4:23 | After Guadalcanal was secured, combat engineer David Strickland and his unit were sent to New Zealand to recuperate and refurbish their equipment. He suffered a sprained ankle while working on a bulldozer but at least he avoided the malaria that hit so many others. (This interview made possible with the support of RICHARD G. MCDANOLDS.)
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His experience in construction work determined his path in the Marines. David Strickler started running a crane when he was fourteen years old and he could operate most any heavy machinery. He joined a newly formed engineer battalion and shipped out for the Pacific. (This interview made possible with the support of RICHARD G. MCDANOLDS.)
Combat engineer David Strickler went into Guadalcanal with the Marines after dodging Japanese air attacks offshore. He had fired his rifle at kamikazes during the attack and describes a near miss from a dive bomber. (This interview made possible with the support of RICHARD G. MCDANOLDS.)
While on Guadalcanal, David Strickler had to contend with a lone Japanese plane that would come over in the middle of the night and attack the Marine bivouacs. One night while investigating the damage, he made a grisly discovery. (This interview made possible with the support of RICHARD G. MCDANOLDS.)
While constructing a runway on Guadalcanal, combat engineer David Strickler had to dodge rounds from a Japanese artillery piece mounted on rails. It would emerge from a cave up in the high ground and rain shells down below. (This interview made possible with the support of RICHARD G. MCDANOLDS.)
The engineer battalion boarded a rickety Liberty ship that was commanded by a retired Merchant Marine captain who had been summoned back to service. This old salt really hated the Navy. Fortunately, they had escort, which came in handy when a Japanese sub appeared. (This interview made possible with the support of RICHARD G. MCDANOLDS.)
As combat engineer Davis Strickler watched Navy personnel drop and ruin a crane they were unloading, he knew he had to step in and show these guys how it's done. The Navy officers were suitably impressed. This was at Tinian, which was also where a buddy of his showed up with a jug of sake. Was it safe to drink? (This interview made possible with the support of RICHARD G. MCDANOLDS.)
David Strickler recalls a big storm he rode out when his engineering unit was being transported from Tinian to Okinawa. Once there, he had to contend with mud and snipers. He also saw a spectacular kamikaze attack in the harbor. (This interview made possible with the support of RICHARD G. MCDANOLDS.)
The rumor was that they were going to China. This didn't sit well with David Strickler and the others in the engineering outfit who were on Okinawa. Somehow, he and some buddies managed to get to Tinian and get papers for home. (This interview made possible with the support of RICHARD G. MCDANOLDS.)
After his time in the Pacific theater, Marine David Strickler was posted to the Naval Air Station at St. Simons Island, where he was in charge of the base police. He returned to his construction roots when he was transferred to Quantico and finished his time in the Marines managing projects there. (This interview made possible with the support of RICHARD G. MCDANOLDS.)
Marine combat engineer David Strickler remembers several incidents related to that time honored tradition for servicemen, trying to find a good, stiff drink. (This interview made possible with the support of RICHARD G. MCDANOLDS.)
Bill Garrison was standing in a chow line when a man up the line suddenly dropped, shot dead by a sniper. That was only one hazard at the air fields in China; the others being Japanese air raids and infiltrators. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Stationed in Japan after the war, Curtis James had the opportunity to see the devastation at both atomic bomb sites. It was hard to believe. Marines went into occupation duty with a lot of animosity for the Japanese people, but were surprised to find out how friendly they were.
James Parish volunteered for the US Army on November 17th, 1942. He went to Camp Adair in Oregon for his training, and also endured desert training. At one point during training, he became a cook for the rest of the men.
Jack McBrayer was born in Birmingham, Georgia, and wanted to be a sailor all his life. When he joined the Navy, he had to use dummy guns during basic training because they were underfunded at the time. He talks about his shakedown cruise to Bermuda, and how it felt being right at the heart of a hurricane.
While in training for the US Merchant Marine, Roy Walker had to be pushed into the water. He couldn't swim, but when he was at sea, he didn't even think about it. The ships he sailed on kept the war effort supplied with fuel and ammunition.
He was trained in the Army Air Corps as an aircraft mechanic, specializing in hydraulics. Ralph Way would put his training to work in Karachi, which was in India at the time. He serviced cargo planes flying over the Himalayas to supply the war effort against the Japanese in China.
McBrayer was able to make it safely to North Africa. From there he escorted tanks to Aruba. His typical missions consisted of making trips to North Africa, the Caribbean, and sometimes he would go back to the ship's home base located in Northern Virginia.
It took four days to send him to war by plane, but when the time came to return from India, Ralph Way spent a month on a ship. At home, he got married and went to college, thanks to the educational benefits from Uncle Sam.
The men at the air base in India were due for some badly needed R&R, so they were shipped off to a rest camp. Ralph Way remembers watching the monkeys in the trees and thinking how nice it would be to have one of those monkeys. How, exactly, could you make that happen?
Ralph Way was an aircraft mechanic in India, maintaining cargo planes. He recalls one incident in which a pilot couldn't tell if the landing gear was up or down. That was resolved successfully, but there was another incident regarding propellers which did not end so well.
Roy Walker had a pretty good set up on one trip. The Merchant Marine steward had cornered the market on decks of cards and Coca-Colas, plus he got tips out of the kitty because he ran the officers mess. He also had an identical twin brother on the crew, which could lead to some confusion.
On a visit to Miami, Clyde Milam saw Navy personnel training and immediately sought out a recruiter. He was very young, but he was ready. It was 1943 and he was eager to contribute. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
He wanted to choose his service instead of getting drafted, so Curtis James went for the Marine Corps in 1943. As part of the V-12 program, he attended college for a year, then had his training and got his commission. Assigned to the occupation forces in Japan, the friendliness of the Japanese was a big surprise to him.