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Interview with William Argyl Anderson [n.d.]

Paul LaRue:

How did you join the army!

William Argyl Anderson:

The real truth ...

Paul LaRue:

Sure...

William Argyl Anderson:

Doesn't matter.

Paul LaRue:

Doesn't matter ... Nope. We want the real truth.

William Argyl Anderson:

Well it's back in the depression late 30's ... My dad got sick. He was ... I think he had prostate cancer. And we were very poor, but he had a couple pool tables and he had a little pool room and the town of Barnesville went dry, they voted it dry. So the town of Woodsfield, Ohio which is 18 miles away ...

Paul LaRue:

That's county seat in Monroe County, right?

William Argyl Anderson:

Right, Woodsfield in Monroe County, 18 miles away. It's still wet ... So what I would do is I'd go to Woodsfield and buy pints of legal whisky and bring them back to Barnesville, and maybe I paid two and a half for a pint and I sold them for five dollars, see. But, I'd have them for a few months and this man came, kept coming in and buying a pint of whisky, you know. He was dressed, dressed like a farmer, big overalls, nothing suspicious. So, last time he come in, he says, "I'm a federal agent and you're under arrest."

Paul LaRue:

And you were selling these at the pool hall?

William Argyl Anderson:

At the pool hall, downtown Barnesville.

Paul LaRue:

And that's where your, that's your home, that's where you're native?

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah.

Paul LaRue:

Okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

Well, I got me a lawyer. Cost me fifty dollar to get a lawyer. The county seat is St. Clairesville, Ohio. I showed up for the hearing, he came out and told me, said, "No char ... All charges been dropped if you enlist in the Army."

Paul LaRue:

Now, what year would this have been?

William Argyl Anderson:

1942.

Paul LaRue:

(laughter)

William Argyl Anderson:

So, on October of '42 I enlisted in the Army. I had my physical at Clarksburg, West Virginia, and there they sent me to Fort Hayes, Columbus where I was uh ... inducted into the Army. From there I was sent to uh ... Ob, they ... they said, uh ... "If you'd like to you can volunteer for the paratroops or the submarine duty and you'll make a hundred dollars a month instead of fifty dollars, that's double.

Paul LaRue:

Did you volunteer?

William Argyl Anderson:

So, that sounded good, yeah.

Paul LaRue:

(laughter)

William Argyl Anderson:

I volunteered for uh ... paratroop. They sent me to Camp Blanding, Florida.

Paul LaRue:

Now did, I mean, when you were in a group were there bunches of people that volunteered or were there not? I mean ...

William Argyl Anderson:

No. Un-uh.

Paul LaRue:

I mean, that's what I'm wondering, I mean. I don't know how that works. Were there?

William Argyl Anderson:

Young man-men.

Paul LaRue:

But, I mean, there were just a handful of guys who volunteered for that?

William Argyl Anderson:

Yes.

Paul LaRue:

Okay ... all right ...

William Argyl Anderson:

Well, anyway, I didn't pass the physical for paratroop service.

Paul LaRue:

So they sent you there?

William Argyl Anderson:

So they sent me, yeah, they sent me there.

Paul LaRue:

Okay, okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

So then they sent me to Camp Butner, North Carolina ... regular infantry.

Paul LaRue:

You didn't get your hundred bucks?

William Argyl Anderson:

For basic 3-month basic training.

Paul LaRue:

Okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

At 50 dollars a month.

Paul LaRue:

Okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

You want me to continue?

Paul LaRue:

Uh ... absolutely.

William Argyl Anderson:

Alright. I spent 3 months there uh ... mostly, you know, what basic training is. It's uh ... exercise and uh ... a rifle range for practice with bayonets and a uh ... exercise in long hikes. And after 3 months there they shipped by train to Fort Ord, California for more training, and I was assigned to company K 3200 Infantry 7th Division. After training for three more months, the captain handed me a compass that looked like a pocket watch and said, "Y ou are now the company runner. When the communication lines are down between the command post and the patrols, you will have to carry the necessary messages between the two."

Paul LaRue:

You did not volunteer for this?

William Argyl Anderson:

No.

Paul LaRue:

Okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

No way ... INTERVIEWER and

William Argyl Anderson:

(laughter)

William Argyl Anderson:

No, you were now on ... by yourself Uh ... We practiced combat crawling under live ammunition fire. We practiced climbing down a rope ladder on the side of the ship in the Pacific Ocean. During three months we got weekend pass in Monterey and Salinas, but money was scarce and most of it went for eating and drinks. Then, early in April we ... I didn't mention beer, but drinks ...

Paul LaRue:

(laughter) We understand. Now, let me ask you a question.

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah.

Paul LaRue:

Did you know at that point you were heading to the Pacific ... I mean ..

William Argyl Anderson:

No.

Paul LaRue:

Okay, so you were ...

William Argyl Anderson:

Well, yeah, we knew we was heading to the Pacific.

Paul LaRue:

But you didn't have any idea where?

William Argyl Anderson:

No.

Paul LaRue:

Or .

William Argyl Anderson:

We never .

Paul LaRue:

Okay. Alright. Okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

(Bad spot on tape) In early April we boarded the ship in San Francisco and set sail past Alcatraz Prison and into the Pacific, not knowing where we was headed for. There was rumors we were heading for Hawaii as a jumping off place for the battles in the South Pacific, but after wandering around in the ocean for days on days we ended up at Kodiak Island, Alaska. Then it was on to Dutch Harbor. We went ashore and it was like a Wild West town of the 1800's.

Paul LaRue:

Well now, where is Dutch ... I don't know where that is.

William Argyl Anderson:

It's right at the end of the, what is considered uh ... Alaskan Territory. Dutch Harbor is. First ...

Paul LaRue:

Oh, okay.

Paul LaRue:

Okay. Is that the Aleutian Islands?

William Argyl Anderson:

It's close.

Paul LaRue:

Okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

Not yet.

Paul LaRue:

Okay ... alright ...

William Argyl Anderson:

Dh ... The late 1800's, with mud dirt roads and wood board sidewalks. We were there long enough to see a U. S. Air show put on a production. Back on the ship we headed into the Bering Sea. It was rough ... high waves, threat of Japanese submarines. On the sound of alert we all were made to go below deck, and we could hear our ship . . . ship dropping depth charges . .. Sea sickness got worse, but there was little we could do but hang on. (Bad spot on tape) ... stopped and with our rifle in gear we climbed down the rope ladder while the ship was rolling, and on to a landing craft. We hit the beach. It was early May 1943. After the unbelievable sea sickness on the Bering Sea most of the soldiers endured, we landed on an, excuse me, (Bad spot on tape) landed on an unforgiving, desolate, had two islands with only permafrost, fog, bad weather, and Japanese soldiers to contend with. We went up the hill away from the beach.

Paul LaRue:

Now, can I ... can I stop you for a second?

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah, sure.

Paul LaRue:

I just have a question ... I'm just ... okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

Go ahead.

Paul LaRue:

Was this at the time ... I mean ... were you the first group of American soldiers?

William Argyl Anderson:

No, we were in the first.

Paul LaRue:

Okay, that's what I mean.

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah, we were in the first. And it uh ... had to uh ... (Bad spot on tape)

Paul LaRue:

It ... was ... there an island that had been hit before ... is this a sequence?

William Argyl Anderson:

No, this was the first one hit. The next one hit was Kiska, K-I-S-K-A, which is located next to, uh ... to Attu.

Paul LaRue:

Okay, because I knew they did island hopping, or whatever, where they were. So this is the first ... ?

William Argyl Anderson:

It's the first.

Paul LaRue:

Okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

There were sent about 10,000 American soldiers sent there to fight about three thousand, four thousand Japanese.

Paul LaRue:

They were heavily dug in?

William Argyl Anderson:

Heavily dug in caves.

Paul LaRue:

Now at this point did you know where you were? I mean when you were ... or did you just ... you know what I'm saying? You said you'd been out in the ocean for a while, I mean, did you guys know what ...

William Argyl Anderson:

Well, I'm sure they told us that we were ...

Paul LaRue:

Okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

... At Attu.

Paul LaRue:

Okay, but that didn't really mean anything?

William Argyl Anderson:

No.

Paul LaRue:

It didn't ...

William Argyl Anderson:

No.

Paul LaRue:

Okay. Alright.

William Argyl Anderson:

No. We ... we didn't even know what we was getting into, or where we were.

Paul LaRue:

Okay, right, that's what I thought.

William Argyl Anderson:

No, no, we just did what they said do, and did it ...

Paul LaRue:

Sure, okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

So we climbed down the rope ladder. The ship was rolling, some ofthe men didn't make it, ended up in the water, ice cold water. (Bad spot on tape) We went up the hill away from the beach and I later learned we had landed at Holtz Bay, H-O-L- T -Z, and was pinned down by artillery fire. I was in a shallow fox hole and survived the first day. The shooting stopped. We moved on, within the next day or two we were caught out in the open. Airplanes appeared overhead and was strafing and dropping bombs.

Paul LaRue:

So you spent the first day you were dug in?

William Argyl Anderson:

Dug in.

Paul LaRue:

Down at the beach, dug in. And is that why everybody ... I mean ... where ...

William Argyl Anderson:

Well, we was at the top of hill and they was ... the Japs was firing artillery shells at us. We ... we was dug in ... we were ... we weren't even fighting, we were just trying to protect ourselves.

Paul LaRue:

You were pinned ... you were pinned down?

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah, pinned down.

Paul LaRue:

Okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

That's what matters ... (Bad spot on tape) the Japanese appeared overhead and was strafing and dropping bombs. Now this is either the second or third day. We were out in the open, crossing like a valley, in between the beach and the mountains. The mountains are in the background.

Paul LaRue:

And the Japanese are dug in?

William Argyl Anderson:

In the mountains.

Paul LaRue:

In the mountains?

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah.

Paul LaRue:

Okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

Me and another soldier was in a bombed out crater, and I asked him to look up at the planes and see if he could see the Rising Sun 00 the wings. We looked up together, and I saw it was an American plane ... bombing us by mistake. Quite a few casualties resulted from that mistake. A brave soldier took a banner and placed it on the ground to show we were Americans. For several more days we moved higher into the mountains. It was snowing. We wasn't dressed for walking in ice water, only had leather shoes and our feet soon became frost bitten.

Paul LaRue:

Let me, can I stop you for a second ... because this is interesting to me. I ... when I think about the islands I was thinking you're in the South Pacific somewhere. I mean, I never ... that's a really interesting ... You know what I'm saying? I think most of the time when you think about the Japanese islands it's always warm ... I never thought about how ... you know what I'm saying? It's not ... that's interesting.

William Argyl Anderson:

Well, had two islands, it chain island that belonged to the United States. It's territory to United States.

Paul LaRue:

Right.

William Argyl Anderson:

It was taken from us by the Japanese, occupied.

Paul LaRue:

Right.

William Argyl Anderson:

We ... what the objection was to take it back from them.

Paul LaRue:

But ... yeah, and that's far north there, that's what's kind of interesting about it.

William Argyl Anderson:

And it's north ...

Paul LaRue:

Yeah.

William Argyl Anderson:

North of ... it's uh ...

Paul LaRue:

It's north. That's what I'm saying usually you think about it being south.

William Argyl Anderson:

It's in the Bering Sea. It's up near Siberia. You could look from that two islands and see Russia.

Paul LaRue:

Okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

Siberia.

Paul LaRue:

That's interesting.

William Argyl Anderson:

(Bad spot on tape) Uh ... Was a ... It was ... it was a, uh ... it was a terr ... terrific battle, but we never got any credit like Iwo Jima.

Paul LaRue:

Yeah, I mean, that's what I mean that's not what you ...

William Argyl Anderson:

No.

Paul LaRue:

That's what's really interesting about ...

William Argyl Anderson:

We never got it.

Paul LaRue:

... your story.

William Argyl Anderson:

Un-uh, no.

Paul LaRue:

And that's why it's important that we preserve these stories for just exactly what you're saying. Because you think about Iwo Jima, which, you know, but you don't hear about these stories.

William Argyl Anderson:

We didn't have no flag or pole on Mount Suribachi or, but, uh ... we lost a lot of about 3,000 men we lost ... on, uh ... in the battle.

Paul LaRue:

Right, that's what I mean, that's so ... that's why this is an important story.

William Argyl Anderson:

But we ran the bad Japs from one end of the island to the other. I think they captured three and the rest of them jumped in the Pacific Ocean.

Paul LaRue:

No kidding. Now how long did this ... how long did this battle ... I mean how long did this go on?

William Argyl Anderson:

Aww, I ... I would guess ... two weeks, maybe, a little longer. Three weeks at the most. That's about when I got ... that's about when I got shot, in about two weeks.

Paul LaRue:

Okay, so at ... towards the end of the battle.

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah. (Bad spot on tape) I was on the move all the time and had little sleep or food to eat; only "K" rations. My mind has gone blank on a good deal that happened during those extremely harsh days. Then, into perhaps the second week, several of us soldiers was behind a large rock getting it ... getting ready to attack the Japanese position at the top of the hill, when an artillery shell hit the rock. Splinters wounded all the soldiers ex and one fell right on top of me and soaked me with blood, and I thought I was dead, but I I wasn't even injured, I just had blood allover me. The next move was to, uh ... I knew there was a tent hospital like M.A.S.H., like in M.A.S.H.

Paul LaRue:

Right.

William Argyl Anderson:

At the bottom ofthe hill. My captain was there. He had been shot in the head. He told me to get some clean uniform on and something hot to eat, then go on back to my post. They figured if I got scared I'd never wanna go back, see, so they ... It's

Paul LaRue:

Sure.

William Argyl Anderson:

Good psychology.

Paul LaRue:

Yeah. Right.

William Argyl Anderson:

It's force you right away. That day we stormed the lap ... machine gun position .. . and was . . . and I was hit in the shoulder with shrapnel, shrapnel from a hand grenade, I think, I mean ... I got hit. Okay, then ... I left there. Instead of going to that tent hospital, uh ... where I'd been I went to the tent hospital that was down on the beach. And they, uh ... they ... it was in the shoulder, they operated on that ...

Paul LaRue:

Were you carried? I mean, did you ... ?

William Argyl Anderson:

No, I was able to walk.

Paul LaRue:

Okay, I was going to say, you said you were able to walk. Okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

Until I got my shoes off Then my feet swollen up and my toes turned black and blue.

Paul LaRue:

From the frost bite?

William Argyl Anderson:

That's right, from the frost bite. After the operation, they stuffed gauze in there. It was a round hole and they kept stuff gauze and then everyday they'd pull a little bit out and clip it off I suppose as it healed up. About three ... two or three days we were placed on a hospital ship ... and it only took ... about two weeks to get back to San Francisco ... to, uh ... Letterman General Hospital in San Francisco.

Paul LaRue:

So, how was your shoulder at that point?

William Argyl Anderson:

Pretty bad. You know.

Paul LaRue:

Right.

William Argyl Anderson:

Couldn't use it. It was kind of in a sling. My feet were all bandaged up. They kept putting, uh . . . like iodine solution type stuff on it. And...

Paul LaRue:

Now, did lots of guys have the same problem with their feet?

William Argyl Anderson:

Yes they did. Uh-huh. Yeah. I kind of got a picture, maybe, that'll kind of give you an idea. (Paper ruffle)

William Argyl Anderson:

Pictures so old and fragile that (Bad spot on tape) other half of that (Bad spot on tape)

Paul LaRue:

Oh really (Bad spot on tape)

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah.

Paul LaRue:

Is that you?

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah. Oh here, here's the other half of that one.

Paul LaRue:

Oh, okay ... Did you end up having more trouble with your feet or with your shoulder?

William Argyl Anderson:

Picture here was in Life magazine.

Paul LaRue:

I'll be darn. I want to see that.

William Argyl Anderson:

Barely see them but here, here we are. Right there.

Paul LaRue:

Is that right? That's cool. Where did ... ? Obviously you came back because you were injured. What was the next ... Do you know where the next place ... ?

William Argyl Anderson:

Kiska.

Paul LaRue:

Okay. And then what was after ... Do you know where was?

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah, they ended up on Okinawa.

Paul LaRue:

Okay. So they ... so they would have been coming up from the north.

William Argyl Anderson:

To the south.

Paul LaRue:

To the south.

William Argyl Anderson:

To wait .. _ they ended up ready to invade.

Paul LaRue:

That would have been the big invasion.

William Argyl Anderson:

Of Japan.

Paul LaRue:

Of Japan.

William Argyl Anderson:

Right. INTERVIWER: Versus some of the other guys who came up from the south.

William Argyl Anderson:

Well the marines and them that fought in ...

Paul LaRue:

Okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

Coming back, they fought in Guadalcanal. Vb ... the same year that we went, they were coming back. They had already had the battle in Guadalcanal.

Paul LaRue:

Right, and that's what's interesting about the story, is the story you normally kind of follow the marines and then more than the ... and now ... but, you know what I'm saying?

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah.

Paul LaRue:

That ... that northern ... that northern route doesn't really get talked about nearly as much.

William Argyl Anderson:

It doesn't. No, no, no .

Paul LaRue:

I mean, and and as a History teacher I'll have to say I'm as guilty, you know, I'm as guilty of that as anybody, which is kind of interesting.

William Argyl Anderson:

Well, it's not The only way, uh ... the ... your best bet to get good knowledge is to read, uh ... this ... this this .. _ this private he was from, urn ... Taos, New Mexico?

Paul LaRue:

Okay. Yeah. Taos?

William Argyl Anderson:

He was awarded, the only person in the Aleutians that was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was a private, Joe P. Martinez. He stormed a Japanese embankment and killed all of the Japs in it and got killed himself.

Paul LaRue:

Oh, okay. So he was awarded.

William Argyl Anderson:

He was really a hero, yeah. But he was in the same company as me. (Bad spot on tape) That's the whole story and the, uh ... of the Aleutian Campaign is in a book called The Thousand Mile War by Brian Garfield.

Paul LaRue:

(Muffled) Okay that's something we might want get and check out. How did you end up in Washington Court House? I know I'm kind of jumping around here.

William Argyl Anderson:

National Cash Register Company.

Paul LaRue:

Oh, okay. The old NCR guy.

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah.

Paul LaRue:

Alright ... Well, um ... when ... so when you came back to San Francisco that was the end of your. .. I mean, that was the end of your service at that point?

William Argyl Anderson:

No ... they gave ... they kept us there about a week and they say, "We're going to transfer you to a hospital closer to your home." So they sent us to, uh ... Kennedy General in, uh ... Memphis, Tennessee.

Paul LaRue:

Okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

And we was there about, until ... I can tell you in just a minute.

Paul LaRue:

Okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

I was there until, uh ... February 21, 1943. We ended up moving back from San Francisco probably in early part of June. That's ... that's my guess.

Paul LaRue:

Right.

William Argyl Anderson:

Or the middle part of June. Then, I was discharged in September 21. And that's about how long about ...

Paul LaRue:

When you got back ...

William Argyl Anderson:

June, July, August. About 3 months at, uh ... Kennedy General Hospital.

Paul LaRue:

Okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

That's where they ... all we do is lay in bed till we eat breakfast, lay in bed till noon, eat dinner, lay in bed till supper, eat supper.

Paul LaRue:

Now are your feet okay by that time. I mean ...

William Argyl Anderson:

Well, getting better.

Paul LaRue:

Getting better. Okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

I'd ... I'd say yeah.

Paul LaRue:

So your shoulder then became your major problem?

William Argyl Anderson:

Urn ... No, not really. The feet has always been ...

Paul LaRue:

Is that right!

William Argyl Anderson:

And that's, yeah, and that's what I, uh ... actually that's what I got, uh ... my disability on was my feet, not my shrapnel wound. I didn't get anything for that.

Paul LaRue:

And, again there must have been other guys ... lots of other guys who had that same ...

William Argyl Anderson:

Yes. They, they made a mistake in our attire.

Paul LaRue:

Yeah, I mean, that would seem like it.

William Argyl Anderson:

They sent ... sent us up there with the wrong type of clothing. Had leather ... leather shoes that came up like this, and that water just, they just soaked up water like a sponge. Rather than those, you know, rubber half-way up ...

Paul LaRue:

Right. Is that because they thought you were gonna go someplace else or they ... ?

William Argyl Anderson:

I ... That's ... that's exactly what I thought, they got us out in the middle of the Pacific ... Pacific and said, somebody said, "We need you up here at that two island right away," because I feel the way we were dressed that we were going ...

Paul LaRue:

Right.

William Argyl Anderson:

South.

Paul LaRue:

They were thinking you were heading south ...

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah.

Paul LaRue:

... and then they divided. And did you know, I mean, just at the time you're ... you're there on the island did you pretty quickly figure out you weren't equipped, I mean, you didn't have the right kind of equipment?

William Argyl Anderson:

Oh yes, yes, yeah. Yeah, we ... there was nothing we could do about it.

Paul LaRue:

Yeah. Right.

William Argyl Anderson:

Didn't even have ... didn't even have a change of socks or anything.

Paul LaRue:

So you had the same boots and socks on ...

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah.

Paul LaRue:

... the whole time?

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah. I picked up an old coat that some Japanese had that looked like a fur coat, and I wound it around me . .. I went to sleep in a fox hole and the company was about five miles ahead of me ... (Chuckle) I ... I woke up and there was a man with, with a rifle standing there looking at me. It just happened to be one of the warrant officers. I thought I was dead.

Paul LaRue:

So before you got your shoulder injury, though, were your feet ... I mean did you know how bad a shape ...

William Argyl Anderson:

Yes.

Paul LaRue:

... your feet were in?

William Argyl Anderson:

Yes. Yeah, because we got ... we got up there in the mountain and, no, it was in the valley coming down the going up into the mountain, the valley. Something happened that we was told to retreat ... fast. So they must have ran into some hornets' nest. They said to retreat. .. and I could, I tell you the truth I couldn't go fast. I could barely walk.

Paul LaRue:

And everybody was pretty much in the same shape you were in?

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah ... It was bad ... bad ... it was bad. There ... there was more casualties from frost bite than from gun shots, or anything.

Paul LaRue:

Did you have any idea what the, what the temperature was ... I mean what the air temperature was?

William Argyl Anderson:

Well, it wasn't ... it ... it's in the, uh ... Japanese current, and it was May, but, it has . . . it has this permafrost.

Paul LaRue:

So it's not like it was twenty below zero, or anything.

William Argyl Anderson:

No. No. No. Un-uh.

Paul LaRue:

I mean that's what's kind of weird ... you know what I'm saying?

William Argyl Anderson:

No.

Paul LaRue:

It's kind of a ... I mean that's what's kind of interesting.

William Argyl Anderson:

No. Un-uh.

Paul LaRue:

So when you say permafrost ... I mean that's the ground's permanently frozen?

William Argyl Anderson:

It's ... it's permanently ... cold, wet, wa ... you can sink into it.

Paul LaRue:

Okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

And ...

Paul LaRue:

So the air temperature wasn't ... ?

William Argyl Anderson:

Oh it was ... it was un ...

Paul LaRue:

Forties, fifties, like this kind of weather?

William Argyl Anderson:

I'd say in the thirties ...

Paul LaRue:

Thirties.

William Argyl Anderson:

... to forties.

Paul LaRue:

Okay. Thirties to forties.

William Argyl Anderson:

Something like that.

Paul LaRue:

Okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

But it was foggy all the time. It was an overcast. All the ... that's ... that's, our, uh . . . Air Corp had trouble bombing them because they could never get in there for the fog. And ... (Bad spot on tape) I don't know it was just if you're gonna pick a place to fight a battle I'd, I mean, I think, I ... you couldn't find a worse place.

Paul LaRue:

Yeah. That's ... that's fascinating ... I mean, that's ... that's a real fascinating story. (Softly) Let me see your paper. We've got a couple of career ... you did such a good job ... Oh, okay, that's good. (Bad spot on tape) Here, we're going to just jump ahead to (Bad spot on tape) Uh, start right here. Just kind of pick up there. She's kind of kind of got a few ...

William Argyl Anderson:

Well.

Paul LaRue:

... finish ... finish otT questions.

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah, sure.

Paul LaRue:

While you were doing any of your service, urn ... did you keep a personal diary at all? About any of the events?

William Argyl Anderson:

No. I wish.

Paul LaRue:

Nothing?

William Argyl Anderson:

I ... I, uh ... I tell you ... you don't think of thing like ... some people ... some men do, I mean some that are more educated and, uh ... think there's something they can use it for later, you know. But ... (Bad spot on tape) just being there and wanting to get out that's ... that's all you thought about.

Paul LaRue:

Urn ... do you have any recollection ofthe day your service ended? How you felt, or what you did ...

William Argyl Anderson:

Great.

Paul LaRue:

... or ... ? INTERVIEWER AND

William Argyl Anderson:

(Laughter)

William Argyl Anderson:

Yes I felt so good I didn't even check my discharge papers and they got all kinds of errors on it.

Paul LaRue:

(Laughter)

William Argyl Anderson:

That's how ... they handed me a hundred and sixty dollars and said, "You're discharged," and I went to town to the Peabody Hotel. You know where the Peabody is in Memphis?

Paul LaRue:

I've heard of it.

William Argyl Anderson:

They have a duck that walks right ...

Paul LaRue:

I've heard of the ducks.

William Argyl Anderson:

... through the ...

Paul LaRue:

Yeah. The ducks that walk through the lobby.

William Argyl Anderson:

Aw, a duck walks through the lobby ... took the elevator to the first floor to the ball room ... all these beautiful women, you know, there in the ball room ... I asked that nurse, I sensed, she had been waiting (Bad spot on tape) "Let's dance." (Bad spot on tape) "I'm not allowed to dance with enlisted men." (Bad spot on tape) lost your chance.

Paul LaRue:

(Laughter)

William Argyl Anderson:

Of course I was about half ... half gone by then.

Paul LaRue:

(Laughter)

William Argyl Anderson:

So, uh ... yes. I was very pleased.

Paul LaRue:

I believe it. Um ... what did you do in days and weeks after?

William Argyl Anderson:

Okay, uh ... Took the train from Memphis to Cincinnati ... Got off Cincinnati at the old train station, beautiful place.

Paul LaRue:

I think it's a museum.

William Argyl Anderson:

Yes.

Paul LaRue:

Now.

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah.

Paul LaRue:

Yeah. Yeah. I know what you're talking about.

William Argyl Anderson:

Museum there now, down, down by the Reds ...

Paul LaRue:

Yeah.

William Argyl Anderson:

... old ballpark. Got out there in the evening. Went to hunt something to eat and ended up in a bar ... and ... then ... don't know what happened then.

Paul LaRue:

(Laughter)

William Argyl Anderson:

From there I, uh ... got the pia ... uh ... train to Barnesville, Ohio ... and once I got on Barnesville I ... stayed around for about a week and I got real restless and I told my mother, I said, " I'm gonna go look for a job." I could have taken what they call fifty-two twenty. In other words you get twenty dollars ... a week for fifty-two weeks and don't have to do anything for it. Well, I said, "I went to Canton, Ohio and got a job at Hercules Motor Company. Well, I stayed there for . . . oh, 'bout ... going on a year, I guess. (Bad spot on tape) Not quite sure how long I was there. (Bad spot on tape) I started out on the eleven to seven shift and I couldn't sleep in the daytime. I finally talked them into the three to ... three to eleven shift. That way you could work and then you could go out in the evening and go to the bars and. .. till 2:30 if you wanted to, and still get plenty of sleep. (Bad spot on tape) I got a letter one day from the V ... V A. It says, uh ... "You are entitled to four years college on the GI Bill." (Bad spot on tape) I never thought about going to college. Never dreamt about it. (Bad spot on tape) I talked to the man and he says, "Your high school grades are ... are in order and you can get into a college." (Bad spot on tape) I enrolled at Kent State University ... (Bad spot on tape) At Kent for ... (Bad spot on tape) quarters. Spring quarter ... spring quarter and ... summer quarter. That'd be 1944. Vb ... I transferred from Kent State to Youngstown College. I stayed at Youngstown College for one year and then transferred to Bowling Green. And I got a degree in business administration from Bowling Green.

Paul LaRue:

On the GI Bill?

William Argyl Anderson:

On the GI Bill.

Paul LaRue:

Okay. Well that's good. (Bad spot on tape) While you were in the service did you make any close friends or strong friendships? (Loud Beep ) Yeah, sorry about that. That's ... ignore that.

William Argyl Anderson:

Not that I ... none that I kept in contact with.

Paul LaRue:

Okay. Yeah, which is one of the questions we always, uh ... are there reunions of ... ?

William Argyl Anderson:

There is a reunion of, uh ... for the entire ... period of service of Aleutian Island. There's a reunion for that, yeah. There's a guy from Sunset, Florida that kind of organizes it.

Paul LaRue:

But you've never, uh ...

William Argyl Anderson:

I've never been to one.

Paul LaRue:

Okay. Because I know some people do. You know, it's like anything, some ...

William Argyl Anderson:

I ...

Paul LaRue:

... do, some don't.

William Argyl Anderson:

I wanted to forget everything about it. I ... I ... I ... I just wanted to put the whole thing out of my mind. This is more than I've ever told anybody since I've been out of service about it.

Paul LaRue:

And we ... we appreciate that.

William Argyl Anderson:

I never talked about it.

Paul LaRue:

And we ... we appreciate you taking your time to do it. Urn ... did ... any last questions?

Paul LaRue:

Did you join a veterans organization?

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah.

Paul LaRue:

Just the one here in town, or ... ?

William Argyl Anderson:

Mm-hm.

Paul LaRue:

And, um ... how did the service or your experiences in the service affect your life afterwards?

William Argyl Anderson:

Oh there's, uh ... I'm sure it, uh ... made me a better person and you know the discipline, and, uh you do some growing up and ... you learned a ... got to learn what fear was and that you that you're not as strong as you thought you was.

Paul LaRue:

Now, how old were you when you entered the service?

William Argyl Anderson:

24.

Paul LaRue:

Okay.

William Argyl Anderson:

I'd be 42 ... 1942 and born in '18, yeah that'd be 24.

Paul LaRue:

A, uh ... did your military experience influence your views on mil ... on the military or on war? At all?

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah. I don't like war. (Bad spot on tape) I don't like what's going on now.

Paul LaRue:

Like preconceptions of war before you went and joined the army, were they different than what they are now?

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah.

Paul LaRue:

They are?

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah.

Paul LaRue:

You know, we've ... we've heard several people say pretty much the same thing as you. I mean that's, and about things now, and, you know.

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah, very much so. Uh-huh. INTERVIEWE~: (Bad spot on tape) You got anything you want to ... ? No. (Bad spot on tape) Yeah this is great. I'll ... I'll tell you this really is a chapter that's ... I mean, it's known, but you know what I'm saying? You just don't ... That ... that northern island hopping is just something that's not really talked about. (Bad spot on tape) think, like to mention you have it. You did a great job, gave us tons of information.

William Argyl Anderson:

Lets see, uh ... the only, uh ... souvenir I've got ... from the whole thing is my army dog tags.

Paul LaRue:

Is that right?

William Argyl Anderson:

That ... that's the original.

Paul LaRue:

And those made it through?

William Argyl Anderson:

Everything's original ...

Paul LaRue:

And those made it through with you?

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah.

Paul LaRue:

You had them ... you had them with you the whole time?

William Argyl Anderson:

Uh huh.

Paul LaRue:

Wow. That's amazing. Urn ... one of my questions is, urn ... did you keep anything for good luck? Did you take anything with you while you were up there or pick up anything or ... ?

William Argyl Anderson:

(Bad spot on tape) I had quite a few things that, uh ... when I left the a ... two island I had some sou ... souvenirs in a bag. And when I got off the ship in San Francisco, the only thing I had was house slippers, and pajamas, and a housecoat. Everything had been stolen.

Paul LaRue:

Is that right. Oh gosh. But you had your dog tags?

William Argyl Anderson:

And all my records are gone. They bum up in St. Louis, Missouri.

Paul LaRue:

Oh they did? That's the big fire that burned up, yeah, yeah, a ton of ... of stuff got lost in that fire. That was a bad ...

William Argyl Anderson:

So ...

Paul LaRue:

Tons of peoples records ...

William Argyl Anderson:

I ... I ... I ... don't have no record because I ... I tried to get my Combat Infantry Badge.

Paul LaRue:

Right. Which you would be entitled to.

William Argyl Anderson:

And I ... I ... I ... I, and they said, "We don't have no ree ... your none of your records, so . . ."

Paul LaRue:

Well wouldn't there be records of your unit and everything, I mean ... ?

William Argyl Anderson:

I don't know.

Paul LaRue:

But I mean, that's kind of weird, because, that they knew that you, you know what I'm saying? That you would think they would know that.

William Argyl Anderson:

Yeah.

Paul LaRue:

Well let's ... you want to go om Let's go off tape because we're ... I think we're good.

 
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  October 26, 2011
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