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"I was attending an outdoor movie when ships started firing guns… An announcer cut in on the movie and said the Japanese had surrendered." (Memoir, page 2)

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   Glenn Walter Nelson
Image of Glenn Walter Nelson
Lt. Glenn Nelson, 1945.
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Marine Corps
Unit: 29th Marine Regiment, 6th Marine Division
Service Location: Boulder, Colorado; Quantico, Virginia; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Okinawa Island (Ryukyu Islands); Guam (Mariana Islands); North China; Sasebo, Japan
Rank: Captain
Place of Birth: WY
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Glenn Nelson, a product of the plains of Wyoming and Nebraska, made an unusual career choice when he joined the Navy in the early days of World War II; he attended the service's Japanese Language School. His duties were to translate captured documents and interrogate the rare captured Japanese soldier. On Okinawa, he took the difficult assignment of trying to persuade surviving soldiers and civilians to come out from the island's many caves. He was in Pearl Harbor for the surrender, but by that point Nelson had become so fascinated with the Japanese that he spent 20 years after the war in Japan with the Central Intelligence Agency.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (7 clips)
»Complete Interview  (51 min.)
Download: video
  Photos
»Photo Album (6 photos)
 Memoirs
»Oral History Narrative of Glen W. Nelson
 Other Materials
»Clipping: Meeting a Voice after 44 Years
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»The War
»VJ-Day
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (7 items)
His opinions of the occupation of Japan and the Marshall Plan. (01:19) Saving a Japanese school principal from Chinese authorities. (01:45) Assignment in China after the war. (01:18)
In Pearl Harbor on VJ Day. (00:47) Serving on Okinawa; persuading soldiers and civilians to come out of hiding. (04:37) Duties on Guadalcanal. (00:58)
His Japanese language studies at the University of Colorado. (01:24)  
  
 
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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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