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"He said, 'Dave, a dead cameraman is good to no one.'" (Audio Interview, Part 3, 23:33)

   David L. Quaid
Image of David L. Quaid
David L. Quaid standing next to his camera [detail from video]
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army
Unit: 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) Merrill's Marauders; Chinese 38th Division; British 36th Division; Mars Task Force; 164th Signal Photo Company
Service Location: China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater; California
Rank: Staff Sergeant
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David Quaid didn't just see action in the China-Burma-India Theater of World War II; he filmed it. Before the war, he had been a freelance news cameraman, so he made sure that once he was drafted he got assigned to the Signal Corps. Not satisfied with carrying a camera rather than a rifle, Quaid sought out the front lines, first working with the legendary general Vinegar Joe Stilwell and then hooking up with Merrill's Marauders. His collection includes a lengthy audio interview as well as his own video history of the Marauders, complete with some of his own footage and interviews with many surviving comrades.

Multimedia Recordings
»Part 1 | Part 2
Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (11 clips)
»Complete Interview  (138 min.)
 Official Documents
»View List (7 items)
 Other Materials
»A photocopy of items taken off a dead Japanese soldier in Burma; includes a post card with an image of the Japanese Flag, two photographs of unidentified Japanese, an insignia with two stars, and six
More like this
»China, Burma, India
»Military Photographers: Framing the Shot
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (11 items)
Using friends who were in the Signal Corps to put in a good word for him as a photographer; training on an Imo, a 35mm film camera that weighed only 15 pounds; getting transferred into the Signal Corps and offered a commission, which he turned down. (07:44) On maneuvers, in charge of three tough guys who beat him up to see if he would fight back. (03:48) How he volunteered for Burma; his pals he had trained with wound up in Karachi; pilots of his plane allowing a woman in the cockpit with controls set on automatic pilot; watching a plane with damaged landing gear touch down safely. (06:44)
Carrying a picture of himself signed by Lt. General Stilwell with the message that Quaid be accorded anything he wanted; tracking a tiger; finding a booby-trap instead. (05:40) Difficulty of working with the Chinese; Quaid refusing to use chopsticks; another more deadly case of not wanting to lose face; during the battle of Myitkina, trying without success to warn a Chinese boy of the danger of gunfire. (09:33) His friendship with "Newsreel" Wong; Japanese suicide attacks against tanks; a disagreement over directing footage; Wong saying the Japanese had a bounty on his head for a famous shot he took of an abandoned Chinese baby in a Shanghai train station. (07:43)
Photographing Stilwell; getting orders to document the construction of the Ledo Road, so he went AWOL to stay with the Marauders; Stilwell and another officer turning their backs on his camera as they discussed secret plans. (05:56) A close shave with a Japanese machine gunner; the chaplain putting himself in danger; though he was not permitted to shoot casualties, he did for a buddy who had saved his life; chaplain lecturing his buddies on Quaid's responsibilities. (04:18) Sending his footage back to be developed with a wounded soldier; plane crashed and film was nearly discarded, but a reporter for Yank rescued one box and took it back with him. (02:23)
Getting hit with a bag of mule feed free-dropped from a C-47 and surviving; meeting a doctor he had seen earlier; in traction for five months; refusing another commission; flying home; arriving the day that FDR died. (11:45) Getting hit with a bag of mule feed free-dropped from a C-47 and surviving; meeting a doctor he had seen earlier; in traction for five months; refusing another commission; flying home; arriving the day that FDR died. (Continued) (02:57) 
  
 Official Documents (7 items)
Letter awarding the Legion of Merit [4/9/1946] Letter from Major John M. Jones [10/7/1944] Message detailing an Allied action in Tingrukawng [5/14/1944]
Letter from Captain J. L. Closson to David Quaid [9/26/1947] Memo Re: the Commendation of Enlisted Men [8/21/1944] Letter from Major General Edward F. Witsell [4/9/1946]
Official military press release concerning Quaid's wounding by a "sack of mule feed" dropped from an airplane [undated]  
  
 

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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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