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Interview with Harold Augustus Lippard [5/18/2004]

Michael Willie:

Today is Tuesday, May 18th, 2004. And this is the beginning of an interview with Harold Augustus Lippard at the -- at the Museum at Five Points in Cleveland, Tennessee. Mr. Lippard was born on September 17, 1921, and is now 82 years old. My name is Michael Willie and I will conduct this interview. Mr. Lippard, could you state for the recording your name and its spelling, please.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Harold, H-A-R-O-L-D, Augustus, A-U-G-U-S-T-U-S, Lippard, L-I-P-P-A-R-D.

Michael Willie:

Okay. And during which war did you serve, Mr. Lippard?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

World War II and Korea.

Michael Willie:

Okay. And which branch of the service?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Navy.

Michael Willie:

And what was your highest rank you obtained?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Farmers made first class.

Michael Willie:

Okay.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Which...

Michael Willie:

Where were you born, Mr. Lippard?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Statesville, North Carolina.

Michael Willie:

Okay. Whereabouts is Statesville North Carolina?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

It's about 44 miles west of Charlotte.

Michael Willie:

Okay. And tell me about your family. Did you have any brothers or sisters growing up?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yes. I had five brothers and five sisters.

Michael Willie:

Wow. And where did you fit in there? Were they older or younger?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

I was -- I was the baby of the family.

Michael Willie:

You were the baby, okay. Now, you were born in Statesville. Were you raise -- did you spend your formative years in Statesville?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yes, yes.

Michael Willie:

Okay. What did your parents do?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Farmers.

Michael Willie:

Okay. I guess that made you a farmer, too, then, didn't it?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah, it did.

Michael Willie:

Okay. All right. Now, did you graduate high school?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yes. Troutman High School.

Michael Willie:

Okay. And let's see. What did you do after high school?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, let's see. I worked at Southern Screw Company. I was the foreman of first shift. And I worked there until I went -- well, I worked at Belks to start with and then I went to Southern Screw.

Michael Willie:

Okay.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

And I worked there until I was -- until I joined the Navy.

Michael Willie:

Okay. Now, what -- did you join or were you drafted?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

I joined.

Michael Willie:

Okay. Why did you join?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, I got tired of being called an 4F.

Michael Willie:

Really? Okay. When did -- what year was this when you joined?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

That was 19 and 42.

Michael Willie:

Okay. Now, were any of your other brothers in the service at that time?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yes. I had another brother that was a -- I think he was a lieutenant colonel.

Michael Willie:

Wow.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

In the Army. __ artillery.

Michael Willie:

Okay. Now, you joined the Navy in '42. What did your parents think about that? Did they have anything to say about that?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, no. I was past 21.

Michael Willie:

But still -- you're still the baby, right?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah, yeah.

Michael Willie:

I guess there is nothing much you can do about anything?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Uh-uh.

Michael Willie:

Okay. So you -- you joined the Navy. What did you do? Did you just go in and say, I want to join, and they ship you right out or -- or how does that work?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, we had a recruiting officer in town and I went in and enlisted. And I got sent to Raleigh and then to Pensacola for boot camp.

Michael Willie:

Pensacola, all right. Now, had you ever been away from -- I mean, I know you're 21 years old, but had you been that far away form your family before?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, no. No.

Michael Willie:

But still, it's kind of like an adventure, I guess --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, yes.

Michael Willie:

-- at that time, right?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yep.

Michael Willie:

Around a lot of people that -- you know, from different places?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yep.

Michael Willie:

What was boot camp like? What were you actually doing in boot camp?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Anything the fellow said.

Michael Willie:

They treat you nice? They treat you --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, yes. Yes. They -- when they said something, they meant business, so...

Michael Willie:

You were in pretty good shape at that time?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, yeah. I was working on a farm, I was...

Michael Willie:

All right. And probably disciplined, too, then, working on a farm?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

All right. So how long does boot camp last?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Twenty-one days.

Michael Willie:

Twenty-one days. They are on the accelerated, okay.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yep.

Michael Willie:

So then what do you do after boot -- after boot camp?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

I was shipped to Norfolk Naval Hospital and I -- I applied for book -- storekeeper, but they put me in the medical corps.

Michael Willie:

Okay. So you were a corpsman, then?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

All right. All right. Now -- so are you actually doing, like, medical training here --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

At --

Michael Willie:

-- at Norfolk?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, Norfolk was my first -- where they shipped -- separated us and shipped us out.

Michael Willie:

Okay.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

So -- so I went from Norfolk to Pensacola, Florida. There I started in the medical training.

Michael Willie:

Oh, okay. In Pensacola, all right. Now, what is involved in the medical training? I -- I mean, is this basically like getting an RN or is this just basically first aid?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, you -- the hospital corps put out a big, red handbook and everything we was supposed to learn was in that book and it was more or less schooling.

Michael Willie:

All right. Had -- I mean, was it -- was it first-aid-type things? I mean --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yes, yes.

Michael Willie:

-- was that pretty much what it was?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

Now, training as a corpsman, are you aware at that time that -- that you're also attached to the Marines or does that make any difference to you?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

I wasn't aware at the time, but I was made aware when I was stationed -- I went from Pensacola to the Quantico, Virginia, Marine base.

Michael Willie:

Okay. All right. So was that after you finished at Pensacola, then?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

How long did the training last in Pensacola?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

I think it was 21 days, but we were there longer than that.

Michael Willie:

Right. Okay. But you finished up your corpsmen training. Are you totally prepared at that time or is there more training involved?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, well, I went through aviation medicine school after -- after I got to Norfolk. And there was more training, yes.

Michael Willie:

Okay. I mean, how extensive does it actually get? I mean, to what capacity are you able to help me? Are you basically just able to patch people up or how does that work?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yes. Give inoculations and first aid and -- primarily.

Michael Willie:

Okay. All right. That's my phone. Don't worry about it. It's probably nobody. All right. So aviation medical school. Where was the aviation medical schooling?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

That was in Portsmouth, Virginia. Portsmouth.

Michael Willie:

Okay. All right. Now, by that time the war is probably starting to escalate, right? I remember it started --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, yeah. Well, it -- it -- it had been pretty rough to start with.

Michael Willie:

Right.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

I mean...

Michael Willie:

Right.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

That was 1942 and it started in '41, I think.

Michael Willie:

The end of '41. In '42, it's looking kind of bad for us?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

It was looking --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

-- bad for what's going on?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

So are you starting to get nervous about being sent over?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, no. I was a damn little farm boy and I was hot to go.

Michael Willie:

Just like everybody else, right?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

Did you have a girlfriend back home or were you married or?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

I was married.

Michael Willie:

You were already married at that time?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

Wow. How did she --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

And I had a baby on the way.

Michael Willie:

Really? Son of a gun. And you joined anyway?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yep.

Michael Willie:

All right. Well, you would have ended up going later on anyway?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, I'm sure I would have.

Michael Willie:

You would have. You would have. Okay. So after you finished up your training, then, did you get to see your wife at different times?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

I think I got a weekend leave after I got out of aviation medical school. And, of course, that's been 60 years ago. My memory ain't as good as it used to be.

Michael Willie:

That's all right. So -- but at that point when you get out of aviation medical school, do you -- do you already have orders? Do you know where you're going to be going or?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, not immediately after I got out. But very shortly after, I received my orders.

Michael Willie:

Okay. And where -- where were your orders for?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

USS Franklin.

Michael Willie:

USS Franklin, okay. So -- and USS Franklin is what kind of a --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

It's a CV, carrier vessel.

Michael Willie:

Okay.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Aircraft carrier.

Michael Willie:

Right. Okay. All right. So where do you -- where do you hook up with the Franklin?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Norfolk, Virginia.

Michael Willie:

Okay. Now, had you ever been on an aircraft carrier before?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Never had been on anything but a rowboat.

Michael Willie:

Really? All right. Well, those things are pretty intimidating, right?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, yes.

Michael Willie:

___+ as today, but absolutely huge, right?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

Now, what was that like?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, it was like a floating city, a small city. I think we had a 5,500 crew, that included the air groups, and had everything on there that you had in a small city.

Michael Willie:

Right. Now, could you find your way around it pretty easily? I mean --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, yeah. You had to do some exploring and -- of course, we were gung hoe. We were ready to go.

Michael Willie:

So were -- were all of the -- the corpsmen assigned together, then, or were you placed at different places around?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, all of the corpsmen were assigned to the medical department. But I was aviation medical technologist, so I was -- my battle station was on the flight deck.

Michael Willie:

Okay. All right. So how long did it -- how long did it take before you guys headed out? Did you ship out immediately or did you --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, yeah. We didn't have much time in Norfolk.

Michael Willie:

Right. Okay.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

We went to...

Michael Willie:

All right. Did you know where you were -- where you were going to be sailing at that time?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

No.

Michael Willie:

When you left?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Nope.

Michael Willie:

All right. Where did you go?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, we went through the canal and joined up --

Michael Willie:

You went through the canal on a carrier?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yes.

Michael Willie:

Wow. I didn't know that a carrier could get through the canal.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, yes.

Michael Willie:

Wow. That had to be something?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

Probably not much room to steer?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, that's right.

Michael Willie:

Did you -- were you able to get out there and watch?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yep. They gave us a night's liberty on this side of the canal and a night's liberty when we got through, so we got to visit Panama and see all of the things that are going on there and there was a lot going on there.

Michael Willie:

Get any souvenirs for your wife in Panama?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah. I sent her a bottle of...

Michael Willie:

Milk?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Chanel Number 5 and a pair of nylon hoes.

Michael Willie:

There you go. Okay. So you get through the canal and then you know you're going to the -- the Pacific war, right?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, we had to stop in California and have some -- antiaircraft 40-millimeter blisters put on because with those on, you can't get through the canal. So we had to have them put on on the West Coast.

Michael Willie:

Okay.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Then we headed out.

Michael Willie:

Okay. With a convoy?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, we had the shore escorts until we got out to Hawaii.

Michael Willie:

Okay.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

And then we joined the Third Fleet.

Michael Willie:

Were you guys able to go into Hawaii or did you just meet up?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah. With had one night's liberty there.

Michael Willie:

And were you able to see Pearl Harbor? Did you see the --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Michael Willie:

And that's not too long afterwards, right? That's still -- I mean, did it really dawn on you how -- how important -- just how devastating it was or had they cleaned it all up?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, it really didn't sink in because I was...

Michael Willie:

Well, the war wasn't real to you guys yet, right?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

No. Uh-uh.

Michael Willie:

Okay. So you meet up with -- meet up with the convoy?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, on the way to the convoy, we had our first little action. We come across some Japanese out there in a fishing boat.

Michael Willie:

Really?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

And so we sank the boat and took them aboard.

Michael Willie:

Really? A little fishing boat?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah. Well, it was -- it was little for that kind of water, yeah.

Michael Willie:

All right. Okay. So, I mean, is this exciting? Is this -- for everybody on there? Is there a buzz to win the war?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, yeah. It's the first Japanese we had seen.

Michael Willie:

All right. Did you get to see them up close or were --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, yeah. We -- we took them aboard and put them in the brig.

Michael Willie:

Did they have any -- okay. So then you guys had -- had -- or -- head into the Pacific?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

Well, take me from there. Where do you go?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, I think July, the 4th, we made the first raid on Iwo Jima. And from then on, it was hot and heavy.

Michael Willie:

Okinawa?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Iwo Jima.

Michael Willie:

Iwo Jima was --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

In the Mariana Islands.

Michael Willie:

Yeah. Iwo Jima was, like, '44, April of '44?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

April of '44?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

Okay. All right. So now, did you guys have any trouble with -- if it was Iwo Jima, was there any trouble with the kamikaze pilots?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, we were lucky. We didn't -- that it had already started. We didn't catch ours there; we caught it at Leyte Gulf.

Michael Willie:

Okay. Well, let's talk about that, then. When you were out there, how -- are you constantly aware of Japanese movement around or --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Michael Willie:

And how does that present itself? I mean, where are you? Were you in the --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

I'm on the flight deck.

Michael Willie:

You are on the flight deck?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

That was my battle station.

Michael Willie:

And it's dangerous up on the flight deck, isn't it?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, yeah. It's pretty dangerous just with the planes coming in.

Michael Willie:

That's what I mean. I mean, as far as accidents and things like that?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

Did you have many accidents?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, yeah. I've seen some airmen blown into the propeller behind them and they were sliced up in ribbons.

Michael Willie:

All right. Now, you as you guys are going out -- I mean, are -- you don't know where you're actually going --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

No.

Michael Willie:

-- at any given time, do you?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

No.

Michael Willie:

You're just heading out there?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

No.

Michael Willie:

And are you getting news about what's going on?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, yeah. We had a -- we had a publication that tells us what we was doing and where we were that come out that day in the ship bulletin.

Michael Willie:

And what is your daily schedule pretty much like? I mean, are you four-on/four-off, are you eight-on/eight-off, or are you just always --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

It all depends. I've been on for 72 hours at a time.

Michael Willie:

All right.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

And -- but usually it was one day you got starboard shift and the next day you got port shift and -- you know, you got eight hours on the battle station when we were in emergency.

Michael Willie:

Right. Now -- okay. Did you guys pass the -- cross the date line?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, yes.

Michael Willie:

What was the -- did you guys have any kind of a celebration?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, yes. Yes.

Michael Willie:

What was that like? Tell me about that.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, I got my head shaved and it never grew back.

Michael Willie:

Talk about what actually goes on when you cross the -- the date line.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Gosh, I should have brought my book.

Michael Willie:

It's okay. Is it the shellbacks or are you a shellback after you go over or are you -- you're like a tadpole or poliwag or something like that before you go?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, God. That's been 60 years. Yeah, we were something.

Michael Willie:

Yeah.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

We were -- we had run the ship one particular day, I remember, that we got our head medical officer down. He wore a little, fancy beard and we shaved off half of it.

Michael Willie:

Did you have to kiss any bellies during that day?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

A big master belly, all right. Now, when is the first time you really realized that you're in a war zone? Can you think of the first time you really realized that -- that this isn't a game? Was there a moment when something happened that --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah. Iwo Jima I realized that we were in a dangerous situation. Because when you approach Iwo Jima, it's just like a big booby comes up out of the ocean. You see that thing a long time before you get there, that mountain there, Mount Suribachi.

Michael Willie:

And at that point it's Iwo Jima and then -- well, basically, you're working up to the last step, right, the last step of the Japanese campaign?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, yeah. We run back from the Bonin Islands, Iwo Jima to Chichi Jima and all over the place. We -- we would hit and run, hit and run.

Michael Willie:

All right. And were they keeping planes in the air pretty much the whole time?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

Okay. So you probably didn't get any rest at all?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, I was -- I was young. I could take it then.

Michael Willie:

You couldn't do it now, right?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, you said it.

Michael Willie:

You couldn't do it now. So how far were you -- were you off of Iwo Jima? I mean, when -- when they actually landed there, could -- I know you can't see, but, I mean --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

We were probably 50 miles off of the coast. Even when we went to bomb Kyushu, we -- we stayed 50 miles from Japan, then.

Michael Willie:

Right. But you guys had to keep a safe distance?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

And you said after Iwo Jima then -- where did you go from that? Did you go back to Leyte Gulf then?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

I think when we finished the boning out on us, we went to what used to be from most of -- I forgot get what it is now.

Michael Willie:

Oh, it's not Taiwan, is it?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Taiwan, yeah. We raided that three or four times and then into the Northern Philippines and Luzon. And we spent probably a couple of weeks working up and down that coast and bombing raids.

Michael Willie:

All right. And around that -- I mean, that was -- that was the last gasp for the Japanese, right? I mean, were the -- were the kamikazes coming or were you hearing that that happened?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

We caught our first kamikaze at Leyte Gulf.

Michael Willie:

And did it actually -- did it actually hit you guys?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Sure did. Right -- right down the center of the flight deck.

Michael Willie:

Oh, my goodness. Could you see it coming?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, well, I didn't see it coming, but I saw it when it hit us because I was within 100 feet of where it went through the deck.

Michael Willie:

Totally catch you off guard. How do you react to something like that? I mean, just all of a sudden -- was that the first time you guys were actually hit?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

No. We had -- in -- off of Formosa, we caught a bomb through our deck edge elevator. That was our first hit. And, actually, it was a near-miss, we call it, because it -- it just went through the elevator, deck edge elevator. And, of course, we lost four or five people at that particular time. But that was our first little scare.

Michael Willie:

And was there any thought, in your mind, that you guys might go down or you knew that one kamikaze couldn't take you down?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, I didn't know that, but we didn't go down. We -- we had to come back in for repairs.

Michael Willie:

Where did you go in for repairs?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Seattle.

Michael Willie:

Okay. So you --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Bremerton Navy Yard.

Michael Willie:

All right. Now, as you start pulling away and going back to Seattle -- I mean, is there a thought in your mind that you're -- you're getting safe or are you still worried about the --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, we still had submarine attacks possible.

Michael Willie:

Right.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

But we didn't have any.

Michael Willie:

And the Japanese were wearing thin as far as their -- they had -- basically had no Navy left, right?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, they still had a little bit at that time. The Yamamoto hadn't been sunk yet.

Michael Willie:

All right. So when you were -- when you were at that port now, did you ever hear Tokyo Rose?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, yeah. Lord, we listened to her. Yeah.

Michael Willie:

What was that -- I mean, what was that like hearing Tokyo? I mean --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, it's just like the regular music you get around here except you knew it was Tokyo Rose.

Michael Willie:

I just heard she plays the best music, that's why people --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, she did. She -- she put on a good show.

Michael Willie:

Did she ever talk about your --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, yeah. She -- she told us she was going to sink us.

Michael Willie:

That didn't bother you at all?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, not much.

Michael Willie:

It's just a lot of people had said they knew exactly where they were. I mean, she would talk and she would say exactly where they were.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah, yeah. She -- she put the propaganda to us.

Michael Willie:

A little frightening. Now, were you in contact with any of the people who were actually on the ground troops, the Marines and -- and the Army guys, the GIs who were on the islands talking about --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, of course our captain and our fleet commander was in contact with them, but we weren't.

Michael Willie:

I just didn't know if you had heard what was -- maybe kept up with what was going on?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, yeah. We got news every day.

Michael Willie:

Now, you guys went -- had to go back to Seattle to get repairs, right?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

Okay. Now, on your way back to Seattle, is the -- is the war over or is it still on?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, no. No, it wasn't over. We just had a little lull. Well, we had to go back for repairs.

Michael Willie:

So you get repairs in Seattle at the Bremerton Navy Yard, yep.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

That's right.

Michael Willie:

And then you flip right back around?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, I got to a -- a 30-day leave.

Michael Willie:

Okay.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

So I got to come home and see my family.

Michael Willie:

Do you feel different at this time? Do you feel older or wiser, I guess?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, I feel a lot smarter. I wasn't as cocky then as -- as I was when I first started out.

Michael Willie:

Not as anxious to go out there and see, right?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

No, no. It was a pain when we started to go back into battle.

Michael Willie:

Oh, man.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

First -- first time I was gung hoe. Let's go. Let's get it over with. But I was a reluctant.

Michael Willie:

Sure. And did you have a baby at that time, then?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yep.

Michael Willie:

How old was your baby?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

She's my mind. I've lost a lot of my mind.

Michael Willie:

It's good to have her.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Two or three. MS.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Eighteen months.

Michael Willie:

All right. And you've never seen her before, right?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Uh-uh.

Michael Willie:

All right. It's the first time to see her. That's pretty nice. A nice little present. Of course, I'm sure, like you said, that makes you more hesitant to get back on --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yep.

Michael Willie:

-- and head back out there? So a 30-day leave. You probably don't get but a couple of weeks at home, then, right?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

No. I had to ride the cattle car from Seattle to North Carolina.

Michael Willie:

Oh, boy. Across the country?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

That's not --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Took a little medical alcohol to get us there. The cooks furnished some grapefruit juice and I furnished the alcohol.

Michael Willie:

Make it a little more pleasant ride?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

Okay. So a 30-day leave and you're back and you guys -- are you heading out pretty soon after that, then?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Almost immediately.

Michael Willie:

Oh, man. Okay. That had to be tough. That had to be tough. All right. So you -- you get back and you head -- head back out toward Japan?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yep. We went to -- we joined the fleet and we went and -- well, the biggest fleet __ you can see ships for miles and we was in the center of it, so we felt pretty safe.

Michael Willie:

That's right. I mean, you feel pretty safe, but you're going into Japan at that time?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

That's right. It wasn't safe.

Michael Willie:

Right. Because they -- they knew a lot of people would lose their lives, right?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yep. We had the Tiny Tim rockets, that's an 1,100-pound arrow rocket. We were going to use those for the first time they'd been used and we didn't get to use our rockets because when we -- off the coast of Japan, we had all of our planes loaded with gasoline, all kinds of bombs, ammunition. And this Jap __ dropped two 500-pound bomb down the center of our flight deck.

Michael Willie:

Oh, man.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

And that set off everything.

Michael Willie:

Oh, man. I mean, did it set off the -- the planes and everything?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, yeah. The planes on flight -- well, we got off our darn patrol, which is 25 fighters, we got off first thing. And they came in about to seven o'clock and they bombed right down our center.

Michael Willie:

Oh, man. And were you on the -- were you actually on battle stations at that time?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, yes. Yes. We had been on battle station for 72 hours.

Michael Willie:

So what happened? I mean, is it one mass explosion or is it --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, the hanger deck was full of planes already loaded, already gassed up.

Michael Willie:

Right.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

And, of course, the flight -- part of the flight deck was -- planes hasn't taken off yet. All we got off was the darn patrol. And the rest of it went up in flames and smoke and explosions.

Michael Willie:

And what do you do? I mean, what do you actually do?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, I had to get first aid to the ones on the flight deck that was injured and get the rest of them 12 feet of elevator down to the sick bay, down to the medical department.

Michael Willie:

Right. And are you working in coordination with the other corpsmen or are you just basically doing what you can around your little area?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

I was the only corpsman on the flight deck.

Michael Willie:

All right. Okay. So you're basically just moving just as quickly as you can to get on. And is the fire getting under control or is there --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

No. We fought that thing. Well, it consumed all of the planes. And, of course, the ammunition on the planes would come through the flight deck and the bombs would go off down there and buckled up the flight deck.

Michael Willie:

Did you think you were going down?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, yeah. I figured we would, but we didn't.

Michael Willie:

I mean, did you really think -- did you -- did you think at that point that you might die? I mean, were you afraid you were going to die?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, I didn't have time to think about it, but it scared the hell out of me.

Michael Willie:

Right, right, right. All right. So -- but all you could do was really just keep working, right --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

-- and get the men down there?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

So the sick bay was secured down there, though? I mean, you were able to send people down?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

I was -- yeah. They still ruptured the steam line down there and it killed a couple of my buddies, but they were still operating and working.

Michael Willie:

How long does it take to actually get things under control? It probably seems like forever to you now, right?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah. We threw out the last body off of the coast -- the bay on New Jersey.

Michael Willie:

Really? Gee, whiz.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

And so that -- that took a long time.

Michael Willie:

It's tough. Now, by that time have the Japanese surrendered or are they still -- is the war still going on?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

I think they surrendered on -- on -- we were on the way back to the States.

Michael Willie:

Which is a little consolation for you, because you just lost a lot of friends, right?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

And a lot of your crew?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah. We lost, I think, 800 and 32 there in about 20 minutes.

Michael Willie:

Oh, my goodness. Over 800 men. Okay. So do you actually go back out to Seattle then or you said New Jersey?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

They couldn't handle us in Seattle. It was too much damage.

Michael Willie:

Okay. So did you get through the -- through the canal or did you go south of the canal?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Through the canal.

Michael Willie:

Okay. Not quite as exciting this time around?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

No, it wasn't.

Michael Willie:

So you get back up to New Jersey and then what -- what do you do when you get back in? Are you up for discharge or -- or --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

We waited -- when we were back in the shipyard being repaired, we were waiting on our discharge because the war had already ended.

Michael Willie:

All right. And are you going to take your discharge or is there any thought that you're going to stay in?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, I thought sometime during the time that I was in the Navy I was going to make a career of it. But then we get a little shaved tail and it tore things up. Just -- you get your nest made and everything is working good and here comes the new fight and it tears it up.

Michael Willie:

Right, right. So you just figured you'd get out?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

I'd get out.

Michael Willie:

You'd just get out, all right. So you take your discharge. How long does it take you to get your discharge?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, I was discharged -- when did I get discharged? MS.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

'45.

Michael Willie:

Late '45. Do you remember if it was before Christmas or --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

I believe it was in October or November of '45. MS.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

You should tell him about being in the water.

Michael Willie:

Okay. Tell me about being in the water.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, yeah. I was in the water for a long time.

Michael Willie:

When was that, when you got hit?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah. No. That was over in Japan. I'm trying to remember. Just a second.

Michael Willie:

That's okay.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

How things happened. Well, I went around behind the island on the flight deck to get a stretcher where I had a wounded man out there. And while I was behind the island, things blew up on the other side of it and kind of -- I couldn't get back, so I had to jump over the side, so that's how I got in the water. And I stayed in the water for four hours or more and that was quite an experience.

Michael Willie:

Did you know what was going on on the ship at all?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, no. We had too many men in the water. I had to take care of some of them. And some of them were badly injured and I had to administrator morphine and stuff like that.

Michael Willie:

When you were actually out there at sea, were you getting mail at all? I mean, was there any --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah. But the -- it was all censored and -- but it was important.

Michael Willie:

Right. Right. I'm sure it meant a great deal to you?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

The only communication. How long would it take to get to you? Were you reading letters that were a month or two and three months old?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, sometimes they were that old, but I don't remember really.

Michael Willie:

That's all right.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

How long it took, but...

Michael Willie:

That's all right. Okay. Now, when you were actually out -- when you're out and it's not really -- you're not at battle stations and it's just regular duty, what do you guys do for recreation on the ship? Is there anything to do to kind of keep your mind off what's going on?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah. We would have skeet shoots once in a while and there is a ball game or something like that.

Michael Willie:

Were you able to go into any ports or would you guys stay out in the water most of the time?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

We didn't get into many ports. We got liberty in Frisco -- Diego one time. And, of course, we got liberty while the ship was being repaired in Norfolk and Bremerton, Seattle.

Michael Willie:

Now -- okay. So afterward when you get -- when you get back, when you take your discharge, all right, what do you do the initial days and weeks after you get out of the service when you go home? Did you go straight back to work or did you take time?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, I didn't take long because I went back -- straight back to work, I believe. Didn't I? God, it's been 60 years ago.

Michael Willie:

And it's really not important. Did you -- did you happened to join the -- the Reserves, though? Was there any thought of at least staying in the Reserves or did they ask you?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

I was in the Reserves. I didn't get my final discharge until 1958.

Michael Willie:

Okay. So you -- you were just released to the Reserves, then?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yep.

Michael Willie:

Okay. All right. So you were released to the Reserves and then you were able to -- to go back to work or do whatever you did?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

Okay. And so you were living where, then?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Statesville, North Carolina.

Michael Willie:

Okay. That's in Statesville. All right. It's still in Statesville. You stayed there, all right.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, that was...

Michael Willie:

Up until at least when you got back, you stayed in Statesville and you were working?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

And then the Korean War breaks out, right?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

And you were called back in?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah.

Michael Willie:

What year was that, '50, '51, '52, something?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

I guess it's around '50.

Michael Willie:

And, obviously, you don't have any choice in the matter. But, I mean, is it -- is it -- is it really bothersome to you? Because you know. You've been in the war, so...

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, no. It -- I was -- I wasn't too upset over it.

Michael Willie:

Okay. All right. And where were you assigned then?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Virg -- MS.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oceana Air Base

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oceana Air Base.

Michael Willie:

Where is Oceana?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Virginia.

Michael Willie:

Okay.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

That was the best duty.

Michael Willie:

What were you doing?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Just -- we were living on the beach really.

Michael Willie:

Nice work, if you can get it?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah. We just ran the dispensary there and carried on regular routine duties.

Michael Willie:

When they call you up. Do they call you up for a year or do they call you up just until they don't need you anymore?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

That's the way it was. You stay here as long as we need you.

Michael Willie:

Right.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

After that, you're released back to Reserves.

Michael Willie:

All right. So did your wife join you there or did she stay --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah. She moved to Virginia Beach with me. We rented a little cabin on the beach. It was -- it didn't have any insulation or nothing, but it was fine for us.

Michael Willie:

Yeah. It doesn't sound like it was too bad.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

No, no.

Michael Willie:

So how long were you here now? How long did you stay there at Oceana Air Base?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, I guess it was about 18 months, wasn't it?

Michael Willie:

All right. And did you enjoy that duty? I mean, like --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, yeah. That's the best duty I had.

Michael Willie:

I mean -- and you stayed on after. Did you -- after they didn't need you anymore, I mean, did you stay in the Reserves or did you -- was there a choice to get back on active duty again?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, I wanted out. So as soon as I could get out, I -- I left, but...

Michael Willie:

Was it still the administration, the brass, that just didn't -- it wasn't the same way?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Uh-huh.

Michael Willie:

That's just what I've heard is that it wasn't the same as it was.

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, you're put on a Marine base and they are a little different from the Navy.

Michael Willie:

A little different, okay. So then are you released again to the Reserves, is that the case?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Uh-huh.

Michael Willie:

All right. So do you go back now to Statesville or do you stay there?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

I went back to Statesville at that time. We moved to Tennessee in 1952.

Michael Willie:

Okay. And why did you move to Tennessee?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

I had a brother out here and -- two brothers out here and they wanted me to come out and run the propane gas business. They just bought out the Cleveland Propane Gas business. They wanted me to come out there and run it for them, so it gave me something to do.

Michael Willie:

There you go. You moved to Tennessee. All right. Did you get in -- ever get in touch with any of the people that you had served with before when you -- during WW II?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Well, we had a reunion that I went to. And, of course, most of the people I knew were dead. I've met one of my shipmates at the reunion. He was...

Michael Willie:

How long ago was that reunion? Was that shortly after the war?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, no. That was...

Michael Willie:

Not too long ago?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

It was just a couple of years. The 50th reunion.

Michael Willie:

Okay. All right. All right. But do you keep in touch with anybody anymore, Christmas cards or anything?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

I send out Christmas cards, but most of them are done gone.

Michael Willie:

You were on a cruise for a reunion?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Yeah, yeah.

Michael Willie:

All right. Now, you were probably a lot older than a lot of people? When you got in at 21, you were older than a lot of people --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

Oh, yes.

Michael Willie:

-- when you got in the service. But what do you think you'd learned most during your time in the service that really changed or affected the way you lived the rest of your life? Was there any lesson or an experience or anything that just changed the way you were?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

There's multiple changes that's different from being on a farm.

Michael Willie:

Do you regret joining? Would you do it again if you had that choice to make again?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

What now?

Michael Willie:

Would you do it again? If you had that choice to join the Navy, would you have done it -- would you do it again like you --

Harold Augustus Lippard:

I'm sure I would.

Michael Willie:

All right. Is there anything else you'd like to talk about that we didn't cover in the interview? Anything you wanted to talk about?

Harold Augustus Lippard:

I don't guess so.

Michael Willie:

All right. Well, I thank you for taking your time to come in here. You did a great job.

 
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  October 26, 2011
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