4:03 | Training was essential for George Mason and his division as they faced challenges in the Samoan islands in the Pacific.
Keywords : training Samoa American Samoa British Samoa Polynesia Polynesian people native population stationed patrolling guerilla warfare practicing Marine
George Mason recalls growing up without a father which led him to drop out of high school to support himself. Once he turned 17, his mother signed his waiver for him to join the service.
George Mason and his division had a long crossing to get to American Samoa in the Pacific. For a 17-year old, these new experiences were challenging but enjoyable.
Being a gunner in his division, George Mason had to react quickly when faced with direct infantry combat. The enemy were nighttime fighters which prompted their division to have to adapt to that type of warfare.
George Mason remembers the Japanese fighters they faced in battle and the distinct smell that you could sense once they came near the division. Because of the difficult island conditions, disease was always a problem for Mason and his fellow soldiers.
After such extensive training, Mason and his division got into outstanding shape that assisted in each of their new assault landings in the Pacific.
Facing the difficulties of jungle warfare, George Mason and his division had to deal with the fierce Japanese fighters, unique diseases and increasing hunger.
It was their third mission over Berlin and they were heading home. Four German fighters pounced on the B-24 and it was engulfed in flame and going down. Clyde Burnette fought for consciousness as the other crew in the back of the plane bailed out. He woke in free fall with no idea how he had made it out, and soon he was in German custody. Everyone made it out of the plane except George "Danny" Daneau, the nose turret gunner, who went down with the aircraft.
After a nerve-wracking mission to bomb Tokyo and a typhoon, B.E. Vaughan and the destroyer O'Brien suffered a second kamikaze attack which killed all three of his hometown pals who served with him on board. Then, began the grim task of collecting the personal belongings of the dead and preparing them for burial at sea.
Being on the 20mm gun crew of a minesweeper, Mr. Weston had to think quickly after a nearby battleship was hit by a Japanese bomb during an inconvenient time for Mr. Weston. He received a Purple Heart for his injury, but not before heading off to fight at Saipan and Tinian.
The first operation for the 4th Division was the landing on Roi-Namur. Lawrence Snowden remembers that, though it was an easy victory, valuable combat experience and important lessons were imparted on the Marines.
Two engines were out, a third smoking, and they were were losing airspeed and altitude, but they were flying level and pointed home. Then time ran out for the B-17 and Don Scott had to slip down the hatch into the slipstream. Part 2 of 3.
Willis Brown was drafted out of college into the Army and headed south to Turner Field in Georgia. He didn't like the way he was treated there and asked for a transfer, but was denied. He reveals how he beat the system and got out of there.
After being captured, John Rodgers met an old friend at the camp where he was being held. While being brought back to Rome by his captors, Rodgers was able to buy some sustenance for himself and his friends that kept them going as they were transferred to Poland. (Part 1)
John Black flew a few gliders during the war and learned about the challenges that come with flying them. After being discharged from the military, he went back to college to pursue a career in architectural engineering before deciding he wanted to follow a different path.
His unit went ashore at Oran, Algeria and Willis Brown says it was beautiful and exotic. He was good with languages and he tells how he made friends among the locals. He did the same thing when they moved on to Italy.
When Willis Brown returned home after his deployment to Africa and Italy, he made full use of his GI benefits. After getting two history degrees, he picked up a degree in education, which served him well in a long teaching career.
January 21st, 1945, John Rodgers and his fellow officers began on the longest forced march of World War II. From Szubin, Poland, they were forced to march over 300 miles in 47 days. It took some time, but General Patton’s forces were able to liberate the prisoners as the war in Europe came to an end.
William Weston remembers minesweeping and how they would assist American ships navigate through minefields. There were many instances where ships would be hit by a mine and get sunk. He was also in charge of manning the large machine guns during a deployment in the Philippines.