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Roy Frazier video interview on experiences in World War II (transcript)

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ROY EVERETT F

ROY EVERETT FRAZIER

 

WORLD WAR II ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW

 

     This is Suzette McCord-Rogers and Peggy Stanton and we are interviewing Roy Everett Frazier at his home in Holton, Kansas. 

 

Mr. Frazier, can you tell me where you were born?

 

Mr. Frazier:  One mile northeast of Mayetta on an 80-acre farm.

 

Suzette:  Were you born at home?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yes.

 

Suzette:  Can you give me your date of birth?

 

Mr. Frazier:  5th of January, ’24.

 

Suzette:  What branch of service did you serve in?

 

Mr. Frazier:  In the Navy.

 

Suzette:  And do you remember your ship, your unit, what was the name of your ship?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, I was on different ships.  Where I was, I got in a special branch of the Navy.  It was called the Armed Guard.  And the only time that was ever activated was in wartime.  So I was in it from the time I went into the Navy until I got discharged.  Of course, after the war was over, it was no more Armed Guard.  They just done away with it. Sent ‘em to other branches of the service, the Corps of Engineers or something like that.

 

Suzette:  Oh! I have not heard that before about these special services.  So were you assigned to a ship then?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No, what I did was I sailed on merchant marine ships and there was 28 sailors on an average-sized ship to protect it when it was in the war zone. 

 

Suzette:  Oh, so the merchant marine ships were actually shipping goods overseas.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Overseas, what I actually did was haul supplies overseas to the troops then bring back whatever was there wherever we stopped to the States.  And then make a second trip.

 

Suzette:  So you were called then the armed services?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No, Armed Guard.

 

Suzette: Armed Guard, it wasn’t like the 10th, you know, unit or anything, just the Armed Guard?  It didn’t have a number.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Of course we were aboard ship and that was on merchant ships.  We weren’t on Navy ships. 

 

Suzette:  OK.  So I hadn’t been aware of that.  That’s interesting.  And with Mr. Frazier is his son, Rex Frazier.  What was your highest rank?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Gunner’s mate third class.

 

Suzette:  And did you enlist?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yes.

 

Suzette:  Was that because you wanted to be in the Navy?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, uh, it’s kind of hard to explain!  What they did, you know, when you got there, they said, “Well, where you want to be?”  And they named off the different branches of the service that was available.  Each one of ‘em had so many men they wanted, so I said, “Well, I think I would rather be in the Navy.”  A bunch enlisted, like the Marines, the Army, Army Air Force, the Navy Air Force, and different ones.  I wound up more or less in the Armed Guard in the Navy. 

 

Suzette:  Now, had you been thinking if you got drafted you might go to the Army?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No, that wasn’t the reason I joined. Actually the reason I joined was I had a brother two years younger than I was.  I thought it would be better if I went into the service so he could stay at home and help because he was_______.  So that was my reason for joining the service.

 

Suzette:  And did you go to high school?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yes, and that was another thing that entered in here.  When my turn came up to go, I was a senior in high school.  And I wanted to finish my high school education before I went into the service.  So, December the 7th, ’41, I was a senior in high school in Mayetta…

 

Suzette:  At Mayetta?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Um, hum.  A 17-year-old senior, I hadn’t turned 18 yet, so after the, so I got to stay until school was out.

 

Suzette:  So by enlisting you got to graduate?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  And so what was your date when you entered the Navy?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Navy?  I think it was the 10th day of April, 1944, I believe.

 

Suzette:  OK, and when did you get out of the service?

 

Mr. Frazier:  The 3rd day of July, ’46.

 

Suzette:  Everybody always knows when they got out!!

 

Rex Frazier:  Dad, if you went in in ’44, that would have made you 20 years old.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Rex Frazier:  You were 20?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, when they finally got me in.

 

Rex:  OK.

 

Suzette:  So you were able to graduate from high school?  You were 17 when you graduated from high school?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yes.

 

Suzette:  OK.

 

Mr. Frazier:  I turned 18 between December and graduation day.

 

Suzette:  What did you do after you graduated from high school?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I just worked around home.

 

Suzette:  And what did your father do?

 

Mr. Frazier:  He was a farmer.

 

Suzette:  And when you were in high school and growing up, did you help your dad on the farm?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, my father was sick and he wasn’t well enough to take care of the farm.  And so actually it was up to us three boys to do the work…..when we was growing up.

 

Suzette:  And what kinds of things did your farm produce?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, we was kind of diversified.  We had 80 acres of land that we raised crops on, and we had cows, horses, and chickens, and pigs, _____, sheep..

 

Suzette:  Gosh, you had quite a bunch.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, geese, ducks.

 

Suzette:  Wow!  So you were self-sustaining.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, anything to help make a living.

 

Suzette:  You had sisters also?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I actually had three older sisters, one of ‘em died at birth, so I had two older sisters and two younger brothers.

 

Suzette:  So all five of you were busy working?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  With all those animals, you were probably busy feeding a lot.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, yes, we did.  However, that was no big deal ‘cause there was several of us.

 

Suzette:  So you graduated from high school and you were working on the farm.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  And so you worked on the farm for a couple of years then?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Um, hum.

 

Suzette:  And then you decided you would enlist so as to allow your brother to stay home.

 

Mr. Frazier:  They hold a couple more years….

 

Suzette:  Now could you have gotten a farm deferment so you wouldn’t have to go?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I don’t think he could have if I was there to do it, but I was older.

 

Suzette:  So that was ..

 

Mr. Frazier:  So that’s the reason I got in when I did so I knew he could.  In fact he didn’t get in until the war was over.

 

Suzette:  Oh really?  Do you remember Pearl Harbor?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, sure I do.

 

Suzette:  What were the feelings?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, really, I wasn’t too much worried about it.  See, I was a senior in high school, I wouldn’t go ‘cause_____, I just kinda felt it ain’t gonna affect me that much. But the way I found out about it, it was one Sunday morning, of course this was a long time ago, and we lived on a farm a mile northeast of Mayetta, and we had a central office in Mayetta.  So the line rings!  Do you know what that is?

 

Suzette:  No, I don’t.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Nobody else does here either!!

 

Peggy:  Oh yes I do!

 

Mr. Frazier:  Do you?  You’re older than you look then!!

 

Suzette:  What is a line ring?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, what it is, in the country back in those days, we had the old telephones that hung on the wall.

 

Suzette:  Yes.

 

Mr. Frazier:  The line would have about 10 or 12 people on one line.  And so only one person could talk on the line at a time.  Somebody else talking on the phone, you had to wait until they quit before you could ring central. 

 

Suzette:  Oh, and you had different rings for each house?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah. 

 

Suzette:  My aunt had that; she lived on a farm.

 

Mr. Frazier:  I used to remember what ours was, but I forgot now.

 

Suzette:  So somebody called you to tell you about Pearl…

 

Mr. Frazier:  They give a line ring so everybody on the line would know.

 

Suzette:  Oh, so there was one ring for everybody!

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah!  I think there was 10 on a line, as I remember.  I’m kinda guessin’ at that, 10 on our line, so every one of us got to the phone, if they was home, and they said the Japanese were bombing Pearl Harbor.  Of course, I had no idea where Pearl Harbor was, I’d never heard of it before.

 

Suzette:  And that’s true of many…..When you enlisted, did you happen to go down with some friends?

 

Mr. Frazier:  What?

 

Suzette:  When you enlisted, did you go down with friends or did you go by yourself?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, I’m going to have to guess on that one.  I don’t remember anybody going with me.

 

Suzette:  Where did you go after you enlisted?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, first we went to Kansas City.

 

Suzette:  Kansas City.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah. There they kind of divided us up, see what branch of service we were going to, one thing and another, and when they got that all straightened out, and I decided to go into the Navy and I went to the West coast.

 

Suzette:  To the West coast?  Is that where you did your basic training?

 

Mr. Frazier: No, I wound up in Farragut, Idaho.

 

Suzette:  Wow!  OK. 

 

Mr. Frazier:  Do you know where that’s at?

 

Suzette:  Not really.  Is that by a big lake up in the mountains?

 

Rex: I think it’s in Coeur D’Alene. 

 

Mr. Frazier:  What?

 

Rex:  I thought you said Coeur D’Alene.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Farragut’s where I went to boot camp.

 

Rex:  Oh, OK.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Coeur D’Alene was in Washington.

 

Suzette:  Is Farragut close to Boise?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Um, not close.  It’s pretty well on the other side, Boise’s on the north side, and we were on the south side.

 

Suzette:  Oh, OK.  So you went to Farragut, Idaho, for basic training.  Was there a lake there, or water anywhere?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, there was a lake there.  Eleanor  Roosevelt flew over and said that would be a good place for a Navy base. 

 

Suzette:  That’s amazing!  People just out of impulse…create bases and things.  So how long were you in basic training?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Six weeks.

 

Suzette:  Six weeks.  So where did you go from there?

 

Mr. Frazier:  San Diego gunnery school.

 

Suzette:  And how did you decide, did you decide you wanted to be a gunner?  Was that your choice?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Uh, well, not really by choice, but things available to me.  Most of the stuff wasn’t available to me for different reasons.

 

Suzette:  So they did testing and then they put you…

 

Mr. Frazier:…..

 

Suzette:  And then you were able to make a choice on what you wanted to do.

 

Mr. Frazier: Yeah.  These here are the choices. Which one do you want to do…  They want your experience and your education, and so I made it in….your qualified for.

 

Suzette:  So you went to San Diego for gunnery school.  How long were you there?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Four weeks.

 

Suzette:  Four weeks.  And then what happened?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I went to sea.

 

Suzette:  Did you feel you were adequately trained to go to sea?

 

Mr. Frazier: Oh, I think I was.  It didn’t take that much training.  A merchant ship is not a fighting ship. 

 

Suzette:  But did you have to, you know, from your crew, from the crew that went?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah.  They took us out and put us on the merchant ships and there was 28 of us on a merchant ship.  The merchant marine run the ship and we were to protect it.  Another thing about it was that when we was going over loaded, we were more or less just sitting ducks.  We had no defense against a submarine of any kind.  If a submarine come up, they could come up and shake hands with us if they wanted to.  They could do anything they wanted to, we had nothing against them.

 

Suzette:  Didn’t you have any torpedoes or anything like that?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Not a thing.

 

Suzette:  And you were going pretty slow because you were heavily loaded.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  Actually, what they used to call us was excess baggage!

 

Suzette:  How were you supposed to be defending them?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, we had guns, but nothing much…they were anti-aircraft guns, but as far as anything to defend the ship, they really just used to defend against aircraft.

 

Suzette:  Oh they didn’t?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No.  There was..all they give us was World War I excess.

 

Suzette:  That’s really strange.

 

Mr. Frazier:  But we were considered a fighting force.

 

Rex:  Didn’t you usually travel in convoys?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, no.

 

Rex:  OK.

 

Mr. Frazier:  We didn’t travel in convoys.

 

Suzette:  You traveled as single ships?  Or did you travel in groups?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, that’s what he’s talking about in convoys.  We was a little faster than most ships at that time.  So we usually traveled alone.  They wouldn’t make us wait for convoys ‘cause we usually had to set somewhere and wait for about two weeks to get enough ships together for the convoy.  And then….so they wouldn’t put us in a convoy unless they had to, while it was too dangerous for them to go alone.

 

Suzette:  Was the thought that a single ship might not be observed as much as if you had a convoy?  A single ship might actually make it.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah, yeah. 

 

Suzette:  Let me ask you quickly.  After gunnery school, where did you go?  Where were you sent?  Were you in the Pacific or the Atlantic?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Uh, the first trip we went to New Guinea.

 

Suzette:  So you were in the Pacific.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yes.  Later we went through the Panama Canal and over to the Atlantic.

 

Suzette:  So you started with your port as San Diego and then you went to New Guinea with your first trip out?  Do you remember how much you could carry?  How many pounds the ship was carrying?

 

Mr. Frazier:  They had five cargo holds full of stuff we hauled over.  And after we got unloaded, we run a little water into the cargo places to keep the ship down in the water as we went back so it would ride better in the water.  To keep in the water better; you get in the rough seas, see, it gets to going like this, the ____would be up out of the water and the nose down like that.

 

Suzette:  That sounds scary.  How big was a merchant ship?  How big were your ships?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, I think it was 60-some feet wide, and I can’t think of the width of it.  I’d guess some 300 and some feet long, I’m just guessing that.

 

Suzette:  So your first trip was to New Guinea.  How long did that take?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, it took us 20 days to get there, and then we were there 26 days, and then we come back.

 

Suzette:  What did you do while you were in port at New Guinea?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, the main job was to unload the ship.

 

Suzette:  Did you help unload the ship?

 

Mr. Frazier:  We didn’t!  We stood guard while the other guys did it.

 

Suzette:  I see. So you really were just to serve as a police force on it.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, um, hum.

 

Suzette:  And did you get to go out on shore at all while you were in New Guinea?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah.

 

Suzette:  And what were your experiences of doing that?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I don’t know if I can describe ‘em or not!  There was just nothing there.  That’s all there was to it.  All the l___, whatever you call ‘em, lived back up off the coast a little ways, in little towns, and they all lived in groups in this little town.  They were awful short, really.  Actually, they just didn’t look like human beings, to be right honest about it.

 

Suzette:  Because they were so little?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Small, and I think they looked like they were more like a monkey than a person.

 

Suzette:  They dressed differently and had their hair different.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, of course they didn’t have hair on ‘em like a monkey.

 

Suzette:  Did you communicate with them?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, big signs or something, but as far as talking to them or anything, I don’t know if they talked or not.  They kind of jibberish….

 

Suzette:  So they would come down where the ships were?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, no.  They stayed back away from us.  Yeah, we had to go up there to see them.

 

Suzette:  So was it pretty hot there?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, it was, yes.  But it wasn’t as hot as you think; it was hot and humid, but you really didn’t suffer much.  Air off the water kept it cool enough that it wasn’t that hot there.

 

Suzette:  That sounds wonderful.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, it wasn’t a bad place to be, except nothing there.

 

Suzette:  Nothing to do.  You were there for 26 days, what did you guys do, you know, when you were off times?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Most of us just stayed aboard ship.  There was no reason to go off; they got no land.  We were better aboard ship than there on the land or nowhere.

 

Suzette:  No dances?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Nope!  No entertainment of any kind!

 

Suzette:  So you were probably glad when you left New Guinea.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, yeah, I agree after 26 days.  In fact, we had quite a little joke about that.  From the time we left San Francisco, it was 20 days going over, we was in there 26 days.  And so, on Friday the 13th we were scheduled to leave.  Friday, the 13th day of October to head back to the States.  And so, you know how sailors are, all superstitious, nobody wanted to leave on Friday the 13th.  So the captain got on the horn and he said, “Well, we’ll be leaving on Friday the 13th, and if any of you fellas don’t care to go along, just let us know and we’ll get somebody to replace you off the island.”  Ha Ha

 

Suzette:  And no one wanted to stay!!

 

Mr. Frazier:  They didn’t want to go, but they sure didn’t want to stay either!  Ha ha  That put an end to the griping.

 

Suzette:  So then you left New Guinea.  Did you take something back from New Guinea?

 

Mr. Frazier:  All we took back was just things that they had that they had no use for anymore, like old guns that had wore out, straps had broke down, and stuff like that we took back.

 

Suzette:  So you didn’t leave it on the island; they were shipping it back?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, shipped back to the States to be fixed or throwed away, or whatever they could do, salvage, or whatever they wanted to do with it.

 

Suzette:  Did you go back to San Diego then on your return trip?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No, we went back to San Pedro, I think.

 

Suzette:  OK.  And then got another load?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  We unloaded that, and got us another load and went back out to Guadalcanal, Bougainville and some little islands out in there.

 

Suzette:  And did you stay like normally 26 days at a time when you were at the island?

 

Mr. Frazier: Oh, no, no.  We just stayed until we had to leave.

 

Suzette:  Does that mean until you were unloaded and then loaded up again?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, when we got everything taken care of and go back out.

 

Suzette:  Did you like any of the islands you went to or were any of them interesting, like how was Guadalcanal?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I didn’t get that.

 

Rex:  How was Guadalcanal?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, really we didn’t get off the ship.  I expect it would have been a nice place if we’d a had much chance to get off the ship.  Guadalcanal, we never even got up to Guadalcanal.  They just let us lay out in the bay.  What we did, was, unload the stuff in the ocean and let it float to shore.

 

Suzette:  They didn’t have a harbor?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Not that we could pull up to for some reason.  They were afraid if we pulled up there the airplanes would come over and bomb us when we was there in the harbor.

 

Suzette:  OK.  So Guadalcanal, that was a big fight…so the Japanese were coming and bombing.

 

Mr. Frazier:  The Japanese were there.

 

Suzette:  On Guadalcanal when you were delivering.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, they were already there.  They had Guadlalcanal. 

 

Suzette:  So no wonder you stayed off shore.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  I guess you were lucky because I am sure there were Japanese submarines and ships and planes.  So were you ever attacked by Japanese airplanes?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Not really a Jap, no.  But it seemed like they really didn’t want to fight with us some way.  I never did understand it.  They tried to aggravate us more than they would to fight with us.

 

Suzette:  Oh, they flew over, and…

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  Fly over and drop a bomb, stay out of reach of our guns so we couldn’t shoot at ‘em.  Just get close enough to take a picture of us.

 

Suzette:  I see.  Now were they still fighting on the island at Guadalcanal?

 

Mr. Frazier: Oh, yeah, yeah.  But they had Guadalcanal, they had it.

 

Suzette:  So we were actually still taking it.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, we were trying to get it back from  ‘em.

 

Suzette:  …when you’re making deliveries.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Um, hum.

 

Suzette:  So you were in kind of war zone.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah, it definitely was.

 

Suzette:  I guess you were really lucky that they were just teasing you.

 

Mr. Frazier:  We never fired a shot at anybody when we were in there.

 

Suzette:  They didn’t send any kamikaze pilots down for you?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Uh, huh, no, no.  They didn’t try to do anything.  Of course, all they was interested in was our cargo; they didn’t want our ship.  It was the worst.  They wouldn’t even waste a torpedo on our ship if they had to.

 

Suzette:  They wanted to save the goods in your ship.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  They just didn’t want us to be there when we’d bring it over.

 

Suzette:  About how many trips did you make in the Pacific?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, I’ll tell you the first time we went down to New Guinea, the next time up to Guadalcanal and Bougainville and up through there, and that time we came back to South America, went through the Panama Canal, and over to the Atlantic Coast, Ocean, and up to Baltimore.

 

Suzette:  So you made about two trips in the Pacific delivering goods, and then you went to the Atlantic.  What did you do in Baltimore?

 

Mr. Frazier:  At Baltimore, we loaded up supplies for Calcutta. 

 

Suzette:  For Calcutta, India?  I didn’t realize we had anything going on there.  What were you loaded, do you remember?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I don’t remember, just more Army supplies.  Calcutta wasn’t in on the fighting, but there was troops there. 

 

Suzette:  I didn’t realize that.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, there was troops there.  We was hauling the stuff over for ‘em.

 

Suzette:  How long did that take, from Baltimore to Calcutta?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, gosh, I don’t know if I can figure it out or not.

 

Suzette:  Just estimate.

 

Mr. Frazier:  I guess 25 or 26 days, my closest guess.

 

Suzette:  Wow!  And you were taking military supplies, guns, and things like that.

 

Mr. Frazier: Yeah, military stuff for the troops that were there.

 

Suzette:  Why were the troops in India?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Uh, they were stationed there from other countries, like we had troops from India.

 

Suzette:  And this was just kind of like a back up for the Pacific.  And there was something going on in Burma and China at the time.  Was India a backup for Burma and China?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, it could have been; I don’t know. I know we went to Calcutta.  The funniest thing, you know what they unloaded us with?

 

Suzette:  No.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Trucks that was over a thousand years old.  Their equipment that they unloaded our ships with was over a thousand years old.  Water power!  Calcutta is on the Hooghly River and the water running out of the river is what operated their trucks.

 

Suzette:  Wow.  I had no idea we had troops in India.  So how long were you in Calcutta?  How long did it take to unload?

 

Mr. Frazier:  It didn’t take us that long.  I don’t think we were there over five days.  Of course, we didn’t unload the whole load.

 

Suzette:  Oh, that was one of your stops.  Did you load anything up at Calcutta?  Did you get a new load at Calcutta?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No, I don’t think so. 

 

Suzette:  Did you get a chance to go onshore?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah.

 

Suzette:  What was that experience in Calcutta?

 

Mr. Frazier: It was funny.  Calcutta was one of the poorest places I’ve ever seen.  They have the caste system over there.  Some people are untouchables…some people drink quarters for a living all their lives.  They had water buffalo that were sacred..

 

Suzette:  And they were walking in the street?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  And they had their rickashaws…

 

Suzette:  Did you take a ride in one?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  You did?  And did you take photographs when you were there?

 

Mr. Frazier: Yeah, and no, I didn’t have a camera with me.

 

Suzette:  Did you experience the people when you were there?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah, yeah.

 

Suzette:  How did you feel about, did you get along well?

 

Mr. Frazier:  They spoke English there, so we could talk to them.  The time I was there they worked 12 hour days, got 18 cents for it. 

 

Suzette:  Wow!  That sounds like a really interesting experience.  Did you eat any food when you were in India?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah.

 

Suzette:  What type foods did you eat?

 

Mr. Frazier:  The really didn’t have restaurants in India or else I never ate in one anyway while I was there.  They just had, kind of a garden spot or something, along the side of a sidewalk.  Sit down in a chair, eat or drink, and go on.

 

Suzette:  Well, that sounds really interesting.  It sounds like there was a lot of free time too when you got to go off ship.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, we was there just five days.  We drove in there, they had us, they did a lot of work on our ship while we was there.

 

Suzette:  Oh they did?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, of course it didn’t cost nothing to get ‘em to do it.  They chipped all of our rusty stuff off, repainted, and done everything.  Boy, they were…

 

Suzette:  I’ll bet the merchant marine were happy they didn’t have to do that.  So where did you go after you left Calcutta?

 

Mr. Frazier:  We come back to East Africa then.

 

Suzette:  OK.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Um, do you know where Barley, East Africa is?

 

Suzette:  No, I don’t.   

 

Mr. Frazier:  It’s just a little south of the Suez Canal. Go down the Suez Canal, and you turn to go to Calcutta, and go on down to German and Cape Town and all those, well Barley is the first town south of the….That’s the place where the highest and lowest tide is in the world.

 

Suzette:  It is?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Bar none.

 

Suzette:  Why is that?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I don’t know.

 

Suzette:  Did you experience the high and low tide while you were there?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, yeah, every day, the tide would come up and that old ship just raised up and pretty soon the gang plank would hardly reach at all, go back out, and the ship would go back down, pretty soon it would be laying flat on her jaw.

 

Suzette:  Wow!  This is really interesting!

Now how long are you going to be there?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I’d just have to guess.  I’d say we were there four or five days. 

 

Suzette:  And did you get to go on shore?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah, yeah.

 

Suzette:  What was your experience of being on shore in Africa?

 

Mr. Frazier:  It was a Japanese colony.  And we went in where they worked. 

 

Suzette:  And you felt safe doing so?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  ‘Cause you know there were feelings against the Japanese.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Actually, we enjoyed them about as much as any place we went because they didn’t know all about what was going on.

 

Suzette:  And they may have identified with East Africa, and not Japanese.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, they was just a Japanese colony living in East Africa.

 

Suzette:  How big a town was it?

 

Mr. Frazier:  It wasn’t a very big town.  I’d say a little bigger ______

 

Suzette:  And so you got to interact with the people, they were open to you?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, yeah.  We had a wonderful time there.

 

Suzette:  What were some of the things you did?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, I’m just blank on that.  I don’t remember.

 

Suzette:  That’s OK.  I’m asking you a lot of details because most people didn’t get to go on shore as much as you did.  So you really got to experience some of the culture.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, no.  We weren’t considered fighting people.  See we were people out on a cruise, more or less.

 

Suzette:  It sounds like you got to cruise around and visit new cultures.  Where did you go after you left East Africa?

 

Mr. Frazier:  We went down around Mogudish, down around there, and then we come back to New York.

 

Suzette:  I understand that sometimes the weather can be pretty tough going around the Cape down there.  Did you have any bad weather when you were out?

 

Mr. Frazier:  There was no problems with the weather down there.  It was nice as it could be.

 

Suzette:  Oh, really!  Since you were in a small ship, did you ever experience heavy seas and bad storms when you were out?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yes.  But nothing that bothered our ship.  We never had any problems with our ship.

 

Suzette:  So you weren’t caught in any typhoons…

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah, we’d hit ‘em but they never caused us any trouble.

 

Suzette:  So you weren’t worried?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Uh, huh.  No.

 

Suzette:  Take me through a typical day.

 

Mr. Frazier:  The thing we would do, now like we’d get into a storm, we would either head into it, or away from it, according on which way the storm was coming up and which way we wanted to go.  But we never went across the storm.  We’d run straight towards it or straight away from it.

 

Suzette:  ‘Cause it would capsize you if you broadside it.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  Tell me your typical day.  You know, you’re out on the ocean, you’re going somewhere, what were your duties during the day.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, of course it was where we was at.  If we were in a war zone, we’d work 12 hour days.  But we worked, let’s see, how’d we do that, well, anyway, we’d stand guard four hours at a time.  I’m going to have to do a little guessing on this.  But for an hour every morning and an hour every evening they’d have what they called TQ.  That meant everybody’s gun was ready.  Besides that, we either worked 8 or 12 hours; we’d get over in a war zone, we worked 12 hours, plus the hour at sunrise and sunset. Usually sunrise and sunset was on two shift; the third shift had to work an extra hour that day.

 

Suzette:  I see.  So actually you worked in shifts.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  We worked four-hour shifts.

 

Suzette:  But you’re on for 12 hours, then how much time did you get off?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, what we do, of course, we had to have eight hours for ourselves to sleep and eat and stuff…

 

Suzette:  Were your days in port different from when you were out on the ocean?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah.  In port, just what we had to do…you guys go do what you wish while you’re here, take a break.

 

Suzette:  That’s why you knew so much about your ports.  Nobody else got to do that.  So after you left Cape Town, you went back to the States for another load.  And so, where did you go next time?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  We went in…

 

Rex:  Dad, wasn’t it from Cape Town to New York when President Roosevelt died?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  So how did you feel?

 

Mr. Frazier:  We was four days out of Cape Town we heard that Roosevelt had died.

 

Suzette:  How did your shipmates take that news?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, uh, not too hard because they knew he was ___, and everything, and they said, “Well, it was time for him to die.”

 

Suzette:  Were they worried about the new president, Truman?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I didn’t know who the new president was until I got back to the States.

 

Suzette:  A lot of people didn’t!

 

Rex:  Somebody thought he was from Kansas, didn’t they, Dad?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, instead of Missouri.

 

Suzette:  It came out in the Ken Burns special that nobody knew anything about him.  So when you got back to New York, did you think maybe that would affect the war any?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, the war was pretty well over at that time.  Of course, I was considerably young, so I got a delay in route, went home, so many days, and report back in to San Francisco.  Because the war was over here.

 

Suzette:  So you got to come home and see your family, and while you were out on ship, did you write back home?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah.  Of course, you couldn’t mail it!

 

Suzette:  You couldn’t?  Did you mail ‘em in port or how did you send your mail out?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, we’d just wait until we come into a port and then we’d mail ‘em then.

 

Suzette:  I never thought about that.  Could you get mail?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No.  I never will forget one trip I went on, I got one letter from the time I left the States til I got home.  It was a card from my sister that she just typed it into it and sent it.  That’s the only letter I got from the time I left until I got back.

 

Suzette:  No message?!!  He didn’t know anything about what was going on at home.

 

Suzette:  Have you had more than one girlfriend?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah!

 

Suzette:  Did they know about each other?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No.

 

Suzette:  Were they all from Kansas or were they from different ports?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Some of those.

 

Suzette:  You know, the Navy had girls in every port!  So, when you left Kansas to go to war, did you have a girlfriend here?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  That you’d gone to high school with?

 

Mr. Frazier:  When I left I did, but we decided there was no need for us to wait for one another when she was here and I was overseas.

 

Suzette:  Ah, so you didn’t write to her?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, I wrote to her once in a while.

 

Suzette:  Oh, OK.  So where did you get your other girlfriends?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh,…a lot of ‘em in the States, different places, you know, I’d be somewhere and meet a girl, we’d get together.

 

Suzette:  For entertainment for the troops when you were in training, did they have USO clubs where you could go?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah.

 

Suzette:  Is that where you met people?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah, all kinds of places where you could meet the girls.

 

Suzette:  Did you go to USO Clubs or did you go….

 

Mr. Frazier:  Where we was at.  In the States, it was USO clubs.

 

Suzette:  Ah, so you met people overseas in clubs.

 

(End side 1, begin side 2)

 

Suzette:  Were the clubs where you could go dance?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Different kinds of things. Like they had lots of different kinds of things in the States.  They had taxi dances on the West coast.

 

Suzette:  Taxi dances?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Do you remember that?

 

Suzette:  No, what’s that?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Pay a dime to dance with a girl.

 

Suzette:  Oh!  This was like a fund raising for the war or something.  Was this like the USO or a private place.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, they had both.  San Francisco they had taxi dances out there.  You’d go and dance, and meet the girls, and if you wanted to date one of ‘em, you ask ‘em if they wanted to go out, and when the dance was over, they’d go with you.

 

Suzette:  I’ve never heard of this.  This is very interesting.  So you had several letters you wrote every day, it sounds like.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah.  That’s one thing, we always say, there was always friends, girl friends or boy friends both, everywhere to keep them more or less satisfied and happy when they was in the service.

 

Suzette:  Well, that’s true.  And then when you were off duty so much, in the ports you had plenty of time to go out.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah!  See, we really didn’t have a job when we were in port.  We just stood where they come on the ship and check everybody that come in.  Make sure they had a reason for being there.

 

Suzette:  OK.  Now I don’t think I asked you this.  You said there were 28 men on one of these merchant ships.  Was that a total crew of 28?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yes.  From the commanding officer clear down to the lowest seaman.  There was 28 of us.

 

Suzette:  Did that include you?  How many people were actually in the Armed Guard?

 

Mr. Frazier:  That was the number that was in the Armed Guard.  You had either a lieutenant or a captain in charge, one officer, next was your boatswain’s mate, he was in charge of all the decks and stuff, and then they a couple gunner’s mates that take care of the guns, and stuff like this.

 

Suzette:  So was everybody on this ship part of the Armed Guard then?

 

Peggy:  No, the Armed Guard were part of the Navy, and the rest of the crew were with the merchant marine.

 

Suzette:  Well, what I am trying to understand is you have the entire crew was 28…

 

Peggy:  No!  The entire crew was the merchant marine and the 28 of the Armed Guard.

 

Suzette:  That’s what I’m trying to understand.  So there was 28 of you, 28 Armed Guard,

 

Mr. Frazier:  28 Navy men and about, oh, I think there was about 60 merchant marines sailed the ship.

 

Suzette:  That’s what I was worried about.  I couldn’t see 28 people sailing this ship.  OK, I’ve got it now.  So that you had enough people to do shifts, 4-hour shifts, and to trade off.  Did you form any close type friendships with these people that you worked with?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah.  Most of the boys, some of ‘em I communicated back and forth with when alive.  Most of ‘em are all dead now.

 

Suzette:  So you kept in contact when you came back?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Several of ‘em, not all of ‘em.  You could look ‘em up on the internet, as long as you could remember their names, and find ‘em yet today.

 

Suzette:  So you’re computer savvy then!

 

Mr. Frazier:  Um, hum.

 

Suzette: Ah!! 

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, I can look ‘em up on the computer if they are still around.  Of course, if they ain’t around why, you can’t do it.

 

Suzette:  So you guys had a chance to bond when you were on board ship?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Um, hum.

 

Suzette:  And when you got transferred over to the ship, you stayed with the same unit the entire war.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, no, no.

 

Suzette:  No?  You got shifted…

 

Mr. Frazier:  Whenever you’d change ships, you went back to the center, and when some ship was going out, they just said so many men, and they’d take so many off the line, send ‘em out there.  You’d load on that ship and went.

 

Suzette:  OK.  So you didn’t transfer as a…

 

Mr. Frazier:  My first ship was the San Lucas, my second was the Juliel Dumont.  It was a lot better ship than the first one was.  We gave that ship to the Japanese when the war was over.

 

Suzette:  The San Lucas?  Why?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No, the Juliel Dumont.

 

Suzette:  The Juliel Dumont.  They didn’t think it was as good as the San Lucas? 

 

Mr. Frazier:  What?

 

Suzette:  Because it wasn’t a very good ship!!

 

Mr. Frazier:  The reason we give it was we didn’t want it any more.

 

Rex:  Is that the one they used for target practice?

Did they bury it for a reason?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No.  The Japanese still had it the last I knew.

 

Suzette:  All in all, how many ships did you serve on?

 

Mr. Frazier:  The two were all was ever during the war.

 

Suzette:  It sounds like you took one big trip to the Atlantic.  Is that correct?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Did what?

 

Suzette:  You did one big trip to the Atlantic, by going to India and coming through Africa.

 

Mr. Frazier: That was when the war was about over.  When I got back to San Francisco, they sent me to Japan.  I went to Japan after the war.

 

Suzette:  Oh!  As part of the occupation forces?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No, I went as part of the armed station forces.  But the reason I wasn’t was I was aboard ship.

 

Rex:  He took supplies to the occupation forces.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  And you took those from San Diego over to occupation?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Um, hum.

 

Suzette:  And how many trips did you make doing that?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Just one.

 

Suzette:  And did you have an opportunity to go on shore in Japan?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah, yeah.

 

Suzette:  What was your experience there?

 

Mr. Frazier:  It was really nice.  You know, the Japanese, of course, after they dropped those two bombs on ‘em, they sure didn’t like you.

 

Suzette:  I was wondering.

 

Mr. Frazier:  I can’t say a word against the Japanese.  I really can’t. 

 

Suzette: What port were you in in Japan?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Tokyo Bay.

 

Suzette:  Tokyo Bay?  So you got to go into Tokyo?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No, well, I got to go to Tokyo on the train.  I was actually in Yokohama.

 

Suzette:  What was your impression of Japanese culture as you would see it?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, it’s so much different than ours it’s hard to compare ‘em.  But it was pitiful. 

 

Rex:  But most of Yokohama was burned, wasn’t it, Dad?

 

Mr. Frazier:  What?

 

Rex:  Wasn’t most of Yokohama destroyed from the bombing?

 

Mr. Frazier:  If you want to say a dirty word in Japan, just call somebody a pilot.

 

Suzette:  A pilot?  They didn’t like the airplanes I take it.

 

Mr. Frazier:  They understood that.

 

Suzette:  So Tokyo was less damaged than Yokohama.

 

Mr. Frazier:  The only thing less damaged was Hirohito’s palace.  It was not touched.

 

Suzette:  That’s right.  They firebombed on Tokyo.

 

Suzette:  Do you have any memories of what you did on ship or any particular friend that you want to share with us?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Not that I can think of at the moment.  Of course, I have Alzheimer’s, and it’s getting fuzzy for me.  You know, after so long a time.

 

Suzette:  You know, it is a long time to remember that.  Did you receive any medals or special service awards?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, these campaign ribbons and stuff like that. I got several of them.

 

Suzette:  Did you ever cross the International line?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Three times.

 

Suzette:  Did you have like Davy Jones’ locker ceremonies?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  I crossed the International date line three times and I crossed the equator three times.

 

Suzette:  They have little ceremonies for the first time, right?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  Well, they have it every time.

 

Suzette:  Oh, they do?

 

Mr. Frazier:  But you don’t have to be in on it after the first time.

 

Suzette:  Oh what happened if you were a first timer?

 

Mr. Frazier:  You got initiated.  You did when you crossed the equator.  You didn’t when you crossed the International Date line.  You just lost a day.

 

Suzette:  I see.  How did they initiate you when you crossed the equator?

 

Mr. Frazier:  (Laughing)  Cat o’ nine tails and stuff like that.

 

Suzette:  Oh, they did not!!  They did that in the British Navy!

 

Mr. Frazier:  They did it in ours too.  I got whipped with a cat o’nine tails when we crossed the equator the first time.

 

Suzette:  Did you have to run down a gauntlet and they hit you, or they tied you up?

 

Mr. Frazier:  They just hit us with a cat o’nine tails as you went down the line.  Of course, we was blindfolded so we didn’t know who did it.

 

Suzette:  I don’t think I’ve ever heard that part.

 

Mr. Frazier: It was a pretty rough initiation, I’ll tell you that.

 

Suzette:  Well, I think so.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Of course, we crossed it three times, why I was in on the initiation once.

 

Suzette:  Was that more fun?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, more fun than getting it, I guess.  I don’t think, (can’t hear or understand here)

 

Suzette:  What port did they release you in?  You made a trip to Japan for the occupation forces, and then you went back to the States?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Come back to San Francisco.

 

Rex:  Dad, if they gave your boat to the Japanese, how did you get back?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Put us on a transport, and sent us back.

 

Suzette:  You left your ship there in Yokohama.  And they put you on a troop transport?  And how many people were on that troop transport?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, I wouldn’t know how many was on it.  It was loaded.  We were completely full.  If they’d had any more room, they’d put some more on.  They run out of room.

 

Suzette:  Were people celebrating because they were on their way home?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, not particularly.  Yes, they were glad to come home, but they were generally glad the war was over.

 

Suzette:  And so when you got back to the States, then were you discharged?

 

Mr. Frazier:  As soon as I got back to the States, the Armed Guard was done.  The war was over, so they sent me to Olathe.

 

Suzette:  Olathe, Kansas?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Um, hum.

 

Suzette:  And what were you doing there?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I was in the Air National Guard.

 

Suzette:  So you were in the Air National Guard in Olathe.

 

Mr. Frazier:  I stayed down there for about two months, in the Air National Guard, before I got my discharge.

 

Suzette:  What were your duties there?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Just worked down there.  I was taking care of, oh, the motor pool down there. 

 

Suzette:  So you took care of things.  Did you get to drive when you were in the motor pool?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I drove a semi.

 

Suzette:  Oh, you did?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  Were you making truck deliveries, etc.?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  The tanker truck, with gasoline.  Semi.

 

Suzette:  Was that common where they put you into the National Guard when you came back?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Ours was strictly a wartime deal; it was closed when we got back from Japan.

 

Suzette:  So you still needed more points so you could get out?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, they just put us wherever it was handy.  They sent me back to Olathe cause it was closest to my home.

 

Suzette:  And so you were there for two months.

 

Mr. Frazier:  I can’t remember; I know I got out on the 3rd day of July.

 

Suzette:  And so what did you do after you got out?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I went back to the farm.

 

Suzette:  Did you feel, when you were discharged, you knew what you wanted to do with your life or what you wanted to do as a career?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, I thought I wanted to try something besides farming.  And so, I finally decided to go get me a job and go to work.

 

Suzette:  You came back to be with your family.  And then, so where did you go work?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, I went to work for the elevator in Mayetta.  I worked there awhile, I wasn’t particularly crazy about that, so I went and got me, went and took an exam where I was a ____, I got a job with the government.

 

Suzette:  And what kind of job did you get?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I worked at the old supply depot there at Pauline.

 

Suzette:  Oh, at Forbes Air Force Base. 

 

Mr. Frazier:  And when it closed, I went over and worked at  the fort.

 

Suzette:  So did you feel that you had training as a result of your military work that enabled you to get a job after the war?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  It was very helpful to you?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  Because I had been in the navy, the reason I got the job down there and I held it, saved, and work in security until I got my 30 years in.

 

Suzette:  Ah, so you were a civilian type at the federal government at the fort.

 

Mr. Frazier:  At the fort, then when the fort closed, I went to the, uh,

 

Rex:  Air National Guard.

 

Suzette:  Air National Guard.

 

Mr. Frazier:  I worked for the Air National Guard.

 

Rex:  1980.

 

Suzette:  And where was that Air National Guard located?

 

Rex: Forbes, also.  All three jobs were at Forbes. It was just in transition.

 

Mr. Frazier:  The first one was the supply depot, and from there to Forbes.

 

Rex:  Where was the supply depot from Forbes?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Across the road.

 

Rex:  OK.

 

Suzette:  That’s from all your experiences from watching them load supplies during the war, right?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Um, hum.

 

Suzette:  Did you take advantage of any GI Bills to get a college degree or get any support?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No, I give up on my education when I came back. That’s all I had; I’d been out of school how long.  I come back in ’46, didn’t I?

 

Suzette:  Yeah.

 

Rex:  You graduated in ’42.  Weren’t you the only one of the brothers to graduate high school?  Did Uncle Robert or Uncle Carl graduate high school?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No, I was the only one.  I come back from, where was it, somewhere I went, would have been a pretty good job to come back to finish my high school education.

 

Rex:  Was that part of the CCC?

 

Mr. Frazier:  What?

 

Rex:  Was that part of the CCC?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, it was in the CCC.

 

Rex:  The WPA?  I thought maybe that was the job you quit.

 

Mr. Frazier:  I can’t think what it was.

 

Suzette:  Was it during the ‘30s?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No, it was, I didn’t graduate until ’42.

 

Suzette:  You said you had a brother in the service.

 

Rex:  Didn’t Uncle Robert and Uncle Carl join the military?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  Both of ‘em got their GED but they were always considered school dropouts.

 

Suzette:  They were?  Even tho’ they had a GED.  By the community, or by your family,?

 

Mr. Frazier:  All the way around. Didn’t do ‘em a bit of good.

 

Suzette: Did you ever take advantage of any of the GI loans to build a house, or to buy one?  Were you aware that there were GI Bills available?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No

 

Suzette:  You chose not to.

 

Mr. Frazier:  I never even knew…

 

Suzette:  Do you take advantage of any of the veterans’ administration today?

 

Mr. Frazier:  The deals that were offered to us, I take advantage of them. I mean, they used to have a 20-20 for us, you ever hear of that?

 

Suzette:  I have.

 

Mr. Frazier:  I was in that for awhile.

 

Rex:  What was the 20-20 club, Dad?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I can’t hear him.

 

Rex:  That wasn’t where you saved money, or something like that, was it?

 

Suzette:  This was offered through the veterans’ administration, this 20-20 club?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  And do you get medicine from any of the veterans’ hospitals?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah.  I’ve been to the VA hospital.

 

Suzette:  So you get your medical from there.  You visited the VA hospital for the doctors.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, I don’t.  They are available to me.  I just used Dr. Huston.

 

Suzette:  Do you use them for your medication at all or anything?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I got enough money, I’m not hurting for money, so I don’t see any reason to take advantage of ‘em.

 

Suzette:  OK.  When you came back, did you join the American Legion or the VFW?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I belong to both of ‘em. Life member of both of ‘em.

 

Suzette:  Were you active?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  Still am.

 

Suzette:  Glad to hear that. So what kinds of activities did they provide for you as a veteran that made you want to belong?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, they had life insurance that I liked, and I belong to that for awhile, and then I gave up the life insurance.

 

Suzette:  And did they serve as a social function?

 

Mr. Frazier:  What?

 

Suzette:  Was there a social function that they served?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, they was both in Holton and I was in Dennison and I just wanted to keep active.

 

Suzette:  But you wanted to belong?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, I wanted to belong.

 

Suzette:  Was it because you were with other men who had served in the military and it was important that you show camaraderieship?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  Don’t they do community activities also?

 

Rex:  Do they do community activities, like they sponsor bingo on Friday nights, don’t they?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Rex:  The American Legion sponsors the baseball but I don’t think you ever did much with the American Legion baseball, but you stuck more to Dennison baseball.  We were more Mayetta and Dennison, and most of this was at Holton and today that seems funny that that’s a distance, but growing up, we went to Mayetta and Dad had his Eastern Star and Masons, Lodge, that were his social activities.

 

Suzette:  So you lived in Dennison?

 

Rex:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  And so it was the Masonic Lodge that was his social activity?  ….Everybody came back and joined the Legion.  I just wanted to see if it was a natural thing because they were in the war together and this was a way that could support that memory…So is there anything else you would like to share with us?  Any other memories…

 

Mr. Frazier:  Not that I can think of.

 

Suzette:  How did you meet your wife?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, if I can remember…

 

Rex:  Didn’t you go to a movie with a friend.  Your friend was dating one of Mom’s friends?  She grew up, what, two miles away from you.

 

Mr. Frazier:  We lived two miles apart when we was growing up.  We knew each other.  But we never, she went to Dennison school and I went to Mayetta school.  So we never really had any relationship of any kind when we were growing up.  So after we grew up, one night I went to Mayetta, and there were some boys there from Holton.  And I got in with them, and one or two of them had girlfriends in Dennison.  So I think there was four of us.  So they wanted to go over and pick up their girlfriends.  So we all picked up their girlfriends, she was only the girl left that didn’t have a date, and I was the only boy left that didn’t have a date.

 

Suzette:  That was convenient!

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah!  So that’s the way we actually got together the first time!  Then the second time, after I went away to the service and come back, I went to Topeka.  Her and another girl up window shopping in the evening, after supper anyway.  We went down and we seen them.  Of course, I knew her.  So we stopped and talked to them, and there was four of us boys and two girls.  So we went down to where they lived, her and the other girl, and I and Carl, we all set down there and talked awhile and then they went in.

 

Suzette:  But you were out of the service and working.

 

Mr. Frazier:  At that time.  But the other time was before I went in.

 

Suzette:  Did you write to her?  Was she one of your girlfriends you wrote to?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No.  One date was all before the war!

 

Suzette:  How many children do you have?

 

Mr. Frazier: Four. 

 

Suzette:  Four.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Two girls and two boys, but my oldest daughter died. 

 

Suzette:  Ah, I’m sorry.

 

Mr. Frazier:  She had two daughters before she died, so I have two granddaughters.

 

Rex:  Well, two granddaughters by her.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Rex:  Five granddaughters and two grandsons.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  Just got two grandsons.  I had five granddaughters and that was it until…

 

Suzette:  Two months ago you had twins!!  Oh, well, congratulations!!

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, do you want to see a picture of them?  I got a picture in my wallet.

 

Suzette:  Yeah.  Gosh, they will keep you busy.

Do you have anything else you’d like to share, any other questions or comments?

 

Rex:  You did spend a lot of time playing cards, didn’t you, Dad?  On the boat?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah.

 

Rex:  Dad’s always been an awful good card player.  My brother and I never could beat him in cards.  He always said because he spent so much time on the boat.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yes, we did, we played in our spare time.  You always got a little spare time.  Played poker, and pitch, and different games like that.  In the Navy, we played payday poker.  Nobody ever paid for it, but they was supposed to pay.

 

Suzette:  You didn’t have any money then, but on payday you were gonna pay.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah!  Ha ha  You know how that goes.

 

Suzette:  Yeah, good intentions.

 

Mr. Frazier:  But it was a good time to pass the time.

 

Rex:  And you took up smoking while you were there, didn’t you?  And then you ended up quitting that cold turkey how many years later, Dad?  It’d be over 30 years.

 

Mr. Frazier: I don’t remember how many.

 

Rex:  It would be after I graduated high school, which was ’84.  He decided to quit, didn’t tell anyone, and we didn’t find it out until a month later.

 

Suzette:  You didn’t notice?

 

Rex: Well, I wasn’t living at home; I was in college.  One day the pipes were gone and Marsha asked him about it.  He said he quit smoking quite a while ago.

 

Suzette:  He didn’t tell us about that.  I asked and you didn’t tell me about smoking and playing cards.  Are there other real stories I need to hear?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, I left a few things out! 

 

Suzette:  This is to find out about the everyday person in the war and what they were doing.

 

Mr. Frazier:  I think we’ve done a pretty good job of covering everything.

 

Suzette:  OK.  Any other comments or questions from anybody else?  OK.  I want to thank you very, very much, Mr. Frazier.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Quite all right. Glad to do it.

 

Suzette:  Thank you.     

 

RAZIER

 

WORLD WAR II ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW

 

     This is Suzette McCord-Rogers and Peggy Stanton and we are interviewing Roy Everett Frazier at his home in Holton, Kansas. 

 

Mr. Frazier, can you tell me where you were born?

 

Mr. Frazier:  One mile northeast of Mayetta on an 80-acre farm.

 

Suzette:  Were you born at home?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yes.

 

Suzette:  Can you give me your date of birth?

 

Mr. Frazier:  5th of January, ’24.

 

Suzette:  What branch of service did you serve in?

 

Mr. Frazier:  In the Navy.

 

Suzette:  And do you remember your ship, your unit, what was the name of your ship?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, I was on different ships.  Where I was, I got in a special branch of the Navy.  It was called the Armed Guard.  And the only time that was ever activated was in wartime.  So I was in it from the time I went into the Navy until I got discharged.  Of course, after the war was over, it was no more Armed Guard.  They just done away with it. Sent ‘em to other branches of the service, the Corps of Engineers or something like that.

 

Suzette:  Oh! I have not heard that before about these special services.  So were you assigned to a ship then?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No, what I did was I sailed on merchant marine ships and there was 28 sailors on an average-sized ship to protect it when it was in the war zone. 

 

Suzette:  Oh, so the merchant marine ships were actually shipping goods overseas.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Overseas, what I actually did was haul supplies overseas to the troops then bring back whatever was there wherever we stopped to the States.  And then make a second trip.

 

Suzette:  So you were called then the armed services?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No, Armed Guard.

 

Suzette: Armed Guard, it wasn’t like the 10th, you know, unit or anything, just the Armed Guard?  It didn’t have a number.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Of course we were aboard ship and that was on merchant ships.  We weren’t on Navy ships. 

 

Suzette:  OK.  So I hadn’t been aware of that.  That’s interesting.  And with Mr. Frazier is his son, Rex Frazier.  What was your highest rank?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Gunner’s mate third class.

 

Suzette:  And did you enlist?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yes.

 

Suzette:  Was that because you wanted to be in the Navy?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, uh, it’s kind of hard to explain!  What they did, you know, when you got there, they said, “Well, where you want to be?”  And they named off the different branches of the service that was available.  Each one of ‘em had so many men they wanted, so I said, “Well, I think I would rather be in the Navy.”  A bunch enlisted, like the Marines, the Army, Army Air Force, the Navy Air Force, and different ones.  I wound up more or less in the Armed Guard in the Navy. 

 

Suzette:  Now, had you been thinking if you got drafted you might go to the Army?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No, that wasn’t the reason I joined. Actually the reason I joined was I had a brother two years younger than I was.  I thought it would be better if I went into the service so he could stay at home and help because he was_______.  So that was my reason for joining the service.

 

Suzette:  And did you go to high school?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yes, and that was another thing that entered in here.  When my turn came up to go, I was a senior in high school.  And I wanted to finish my high school education before I went into the service.  So, December the 7th, ’41, I was a senior in high school in Mayetta…

 

Suzette:  At Mayetta?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Um, hum.  A 17-year-old senior, I hadn’t turned 18 yet, so after the, so I got to stay until school was out.

 

Suzette:  So by enlisting you got to graduate?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  And so what was your date when you entered the Navy?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Navy?  I think it was the 10th day of April, 1944, I believe.

 

Suzette:  OK, and when did you get out of the service?

 

Mr. Frazier:  The 3rd day of July, ’46.

 

Suzette:  Everybody always knows when they got out!!

 

Rex Frazier:  Dad, if you went in in ’44, that would have made you 20 years old.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Rex Frazier:  You were 20?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, when they finally got me in.

 

Rex:  OK.

 

Suzette:  So you were able to graduate from high school?  You were 17 when you graduated from high school?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yes.

 

Suzette:  OK.

 

Mr. Frazier:  I turned 18 between December and graduation day.

 

Suzette:  What did you do after you graduated from high school?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I just worked around home.

 

Suzette:  And what did your father do?

 

Mr. Frazier:  He was a farmer.

 

Suzette:  And when you were in high school and growing up, did you help your dad on the farm?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, my father was sick and he wasn’t well enough to take care of the farm.  And so actually it was up to us three boys to do the work…..when we was growing up.

 

Suzette:  And what kinds of things did your farm produce?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, we was kind of diversified.  We had 80 acres of land that we raised crops on, and we had cows, horses, and chickens, and pigs, _____, sheep..

 

Suzette:  Gosh, you had quite a bunch.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, geese, ducks.

 

Suzette:  Wow!  So you were self-sustaining.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, anything to help make a living.

 

Suzette:  You had sisters also?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I actually had three older sisters, one of ‘em died at birth, so I had two older sisters and two younger brothers.

 

Suzette:  So all five of you were busy working?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  With all those animals, you were probably busy feeding a lot.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, yes, we did.  However, that was no big deal ‘cause there was several of us.

 

Suzette:  So you graduated from high school and you were working on the farm.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  And so you worked on the farm for a couple of years then?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Um, hum.

 

Suzette:  And then you decided you would enlist so as to allow your brother to stay home.

 

Mr. Frazier:  They hold a couple more years….

 

Suzette:  Now could you have gotten a farm deferment so you wouldn’t have to go?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I don’t think he could have if I was there to do it, but I was older.

 

Suzette:  So that was ..

 

Mr. Frazier:  So that’s the reason I got in when I did so I knew he could.  In fact he didn’t get in until the war was over.

 

Suzette:  Oh really?  Do you remember Pearl Harbor?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, sure I do.

 

Suzette:  What were the feelings?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, really, I wasn’t too much worried about it.  See, I was a senior in high school, I wouldn’t go ‘cause_____, I just kinda felt it ain’t gonna affect me that much. But the way I found out about it, it was one Sunday morning, of course this was a long time ago, and we lived on a farm a mile northeast of Mayetta, and we had a central office in Mayetta.  So the line rings!  Do you know what that is?

 

Suzette:  No, I don’t.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Nobody else does here either!!

 

Peggy:  Oh yes I do!

 

Mr. Frazier:  Do you?  You’re older than you look then!!

 

Suzette:  What is a line ring?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, what it is, in the country back in those days, we had the old telephones that hung on the wall.

 

Suzette:  Yes.

 

Mr. Frazier:  The line would have about 10 or 12 people on one line.  And so only one person could talk on the line at a time.  Somebody else talking on the phone, you had to wait until they quit before you could ring central. 

 

Suzette:  Oh, and you had different rings for each house?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah. 

 

Suzette:  My aunt had that; she lived on a farm.

 

Mr. Frazier:  I used to remember what ours was, but I forgot now.

 

Suzette:  So somebody called you to tell you about Pearl…

 

Mr. Frazier:  They give a line ring so everybody on the line would know.

 

Suzette:  Oh, so there was one ring for everybody!

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah!  I think there was 10 on a line, as I remember.  I’m kinda guessin’ at that, 10 on our line, so every one of us got to the phone, if they was home, and they said the Japanese were bombing Pearl Harbor.  Of course, I had no idea where Pearl Harbor was, I’d never heard of it before.

 

Suzette:  And that’s true of many…..When you enlisted, did you happen to go down with some friends?

 

Mr. Frazier:  What?

 

Suzette:  When you enlisted, did you go down with friends or did you go by yourself?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, I’m going to have to guess on that one.  I don’t remember anybody going with me.

 

Suzette:  Where did you go after you enlisted?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, first we went to Kansas City.

 

Suzette:  Kansas City.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah. There they kind of divided us up, see what branch of service we were going to, one thing and another, and when they got that all straightened out, and I decided to go into the Navy and I went to the West coast.

 

Suzette:  To the West coast?  Is that where you did your basic training?

 

Mr. Frazier: No, I wound up in Farragut, Idaho.

 

Suzette:  Wow!  OK. 

 

Mr. Frazier:  Do you know where that’s at?

 

Suzette:  Not really.  Is that by a big lake up in the mountains?

 

Rex: I think it’s in Coeur D’Alene. 

 

Mr. Frazier:  What?

 

Rex:  I thought you said Coeur D’Alene.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Farragut’s where I went to boot camp.

 

Rex:  Oh, OK.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Coeur D’Alene was in Washington.

 

Suzette:  Is Farragut close to Boise?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Um, not close.  It’s pretty well on the other side, Boise’s on the north side, and we were on the south side.

 

Suzette:  Oh, OK.  So you went to Farragut, Idaho, for basic training.  Was there a lake there, or water anywhere?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, there was a lake there.  Eleanor  Roosevelt flew over and said that would be a good place for a Navy base. 

 

Suzette:  That’s amazing!  People just out of impulse…create bases and things.  So how long were you in basic training?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Six weeks.

 

Suzette:  Six weeks.  So where did you go from there?

 

Mr. Frazier:  San Diego gunnery school.

 

Suzette:  And how did you decide, did you decide you wanted to be a gunner?  Was that your choice?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Uh, well, not really by choice, but things available to me.  Most of the stuff wasn’t available to me for different reasons.

 

Suzette:  So they did testing and then they put you…

 

Mr. Frazier:…..

 

Suzette:  And then you were able to make a choice on what you wanted to do.

 

Mr. Frazier: Yeah.  These here are the choices. Which one do you want to do…  They want your experience and your education, and so I made it in….your qualified for.

 

Suzette:  So you went to San Diego for gunnery school.  How long were you there?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Four weeks.

 

Suzette:  Four weeks.  And then what happened?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I went to sea.

 

Suzette:  Did you feel you were adequately trained to go to sea?

 

Mr. Frazier: Oh, I think I was.  It didn’t take that much training.  A merchant ship is not a fighting ship. 

 

Suzette:  But did you have to, you know, from your crew, from the crew that went?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah.  They took us out and put us on the merchant ships and there was 28 of us on a merchant ship.  The merchant marine run the ship and we were to protect it.  Another thing about it was that when we was going over loaded, we were more or less just sitting ducks.  We had no defense against a submarine of any kind.  If a submarine come up, they could come up and shake hands with us if they wanted to.  They could do anything they wanted to, we had nothing against them.

 

Suzette:  Didn’t you have any torpedoes or anything like that?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Not a thing.

 

Suzette:  And you were going pretty slow because you were heavily loaded.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  Actually, what they used to call us was excess baggage!

 

Suzette:  How were you supposed to be defending them?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, we had guns, but nothing much…they were anti-aircraft guns, but as far as anything to defend the ship, they really just used to defend against aircraft.

 

Suzette:  Oh they didn’t?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No.  There was..all they give us was World War I excess.

 

Suzette:  That’s really strange.

 

Mr. Frazier:  But we were considered a fighting force.

 

Rex:  Didn’t you usually travel in convoys?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, no.

 

Rex:  OK.

 

Mr. Frazier:  We didn’t travel in convoys.

 

Suzette:  You traveled as single ships?  Or did you travel in groups?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, that’s what he’s talking about in convoys.  We was a little faster than most ships at that time.  So we usually traveled alone.  They wouldn’t make us wait for convoys ‘cause we usually had to set somewhere and wait for about two weeks to get enough ships together for the convoy.  And then….so they wouldn’t put us in a convoy unless they had to, while it was too dangerous for them to go alone.

 

Suzette:  Was the thought that a single ship might not be observed as much as if you had a convoy?  A single ship might actually make it.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah, yeah. 

 

Suzette:  Let me ask you quickly.  After gunnery school, where did you go?  Where were you sent?  Were you in the Pacific or the Atlantic?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Uh, the first trip we went to New Guinea.

 

Suzette:  So you were in the Pacific.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yes.  Later we went through the Panama Canal and over to the Atlantic.

 

Suzette:  So you started with your port as San Diego and then you went to New Guinea with your first trip out?  Do you remember how much you could carry?  How many pounds the ship was carrying?

 

Mr. Frazier:  They had five cargo holds full of stuff we hauled over.  And after we got unloaded, we run a little water into the cargo places to keep the ship down in the water as we went back so it would ride better in the water.  To keep in the water better; you get in the rough seas, see, it gets to going like this, the ____would be up out of the water and the nose down like that.

 

Suzette:  That sounds scary.  How big was a merchant ship?  How big were your ships?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, I think it was 60-some feet wide, and I can’t think of the width of it.  I’d guess some 300 and some feet long, I’m just guessing that.

 

Suzette:  So your first trip was to New Guinea.  How long did that take?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, it took us 20 days to get there, and then we were there 26 days, and then we come back.

 

Suzette:  What did you do while you were in port at New Guinea?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, the main job was to unload the ship.

 

Suzette:  Did you help unload the ship?

 

Mr. Frazier:  We didn’t!  We stood guard while the other guys did it.

 

Suzette:  I see. So you really were just to serve as a police force on it.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, um, hum.

 

Suzette:  And did you get to go out on shore at all while you were in New Guinea?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah.

 

Suzette:  And what were your experiences of doing that?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I don’t know if I can describe ‘em or not!  There was just nothing there.  That’s all there was to it.  All the l___, whatever you call ‘em, lived back up off the coast a little ways, in little towns, and they all lived in groups in this little town.  They were awful short, really.  Actually, they just didn’t look like human beings, to be right honest about it.

 

Suzette:  Because they were so little?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Small, and I think they looked like they were more like a monkey than a person.

 

Suzette:  They dressed differently and had their hair different.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, of course they didn’t have hair on ‘em like a monkey.

 

Suzette:  Did you communicate with them?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, big signs or something, but as far as talking to them or anything, I don’t know if they talked or not.  They kind of jibberish….

 

Suzette:  So they would come down where the ships were?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, no.  They stayed back away from us.  Yeah, we had to go up there to see them.

 

Suzette:  So was it pretty hot there?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, it was, yes.  But it wasn’t as hot as you think; it was hot and humid, but you really didn’t suffer much.  Air off the water kept it cool enough that it wasn’t that hot there.

 

Suzette:  That sounds wonderful.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, it wasn’t a bad place to be, except nothing there.

 

Suzette:  Nothing to do.  You were there for 26 days, what did you guys do, you know, when you were off times?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Most of us just stayed aboard ship.  There was no reason to go off; they got no land.  We were better aboard ship than there on the land or nowhere.

 

Suzette:  No dances?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Nope!  No entertainment of any kind!

 

Suzette:  So you were probably glad when you left New Guinea.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, yeah, I agree after 26 days.  In fact, we had quite a little joke about that.  From the time we left San Francisco, it was 20 days going over, we was in there 26 days.  And so, on Friday the 13th we were scheduled to leave.  Friday, the 13th day of October to head back to the States.  And so, you know how sailors are, all superstitious, nobody wanted to leave on Friday the 13th.  So the captain got on the horn and he said, “Well, we’ll be leaving on Friday the 13th, and if any of you fellas don’t care to go along, just let us know and we’ll get somebody to replace you off the island.”  Ha Ha

 

Suzette:  And no one wanted to stay!!

 

Mr. Frazier:  They didn’t want to go, but they sure didn’t want to stay either!  Ha ha  That put an end to the griping.

 

Suzette:  So then you left New Guinea.  Did you take something back from New Guinea?

 

Mr. Frazier:  All we took back was just things that they had that they had no use for anymore, like old guns that had wore out, straps had broke down, and stuff like that we took back.

 

Suzette:  So you didn’t leave it on the island; they were shipping it back?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, shipped back to the States to be fixed or throwed away, or whatever they could do, salvage, or whatever they wanted to do with it.

 

Suzette:  Did you go back to San Diego then on your return trip?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No, we went back to San Pedro, I think.

 

Suzette:  OK.  And then got another load?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  We unloaded that, and got us another load and went back out to Guadalcanal, Bougainville and some little islands out in there.

 

Suzette:  And did you stay like normally 26 days at a time when you were at the island?

 

Mr. Frazier: Oh, no, no.  We just stayed until we had to leave.

 

Suzette:  Does that mean until you were unloaded and then loaded up again?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, when we got everything taken care of and go back out.

 

Suzette:  Did you like any of the islands you went to or were any of them interesting, like how was Guadalcanal?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I didn’t get that.

 

Rex:  How was Guadalcanal?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, really we didn’t get off the ship.  I expect it would have been a nice place if we’d a had much chance to get off the ship.  Guadalcanal, we never even got up to Guadalcanal.  They just let us lay out in the bay.  What we did, was, unload the stuff in the ocean and let it float to shore.

 

Suzette:  They didn’t have a harbor?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Not that we could pull up to for some reason.  They were afraid if we pulled up there the airplanes would come over and bomb us when we was there in the harbor.

 

Suzette:  OK.  So Guadalcanal, that was a big fight…so the Japanese were coming and bombing.

 

Mr. Frazier:  The Japanese were there.

 

Suzette:  On Guadalcanal when you were delivering.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, they were already there.  They had Guadlalcanal. 

 

Suzette:  So no wonder you stayed off shore.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  I guess you were lucky because I am sure there were Japanese submarines and ships and planes.  So were you ever attacked by Japanese airplanes?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Not really a Jap, no.  But it seemed like they really didn’t want to fight with us some way.  I never did understand it.  They tried to aggravate us more than they would to fight with us.

 

Suzette:  Oh, they flew over, and…

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  Fly over and drop a bomb, stay out of reach of our guns so we couldn’t shoot at ‘em.  Just get close enough to take a picture of us.

 

Suzette:  I see.  Now were they still fighting on the island at Guadalcanal?

 

Mr. Frazier: Oh, yeah, yeah.  But they had Guadalcanal, they had it.

 

Suzette:  So we were actually still taking it.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, we were trying to get it back from  ‘em.

 

Suzette:  …when you’re making deliveries.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Um, hum.

 

Suzette:  So you were in kind of war zone.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah, it definitely was.

 

Suzette:  I guess you were really lucky that they were just teasing you.

 

Mr. Frazier:  We never fired a shot at anybody when we were in there.

 

Suzette:  They didn’t send any kamikaze pilots down for you?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Uh, huh, no, no.  They didn’t try to do anything.  Of course, all they was interested in was our cargo; they didn’t want our ship.  It was the worst.  They wouldn’t even waste a torpedo on our ship if they had to.

 

Suzette:  They wanted to save the goods in your ship.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  They just didn’t want us to be there when we’d bring it over.

 

Suzette:  About how many trips did you make in the Pacific?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, I’ll tell you the first time we went down to New Guinea, the next time up to Guadalcanal and Bougainville and up through there, and that time we came back to South America, went through the Panama Canal, and over to the Atlantic Coast, Ocean, and up to Baltimore.

 

Suzette:  So you made about two trips in the Pacific delivering goods, and then you went to the Atlantic.  What did you do in Baltimore?

 

Mr. Frazier:  At Baltimore, we loaded up supplies for Calcutta. 

 

Suzette:  For Calcutta, India?  I didn’t realize we had anything going on there.  What were you loaded, do you remember?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I don’t remember, just more Army supplies.  Calcutta wasn’t in on the fighting, but there was troops there. 

 

Suzette:  I didn’t realize that.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, there was troops there.  We was hauling the stuff over for ‘em.

 

Suzette:  How long did that take, from Baltimore to Calcutta?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, gosh, I don’t know if I can figure it out or not.

 

Suzette:  Just estimate.

 

Mr. Frazier:  I guess 25 or 26 days, my closest guess.

 

Suzette:  Wow!  And you were taking military supplies, guns, and things like that.

 

Mr. Frazier: Yeah, military stuff for the troops that were there.

 

Suzette:  Why were the troops in India?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Uh, they were stationed there from other countries, like we had troops from India.

 

Suzette:  And this was just kind of like a back up for the Pacific.  And there was something going on in Burma and China at the time.  Was India a backup for Burma and China?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, it could have been; I don’t know. I know we went to Calcutta.  The funniest thing, you know what they unloaded us with?

 

Suzette:  No.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Trucks that was over a thousand years old.  Their equipment that they unloaded our ships with was over a thousand years old.  Water power!  Calcutta is on the Hooghly River and the water running out of the river is what operated their trucks.

 

Suzette:  Wow.  I had no idea we had troops in India.  So how long were you in Calcutta?  How long did it take to unload?

 

Mr. Frazier:  It didn’t take us that long.  I don’t think we were there over five days.  Of course, we didn’t unload the whole load.

 

Suzette:  Oh, that was one of your stops.  Did you load anything up at Calcutta?  Did you get a new load at Calcutta?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No, I don’t think so. 

 

Suzette:  Did you get a chance to go onshore?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah.

 

Suzette:  What was that experience in Calcutta?

 

Mr. Frazier: It was funny.  Calcutta was one of the poorest places I’ve ever seen.  They have the caste system over there.  Some people are untouchables…some people drink quarters for a living all their lives.  They had water buffalo that were sacred..

 

Suzette:  And they were walking in the street?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  And they had their rickashaws…

 

Suzette:  Did you take a ride in one?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  You did?  And did you take photographs when you were there?

 

Mr. Frazier: Yeah, and no, I didn’t have a camera with me.

 

Suzette:  Did you experience the people when you were there?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah, yeah.

 

Suzette:  How did you feel about, did you get along well?

 

Mr. Frazier:  They spoke English there, so we could talk to them.  The time I was there they worked 12 hour days, got 18 cents for it. 

 

Suzette:  Wow!  That sounds like a really interesting experience.  Did you eat any food when you were in India?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah.

 

Suzette:  What type foods did you eat?

 

Mr. Frazier:  The really didn’t have restaurants in India or else I never ate in one anyway while I was there.  They just had, kind of a garden spot or something, along the side of a sidewalk.  Sit down in a chair, eat or drink, and go on.

 

Suzette:  Well, that sounds really interesting.  It sounds like there was a lot of free time too when you got to go off ship.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, we was there just five days.  We drove in there, they had us, they did a lot of work on our ship while we was there.

 

Suzette:  Oh they did?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, of course it didn’t cost nothing to get ‘em to do it.  They chipped all of our rusty stuff off, repainted, and done everything.  Boy, they were…

 

Suzette:  I’ll bet the merchant marine were happy they didn’t have to do that.  So where did you go after you left Calcutta?

 

Mr. Frazier:  We come back to East Africa then.

 

Suzette:  OK.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Um, do you know where Barley, East Africa is?

 

Suzette:  No, I don’t.   

 

Mr. Frazier:  It’s just a little south of the Suez Canal. Go down the Suez Canal, and you turn to go to Calcutta, and go on down to German and Cape Town and all those, well Barley is the first town south of the….That’s the place where the highest and lowest tide is in the world.

 

Suzette:  It is?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Bar none.

 

Suzette:  Why is that?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I don’t know.

 

Suzette:  Did you experience the high and low tide while you were there?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, yeah, every day, the tide would come up and that old ship just raised up and pretty soon the gang plank would hardly reach at all, go back out, and the ship would go back down, pretty soon it would be laying flat on her jaw.

 

Suzette:  Wow!  This is really interesting!

Now how long are you going to be there?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I’d just have to guess.  I’d say we were there four or five days. 

 

Suzette:  And did you get to go on shore?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah, yeah.

 

Suzette:  What was your experience of being on shore in Africa?

 

Mr. Frazier:  It was a Japanese colony.  And we went in where they worked. 

 

Suzette:  And you felt safe doing so?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  ‘Cause you know there were feelings against the Japanese.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Actually, we enjoyed them about as much as any place we went because they didn’t know all about what was going on.

 

Suzette:  And they may have identified with East Africa, and not Japanese.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, they was just a Japanese colony living in East Africa.

 

Suzette:  How big a town was it?

 

Mr. Frazier:  It wasn’t a very big town.  I’d say a little bigger ______

 

Suzette:  And so you got to interact with the people, they were open to you?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, yeah.  We had a wonderful time there.

 

Suzette:  What were some of the things you did?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, I’m just blank on that.  I don’t remember.

 

Suzette:  That’s OK.  I’m asking you a lot of details because most people didn’t get to go on shore as much as you did.  So you really got to experience some of the culture.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, no.  We weren’t considered fighting people.  See we were people out on a cruise, more or less.

 

Suzette:  It sounds like you got to cruise around and visit new cultures.  Where did you go after you left East Africa?

 

Mr. Frazier:  We went down around Mogudish, down around there, and then we come back to New York.

 

Suzette:  I understand that sometimes the weather can be pretty tough going around the Cape down there.  Did you have any bad weather when you were out?

 

Mr. Frazier:  There was no problems with the weather down there.  It was nice as it could be.

 

Suzette:  Oh, really!  Since you were in a small ship, did you ever experience heavy seas and bad storms when you were out?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yes.  But nothing that bothered our ship.  We never had any problems with our ship.

 

Suzette:  So you weren’t caught in any typhoons…

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah, we’d hit ‘em but they never caused us any trouble.

 

Suzette:  So you weren’t worried?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Uh, huh.  No.

 

Suzette:  Take me through a typical day.

 

Mr. Frazier:  The thing we would do, now like we’d get into a storm, we would either head into it, or away from it, according on which way the storm was coming up and which way we wanted to go.  But we never went across the storm.  We’d run straight towards it or straight away from it.

 

Suzette:  ‘Cause it would capsize you if you broadside it.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  Tell me your typical day.  You know, you’re out on the ocean, you’re going somewhere, what were your duties during the day.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, of course it was where we was at.  If we were in a war zone, we’d work 12 hour days.  But we worked, let’s see, how’d we do that, well, anyway, we’d stand guard four hours at a time.  I’m going to have to do a little guessing on this.  But for an hour every morning and an hour every evening they’d have what they called TQ.  That meant everybody’s gun was ready.  Besides that, we either worked 8 or 12 hours; we’d get over in a war zone, we worked 12 hours, plus the hour at sunrise and sunset. Usually sunrise and sunset was on two shift; the third shift had to work an extra hour that day.

 

Suzette:  I see.  So actually you worked in shifts.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  We worked four-hour shifts.

 

Suzette:  But you’re on for 12 hours, then how much time did you get off?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, what we do, of course, we had to have eight hours for ourselves to sleep and eat and stuff…

 

Suzette:  Were your days in port different from when you were out on the ocean?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah.  In port, just what we had to do…you guys go do what you wish while you’re here, take a break.

 

Suzette:  That’s why you knew so much about your ports.  Nobody else got to do that.  So after you left Cape Town, you went back to the States for another load.  And so, where did you go next time?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  We went in…

 

Rex:  Dad, wasn’t it from Cape Town to New York when President Roosevelt died?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  So how did you feel?

 

Mr. Frazier:  We was four days out of Cape Town we heard that Roosevelt had died.

 

Suzette:  How did your shipmates take that news?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, uh, not too hard because they knew he was ___, and everything, and they said, “Well, it was time for him to die.”

 

Suzette:  Were they worried about the new president, Truman?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I didn’t know who the new president was until I got back to the States.

 

Suzette:  A lot of people didn’t!

 

Rex:  Somebody thought he was from Kansas, didn’t they, Dad?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, instead of Missouri.

 

Suzette:  It came out in the Ken Burns special that nobody knew anything about him.  So when you got back to New York, did you think maybe that would affect the war any?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, the war was pretty well over at that time.  Of course, I was considerably young, so I got a delay in route, went home, so many days, and report back in to San Francisco.  Because the war was over here.

 

Suzette:  So you got to come home and see your family, and while you were out on ship, did you write back home?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah.  Of course, you couldn’t mail it!

 

Suzette:  You couldn’t?  Did you mail ‘em in port or how did you send your mail out?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, we’d just wait until we come into a port and then we’d mail ‘em then.

 

Suzette:  I never thought about that.  Could you get mail?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No.  I never will forget one trip I went on, I got one letter from the time I left the States til I got home.  It was a card from my sister that she just typed it into it and sent it.  That’s the only letter I got from the time I left until I got back.

 

Suzette:  No message?!!  He didn’t know anything about what was going on at home.

 

Suzette:  Have you had more than one girlfriend?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah!

 

Suzette:  Did they know about each other?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No.

 

Suzette:  Were they all from Kansas or were they from different ports?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Some of those.

 

Suzette:  You know, the Navy had girls in every port!  So, when you left Kansas to go to war, did you have a girlfriend here?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  That you’d gone to high school with?

 

Mr. Frazier:  When I left I did, but we decided there was no need for us to wait for one another when she was here and I was overseas.

 

Suzette:  Ah, so you didn’t write to her?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, I wrote to her once in a while.

 

Suzette:  Oh, OK.  So where did you get your other girlfriends?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh,…a lot of ‘em in the States, different places, you know, I’d be somewhere and meet a girl, we’d get together.

 

Suzette:  For entertainment for the troops when you were in training, did they have USO clubs where you could go?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah.

 

Suzette:  Is that where you met people?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah, all kinds of places where you could meet the girls.

 

Suzette:  Did you go to USO Clubs or did you go….

 

Mr. Frazier:  Where we was at.  In the States, it was USO clubs.

 

Suzette:  Ah, so you met people overseas in clubs.

 

(End side 1, begin side 2)

 

Suzette:  Were the clubs where you could go dance?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Different kinds of things. Like they had lots of different kinds of things in the States.  They had taxi dances on the West coast.

 

Suzette:  Taxi dances?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Do you remember that?

 

Suzette:  No, what’s that?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Pay a dime to dance with a girl.

 

Suzette:  Oh!  This was like a fund raising for the war or something.  Was this like the USO or a private place.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, they had both.  San Francisco they had taxi dances out there.  You’d go and dance, and meet the girls, and if you wanted to date one of ‘em, you ask ‘em if they wanted to go out, and when the dance was over, they’d go with you.

 

Suzette:  I’ve never heard of this.  This is very interesting.  So you had several letters you wrote every day, it sounds like.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah.  That’s one thing, we always say, there was always friends, girl friends or boy friends both, everywhere to keep them more or less satisfied and happy when they was in the service.

 

Suzette:  Well, that’s true.  And then when you were off duty so much, in the ports you had plenty of time to go out.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah!  See, we really didn’t have a job when we were in port.  We just stood where they come on the ship and check everybody that come in.  Make sure they had a reason for being there.

 

Suzette:  OK.  Now I don’t think I asked you this.  You said there were 28 men on one of these merchant ships.  Was that a total crew of 28?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yes.  From the commanding officer clear down to the lowest seaman.  There was 28 of us.

 

Suzette:  Did that include you?  How many people were actually in the Armed Guard?

 

Mr. Frazier:  That was the number that was in the Armed Guard.  You had either a lieutenant or a captain in charge, one officer, next was your boatswain’s mate, he was in charge of all the decks and stuff, and then they a couple gunner’s mates that take care of the guns, and stuff like this.

 

Suzette:  So was everybody on this ship part of the Armed Guard then?

 

Peggy:  No, the Armed Guard were part of the Navy, and the rest of the crew were with the merchant marine.

 

Suzette:  Well, what I am trying to understand is you have the entire crew was 28…

 

Peggy:  No!  The entire crew was the merchant marine and the 28 of the Armed Guard.

 

Suzette:  That’s what I’m trying to understand.  So there was 28 of you, 28 Armed Guard,

 

Mr. Frazier:  28 Navy men and about, oh, I think there was about 60 merchant marines sailed the ship.

 

Suzette:  That’s what I was worried about.  I couldn’t see 28 people sailing this ship.  OK, I’ve got it now.  So that you had enough people to do shifts, 4-hour shifts, and to trade off.  Did you form any close type friendships with these people that you worked with?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah.  Most of the boys, some of ‘em I communicated back and forth with when alive.  Most of ‘em are all dead now.

 

Suzette:  So you kept in contact when you came back?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Several of ‘em, not all of ‘em.  You could look ‘em up on the internet, as long as you could remember their names, and find ‘em yet today.

 

Suzette:  So you’re computer savvy then!

 

Mr. Frazier:  Um, hum.

 

Suzette: Ah!! 

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, I can look ‘em up on the computer if they are still around.  Of course, if they ain’t around why, you can’t do it.

 

Suzette:  So you guys had a chance to bond when you were on board ship?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Um, hum.

 

Suzette:  And when you got transferred over to the ship, you stayed with the same unit the entire war.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, no, no.

 

Suzette:  No?  You got shifted…

 

Mr. Frazier:  Whenever you’d change ships, you went back to the center, and when some ship was going out, they just said so many men, and they’d take so many off the line, send ‘em out there.  You’d load on that ship and went.

 

Suzette:  OK.  So you didn’t transfer as a…

 

Mr. Frazier:  My first ship was the San Lucas, my second was the Juliel Dumont.  It was a lot better ship than the first one was.  We gave that ship to the Japanese when the war was over.

 

Suzette:  The San Lucas?  Why?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No, the Juliel Dumont.

 

Suzette:  The Juliel Dumont.  They didn’t think it was as good as the San Lucas? 

 

Mr. Frazier:  What?

 

Suzette:  Because it wasn’t a very good ship!!

 

Mr. Frazier:  The reason we give it was we didn’t want it any more.

 

Rex:  Is that the one they used for target practice?

Did they bury it for a reason?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No.  The Japanese still had it the last I knew.

 

Suzette:  All in all, how many ships did you serve on?

 

Mr. Frazier:  The two were all was ever during the war.

 

Suzette:  It sounds like you took one big trip to the Atlantic.  Is that correct?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Did what?

 

Suzette:  You did one big trip to the Atlantic, by going to India and coming through Africa.

 

Mr. Frazier: That was when the war was about over.  When I got back to San Francisco, they sent me to Japan.  I went to Japan after the war.

 

Suzette:  Oh!  As part of the occupation forces?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No, I went as part of the armed station forces.  But the reason I wasn’t was I was aboard ship.

 

Rex:  He took supplies to the occupation forces.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  And you took those from San Diego over to occupation?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Um, hum.

 

Suzette:  And how many trips did you make doing that?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Just one.

 

Suzette:  And did you have an opportunity to go on shore in Japan?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah, yeah.

 

Suzette:  What was your experience there?

 

Mr. Frazier:  It was really nice.  You know, the Japanese, of course, after they dropped those two bombs on ‘em, they sure didn’t like you.

 

Suzette:  I was wondering.

 

Mr. Frazier:  I can’t say a word against the Japanese.  I really can’t. 

 

Suzette: What port were you in in Japan?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Tokyo Bay.

 

Suzette:  Tokyo Bay?  So you got to go into Tokyo?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No, well, I got to go to Tokyo on the train.  I was actually in Yokohama.

 

Suzette:  What was your impression of Japanese culture as you would see it?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, it’s so much different than ours it’s hard to compare ‘em.  But it was pitiful. 

 

Rex:  But most of Yokohama was burned, wasn’t it, Dad?

 

Mr. Frazier:  What?

 

Rex:  Wasn’t most of Yokohama destroyed from the bombing?

 

Mr. Frazier:  If you want to say a dirty word in Japan, just call somebody a pilot.

 

Suzette:  A pilot?  They didn’t like the airplanes I take it.

 

Mr. Frazier:  They understood that.

 

Suzette:  So Tokyo was less damaged than Yokohama.

 

Mr. Frazier:  The only thing less damaged was Hirohito’s palace.  It was not touched.

 

Suzette:  That’s right.  They firebombed on Tokyo.

 

Suzette:  Do you have any memories of what you did on ship or any particular friend that you want to share with us?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Not that I can think of at the moment.  Of course, I have Alzheimer’s, and it’s getting fuzzy for me.  You know, after so long a time.

 

Suzette:  You know, it is a long time to remember that.  Did you receive any medals or special service awards?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, these campaign ribbons and stuff like that. I got several of them.

 

Suzette:  Did you ever cross the International line?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Three times.

 

Suzette:  Did you have like Davy Jones’ locker ceremonies?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  I crossed the International date line three times and I crossed the equator three times.

 

Suzette:  They have little ceremonies for the first time, right?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  Well, they have it every time.

 

Suzette:  Oh, they do?

 

Mr. Frazier:  But you don’t have to be in on it after the first time.

 

Suzette:  Oh what happened if you were a first timer?

 

Mr. Frazier:  You got initiated.  You did when you crossed the equator.  You didn’t when you crossed the International Date line.  You just lost a day.

 

Suzette:  I see.  How did they initiate you when you crossed the equator?

 

Mr. Frazier:  (Laughing)  Cat o’ nine tails and stuff like that.

 

Suzette:  Oh, they did not!!  They did that in the British Navy!

 

Mr. Frazier:  They did it in ours too.  I got whipped with a cat o’nine tails when we crossed the equator the first time.

 

Suzette:  Did you have to run down a gauntlet and they hit you, or they tied you up?

 

Mr. Frazier:  They just hit us with a cat o’nine tails as you went down the line.  Of course, we was blindfolded so we didn’t know who did it.

 

Suzette:  I don’t think I’ve ever heard that part.

 

Mr. Frazier: It was a pretty rough initiation, I’ll tell you that.

 

Suzette:  Well, I think so.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Of course, we crossed it three times, why I was in on the initiation once.

 

Suzette:  Was that more fun?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, more fun than getting it, I guess.  I don’t think, (can’t hear or understand here)

 

Suzette:  What port did they release you in?  You made a trip to Japan for the occupation forces, and then you went back to the States?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Come back to San Francisco.

 

Rex:  Dad, if they gave your boat to the Japanese, how did you get back?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Put us on a transport, and sent us back.

 

Suzette:  You left your ship there in Yokohama.  And they put you on a troop transport?  And how many people were on that troop transport?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, I wouldn’t know how many was on it.  It was loaded.  We were completely full.  If they’d had any more room, they’d put some more on.  They run out of room.

 

Suzette:  Were people celebrating because they were on their way home?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, not particularly.  Yes, they were glad to come home, but they were generally glad the war was over.

 

Suzette:  And so when you got back to the States, then were you discharged?

 

Mr. Frazier:  As soon as I got back to the States, the Armed Guard was done.  The war was over, so they sent me to Olathe.

 

Suzette:  Olathe, Kansas?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Um, hum.

 

Suzette:  And what were you doing there?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I was in the Air National Guard.

 

Suzette:  So you were in the Air National Guard in Olathe.

 

Mr. Frazier:  I stayed down there for about two months, in the Air National Guard, before I got my discharge.

 

Suzette:  What were your duties there?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Just worked down there.  I was taking care of, oh, the motor pool down there. 

 

Suzette:  So you took care of things.  Did you get to drive when you were in the motor pool?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I drove a semi.

 

Suzette:  Oh, you did?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  Were you making truck deliveries, etc.?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  The tanker truck, with gasoline.  Semi.

 

Suzette:  Was that common where they put you into the National Guard when you came back?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Ours was strictly a wartime deal; it was closed when we got back from Japan.

 

Suzette:  So you still needed more points so you could get out?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, they just put us wherever it was handy.  They sent me back to Olathe cause it was closest to my home.

 

Suzette:  And so you were there for two months.

 

Mr. Frazier:  I can’t remember; I know I got out on the 3rd day of July.

 

Suzette:  And so what did you do after you got out?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I went back to the farm.

 

Suzette:  Did you feel, when you were discharged, you knew what you wanted to do with your life or what you wanted to do as a career?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, I thought I wanted to try something besides farming.  And so, I finally decided to go get me a job and go to work.

 

Suzette:  You came back to be with your family.  And then, so where did you go work?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, I went to work for the elevator in Mayetta.  I worked there awhile, I wasn’t particularly crazy about that, so I went and got me, went and took an exam where I was a ____, I got a job with the government.

 

Suzette:  And what kind of job did you get?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I worked at the old supply depot there at Pauline.

 

Suzette:  Oh, at Forbes Air Force Base. 

 

Mr. Frazier:  And when it closed, I went over and worked at  the fort.

 

Suzette:  So did you feel that you had training as a result of your military work that enabled you to get a job after the war?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  It was very helpful to you?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  Because I had been in the navy, the reason I got the job down there and I held it, saved, and work in security until I got my 30 years in.

 

Suzette:  Ah, so you were a civilian type at the federal government at the fort.

 

Mr. Frazier:  At the fort, then when the fort closed, I went to the, uh,

 

Rex:  Air National Guard.

 

Suzette:  Air National Guard.

 

Mr. Frazier:  I worked for the Air National Guard.

 

Rex:  1980.

 

Suzette:  And where was that Air National Guard located?

 

Rex: Forbes, also.  All three jobs were at Forbes. It was just in transition.

 

Mr. Frazier:  The first one was the supply depot, and from there to Forbes.

 

Rex:  Where was the supply depot from Forbes?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Across the road.

 

Rex:  OK.

 

Suzette:  That’s from all your experiences from watching them load supplies during the war, right?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Um, hum.

 

Suzette:  Did you take advantage of any GI Bills to get a college degree or get any support?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No, I give up on my education when I came back. That’s all I had; I’d been out of school how long.  I come back in ’46, didn’t I?

 

Suzette:  Yeah.

 

Rex:  You graduated in ’42.  Weren’t you the only one of the brothers to graduate high school?  Did Uncle Robert or Uncle Carl graduate high school?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No, I was the only one.  I come back from, where was it, somewhere I went, would have been a pretty good job to come back to finish my high school education.

 

Rex:  Was that part of the CCC?

 

Mr. Frazier:  What?

 

Rex:  Was that part of the CCC?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, it was in the CCC.

 

Rex:  The WPA?  I thought maybe that was the job you quit.

 

Mr. Frazier:  I can’t think what it was.

 

Suzette:  Was it during the ‘30s?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No, it was, I didn’t graduate until ’42.

 

Suzette:  You said you had a brother in the service.

 

Rex:  Didn’t Uncle Robert and Uncle Carl join the military?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  Both of ‘em got their GED but they were always considered school dropouts.

 

Suzette:  They were?  Even tho’ they had a GED.  By the community, or by your family,?

 

Mr. Frazier:  All the way around. Didn’t do ‘em a bit of good.

 

Suzette: Did you ever take advantage of any of the GI loans to build a house, or to buy one?  Were you aware that there were GI Bills available?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No

 

Suzette:  You chose not to.

 

Mr. Frazier:  I never even knew…

 

Suzette:  Do you take advantage of any of the veterans’ administration today?

 

Mr. Frazier:  The deals that were offered to us, I take advantage of them. I mean, they used to have a 20-20 for us, you ever hear of that?

 

Suzette:  I have.

 

Mr. Frazier:  I was in that for awhile.

 

Rex:  What was the 20-20 club, Dad?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I can’t hear him.

 

Rex:  That wasn’t where you saved money, or something like that, was it?

 

Suzette:  This was offered through the veterans’ administration, this 20-20 club?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  And do you get medicine from any of the veterans’ hospitals?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah.  I’ve been to the VA hospital.

 

Suzette:  So you get your medical from there.  You visited the VA hospital for the doctors.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, I don’t.  They are available to me.  I just used Dr. Huston.

 

Suzette:  Do you use them for your medication at all or anything?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I got enough money, I’m not hurting for money, so I don’t see any reason to take advantage of ‘em.

 

Suzette:  OK.  When you came back, did you join the American Legion or the VFW?

 

Mr. Frazier:  I belong to both of ‘em. Life member of both of ‘em.

 

Suzette:  Were you active?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  Still am.

 

Suzette:  Glad to hear that. So what kinds of activities did they provide for you as a veteran that made you want to belong?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, they had life insurance that I liked, and I belong to that for awhile, and then I gave up the life insurance.

 

Suzette:  And did they serve as a social function?

 

Mr. Frazier:  What?

 

Suzette:  Was there a social function that they served?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, they was both in Holton and I was in Dennison and I just wanted to keep active.

 

Suzette:  But you wanted to belong?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, I wanted to belong.

 

Suzette:  Was it because you were with other men who had served in the military and it was important that you show camaraderieship?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  Don’t they do community activities also?

 

Rex:  Do they do community activities, like they sponsor bingo on Friday nights, don’t they?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Rex:  The American Legion sponsors the baseball but I don’t think you ever did much with the American Legion baseball, but you stuck more to Dennison baseball.  We were more Mayetta and Dennison, and most of this was at Holton and today that seems funny that that’s a distance, but growing up, we went to Mayetta and Dad had his Eastern Star and Masons, Lodge, that were his social activities.

 

Suzette:  So you lived in Dennison?

 

Rex:  Yeah.

 

Suzette:  And so it was the Masonic Lodge that was his social activity?  ….Everybody came back and joined the Legion.  I just wanted to see if it was a natural thing because they were in the war together and this was a way that could support that memory…So is there anything else you would like to share with us?  Any other memories…

 

Mr. Frazier:  Not that I can think of.

 

Suzette:  How did you meet your wife?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Well, if I can remember…

 

Rex:  Didn’t you go to a movie with a friend.  Your friend was dating one of Mom’s friends?  She grew up, what, two miles away from you.

 

Mr. Frazier:  We lived two miles apart when we was growing up.  We knew each other.  But we never, she went to Dennison school and I went to Mayetta school.  So we never really had any relationship of any kind when we were growing up.  So after we grew up, one night I went to Mayetta, and there were some boys there from Holton.  And I got in with them, and one or two of them had girlfriends in Dennison.  So I think there was four of us.  So they wanted to go over and pick up their girlfriends.  So we all picked up their girlfriends, she was only the girl left that didn’t have a date, and I was the only boy left that didn’t have a date.

 

Suzette:  That was convenient!

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah!  So that’s the way we actually got together the first time!  Then the second time, after I went away to the service and come back, I went to Topeka.  Her and another girl up window shopping in the evening, after supper anyway.  We went down and we seen them.  Of course, I knew her.  So we stopped and talked to them, and there was four of us boys and two girls.  So we went down to where they lived, her and the other girl, and I and Carl, we all set down there and talked awhile and then they went in.

 

Suzette:  But you were out of the service and working.

 

Mr. Frazier:  At that time.  But the other time was before I went in.

 

Suzette:  Did you write to her?  Was she one of your girlfriends you wrote to?

 

Mr. Frazier:  No.  One date was all before the war!

 

Suzette:  How many children do you have?

 

Mr. Frazier: Four. 

 

Suzette:  Four.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Two girls and two boys, but my oldest daughter died. 

 

Suzette:  Ah, I’m sorry.

 

Mr. Frazier:  She had two daughters before she died, so I have two granddaughters.

 

Rex:  Well, two granddaughters by her.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.

 

Rex:  Five granddaughters and two grandsons.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah.  Just got two grandsons.  I had five granddaughters and that was it until…

 

Suzette:  Two months ago you had twins!!  Oh, well, congratulations!!

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah, do you want to see a picture of them?  I got a picture in my wallet.

 

Suzette:  Yeah.  Gosh, they will keep you busy.

Do you have anything else you’d like to share, any other questions or comments?

 

Rex:  You did spend a lot of time playing cards, didn’t you, Dad?  On the boat?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, yeah.

 

Rex:  Dad’s always been an awful good card player.  My brother and I never could beat him in cards.  He always said because he spent so much time on the boat.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yes, we did, we played in our spare time.  You always got a little spare time.  Played poker, and pitch, and different games like that.  In the Navy, we played payday poker.  Nobody ever paid for it, but they was supposed to pay.

 

Suzette:  You didn’t have any money then, but on payday you were gonna pay.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Yeah!  Ha ha  You know how that goes.

 

Suzette:  Yeah, good intentions.

 

Mr. Frazier:  But it was a good time to pass the time.

 

Rex:  And you took up smoking while you were there, didn’t you?  And then you ended up quitting that cold turkey how many years later, Dad?  It’d be over 30 years.

 

Mr. Frazier: I don’t remember how many.

 

Rex:  It would be after I graduated high school, which was ’84.  He decided to quit, didn’t tell anyone, and we didn’t find it out until a month later.

 

Suzette:  You didn’t notice?

 

Rex: Well, I wasn’t living at home; I was in college.  One day the pipes were gone and Marsha asked him about it.  He said he quit smoking quite a while ago.

 

Suzette:  He didn’t tell us about that.  I asked and you didn’t tell me about smoking and playing cards.  Are there other real stories I need to hear?

 

Mr. Frazier:  Oh, I left a few things out! 

 

Suzette:  This is to find out about the everyday person in the war and what they were doing.

 

Mr. Frazier:  I think we’ve done a pretty good job of covering everything.

 

Suzette:  OK.  Any other comments or questions from anybody else?  OK.  I want to thank you very, very much, Mr. Frazier.

 

Mr. Frazier:  Quite all right. Glad to do it.

 

Suzette:  Thank you.     

 



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