Legacy Created on: September 2008
Legacy on until: January 2012
Legacy availiable via archive until: January 2016
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How old were you when you entered into the service?

It as in 1941 and I was 19 years old. I went in on October 19th when I was drafted.  There were quite a few young guys from my neighborhood that got drafted.  When my number came up I wasn’t surprised and to be quite honest I was kind of looking forward to it.  At 19 years old you are eager to be doing something. 

Tell me a little about your early training

Everybody was green, except for the non-commissioned officers.  We used to call them "The Calvary."  They went from here and trained this bunch of people, and then they would go somewhere else and train another batch. I remember one DeStefanosergeant I had who really stuck out in my mind. His name was Harry and he was from the South.  Sometimes I felt like I was just another guy on the bottom of the ladder, just a buck ass private with no stripes on the uniform, no nothing.  However, by the time I came out of the service three years, three months, and thirteen days later I was a Staff Sergeant. 


I took our basic training in Tennessee, near Knoxville.  At that point seeing all of these places was brand new to me.  We also went on maneuvers to Alabama.  After that we were shipped to Seattle and then to Hawaii.  When we got to Hawaii we were somewhat blown away and it was hard to believe that we were going to be stationed there. We did a little more training on the northernmost island of Kauai in Hawaii. I was in the 98th Infantry Division, 323rd Medical Battalion, Company D.  The other companies would bring their wounded back to Hawaii. We would give them basic medical care and then ship them out to the hospital.  My job was to get the boys ready to be shipped back to the States.  Many of the men who were wounded in the war in Japan were sent back to Hawaii, and then to hospitals back in the United States to receive treatment.  I was in Hawaii for about a year to a year and a half.

I spent most of the War in Hawaii, but I eventually made it over to Japan.At that point we were an Army of Occupation.  I was there for three months before my number came up.  That was an interesting experience.  The geisha girls were good, let me tell you.  The only Japanese that I ever learned was the word for beer hall.  A bottle of beer was about a foot tall. You would drink two or three of those and then away you would go.  It was a good feeling to be done with the War, and even though we were still in the military we were able to celebrate a little. 

Was it difficult dealing with that many wounded men in Hawaii for over a year?

I took it as it came.  Some guys couldn’t handle it and they shipped them out to do something else, like work in a hospital.  We worked out of tents, big four pole tents.  That was one of my jobs.  I was in charge of setting up the tents and equipping them with cots and other medical equipment. 


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