Skip Navigation and Jump to Page Content    The Library of Congress >> American Folklife Center  
Veterans History Project (Library of Congress) ABOUT  
SEARCH/BROWSE  
HELP  
COPYRIGHT  
Home » Text Transcript

Interview with Max W. Anderson [2/12/2012]

Maurine Anderson:

Name: Max W. Anderson. Born October 1st 1933. Served in Korea after the Korean war. Become a corporal. And talking to him now at 9993 South 1300 West, South Jordan, Utah 84095.

Katie Harmon:

And then say who you are.

Maurine Anderson:

I am his wife, Maurine M. Anderson assisting in the interview. Max was born in Roosevelt, Utah. He was the youngest of nine children, six boys and three girls. He was married and was drafted. He had three brothers serve in the military. One who was killed in Germany in 1945?

Katie Harmon:

What was his name?

Maurine Anderson:

Ameth. A-M-E-T-H. Anderson. And he was a war hero. He has had things named after him in lots of places, an air base, air missile base in Mainz, M-A-I-N-Z, Germany. A family recreation center at the Fort Knox, Kentucky base, a baseball club in Texas and other things that have been named after his brother Ameth.

Katie Harmon:

What was Ameth's Battalion or crew called? Wasn't it Hell on Wheels?

Maurine Anderson:

Huh?

Katie Harmon:

Wasn't he in Hell on Wheels?

Maurine Anderson:

Oh, he was in the tank division Hell on wheels but I could look up more information about that if you wait.

Max W. Anderson:

Well, he got the distinguished service one. One of the -- he got a bunch of them but that's one of the main ones. (Break taken.)

Maurine Anderson:

Did he enlist before you did?

Max W. Anderson:

Oh, yeah. He was older.

Katie Harmon:

How much older was he?

Max W. Anderson:

Probably 10 years. Maybe -- yeah, about 10 or 12 years.

Katie Harmon:

Did he enlist or was he drafted?

Max W. Anderson:

No, I think he was enlisted.

Katie Harmon:

So.

Max W. Anderson:

But he was with the Patton with that Hell on Wheels. Hell on Wheels is that what they called it?

Maurine Anderson:

Ameth joined the Army the 21st of March 1941. Let's see. There was, well, Anderson Barracks in Dexheim, Germany. We wrote down that already. Dexheim, that's near Mainz. M-A-I-N-Z. And like Max said, he received the distinguished service as well AS other awards, the Silver Star. And I guess everyone who dies gets the Silver Star. And this air base was named him May 29th, 19 -- Oh, just a minute. Just says May 29th on that. He was in the 67th Army -- the armor, A-M-R-O-R. And the second armored division. Do you want to hear the whole story?

Katie Harmon:

If you want to tell it.

Maurine Anderson:

In August 1944 when he was a private, Anderson's tank was hit by enemy fire and disabled. The crew evacuated the tank and later when it didn't burn, Anderson returned and fired the tank's machine guns at the enemy until they fled. For his valor and courage, Private Anderson was awarded the Bronze Star Metal with V device. And it goes on and on. Want to hear more?

Katie Harmon:

Uh-huh.

Maurine Anderson:

In March 1945 Anderson's tank was knocked out again, he remained in the his tank and fired his 75 MM tank gun are throughout the day. The next morning when he learned that enemy tanks were still in the area, he had advanced alone and manned the gun of another disabled tank. When the air corp arrived, he marked the enemy's positions with smoke. His skill and courage accounted for three enemy thanks and one pillbox destroyed. As a result of this act, Anderson was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. One month later Sergeant Anderson dismounted to rescue his platoon sergeant who had been wounded by heavy enemy fire. A machine gun beyond the wounded man opened up on Anderson but he continued forward even though forced to crawl by the grazing enemy fire. As he reached the wounded man, a burst of fire ripped into his body inflicting wounds from which he soon died. As a result of this courageous act, Sergeant Ameth Anderson was posthumously -- want me to spell that?

Katie Harmon:

No, I know how to spell it.

Maurine Anderson:

Posthumously awarded the Silver Star Medal.

Katie Harmon:

When was he killed?

Maurine Anderson:

April 15, 1945. I know that one.

Max W. Anderson:

And the problem, the war ended about two weeks later.

Maurine Anderson:

Right then, it was just terrible.

Katie Harmon:

How soon did you get notice that he had passed?

Maurine Anderson:

The war was over when his parents were notified. And they saw this man who was -- what's his first name, Max? Berdict, John Berdict. They -- he was like the mayor or the important man in the -- and they saw him coming and they knew he had bad news, he had word. But they had three sons in and Ameth had been in the longest and had been in more battles and everything. And they thought he was probably more apt to be safe. But when they -- when the man came why he told me them it was Ameth that had been killed.

Max W. Anderson:

Well, Sherman, he had -- I think they said he had -- or he was telling me he had three or four destroyers that was blew, you know?

Maurine Anderson:

Blown up.

Max W. Anderson:

Blown up from underneath him.

Maurine Anderson:

Yeah, both of them served for several years.

Max W. Anderson:

And Ivan was on a supply line, I think, that dropped.

Katie Harmon:

So how many of your brothers served?

Max W. Anderson:

Well, there was three in there flighting all at the same time, all during the war. But they was all over, you know.

Maurine Anderson:

And this Anderson Barracks was dedicated on 30th of May, 1953, that was many years later. It was the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion. And this shows the -- we went there, your mom and Marla and Gary and when -- when we went over there. And they flew Max's parents, John and Agnes Anderson, over there for the dedication and --

Max W. Anderson:

The Army did, yeah.

Maurine Anderson:

The Army. So what do you want to know more about? Max served -- did we already say Ford Ord, California. Okay. Max was drafted and went in the Army February of 1954. Went to Fort Ord California for basic training. Was referred to Fort Sam Houston, Texas and received medic training to be a medic there and then was shipped to Korea in June.

Katie Harmon:

Was that your choice to be a medic or was that just an --

Max W. Anderson:

No, we don't have no choice. They just told you where you were going to go.

Katie Harmon:

Well, mu question would be like, do they pick what they think you would be good at or --

Maurine Anderson:

Did they test you to become a medic?

Max W. Anderson:

No, what --

Katie Harmon:

It's just what number in line you were?

Max W. Anderson:

I don't know how they picked them. I guess they needed so many for this and so many for that. I don't know how they picked them.

Maurine Anderson:

And where did you serve in Korea?

Max W. Anderson:

I was in Busan at first.

Maurine Anderson:

B-U-S-A-N. And then you were sent up to the 38th Parallel?

Max W. Anderson:

We were in Busan for quite a while attached to a hospital there. And then later we went to a --

Maurine Anderson:

Up to the 38th Parallel?

Max W. Anderson:

Yeah, north.

Maurine Anderson:

Which is, you know, the dividing line between North and South Korea.

Max W. Anderson:

I was attached to an infantry division up there. And I was in the medics, I mean, you know.

Katie Harmon:

So when people were hurt you would attend to them?

Max W. Anderson:

Well, when they would come into the -- anybody that got sick we would have to hand them out a pill.

Maurine Anderson:

Did you give shots?

Max W. Anderson:

On oh, lots of shots for -- you know, because a lot of the guys got venereal diseases and we'd give them lots of shots.

Maurine Anderson:

How did you stay in touch with folks at home?

Max W. Anderson:

What do you think?

Maurine Anderson:

We wrote letters. There were no phone calls or -- of course no --

Katie Harmon:

And grandma, how often did he write?

Maurine Anderson:

He wrote everyday and so did his wife.

Max W. Anderson:

No, I didn't write everyday.

Maurine Anderson:

On, every day but Sunday when the mail didn't go, pretty much the whole time he was gone. We were thankful there was not a war, that the Korean War had ended and he was there more as a peacekeeping and taking care of people who were sick. And let's see. Max, it wants to know -- he returned home by ship. Want to tell about that?

Max W. Anderson:

Well, over there I was up -- I drove trucks. I was the only truck driver in the -- jeep -- that they had in our area because all of the rest of the guys didn't know how to drive, they was all from New York. And nobody else could drive so I had to drive the officers around.

Katie Harmon:

Was that a good job?

Max W. Anderson:

Well, when they wanted to go somewhere, the rest of the time we worked at the aid station.

Maurine Anderson:

Tell about what you lived in.

Max W. Anderson:

In a tent.

Katie Harmon:

How many guys did you share a tent with?

Max W. Anderson:

There was about eight guys to a tent.

Katie Harmon:

And then just in like cots?

Max W. Anderson:

Yep.

Katie Harmon:

What was the weather like in Korea?

Max W. Anderson:

Just like here. Winter and we had an oil stove in the middle of the tent.

Katie Harmon:

How was the food and what was that? Did you cook it or did you --

Max W. Anderson:

No, we had a mess hall.

Katie Harmon:

How was the mess hall?

Max W. Anderson:

We had pretty good food.

Katie Harmon:

So even though you were in Korea they made sure you had American-type food.

Max W. Anderson:

Oh, yeah, we had good food. And it was our job to inspect the mess hall once in a while, too.

Katie Harmon:

Did you ever venture off base?

Max W. Anderson:

Nope.

Maurine Anderson:

You did have Korean boys that came in and worked, didn't you?

Max W. Anderson:

Well, them, a little, you know -- washed our clothes. Most of the guys went on R and R to Japan but I never did go.

Maurine Anderson:

R and R was rest and recuperation. Why didn't you go to R and R?

Max W. Anderson:

Didn't have any money. We only got $12 a month.

Maurine Anderson:

Did you get --

Max W. Anderson:

And you got the rest. The other guys got -- you know, they got more money.

Maurine Anderson:

But most of it went to me because I was your wife and the baby. What was I going to say? Did you get to come home early because you didn't go to R and R? Didn't they --

Max W. Anderson:

No. No. No. No.

Maurine Anderson:

And his son was born when he had been in the Army about four months and he came home when he was 19 months old.

Katie Harmon:

Why didn't they grant leave for that?

Max W. Anderson:

They didn't do that in them days.

Katie Harmon:

So were you able to send pictures and other things?

Maurine Anderson:

He was down in Fort Sam Houston when Gary was born and mother called to tell him and -- tell her about that.

Max W. Anderson:

I don't remember.

Maurine Anderson:

The man that called him in he -- they didn't let -- treat the -- what did you call it? The basic training men very well and they were ornery to him when he came in. So when he got the word it was not a happy -- you know, he just barely got to hear, yes, we had the baby. How about showers and that, what did you have for that?

Max W. Anderson:

Didn't have no showers, it was an outside thing.

Maurine Anderson:

Cold water?

Max W. Anderson:

Uh-huh.

Maurine Anderson:

Even in the winter?

Katie Harmon:

Did you get along with the men that -- you know, the guys in your tent and --

Max W. Anderson:

Yep. No problems.

Maurine Anderson:

Special friends that you made while you were in the Army?

Max W. Anderson:

No.

Maurine Anderson:

How much did you get moved around?

Max W. Anderson:

Not very often, stayed that one place that -- you know.

Katie Harmon:

How were you kept up on what was the going on in the world? Did you get like newspapers and things there or --

Max W. Anderson:

Just letters from Maurine, that's all. We didn't have no newspapers.

Katie Harmon:

What did they have for you guys to do in your off time?

Max W. Anderson:

There wasn't nothing to do.

Maurine Anderson:

You guys didn't play ball or --

Max W. Anderson:

Yeah. Yeah. Stuff like that we did.

Katie Harmon:

They didn't have movies for you?

Max W. Anderson:

No movies, nope.

Maurine Anderson:

Pretty boring. Then Max, it wants to know what your reception was like when you came home. Were you treated well?

Max W. Anderson:

Yep.

Maurine Anderson:

Because the country was pretty well in support of that war and so there wasn't any discrimination against the solders when they came home. Tell us about your trip home on the ship.

Max W. Anderson:

No big deal.

Maurine Anderson:

You got sick?

Max W. Anderson:

Well, that's -- so what?

Maurine Anderson:

Well tell her.

Max W. Anderson:

She don't -- they don't want to know all that.

Katie Harmon:

They do.

Maurine Anderson:

Was it a pleasant little boat ride? Tell her about it.

Max W. Anderson:

There is nothing to tell.

Maurine Anderson:

He got terribly sick.

Katie Harmon:

From what?

Maurine Anderson:

Because it was -- the ship was so rough. The weather was so rough. How long were you on the ship? Do you remember?

Max W. Anderson:

I think I was on there for 15 days but everybody got sick so everybody else got sick.

Katie Harmon:

And that was a ship from Korea to where?

Max W. Anderson:

Seattle.

Maurine Anderson:

Fort Louis in Washington.

Katie Harmon:

Did you go up and meet him?

Maurine Anderson:

I didn't go to meet him but I went up when he -- after he had landed because it ended up that he was going to be there for a couple of weeks getting released and so I took a train up and met him.

Katie Harmon:

How long was he -- were you in the Korea total?

Max W. Anderson:

I don't know, a long time probably 18 months.

Maurine Anderson:

Probably. No, longer than because Gary was 19 months old when you came home. Oh, I'm sorry, 18 months would have been right. Because he didn't go for about a month after he was born. And you don't want to write this down but one of his volunteered and to go over there, Max didn't want to but they took him, not the other guy. That's the way the Army works. This other guy was single and he thought that sounded exciting to go to Korea but they took whoever they wanted.

Katie Harmon:

What kind of draft was it at that point?

Max W. Anderson:

What do you mean "draft?"

Katie Harmon:

If you were drafted, isn't there sometimes where they would go by your birthday or they would go by your --

Max W. Anderson:

Well, the reason they drafted me is because we was on the farm out there and as soon as we moved to the city they drafted me.

Katie Harmon:

So you think if you would have stayed on the farm you wouldn't have been drafted?

Max W. Anderson:

Well, a lot of guys out there wasn't drafted that was out there. Or if we hadn't given them our new address then it would have been better, wouldn't it?

Maurine Anderson:

I notified the draft board that we had moved up to the city.

Max W. Anderson:

The next day we got -- the next week --

Maurine Anderson:

Because it said for us to do that.

Max W. Anderson:

-- we got the congratulations.

Maurine Anderson:

Yeah, if I hadn't notified them that we had moved, it would have taken them a while to figure out that we weren't still on the farm.

Katie Harmon:

What was your reaction to being drafted?

Max W. Anderson:

Nothing. What do you mean?

Maurine Anderson:

Were you happy or sad?

Max W. Anderson:

I wasn't very happy.

Katie Harmon:

How were your parents because you were the fourth one to go? Were they upset?

Max W. Anderson:

I don't think so. The war was over then, they didn't worry about it.

Maurine Anderson:

Max has always been patriotic. His family, they believed our country was worth fighting for and they'd go and do what was asked.

Katie Harmon:

As a young wife were you so proud of to him serve?

Maurine Anderson:

More sad than proud. But I still remember when I was went down to Fort Ord, I went down there while he was still in basic training and stayed with another girl and we would go over in the evening. You don't want to write all this down. We'd go over in the evening to see them for maybe an hour while they cleaned their riffles and then we would come back. But I remember at 6:00 at night they would have the -- they would lower the flags and salute and traffic would stop. Everything would come to a complete halt. Everybody would stand there in -- what do you call it? Attention. The men would salute and it was very patriotic. It was something that I've never forgotten how I felt when they did that. And just for you and I, you don't need to write this down. We flew home from Fort Ord about a week before Gary was due, which nowadays they wouldn't let you do but at that time there were no rules. And so we just came home and he was home for a week or so before he got to sent to Sam Houston on his transfer.

Katie Harmon:

So even though you were a medic, you were trained with guns and riffles and all of that even though you weren't going to be doing that kind of work?

Max W. Anderson:

Oh, yeah.

Katie Harmon:

What were you trained to use? What kind of guns?

Max W. Anderson:

Infantry. One of them automatic riffles, M1, I think.

Katie Harmon:

But you were used to guns from being on the farm, weren't you?

Max W. Anderson:

Yeah, but not that kind.

Katie Harmon:

But it probably helped.

Maurine Anderson:

Let's see. Can you think of something else that you could say or is that for you?

Katie Harmon:

Did we go through all of the questions. (Break taken.)

Max W. Anderson:

What did we over there is during the day is we would go out with -- we would have to go out with the artillery, you know, guys so they can practice firing them big canyons. And we wouldn't go every day but every, you know, once or twice a week we'd go out with them.

Katie Harmon:

How big of cannons?

Max W. Anderson:

About 155-millimeter. And there was -- they would shoot for about 6 miles.

Katie Harmon:

So you didn't even really see Korea at all?

Max W. Anderson:

Oh, yeah I have seen it all. Why?

Katie Harmon:

Because I thought you didn't really go off base.

Max W. Anderson:

We didn't but we went -- went up from training to Busan to up in the North Parallel, you know, that took two days on that train. And we only went about 10 miles an hour or slower, which is really slow.

Katie Harmon:

So it was just --

Max W. Anderson:

But we didn't see much, all -- nothing over there to see but rice paddies anyhow.

Maurine Anderson:

Did the kids come begging for food up by the train?

Max W. Anderson:

Yeah. So anyhow, then I was -- yeah, I would go all around Korea because I was -- I'd drive them officers, you know --

Katie Harmon:

The high ranking officials?

Max W. Anderson:

-- into Busan and stuff like that.

Katie Harmon:

The high ranking officials?

Max W. Anderson:

Yeah. See, the doctor was a -- he would be a captain or something like that. So I was to drive them to town. And so I got to see most of all Korea. Which like I say, was nothing to see. We would drive to Seoul and --

Katie Harmon:

Did you learn any Korean?

Max W. Anderson:

No.

Katie Harmon:

Did you like any of the Korean food?

Max W. Anderson:

There was a little boy I liked that used to do our clothes.

Katie Harmon:

And how much would they get paid for doing your clothes?

Max W. Anderson:

Gosh, I can't remember. We would pay them -- we'd give them some but I don't know how much. I can't remember. That's been a long time.

Katie Harmon:

Would you give them candy or treats?

Max W. Anderson:

No, we don't have any candy.

Maurine Anderson:

Hahn Jay Poon [phonetic] was the name of that kid.

Max W. Anderson:

Only thing we could get, you know, we could buy was -- what was it? I don't know. Can't remember now. But there wasn't anything to with buy, no candy or anything.

Maurine Anderson:

When I's send him cookies and that they took so long to get there. How long did it take the mail to get there?

Max W. Anderson:

I don't know, probably a couple of weeks.

Maurine Anderson:

It was slow.

Katie Harmon:

So you were busy every day as a medic or was it pretty --

Max W. Anderson:

No. Yeah, we'd go in to the aid's station and wait for guys to come in and treat them, you know.

Katie Harmon:

But mostly it was people that were sick and you weren't --

Max W. Anderson:

Wasn't -- just GI's, you know.

Katie Harmon:

I think it wants to know, did you learn any life lessons while serving in the military?

Max W. Anderson:

What kind of lessons?

Katie Harmon:

Life lessons.

Max W. Anderson:

No, I don't think so.

Maurine Anderson:

Were you a better man when you came home because of what you had done over there?

Max W. Anderson:

No, I don't think so.

Katie Harmon:

You had some medical training which has probably helped with the -- you know, your life. (break taken.)

Maurine Anderson:

Reception by family and community, readjustment to civilian life. I guess he hasn't been in battle. I'm just assuming that's what that means.

Katie Harmon:

Oh, yeah, I know this but what did you do when you came home?

Max W. Anderson:

Went to work. I worked for my brother as a carpenter.

Maurine Anderson:

We moved.

Max W. Anderson:

And then what? About two or three years later we started building houses on my own and I haven't worked for anybody else since. And now -- and then we started Superior Steel. And Maurine can tell you when we did that.

Maurine Anderson:

Wants to know contact with fellow veterans over the years. I don't think you've had any contact with them --

Max W. Anderson:

No.

Maurine Anderson:

One thing I remember him saying was that because he was in the medics he was moved more often than -- so he didn't get to stay with the same tent all the time. So he had -- he met lots of different people and sometimes he would be moved in a hurry, you know, without much notice, wherever they needed him.

Katie Harmon:

How many what bases or areas were there?

Max W. Anderson:

Not much, she's up in the night.

Maurine Anderson:

Don't write that.

Max W. Anderson:

Well, that's not true at all.

Maurine Anderson:

Okay. That's why we need to write down and have you write it so it gets done right.

Katie Harmon:

But you were a medic, you weren't in, like, a tight knit group like the rest of the Army guys are, you know?

Max W. Anderson:

Yeah, that's true. I didn't have to report for revalie, you know, get up in the morning and report, I didn't have to do that.

Maurine Anderson:

How about KP?

Max W. Anderson:

I didn't have any of that.

Katie Harmon:

I don't know what KP is.

Maurine Anderson:

That was working in the kitchen and cleaning and cooking, taking a turn in that.

Max W. Anderson:

We didn't have -- so in the medics we had a -- I would say we had it made. You know, we didn't have to do a lot of stuff that they do had to do, marching and all that stuff. We didn't have to do any of that. So it was really good service being in the medics.

Katie Harmon:

How long was your training to be a medic then?

Max W. Anderson:

I think it was six weeks is all.

Katie Harmon:

And so they just kind of taught you if this is wrong do this --

Max W. Anderson:

How to put a band-aid on.

Maurine Anderson:

He would give shots and things. And that all took place down in Sam Houston, didn't it?

Max W. Anderson:

Yeah, we gave lots of shots.

Katie Harmon:

What kind of shots for --

Max W. Anderson:

Well, they've always have -- they'd have shots for -- every year they'd have to, you know, their -- I don't know what kind anymore but they'd have to have their yearly shots, you know. And they'd line up and we'd give them them.

Katie Harmon:

I heard something or saw a movie once where they would punch them in the arm before they gave them a shot. Is that true?

Max W. Anderson:

Yeah, you just touch them a little bit.

Maurine Anderson:

They would be --

Katie Harmon:

Why would they do that?

Max W. Anderson:

Because their muscles was all tight. The other way they -- it was loose. You could put the needle in really easy, you know.

Katie Harmon:

So as a medic are you just -- you were just kind of an assistant to a doctor.

Max W. Anderson:

Yeah, there was a doctor.

Maurine Anderson:

How many medics with you is in the tent or in the --

Max W. Anderson:

About three, three medics and supposed to be a doctor.

Katie Harmon:

So it sounds like being a medic was a pretty good deal.

Max W. Anderson:

It was a really good deal.

Katie Harmon:

Well, there is anything else?

Maurine Anderson:

Anything else you want to say, Max.

Max W. Anderson:

Nope, that's pretty much -- not much to tell. (End of Interview.)

 
Home » Text Transcript
  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
  Legal | External Link Disclaimer Need Help?   
Contact Us