Oral History Interview with Norbert Lenz and Arthur Wolk

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Record 26/959
Copyright Oshkosh Public Museum
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Classification Archives
Collection World War II Oral History Project
Dates of Accumulation 2002 - 2002
Abstract Oral history interview with Norbert Lenz and Arthur Wolk conducted by Brad Larson for the World War II project. Norbert Lenz was drafted in the summer of 1941 and served with the 3rd Armored Division, landing at Normandy a few weeks after D-Day, wounded near St. Lo, July 1944. Arthur Wolk was drafted in the summer of 1943 and went into the United States Marine Corps communications outfit, served on Tinian and Iowa Jima.

Norbert Lenz and Arthur Wolk Interviews
May 28, 2002
Conducted by Bradley Larson

{B: denotes interviewer Larson. L: denotes Lenz and W: denotes Wolk}.

B: The date today is May 28, 2002. And what I'd like you gentlemen to do to start out is that you would give your full name, date of birth and where you were born. That's the way that I'd like to start, so Norb, why don't you start?

L: My name is Norbert Lenz. I was born March 24, 1916 in the town of Mimi in Manitowoc County.

B: Art, how about you?

W: My name is Arthur Wolk. Born May 25, 1925 in Seymour, Wisconsin.

B: Just had a birthday then.

W: Yup.

B: Well, tell me a little bit before the war. What was it like before the war? What did you do, you know, in the Great Depression?

L: I was brought up on a farm and I went to high school. I was, I went to country school and we had eight pupils in the country school when I graduated. I was the only one out of the eight that go to high school. So I graduated from high school in Kiel, in Manitowoc County in 1933. And then ah, after high school I went to Business College in Sheboygan. And when I got done with that, I tried to get work. The only job I could get was in a garage in one little town up in Manitowoc County and they were going to pay me $45.00 a month. And ah, my dad says ah, "For $45.00 a month, you might as well stay home and help me on the farm." So that's what I did. I picked up odd jobs in the summertime. Especially you could get work but $1.50 a day lotta times. And lotta times a dollar a day. I know one Fall I did plowing for a couple of months at seventy-five cents a day. That was during the Depression. It was tough times.

B: Was work pretty hard to get?

L: Yeah, I tried to get jobs in Sheboygan you know. That's where I had some relations living there but that was a furniture factory town more or less you know, and the wages weren't very good either. So, I never had any luck with that. Then I helped build silos in Sheboygan for Rahr's Malting Company. And then they built silos in Manitowoc and then I helped build those. Then that's about it, I guess.

B: How about you Art? What was it like during the Depression growing up?

W: Well, I guess I'm a little bit too young. I don't remember it much. It was ah, my dad was a mason and ah, he worked for himself all the time so… We always had food on the table [ ]. Going to high school, went to high school. Graduated Seymour High School and I worked for a … I graduated in 1943 and ah, I went to work for my dad mixing mud. And ah, wanted to drive a gravel truck for 50 cents an hour and he said, well, he really needed me. So I worked for him so that first week I got the pay and he says, "Well, how much you going to give me?" And I told him, I says, "Well, 50 cents an hour." And he looked down and "50 cents an hour." And he was getting 75 cents an hour and he, that didn't work so he gave himself a 25 cents an hour raise. He went up to a dollar an hour. And after that I got drafted.

B: Do either of you remember growing up, did you keep up on events in Europe or what was happening in the Far East. Was it a topic of conversation in your house at all?

L: Well, the biggest topic was when Lindbergh crossed the ocean in 1927. I remember that very well. They didn't have no radio or nothing, but when the mailman came along in the morning, he just came down the road and he hollered, "Lindy is over, Lindy is over." And that was in 1927. Then we had ah, what was that guy from Indiana that, he belonged to the mob. He got shot in Chicago. What was his name?

B: Dillinger?

L: Oh, Dillinger. He was the big news in the early 30's too you know. Yeah, and Baby Face Nelson and all that stuff. That was in the news. And then of course, Lindbergh's kidnapping. With their eldest son. That was in the news at that time. And as far as we on the farm, we didn't have any trouble with eats or anything. You know we raised most of our own stuff so we really didn't notice the Depression too much. Because during the Depression my dad bought tractors, automobiles. There was five of us boys and he bought each of us boys, when we turned 18, he bought each of us a brand new car so he must have made out all right on the farm. Yeah.

B: So it wasn't a big topic, what was happening overseas wasn't a big topic?

L: No not really. No. The only thing I remember was ah, there was a family from Germany came to a town in Manitowoc County, name of School Hill. He was a blacksmith and he started a blacksmith shop there and he was doin pretty good. He had three children, two girls and a boy. And ah, that girl got killed in 1938 in I guess and automobile accident. And then they were down in the dumps about that and then they got a letter from Germany that they was going to ship the family back to Germany free of charge if they wanted to go back, see. By losing their daughter they decided to take that up.

So they left and went back to Germany. The best part was, the boy. He got drafted in the German Army and he got captured in Africa and they sent him back to the 'states as a prisoner. So, and the father, he worked in a shipyard up in Stettin in Germany. And he got killed up in there too by bombing. So that's all, that's the last I heard of the family.

B: In your family was there much talk about what was happening overseas?

W: Oh, I don't remember us talking about it that much. Ah, I don't know, my dad mentioned once about , I guess we decided we would never speak German in the house. So that's, I don't know any German. English was always spoken. But as far as ah, world affairs like that, we never discussed it at all. But ah, I found out, like from World War I, they were always suspicious of the Germans. Course I was from a German community and that. And that's why ah, I guess they decided never to speak German, only to speak English because of that feeling there amongst other people. And then ah, well after, the last few years, one of the guys I golfed with was a, like an inspector in charge of subversive activities in, during World War II. And he told me that Wisconsin in that area they were still suspicious. The government was suspicious of the German heritage there in Wisconsin. Which I kind of never even thought about, you know. But that was ah, that was what he told me. He says that they were still leery, the government was leery about the Wisconsin people. Especially the German area. But ah, otherwise we didn't talk politics much, not at all, no.

B: Well now we come to Pearl Harbor. Tell me about that day. What you remember about that day?

L: Well I was already in the Army at that time. I was drafted in the Army and I was supposed to go in April of 1941. And I was out in Los Angeles at that time and was working in the Cudahy Packing Plant. I was making oleo margerine. Of course that, people in Wisconsin liked that you know. Making ole… So I got my notice on my birthday, March 24th 1941. I was supposed to report for duty in two weeks in Manitowoc. I was supposed to go join the Army. And ah, so I wrote back and that I wasn't able to make it. I had to break someone in on the job that I was doing. So I didn't report.

So when I got back, my name was in the paper already. A draft dodger. But then they put me on the list for the next draft call, which was in June. So I went in June. June the 11th in 1941 is when I got drafted. It was supposed to be for one year. "I'll be back in a year, little darling," the song was going at that time, you know. So I already had a furlough before Pearl Harbor. I was stationed in Louisiana then. At Camp [Polk}, Louisiana with the 3rd Armored Division. It was in Co. D, 83rd Recon. And ah, I was with that same platoon, same company, same division from basic training through the war.

B: So what happened, you were down in Louisiana when you heard about Pearl Harbor.

L: Well there was a lot, before Pearl Harbor, all the fellows in September that were over 28, they had at that time - they didn't ah, induct anybody under 21 - they were 21 and older. So in September, all the fellows that were 28 years old, they could be sent home. When Pearl Harbor came all the fellows had to come back again. With long faces. That was that part. And ah, I remember I just came back from furlough and ah, this was, payday was on the first day of December. And I didn't have no money then. Coming back….

So I stayed in camp and we were playing cards with several guys from Wisconsin. We played sheephead and all of a sudden the radio, we heard Pearl Harbor was bombed. So I said, "Boy, this is something, see? We won't be goin home in a year." So that's the way it was, see?

But I was lucky. When I got draftee, in six weeks I made corporal. But I couldn't get no corporal pay until I had my basic training in which was thirteen weeks at that time.

B: Where did you take your basic training?

L: Right in Camp Polk, Louisiana. And we got down there in June of '41 and it was really hot and muggy. Yeah. So…

B: You would have been 16 at the time of Pearl Harbor? Fifteen? Something like that?

W: Yeah. Sixteen. Yeah. I remember we were listening to the Packer-Cardinal game I think, on radio. Listening to the game and then all at once they interrupted and said Pearl Harbor had been bombed. And Japanese sneak attack. I remember we were listening to a football game, Packer football game. At home.

B: Do you remember your family's reaction?

W: No I don't remember that at all. I think it was, dumbfounded, I don't know. I just ah, I don't remember any huge thing about it. I don't know. I know I was seventeen, I wanted to enlist. And my dad says, no way would he sign for me. Now that I'm older and think back, I think my dad might have been a pacifist. I don't know. 'Cause I remember when I got home from the service after the war and he says, "Well, I…." They had a lot of German prisoners working in the canning factory there in Seymour, And he says, "Well, I talked to them and they didn't want war anymore than anybody else. They had to because, so…." I got a sneaking suspicion. Afterwards, I thought about it. We never talked politics and that too much.

B: Now I'd like to have you think back now. Try to put yourself when you're just young men. You just heard about Pearl Harbor. Things weren't going very good for the United States right after Pearl Harbor. Do you remember what you thought in the immediate aftermath of the attack?

L: Well, most of us didn't even know where Pearl Harbor was. You know, when you heard Pearl Harbor, where in the world is Pearl Harbor? See, we didn't know it was in Hawaii. But ah, that's the way it was. But I know one thing about when that happened. We used to walk guard with a billy club in Camp Polk, you know. And then when war started everybody got scared. Tonight we walk guard with rifles, loaded and locked. So all night long when we were walkin guard duty, you could hear a shotgun go off, or a shot go off, some by loading their rifles, it was something they never, clumsy. And certainly in the dark, you know and we had blackout right away. I don't know why in the world that was. We were in the middle of the United States. And that war was way over in the Pacific, see?

W: I think from that point on your whole life changes. Your whole outlook on life changed because at that time you knew when you were eighteen, where you were going. You were going in the service. And ah, like with me, I never thought much more about college or anything else because I know that was what's going to happen to me. I'm going to be eighteen and I'm going in the service. And ah, that's what happened. So I don't know, I just had it in my mind, I just put everything on hold with the thought, that's what it's gonna be. And maybe you're gonna get killed, you know. And, but that's, you sort of give up on everything else. At least I did anyway. Don't think of anything else you might have wanted to do. Because your life has just been mapped out for ya. [ ] you know.

B: Did you think that the United States would win from the very beginning. Things didn't look very good. Did you ever think the United States would not win?

L: No, I never gave that a thought, no. But one thing that happened, you know, right away for pretty near, well for a couple weeks after war, we pretty near lost all our officers. They were transferred to different units. Our army was pretty small at that time yet, you know. And ah, we split up our division almost in half. We, I was in the 3rd Armored, we, we, the 7th Armored was formed and they did their basic training right next to us. They in fact, they got our barracks, the 7th Armored Division. And the 3rd Armored, we moved out into tents at Camp Polk. And then we helped train the 7th Armored Division. And I know, I was in the rifle range for about a month teaching these young recruits how to fire a gun and stuff like that, you know. Hit the target.

B: I imagine a lot of em had never held a rifle.

L: A lot of them never had held a rifle. I remember one kid. He was laying down on the sandbags shooting at the target and he couldn't hit that thing. He said there must be something wrong with the sight. I says, "Gimme that rifle." So I was standing up and I shot and I hit a bulls-eye standing up. So I had a lot of practice, I tell ya. I knew how to shoot a rifle. Yeah. But the kid, he looked at me.

W: I'll never forget that. I'll never forget the guy's name. Ah, D.I. drill instructor pulled out the rifle you know. He says this is a semi-automatic 30-caliber gas operated rifle. And here's this kid from North Carolina. His name was Carpenter. He says, "Where did you get the gas?" The D.I. says, "Did you ever fart?" He says, "Fart?" {general laughter} [ ]

B: Well, what happened afterwards. Relate to me, tell me what happened after your training at Camp Polk?

L: Well, let's see. Well. We [ ] up quite. Then I made sergeant, buck sergeant then. I was, promotions came pretty fast then, you know. And then we got new 90 wonders we got in then. Second Lieutenants fresh out of OCS, you know. They couldn't even give close order drill, you know. We sergeants had to do most of that stuff then, you know. But finally they all got used to that. Then we went to gunnery school in Fort Knox. Had pistols, rifles, sub-machine guns, machine guns and one artillery piece we had. "55" we had. We had to learn all the parts. Had to be able take machine gun apart blindfolded and put it back together again, because they said when you are in combat, in the dark of night, and the machine gun jams, you better be able to fix it. So we had to do that. And we were pretty good at that you know.

B: Did you find that actually to be true?

L: Oh, yes. That's true. Oh yes. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

B: So you went through training at Fort Knox?
L: Then I got back. Then we went out to California desert right after that. We trained out in the California desert. We went out middle of July and boy, it was hot. 120 degrees in the shade. And when we traveled at night, the muffler pipes on the armored cars and stuff, they were just cherry red. And then they'd get vapor-locked, you know. Some ways, and then they'd get stalled. That was hot. Of course, and then we only trained in the morning. We got up earlier and, out there, ten o'clock until two o'clock, we had a siesta. So we didn't do nothing. But after we were there a month, we all got used to it and you know, hardly nobody went on sick call after that. At first they [ ] a lot of em got heat flash, oh, what did they call that? A lot of them went to the hospital because of heat stroke and stuff like that. But after, after we got used to that climate, climatized they called it, why nobody got sick. That was a healthy climate.

B: Was the training pretty rigorous out there?

L: Yeah. Pretty rigorous. We ran around all over the desert. And even Patton came out there. Watched us you know. That's the only time I ever talked to Patton. I got to talk to him.

B: What did he say?

L: Well, how things were going and stuff. And what we were doing. And, he was pretty good, pretty good guy.

B: I heard that he was pretty profane. Did you find that…?

L: Oh, he was yeah. When we were in Louisiana yet, we had a maneuver in the fall of '41 and Patton came there and we had to get everything lined up. We had to get our barracks cleaned up, spic and span, you know. And then we went out on the drill field and here Patton come. I always thought Patton was a really slick guy. But Patton wasn't shaved at all. On maneuvers. He looked like a [ ] but he never went to a single barracks to inspect you know. And everybody gets so excited, you know. Patton is coming. We gotta get everything in tip-top shape. But that's Patton.

B: Now you were drafted or enlisted in '43?

W: I was drafted.

B: Tell me about that. How did that happen?

W: Well, when you get to be 18, you hadda go down and register. It was about two months after you got your notice. I think it was ah, the end of August. I went down to Milwaukee and they gave you your physical right away and if you passed that why then you either went into the Army, Coast Guard, Navy or the Marine Corps. And ah, they was my cousins, like my second cousins, "Let's go for the Marine Corps." Ah, okay. So…

B: How did he happen to choose that?

W: I dunno. He was a sort of rugged individual. He said, "Let's go for the Marine Corps." I dunno, okay. Well then after that, while not too long ago, a few years back he had a stroke and I believe even after that, when we were home, you know after the war and that. I'd always have to tell him the serial numbers because mine was 880756 and he was 880757. So he'd say, "What's my serial number." And okay, I'd give it to him.

But ah, we went in from Milwaukee, got sworn in right away and ah, we ah, went back home. We got two weeks and then we had to come back to Milwaukee and we got loaded on a train. And that was a rough ride because ah, they were real old cars. Had straight backs and they wouldn't fold down or anything. They even had gas lanterns in it. And ah, so we couldn't, had to sleep sittin up. It took us about three days. I know we never. We never got off the train. In Ogden, Utah, they let us get off in the station area a little bit and walk back. And we got home and we got, I know, I guess afterwards they found that my mother was so dismayed because she got my clothes back - they were so dirty - had black [ ].

But then strange thing, we were on Guam afterwards at a message center. Saw one of these court martials coming through. General Court Martial and here it's some Marine guy had been court-martialed because he has his brother-in-law or somebody was in charge of the trains and what they were doin, they were charging the government for Pullmans for us and they were switching to them old cars. And I thought I must have been one of them that got in on that. So he ended up, sentenced to [Mare] Island for I don't know how long. That was the guy. So that's why we were sittin in those little trains with gas lanterns in them yet; stiff backed seats.

[ ] Marine Corps. In boot camp.

B: At San Diego?

W: San Diego, yeah.

B: How was Marine Corps boot camp? We hear about that every once in awhile? How would you describe it?

W: Probably tougher now than it was then. They ah, the only thing there, we couldn't have any candy, or couldn't chew any gum or have any candy to eat. Couldn't go to the PX. And they ah, we did a lot of drilling which they told us right off the bat, the only reason we're doing this is so when you're given an order, that you'll obey it without thinking twice. So we, as far as I know, we close-order drilled every day. Plus ah, lessons on I dunno, rifles and stuff like that. We had to take the rifle apart and…that gas-operated rifle and ah. But ah, they were a little tough you know. You couldn't…. You hadda call pants trousers. Only women wear pants. Trousers, you hadda be careful and I dunno, I did something wrong once. My general orders, they had me stand up with my arms out and they put a broom across the top. And you had to sit and hold that. Well you can't hold it very long. Then ah, you hadda call a rifle a rifle. You probably heard that one already. Couldn't call it a gun you know. 'Cause then they'd make you stand out there with your peter out; "This is my rifle, this is my gun; this is for fightin, this is for fun." And you did it [ ]. I'll bet some guys…. I was pretty careful. I called it a rifle all the time.

And then there was some guy. I remember they wanted to, one guy anyway wanted to, I don't know, he wanted to get out of the service somehow or other. Well they had him out there and they made him put on all the clothes he had. And ah, and put his rifle and march him up and back and up and down, up and down. They had what they call a special platoon and they sent him over there, for the bed-wetters and stuff like that. But those kind of guys pee on the bed just to be bed-wetters so they can get out.

So ah, but ah, I guess it was pretty rough. You had to say, "Sir," to everybody and ah, but at the time I guess, you just, you didn't think that much of it really. Except that, you know, they kept after you all the time. There was no, like the Army, I guess they give you liberty and that but we just, no liberty, no nothin. No PX. Just hadda, 'till you got out. When you got out of boot camp, well then you could go to the PX.

When we go in we were issued a pail and a scrub brush and maybe some soap powder or whatever it was and ah, then ah, when we got our first payday, then we had to pay for that. Hadda pay for our pail and brush.

There was one little guy from Louisiana that said he wasn't taking a shower and that. So they ah, got him under the shower and took the scrub brush and scrubbed him with this stiff brush, scrub brush.

And then this one guy, [ ] was his name. He was from Milwaukee. He had a heavy beard. And they accused him of not shaving. So they made him dry shave. His beard you know. He was one of these guys, about two hours after they'd shave, they'd have the beard again. It was rough but they were mean, I guess.

Some of em, I remember, were nice. We had one little D.I. The D.I.'s got rid of him. The D.I.'s couldn't stand him. He was from Brooklyn, a little guy. They said he'd been on Guadalcanal. He was kinda stupid, I thought. And ah, so ah, that went on and one of our guys, D.I. was from Michigan and the other one, Deckers, Corporal, I don't know where he was from but they were all guys that were veterans that had been over and back.

It was ah, the Marine Corps, or in the Navy and Marine Corps, you got like in Army you get mess duty one day or that but in the Marine Corps you get it for a month. And for a year and that's all you had so when right after our platoon got mess duty. So it was most of the time I spent in the scullery ah, when we were washing the trays and that. Then outside seein everybody eat their food. What did they eat. They eat everything. The only thing is that you got ice cream. You had to eat ice cream. You had to eat all your dessert. You couldn't leave that on your tray.

But ah, we were out washing trays. My cousin was at one end, shovin the trays through the wash and I was on the other end, taking em off and settin em up. But that was our job all the way through ah, ah, our mess duty. We could go from there. I don't know if we were, I guess we could get liberty then. But maybe just like a night. We couldn't get a weekend pass or anything like that.

Then where we were goin, they had a movie theater there. And [ ] and I were goin over to see Jimmy Cagney in "Yankee Doodle Dandy." I was so darned tired. I think only watched about five minutes, I was conked right out. I slept through the whole thing.

We had ah, you could do some fighting ah, boxing. My cousin was pretty good at that. He was about 6-1 and a farm boy. And he did some boxing.

Then we got ah, out to Camp Matthews and they wanted him to fight but out there they didn't want you to, anybody to fight because you could hurt your hands or something and then you couldn't go through firing the rifle. So they had a, they wanted him to fight this ah, ex-cop from Michigan or whatever. So they made out that one of them peed on the other guy's foot or something. So they was gonna fight, argument. So they said, "Well you could settle it in the ring." So then we had to march, we marched from the barracks there down to the front of the Camp Matthews it was and where they had the prizefight ring and Pete and this other guy had their fight. [ ] won and I guess there was a lot of money bet on them.

B: Well let's talk about going overseas. Norb, let's start with you. When did you go overseas?

L: Well, when we left the desert we were, first we had our training out in the desert. We were until September then. The war in Africa just about started at that time. And then we got a call. Within a week we were going to go east to ah, but that was cancelled. So we stayed in the desert until the middle of October. Then we went on the train; we took all our equipment along. We went to Camp Pickett, Virginia.

And we were supposed to go to Africa I guess. We all got furloughs and they sent a couple guys out to go to Africa first. Our First Sergeant went and they got a couple of officers that went to pick out a place where we was going to land and stuff. And we all had our furloughs and we were ready to ship out and we were cancelled because what happened was, we didn't know that at the time, we found that out later; all our equipment was sent over to Africa before we embarked, see? And all our equipment was sunk in the ocean. All our tanks and armored cars and stuff did never got to Africa so then we were assigned to Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania. Instead of going overseas, we went to Pennsylvania for another…

Well, we went there in January of '43 and we were in Pennsylvania until August in '43. And they we did train, we got new equipment there. We got new armored cars and there was a 6-6-wheel job with a motor in back. Then we had a cannon and a 50-caliber machine gun and a 30 caliber with co-axle with the cannon. And then of course I was platoon sergeant already. I had a big pistol, I had. That was my weapon. And, then we were, then we got furloughed again. Then we went overseas. We left, we shipped, sailed out of New York on Labor Day in 1943. I guess it was the 5th of September.

And ah, we were on the seas 15 days and we landed in Liverpool, England. 'Course we thought, we didn't know where we were going. We thought we were going to Africa when we left New York. They didn't tell us where we were going until we were out of port about two days before they told us where we were going. At first it got warmer and warmer and all of a sudden they turned around and went up around New Foundland and way around Iceland. And then it start snowing already. We were that far north. Then…

B: Were you on a troopship or on a liner?

L: It was a convoy. That's why it took so long. Zig-zagged all the way.

B: See any U-boats or anything?

L: And then the third day out we had an awful storm. Couple guys got washed overboard. And there was, and everybody was seasick. I never got seasick but I'd say about half of the people got seasick. And ah, then we got a couple of U-boat alarms when we got by the middle of the ocean someplace. But it never amounted to too much. And the trouble was, we had a, I guess we had about 8,000 troops on our ship. We had a pretty big boat. It was the SS John Erickson. It was a Norwegian built ship.

And ah, well then we got to Liverpool. Then the English that greeted us, they played the "Beer Barrel Polka" for us. And "Show Me The Way To Go Home." And then we went to a camp down in southwest England right out of Warminster. You had a little town. There's Longbridge Deverill was where was stationed at. And we were stationed there then till D-Day. And then we trained all winter long. We went on maneuvers yet in England. And then we went out to the Irish coast and we tried to shoot the airplanes to a target {airplanes towing a target?}. And we tried to shoot it with our 50 caliber machine guns. All we did was we wore out the barrels on our guns. 504.++

B: Pretty hard to do, is that?

L: It's pretty hard. Sometimes we shot the…. they had a cable must have been about 500 yards long, you know. So the target was pretty far behind the plane. But a lot of times they'd shoot that cable off and the target would fall down. We got pretty close anyhow. But with tracers, you could tell you know.

W: Talking about about targets, going to Pearl Harbor on an aircraft carrier…

B: You left, you left California then to go over to Hawaii?

W: Yes. And we were, the thing about that is we were on the USS Wasp, the second one. First one was sunk already. And they had just taken their shakedown cruise down around South America and come up through the canal and up to San Diego. Picked up our replacement battalion and headed to Pearl Harbor.

You talk about that targets, well when we out of Pearl Harbor and they started coming across these planes carrying the targets. And I was amazed these guys with these 20 millimeter [ ], I guess. Boy, they'd knock that target off, one right after another, and then on the back, they had these 40 millimeter Bofors and I remember they dragged the target across back in there and there was just a 'blum, blum, blum' and the target flew. Two shots. But otherwise those guys were really good with those 20 millimeter [Orkelins]. And they were all along side the area there.

But ah, yeah, when we went aboard ship, we all hadda carried on our sea bags and a cot. And we all got on and we went down on the hanger deck, set up our cots and ah, underneath the planes, they were full of planes. And I remember I had a beautiful setup. I was right on the side of the ship where the folding door went up. So I could lay on my cot and just look out at the ocean. [ ]

B: Did you get seasick?

W: No. Not even, not even woozy. I was, I got seasick a couple other times but never on that carrier because that was pretty big and it didn't roll around much. And we were goin at a pretty good clip. Just a carrier. There might have been some destroyers but they might have been off to the side. But they said they didn't worry about the U-boats because we were going too fast.

B: When did you get to Hawaii?

W: April 1st, 1944. 'Cause I remember that date. It was the first of April. It took us three days to get there. We left San Diego March 29th and we got into Pearl Harbor April 1st.

B: And what did you do once you got there? Did you go into training as well?

W: No. I went to ah, I was in a replacement battalion so we went to a camp that we were - they sort of just held you there till you were assigned. So when we was there we learned how to climb telephone poles with the climbers and operate switchboards. I was a message center clerk but in communications so we learned that. But otherwise we was just waiting to get assigned.

B: And where were you assigned then?

W: I was with the 2nd Island Command. And this was, these were sort of, these were set up just for Guam and Tinian. It was, all branches of the service were in it. And ah, they were there, they were supposed to go there and command ah, the island. And put the government, be the government there. But ah, we got to Tinian and ah, we were supposed to board ship but ah, they were getting ready to load up to hit Saipan and Tinian. And one of the freighters that the guys were on blew up. So that set us back a little bit.

Well then they didn't secure the island so we went from Pearl Harbor to the Marshall Islands or Kwajalein. And we sat on that Eniwetok atoll for ah, I think almost a month on that darn ship. Sat there in that water. And I remember you couldn't believe the water was so clear you could see right to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean atoll.

And we took off. They finally had secured Saipan and ah, we sat off of Tinian. At that time we, they were I know, I guess these guys were jumpin off the cliffs so, we'd sit out there and you could see the bodies floatin past. We figured one guy must have still had a bunch of gold teeth and he was floatin back on his back. We figured he mighta committed suicide because he had a big triangular tear in his stomach and while he was floating along, his entrails were floating along next to him there. [ ]

And so then we sat out there I guess, a couple days before we went ashore on Tinian. We were right at Tinian City there. We had our tents set up right next to the road and maybe it was the first or second night. Woke up and looked around and the water was up right next to the cot. Rain had flooded the place. But…

B: Tell me, what did you, think back now to put yourself on that area of Tinian. What did you think of the Japanese as an enemy at that time? How did you view them?

W: Well, didn't like em very much. In fact ah, I guess nobody liked em very much. Then we went up, outside of one hut there was a Jap layin there and they had a rope around his neck so I don't know if they hanged him or strung him up or whatever. He was just laying there but he had a rope around his neck. I think the, there was goofy people that they…. Most of the Japs I guess were killed but then some of the guys were taking their rifles and were going up along the hills and huntin people. And I remember at that time [ ] officers. "Well, either you're going to quit that or we're going to take your rifles and ammunition away. You can't go up there and just shoot people."

Well, and I guess at that time you called em 'Gooks.' They were the natives living there. But they were…[ ] They built, they put them in camps you know, like concentration camps just to keep them there. And they built the toilets, well, these gooks when they went to the john, instead of sittin on it, they'd jump up on top and put their foot on each side I guess. So after that they built them level with the ground. They didn't have any huts or anything; you could drive past…

But they ah, our command didn't last too long because you know, Tinian they turned into airfields for the B-29's.

B: Did you know that that was happening? Did they explain to you that it was a base to begin bombing Japan?

W: No, they never explained that to us. They just ah, one time [ ] Your orders are getting transferred down to Guam. And ah, that's the one time we got seasick because, I don't know, there was about twelve of us. And they put us on a, it must have been a little harbor craft or something. And at night and we took off and Guam was probably, oh I dunno, a couple or three hundred miles. Probably be south of Tinian and that. So we left at night and this, the next morning I was starting to get sick and we pulled into Agana Harbor. When we pulled into the harbor, it leveled out and it was over with.

{Tape No.1 ends here}.

B: [ ] how did you view Germany? How did you view your German enemy? And you're facing D-Day. You know that you're gonna go across the Channel. How did you view the Germans?

L: The enemy. That's about all. I didn't have no animosity toward them or nothin like that, you know. I was of German decent too you know. So it didn't, I just knew they were the enemy. And of course as far as the persons, I didn't hate the persons. I hated the uniform they wore. Put it that way. That's about how I looked at it, you know. The uniform really was the enemy. The person in the uniform really wasn't my enemy. Because after, I got contact with a lot of Germans that way and they were just human like we were. There was no different.

B: Was there apprehension in facing what Hitler called 'Fortress Europe'? Did you, in your unit, did you talk about this? Did you think you'd be able to breach it on D-Day?

L: Well, I dunno. [ ] far as that goes. The German was the enemy. I was over in England, you know. You heard, you could see the airplanes fly over. In England, it was all blackout you know. You hadda, every night you hadda be sure everything was tight, you know. And all you had was, you had little snake eyes on your vehicles. That's all you had for headlights, you know. And then you drove on the wrong side of the road to start with, you know. We called it the wrong side of course. They called it the right side. But it, it was tough to get around at night.

And the best part was, in England you know, when we'd go to town, and if you had to go to urinate you know, you had to go to where there was a urinal. Like, then if you got caught, you got fined. But when they got to France you could see that the men go right out in daylight. They'd pee right in the street. They'd go behind the cars, that's a different culture, you know. Different.

B: When did you go to France?

L: Well, we went, we were in England from ah, September 15th until June ah, let's see. We landed in Normandy the 23rd of June. So we was in England for a long time. And ah, I already knew where we were gonna land in France. When we were finally goin, that was two weeks before D-Day. All the noncoms got called together and all the officers. And we were given a briefing of where we were gonna go. And you know, when we got over France that was toward the end of June and we hit the same town and the same place where they gave us the instructions in England at that time.

And that was before D-Day already. And they weren't in very far when we landed. We landed, we got on the beach. We made a what I call a dry landing. We went in on high tide. We waited until the tide went out. And the tide was oh, I'd say about a 20-foot tide. And our ship was sittin on dry land when the tide was out. And we just let the ramp down and we drove off and, on land. But one ship right next to us, where they let the ramp down was a shell hole. And it was full of water. So those guys had to go through that hole to drive off, you see.

And I looked back and about a quarter mile back the shore was all sand. So us guys from the Midwest, we didn't know what the hell a tide was to start with. So and then we got out. We had all our, when we got to shore, or close to shore, we already saw dead bodies floating in the water.[ ] That was a couple weeks after D-Day when we landed. And there was still dead bodies floating around in the water.

And then we had all our, we had what they call ah, impregnated clothing we had on was like a wax coating on our coveralls in case we get a gas attack or something. Lotta guys got sick from wearing those tight coveralls, you know. And then I saw a guy floatin in, and they looked like balloons. Guys in those coveralls. They were floating in the water.

And ah, then when we drove off we took the camouflage or cosmoline off our vehicles and stuff. Got the muffler pipes. We coulda drove through water. Our muffler pipes were way up and stuff. And intakes, air intakes. They were way up above, see?

And then when we got on shore we hit the same, when we got the, ah, I forgot the name of the town now in France. Anyhow, we were ahead of the artillery when we landed the first night. And ah, the infantry was just ahead of us. Only about a quarter of a mile. We could hear the fighting going on when we landed the first night. And then the artillery shot over us. And it kinda scared a guy a little bit.

B: What was that hedgerow country like?

L: Oh that was terrible. They were only small fields. I'd say a ten-acre field, that was a big one. They were smaller than that. Maybe five or six acres, four acres maybe. And then the hedgerows, they was as high as, well, high as that deer, almost. That deer head. And ah, the only way to get in, the farmers would get in there, they only had an opening on some, like a, well like a opening. Then we, once you got behind that, the Germans were on the other side and you didn't know.

I know one guy one time, it was a little orchard and the guy that was an officer was in charge of the maintenance in our outfit. And then the staff sergeant, he was in maintenance head to. And they went, was gonna get the sniper in the orchard. And they both got killed. The sniper got both of them.

B: How did you get, what, ah, what's the correct way to say it? How did you get past the hedgerow? How did you fight in the hedgerow?

L: Well, it was awful, awful slow. It was awful slow.

B: Just field by field?

L: Field by field. Field by field, yeah. I don't how to explain it either. Pretty tough. The Germans were on one side, you on the other side. That's about the way it was. Yeah, we lost a lotta guys.

B: Art, what happened to you after you got to Guam?

W: Well, I was with the 3rd Division. I was in the headquarters and message center. I wasn't really, didn't do a heck of a lot. We just get the, ah, what was I gonna say? The orders, you know, general orders and stuff'd come through and we'd distribute them to the battalions and division and… Wasn't ah, just about all we had to do. And then ah, we, I got there probably the first part of January.

And then was, we were loaded up and we were going and ah, they didn't tell you where you were goin. They were just gonna invade, except that this [ ] some private in the paymaster and they didn't go [ ] "Well, you're gonna go to a pear-shaped island." And that. Well, okay.

see the island. It was going to be Iwo Jima. And we got, we were in reserve and we went in D+5. I was telling Norm, started fighting. We was settin off shore probably about a mile. We was sitting on the bow, eating ice cream. And you could look in and see the shells land on the beach and open up, you know. And there were your guys getting killed. We're sittin here eatin ice cream and watching it. Like a movie almost. And then I remember one night that we sat there and all the searchlights were on Suribachi. And they were just pounding the hell out of it. And ah, but I don't remember the flag goin up. That escapes me.

And ah, then ah, we had some ah of the infantry, either the Third or the Ninth Marines on our ship too. And about D+3, they went in. Landing craft went in, came back, loaded up and took them in. The next time they were loaded with wounded already. And they, the mess hall was sort of like a, they must have had an operating room and that on the ship. So that they brought em back to the ship. They said they were in the mess hall. That's where they were putting them.

And then on D+5 we went in. And ah, I still remember walkin up the beach and it musta been a mortar. Hit right between two guys. Flew right up in the air and as far as I can remember, they got up again. And we ended up and we set up camp right by [Moviyama} AirField No. 1. And the area we were in, the guys said that a mortar platoon had been wiped out there. It was some fox holes dug there already, so me and another guy claimed one of them. It was at night and I was shivering and I'd keep covering up. Finally I couldn't get warm and finally it hit me, I wasn't cold, I was just shakin. A little bit worried I guess. Nervous. And they did shell us that night and only one guy got a broken arm. They said they hit a rocket launcher and a rocket flew up in the air and landed on his arm and broke his arm.

But our main deal was then ah, we went across the airfield and up into division headquarters, 3rd Division Headquarters and we sat there and if there was any messages or stuff, then we ran it back. But about all I remember doin is ah, they'd print out a news mimeographed sheet which we hauled back in the morning. I could never figure out why the hell they had us doin it when it was real early in the morning and still dark. Why couldn't they wait until it was light. 'Cause I didn't trust anybody shootin at me. I thought, because you know, the guy's a little trigger happy. And ah, that's about all we did. We had guys killed in our regiment, headquarters, some other guys.

So we, about five or six of us guys were in a tent that was down a little bit of a hole. And we'd sit there and wait 'cause we hadda take messages back. And ah, so like most of the fightin goin on, we were sittin there playing ah, cards. What do you call it, it was either hearts or spades or some other darn game. And then all at once you get this awful odor. About that time a 6 little, few minutes later, a '6 by' {6 by 6}would come past loaded with dead bodies. There was stacked well, three or four deep with the whole '6 by'. And the guys sittin, standin on the running boards and they had these rubber gloves where they ran up about this high? Big black rubber gloves. And they were the guys that were pickin up the bodies and hauling them back. And they said they had em stacked maybe four or five high along the road in the back before they buried them. You could just smell em when they brought em back.

L: Yeah, the first, first night that we went in there, the next morning I saw the same thing. They were picked up by [ ] them big trucks came by. And that thing was stacked up about, I'd say about four high. Yeah. They picked up what happened during the night more or less, you know. And I thought, boy this is not, this is getting pretty serious.

W: When you figure a '6by', it's probably about five across, five high, about 20 of em. Probably had 40 to, probably had about 80 to 100 guys on em.

L: Yeah. And then, I was in a recon outfit and we hadda go on patrol at night you know. Feel out the enemy, you know. And then, on the 7th of July, then we crossed the [Bier] River. We left, we were supposed to leave at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. And then we went to a little town. It was right next to the river, to, it was the river and then a railroad tracks and the little town was up here. And we came along there and the artillery shells were coming in and ah, lot of dead Americans. They were burnt. They were, shelled the houses and business places up on there. And then we passed them.

And then crossed the bridge and we went in about five miles and some Germans were comin back already with their hands up. And, and then that night that bridge got shot out fur times. It was a concrete bridge first. And then the engineers put up a pontoon bridge that got shot four or five time. And my company commander, he got shot that night too at the bridge. And I sent my messenger, I had a guy on a motorcycle that was my messenger. I sent him back and he got clipped by the bridge too. He lost a arm and never came back again.

And ah, we were in there about five miles. We set, we got out there about 11 o'clock at night. You know, those days were pretty long out there. Had double daylight savings time on or something. Didn't get dark until about 11 o'clock at night. And ah, so we set up a perimeter around our armored cars and first thing one guy came running up. He says, "Sergeant, come here. One of our guys got shot." So I went and the kid got shot right between the eyes. By our own men. By his own men. And the guy, he was really shook up. I said, "What the hell happened?" He said the kid was going to come back because the Germans were right on the other side and he was going to report that in. And ah, so then we hunkered down some and said, "What shall we do with this guy?" I said, "All we can do is cover him up with a raincoat and let him lay." What can you do. So we hunkered around and about 2 o'clock in the morning they dropped in some of those 'screaming meemies'. They made a hell of a lot of noise you know but this scared you more than anything else.

W: Rockets.

L: Yeah. And they came in and then I thought that was getting pretty scary. Then all of a sudden one of our guys opened up with a machine gun. He said he heard something. And I had a guy in a armored car. So then I thought well, we'd better get out of here. So when I got down, I was gonna go to the first car with my, I had one officer in my platoon. And he was gone. He had left! I said, "Where the hell did Lieutenant Havens go?" "Oh, he pulled out a hour ago already." I said, "Why the hell didn't he tell us something, you know?" Let us all get together and all go out, you know.

So I got the guys together and ah, then we start pulling out. Then when I pulled out, I was sitting in the turret and my driver, had that armored car that had that, anyhow all he had was a little slit where he could look out. He had closed the hatch up so he couldn't, nobody would shoot at him. So I hadda steer him with my feet, see? On the shoulder. Turn here, turn there. So the damn fool, instead of turning left when I put my foot down, he turned right. Right in toward the enemy. So I said, "Back up. Back up." So when he backed up we got clobbered. The Germans shot the back wheels off our armored car. And all the stuff we had on the armored car, nets and my, I had a nice sleeping bag in a can. Lost that and I had about, when I left England I had about 2 dozen pair of socks. I wanted clean socks you know and I had it all packed up in the armored car. And I lost all of that. Anyway, nobody got hurt.

So we jumped out and I told the driver I says, "Gimme your…" Driver had a Tommy gun. I says, "Gimme your Tommy gun. I'll get that bastard that shot us." So I run back and it was dark. I didn't know where the hell he was but I lobbed a couple grenades in that direction you know, But then another half track or ammunition carrier, he had stopped and I jumped in on there and pulled out with him. But then the scout section they came out after us and one of the, one of the scout section guys, the driver, he got shot too. He got killed there too. He got… Then we got back and then the rest of the battalion, they were all, most had crossed that bridge already too. And then we had good, for the night, we had good… They saved us, you might say.

Then the next morning, just break of daylight, all of a sudden one guy got shot here and one guy got shot there. And here was a goll-darned German sniper up in tree and he was taking spot, pot shots at us. "Where is that bastard?" We opened up with all machine guns and that guy came down in pieces. We got that sniper. I got the Silver Star that night for getting my platoon out.

B: You did huh?

L: Yeah. But then my platoon, my officer the company commander got hit and he got evacuated out. The next morning the guys asked me who's got the seniority in the platoon of the officers. I knew my platoon leader, he was the oldest one in our platoon. He joined us in the desert in California that time. I says, "Lt. Havens is." So he made company commander. Maybe that's why he got the Silver Star, I dunno.

B: You said your job was to seek out. You were in a recon?

L: Yeah. You gotta feel out the enemy. And when we were there. We could hear em coming, you know. Ah, that night already, oh about 12 o'clock, you could hear German tanks. The German tanks, they made a hell of a lot of noise. But more than American. They had iron treads on. And the Americans had rubber-based treads but they were more quiet. You could tell the Germans: click, click, click; they were comin down the highway, you know. So I said, "Boy, we better get the hell out of here." So…

B: What was the German, what was the average German soldier or German tank. What, what were they like?

L: Well they had a damn good gun. They had a 88 millimeter, 88 millimeter gun. That would go right through our tanks. A little bitty hole and it would go right clean through. The armor didn't stop em at all. Like our gun they had, what the hell, they had 75 I guess they had at first. And they couldn't do nothing to em. The Germans, they knocked out our tanks.

One day, this was quite a bit later, but that's another story. Let me get this straight here {straightening his microphone} now. Well, anyhow the next morning one officer, his name was Lt. Staples, I think. He said, "Well Lenz, I think you need a drink." So he pulled out a bottle of Scotch. The officers had booze, you know. The enlisted men didn't have no booze. But Lt. Staples, he pulled out a bottle of Scotch, "Here, take a drink."

B: Was the average German soldier a pretty good soldier?

L: Oh, I think so. They was pretty, I don't think they was fanatics like the Japs, you know. No. The Japs… The Germans would surrender. I dunno. I captured, I could interview them. I could talk German. I could interview em. One time I caught a German and he just came from Russian front. He says he was wounded in Russia and he came back to Germany to heal up and then he came back and he went to Normandy. And he says, "I'm tired of this damn war," he says. He give up.

B: Well Art, the Japanese never would surrender. Did you know that going in there? Did you have a sense that a, the Japanese soldier was going to die?

W: Yes. That's pretty much, they didn't surrender although ah, I did see, they said it was all of the prisoners on Iwo Jima there. They were in a '6 by'. And ah, they all seemed, they looked like they were clones because they all seemed to be, they were kind of thin. They hadn't been fed and they all had black hair, short. None of em had shirts on. They were all bare from the waist up. It must have been, oh, no more than 15 to 20 of em. And that was supposed to be that.

I was talking to some guys up at the front there. And they went in a cave and Japs sleeping there. And I said, "what do you do?" "we shot em." They didn't bother with them. They never, they didn't figure they'd surrender. Although I didn't get any, do any shooting at any of em. But ah, pretty much realized that they were that way.

I remember after taking the airfield on Iwo, probably my only claim to fame is I saw the first B-29 land there. It was coming back from bombing Japan and they had shot him up or whatever so he had landed in Iwo there. I can't remember now what they ever did with that B-29; whether they flew away with it or what. And then I had [ ] remember seeing the Navy plane fly over on fire. Now that I think back, President Bush was shot down over Iwo Jima there and his plane was on fire. I just wonder if that was Bush's plane that went across there.

You talk about these [ ] the Japs had one rocket or something and you could hear it just like metal scraping together and that was a rocket. And then the Navy guns come over and it musta been the big ones 'cause it sounded like a freight train. Whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo. You hear em goin over. Then after awhile we'd say you got the 'Iwo crouch' because of all those shells going over one way or the other.

B: What, describe physically for me what did Iwo Jima look like?

W: Ever been to Hawaii? Well there is the big island of Hawaii that looks about like Iwo looked like. That type of sand. Black ash. Black sand. That's all it was was sand and maybe trees about, shrubs about 5-6 feet high. And ah, and that was all the, otherwise it's loose sand. Black sand, all black. Like I said, we went up there by the airfield. At that time I know the word got around. They said that Sergeant Basilone who had gotten the Congressional Medal of Honor on Guadalcanal, you know he was with the division that landed there. He just couldn't get his, he said, "I'm going to get my second Congressional Medal of Honor here," he says. 'Cause he said he got shot right by the corner of the airfield there. Didn't make it. Killed. But ah, there was a lot of, everybody ran up to see this B-29. I didn't run over because I knew that every so often there'd be about three mortar shells, boom, boom, boom, coming across there. And I said I don't want to go out there because you never know when those are coming, you know.

But then ah, [ ] was in training at Camp Pendleton were up there. Up on the hill, they're learning semaphore. [ ] a, b, c. Anyway there's a bunch of Indians there. they says, [ ] Navajos. Nobody knows their language. They're gonna use them for sending coded messages. For that they're gonna use the Navajos. [ ] Then being on the Wasp, the second Wasp on its first cruise, then seeing that B-29. But ah,…

B: Norb, you were in the breakout at St. Lo.

L: Oh yeah. Yeah. That was the 25th of July when they, all the airplanes came, 3500 airplanes came over from England at that time. They started at 8 o'clock in the morning. First the small ones came, the two engine jobs. And then the big ones came. The B-17's and the B-26's. And they didn't fly too high. And we were supposed to jump off at 2 o'clock that afternoon. They were supposed to be done bombing at 12 and we were supposed to go at 2 o'clock and we were supposed to jump off. And they got some of our men because the dust got so terrible you know that the wind was blowing the dust over us. And ah, Gen. McNair was the guy in charge of the air force and he came over to watch it. And he got killed by their own bombs. He was a four star general, Gen. McNair. And we, we didn't get going until the next day first. We got going and boy, oh we went, when those planes came over, I saw five of those big, two B-17's got shot down and 3 B-26's. The big ones, or B-24's, got shot down right above us. And we could see them bombs come, when they come with the bomb-bays are open and the shells would come down or the bombs would come down. Well, let's see. I got kinda…

Anyhow, when we jumped off the next morning, the German vehicles were pretty well shot up. We could get through, we were on the edge of St. Lo then. And then ah, that's when I caught that one German prisoner was from Russia that time. [ ] And then ah, the next morning, it wasn't the next morning, the 28th, that's when Patton came in. The 28th of July, that's when Patton was comin through. Then we had, well then this guy that made company commander, he slept with me that night in my little area. And I told him he was supposed to go to battalion headquarters and get his instructions at 7 o'clock. And I told him, "Hey Lieutenant, it's 7 o'clock. You gotta get goin." Because [ ] gonna do today.

And meanwhile I was, one of my armored cars was missing. See? Where the hell did Sgt. Johnson go? Nobody knew. So I says I'll go out looking for him. So I jumped in a jeep with three other guys and ah, we drove back and then we drove on that highway and then here Patton was coming along with his, all his tanks and stuff. The lieutenant colonel says, "Get off the road. We're comin through." I says I got a guy, I'm lookin for a guy. "Get off the road." So I drove down, drove off the road. Made about a mile detour and I come around back on that highway again and that damn Lt. Colonel was there in the crossroad and he says, "Get the hell outta here." "I wanna get back to my outfit." "Get out, get goin." So I made a big detour. I went through a town, a little town of [Carantilly]. Oh, it was about as big as Ripon. Got down the main street. Not a soul stirring, not a soul. I said, "I bet the damn town isn't taken yet."

So we wheeled out of there, and we wheeled out and then I came, I met a, one of our tank battalions. Must have been about 24 tanks. They were all lined up on the road. And I drove past all the tanks and I went to the front and the Lt. Colonel up in front, he says, "Where the hell do you think you're goin?" I says, "I'm going to the little town of [Marigny]. I just heard my platoon's down in that town." He said, "There ain't nobody down in that town yet." So anyway I says, "That's where I'm going."

So we drove about a half a mile past the first tank and bang, somebody was shootin at us. So we all jumped off in the ditch. Looked, nothing happened, so we're back in the jeep and we went down into town then. And the town was in the hollow. And when I looked back, the first three tanks that came over the top of the hill, the Germans got em one after the other. Bank, those tanks went up in flames. Yeah. So when we got down below, and there was quite a fire fight goin on down below and we were comin in from the enemy side, comin to our side, you know. So there was a half-track ablaze. And I told the guys, I'm going to walk ahead and see if I can find something. And I walked past em and past this burning tank and I found one of our platoons was, the first platoon was up in there and I tried to call my platoon then. I took the radio from the armored car and I was calling, "This is," what was my call sign yet? Oh, "This is D22 calling D21." And D21 didn't answer.

And just then, I got shot in the head. Took a bullet to my head here. That was it. Took care of me. So I didn't, I was out. They put me on a litter-like. And they put me on a jeep and they took me back to the first aid station. And then I came to at the first aid station. It was pretty close to the front because when I came to they had me on a gurney-like and they were workin on me. The shells were comin in. The doctors, they [ ] to the [ ] they'd say, "Hey, I'm up here." So then meanwhile they emptied out my pockets. I had six hand grenades they took out of my pockets. And the guy's name was Micelli. We still talk about that at reunions. He's the one that took me over there.

So they put me in the ambulance and hauled me back to the first aid station close to the beach. And I was, and then when I got in, they put me in a cot in a tent and, I had another hand grenade in my pocket. I took that out and I says, "Here's another hand grenade." Ohhhh, the nurses got scared. Hey, hey oh man, they thought the thing was gonna go off. I said, "That thing isn't going to go off. I've been carrying it a long time."

So then the next morning they was gonna fly us to England and here the guy that just took over my platoon two days ago, Lt. Ah, Doherty his name was. And he got shot in the throat. That's maybe why I couldn't get him on the phone. He got shot in the throat so we both on the same plane. They flew us to England. We was in a hospital in England. Boy, I got out of that one. That was a million dollar wound.

B: Where were you hit?

L: Right about here. It creased, the bullet came out in the middle of my helmet in back. The guy that was in that armored car, he picked it up and he had it until just before I got back to the outfit again. He said, "I just lost the damn thing," he says. He was gonna save it for me when I got back but he had lost it. So that was up in Belgium when I got back to the outfit.

B: Well, tell me before we talk about Belgium, what, you said that was a million dollar wound. What'' a million dollar wound.

L: Well, you know, guys were slipping in the slit trench or something, they put their foot up; "Kick me you bastard!" So they get to get out of there, you know. That's a minor wound. That's a million dollar wound. You got out of combat. That was an example of a million dollar wound. Yeah, lotta guys just, "Hit me you son of a bitch." Get outta here. They'd lose a leg to get out of the damn war, you know.

B: Well, what happened after Iwo Jima was secured?

W: Well, then we went back to Guam and we knew the big one was coming up because we had all 105's, millimeters, artillery. And we weren't back, I dunno, less than a week and the old 155 howitzers were comin in, replacement. So we knew that the next one wasn't going to be a little island. And ah, then I was watching a movie just last night, you know. A special they had on.

B: I saw that.

W: And that's when they said that the ah, they figured they were gonna hit Japan around November 5th, I think it was. And ah, so at that, this would have been, we got back March or about April. And it was only about four or five months away and they were already goin on to the next island, Japan.

B: What was the feeling toward invasion, invading Japan? Do you recall what the attitude and feeling was of the marines that you were with?

W: No. We never, I don't think we ever talked much about it, what was goin on next. Of course, being, you know, [ ] the infantry or anything, you know maybe those guys talked about it a little bit more. I don't know, I guess you got the feeling what was gonna be was gonna be, and what came up, came up. And, and you were gonna go… I never worried much or talked about…

B: Is that how you felt?

L: Yeah, you were in…. well I was, being a platoon sergeant I was pretty well up in… when officers got most of the orders, you know, I just about knew what the orders were already. You know, the company commander that I had, you know. We were pretty good buddies. After I saw him in the states here, went to a reunion, he says, "Lenz," he says, "Boy if it wouldn't have been for you, I wouldn't a got where I was." And he made it out, you know.

B: Well, they say sergeants run the army.

L: Yeah, that was about the way it was. And this Lt. Doherty, he got transferred out afterwards when he went through to England with me. And he went back before I did. And he got transferred out and he went to some cavalry outfit and he got killed later on. That's what I heard anyhow.

W: Yeah, when you talk, when I think back about feelings about that, I really, whatever you know is gonna happen, I guess. And ah, I know when I was in California and my dad got real sick and I was trying to get a leave to go back and some guys talked to me that had more brains than I had. And they said you better stay where you're at. You don't know what's gonna, what will happen if you go back. You haven't got too bad a deal right now.

So then I thought back later on, afterwards. It woulda been, if I had taken that two weeks off, or a week or whatever and gone home and come back, I probably woulda went. If I wouldn't have been with this outfit, I woulda ended up in the 5th Marine Division which they were forming then. And the 4th and the 5th are the ones that hit Iwo Jima.

And ah, so it's ah, and that's what… I dunno, I guess I was scared probably of getting killed. I never thought about it too much. I guess you sorta, I guess sorta after awhile you get a different attitude about things, what's gonna happen, you know. And you don't really worry about much, about much other what life's gonna bring you. What's gonna happen is gonna happen, you know. Like now, if you think back, like that little tugboat ride from Tinian down to Guam, well now you couldn't get me on there with a gun, you know. Is that little boat going in the Pacific Ocean, you know? Geez!

B: You returned to your unit in, when did you say?

L: In Belgium. Yeah. I was in England six weeks when I recuperated. Then I took an English boat back to Omaha Beach. And I hadda walk up that hill one more time. And then we went to Carentan. It took us three nights and two days to get from Carentan to go to Paris. That's only 70 miles.{Actually it is about 160 miles from Carentan to Paris}. It took us three days to get there! Man, a lot of guys, they got off, they said, "We coulda walked faster." That damned train stopped for everything. The supplies come first. You think the troops would come first but the supplies came first.

Then I was in a replacement center in Paris for a couple of days and then I took a train up to Liege, Belgium. And then from there, then I joined my outfit, up there. We were, my outfit was the first outfit to get into Germany. My, my company got to the Siegfried Line. There was a, the Germans, they didn't think we were comin that quick, you know.

And the farmers, they had an opening through the Siegfried Line and we, we spotted the opening where the farmers went through and we went through there and we got through the Siegfried Line that way.

And then we got to the little town of [Oifen]. That was the first town we took in Germany. And that was pretty bad. In that little town. You know, the French, they all greeted you. Boy, they're glad to see Americans. But when they come into Germany, the Germans, "You bastards!" They didn't like us, you know. They didn't greet us with open hands like the French or the Belgians. The Belgians were really good too.

B: Did you think that the Germans were, up to this point did you think that they were ready to give up?

L: No, I don't think so. No, they weren't, they weren't ready. They were, oh, I guess Adolph had em brainwashed too. Yeah.

And then we went up as far as Stolberg. We, then we got, our company guarded the general, had a headquarters set up in Stolberg in Germany. And then we were there for about a week and a half and then we went into Stolberg. We had, our recon was out but we hadda relieve infantry town out in Stolberg. The enemy was on one side of the street and we were on the other side of the street. And when you peeked out, you could see the drapes going or the shades going in the windows. Once in a while they'd shoot at us and we'd shoot back.

Then every night we'd go out to patrol, you know. All the damned… that was stupid, I think. The gol-darned, all the glass was broke and you couldn't walk quietly, you know. You walked down the street, you made a hell of a lot of noise. And you were lucky you didn't… well one guy got shot right on the street. You couldn't pick him up for two days. We couldn't get out there to pick up our own guys. Fred Agnes is the guy. I remember the guy's name yet. We couldn't go out there to pick him up. And then finally it got so bad that we shot tracers into the building. We started the damn buildings on fire and we burned em out. More or less, you know.

And then, then I got a bad attack of ulcers bad. I got a bad attack of bleeding ulcers. Then I went to sick call and Dr. Pugh, his name was. "Lenz", he says, "I'm going to send you to Paris and get you out of here." So that was the end of my combat. Yeah.

Then I went to Paris and went to replacement center. While I was in the hospital in Paris, I was right next to the Eiffel Tower. There was a, the Germans built the hospital, all the German names in it yet, you know. "Rauchen ist verboten." You know. "No Smoking."

So then I was placed in a prisoner of war camp up in Cherbourg in France. That's where I finished. I was there nine months. Took care of German prisoners. That was really a treat. The first night I got to the outfit, "What do you want for dinner? We got pork chops or chicken." Boy, I really got in a nice outfit. You know the best part of that deal was, we had, we just did the book work and stuff, you know. For processing the Germans. The French did the guarding. They had the guards out.

And we did, we had, the [lagerfier.] I took care, I was in charge of one cage. We called it 'the cage'. It was about 200 prisoners in a cage. They had their own mess and everything, their own cooks. Every cage had their own setup. And, and as far as, we had our own cooks. We had a master sergeant, he was American. Then we had Germans did all the cooking for us.

we had wood, we had a wooden floor in our tent and we had Germans, they come and made our cots for us. And they Germans gave us haircuts. We had a German tailor, made our caps and stuff. And then our mess hall, when we ate they had a German orchestra. They played music for us when we ate. Play Lilly Marlene, you know. That was a popular German song at that time you know. Yeah. So that was really a good outfit to be in.

W: You had it made.

L: Yeah. Had it made.

B: Well, what did, you know what, I think I'm going to get another tape before we go on.

{The second of the three tapes ends here}.

B: What I want to talk about now is the end of the war. What happened when, we'll start with you; we're kinda on a roll here. What happened when you heard that Germany surrendered?

L: Well, let's see. We went to town. We went to Cherbourg and we got drunk. That was the first thing we did. And ah, well, the enlisted men, they were really happy but we couldn't turn over our prisoners. We took our prisoners. We turned everything over to the French then after that. And, and we went, then we went to St. Mere Eglise. From Cherbourg we went to Sainte. Mere Eglise and there was nothing but officers in that prisoner of war camp in Ste. Mere Eglise. And we took care of those.

And then from then on, then I, well I had over a hundred points you know. At that time they were shipping guys home that had 85 points or better. That was the first ones and then when I got shipped out a lot of the guys that had 70 points were goin home already. And I had over a hundred points before they let me go because being in a prisoner of war camp, we had to take care of the German prisoners, I guess. Or something. Then I went to camp, I guess it was right at Le Havre. That's where I was, got a boat. A slow boat to New, to Boston. Took us one week to get back on, a little Victory Ship, they called it.

B: I bet that was a long week.

L: It was a long, good week. I stood in back of the boat and looked at the old florescence, you know, the florescent wake in the water that the ship makes? I thought, look at all the guys that are left behind and lucky me, going home. Yeah, then when I got to Boston, they had, we could make a telephone call home. They had a whole bunch of phones lined up, you know. And I tried to call my, I knew my folks had sold the farm and were living in Sheboygan. I didn't know their telephone number but my brother was on the farm so I tried to call him. But he didn't answer.

At that time, it was different. A telephone operator answered the phone then; "Can I give you somebody else that you want to call?" I said, "Yeah. Call my aunt; was a neighbor to us." And of course she was, talked German. So I felt like a fool talking German with all them guys just come from Germany, German war. Here I hadda talk German to my aunt, see? Tried to tell her that I'm in Boston, just came back from Europe, you know, and stuff like that. Quite an experience.

B: Now Art, what did you think when you were in Guam and you heard about the atom bomb?

W: Everybody was pretty, I remember, pretty happy about it.

B: How did you hear about it?

W: Ah, I guess radio or whatever. I don't remember. We didn't have radio. I don't know how we [ ]. But ah, I know when the war ended there, I know we talked about getting drunk. That's, we had ah, like a tub full of raisin jack. And I think we paid $25.00 for a pint of Four Roses which was about an inch or two drank out of it and then there was the guy that a still in the back of the ravine there. And we paid about $20.00 for I think a half gallon of home brew. Then we added that booze to the raisin jack and that made a pretty good drink.

B: What's raisin jack?

W: Ah, well, it was probably one reason we never ate too good because it seemed like most of the cooks or had cooked were alcoholic. So you never got all the fruit or whatever they got that were supposed to be for pies, they made into wine. They fermented it. The raisins and that, so they'd get all these raisins and they'd ferment em and made wine out of it or, well, they called it raisin jack. It was a wine I guess, an alcoholic drink. That guy I guess was our, what do they call these cooks, these head cooks. I dunno. Anyway, I think he was an alcoholic too because we never got any pies or anything like that. Well, anything that they could ferment, they'd ferment it.

And this one guy, he was from Kentucky or Tennessee. And his last name was Reed. And he had somehow, you don't know what these people do. I can't, pretty smart. Because he had a still goin back in the ravine behind camp there. And makin his own booze. I don't know. Guys go around, they [ ] they do more stuff. You wouldn't believe what they get into.

B: Well how did you get back to the states then in [ ]?

W: Well I had ah, I just made it. I was the last one to go at 50 points. I had, my time overseas, what did you get? One point for each month? You got five points for a battle. I got two of those. I got ten. Anyway, I got 50. And 50, like Norb says, they started with about 85. But then, you know, it'd probably take awhile but it was like 85, 80 [ ]. And these guys with 55, we were the next ones. We left about, about a week later. And for some camp in Guam. I don't remember where but I remember the beer line was about a half mile long. You just get into it. Start walking, you know and you get down to the end and you get your two cans of beer.

Then we got back to San Diego. We were back there about a week. I'm walking along and I see this one guy, "What are you doin here?" It was one of those guys with 55 points that had left way ahead of us. "They put us on this damn LST. It took us a month to get home!" He was mad. [ ] So here we had left way after them and we got home before them. We got back to San Diego before they did. And ah, but ah, yeah - we celebrated.

B: And you were discharged right away and came back?

W: No, we got, they would allow a few of the guys who had ties to the West Coast, they would let you get discharged out there. But we came back to Great Lakes. And we ah, got into Great Lakes at night and it was Christmas Eve. And we were in Chicago someplace stopped on the tracks and all the guys were bailing out of there and taking off and running into town. I don't know about them guys. I thought maybe they were from Chicago or they just got tired and took off because it was Christmas Eve and I guess afterwards everybody was [ ] into their homes and partying… We got into ah, into Great Lakes, I don't know what time of the night it was but that we had ah, well I don't know… Do you edit the tapes? Well we had 'horse cock' sandwiches; it was cold meat sandwiches. And ah, the cold meat sandwiches, that's what we had for Christmas Eve. And then, I looked up my discharge papers. The 29th, I was discharged. It was December 9th, Christmas they didn't do anything so it was 27th, 28th and 29th we were out of there. And ah, got the train right out of Great Lakes. Got home.

B: What did you do when you got home?

W: Got drunk again. Well we got home, it was, woulda been the 30th or something and ah, the 31st woulda been New Year's eve, and went out. I sort wasted about a year hanging one on every night and I dunno. Lost time I guess. I dunno. I ah, my dad, I don't know, I'd been gone 27 months and overseas 20 months and my dad being I guess the old school, they didn't look at it that way. "Get to work." I didn't know what I wanted to do but [ ] my dad said, "I talked to so and so and I got you a job." I guess he got tired of seeing me loaf around for those two weeks but that's that. I guess in a way I should have been more independent but you start listening to what your parents said then than you do today. "When are you going to work?" Okay.

B: Where did you get a job?

W: I went to work in a garage as a bookkeeper and stayed at that and then later on I made the mistake of joining the reserves again and I got called in for the Korean deal.
B: That'll have to be a separate tape.

W: Yeah. That was a raw deal. But that was pretty much it and I says, "Oh,…" [ ] things like that. I don't know about you but when we were in camp, once a month we'd get a case of beer and a case of Coca-Cola in 7 ounce bottles. 36 bottles to a case. And normally you would trade one can of beer, I didn't drink all that beer [ ] it was green beer. You'd drink about three or four cans of it and you'd get sick or drunk right away. So I traded em off. I'd get ah, two bottles of Coke for one can of beer. Or else you could sell the beer for, try to get about 50 cents a can. So that case of Coke would last you pretty much the whole month you know.

B: What happened to you after…?

L: Well, lemme first start, when I was in the prisoner of war camp, that's where I got the Silver Star pinned on me. That was a year after I had it, you know. I earned it the 8th of July in '44, and the 25th of July in '45, they had a big shindig goin for me in the camp I was in. They had a band from the Air Force band was coming and a big, big general came and pinned on. They had a big thing set up, like scaffold you know, set up and they had people all around there. And then you had a write-up in the Stars And Stripes about it. You know, not often that anyone gets the Silver Star you know in a [ ] like that you know. That was quite a deal. And when I joined the prisoner of war camp, I just got there a couple days before the Battle of the Bulge started. You know, and the islands next to Cherbourg, they were still in the German hands.

B: Oh, really.

L: Yeah. The Jersey Islands they call them. The Guernsey and the Jersey Islands. They were still in the German hands at that time of the Battle of the Bulge. They thought that they might attack Cherbourg see. So we were on alert there then too.

Then, and then when I was in that prisoner of war camp I was in charge of taking a load of prisoners to England one time. I had two hundred and fifty prisoners. 240 or 250, something like that. In the hold of an LST. No cots or nothing, see. So we took them from Cherbourg up to ah, I forgot, to Southampton, in England. And it was an overnight trip.

So I was in charge. Anyhow, the food they had, they had Spam. They, each prisoner was supposed to get one can of Spam for supper and one can of Spam for breakfast. So I thought, what the hell. So I asked a prisoner, would they like to take both cans right away or just one at a time. Well, both cans.

So we, you know it got dark and they went to sleep. The prisoners thought well, the next one's going to steal his so they ate both cans of Spam at one time. You know what happened? There was no toilet in the damn hold. All we had was 50 gallon drums. So about, I slept upstairs on the ship on top. Had a cubbyhole with a cot. And another sergeant came up and he said, "Lenz, we got troubles down below. Them barrels are filled up. What are we gonna do.." So I said, "Well, we gotta get em outta there." So we had the German prisoners, those were circle stairs. There was no regular stairs goin up. So they up with those barrels, the shit would come down. So I told, I went to the captain of the ship and I said, "We got to do something different." Well, he said, "Let the prisoners come on deck and we'll hose it down." So they put up a little barrier like that for the guys to go behind and then they'd hose it down.

So then when we got to England, then, then I got a week pass in London. And I slept right next to Buckingham Palace. I had a beautiful place. I had a six foot bathtub, hot water. And that night was the last night the V-2 bombs came in. And that, I heard that damn thing come in. It was about, during the night sometime. I could hear it; woke me up. The next day I went and looked. It was only about six blocks from Buckingham Palace where that bomb hit. It wiped out a whole darn square, a whole block. One bomb like that. That was the last V-2 bomb that came into London. I was there that night. That was quite an experience too.

And then I was supposed to go back by boat again but I went to the airport out of London and I said, "How about getting a ride back to Cherbourg on a plane?" Yeah, no problem so three of us guys we flew back to Cherbourg instead of taking a boat back. When I went back that time when I got hit when I went back, I went back in an English ship and they had hammocks in the damn thing, you know. And a tall guy like me in a hammock, it don't work very good. And then they, besides that the damn rats at night would run around on the ship. I says I don't want to go back on those dang English ships again.

B: How did you get back, when were you discharged and how did you get back home?

L: Well, from Boston we went to Camp McCoy. And ah, then we stayed in Camp McCoy for a, oh, to get to process out. It took us about four days I guess. So I got discharged I guess on the 12th of October in 1945. And then my brother that lived in Green Lake, he went and got me that Sunday. I called up. Yeah. That's how I came to be in Green Lake.

B: What did you do when you got out?

L: Well, first I worked at Kohler Company out of Sheboygan. See, my folks lived in Sheboygan. I stayed with them for a couple months. And then my brother had started a plumbing shop in Green Lake and he was looking for help. So then I put in for on this ah, the government paid me anyhow at that time.

W: The GI Bill.

L: The GI Bill. Yeah, I got in on that. They paid me journeyman wage when I started.

W: Oh, yeah.

L: Yeah. But what the shop paid down here, they paid 80 cents and the government picked up the rest. So I made out pretty good. Yeah.

B: Is the war something that either of you think of very often?

L: Oh, I think of the war every darn day I guess. When I wake up at night I still think of all the guys that are lost. I still think of them, yeah. Especially the first one that got shot. I never forget that. That [ ] was the worst one. And then one guy, Frank Warren his name was. He was one of our armored car drivers. He had his head shot off. And he bled like a stuck hog. The blood flew all over. The guys wouldn't take that armored car, they wouldn't go in that armored car again, even after they had it cleaned. No, they wouldn't, they wouldn't go in that armored car. So that …..
And that's about all. You ever see one of those armored cars? That's about all you see is a head sticking out, you know. And they got him. Shot the head right off completely. So you think of all that stuff yet.

B: Do you think about it every day?

L: Every day [ ] all my war experiences.

B: Is there anything that might bring something to mind? Music? Anything at all?

L: Not really. Only, lately I can't sleep very good at night no more. I don't know. I go to bed about 10 or 10:30 and by two, three o'clock, I'm awake. This morning four o'clock, I was wide awake. I couldn't go back to sleep. Then I think of all that crap, you know - what happened.

B: How about you, Art?

W: What do I think about? Not, not too much. But every now and then I think back about… I never got to know anybody really too well. There's one guy [ ] quite a bit from Minnesota. Then I, near Albert Lea. I thought well, I got over there once, I'd stop in and see him and ah, he wasn't there so I finally got him on the phone and talked and he didn't remember me at all. And hell, we were in the same tent in the message center together for about a year. And I thought well, "Why don't you come over[ ]" And I thought "The hell with you. If you don't remember me I might as well…" And the other guy I was with, like quite a long while, he was from ah, Texas. W.O. White. He did come up to see me in Green Lake but he was a little, I don't know. He had been married a couple of times. He would, before he got in service, I guess he joined when he was 17 or something and he had to wait in camp for awhile until he turned 18. And he had been married and divorced, married and nullified. And he comes up with his other wife and her two kids I guess. And she wore black dark glasses all the time and just sat around… never got back to him at all.

B: Do you go to reunions?

L: Yeah, we go to reunion every year. This year we got it in Grand Rapids, Michigan but you know, there aren't many coming any more. I don't think I'll go this year either. I don't feel like it no more. I'm getting too old. I'm 86 now, you know.

B: Although I'll have to say, you're a very spry 86 year old man.

L: Yeah. Well it is catching up with me. May legs feel a little sore already and stuff. Yeah.

B: Well, as we wind up the interview is there anything that either one of you want to mention? Something that maybe we didn't talk about in this?

W: Did I ever tell you about all the brothels in Hawaii or Honolulu?

B: No.

W: It was, well when you're a little small town boy, you know you don't feel that stuff. Anyway we were in Honolulu there and we'd go down the street and of course they're just packed with servicemen. I was walking along and I says, "What's this line coming out of the [ ] into the street?" Well here it was these whorehouses and they'd be in line you know. Maybe 50 or 100 guys stand in line. They were all, must have been upstairs because they'd go in the door and be up the stairs. Holy oh mackerel. And afterwards later on I, I got the Marine Corps book, "Managing Leathernecks." And it was Pearl Harbor, even Honolulu was under martial law. And they listed there, then they mentioned about the brothels and that. And they said at that time it was about an eight million dollar business. That's when it was $3.00 a throw. But I couldn't believe who in the heck would stand in line [ ]. You'd be walking along and about every other door, there would be a doorway there and up the stairs, there would be… There was guys, the streets were so packed that you couldn't raise your arm to salute hardly.

And they had at that time the open yet, the open air markets. They'd have the sheep and chicken and all that stuff hanging up. And that smell stuck with you. You'd smell that and it had a sort of an odor, you knew you were getting near the open air market. But they didn't have refrigerated. That was, that was something I always remembered.

And I remembered when we came back from overseas, Art Donovan ah, referee that refereed most of the Louis fights and that. He was with a USO group and he was on our ship coming back too and…

L: Yeah, we were together pretty long, you know. We knew each other pretty darn good. We'd go to the reunions and there were guys that were with our outfit from the time I got in, you know. June of '41. Even my, that doctor that sent me to the hospital, Dr. Pugh his name was? He comes to the reunions. He's quite a character too. But now, but now he's in a nursing home. He's got some Parkinson's disease or something. I still get a card from my, my company commander that I had. Captain [Bohannen] {Havens?} that got shot the first night in combat? I get a birthday card from him yet and a Christmas card. He's just two weeks older than I am. And then the guy that was my first sergeant in Louisiana. I still get a Christmas card from him and he comes to reunions too yet, so. He was on the cadre that time. He came from the 2nd Armored Division when they formed the 3rd Armored Division. So I still get a card from him. We pretty well got acquainted with one another. Knew them better than my brother, you might say. Yeah.

W: We, I guess that was always moving along from one… I remember one thing. When we were down at Camp Elliott in a replacement battalion, I still remember this guy's name was Sgt. Love because he was a big guy and he says, "Well, you guys are in a sort of transient deal here and movin around," and says, "There might be some stealing. But if you catch anybody stealing, you better bring em up here and he better be bloody." I don't know. I only had one thing stolen. I had a good flannel shirt which you only got issued that one time. Someone stole that on me but there wasn't much stealing goin on.

L: And another thing. I was an undercover agent in the army. Every month I had to send in a report if I saw anything peculiar going on where some guy would, you know, talk against the enemy or about the training or something. Even the company commander didn't know about that. So every month I sent in a report to division headquarters. So when we got to England, our mail was censored. And I sent out the letter and of course I sealed it because otherwise you're supposed to leave it open. It gets censored. So the company commander called me in and, "What the hell's goin on here," he says. You got this sealed up. I says, "You better give it to the battalion commander. He'll know what to do with it." I still did that when I got over to England. I sent out every month.

B: Did you ever…?

L: Yeah. I got rid of three or four different guys that … Yeah. One guy, I got to be pretty good buddies with him. His name was, he was born in Germany. And he was always [ ] papers. Well he had three brothers in the German Army. So I go him transferred out. And he always complained. He always got KP you know. "They always picked on me," he said. "They always picked on me." So he didn't get along too good with our outfit. Anyhow, I reported him and he got shipped out and he got sent in a Ranger Battalion and he got in on D-Day. But he made Master Sergeant. Yeah, he could talk German. He was good.

B: Well, you could too.

L: Yeah, I could too. Yeah. But he could talk German so he got a better deal although he had it really rough at first, you know. The Rangers were the first ones in you know. But then he got…. After awhile, he got stationed in Germany. He took food from the Americans over to his family. His mother and two brothers over in Germany. But he was a good guy, I mean. But anyhow, for some reason, I didn't like his attitude, you know. Always talked about the Americans. They didn't know nothin. Stuff like that.

B: Well gentlemen, I really appreciate this. Thank you both very, very much. The other thing, thank you both for what you did in World War II. It's really important for me to say that. I say that to every veteran.
Event World War II
Category 6: T&E For Communication
Notes A typed transcript is on file in the Archives computor.
Object ID OH2001.3.32
Object Name Tape, Magnetic
People Lenz, Norbert
Wolk, Arthur
Subjects World War II
Pacific Theater of Operations
United States Marine Corps
European Theater of Operations
Armored vehicles
Title Oral History Interview with Norbert Lenz and Arthur Wolk
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Last modified on: December 12, 2009