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World War II Remembered

Kendal at Hanover Residents Association, Clinton C. Gardner

Publication Year: 2012

What stands out so clearly in these "remembrances of things past" is the unmistakable ring of authenticity in every account, a rare quality in the literature of war. Even after 70 years, every recollection remains vivid. Time has done little to dim those parlous times and recollections; they add depth and breadth to tales of wartime and to the significance of experiences lives in service...World War II Remembered is an exceptional human document--a legacy of greatness to be treasured for a very long time.

There are 56 recollections of war in this remarkable book. Each account is a highly personal remembrance of life and death in a war fought 70 years ago in all corners of the globe. Each hero here captures the terror, the drama, the blood, and the boredom of war as they knew it. Each memory is a straightforward account of never-to-be-forgotten experiences. Each is a candid assessment of what it meant to serve.

Published by: University Press of New England

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-viii

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pp. ix-x

Chances are, most of us who remember the events of December 7, 1941—and remember what we did during the next four years— won’t be here a decade from now. Prompted by that realization, seven of us in the Kendal at Hanover retirement community (where we live among some 400 friends) decided to gather and publish the memoirs presented in this book. ...

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pp. xi-xii

A decorated soldier-companion of mine was once asked by his grandson, “Were you a hero in the War, Granddad?” My friend answered, “No, but I served with a company of heroes.” ...

World War II Timeline

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pp. xiii-xiv

The European Theater

European Theater Maps

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pp. 3-4

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The Cage

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pp. 5-10

One night in May of 1945 we saw flakes of blue light coming from the stockade at the Disciplinary Training Center. Acetylene torches, someone said; later we heard that they were reinforcing a cage to hold Ezra Pound. (The American poet had made broadcasts from Italy to American audiences ...

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The Wrong Town

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pp. 11-13

Jim Ashley had knee replacement in 2002. All went well, but by the end of the second day, he was becoming agitated about his confinement and announced he was going to get up. Of course I told him no, but he wasn’t listening. It was time for me to leave. I went to the nursing station and told them that he was acting strangely, and just might really try to get out of bed. ...

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On Death, Hunting, and Killing

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pp. 14-21

My memories from World War II were published in 2001 as Fate’s Finger, a memoir partially fictionalized for reasons explained in its preface. In the book, my alter ego, Morrie Shapiro, depicts my personal experiences to the extent that I wished them to be known. ...

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Coming in Low under the Clouds

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pp. 22-28

I enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1943. My first assignment was for training at an Air Force radio school in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Radio school was distinguished by the fact that the field was on a 24-hour schedule, with reveille (wake-up call) at 12 midnight. ...

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Meeting the Enemy

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pp. 29-32

Fifteen of us were sitting in the back of the GMC, on wooden benches along either side of the truck bed. Heaped in the middle lay our duffle bags, along with the equipment needed in a fire-direction center. There seemed little danger of enemy fire. We had taken off our helmets in the early spring cool of April. Even the canvas cover over our heads had been rolled back. ...

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Limited Service

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pp. 33-37

I joined the 75th infantry division while it was on Louisiana Maneuvers in the spring of 1944. It was a drastic change from St. John’s University in Brooklyn, where I had spent the previous three months in the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP). When that program ended, I wondered what assignment I would get: ...

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Three Unlikely Wounds

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pp. 38-51

Omaha Beach. 5:30 a.m. peering south through the darkness of mist and clouds, waiting patiently for the first sights and sounds, the twenty of us lining the rails of our little LCT (Landing Craft Tank) were suddenly rewarded. The whole horizon, three miles away, began to pulse with bright flashes like heat lightning. ...

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Captured in The Bulge

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pp. 52-56

I was inducted into the Army in 1943 as a buck private and spent time at Camp Upton, on Long Island, and Camp Stewart, in Georgia, before ending up in officers’ training at Fort Benning, an infantry school. Right after I graduated in July 1944, Jean Perrine and I were married. ...

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Coffee and Doughnuts, Anyone?

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pp. 57-63

It was 1943. I was 23 years old, newly graduated from college, still living with my family in midtown Manhattan with no idea what I wanted to do with my life. But of course, given what was going on in the wider world, it had to be war work. ...

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Shot Down over The Bulge

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pp. 64-72

This story begins on Saturday, the 16th of December, 1944, the day the Germans jumped off across the Sauer River on their last desperate offensive into Luxembourg and Belgium. It was the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge. ...

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A Quartermaster on D-Day

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pp. 73-77

World War II really split our family up; we didn’t get back together again until the end. Sadly, we lost my brother Don, the brother I was closest to, which was a real blow to me. But my brother Bob sort of moved in and filled the gap. ...

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The Bitter End

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pp. 78-84

When the whole world changed on December 7, 1941, I was a senior in chemical engineering at Purdue University in Indiana and only five months away from graduation. I had already accepted a position at a Union Carbide Research and Development Facility in Bound Brook, New Jersey. ...

The Pacific Theater and Far East

Pacific Theater and Far East Map

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pp. 87-88

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Over the Hump

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pp. 89-93

had come to China earlier by navigating a new B-25 bomber with a full crew of six, 14,045 miles from West Palm Beach, Florida, to join the 490th Bomb Squadron at a small airstrip called Warazup on the Burma Road. The squadron was camped in a small clearing in the jungle. When we reported in, our pilot casually said, “We just heard the squadron is moving to China.” ...

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My Accident-Prone Navy

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pp. 94-99

I was awakened from a deep sleep by a very loud screaming sound of metal tearing metal, and found that I had been thrown from my army cot onto the deck. The ship had given a tremendous lurch from port to starboard, but there was no sound of an explosion—only the shouts of men out on deck. ...

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Rescued by Ingrid Bergman

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pp. 100-102

My husband, Bob Encherman, graduated from Dartmouth on May 10, 1942. The College had moved the graduation up from its usual June date so that the whole class could graduate together. He enlisted, and 10 days after graduation he was inducted into the Army. After receiving his uniform, he was taken to his assigned barracks. ...

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Tiger, Tiger

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pp. 103-105

During World War II, tigers still burned bright on the jungle-clad slopes of the Himalayas in Assam in northeastern India. They sometimes came down into the tea fields below, from which the U.S. Air Transport Command flew supplies over the Himalayan massif to China. ...

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Ten Days in August

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pp. 106-111

It all happened in ten dramatic days 66 years ago. On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. On August 8, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan. On August 9, we dropped a second atomic bomb, on Nagasaki. On August 15, Japan surrendered. World War II was over. ...

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Journey to Tokyo Bay

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pp. 112-120

My first real acquaintance with World War II was in 1938–39 when, at age 17 in Strasbourg, France, I was living with a French family. We would occasionally take walks, family style, along the banks of the nearby Rhine. From across the river on the German side there often came the chatter of machine guns. ...

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pp. 121-125

James Keeley was a Medical Corps Reserve Officer with a graduate fellowship at the Mayo Clinic when he was summoned to active duty in August 1941. Less than two months later, he was aboard ship, heading to the Philippines. At that time, the United States and Japan were officially at peace; ...

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Problem of the Bamboo Poles

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pp. 126-129

A staple character in Hollywood war movies is the officer who is so committed to strictly obeying formal regulations that he ignores common sense. That officer was alive and well in the Philippines immediately following World War II. ...

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From Nashville to Nagasaki

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pp. 130-135

On December 7, 1941, I was seventeen and a senior in a college preparatory school in Nashville, Tennessee. Several of us boys in an automobile were trying to decide which of our girl friends we were going to visit that Sunday afternoon. When we heard the news about Pearl Harbor, we did not fully comprehend what it meant until getting home and listening to our parents. ...

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An Avenger Pilot

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pp. 136-142

“Mr. Turner, your altitude is less than 200 feet!” My radioman’s shout snapped me out of my “vertigo” and saved our lives. I was flying in circles above the shore of Guadalcanal in order to rendezvous with two other Avengers (who never appeared). We had been told to torpedo two Japanese destroyers headed for Guadalcanal. ...

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Guinea Pigs in New Guinea

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pp. 143-146

This is the short history of the Special Company, General Service, Separate, at Gamadodo Mission on the shores of Milne Bay, Papua, New Guinea, U.S. Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA), in the early summer of 1943. I was a second lieutenant with the so-called Airborne Engineer group, whose specialty was building airports on terrain that was accessible only by air—but that’s another story. ...

Stateside Service

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The Flight of the WASP

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pp. 149-159

I was hooked on flying back in 1941 when I was 25 years old. I was living on a farm in Elmer, New Jersey, with my parents and had a good job as an X-ray technician at the local hospital. A co-worker, a nurse, invited me to Bucks Airport, which was owned and operated by her brother and his family. ...

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Earning my Crampons

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pp. 160-164

In the early 1940s the U.S. Army was finally persuaded by some of the country’s outstanding mountaineers, of which my husband Adams Carter was one, that mountain troops would be necessary if the United States entered the War. Those soldiers became the famous 10th Mountain Division. ...

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Whose War Is This?

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pp. 165-173

These Japanese expressions—most of them widely familiar to Americans nowadays—are a few of the conventional phrases you need to know when you speak with Japanese people in their language. Straight out of Lesson One, they were among the first words learned by many a U.S. soldier who participated in Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP), ...

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The Birth of the United Nations

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pp. 174-180

In 1941 I was living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where my husband was on the faculty of Louisiana State University—a happy, stay-athome young faculty wife. But the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor that December, and we immediately knew, as did many other young people, that we had to go to Washington to help our government in any way we could. ...

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Secret Weapon?

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pp. 181-185

It was Sunday afternoon, December 7, 1941, and I, a student at Dartmouth College, was studying in Baker Library. The quietude was suddenly interrupted by staccato voices and a low rumbling. Disconcerted, I went to the desk and found students clustered around a small blackboard. ...

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Encrypted Messages

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pp. 186-190

World War II began for me, in more ways than one, on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941. I was 23 and was doing my first year of teaching history and Latin at Salisbury, a small boarding school for boys, in the northwest corner of Connecticut. I was pretty thoroughly convinced, by what I had heard around home in Indiana ...

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A Quaker’s War

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pp. 191-194

World War II was coming on in 1941 when I graduated from high school and entered Oregon State College. My family was Quaker: I did not take ROTC. My father had been in France as a Conscientious Objector during World War I, and we shared the sense that a stand against violence was the way it should be. ...

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Matters of Destiny

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pp. 195-198

My reflections on World War II take me back to the 1920s. Like others born in the twenties, I was a post-World War I child. My father had been a First Lieutenant in the Army and had served in France. I was very proud of him. His Army trunk had been stored in the attic and I loved going up there to open it, to admire his uniforms and try on his helmet. ...

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Our Floating Runway

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pp. 199-203

I had always dreamed of one day piloting an airplane. I grew up hearing heroic stories of my uncle Corry, a decorated WW I Navy flyer, who, after being thrown from his biplane in a crash, was killed trying to rescue his co-pilot from the burning wreckage. While still in high school, during the first days of WW II, I saved enough money for 20 hours of flight training ...

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Conscientious Objector’s Tale

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pp. 204-210

It was a December Sunday. I was attending a reunion of kids from a summer camp, where I was trying to show off my skill at bowling. The target of my blowhards was a tall, almost skinny 12-year-old girl who—unbeknownst to both of us—would be my wife 10 years later. ...

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Security: Navy Style

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pp. 211-214

My experiences as a member of the military service during World War II were very brief and somewhat unusual. I was raised in a family of many doctors. Both of my grandfathers, my father and his sister, and my mother’s brother were all physicians. As a consequence, I was driven to this profession ...

Wartime in Europe and South America

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The Early War

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pp. 217-223

It was a beautiful September morning in 1939. Living in England, we were vacationing in Toller Porcorum, a little village in Dorset. My sister, Hanna, and I had gone for a morning stroll and then secretly played with the house cats: Mother, phobic about cats, might become ill just hearing the word. ...

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Death of the Graf Spee

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pp. 224-227

The Admiral Graf Spee, a pocket battleship designed to outrun any vessel she could not outgun, was one of the most famous German naval warships of World War II. In 1939 she was sent as a raider to the Atlantic Ocean, where she sank nine Allied merchant ships. The Royal Navy assigned a number of hunting groups to track her down. ...

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England Under Siege

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pp. 228-231

When England declared war on Germany on Sunday, September 3, 1939, the air-raid sirens went off. My father was in the bathtub and scrambled to get dressed and find out what was going on. I was in church and was equally mystified. The congregation paused but then continued with the service. ...

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A Child in Norway Under the Nazis

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pp. 232-236

I was playing with my brother Peder in a field near our house in Norway on April 9, 1940, when we looked up and saw the sky filled with airplanes. I was seven years old and Peder was eight. We had never seen so many airplanes. We tried to count them and couldn’t. We ran to the house. The planes were headed for Oslo, we learned. ...

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Invasion and Escape

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pp. 237-251

May 10, 1940, the Hague, Netherlands. At approximately 5:00 a.m., on a beautiful spring morning, gorgeous blue sky, I was awakened by a noisy “ack-ack, ack-ack.” The sound was from antiaircraft guns at a Dutch army encampment a few blocks from our house. I, a little past my 11th birthday, got up to look out my window and over the balcony to see the family ...

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Flight from Bulgaria

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pp. 252-256

My father’s family had been involved in the Middle East ever since my great grandfather went to Syria as a missionary in 1856. Ten years later, in 1866, he founded the American University of Beirut. His name was Daniel Bliss and he was the first president of the University. His son, Howard Bliss, was the second. ...

Home Front

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Domestic Details

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pp. 259-265

World War II framed my years in high school. As I look back, my most vivid memories are of a few dramatic events and of how the War affected my immediate family and friends. ...

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A Fortuitous Encounter

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pp. 266-268

Mine is a happy story! My husband, John E. Gilbert, M.D., was the pathologist with the 121st Evacuation Hospital, attached to Patton’s 3rd Army—supposedly within five miles of the troops, though not always able to keep up with them. In the spring of 1945 they were racing through Germany, “liberating” several POW camps as they went. ...

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They Also Serve

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pp. 269-272

While standing and waiting, those on the home front worked to support the war effort. Some of these unsung heroes of World War II were the wives or parents of servicemen. Parents often took in the children of refugees or others who were unable to care for their offspring. ...

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The Defense of America

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pp. 273-277

When the Nazis marched into Poland in 1939, then kept right on going to overwhelm France, Denmark, and the Low Countries, there was nothing left between them and me at Chatham but the great Atlantic. What could prevent U-boats from surfacing off Cape Cod’s barrier Outer Beach and discharging flotillas of rubber rafts ...

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pp. 278-282

In February 1944, as a young New England-bred bride who had never been west of Ohio, I found myself in the heart of Kansas. Hays, Kansas, to be exact, a small town where tumbleweed blew down the main street and the natives talked proudly of their one claim to fame: Wild Bill Hickok had been their first sheriff. ...

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“Loose Lips”

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pp. 283-286

In the spring of 1944, when I was 15 years old and living on a farm in Vermont with my parents and sister, my father, George Auerbach, left the farm to travel by train to Los Angeles. Although he had thought that he and my mother would be able to manage a farm and leave behind the work they had been doing in the movie industry ...

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Parallel Realities

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pp. 287-291

When the War began, I was in high school, so the war years were the years in which I grew up. One by one, the boys I grew up with went off to fight. Their letters and stories allowed me to share their experiences and made the War shown on the radio and in papers and magazines a parallel reality to our own daily lives. ...

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Marriage in Wartime

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pp. 292-296

Sioux Falls, South Dakota! Where on earth was that? Howard Nicholson and I had become formally engaged after a college courtship at Oberlin. Now, six months later—in September 1942—the Army Air Force was sending him to Sioux Falls to receive training to become a radio operator. ...

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Looking Through Barbed Wire

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pp. 297-301

Before I can write about the War, I need to talk about the situation for Japanese-Americans in America and my life as a Nisei—a “second-generation” Japanese-American. I was born in California. My parents were among the Issei (“first generation”) who immigrated here from Japan. ...

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Sad Lesson Learned

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pp. 302-305

In 1941 Brooklyn, New York, the area from Fort Hamilton in the north to Bensonhurst in the south bordered Gravesend Bay, the entry to the New York ports. At night it would be pitch dark on land, for blackout was strictly enforced by neighborhood volunteer wardens. ...

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Interning the Japanese

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pp. 306-309

Following the Great Depression of the 1930s we were comfortable in our WASP community in Southern California. Events occurring in Europe were shadows on a distant stage, having little effect on our lives. My grandparents had decided against their long-planned trip to Germany for the XI Olympiad, fearing what Adolf Hitler might have in mind. ...

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The War Comes to Vermont

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pp. 310-314

In Lynn, on the Massachusetts Coast, the early spring mornings in 1939 were chilly and dark at the hour when the shortwave broadcasts came from Europe, but it was the news that was truly chilling. Already Germany had annexed Austria and now Hitler wanted to take over the industrial fringe of Czechoslovakia, where a few Germans lived. ...

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Food Was My Weapon

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pp. 315-317

I was very young during the war years, and I watched my brother in the Navy sailing off to the Pacific and my brother in the Air Force going to England. Both brothers advised me to stay in school and not do anything foolish like joining the military. ...

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The Hand of Destiny

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pp. 318-324

During war time, our individual plans for running our lives have a far lower priority than the nation’s needs for running the War. But does Fate play a part too? ...

Post-War Service

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From KP to Blair House

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pp. 327-332

My only experience with World War II, until rather late, was indirect. I was the youngest of five sisters; two of them were married to servicemen, and a third had joined the Army Nurse Corps. Meanwhile, I had graduated from the University of Delaware in Newark in 1943, with a major in Physical Education, ...

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Bouncing Along with Zhukov

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pp. 333-338

My Father's WW I history in France, Russia, Algeria, and later during WW II with the United States Army, led to a complicated national identity for me. So my father’s story—and my mother’s—is interwoven with my own WW II experience and is thus worth recounting. ...



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pp. 341-344

List of Contributors

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pp. 345-346

E-ISBN-13: 9780979997013
E-ISBN-10: 0979997011
Print-ISBN-13: 9780979997006

Page Count: 360
Publication Year: 2012