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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
View Full Description

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
»Multimedia Recording  (204 min.)
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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  October 26, 2011
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