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Interview with Herbert Clofine [8/27/2005]

Christy Chason:

My name is Christy Chason, and I'm with the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress. The Veterans History Project collects and archives the personal recollections of US wartime veterans for preservation at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. I'm here today with Mr. Herb Clofine. We're at the 59th annual reunion of the Merrill's Marauders at the Hyatt in Crystal City, Virginia. Today is August 27, 2005. We're going to be discussing Mr. Clofine's experiences in the China, Burma and India theatre during World War Two.

Herbert Clofine:

All right. Where do you want me to start?

Christy Chason:

So --

Herbert Clofine:

Where do you want me to start?

Christy Chason:

Just state your name for the record and the branch of service and your first days of service.

Herbert Clofine:

All right. I'm Herb Clofine, and I was a member of the Merrill's Marauders, which was an infantry unit that served in Burma. Originally, I had entered the service. I was a 4F originally, unfit for military service, but it got to a point if September of 1942 when I felt that I could be of some value in the service, and I tried to get in and nobody would accept me. And I finally went to my draft board an I said look, I'm a 4F, and I've been to the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the Coast Guard, and none of them would accept me, so put me down as a voluntary draftee, which they did. And six days later I was on a boat for Trinidad in the British West Indies where I was assigned to the 33rd Infantry, which was a regular Army unit before the war stationed in Panama and had been transferred to Trinidad. I took my basic training there, and then eventually took radio training and became a radio operator. I served on a -- I had charge of an outpost on the coast at that time where we were watching for submarines, and eventually the call came out for volunteers for a dangerous and hazardous mission. And most of us at the unit volunteered, and we were flown back to the States and then eventually ended up in Pittsburgh, California where we boarded the Luraline, which is a transport ship, and sailed across the Pacific taking 38 days, because we traveled unescorted during the war, and landed in Bombay. We trained in India and was formed into the 5307 Composite Unit Provisional. Our basic mission was to take the airstrip, which was the only all-weather airstrip in Northern Burma, and the Japanese occupied that entire area. I was assigned to the INR platoon in the blue combat team.

Christy Chason:

INR --

Herbert Clofine:

Intelligence and reconnaissance. Our unit was divided into three battalions, the entire 5307, which was nicknamed Merrill's Marauders by the press. The three battalions were each divided into two columns, read and white, blue and green, khaki and orange. I was a member of the blue combat team assigned to the INR platoon as the radio man. I served with this unit until we took the airstrip at Mitchenall, and then was evacuated from the airstrip, which was the only way of getting out by plane, because we were a pack outfit. There was no motorized vehicles of any kind. I -- I was put in the -- I believe it was the 110th General Hospital where I underwent some surgery and then returned to the States.

Christy Chason:

You were in the hospital because?

Herbert Clofine:

I went in for some surgery.

Christy Chason:

Okay.

Herbert Clofine:

When I got back to the States, I applied for OCS and was eventually commissioned a second lieutenant. I spent six months at Fort Knox, Kentucky as an instructor in the communications department and then eventually separated from the service. What else can I tell you?

Christy Chason:

Nice summary. Well, can you explain or tell me or describe maybe your feelings arriving when you arrived in Burma or what were your first thoughts; were you scared or were you thinking, you know --

Herbert Clofine:

No, we were kept -- naturally, we trained in India before we went into Burma.

Christy Chason:

Oh.

Herbert Clofine:

So the unit had been put together at that time with various troops. We had one battalion was composed of members that had been -- come up from the Caribbean, and having been in Trinidad, we were part of that. When we got back to the States, we picked up additional troops which formed another battalion. And then when we were crossing the Pacific, we made a couple of stops on a couple of the islands -- I don't remember their names, some of the men will be able to tell you the names of the islands -- and picked up seasoned troops who had fought in Guadalcanal and places of that type. When we got to India, we trained and eventually walked up the -- I believe it was the Lido Road (ph), and entered Burma. And each battalion naturally had their assignments, and being in the INR platoon and the blue combat team, we were always out ahead of the rest of the unit, because it was our job naturally to see what was going on, and as the name says, intelligence and reconnaissance, find out what the situation was and report back, and I would report back naturally to headquarters. The first American soldier killed on the continent of Asia was a member of our platoon, Bob Landis. And we continued on and eventually worked our way down. Our entire unit fought five major battles and 32 minor engagements. The blue -- our battalion, second battalion, was at one point surrounded on the crest of a hill called Nhpum Ga, and for 12 days we could not get off until the breakthrough came. And we were eventually evacuated from that location that continued on.

Christy Chason:

How were you evacuated?

Herbert Clofine:

Well, they broke through so that we could leave the crest of this hill where we were evacuated, because the other battalions fought the Japanese away from us. I was eventually pulled out immediately with a radio, with my radio crew to go back to the closest village to take an air drop the following day. All of our supplies were dropped by air, because we were a pack outfit with horses and mules. I stayed with that -- with that unit where I was assigned, which was called K-Force, and so we got to the air strip at Mitchenall, which was our major objective.

Christy Chason:

Tell me about that.

Herbert Clofine:

Once we had taken the airstrip, then the -- we were in a position that planes could fly in replacements, and the 5307 actually ceased to exist. And with the replacements coming in, I believe at that point it became called the 475th Infantry. If you have some printed material, it probably gives the exact dates of all these things. I don't remember them offhand. We stayed on. As I said before, I was evacuated and went into the hospital for surgery and stayed in part of India there until we got our orders to come back. And we left Dinjan in India and went by train to Karachi, which is now part of Pakistan. At that time, it was still India. And from there, flew back to the States. When I got back to the States, like I said before, I applied for OCS and earned the flying commission.

Christy Chason:

What are some of your most memorable experiences (inaudible.) but in your entire military service whether in the States or overseas?

Herbert Clofine:

Well --

Christy Chason:

Instances that stick in your memory.

Herbert Clofine:

Well, one item, one instance in particular, we were in a certain location and the Japs had occupied an area very close to it, and we was determined that there was some telephone lines that they had strung. So the Sergeant Matsumoto and myself -- he was one of our Japanese interpreters -- and myself were sent out that night, and Roy Matsumoto climbed up and tapped the telephone lines and got information as to troop movement, ammunition supply locations and so forth, gave me the information and I radioed it back to headquarters. That was a highlight. Other than that, it was just general -- general operations all the time of -- when the unit wasn't fighting, we were marching. Not marching, actually. We were a hiking through some very treacherous terrain. And traditions, I mean by the time we got to the airstrip at Mitchenall, those men that were still around, and we lost naturally I don't know how many men, you knew, through gun battles and so forth, but most of the men were pretty well beaten, beaten. When I came out of the jungles of Burma, I weighed 98 pounds.

Christy Chason:

Tell me about the camaraderie between the men in your unit that helped you --

Herbert Clofine:

It was -- we were very -- naturally, we were very close.

Christy Chason:

Right.

Herbert Clofine:

And naturally, whatever we done, everybody supported everybody else. And fortunately, that feeling of camaraderie has existed and that's why we are now in our 59th annual reunion, to which I have been to 56 of the 59 reunions, and we've become very close. A lot of them -- we've had ___ marriages within the organizations, sons and daughters from various Marauders got married and it's always been a family affair. And one of the -- one of the interesting things about our reunions, whenever we have guest speakers, which we usually do, and we've always made it very explicit, non-political, which -- which is good.

Christy Chason:

Yeah.

Herbert Clofine:

I mean nobody cares what party you belong to, what religion you are or anything else. Everybody was a Marauder.

Christy Chason:

Okay.

Herbert Clofine:

I don't know what else I can tell you, really. There are -- I mean some of the men may have better detail as to, you know, individual incidents, because we operated, like I said before, out of the three battalions, and each battalion having two columns, there were six units actually operating, and each one of these units could operate by themselves, because there were formed in such a way that they were self-sufficient. So we actually never were active -- we were never in combat combined as six units. Each one -- and then when the time came and it was necessary, one column would support another, like I said before. When the second battalion was surrounded on Mitchenall -- on the crest of the hill at Nhpum Ga, it took the other two battalions to get us released, because we had no control. We couldn't get off that crest of the hill. The Japanese controlled the only water hole there, and to the point where even water, they used to have to drop -- everything we received as far as supplies had to be dropped by parachute. And up until the time we got to Mitchenall, there was no -- the only evacuation for seriously wounded was by L4 Piper Cubs.

Christy Chason:

Right. ____+

Herbert Clofine:

That's right. That's the only way they could get out. There were times I can remember where we would carry men that were seriously injured on litters for miles, because we had a find a rice patty that could number one, be secured, and which was level enough -- are you all right?

Christy Chason:

Yes.

Herbert Clofine:

-- level enough for a Piper Cub to land on. My recollection is that there were at least a couple of Piper Cubs that crashed in the -- in the attempt to evacuate. That's the only way men could be evacuated.

Christy Chason:

I never knew that. That's incredible, because I know what Piper Cubs are, and they're --

Herbert Clofine:

There was no other -- there was no other way, because there were no roads. Northern Burma was primitive. I mean the people that lived there were very nice and everything, as far as, you know, but they were primitive. They lived in bashes (ph) that were thatched huts. And I know whenever the occasion did present itself that we were in a village, the natives were very kind to us. I can remember when we were evacuated off of Nhpum Ga and they sent me back to Samshingyang (ph) to take the air drop with my radios. I stayed in the village that night, and the head man from the village came over to the ___ that I was assigned, given, and I was able to get on my radio BBC, British Broadcasting, and it was something that these people never saw or heard. They were completely flabbergasted. So we saw another way of life that we would have never witnessed before, because everything was trails. I mean the terrain was -- there were places there where we'd walk through mountainous areas that had sheer drops of hundreds of feet. And horses an mules can go so far. As far as I'm concerned, a man will out walk a horse or mule anytime. I mean they weaken. And they to carry any heavy equipment that we had, like our heavy machine guns, and in my case, my larger radio, the SCR284 had to be packed. I carried personally a radio on my back the whole time, which was an SCR300. And the terrain, the terrain was as much an enemy as the Japanese. And it was very interesting that in later years we found out this was not an incident that took place there, but in 1952, General Merrill, who incidentally had two heart attacks while we were in Burma and had to be evacuated, but came back in, and in 1952 he met with General Tanaka, who was the Japanese commanding officer of the 18th Division, which is the Imperial Division of the Japanese Army, who had taken Singapore, so it was their crack unit. And when General Merrill told General Tanaka how many men he had in the field, he was absolutely dumbstruck, because he had a full division of men. And a full division at that time was probably around 18,000 men, I imagine. And we actually in the field the 2,400 men. The balance of the men were in the rear echelon. Because in the rear echelon is where they to pack everything that was dropped to us and maintain anything that was ___ maintained from the statistical standpoint. But when General Merrill told General Tanaka that, he was absolutely amazed. And General Tanaka at that time told him that whenever they passed an area where an American soldier had been buried, his officers put flowers on the grave. So they had a lot of respect for us. And interesting after, unfortunately we lost General Merrill in 1955.

Christy Chason:

And it was 1952 when he met General Tanaka?

Herbert Clofine:

Take was in '52 when he met Tanaka, yeah. General Merrill was very, very, very well liked by all the men.

Christy Chason:

I was going to ask you about him ____.

Herbert Clofine:

And the reason, the reason, we were a provisional -- we were called a provisional unit is because according to the TO, Table of Organization in the Infantry, a regimen was commanded by a full colonel. But they gave the command of our unit to a general, so they had -- in order to follow procedures in the service and everything, they called it a provisional unit, aside from which it was organized to accomplish one mission. And from what we were told afterward, Washington -- Washington expected us to have 80 percent casualties. Well, we didn't have 80 percent. I mean we lost a lot. We lost several men, but unfortunately not only through gunfire, but disease.

Christy Chason:

Right.

Herbert Clofine:

Malaria, typhus, dysentery, which was rampant there, and we survived practically the whole time on rations. So that was it. I mean you carried what you could eat. If you were lucky enough to be near a river, you could hand grenade the river and kill some fish and have a fish dinner maybe, but that was the extent of it.

Christy Chason:

I can't believe you got down to 98.

Herbert Clofine:

Well, I was never that big to begin with. I weighed about 128 to begin with. Never know it today.

Christy Chason:

Wow. Yeah. I was going to ask, to what do you attribute getting through it? We may have already touched on this, too, with the camaraderie.

Herbert Clofine:

A lot of camaraderie and determination. I mean look, we had a mission to accomplish, and we had -- a lot of our -- a lot of our boys were young. I know one fellow, he was 16 years old, why did he get into the service, that was with us. On the other hand, we some fellows that were older.

Christy Chason:

How old were you at this time?

Herbert Clofine:

I was -- I was about, let's see. We were in -- I was about 24 at that time.

Christy Chason:

Okay.

Herbert Clofine:

Because I was born in 1919, and I'll be ___ next month, and so you know.

Christy Chason:

Would you say that you attribute that to getting through it, through the terrain?

Herbert Clofine:

We were there. There was no alternative. There was no alternative. You didn't say I'm going home, you know, or something like that. I'm going to go down and catch a bus back to Calcutta or something like that. There was no such thing. Were you there, period.

Christy Chason:

Until the operation was --

Herbert Clofine:

Yeah.

Christy Chason:

Is there anything you did to pass the time; any lighter moments, any kind of --

Herbert Clofine:

Not really.

Christy Chason:

Just something you just -- some kind of entertainment ___+

Herbert Clofine:

No, no. Any chance you got, you just sat down or rested.

Christy Chason:

Just rested?

Herbert Clofine:

Did the best you could. That's right. But there was nothing else, I mean nothing else, period. I mean whenever we stopped, naturally we to have security out all the time, because you never knew when you were going to run into the enemy. So it was --

Christy Chason:

Did you write letters home?

Herbert Clofine:

No. What happened was, they used to write from the rear echelon. They use to send V-mail out for small -- you probably run into this before.

Christy Chason:

Right.

Herbert Clofine:

To our families, but we -- we received no mail, not that I know of. There might have been mail drops. I'm not sure.

Christy Chason:

Well, in that area --

Herbert Clofine:

But there was no -- there was no way for us to send out mail or anything like that. They use to send mail home to the families advising, you know, your son is ___ or something like that, unfortunately the other way. But other than that, no, there was no entertainment. We had no dancing girls.

Christy Chason:

No, I know. I mean amongst the troops maybe --

Herbert Clofine:

No, no. Well, if we had to, we --

Christy Chason:

___+

Herbert Clofine:

Someplace that we felt was secure enough, some of the guys would sit around and talk and shoot the bull, you know, like you would. But other than that, not much for entertainment.

Christy Chason:

Not much in that area, huh?

Herbert Clofine:

No.

Christy Chason:

Wow. Was there anything you did for good luck or anything, any ritual or something you did ____?

Herbert Clofine:

I didn't. There were probably fellows that did have certain things, like you say, for good luck. They had good luck charms maybe or something, but I personally didn't have anything like that.

Christy Chason:

Tell me about leaving or when you got word that you were returning to the States. What were your thoughts then?

Herbert Clofine:

We knew -- we knew pretty much when we were going to go.

Christy Chason:

You did?

Herbert Clofine:

I mean once -- once -- once we were evacuated from Burma and sent back to India, where a lot of them end up in hospitals. Like I said, I went into the hospital. I was evacuated from the airstrip on June the 6th of '44, and on June the 7th, I had some surgery done.

Christy Chason:

This was a service related injury or --

Herbert Clofine:

It was actually why I was a 4F to begin with. I had a weak wall in the -- in my abdomen. I had had a ruptured appendix as a teenager, and it left me with a weak wall in the abdomen. That's why they -- but that was being repaired. And it was my -- when you came to being evacuated from Burma from the airstrip, the medical officers were there, why are you leaving? You had to have a reason. So most of the cases it was FUO, fever of undetermined origin. In my case, I said I have an incisional hernia, so they evacuated me, and I -- and once we got out of the hospital and we were in a staging area in India, we knew that we would be going back. So it was just a question of when, when you were -- what your schedule was.

Christy Chason:

Until what -- how were you feeling when you return home? Were you happy to be home?

Herbert Clofine:

You were tickled to death when you finally landed. I know we flew out of Karachi and made several stops in between. If I remember right, we stopped in Cairo, we stopped in Tripoli, and we stopped in Casablanca. And in Casablanca, we had to be -- we were put in a staging area to wait for assignment to fly back to the States. And it was usually a case of a day, or overnight or whatever it was. And when we got to the staging area, a friend of mine and myself, we found out that about half a mile down the road was a roadhouse that served meals and everything else, so we crept underneath the fence and went down there. (Blank portion) missing their plane, because they used to post on the bulletin board your name and when you were scheduled to fly out, and --

Christy Chason:

Oh, no.

Herbert Clofine:

This friend of mine and I, we got down to this roadhouse that night, and we had a great meal and a couple bottles of wine. And by the time we got back to the post, we looked at the bulletin board and saw that we had missed our schedule to fly back. And they were having a lot of problems with troops that were taking off at that point and staying out, away, and they said if you miss your plane, you'd be broken in rank and lose two-thirds of a month's pay. Well, we didn't want this to happen. So this friend of mine and myself, we caught a bus down to the airstrip. And when I got there, I went up to the lieutenant in charge and I said we're scheduled to fly out at such and such. I said where's the plane? He said up there. I said uh, oh. I said what are we supposed to do? You got to get back ____+. I said look, we've been overseas for over two years. We fought in Burma and everything. What can you do for us? He happened to be a real nice guy, and my friend, he was a -- he was a tech sergeant. I was a buck sergeant at the time. He said I got a mail plane coming through 6:00 tomorrow morning. He says go lay down on the bench over there, and when the plane comes in, I'll let you know and I'll send you back on that. Sure enough, the mail plane came in, and Bill and I were put on that plane with nothing but mail bags, and he and I, we flew back to the States in that, so that made it interesting. We got back, and we were given leave at the time when we got back and told when to report back and everything, and then we were assigned to a post, ____ in Louisiana, which they had just reopened, and they were -- they were converting troops from branches of the service other than infantry into infantry for the final push in Europe. And the first thing we were in there, we were lined up and we saw what was going on there, and I approached the captain. I said what's happening here? And he said well, we're training troops to go to Europe. I said Sergeant Angelo and myself just came back from overseas. We fought in Burma. I said no way. He said well, that's what it is. I said well, I'll tell you what. We'll both go before an OCS board. That's Officer's Candidate School. We both qualified. He said well, there's no -- no board here. We just reopened the post. I said well, then, get me an appointment with the IG, the Inspector General. Well, at the time they couldn't refuse you that privilege. So I went to the IG and told him our story. He says okay, and set up a board, and Bill and I were both assigned to go before the OCS board, which, of course, was a snap. And we both applied to go to Fort Benning, which was the Infantry OCS School. That's all we knew was infantry. And they sent him to Fort Benning. They sent me to Fort Knox, Kentucky, armored force. Well, all these motorized vehicles, I didn't even know how to drive an automobile, but I stayed on and graduated number one in the class and got my commission. And like I said before, I stayed on for six months after I was commissioned and taught field operations in the communications department.

Christy Chason:

What year was that?

Herbert Clofine:

That was already -- that had to be '45, I believe. I think it was '45, yeah.

Christy Chason:

___+ What did you do after that? Did you go back --

Herbert Clofine:

I was always in the retail business.

Christy Chason:

Oh, okay.

Herbert Clofine:

I was -- I was a department store buyer before I went into the service, and I went back into the retail business. That's where it was.

Christy Chason:

And where was the --

Herbert Clofine:

Philadelphia.

Christy Chason:

Philadelphia. So you went back home?

Herbert Clofine:

Yeah.

Christy Chason:

And so that was your career?

Herbert Clofine:

That was it.

Christy Chason:

Family happy to see you?

Herbert Clofine:

Well, naturally.

Christy Chason:

____+

Herbert Clofine:

Yes, they were.

Christy Chason:

How did your military experience effect your life, your professional career or your daily life, or how did these experiences and memories effect who you are and ___+

Herbert Clofine:

I don't think it had really any specific effect on my career afterward, no.

Christy Chason:

What about your personal life?

Herbert Clofine:

No, no. I'm not -- no, except a good part of my personal life has been my activity with the Merrill's Marauder's Association. I have been active since the first reunion with the organization.

Christy Chason:

When was the first one? You said -- of this is the 59th.

Herbert Clofine:

This is our 59th.

Christy Chason:

You've been to 56.

Herbert Clofine:

And I've been to 56 of them.

Christy Chason:

That's right.

Herbert Clofine:

And I've been the treasurer of the outfit now for the past 20 some years, whatever it is.

Christy Chason:

Wow, that's great.

Herbert Clofine:

I run the -- I set up the room. I don't know whether you saw our room downstairs or not.

Christy Chason:

No.

Herbert Clofine:

We have a room down there where you have shirts and caps.

Christy Chason:

When I arrived, I saw people all over.

Herbert Clofine:

All kinds of stuff. I have all this stuff made and order it and so forth. That's part of my background, so naturally I knew what to -- I knew how to handle it and so forth, and I still do, and I keep up with it, and it's been a very -- I mean most of the fellows in the -- that are here today, they come every year to a reunion, period. I mean there's several of us who are active with this thing all year round. I mean not on a constant basis, but we have things to do that keep us in contact and keep us interested. And like I say, it was a small unit. We were not part of a big -- a big division or anything like that. We were a small unit, so there's a bind. I mean there are fellows that never knew over there, because you knew the people in your immediate unit, see, because they're the ones you had contact with. See, but when we come to these reunions, everybody -- everybody was a Marauder, period, that's it. And it's a camaraderie that has existed and it's very important. The certain ones, certain ones of us keep in touch with each other even during the course of the year. So it's a factor, a big factor. I mean your family gets to know that come this time of year, you're going to be in a reunion, period. And like I say, it's always been a family affair. There are people here now with their sons or daughters, grandchildren.

Christy Chason:

____+?

Herbert Clofine:

Yes. I mean and we do have -- we have a group of people here whose fathers are no longer living --

Christy Chason:

And they still come.

Herbert Clofine:

-- that continue to come to our organization, and we call them our -- I have shirts made up. I don't know whether you'll see any up here. Probably not. It has this emblem here that I have made up a big shield, and I have it made Proud Descendent. See, so the children, they wear them.

Christy Chason:

____+.

Herbert Clofine:

It's become a -- we exist where a lot of other organizations -- divisions that had thousands of men don't get the kind of turnout and camaraderie that we have. It's important to us.

Christy Chason:

Yeah.

Herbert Clofine:

You know, we -- you know, we've been recognized by some of the people. We had a couple of ex-generals here last night, and we've had some important people, but like I say, non political.

Christy Chason:

That's different. Well, did your experience help influence your thinking about war, in general?

Herbert Clofine:

I guess it did, yes. Of course, when I see what's happening today, it's so foreign. I look and I see the equipment these people have today. I mean they walk around with a radio that's this big. I carried a radio on my back that was that big.

Christy Chason:

Big, heavy thing.

Herbert Clofine:

And it would only go so far. And if I had to go any great distance, I had another radio that I used to have to mount on a stand, and then have somebody with a generator to generate it, and put up an antenna 25 feet, which you couldn't do in most cases, because it would be a dead giveaway to the enemy, see? But today, they have --

Christy Chason:

Technology.

Herbert Clofine:

They have these glasses that they wear that you can see at night. I mean and armor and vests. We had what we had on our backs. I think I went for months without a pair of socks even. And then, of course, the rains over there, we stayed wet for days at a time. You could only have what you could carry on your back. You can't carry a hell of a lot on your back, because you're carrying ammunition, and you're carrying your firearms, and in my case a radio, and it's all together different, and I see what they have today. Unfortunately, the war today, I mean I don't consider -- that's -- that, to me, is not even a war. It's an insurrection. It's -- I don't know what it is. I mean I see pictures in the paper that the press has, and it shows the people that are actually the enemy. Well, if the press can take pictures of these people, why can't you shoot them? That's my theory. Kill them. That's what you're there for. You're not there for -- to have a conversation. I don't know. I don't want to get into that, because I'm opposed to the whole thing. But equipment wise and everything --

Christy Chason:

Yeah, compared to ___+

Herbert Clofine:

-- compared to what we had.

Christy Chason:

___+

Herbert Clofine:

No. I'll tell you, fortunately we had great medical personnel with us. That was very important, because they had to do everything in the field under adverse conditions. I mean they've done -- they did amputations when they had to, and --

Christy Chason:

Did you witness any medics around --

Herbert Clofine:

Personally, no. I mean I knew who the medics were and everything, but I personally didn't have any contact with them, no. I got a cramp in my leg.

Christy Chason:

Yeah, I did, too.

Herbert Clofine:

Okay.

Christy Chason:

But their job --

Herbert Clofine:

Yeah, they were great.

Christy Chason:

On the line.

Herbert Clofine:

They were great, and they've stayed active with the outfit, those that are still living. I think there's one left, and he just had a stroke. He was supposed to be here, and he's out there in John Hopkins -- James Hopkins. He was the one -- I don't know whether you saw in the book that we have, "Spearhead."

Christy Chason:

Yeah.

Herbert Clofine:

It's about that thick. He's the one that wrote that book.

Christy Chason:

Oh, wow.

Herbert Clofine:

Dr. Jay. He was great. He was supposed to show up, and I don't know whether the stroke has left -- I mean maybe he had a reversal. I don't know. But our medical personnel --

Christy Chason:

___+

Herbert Clofine:

Yeah. We're in contact. Our medical personnel were great. And, of course, at these reunions, everybody's on a name basis. Nobody knows who was a captain, who was a major, who was a private. It doesn't make any difference. Everybody's the same.

Christy Chason:

Equal.

Herbert Clofine:

That's right.

Christy Chason:

It sounds like a very close family.

Herbert Clofine:

Oh, terrific, terrific, really. Terrific.

Christy Chason:

Is there anything else you'd like to add that we didn't cover about --

Herbert Clofine:

I don't think there's anything, nothing, you know.

Christy Chason:

Anything at all?

Herbert Clofine:

Pertinent information, nothing that I can think of really offhand.

Christy Chason:

Anything our future generations should know about that wartime era or your ___?

Herbert Clofine:

Just unfortunately, I observed that in recent -- the past year maybe, I think there's been more recognition of the second World War than there was in the past six years. I mean here lately, I see a lot written up about it, You know, the units and so forth. We've been -- we've been documented in a lot of places. History Channel did two documentaries on us. There's been several books written, a couple of books written by members of the organization itself. We have a -- our historian emeritus who's being interviewed today also, David Quaid, several years ago made -- put together a videotape. It's two tapes that run about three hours and some minutes, and it includes footage taken over there. Unfortunately, we lost a lot of the footage, but Dave is a professional photographer. He's -- as a matter of fact, back during the war, "Be All You Can Be," these commercials in the Army, he's the one that did all that.

Christy Chason:

Really?

Herbert Clofine:

Yeah.

Christy Chason:

They're well known.

Herbert Clofine:

Yeah. But other than that, I find that there seems to be a little -- a little resurgence of interest in World War Two that didn't exist. They don't teach it in the schools. I walked into an elevator one day, and I wear these shirts often. I have many of them. I wear to the gym all the time. I got on an elevator one time and somebody looked at it and said Merrill's Marauders, what was that, a rock group? Well, of course -- of course, you could see the blood, you know, but that's what it is. People have no appreciation, which I can understand. I don't think we appreciate what some of these guys in Iraq are going through today. Not knowing what's here, they're here and they don't know what they're going to run into, because what they're doing there with these bombings and stuff, that to me is -- that's not war. First of all, that whole Middle East thing, I mean that's ridiculous. Of course, it's become very political unfortunately. You'll see what's going on down in the basement there with the ___ Commission and they're closing all these bases and everything at a time like this. Come on. A bunch of jokers. I bet there is not a military man in that whole commission. And this place, all week long this place has been crawling with state police, county police, and the sheriff's department, and plain clothes, and K-9 unit with the dogs out there. There's Senators here and Representatives here. Governor Bush from Florida was here. Arlen Spector was here. This hotel has been -- this has been the spot. But no. That's my -- I cringe a little bit when I read some of the stuff that goes on. That nonsense with the prisoner thing, and what they were doing to those prisoners, and leading them with leashes, and naked and having them piled up naked. I mean come on. You got a civilian Army. That's the big difference. These people were weekend soldiers. I feel sorry for a lot of them, especially the married men with families at home. I mean I look at the paper, and I'll read an account of somebody. He's got a wife and four children, but he knew that when he went in. Sure, he was going to get paid for the time he put in the reserves, but you don't do that unless you're prepared to accept the consequences. That's the way I look at it. Well, what else can I tell you, dear?

Christy Chason:

What else can you tell me?

Herbert Clofine:

You know, like I say, I only know certain -- being isolated like we were, especially in my platoon, which was all ___, we were sometimes a day or two ahead of the rest of the unit, rest of the outfit.

Christy Chason:

You were?

Herbert Clofine:

Because we were the INR, sure. So we had to -- sure.

Christy Chason:

Wow.

Herbert Clofine:

That's why I said the first man killed, Bob Landis, was in my platoon. And you'll have the -- well, the first man that -- first man to kill a Jap in our unit was Werner Katz, who fought on the islands before he came with us.

Christy Chason:

Really?

Herbert Clofine:

And was a refugee out of Germany as a young man.

Christy Chason:

That must have been an experience.

Herbert Clofine:

Very interesting. Very interesting individual.

Christy Chason:

Someone will interview him.

Herbert Clofine:

Yes. Very interesting, very knowledgeable young person. We got a great group. That's about all I can tell you, honey. If I was sitting there thinking, well, I can remember, oh, yeah one day we did or one day we did that, but --

Christy Chason:

You probably have a lot.

Herbert Clofine:

But I tried to give you a little bit of background anyway.

Christy Chason:

Yeah. Yeah, you did that. Thank you, Mr. Clofine.

Herbert Clofine:

My pleasure.

Christy Chason:

Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts with us, sharing your experience with us.

Herbert Clofine:

Well, I see that -- I hope it's an experience I'm not only sharing with you, but for generations to come.

Christy Chason:

That is true. Thank you.

Herbert Clofine:

Because there will always be wars, honey, as far as back as you can read.

 
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  October 26, 2011
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