so we all had to pitch in and do a lot of work on the farm. 'Cause you know you get these here vegetables and all the stuff like that. L: What were some of the things you'd have to do? G: Well, like plowing of the fields and workin the fields out. Milkin the cows. And ah, feeding the cows at night. Besides, I mean when you, you got up early in the morning and you had certain chores you had to do. Feed the chickens and stuff like that before you went to school. When you came home you had to do that. And in our early days, we had no electricity. We had just ah, lamps, kerosene lamps. And it was kinda hard, like doin schoolwork and stuff like that. Because as you had the lamps on, you know, they'd start getting dimmer and cloudy in the chimneys. And you'd get a little darker. And eventually when they did get electricity, it made it a lot better for us and modernized a little bit. And so I was always interested in farm machinery and how it operated. And, and ah, we had to take and repair when anything broke down. It was too costly so you had to do a lot of that work yourself. So, working with machinery, and as I got into high school and stuff, I took up. And I went to Vocational School also and I took up machine shop. And you know, worked, I liked to work with machines so I took up machine shop. And ah, that's what I did And just got out of high school and started working as a machinist. I worked for Paine Lumber Company. Well then along come the war and I was drafted. L: When was that? G: I was drafted in July of 1942. So ah, I went to the draft board. They told me I'd have to report, they'd send me to a doctor on Washington Boulevard that gave us a partial physical to see if we were okay, that we could go in. Then when the time come, they sent me to Fort Sheridan, Illinois. And I took my basic training in Fort Sheridan, Illinois. And when I finished my basic training in ah, Fort Sheridan, they sent me to Atlantic City, New Jersey and I stayed in a hotel along the boardwalk. And they made a drill instructor out of me at that time. So I was drilling air force cadets and all these cadets had training from the college because they were all college boys. And a lot of em, I mean, you know ah, like when you drill em a lot of em went to the right and to the left. You know when you had em go to the right, half would go right and half left. And so I had a problem you know, with that. And what I did do one week-end, I went out to the drill field. And I got a wheelbarrow and I went around and I picked up all rocks. Oh, maybe about 3-4 inches in diameter. And I put em all on a pile. So when I took the fellows out the following Monday, over the week-end, when I was drilling em, if half went to the right again and half went to the left, I got em to attention, marched em right over to this rock pile. I gave each one of em a rock to carry in their right hand. And as you can just imagine, I was very unpopular. Because they say, you know, "What do we have to do this for?" And I says, "Well, I gotta have a little discipline here. We go so many weeks to train you fellas and then another bunch has gotta come in." Then we had to take them in this big convention center where they held this here pageant, you know? For the Miss America pageant? And that's where we would march em in front of the officers in charge. And they would say if you marched em through there and through all the paces, and all the marching that you did. And if you see one head, everything was in line and one head was off, that guy was out, he would stand out in a crown but his head bouncing the wrong way. So they would then either, the would say, "Okay, this group needs redrilling." And you didn't wanna do that again with the same…. So you had to take and make sure everybody was in step and if you got an okay, then they center front and salute the fellas. Okay, tell the fellas, "Okay, you graduated your course now. Now you're going to be sent to different places." You know, which is schooling for… Doing that for about four months, I could hardly talk. My mouth from all day long you know, from talking you know, "Hup, toop, thrip, four. Hup, toop, thrip, four." You know, and ah, I went up to the headquarters and I said to em, I says, "What am I supposed to be doin in this here army?" It was the U.S. Army Air Corps I was in. And they said, "You're permanent party. You're listed as a drill instructor." But he says, "Let's check your records." The officer said. Looked in my records. "Oh, Oh," he says, "there's a big boo-boo here." He says, "You don't belong here." He says, "According to your records, and your examinations," he says, "and the tests they gave ya, you belong to an electrical communications school." So two days later I was on a train goin to Sacramento, California to {Mesa} Field to go to school on communications. So I spent 12 weeks at {Mesa} Field, training there. And ah, upon graduation from the school, they assigned me to a bomb group at {Gowns} Field, Boise, Idaho. And so I started training with the bomb group there for the first phase training. And then the next phase training, they sent us to Pocatello, Idaho. Which was another air base not too far from Boise. And when I finished another phase of training there, they sent us to another airbase which was {Mountain Home} which was another air base for heavy bombers. I was with a B-24 outfit. And I trained there for so long. Then they sent us to Wendover Field, Utah for our final phase of training. L: What were you learning to do? G: Well I was, I was in ground communications. I was learning how to set up ground stations that would be in contact with the planes with the Morse Code system. And I had telephones and ah, the antennas and then the, helping them with radios. And I was in that kind of field, and teletypes and stuff like that So that's what I went to school for and that was my job and we made sure that all the phones were working right. And switchboards, I took care of the switchboards. And ground station. I had to help set the ground station up. All the antennas were right and everything and all the Morse Code systems. The [ ] keys and all that were set up right. So they would be in contact with the planes when they used the Morse Code, you know. And so that was my job. And then from Wendover Field, Utah, we all got our orders, shipping orders. They were goin to the port of embarkation which is Vancouver, Washington. And from Vancouver, we were shipped to Hawaii, which is a small island in the Hawaiian group. And they sent us to an airbase called Barton Sands Airbase. And ah, all the pilots, all the communications officer, all of our cadre of our old outfit, they sent there by boat. Because our planes were not ready yet. So we had to set up the camp there and there was a lot of fellows that didn't quite finish their last phase of training, so they sent them to Honolulu to finish up their schooling. And in the meantime, start arriving, that they finished them? They had these women pilots that used to fly those '24's over there. And when we received them, there was no communications in em and there was no guns, turrets or anything like that. No gun systems were set up. So we hadda do all that over in Hawaii, and all this stuff was sent over there. And they sent the engineers from these companies that ah, build these planes. Like some of em come from Kansas City. Some of the '24's were built in Kansas City. Some of em were built in Michigan on the Ford Assembly line. So ah, as we got, we got 25 planes to a squadron. There was four squadrons to the bomb group. So totally, we had a hundred planes. So my job in modifying those planes was, by the front wheel there's a big junction box. And there's a lot of wires comin into there. This engineer that was sent there, he told me to put, went by the color code. Green on green, red on red and blue on blue and that's what I did all day long. And went from one plane to the next. And when we finished that, got all our planes ready, they started flying, formation flying and all, so they guys could get used to the planes there. And then from there, we started going to the different islands in the Pacific for small runs. L: What year would, what year and month would that have been? G: That was in ah, about ah, July, July and August of 1943. L: How did the ground crews get to the islands? Did you fly with the bombers? Did you go by ship? How did you get to the next…? G: Well, from island to island, we went by ship. And we went, we had to go ahead first and get these here runways and all that set up. So that our planes flew over there. L: Now some of those, I remember from what you told me before, John, some of these islands that you flew to had recently been taken from the Japanese. Now were you using captured airfields or were the Seabees there first making the airfields. Maybe you could explain to me or describe what it was like when you first got to an island? G: Well, when they first landed at the island down there, we landed and we would go off this ship. They'd throw a big rope over the side. It had all, looked like, looked like, had all steps, square steps in it, in the rope. Rope netting. And it was oh, wide. It was maybe about 40-50 feet wide. And down below they had a landing, LST, landing boat what they called. And as the guys climbed over with your full field pack and all your equipment you had, your bags and everything strapped on your shoulder. You climbed over and then you got down. Now the water was rough there and the boats would go up and down according to the waves. So as the boat would come up, you'd always want to time it so that when it was up at the highest peak, then you'd make your jump. So you'd make sure you landed in there. And you didn't want to land when it was going down because sometimes you'd have, that was 20-30 feet longer you know. L: Okay, so you got to these islands and … G: Once you got [ ] to these landing craft, you'd land and then the island was supposedly, part of em were secure. But maybe half of em or three quarters of em yet, there's still a lot of fighting goin on. And they were [ ] should set up a corner of the island. We had to put up like the runways, the had ah, air force engineering outfit that comes along in there with us. And they set up the mattings for planes to land on. They make it because a lot of those islands has go coral reef and they're really hard and these mattings, they can use that to kind of make it level. Level runway. But ah, then as soon as that's done and we get our communications lines and all that, then our planes can start coming in. And they're bombing the other end of the island that we're on. To help out the marines and the infantrymen, see? Because those people, those Japs in them islands were so engrossed in em. They were, I had as far as 80 feet deep in those islands where they had places where they had [ ] some maybe 30-40 feet. But there were so many underground caves that they had. You know those people been in them islands for maybe 30-40 years. So they were all situated in almost every island. But we [ ] so we had to bypass a lot of them. So they, all they did was take the ones that they figured would do them the most good in bombing. They were a little bit larger islands. And then the other ones, they would just go and bomb them every other day and neutralize em. So they wouldn't be, and then some of those people had boats and tried to come over to them other islands over there with guns and all that. And once they neutralized them and kept them so I guess a lot of the guys just went in and starved because they had no way of getting no food or nothing like that. L: So some of the islands that you were on had enemy soldiers on them. G: A lot of them had. We had a lot of infiltration into ah, our islands, into our tents at night. And I got pictures here somewhere, in some of my magazines where it shows the enemy comin in at night, sneaking into our tents and all that. We had fox, we had to dig ourselves a foxhole on a island down there and I myself spent a lot of time in the foxhole at night because you never could tell when they'd like to come and sneak in your area and roll grenades in there, see? And then they'd blow up and a lot of our boys were killed that way. And they'd come in there and just shoot into the tents and stuff like that. And so you had to be really on guard. We had sentries all around our areas. They were trained just for that. Machine gun areas and stuff like that. But once we got these here things so they had to unload all the bombs and all that stuff and bring it in. And all the equipment, bomb racks and all the trucks and all that stuff like that. That took a lotta, lotta extra time. They floated in a lot of plywood so once we got our areas over there, we had to have plywood so we could build benches for the fellows to work on. And they built the benches right there. They floated oh, maybe a carload of plywood they'd just throw right overboard, float it right in to shore. We'd pick it up and take it off of there, made benches of it and inside the tents area where we set up the communications where the guys would have to take and work on the equipment and set it up. Because on every mission, when they went on the missions, then they'd change crystals in their radio sets. That would put em on a different airwave, see? If you had the same crystals, and the Japs would monitor that in flight. This way here you were on a different frequency all the time, see? Almost every mission you did it was almost always changed. Frequencies were always changed so you'd be on a different frequency. L: Did you get to know any of the flight crews very well? G: Well, they told us really not to patronize with the flying crew because a lot of them guys would be here today and gone tomorrow, see? So I mean, but working with communications, I did get to know a lot of the fellows, you know. When I worked with em. And they told us in the 'states, even when we were in the 'states training. They said that you should find yourself a group that you're going to be workin with and more or less associate yourself with them. But let the fly-boys, I mean, let them do their thing and hang around by themselves, you know. L: Well, I imagine that could be pretty tough. To get to know somebody and then have… G: Oh, it was. And not only that. When you see the planes comin back all shot up and you see the guys hauling em out of there, I, you get so, it goes right through you, to a person. But still on all, when you see like the enemy, I could see a pile of the enemy, maybe ten or fifteen of them laying in a pile over there. It didn't phase me a bit. But to see one of our guys all shot up and stuff like that, it just goes right through you. L: Tell me, think back now when you were over there. Try to put yourself in the mind of yourself over there. Tell me, what did you think of the Japanese at that time? G: Well what I thought is, I mean as far as I was concerned, I mean that they were altogether different, from a different group of people. Because being as they were, I mean they had to be part savages that we all figured, you know. That they were not from our generation, from our people. They were altogether different. I mean they looked different. They were small, they were slanty eyed. And they looked like they had no respect for anybody. So ah, all they wanted to do is take and eliminate our, the people. Eliminate em. And so ah…. L: Did you know how some of the Japanese had treated American POW's after Bataan? Did you of any of the things that were, that had happened? G: Yeah ah, we heard a lot of them from over there because ah, some of them people down there that were caught and were brought back through the underground, they seen some of them. And then the stories like we got from some of them guys down there were: they'd put like bamboo underneath their fingernails and stuff like that and light em. And ah, they'd lay em on and set em up on a chair like that, have water drip on their heads. I mean like one drop at a time and stuff like that. There was no way they could move 'cause they were tied and stationary in one place. Like that. And so there was so many different things that these people did that you would never imagine. I mean you know they tortured a lot of them guys that went through. And some of those guys said that when they were in those places down there and were POW's, they caught bugs. All kinds of bugs they had to eat and everything like that. And we would never, you know, you'd never believe that a person would go to stuff like that. I mean but they said that it's true. You know. That, I mean that, you know, that we would ne… we would always say that you would never want to be in their shoes. The guys that were captured. Because they really went through hell. And when you talk to some of them guys, that were that way, that's just the way [ ]. But ah,… L: Did you ever think that, you or your colleagues there, you and your fellow soldiers, did you ever believe that the United States and its allies would lose the war? Or did you always think we would win? G: No ah, we thought from ah, the way things were goin that we figured that we would win that war. Because as they went from one island to another and you could see the way, the progress that we made goin through the Pacific like that, leapin from one island to another. Although in some islands where we had taken the island and then a short while later, we lost it. Like there was an island, {Pelau} Island. We were on Angar Island and this was Pelau Island. And they had ah, the 82nd Infantry Division was on our island, which we had part of. Settin up there, bombing from there. And then we were helping bombing these other islands. Then all of a sudden they got a call that the marines were falling behind on Pelau. So they sent this Gen. Mueller, sent part of the 82nd Infantry Division over there to help em out. Well they went over there and they helped them out and they took the island. And so they came back to try to finish off the job on the island that we were on, Angar, and they just got back. And it was a few days later the marines lost that island again. So Gen. Mueller sent these guys over there again to help out. They took the island and we left by that time. They had enough of this island taken that we was on, Angar Island, and he was just mopping it up. So he left that part of his division over there and then helped em so they cleaned er all up and then they kept her. But that was what they called, in Pelau Island, they called that "The Bloody Bowl." On Pelau Island. And I always wanted to get to see the, there is a tape, a tape out of that there island and I always wanted to get it but I could never find it. And I asked a lot of people to look and see. It's called, "The Bloody Bowl of Pelau Island." And it would really be something to really see that, you know. L: Well, I'll have to look for that. Did you think that the United States would have to invade Japan? G: Well, that's a, we were getting ready when we were in Okinawa. We were getting ready for the invasion of Japan. Gen. MacArthur's office was stationed in Japan with his whole headquarters. And he was training and they were planning on making the landing in, into Japan. So, and they knew at that time that it would have been heavily fortified. Because they figured the way they lost them islands, and they figured it would never happen. So they figured they were so fortified in those islands that they woulda never lost the islands. And when they lost the islands, they took all, they tell me they called them the Japan Imperial Marines. They were all their bigger, all big fellas. And they were all well trained and they were supposed to defend their homeland. And I figure they woulda been, we woulda lost a lotta, lotta people. L: Was that a topic of conversation among you and your buddies? G: Oh yeah. The people all talked about it. When we were on Okinawa and our planes, [ ] our planes, we would bomb Japan and go over to the China, India Burma theater. And fly over there and gas up and load up with bombs and bomb em on the way back to Okinawa. See, that's the way they bombed em. [ ] 'Cause you wouldn't have the range on them long enough to go over there and then fly back again. So they landed over there and they loaded up with gas. We put all the bombs in and bombed em on the way back. 'Cause them were 14, 15, 16 hour missions. And that's a long time to be flying in the air, you know. And ah, but a lot of those planes come back you know, where they had bomb bays, hydraulic systems were shot off and they couldn't open em. They had all their bombs, 500 pound blockbuster bombs in em. When they landed on the ground, on our runway, well some of the guys got out of the planes and some of em didn't. Because then the bombs detonated. Once you crash landed and had all the bombs in there and she started afire, then the bombs, then the bombs blew up, the whole ship blew up, plane. I was on the runway when one of em landed and blew up like that on, on ah, Okinawa. And the first thing I ducked under was a big truck. 'Cause you'd see the whole landing gear, wheel and all flying in the air. And when this thing was all settled and I looked, I was sitting under a refueling tank. Big refueling tank that was full of high octane gas. Now if one of those parts hadda hit that, I would been to kingdom come. Yeah, I woulda been to kingdom come You know, when you're goin through there, like when you first get into those different islands, you really don't know what to expect but you really gotta watch it because there's snipers all over. And you get hit, like when I was laying some wires, like phone wires. I was laying phone wires, one of the outfits next to us - we were all like in a group -I was with the 865th Bomb Squadron. It started with the 864th, 65, 66 and 67. And we all belong to the 494th Bomb Group. And ah, heavy bombardment, they call em. And then, what we hadda do then, in order to finish up some of them, I hadda get one of those guys with a bulldozer that was over there and have the blade up, you know. Shielding me like that when I was workin over there. And then you could see em then. That guy had that blade set up like he couldn't get hit you know. And it wouldn't hit me 'cause I was behind him. And so, but you had to do different things like that. And you know the Seabees, they had the Seabees. The Seabees were mostly all construction workers. And on some of the islands we went to the Seabees had the runways and all that 'cause they landed in, a lot of them were in the fighting crew, you know. With the Seabees. And ah, they made a lot of runways so when these planes come down, they had them long runways all built up for a lot of them. And they had, like they did it, they put on long [ ] that the Japs were on. They did, they bombed the runways so they couldn't be used so they had to be repaired. So the Seabees did a lot of that kind of stuff. They repaired, dynamited and repaired. And they hadda make a lot of [ ] for the landing crafts because they had like barbed wire and fences all the way around them islands. And ah, so that had to be cleared away for them and the Seabees did a lot of that kind of stuff. And so, but it was all that everybody had to take and kind of work together, you know. You had to take and, you kind of got along together when the ships'd come in. And we would get supplies. A lot of we would have to get a detail to go into the ships over there onto those landing crafts. Go over there and bring the stuff to shore and stuff like that. [ ] We had all like K rations and once in awhile you'd get C rations. Now in the K rations, you just got a box and in that box was maybe like dried eggs and you'd have some crackers in there, some cheese and a candy bar. And there's always one of those like a little sample pack of cigarettes, [ ] cigarettes in em you know. Like that. And that's about what we had. They'd just hand you a box. But later on, when you got the C rations, then they come in cans and then they had like powdered eggs were in there. And then you had like stew and a little bit of stew and some were like hash and stuff like that, you know. And that was a big difference for us. And then once in awhile like when some of those islands that we were on, when the island was completely declared that it was safe there, and we had a lot of the islands neutralized before we would move to another island. They would have, the marines and all that would be trying to take those islands ahead of us so we could make a landing there. Well then sometimes our commanding officer, he had the guys chip in and then they'd fly to Australia and buy some beef. And then they'd come back. And then they, we'd make a stew, you know. And that was very seldom we had anything like that. But like a guy in the combat, in the planes, the topside gunners and them, after so many missions, 15, 20 missions, they would send em to Australia for recreation leave. And we got that too but we got that when we'd go from one island to the next. They'd have one island that was secure and they'd have recreational equipment on there. And they'd have like beer. And when you landed and you got on the island, you could play like, some guys'd play softball. Some guys played cards. They'd give each one a pack, a six-pack of beer, you know. And I didn't drink beer so I just gave mine to somebody else but I played a lot of ball on those islands and I was a pitcher in there and I played there. And we had a, one of the fathers of the priest, he was the umpire. And he was tellin me you know, a lot of the guys were throwing balls different ways. He'd run into so many different guys that were good ball players you know and, and ah, one time he says to me, he says, "You're one of the most authentic pitcher I seen around here." 'Cause I had a side, pitched like that, side. And where I learned to do that was when I was about 13-14 I liked ball so much that on the farm, in back of one of our woodsheds, I put a bushel basket up there. For would be like home plate you know? And then I'd go back to the [ ] and then I'd take three or four balls and pitch in them. And I told him. I says, I did that. And so. But ah, [ ] I was gonna [ ] but that was my last place but I went to, I was to five major engagements including the liberation of the Philippines, you know? In my time over there. And my last island was Okinawa. I got on there. And in September of 1945, they had a big typhoon there. Of course throughout the whole islands, you'd run into a lot of typhoons and monsoons. And where waves would get 25-30 feet high. [ ] So when this hit that island of Okinawa, they say that it went about 200 and some registered and then the meter busted. But all of the tents, everything was all blown away. Brand new planes that we had there, the ones that didn't get in the air, they were all demolished. All the planes, everything. We had no blankets. We had nothing to eat there. Nothing. They cleared the way after it was over. They cleared away the runway and they had the B-29's came out there after we got into Okinawa. Because we had B-24's. Then the '29's was the latest plane. And that was the one that dropped that atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. L: What did you think of that? G: When we heard that, we were really relieved and happy. That they say that you know, that the war was just about over with. When they dropped it on one, they wasn't quite sure yet whether they wanted to surrender. You know, so when they had, went on another one, because they were still battling after the first one they dropped. And then they had that there, I run into some guys that were on guard duty when they had this special, they had a special code for it. And the guy says when they had this atom bomb was brought there on the island of Tinian, and he says they all had them guys all around there with their machine guns and all that. It was really top secret; it was all crated up in there and they didn't really know what it was until you know, they load er on a plane and then went on. L: Of all the campaigns and islands that you were on, which one stands out in your mind as probably the most memorable? G: Well, I think the one that was my last one was Okinawa. For the reason that it was the biggest island. It was 76 miles long and it was 25 miles wide. And ah, that island there, it took a lot of battling before they secured that island because being that long, we lost a lot of fellows on there. And I was stationed on what they call now an airbase on there that was on one end of the island. And ah, when we got there, there was still, maybe half of the island wasn't even taken yet. It wasn't secured. So you had to watch yourself there So we was on one end of the island and we were bombing the other end of the island yet. And they were really well fortified. They had big ah, like ah, hill there and inside the hill was like tunnels. And they had railroad tracks and they had guns mounted on railroad tracks inside this here big hill. And they would fire from here, and then swing the gun over to another area, and swing the gun over to another area. And see, our guys, I mean you know, figure well geez, there must be more than one gun, you know. They had quite a time. They had, like they had some of these here bomb planes that were bombing em. They even took like the P-38 Lightning, was a fighter plane, and a reconnaissance plane. They had extra fuel tanks on em. Then they'd drop the fuel tanks, then they'd shoot these laser {tracer?} bullets in them. About every fourth one was a laser bullet. It would set that tank on fire. They'd try to drop them in those holes where those gun turrets were comin out of. And that would, that would take and flame up. And you'd those tanks with those big flame throwers. Why they would shoot out of there maybe 75-80 feet. They'd shoot out of there. Everything would be burned right up in front of them. And they had a bunch, oh we had so much equipment on each island that you'd never figure, I mean, how we could get that big of mobilization. You know, to have that many pieces of equipment. This country here really did a wonderful job in supplying the troops. {The first tape ends at this point}. L: You guys overseas, you must have known what American industry was doing. Did you know that women were working in the plants? Tell me about that a little bit. G: Yeah. We knew that because on ah, on some of our planes that we had, like in some of the compartments were notes with some of the people's names and that on there. "I worked on this airplane at the airplane factory." And then they says, "I hope good luck to all you fellows that'll fly in this plane," You know. "And we hope we did the right job." And everything like that. And we knew that, I mean like, we got, in our magazines they talked about like, "Rosie the Riveter." We knew that they said they mobilized a lot of the women to work in the different factories. And they talked about these ah, different people that worked, volunteered for air raid wardens and stuff like that. They were all you know where needed. L: How did that make you feel when you found a note like that or read something like that? G: Well it really gave you a good feeling, you know. Knowing that everybody back home was all behind you. You know they're all, they're all helping. And you could tell that by all of these here ah, shipments of stuff that we had shipments there. That was no delays in there. Ship after ship. And you wondered how this country could gear up and have so many ships in such a short notice like what we had. We really had, and then when you went to the, even in like your training bases where they were just loaded. And then you figure when over there, all them planes, all the fighter planes in there. And then you think you know like the guys said… You know, we'd sit around you know like that when the island was secured and we'd talk about it. We'd say, "Well just imagine. We look on our island and we got, our squadron got 100 planes, and they make…" And then you get to talkin, "They made, they made 18,000 of these B-24 airplanes, 18,000 of em." And when I go down to the EAA. I never seen the assembly plant but they got pictures, of them coming down the assembly plant. And they're just loaded, you know. They're comin out every day, there's 24 comin off that line. And we had two places, Missouri and Michigan was building em. But now when I look back and I think you know, workin out as a volunteer at the EAA, I think it's really kind of sad that we had 18,000 of those planes and there's actually only two of them that are flying. There's one that's authentic. They call it an "All American" out of Florida, And that's the, that's the different bomb groups that sponsored that one. And the Confederate Air Force has one that they have and they just use it for a cargo plane. It wasn't really a fighting '24; it was always just used for cargo. And they call that "Diamond Lill." And so, you get to think. You say, now it's too bad that they didn't save more of them. Because when your people come to them air shows, they like, they come there to see all that old stuff. And that's one reason why I volunteer out here too. Is because I was around all these runways and around these airports where all these different fighters come in there and those bombers and stuff. And I like the sound of that, the roar of those engines in there you know. How powerful that is. Like especially, a P-51 and a P-38 Lightning that has its own sound. You can just hear them when they go by. And I always think when they talk about a P-38 Lightning, when I was on one of the islands over there, there was a, they used them for reconnaissance you know. Fly em around these different islands where we were about ready to invade and stuff like that. And there was one pilot that come in there and he circled the field, circled the field, circled the field. His hydraulic system was shot so he couldn't land his wheels, see? So he run her, run her around in circles 'till he was just about out of gas. Then he come in on a belly landing. And then I was out to the runway [ ] he says, "Sergeant," he says, "Haul me out to that plane right now, will ya?" So then he'd say, "Just a minute." He went in the refrigerator and he got a bottle of booze and a shot glass. And he went out there and here this pilot comes out of there all wet. Oh, the water was just drippin. He was just soaked. And the air was about 110-120, you know. And then he come out there, and he says, to him he says, "Well what happened to ya this time?" he said. Well he said he got the hydraulic system shot up. "But before you do it," he said, "Wait a minute." He poured him out three fast shots. He says, [ ] the pilot was shot. He had the plane shot down two or three times. And I thought you know, for a guy like that, you know, to be that. But we had other like ah, a leader of my squadron, he was shot down over ah, over in, over Japan over there. And he got back through the underground through the coolies. See what they do is, in their flyin jacket, they got a secret compartment in there. And there they carry invasion money. Each one carries almost a million dollars worth of invasion money. And then when they land, they're shot down or they bail out or something, then they pay that money to the coolies to get em out safe back to the… He came back and came back through the underground. He was gone for about three weeks before he got back. And then they sent him to the 'states because they, if you're shot down and you're in enemy territory, they said that if they'd ever go back, send you back there and then you get shot down, then they could shoot you as a spy. So they'd send em back to the 'states and get another replacement for them. L: Anything funny happen out there that you can remember? Anything that was humorous? Did you play practical jokes on each other to pass the time? Do anything for entertainment? G: Well, like ah, I played ball over there and ah, and when the island was secured, and then almost every island, I played ball on. And I would like, when I was in Okinawa, I was on one end of the island and Gen. Douglas MacArthur's island was on the other end. He had his headquarters set up there. I used to, I ah, I bought an Indian motorcycle over there from one of the pilots. I was out at the runway one day. This pilot come out there with a C-47 cargo plane. And he says, "Anybody wanna buy a motorcycle?" I says, "Sure." I says, "What do ya want for it?" He says, "Hundred dollars." I says, "O.K." I says, "When can I pick it up?" He says, "Come here tomorrow, bring a truck with you," he says. And so I come out there. I had one of these bomb trucks and I came out there and he opened up his cargo doors on there and there it is. A frame and five bushel baskets full of parts. And I says, "Well I don't know nothin about puttin it together again." And he says, "Well, that's it." So I says, "O.K." So I talked to one of the crew chiefs on the B-24s and he used to work on motorcycles in civilian life. And so his name was Sergeant Zinker. And I says, "Hey, Sarge," I says, "Would you put this motorcycle together for me?" He said, "Sure, I'll do that in my spare time." And there was some parts were missing but the M.P.'s had motorcycles over there in those islands. And so he got parts from them and he fixed it all up for me. He painted it all up in the army color, the green color you know. And then I would ride it around. And I [ ] Okinawa. I lived on one end of the island and not our airbase. And on detached service. They'd send me to Douglas MacArthur's ah, office for detached service to help with the communications and all that. So I, in the morning I'd drive over to, to MacArthur's office, and as soon as I got done early afternoon, I'd drive back to my office just to play ball. And then I'd drive back the next day, back to his office again. And finally one day a guy says to me, he says, "Hey, I'd like to take a ride on that, ah motorcycle." I says, "You ever ride one before?" "Oh, yeah," he says, "I rode them before." And all around the islands, they have these anti-aircraft batteries. And they're all dug in, see? And the gun is in the middle and you got room for guys to walk around em and for shifting your guns all around. You can shift em 360 degrees. So he's settin over there by it and he revs er up like that. All of a sudden he revved her up and the bike took off and he landed on the ground and the bike went right over the embankment and landed right in one of those anti-aircraft batteries. Right in there and all smashed up. So I hadda take and get a bomb carrier and haul it out of there. And the sergeant on there, he said he would patch it up again but I says, well, I couldn't bring it back with me. So I took, what I did was I raffled it off. I paid a hundred bucks for it and I took and raffled it off and I got $250.00 for it. L: You can't beat that. G: Yeah. And another thing, I started a laundry system on one of the, one of the islands, you know. See, like in communications, when you're assigned, like I was assigned to communications, when I get caught up on my work, then I couldn't just set and do nothin. I was one of those guys that had to keep goin. So like ah, there was a jeep over by our outfit down there. Wouldn't run. So I went to the motor pool and I got a fuel pump. And I start puttin the fuel pump on there, fixin it up. And here comes along an officer and he says to me, he says, "Hey sergeant," he says, ah, "What are you doin?" I said, "Puttin a fuel pump on this here jeep here. Fixin it up." He says ah, "Is that your job?" And I says, "No." He says, "What're you doin?" I says, "I'm in ground communications over here." He says, "You can't do that job," he says. "Well," I says, "I got the time now." "Oh no," he says, "You haven't got that classification." He says, "You can't do that." And the same way with the machine shop. They had machine shop, portable machine shop. I went, I went over there in my spare time and I start workin on a lathe, you know. Helpin a guy out. And they kicked me out of that too. They says, "No." So then I says, "Well, then I gotta do somethin." So I started up a laundry business, see? And ah, and ah, I ah, go some of these 55 gallon drums and I cut em lengthwise like that. Welded two of them together. Put a big long rod through that with a prong, got some wire with a prongs, welded em on there like that. Big long handle. And I got all these here tar, tar from their tar roofs that were shacks that they had that were all bombed. And I built a fire underneath it. Hauled the water in over there like that, and I stood over here with my arms going like this. And the [ ] were goin like this. And then when I'd take em on there, rinse em out, then I just threw em on the ground. 'Cause I says, "all you'll get em is washed and dried. That's all." And then I had a marking pencil to mark the guy's name in the back of the collar like that. And all, first of all I asked the officers if it was alright to do that, see? They says 'cause you gotta get permission. And he says to me, he says, "Sure." But he says, "You gotta do the officers clothes first," he says. So he says, I says, "O.K." Then I'd take the guys who wanted me and ah, I had a goin business. I was sending my wife home a hundred dollars extra a month. L: You were married at the time? G: Yeah. I was married. L: You married before you were drafted? G: Yeah. 'Cause I married my high school sweetheart. Because we knew I was gonna go in the service and we figured we'd probably be best to get married. So I got married. L: When was that? G: When I got married in March of 1942. L: Did you have any kids while you were overseas? G: Yeah. I had one, yeah. 'Cause I came home on furlough and I had one, my daughter. And ah, so ah, I got these here clothes, you know. And I put em on there and then when they'd come, I'd just pick it up and give it to em and they paid me and then I sent that. And then ah, three months later the, they brought in a laundry supply unit with a whole, that did the clothes. And then it didn't cost nothin. They had a, like a outfit that went around to these different islands and they set up and did laundry work. But for awhile there on some islands, we had the natives do that. And ah, see the natives over there, over there, all they wore is just pants, you know. Nothin on top. And as the guys had their tee shirts and turned em in to the natives to do the laundry, when they did the laundry and got those tee shirts, well they kept them. On there. And then if you wanted to take a picture of em without the tee shirt on you know, that would cost you a carton of cigarettes. And I had one of em one day and I says to her, I says, she was knitting some sandals. Out of some grass, making em. And I says, I said, I said to her, to the interpreter down there, I says, "Ask her if she'd make me a pair." And she said she would but it would cost me a carton of cigarettes. And they had the Chelsea cigarettes come out at that time and they weren't much good anyhow. Cost ninety, we paid ninety five cents a carton. And I took one pack out of it. So I sealed it up and taped it all up again and when she gave me them and I gave her the carton of cigarettes, the next day she was back over to see me. She says one pack was missin. I hadda give her a pack. But see them natives, see how smart they were? You know I still got them sandals and they're just like brand new. L: I'll be darned. G: Yeah. After all them years. Look at how many years that is. From 19, 1944 'till now. Yeah, I had em made for my wife. L: How did you get a camera? You have some photographs here John. How did you get a camera? Did you have it over there? G: Oh that belonged to the, to the communications squadron. And our ah, our sergeant, master sergeant he ah, that was in charge of the communications, he give it, he was in that and did that in civilian life. So he developed all of them pictures over there. L: How did you get back home? Tell me about coming, after the war and coming back home and… G: Well then ah, when I was in ah, Okinawa, when they had that big typhoon and we had nothing there. They were flyin in. And ah, they says everybody with over a hundred points now is gonna go back home. So ah, I had ah, 108 points or something like that. Because each campaign you got it and you got so many points for being married and all that. And ah, so ah, they told us, they says well but a bunch of our guys was in there and there was enough for about a boat load out of that whole island. So we came, we came back and ah… L: On a ship? G: On a ship. They sent over, we had ah, new sailors that their first trip on the ship was ah, from the 'states to Okinawa. Fourteen days I guess they was on there. And then when we got our stuff packed up and ah, loaded up and we come over there. And we got on the ship and they lined us all up in formation. And they says, "From A to G, come over here." And the G to so on go over here. And then they ah, gave us a hammer and a face mask and a pair of gloves. And then they took our names down, see? And then I hear the minute they told them guys what we hadda do, they wanted all them guys, like I was forward. I was in the front of the ship. And they wanted us to chip the decks. Chip the paint. 'Cause then they wanted that all repainted. And they were gonna do that while we were sailin back, you know. So then when we got up there you know, and he says, handed me this stuff and says, "Name?" I says, "Sergeant McDougall." He wrote down Sergeant McDougall. So then as soon as I left him, I went over by the edge of the ship and I threw the hammer and stuff overboard. And all them guys they went back to work over there. The next day they were out in that hot sun chippin and I was downstairs in bunk reading Zane Grey stories you know. And they were, every little while they paged, "Sergeant McDougall, report forward." "Sergeant McDougall, report forward." And they would go around you know. They would be shakin. I'd be sleeping in the bunk you know, and a guy'd come along and shake, "You Sergeant McDougall?" "Oh, no, no," I says, ah, "Don't bother me. I work in the galley nights," I says, see? So they never did find Sergeant McDougall. But then when we got to the, to ah, Seattle, Washington, Vancouver, Washington, down there back, them guys says, "Boy John," they says, "We wish we'd a done the same thing. You were fast thinkin." So here I didn't do any work comin back. Some of those guys brought back monkeys with em, you know. Put em in their shirt, and you weren't supposed to bring that. Back monkeys. And then when we went to the bar, then we got, when we got to the camp in Vancouver, they put us in a camp over there and that had all Italian prisoners running that camp. They, they had officers were running it but these here Italian prisoners had a "P" on their arm and they took us around and assigned us to bedding and all that stuff in different barracks. And I thought, boy, that was funny. So I went in there and asked them. I says, they gave us all a three day pass so we went into Portland. Portland, Oregon. And those places were all loaded with guys comin back from overseas. So we wanted, we didn't have nothin to eat for so long. We wanted a nice steak you know, and French fries and a quart of milk we got, you know. And the waitresses, we were ordering and the waitress says, "Oh, that'll be quite a while." And this guy I was with, he was from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. L: Who was that? G: And ah, L: Do you remember his name? G: I don't remember his name. No, I can't remember his name. L: That's where I'm from. I'm just curious. G: But I know he worked for the rubber, tire company there in Eau Claire. They had a big tire company there. And he worked from there. He worked there and he was a big guy and he said, "John," he says, "I got a way we're gonna get, we can't wait all this time," he says. So he says, "Let's go." We went over to the liquor store and he bought a bottle of booze, about like that. And then we walked 'round in there and got in there by the kitchen. And he says to that there chef - he was a big colored guy - and he says to him, he says, "Say," he says, "You suppose you could sneak us a couple of those steaks?" he says. "On those plates," he says, "When you get em ready?" "Aw no sir," he says. "We gotta go according to these sheets here," he says. And this guy says, "You care for a little drink?" he says. I got us some [ ]. Oh, that colored guy, he [ ] that. He says, "Boy that would sure go good now," he says. So he [ ], he says. And so he opened her up, the old guy took a couple of swigs out of there and he put it down and he says, "How are those steaks comin?" He says, "Right up, sir." So we got, him and I got two steaks, quart of milk. We went upstairs and he says to him, "Keep the bottle." So ah, we went upstairs and the guy says, "Geez, how'd you do that?" I says, "I dunno. This guy here promoted it. And so we were eatin over there and pretty soon there was, we was in there for about an hour and maybe a little longer than an hour. And ah, we heard a lot of commotion goin on. And this guy drank that booze down there and he passed out. And then him and I, him and I, we had a few drinks and then him and I had a picture taken next to the jukebox, you know. And ah… L: Is that one of the pictures in here? G: No. I got that picture at home. I don't know off hand. That's in one of my, one of my things over there. And these here pictures were separate. I had that some of that other stuff. And ah, so ah, that and then we went back to camp again. We stayed there one day. Then the next day they sent us to, I got sent to Camp McCoy for my discharge, you know? So I got into Camp McCoy and while I was overseas I didn't like the army fatigues. The Seabees had form-fitting uniforms and they were all nice and lighter, a lot lighter. So I traded with the Seabees for them. And ah, says, I asked him and I said, "What, what, I'd like to get some of your uniforms from you. About six of em. Sets. And he says, "What have you got to trade?" I says, "Well, I notice that your guys in communications got one of these old wind-up switchboards," I says. And they're wearing gloves. You know you had to crank like that. And I says, "The guy's tellin me he's getting all blisters. And I got all them automatic ones," I says. In the Air Force, we had all them automatic ones. And [ ] all them crank up ones. And I says, "How about one of those automatic switchboards," I says. "Oh, geez, I'd love to get one of them," he says. So I says, "O.K. You get me six outfits and I'll give you one of them." But when, when I checked off the island, you know, that I was on, then I just went into the supply depot and I told em I had to get another switchboard, I says. Guy says, "Put down 'lost in combat'," you know. So they gave me another one. So I brought these uniforms and I had em in my ah, duffel bag. When I got to Camp McCoy, they had all German prisoners of war checkin you out over there. And they had about oh, maybe six rows. They had a big long table and you took your duffel bag and you just dumped it on there, you know. And he was goin through that, sortin through all this stuff, you know. He say, "G.I., G.I., G.I.,G.I. And ah, and then he come to ah, and then he come to my uniforms and, "G.I., G.I., G.I., hold it." I says, "No G.I.," I says. And I had the Seabees trench knife too. I brought that home. I left my Army one over there. Brought that home. And I took that trench knife and I stick it like that on the deck of the desk. And I says, "You touch him and I'll cut your fingers off." He says, "No G.I." He shoved it in my bag, "No G.I." He shoved it in my bag and ah, so then they ah, I went through the center over there and they figure out, I don't know ah, I had some back pay comin. Three hundred and some dollars of back pay comin on. Then they paid me and then they gave me ah, bus fare so I took the Greyhound bus from McCoy to Oshkosh over there where we had the bus depot over there. Ah, by the, well it's all torn down now. But I got landed on there and it seemed pretty funny you know. I was glad to get home but it seemed funny you know. After all this experience and all that and you come home. Like I was the only guy from Oshkosh you know that was on that, that was on that bus. And I had my uniform on and all that stuff like that. All my medals on and that. And ah, stuff and, and then ah, I took the bus home. And I was so glad to get home. And then they told me, they says ah, "When you get home you can join that club. They got 52 weeks at $20.00 a week the government gives ya, you know. And ah, I says, "I don't want that. I'm going to take two weeks to get everything all settled and everything." Then I went down and got a job right away. I went, first of all I did communications so I went to the Bell Telephone here in town and he says, "Come on in," he says. Made out a time card and he said, "You can start right out tomorrow morning," he said. And ah, so I thought, well, I'd better go look around. I says, "What do ya pay?" "Forty cents and hour." So I went to the Public Service, Wisconsin Public Service. And then they would hire me too right away. I says, "What do you pay?" He says, "Forty-five cents an hour." So I says, "O.K." And then I thought, well, I says to my wife, "I'm going to go over here to Wisconsin Axle," it was called at that time. So I went to Wisconsin Axle and he said, "God, we can put you right on," he says. And I says, "What do you pay?" He said, "Fifty cent an hour." I says, "O.K., I'll take it." And I was in, I went in management right away, see? He interviewed me and he says, ah, talked about all the different machine shop work. And I says, "Oh, yeah," I says. "I run them machines," I says. "I went to Vocational School for all the time I went to high school," I said. So I had four years of vocational experience on them and different things. And he says, "God," he says. "We can use you in management," he says. So they made me an assistant foreman. And then ah, it was about a month later, then they made me a regular foreman. L: What, what month and year was that? G: That, that was in ah, December of 1945. I got out of service in November. I got out of the service in November and in December, December 3rd I went to work at ah, at Wisconsin Axle. And I said to em, "I want a job that I can spend the rest of my life here." And he says, "You got the right spot." I spent my life there. I ah, I worked there and I was a, wound up as a superintendent at ah, at Rockwell. And in my time for them, they sent me all over. I opened up a plant in Brazil and I spent six months in Sao Paulo, opening up a plant there. Then I went to Tillbury, Canada. And I worked at problems there. They sent me over there. Went there, then I went to Newark, Ohio. Went to Marysville, Ohio for em. And they opened up a new plant in Knox, Indiana and they sent me there. I was there, drivin back and forth eighteen weeks in that plant. And I spent ah, a little over 30 years here. So ah, in 1975 I had over 30 years in there so I retired. L: Did you find that Oshkosh had changed at all from the time you left? To the time you got back? Had there been any changes in the community that you noticed? G: Well, not really. Not ah, when I left in '42, when I left in '42 and when I got back, the only differences that what I noticed, that I mean that I run into is ah, a lot more older people when I got back. I didn't see a lot of the younger ones were in the service, you know. 'Cause I was one of the first ones to go in so I mean you know. But there was guys ahead of me but I was one of the first ones back in '42 to go. So there was a lotta, there was a lotta older people workin at the plant. And ah, and ah, a lot of the old places and everything like that were still goin. At that time they were goin but after that they started changing around and the old buildings were comin down, the Athearn Hotel and all stuff like that. Cook & Brown's outfit along the shores over there. That was all changed. And ah, over here by ah Pluswood, that was bein changed. So later on and… L: Well John, this has been a very enjoyable interview. Thank you so much. Is there anything else you want to mention while we're kinda winding things up here? I know you have to get over there to the Senior Center. G: Yeah. Well the only thing, I'm glad that I was able to something like this with you because I know that I think in future years, a lotta people are maybe gonna hear some of this story and maybe see some of the things like that. And they'll know some of the things and hardships and stuff that we went through. So I think now and ah, bein associated with the different things where ah, a lot of volunteering at the EAA, I'm working with a lot of those old planes that I can remember from World War II. And that kinda helps me out and ah, and ah… L: Do you think about the war very often? G: Oh yeah. I think of, I think of the war often because I lost a lot of good friends, a lot of good buddies over there. There was fellows, I was a little older, I was almost 20. But I was, there was guys that was 17 that I know that were over there that ah, were ah, died for their country. I mean that were shot you know and I know that in visiting some of those guys in the field hospitals that they had there, the hospitals that we had there was just nothin but a tent. And it was so hot in those islands that those people that were over there and to see people you know that ah, ah, were injured like that. And to see them guys getting together and be joyful for what they sacrificed part of their life. And a lot of em had limbs missin and when I, I spent some time talkin to some of those guys when I visit em. And they, especially like these infantry guys, when they'd see the guys comin from the front line. They tried to rotate em. Keep em in there for 30 days or maybe 60 days. And then put in a new fresh group in there, you know. And when you see these guys comin out of there, as ragged as they looked, you know with their clothes all tore up, their shoes all cut up from the coral rock and that that they went through. And ah, and ah, a lot of em were bandaged up partly. Some of em were being carried. And then these guys in the hospital would be out there, "Well, where's Pete?" Well, these guys would say, "Well, Pete got it last night, and Joe got it early this morning. And ah, Frank got it a couple of days ago." And ah, you felt kinda sad, you know. To hear that kind of stuff. And these kids were wondering, you know. They were all buddies. And it goes right through ya. Even now as I'm talking to ya, it feels you know, I'm, feel like I'm on the sad side. To see and hear them guys like that, you know. How they had feelings towards one another, you know. Because they were side by side right in combat, you know. So you couldn't get any closer than that. And you had to depend on your buddies you know, next to you too. That was one bad [ ] I felt [ ] I mean really to see that kind of stuff and but you know I mention that to a lot of people and they say well, "Combat you know." And they say, "Well, it's war." You know. And it's gonna happen. And but I says, "You know if it's…" It saddens, it saddens me and that's what I think about a lot of times, you know. And then, but there's nothing you can do about it L: Is there anything that will rekindle the war memory? Music or is there anything that might bring something to mind that might make you think of the war? G: Every time I hear these old numbers. Old songs, you know. Like that we say, like for instance, like ah, "Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree." Like when we march you know, we'd sing that. Or, "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon." 'She wore it for her boyfriend who is far, far away.' You know we used to sing those as we marched, see. That was part of our, to keep in step you know, and all that. Stuff like that. And all those when you see again you think of that like you know, 'we were sailing along on moonlight bay.' You know, and stuff like that. We, I, that brought memories of me on these here troop ships goin from one island to the next. All the guys lined up you know on the, on the deck of the ship and you're leaning on the railing like that. And they're all singing, you know. Different tunes and that, like that. And so, you know, whenever you hear stuff like that then right away I think of all that kind of stuff, you know. And I don't think, I mean you know, that, that there's ever any time where I can say that I don't think about that stuff. Because I do. I mean ever since I've been home, I sit and I'll be sittin there watchin TV and somebody will play an old tune or something like that and right away my mind changes and I'm thinkin of the different islands and seein all the things and what we went through. And the hardships and, and ah, there was never any like glamorous times or anything like that. Because ah, There was never [ ]. The only things that ah, like you'd have your, you might say that was glamorous was when you'd see Bob show, Bob Hope come there with Bing Crosby and Jerry Corona {Colona} and Alice Langeford {Frances Langeford or Alice Faye}. Stuff like that that would come to the islands you know. L: You saw one of those shows? G: Oh, I seen a lot of em [ ] islands and Ann Sheridan you know, and stuff like that, you know. And one, and one of the, and one of the islands you know, was when we was. One of the islands and I happened to be sittin close to the shore and course these, like Ann Sheridan, she comes walkin through like that, you know. Down there like that and, and I just had some of my teeth worked on that one day. And there they have this guy that ah, they have like an old sewing machine where that runs that drill. Where the guy pumps like your folks used to have a sewing machine? Pump it with your feet, you pedal? Well, that runs the drill, see? And he was having, drilling on my teeth over there like that and ah, and then 'course you can't blame that guy. He's got a, he must a had a stop, lull or something. He stopped and this thing was stuck in my tooth. The old dentist, he gives it a yank like that, you know, and had to break part of the tooth off. And when they fill it like that you know, I was over there like that, feeling kinda blue and then she come over there and she said, "What's the matter, soldier?" And I says, "Well, I went to the dentist today." And I says, "Part of my tooth broke off." And I says, "It kinda aches me like that, you know." "Oh," she says, "that's alright." And she gives me a hug like that, you know. And all them guys hollering, "Hey, I got a toothache too! Come over here!" You know. But ah, to see them guys like Bob Hope and, and you had a chance to laugh and you know, be something funny. And you'd be all crowded, you know. You'd be in there. The island had to be pretty secure before they had something like that come in. But then they'd have ah, we'd have like people from nearby boats and all that, you know, come over there. We'd have sailors that would come so they'd all see the show at once, you know. Like that. [ ] the troops because that really brought your spirit up some, you know. L: That's a good memory. Maybe that's a good way to end it. G: Yeah. L: And I know that your time hear is ended, so I want to say, Thanks, John. I really appreciate that. Maybe, I was hoping we would have time to go through the photographs but I guess we don't. But maybe we could do that again sometime soon. We could go through those photos [ ]. G: You want me to sign something now? L: Yeah. If you would. {The second of the two tapes ends here}.
Oral History Interview with John Galica -WORLD WAR II -Copyright Oshkosh Public Museum
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865th Bomb Squadron

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