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Interview with Raymond E. Kellogg [9/11/2001]

Tom Swope:

This is the oral history of World War II Veteran Raymond E. Kellogg. Mr. Kellogg served with the U.S. Army's 504th M.P. Battalion. He served in North Africa and Europe, and his highest rank was T-5. I'm Tom Swope, and we recorded this at Mr. Kellogg's home in Huntsburg, Ohio, on September 11th, 2001. In fact, I asked Mr. Kellogg if he wanted to postpone the interview in lieu of the events of that day, and he said, "No. When you've been in a war, you get used to seeing people getting killed." Ray's age at the time was 83.

Tom Swope:

What was your hometown during the war?

Raymond E. Kellogg:

This is the town I was born and raised in.

Tom Swope:

Um-hum.

Raymond E. Kellogg:

But when I left here to go into the service, why, we jumped from Chardon to camp in Fort Knox in Kentucky, and then we went to Texas and spent the next almost-two years in Texas. Went through two maneuvers down there. And at the time, they had settled in on my future. They found out I rode a motorcycle when I was in civilian life at home, and -- so they put me in on escort guard motorcycle group with 24 motorcycles, and we guarded a lot of important people. Off the side, I might say that one of the most thing that startled me later on in years was that we were guarding a General Walter Krueger from World War I, Germany. He fought against us, and after the war, he came to the United States to live and liked it so well that he became a citizen, stayed here, and then, when the second world war broke out, he was asked to join our side, and -- and he was. He was a Three-Star General, and his aide was a Lieutenant Colonel Dwight D. Eisenhower; and as we had to guard the General as one of our duties, why, we got all our information and our duties laid out by Colonel Eisenhower, never knowing that some day he'd be what he turned out to be: the President and leader of our forces overseas.

Tom Swope:

When did you go into the service?

Raymond E. Kellogg:

In March '41. I forget the exact date, but --

Tom Swope:

So you signed up? You weren't drafted; right?

Raymond E. Kellogg:

No. I was drafted.

Tom Swope:

You were drafted?

Raymond E. Kellogg:

Yes. I was drafted. Yes.

Tom Swope:

The pre-war draft.

Raymond E. Kellogg:

Yes. There was no war at the time with Japan. So I was in there clear up until December 7th. When Japan hit us in the back over in Pearl Harbor, that -- it went from a recruiting sort of thing and buildup of the Army, as it was, to the real thing, and they called, oh, about 10,000 of us all together at San Antonio, Texas, Fort Sam Houston, and they announced that we're in till the end of the war, no matter what. And you can imagine our faces, because most of us had figured we were going to be in to be trained, and then we were going to go home. But it didn't turn out that way. We had -- we were in to stay, and... I learned a lot of things in those two summers in Louisiana maneuvers, and -- well, they were typical, I guess, of what escort guard has to do. He has to do his assigned duties for watching the General, everywhere from walking circles around his tent to escorting him to the airport in downtown San Antonio and escorting him back when he was in the Texas area, and -- well, that's about it for the --

Tom Swope:

So that was your job then? You were an escort guard at the time?

Raymond E. Kellogg:

Yeah. I was a motorcycle policeman.

Tom Swope:

Um-hum.

Raymond E. Kellogg:

And --

Tom Swope:

What outfit was this with?

Raymond E. Kellogg:

504 M.P. Battalion. And I was kind of glad I was in the motorcycle unit because it give me a lot of leeway that the others in our outfit didn't have, and --

Tom Swope:

Like what?

Raymond E. Kellogg:

Well, we got to take our little bikes out, and they were given to us brand-new, issued to us brand-new, and we had to break them in. So we got a little -- side trips here and there occasionally to see things that the others couldn't see. And I enjoyed riding a motorcycle, anyway, and so --

Tom Swope:

So when did you go overseas then?

Raymond E. Kellogg:

We went overseas in March of '42. I take that back. '43. In March '43, we went overseas. They give us two years in the States and then overseas -- we was over there two and almost-a-half years overseas. And we left San Antonio on the train, and we went to camp up in New Jersey where they prepare you for overseas. When we went over, we disembarked there in the middle of March, and it was a great experience for most of us; me, too, being a farm boy and never seeing the ocean, never been on an ocean liner.

But we boarded in the border of New York there and sat on the boat two or three days without moving, and we were getting pretty fidgety, and the next morning we woke up, we were a hundred miles out to sea. A good many of the fellows were seasick. They were seasick when they woke up. They -- and -- well, I won't describe what -- the men's room. One big layout and the vomiting and the whole works down there. Oh, it was terrible. But I was fortunate that I had a pretty good stomach and I didn't get seasick, but -- and I also learned from the sailors that know about those things. They says, "Keep your stomach full. Don't drink a lot of water, but eat whatever you can find to eat. Keep your stomach full because, when your stomach gets empty and you've got a lot of water in there, it rattles back and forth when your -- your boat" -- see, it goes down, and then it comes up, and then it'll go sideways.

And it being March, that was the worst month you could be on the Atlantic -- they told us, anyway -- and you get pretty sick from that. And so I took their advice, and I kept eating anything I could lay my hands on, and I weathered it pretty well, pretty well. And some of my close friends from Chardon were sick as the dickens. Our bunks were six high, and they were just in, like, little shelves, clear up as high as the ceiling. And my buddy Joe's on the top one. Oh, was he sick. He couldn't even get out of that bed -- out of that cot, and I had to bring him food and stuff to help him along.

He begged me to get something for him, and -- anyway, that's another story, but -- Joe died a couple of years ago in Cleveland, and -- another one of my lost buddies. But we -- we were out to sea, and we sailed down the coastline. {Coughs} Pardon me. At that time, the Germans had a lot of U-boats in the area, they claim -- and I've been reading about it since -- and they were watching pretty close in that -- in that area for troop transfers. They just loved to sink them because they didn't want those troops going overseas.

But we got a way down the coastline, and we went to -- across from Florida. We could see the lights, and then we made a left turn and went out, and the next spot of land we saw was -- was South America, Trinidad. Out at Trinidad, the lights were sparkling. And the sailors told us that's where we were. We didn't know where we were. And they said, "That's South America, Trinidad." Then we kept going straight out into the ocean, and 21 days it took us to cross from here over till we got on land again, and -- it's an awful long trip.

And we first saw the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and then we went on up the coastline and cut in at the Strait of Gibraltar, and we landed at Orion, Africa, and we got off there. And at that time, this famous General Rommel was holding everything in Africa, and we were trying to fight him and get him out of there, and so we all got involved in that in a few months, and -- and we saw --

Tom Swope:

So that would be about March or April of '43?

Raymond E. Kellogg:

Yeah. That would be about April, mid-April. And one of the things I'll never forget is, when we'd captured, oh, hundreds of Germans who could see they were going to have to give up or die, and they gave up, and -- we were marching them down a blacktop road and -- four abreast, and we were guarding them, going alongside on our motorcycles and then with our guns and everything, and some of them amazed us that they could speak fluent English, and they were laughing at us and say, "Hey, how's the Chicago White Sox doing?" and things like that, you know.

We -- our eyes almost pop out of our heads. We couldn't believe it, you know. Here they were aware of a lot of things. And then they'd poke fun at us, says, "Well, you guys are here to stay for a long time. We're going over to your country and be in your camp." And that's exactly where they ended up.

They loaded up them prisoners and took them to the United States to be encamped there. So we were learning the rules of war rather -- rather fast. But... We were on that northeast coast of Africa until shortly after July. I remember the Fourth of July. The Germans raided us, air-raided us, and we took that as our Fourth of July. Well, when you see the antiaircraft shooting up those shells and popping up there and the tracers going up in, like, streams of light, that was our Fourth of July celebration, I guess you'd say.

But we -- we weren't very smart. We didn't -- we weren't battle-wise. We didn't realize that anything that missed up there was going to come down, and we could very well get hit by some of our own shells. But it never happened. So we lucked out. But that was our first air raid that we ever experienced, and we stood out there, standing up straight, looking at them, and... Anyway, shortly after that, we had a visit, and here it was General Eisenhower. He came down the road with the flags on his vehicle flying, and we could see the stars, and we knew it was the General, but we didn't know who it was.

When he saw our sign, he recognized us from when we were in maneuvers in Louisiana, and he told the driver to stop. He got out, crawled up the bank, and says, "Where are all your officers?" He says, "Call them out here. Call all the men together." Well, the officers who weren't on duty were downtown goofing off. It was kind of embarrassing. But First Sergeant, he got -- he covered for them pretty good, and he got several hundred of us to come out in a big group, and General Eisenhower gave us a few words.

He said, "Well, there's something going to happen very shortly, and I want you guys to know it; that you're going to be in on it," and he says, "We're figuring you're going to make it," and he says -- he talked positively toward us, you know, and he knew it was our first experience and -- he wouldn't tell us the day, of course, which he wouldn't do, and he gave us a little encouragement there, and -- and that was it. And three days later, we were climbing on a boat again, and we took off for Sicily, straight across.

It was a short trip, but we went out and circled -- in the Mediterranean, time and again, while we were picking up ships, they told us from England they were coming around and coming through the Straits of Gibraltar there and joining us and -- to make a great big amount of people and equipment and everything. And the third day then, early in the morning, we went in, and we had to get off about 40, 50 yards from shore and wade in. And it was quite an experience because we had never done that before. We were training that we were going to have to do it and told how to do it, but doing it's another thing.

And a lot of the fellows that were, like, five-feet-five, and shorter even a little, had very serious trouble just keeping their feet on the ground -- inside the -- with all their "duff" on and everything, you have to hold your hands up and keep your watch and your wallet and whatever valuables over your head so you don't get saltwater in them, and they were going down over their mouth, and a lot of us helped -- the taller guys, we'd help them by holding onto their packs and hold them, keep them from drowning.

And -- but we got ashore, and they were shooting at us while we were wading in, and mortars -- that was our first taste of seeing what mortars could do. They were somewhere hiding way back there, and they were popping them mortars up near -- trying to hit the boat and hitting on both sides, and -- but we -- most of us made it safely. And I remember, when I got on shore, I went as far inland as 40 or 50 yards probably, and there was a big tomato patch, a garden that the Sicilians had, and there were some tomatoes in there that weren't picked, and, boy, did I help myself. I was just ravenous because I didn't eat on the boat.

It was a bad storm as we came in, and -- one reason the Germans didn't think that anybody's going to come in on a storm like that, they were caught off guard, and so -- but it didn't help our stomachs any, I'll tell you, eating -- you eat twice a day on a boat, and there's three days we circled out there, and you got into a big storm where you get pretty sick, and... But we weathered it, then got inland and seen our first dead Germans that -- shells from the boats that had been going over our heads before we landed on land. It was popping it all around and killed a lot of them with (confession). And we seen quite a few dead bodies piled up here and there.

And, of course, that was new to us, too. We hadn't seen anybody killed in that -- that manner before, and -- but... Got inland, and my first duty was to guard a depression in the blacktop highway. It was a rather small highway. But the Germans on the right-hand side and the Italians -- of course, they were working together. They had dug a huge V-shape crevice down into the blacktop, and the purpose of it was that they knew, if we come in there with tanks and we tried to go down that road, if we didn't notice it, you'd head down in it, and you couldn't back your way out, and they'd come up close and put you out of action.

So my job was to guard that place and don't let anybody run into it, and... So me and my little outfit, the ___ there, and -- and at that time, General Patton was in our outfit, and I think this was when we were a 3rd Army. We were a 3rd Army assigned one area of the war, and later on we were into the 5th Army. But I think we were the 3rd Army, and there's a couple of -- four or five vehicles coming at me from the front, and -- though I immediately got over in front of the V in the road and flagged them down and flagged them over to the left so they'd go around it, and they almost had to come to a stop to make that turn, and here one guy stands up in the back of the command car, and he starts swearing and shaking his fist at me.

Here was General Patton, and he didn't want to be stopped. He didn't want anybody to stop him, and -- so all I could do was salute, and -- and he chewed me out, and he kept going. The driver was aware that that was a poor taste on his part, and the driver didn't actually stop, because he didn't tell him to, I guess, but he drove right on by rather slow. Boy, he was just shaking his fist at me. I was trying to do my duty, but sometimes that's the pay you're getting.

Anyway, we were only on Sicily about 60 days, and we covered that whole island with troops from all sides, and we just captured an awful lot of Italians and a few Germans. But the Germans withdrew. They knew we were coming after we landed, of course. And I remember the Italians were so happy to surrender. They are not fighters. They -- we were in a huge field, and I'll bet there was six to 8,000 of them probably in that field. Boy, they had laid down everything they were carrying, and their hands were out, and they're shaking their heads, you know. "No problem for me," you know, that sort of thing. And we had to circle them and guard them and keep them contained. But they weren't going anywhere. They didn't want to go anywhere. They were afraid of getting shot, and... So that impressed me quite a bit. It's a large amount of them that just lost their fighting ability the minute that they were faced with some opposition.

So, as I say, we were only on there about two months, and we got on the boats again, and this time we headed for the mainland of Italy, and we landed at Salerno. It's called the Salerno beachhead, and it was a crook in the shoe of the Italian mainland, and we came into the top of the crook there, and we didn't have too much opposition. But we did have to wade ashore again and had some problems with Germans flying over and strafing the area and trying to hit the boats that were bringing us in. And I don't remember losing too many men there. Most of us were safely on shore.

So, then, we got to see a lot of things that we'd never seen before because, in the Mediterranean, about six or eight miles offshore -- you could just barely make out the outlines of huge boats. They were either -- I don't know if they were battleships or cruisers or something big like that that belonged to us, and they were shooting large shells over our heads and dropping them inland on the roads that the Germans were on, and they were trying to control those roads, and we were picking off their tanks. We were moving up those roads, and our artillery from those boats was so accurate that they -- we heard a lot of explanations how they do it. They have a setup in the boat that takes charge of the movement of the boat and the movement of the vehicle they're shooting at, and they could shoot them shells over and hit tanks down that road miles away.

And we saw the tanks later, and boy, once those big shells hit them, they just punctured a hole right through them, and... Anyway, we got out of that beachhead. I saw my first aerial -- airplane fight between the Germans and our Air Corps, and we got the P-51 Mustangs at that time, and they were kind of new to us, and I guess they were new to the Air Corps. I don't think they'd had them very long, and they're real powerful and faster than what the Germans had. But the Germans had a habit of coming over the mountain range and swooping down on us every morning and just spraying the place with machine-gun shells and then go out over the water and kick out a bomb or two and then try to hit the boats as -- and as they circle, and went back over the mountains again, out of sight.

And they did that a few days, and -- and somebody set it up to have our Air Corps way up above, just circling around, waiting, and when they did come in this time, one time I recall, they just dived down and got on their back, and they just -- they just -- puffs of smoke, and... We seen one German very close to us. He didn't know what was hitting him, you know. But he knew he was hit, and he turned his airplane upside down, and he fell out, head first -- I suppose that's the method that they had of doing it -- and he pulled his ripcord, and his parachute opened, and he come floating down amongst our troops further away, and -- it wasn't very nice, but our troops opened up on him as he was dangling there from the parachute, and he was pulling the shrouds one way and another, trying to keep moving, and I don't know if they killed him or not. But I know he fell right into our troop areas, so I know he didn't have much of a future.

Someone says, "Hey, they shouldn't be doing that. That's supposed to be -- Geneva Convention, international law, you don't shoot down paratroopers." But they were pretty mad after being shot at every day, every day, and couldn't do much about it. They were sitting ducks ourselves. So they shot back, but... I never saw anything like that before, and you read about the -- World War I, how the air pilots would have dog fights, and it was always interesting when I was a kid. Here, I could see it in real, right there before our eyes.

We went on up the coast of Italy, pushing them back pretty fast, and we got up just outside of -- outside of -- the town escapes my memory. We camped on the outskirts of Mount Vesuvius, and we were there for quite some time. We had a lot of air raids there. They came over after us several times, and -- and -- we didn't do a whole lot of fighting there; more or less, preparation. And when we got off the -- off the spot on the boats again and went up around the coastline of Italy and come back in at Anzio, this is supposed to be a surprise to the Germans. But, apparently, they knew about our coming, and they were pretty well fortified in the hills and mountains in the back, and when we come in, they were shooting at us pretty steady, and we lost an awful lot of men there at Anzio.

A lot of my buddies died there: some from Akron, some from Cleveland, a close friend of mine from Wisconsin. I had a close call myself. A friend of mine named Barnes, Hal Barnes, he had a premonition that something was going to happen on this landing and when we were on the boat, and he came to me. He says, "Kellogg," he says, "I want you to hold my watch and my wife's ring that she gave me, wedding ring, and stuff." He says, "I'm" -- he was gambling on the boat quite a bit in order to kill time, and he says, "I don't want to lose them to that," and he says, "I'm worried about losing them anyway." So he says, "How about you holding them for me?" I said, "Well, I'll try." So I had his precious things on me when we got ashore. And we waded in on that one. That was a pretty bad one to -- the boat was further out in the water. We had further to go, and we had a lot of losses, and -- well, Hal and I got in under the sand, and we went in about, oh, 50 or 60 feet. It's all we wanted to go because we were afraid of walking on land mines, and we didn't want to be trodding around there, and it was -- we started at 4 in the morning.

We got in there just about daylight, before we got our feet in the ground. And so we dug our foxholes about three or four feet apart in the sand. It was easy digging, and we dug pretty deep holes and -- but we were cold, soaked to the skin, and wet, you know, and -- so we put our overcoats down in there first and then our packs and jumped in on them and laid down there below ground level, and we felt pretty safe. But we were so cold that I couldn't take much of that. I said, "I'm going to get up there and go down the shoreline because I see somebody's built a fire down there," which they weren't supposed to do, but -- it turned out to be a telephone outfit that -- a communications outfit that built the fire. They got heck for it later. But I went down to see if I could get in on some of that heat, and Hal says, "Well, I'm not going to leave here." He says, "I ain't going to take no chances." He says, "I'll stay right in this hole." I said, "Okay, Hal." I says, "I'm going to go down there," and "See you later."

And I took my rifle and my equipment and went down there, and I met another one of my buddies from Chardon. He was already there, and he says, "When you get warmed up, let's take a little walk up the bank and -- there's a hut up there," and he says, "I bet there's some good souvenirs in there." And, of course, that was a stupid thing for us to do. But I listened to him, and we went, and Joe -- Pachota his name was -- Joe and I went up there and walked along the ridge of the top of the beach, and we went in this hut, and there -- Germans had just left there recently because there was still warm food there that they'd been cooking, and whatever else they couldn't carry, had left laying -- there was what we call hand grenades scattered around on the floor and other pieces of equipment they couldn't grab when they decided to leave, and... So we looked at their food and saw what we saw, and then we heard the boats sound alarm for air raid, and we went out and looked at the boats, and they had the red flag up, which says they already had noticed they're coming, and we hardly could do anything.

Right then, we just kind of froze, and the planes come in real low and went right over our heads, and you could see the bombs dropping out as they were going over our heads, and they were attempting to hit the boats is what they were after, but some of them hit the ground.

Well, what turned out to be, later, some of those early-dropped bombs dropped real near our foxholes that were down there, and -- so, after the raid was over, the commander -- the company commander called us all together and read off the roll call, and several guys were missing. He says, "Anybody know where these guys are?" And I says, "Well, I know where Hal was, because he's right where my foxhole was." He says, "Well, you take two, three guys and go down there and see if you can locate him." So we went down there, and the bomb had hit close enough so that it was -- hit the sand and blew up a huge volume of sand, and then it came down and just about leveled our foxholes (loud). But I soon knew where mine was, and I found my pack and stuff in the hole by reaching in there. And I says, "Well, Hal was right over there." So they says, "Well, see if you can find him." So I went over there, and I dug down in, and I found Hal's warm body, and he was dead. Of course, I guess the concussion probably killed him, but the sand finished it off by burying him, too. So he would've suffocated probably if he was alive a little bit, but...

So here I am wearing his jewelry and stuff that he wanted me to hold on to, and he's dead. Boy, it broke me up. Yep. A pretty good fellow. Hard way to go. Well, we -- we were on -- on that perimeter there. It was a half-moon that we had carved out of that landing, and -- about eight miles, as I read about it, being the -- size-wise, and the left half was given to the British to control, and we had the right half, and then we were trying to forge forward and get the main route, and I think it was Route 8. It goes from Rome to Naples -- and that's the name of the town I was trying to get before -- and they controlled that road.

Well, our troops were trying to get that road under control to keep them from using it and also to help our troops so we could use it, and a lot of people lost their lives there because that road was a focal point, apparently, and -- back and forth. They would push us back, I understand, and then our troops would push them back. And the only thing that really broke it loose was -- we were there three months, and they were trying to push us off there. The Germans themselves said later they were trying to push us off of that little spot back into the water, but we wouldn't give them the chance.

And the only thing that helped us and practically broke it loose was our Air Corps. They were based in North Africa at the time, and it was a short jump for them to come from North Africa over, and -- and they'd bomb those hills and both sides of the road, I guess, and everything else and -- trying to clear it, and eventually it had happened. We had several bombing raids where they went in the morning, and afternoon there was new waves coming over, and they just bombed almost continually for a day or two there. And I later heard that one of my high-school friends was in -- was flying one of those bombers, and he was shot down over in that area, and -- his name was Carlson, and his dad owned a hardware store in Chardon up on the square. The Carlson family was a well-known, old family. And as I understand it, he was shot down, his plane, in one of those raids, and...

Anyway, I was taking pictures -- I had a little camera at the time, and I have some of the pictures here yet of the graveyard there at Anzio. In that three months' time, there was 20,000 crosses in that plot of Americans. And I didn't get to the British area to know how many died in their group. But -- {clears throat} -- pardon me -- they -- they lost that many boys in three months' time there fighting back and forth, and...

There was things that happened at Anzio that never happened before. Like, the Germans developed a bomb that was radio-controlled. And we were inland about two miles from the bay -- maybe not that far. Maybe one mile. But we could see the water in the distance and the big boats that were unloading their supplies for us and the troops and -- we could witness that from our -- where -- our camp site there, and we seen a -- we had an air raid alert, as usual. We had them all the time, and you get so used to them. And we saw this big plane that looked like four or five miles away, and he wasn't aimed toward us. He was parallel with us. But he was flying in that direction. But something dropped out of the bottom of his plane, and we didn't know what it was, and it dropped down about 40, 50 feet, and then suddenly it turned and headed toward us, and here it was a radio-controlled bomb. We didn't have anything like that. They were controlling it from that plane, and they aimed it right at us and went right over our heads and hit that big ship that was sitting in there unloading.

I felt so sorry for those guys 'cause I know they could see it, too. You could see it coming. It was a big projectile, and it practically went down the stack, and, oh, it just blew it all to pieces and -- terrible. Terrible. And we didn't have anything like that in our arsenal, and -- the Germans were ahead of us quite a -- quite a -- different ways. Many different ways, they were advanced, but... They had an air raid where, in the evening and then at night, the Germans decided to shell us from their mountain recluses way up there, and we all had our deep foxholes by then and -- used to sleeping in the ground, and -- and the Captain blew the whistle this one night and -- "Is everybody up? Everybody out of there. Get out of this area. They're going to shell it," worse than we had been used to.

Well, boy, they started coming in, and that's where I got hurt. I -- following orders, we were all getting out of there in the dark, running, and the shells were exploding around then. I got my left ankle wrecked there, and then I was blown into a big, deep hole where the Germans, who had been there before us, had a gun emplacement, a heavy gun emplacement, and they had taken the gun out and left the steel that was holding it down and the plates, and the other equipment they didn't need, they just left all that and went. And I was blown right in there, and I was hurting. But I couldn't get out. The sides were too steep, and it was quite high, and being wounded, I -- I stayed there all night. In the morning, as things had quieted down, why, I called for help, and somebody walked by and got some help and pulled me out of there, and I went to the hospital.

That's where I started my leg problems. Anyway, three months there, and we got on a boat again, and this time we were heading for France. And we went up the Mediterranean to San Tropez, France, and we landed there. But there was no action. We just -- might as well say it was a boat ride. We got off on a gangplank and no water, and we were in France, and -- to make a long story short, we went up through the valley there in France and saw all the things that you hear about. It's a beautiful area. On our left side, we could look across the valley and see the mountains. Over on the other side is snowcapped, and we were told, "That's Switzerland over there," and that's the closest we got to Switzerland. But we went up through the valley -- I think they call it the Rhone Valley -- and we stopped at Lyon, which is about the middle of -- or was that Nantes? I can't remember now. It was either Nantes or Lyon. I think it was Lyon. And we stopped there, anyway.

We had to camp there for a while and get rejuvenated, and then we went on up through to the top of France. And at Worms, France, we crossed the Rhine River on pontoon boats. The Germans had knocked out all the bridges, and we had to go across on pontoon boats, across -- the Rhine is a pretty big river, and we landed on the other side there. And the first town we came to was Darmstadt, and I have some pictures of the layout of Darmstadt. It had been bombed more than once, and it was a -- a city about the size of Youngstown, as near as I can recall, and -- a pretty good-size city, and it was really wrecked. They bombed it more than once, and it just was really a shambles, and my pictures I brought home show how bad it was.

But, anyway, we went from -- Darmstadt, we stayed in that area a few days, and -- and then we headed on down deeper into Germany, and we went down to -- close to the border of Czechoslovakia where this city was that -- where the Germans had tried to eliminate the Jewish people by burning them to death -- "burning them," I mean cremating them -- and trying to hide their act by cremating them people. But it wasn't to happen because they had so many killed that they couldn't operate their furnaces fast enough. 24 hours a day couldn't keep up with the job of cremating, and so a lot of them were on the flatcars on railroad tracks beside this prison camp, and I got to take a picture or two of those, and it was a gruesome site. Terrible. And --

Tom Swope:

What was that camp? Do you remember the name?

Raymond E. Kellogg:

Sure, I should know it. It will come to me later. But, anyway, then we ended up going further. We got to Munich, and we established camp in the center of Munich City Park, right in the middle of the city, and it was there that we got word that the war was very close to ending, and -- and we were given orders to not allow any guns on any civilians or soldiers that we run into on the streets anywhere, and we had a few little escapades there where we'd catch somebody that was breaking the rules.

And then the war ended, and then I got a letter, the first letters I got, that my younger brother, who was in the other part of Germany -- come in from the England way on the invasion over there, my younger brother, Harold -- and my younger brother had been killed the last week of the war at 24 years old and -- so I was shook up terrible by then. And our officers -- when the war ended there that week, why, he says, "Now, you fellows that have brothers or relatives that were killed in Germany and you want to go and look up their place where they were or where they are buried, why, we'll give you a jeep and some cans of gasoline, and you can take a few days and go look them up." So one of my friends had lost his brother, too. So we joined up, the two of us, and took a jeep and some gas, and we went. We found the burial place of both his brother -- in different areas of Germany. But my brother was killed at Eisenach, Germany, and I went to the place where his death occurred and explosion -- it was an explosion -- and then I also went to the cemetery, the Tempers (ph) Cemetery where the Germans had laid him out, and I saw his grave.

And shortly after, we -- we went back to France and went to Le Harve and got on a boat and started back for the United States. But -- meanwhile, we were supposed to -- while we were waiting to get on the boat -- we had to wait a few weeks there because we were scheduled to go back in what was called the Green Project, and that was where the big planes that were over there would haul the people that had been through a lot, like our outfit -- they would haul us back to the States in planes, the Green Project. So we had turned in everything -- all souvenirs and all kinds of stuff that you had that you shouldn't have, I suppose, and -- "Turn them all in. Turn in your old clothing and get a new issue of wool clothing, and get ready for the airplane trip."

And then Japan decided to surrender at that time, and the bomb had gone off over there, the big one, and -- so they called it off. They says, "No, no. All the planes have got to go out of here and go over there to Japan, in the Pacific area, and so now you go on a boat." So we had given up all our stuff that we wanted to keep and had to go on a boat as is. And we come home in this tanker.

Boy, it was smelly. A fuel oil smell was down below. You could hardly stand it. But we were so happy we were going home, we didn't care about what. So it took us only -- I think it was just nine days to come home, and then -- it was a pretty slow boat because it wasn't a luxury boat, by any means. So we come back, then went in the border of New York, and they were blowing off whistles, and flags flying everywhere, and boats come out to meet us, small boats, and blow their horns and wave. It was quite a -- quite a reunion, I guess. But that's pretty much the two and a half years over there in Europe. That's about it.

Tom Swope:

Do you remember your homecoming with your family?

Raymond E. Kellogg:

Yes. We went up the Hudson River, as far as that boat could go, and got off at Camp Shanks. And Camp Shanks had milk, and we hadn't seen milk for two and a half years. Some guys overdid it. And then they had a huge Px that was open 24 hours a day, with veterans coming home, and you could -- any time of day or night, you could walk in there and say, "I'm hungry. I want a steak," or "Maybe I want some chicken" or -- fried chicken or something, where you never had for all that time you -- or just ordinary fruit, apples or anything, and -- [A bird chirps.]

Tom Swope:

That's nice.

Raymond E. Kellogg:

And it was quite an experience. And, of course, you have mixed emotions. You're happy you're home, but you're sad for your brother and your friends that you left over there and -- it's hard to explain. They put us on -- out at Camp Shanks, they put us on a Greyhound bus and shipped us up to Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, where we got -- they had a name for it, where we got reorganized into being an American, I guess. And from there, we were put on another Greyhound and sent through Pennsylvania to Cleveland, got off at Cleveland. My wife met me, and I come home to Claridon and my family. My mother was there, of course. The poor thing. She suffered the loss of her son and -- very tough, very tough for her. That about winds it --

Tom Swope:

Do you remember much about getting letters from your wife when you were overseas?

Raymond E. Kellogg:

Oh, yeah. Yeah. She and I carried on one of the super -- we -- we vowed -- see, we married just before I left San Antonio. So we agreed that we'd write just as often as we could possibly write. And most -- a lot of times, I was able to write one day a week at least, and she'd write me more than that, and we had thousands of letters that we exchanged over that long period of time. And she sent me food a few times that actually got there, and it's amazing that they would ever get there. And, boy, I was popular when the mail call come and there was a box for Kellogg. Boy, I'll tell you, I had a lot of friends. "What'd ya get? What'd ya get?" you know? Helen was good at baking, and she had baked a lot of cookies and things and sent them over. And then other people in Claridon that remembered me when I was a young lad, why, they sent me stuff, too.

Tom Swope:

Did you have any trouble adjusting to civilian life after the war?

Raymond E. Kellogg:

For quite a while, I -- I didn't like it when airplanes went over, ordinary civilian airplanes. It shook me up to hear one coming, you know. And I occasionally have dreams about the war, even today. Not all the time, but occasionally, and it's something you can't get out of your system very good. I wish I could come up with the name of that camp where they had the --

Tom Swope:

There were so many over there, though.

Raymond E. Kellogg:

Yeah.

Tom Swope:

I mean, some of them there that don't have a -- just a camp near a city.

Raymond E. Kellogg:

It seems like it started with the word D.

Tom Swope:

You're not talking Dachau?

Raymond E. Kellogg:

Yes.

Tom Swope:

It was Dachau?

Raymond E. Kellogg:

That's what I'm talking. D, Dachau. Yeah. Boy, them people, they -- that must have been a horrible thing for them. Separate the men; put them out to work. They had to work, and if they couldn't work, they'd kill them. You know, the Germans: "You're my workhorse, and I want trenches dug. I want the railroad replaced, bridges replaced. Work." And, of course, the women were separated. No telling what they run into. And then the children were taken away from the women, and sometimes they ended up -- the women were killed, and then the children were orphans. It must have been a horrible condition. Dachau. Why couldn't I remember that?

Tom Swope:

You had mentioned it before. I couldn't remem- -- I didn't remember. I forgot. I forgot it, too, and you just mentioned it.

Raymond E. Kellogg:

Yep.

Tom Swope:

You think that covers it?

Raymond E. Kellogg:

That's about it, yeah.

Tom Swope:

That's an amazing story.

Raymond E. Kellogg:

One fellow from Akron I'll never forget -- I can't remember his name now. He was a nice, young fellow, but he couldn't stand the pressure, and when we were at Anzio and they were shooting at us and we got ashore and all that, and -- it was a hectic time, and he kind of lost it. And -- I wasn't in his company. I was in D Company. He was in C, I guess it was. But they said that he just threw up his hands and started running.

He just didn't know what he was doing. He just started running. He ran toward the German lines. Disappeared. A young guy from Akron. A nice young guy. Well, I guess it probably ruined his mind, you know, and he just lost it.

See, the Germans had so many things that -- that we didn't have, like that aerial bomb I was telling you about, radio-controlled. Now, the first jet we ever saw in our life was when we were over there. I think we were still in Italy, and we had a lot of experience watching our ack-ack shoot at big slow-flying planes.

In fact, when we were at Salerno, one of the things we saw that I'll never forget was -- the Germans sent over their biggest bombers. They were -- it seemed to me there were more than four motors, but it was -- they were way up. They were so far up that you could see it humming, you could hear the humming, and they were kind of spread out. But they were probably seven, eight miles up. I don't know. A long way. And our ack-ack couldn't reach them. But when they got over the edge of the Mediterranean and the boats laying out there, boy, them big boats raised their guns up, and they could reach them, and I never seen anything like it. Boy, they just bracketed one of those outfits. Bang, bang, and then the next one right in the middle, and, boy, they come down in the water, you know. Oh, I'll tell you, we just stood there with our mouth open. We just couldn't believe it. Those guns were something else. They were accurate. Yep. The Germans probably figured, "Oh, we're way up here. They ain't going to reach us" with our ack-ack. Well, we couldn't. But the bigger guns did.

Tom Swope:

Um-hum.

Raymond E. Kellogg:

Yeah. Some of those guns -- believe it or not, from those big cannons they were firing off their deck -- I think they were bigger than 14-inch. They might have been 15- or 16-inch guns. But they were so big that, actually, when we were standing like you and I'd be standing here and they're going to shoot at something behind us, two or three miles -- but when they shoot, we could see the boat, and black puffs of smoke would come out, and then we'd look ahead about -- oh, about this far, and we could see this thing going through the air -- like a keg of nails --

Tom Swope:

Um-hum.

Raymond E. Kellogg:

-- was about all we could think of --

Tom Swope:

Yeah.

Raymond E. Kellogg:

-- something round like a keg of nails, about that size, and go over our heads, and then we'd hear it hit on the other side. Boy, oh boy, I'll tell you.

Tom Swope:

Man.

Raymond E. Kellogg:

You know some of those things you tell somebody and they -- they hardly believe you because it sounds too outrageous or fantastic, you know. But it actually happened. There -- bouncing betties the Germans had. They'd scrape a little dirt away and make a depression maybe two or three inches down. They'd set it down in there, and on the top, there'd be three little wires, about -- about -- like, heavy thread, and they'd be in that area, and a fellow would be walking along, daytime, night -- he'd never see that, you know, and if he happened to hit any one of them and bend it and when it snapped back, the thing goes off, and it usually comes right up between his legs and takes his guts right out, you know. A lot of them would just lose legs, maybe lose one leg.

Anzio this was, and... You were afraid to walk anywhere, actually. They'd say, "Oh, this has been cleared." Then you'd -- maybe you'd take a walk through there. But you never knew what you were going to step on. And, of course, they had S-mines, too. They'd have a mine that was linked together, and it would be this way, and then it would be that way, and then it would be this way, and then it would be that way, and it might stretch for several hundred yards. If any part of that is disturbed, the whole thing goes up, and anyone marching through there, a group marching through there, they'd get hit.

They'd dig a depression in the road, and they'd put a platform about -- it looked -- resembled that, only bigger, probably this big around and then about that thick, and they'd dig a spot where they would be down flush with the road and kind of cover around it a little bit, and someone driving down the road, bringing up reinforcements or whatever they were doing, an officer and his men, driving them around, you know -- you run over that. When they press down on that and then the wheel leaves it, it'd spring back up. Why, that thing would explode. A land mine then they called it, and -- a big, big amount -- a heavy explosion. It was real, you know...

Tom Swope:

Too much brain power went in to devise some ways to kill people, huh?

Raymond E. Kellogg:

Yes. Yes. Yes, they did. They had several years' start on us, you know. They were killing people and devising these guns and instruments -- they were doing that in '36 and '35, I read in these books I've got. They were already working on them then, and when we got into it in the '40s, why, they'd already had several years' experience in it.

 
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  October 26, 2011
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