Kansas MemoryKansas Memory

Kansas Historical SocietyKansas Historical Society

Interview on experiences in World War II

Item Description Bookbag Share

Loren Pennington: This is a Flint Hills Oral History Project World War II Veterans Series interview with Mr

This is a Flint Hills Oral History Project World War II Veterans Series interview with Mr. Howard R. Goodwin, who resides at 944 Grand Street in Emporia, Kansas. The interviewer is Loren Pennington, Emeritus Professor of History at Emporia State University. Today's date is May 19, 2006, and the interview is taking place in the Goodwin home. [Mr. Goodwin has since moved to 1521 Lincoln Street.]

[This is tape 1, side A.]

Loren Pennington: Mr. Goodwin, I should note at the beginning that you and I had never met until few days ago when we arranged this interview. Nevertheless, we will try to keep the interview as informal as possible. I should like to have you begin with a brief sketch of your life before you entered the Army, when and where you were born, who your parents were, what they did for a living, where you went to school, and how you family fared during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Howard Goodwin: I was born in Emporia, Kansas, March 31, 1924. My father was named Byron K. Goodwin.

LP: And your mother?

HG: My mother's name was Ada May Fry Goodwin.

LP: And again, when was this that you were born?

HG: March 31, 1924, Newman Hospital.

LP: What did your father or your parents do for a living?

HG: My father was a printer for Theodore Poehler Mercantile Company here in Emporia, and he printed labels and cost books and things like that for the [wholesale grocery business]. And my mother was a practical nurse at St. Mary's Hospital for years.

LP: Is this the job [your father] held all during the Depression, then?

HG: He did, yes.

LP: How did your family fare in the Depression?

HG: Well, we were poor, but we didn't realize it because everybody else was poor.

LP: Didn't miss any meals?

HG: I think we did miss a few.

LP: But you didn't go hungry?

HG: We didn't go hungry. We kept alive.

LP: You were probably as well off as everybody else in Emporia. Tell me about you schooling.

HG: Well, I started out in grade school at the old Century School at about 1002 Commercial, and went there from kindergarten through the sixth grade, and then went down to Lowther Junior High School, seventh through the ninth, and then to Emporia Senior High School from the tenth through twelfth.

LP: So you graduated from Emporia High School. When was this?

HG: May, 1943.

LP: So the war was already under way when you graduated. Let's go back and look at those Depression years and the build-up. Obviously the war had been coming on since the middle 1930s, what with the rise of Hitler, of the Japanese, and that sort of thing, and actually broke out in September of 1939 in Europe. Did you and your family pay much attention to what was going on out there in the greater world?

HG: I don't believe we did.

LP: You didn't have this as a regular discussion? Did you study this at all in school?

HG: In school, yes, we had some kind of paper that came out.

LP: Was it called Weekly Reader?

HG: Weekly Reader, I think it was. And it went through the war and stuff that was going on the in `30s.

LP: Of course the United States did not take part in the war during the first two years, but on December 7, [1941], the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Do you remember that day?

HG: I remember that.

LP: What did you think? Can you recall what you thought when you heard of Pearl Harbor?

HG: Everybody was kind of scared; a lot of commotion [was] going around. I was downtown on Commercial Street with a buddy.

LP: Of course it was a Sunday.

HG: Yes.

LP: Did you detect fear? Was there anger?

HG: Yes, yes, I think there was anger, mad because they did that.

LP: You went on going to school during the first year or so of war. Was it 1943 that you say you graduated?

HG: 1943, yes.

LP: And how soon after your graduation did you go into the service?

HG: I got my draft notice in February. My birthday is March, and I had to go to the draft board, and they let me go on to finish in May.

LP: Well, actually, '43, see, you were born in '24?

HG: Yes.

LP: '43 you would have been 19.

HG: Yes.

LP: Well, you had to register for the draft when you were 18.

HG: Yes.

LP: But that would have been in '42, right?

HG: Yes, but I didn't get my draft notice.

LP: Oh, the draft notice to report came later on and they let you go ahead and go to graduation.

HG: And I was behind a year in school because I had a lot of ear problems in kindergarten and so they didn't think I should go on because I had abscessed ears and tonsillitis and stuff.

LP: So you were really kind of a year late graduating. So in 1943 you graduated then, and almost immediately you got called up.

HG: In July.

LP: July of '43 was your call up. And where did you go for your basic training?

HG: First we went to Leavenworth, and that's where we got inducted. [A bus was used to take us there with kids I knew from high school. From Leavenworth] some of us went to Texas and some of us went to Camp Haan, California.

LP: So you took your basic training at Camp Haan. What sort of basic training was this?

HG: Well, it was kind of infantry training; the articles of war [were read to us] and all that kind of stuff. We exercised, and after so long we went out to Camp Irwin with our field artillery, our anti-aircraft guns.

LP: Oh, you trained as an anti-aircraft gunner, then?

HG: Yes.

LP: How long was this whole period of your training, about? Sixteen weeks or something of that nature?

HG: Oh, I think it was at least that. The first outfit I was in was the 833rd Anti-Aircraft, and they said that they had too many anti-aircraft units. They had an order come upthey had at Camp Irwin in the Mojave Desert a real hot anti-aircraft outfit, the 548th. So they let anybody from E-5, corporal, and the PFC and private, buck private, if they wanted to, could volunteer for overseas duty to go with the 548th.

LP: Is that what you did then?

HG: That's what we did.

LP: So you went with the 548th Anti-Aircraft unit. Looking back on this training that you had at Camp Haan and at Camp Irwin, what did you think of it?

HG: I thought it was going to be rough, going through the infiltration course and under the barbed wire with machine guns.

LP: Machine guns firing?

HG: Firing over you. And everything around when you're going through training, it says ``Kill or be killed.'' They're getting that in your headkill or be killed.

LP: How would you rate the quality of that training?

HG: I think we had good training.

LP: You had good non-commissioned officers as cadre?

HG: In fact, our 833rd Lt. Col. Oliver transferred to the 548th when we went there.

LP: So you had a good opinion of the training. How did you find the discipline?

HG: I thought it was kind of rough, but you learned a lot; you learned more how to take discipline.

LP: You think it was fair?

HG: Oh, yes.

LP: You personally didn't have any trouble with the discipline. How did you do with the food?

HG: Well, pretty good, all except the chicken.

LP: Pardon? It was all what?

HG: All except chicken.

LP: Tell me why you say except chicken.

HG: For some reason, the 548th, when we got out to the Mojave Desert, they had chicken a lot out there, and for some reason, I was on KP a lot, and at 4 o'clock in the morning KP duties start. A lot of times they'd have these 50 gallon barrels, metal barrels, and you have to take the strap off the lid, and boy, they'd been sitting out in the hot sun. They'd had the heads pulled off the chickens, and a few of the feathers, and I mean the stink! It got so I couldn't eat chicken it stunk so bad.

LP: It's still hanging on with you?

HG: Yes, it still bothers me.

LP: When did you get married?

HG: November 6, 1943.

LP: So you weren't married at the time you were in basic training, but you probably married right after basic training.

HG: No, I was in basic training.

LP: You were in basic training.

HG: I was homesick, so my mother and my girlfriend that I went to school with decided they'd better come out and see me. So they came out to Riverside, California, and then we went into Riverside on November 6, 1943, it was on a Saturday, and we got married at noon.

LP: And your wife's name was what?

HG: Mary Alice. Her maiden name?

LP: Yes.

HG: Geiger.

LP: And you're still married?

HG: Yes, we're still married.

LP: Did she stay with you in California then?

HG: No, not after we were married. She and my mother came back. Back in those days, a young girl like that wouldn't dare travel by herself, so my mother went with her, and then they came back together. Then my wife, Mary Alice, and another wife, Bob Chamberlain's from Madison, came out together [after basic training].

LP: Did you get to go home after your basic training?

HG: Yes, for fourteen days.

LP: So you got fourteen days. But you were gone most of the time. You've got a wife, you've got your mother, your father too, back in Emporia. Did you communicate much with them while you were in the service, especially when you were overseas?

HG: I tried to. When I had time, I'd write a letter.

LP: You wrote letters.

HG: I tried to the whole time, but sometimes you're too busy. Sometimes there are too many airplanes coming over.

LP: And also, of course, it's a long travel time with the letters. Did they write regularly to you?

HG: Yes, they wrote real regularly.

LP: While you were in basic training, did you feel stressed out or anything of this type?

HG: Just homesick.

LP: You didn't feel you were in any real danger or anything of that kind?

HG: First time I was ever out of Kansas was when I went to California. It was bad. I was really homesick.

LP: After you finished basic training, and after you finished your fourteen days leave, where did you go then?

HG: I was on a train coming through Emporia, and it stopped there to get some exercise on the platform. I saw a girl who worked with my wife at the Santa Feshe had gotten a job with Santa Feon the platform. They had guards on the train and wouldn't let you off unless you got off with guards to drill. [This was at night and my wife worked in the Santa Fe office during the day. I couldn't get off the train to call her.] The girl ran in and called my wife at home and then my wife would tell her what to say, and then she'd run back out, and it was just back and forth for about thirty or forty-five minutes. We called it long distance. And then we went up to Camp Shank, New Jersey.

LP: And I take it this was your embarkation point for overseas in Europe.

HG: Yes.

LP: Tell me about your trip to Europe.

HG: Well, it was kind of fastfaster than it was going through the English Channel. Going over, we missed our convoy at the port in New Jersey, and on September 24, 1944, they put us on the Queen Elizabeth.

LP: September of '44 you're on the Queen Elizabeth, you're heading for Europe. How was the trip?

HG: Well, three days out, we passed our convoy that we were supposed to be on that we missed, and before we got over there, we'd outrun a couple of submarines, and we landed at [Glasglow], Scotland.

LP: You weren't actually attacked by submarines?

HG: No, no, we just outran them. They saw us.

LP: You were going so fast the submarines couldn't keep up.

HG: And that was on the 30th, we landed at Glasgow, Scotland.

LP: Did you get any further training in England?

HG: No; we went from Scotland down to Leeds, England, and we had everything, all of our guns and everything was 40mm and had cosmolene; that was the stuff to keep it from rusting, to keep it dry. We had to use a lot of hot water.

LP: Did you get weapons in Britain or did you take them with you?

HG: We got them in Britain.

LP: So when did you actually get going to France?

HG: We went down from Leeds through London to Southampton and then we went across the English Channel.

LP: By ship, I presume.

HG: By ship, with our guns and stuff, so it wasn't a real small one. And we landed at Omaha Beach. And then we got off at Omaha Beach, and it took us ten days; it took us six days to cross the ocean but it took us ten days to cross the English Channel because it was so rough and bad weather. And then we got off the beach and we pulled up to a little townI can't remember the name of it now; there was an apple orchard around, and we had to clean our equipment again.

LP: When you got over there, what Army did you get attached to? There were several American Armies over there.

HG: Somewhere along the way, while we were going to Paris we got orders.

LP: What infantry division?

HG: 102nd Infantry.

LP: 102nd Infantry, that would be the 9th Army.

HG: The 9th Army. [Brigadier General Frank A. Keating commanded the 102nd Infantry.]

LP: I believe your actual 9th Army commander was General William Simpson. Do you remember anything about him at all?

HG: No.

LP: Okay, I guess it would be unusual if you did. General Omar Bradley was the overall American field commander.

HG: For a little while after we got up thereI'm getting ahead of my storybut way up there in the north of Germany, we were for about two or three months under Field Marshall Montgomery.

LP: The 9th Army was shifted to Field Marshall Montgomery in a very controversial shift from under Bradley for about three months.

HG: I didn't like Montgomery at all. Montgomery couldn't get his air force, his lend-lease airplanes, they were our airplanes, but he couldn't get them over. He got them over too far, he was strafing our own men.

LP: I take it you didn't have a very good opinion of General Montgomery.

HG: No, I sure didn't.

LP: That was a kind of typical American opinion of Montgomery and also Eisenhower's opinion, though Eisenhower generally kept it to himself. If I've got the picture right, as you move forward, you are on the American left, and the British and the Canadians are to your left, stretching up to the northwest.

HG: Yes. And I think my brother Kelly was in Company B [137th Infantry, 35th Division], and I think they were in Patton's 3rd Army.

LP: Yes.

HG: And they moved them up to help out Field Marshall Montgomery, I think.

LP: This was during the Battle of the Bulge.

HG: During the Battle of the Bulge.

LP: Did you ever get to visit your brother?

HG: Yes. I went AWOL. Well, I'll go ahead with my story. We bivouacked outside of Paris, and we went up through France, clear up into a little country, Luxembourg, is where we got strafed. The first enemy fire we had was at Luxembourg.

LP: You mean strafed from the air?

HG: Yes. German ME109s and FW190s strafed us as we were going up. And then we finally lit at Setterich, Germany. It was just a small town over in Germany. All the farmers' farmland was out but the families lived in little places together in the town. And then we were at Setterich for quite a few months because by the time we got up there somebody, I think it was the Germans, broke up Amsterdam and flooded the Ruhr and the Rhine, and so we couldn't get across. And then the bridges were blown up too. When we were at Setterich, we got a lot of mortars on us and 88s from the German guns, but not too many at that time.

LP: You mean not too many German aircraft?

HG: German. Anyway, we had near my gun section, one of these [guns] they called a Long Tom, and it would fire once a day. And it was a big shell.

LP: You're talking about a German [gun]?

HG: No, this was American.

LP: American, I see.

HG: And this master sergeant, he's in charge of it, and he'd pull up pretty close to our outfit, and he'd fire. And they claimed it went clear into Berlin, this shell. It was called a Long Tom, and when it went off, the ground just. . . .

LP: Like an earthquake?

HG: Yes. But then, after he fired, they'd pick up that gun and move it quite a ways away. They [the Germans] had these JU88s with cameras and stuff, and they'd come over looking for that big Long Tom gun. But this guy was at our guns section five or six times, and he was really friendly. He'd ask guys names, and he'd ask if you had any relatives over there, you know, brothers. And I told him I had a brother in Company B in the 35th Infantry Division, and I didn't know for sure where he was. He said, ``If he ever find out, I'll come let you know.'' And here one day he came back in his jeep, just him and his driver. He said he found my brother. He told me where he was. To this day, I don't know how I got up there without getting lost.

LP: But you did get up to see your brother?

HG: Yes.

LP: How long did you stay with him?

HG: I just stayed that day. I went up there, started out in the morning on a bicycle. We didn't have rubber tires. The MPs, the Company B MPs, stopped me, 35th Infantry Division MPs, and made me get off. They were afraid I was going to wreck a truck or something, and then they tried to get me a ride with the commander and all kinds of things going up there. They finally got me in an ambulance. And so I rode with an ambulance driver and his helper. And they said, ``Oh no, we know where he is.'' And as we got talking going up, wherever this town was, I said he was in the personnel section. They said, ``Well, you don't want to go where we were going to take you! They're behind the lines quite a ways in Holland, somewhere in the Netherlands.'' So they got me there, and I found my brother. And I had to get back because I went AWOL. I asked my captain if he'd let me have a jeep and a driver to take me up there, and he said, ``No. We're on alert to move at any time. If you're not here, you're gone, you're AWOL.'' So my chief of section, my sergeant, he got together a couple of other sergeants on the phone, and they said, ``Let him go.'' Every morning they'd call in, and the chief of section said everyone present and accounted for. He said I was accounted for, but I wasn't there. And so I told them I had to get back, so my brother's captain of the personnel section, he said, ``Kelly, why don't you go back with Howard and stay for a day or two.''

LP: Go back to where you came from.

HG: Yes. ``And then make out where you want to be, and I'll pick you up.'' And so that's what we did. He came back, and going through that night, I don't know why we didn't get shot; I mean we were stupid. But my brother hid through the night. He didn't like the guns going off, and the white phosphorous bombs going off and just like daylight. It was bad. He wanted to get back to his outfit.

LP: So he left.

HG: Yes; then he left the next day. He got hold of the driver. I guess he told him he was going to go back the next day.

LP: After the [German advance was checked] in late December, the Allied forces began moving forward again against Germany. And I take it you were in that movement?

HG: Yes. Around Linnich. There's another town right close to it named Roerdorf, and the bridge was blown up on the Ruhr River there. The engineers tried to get bridges, pontoon bridges across, but it was too swift. They didn't get them across for quite awhile. And I was up there by Liege.

LP: You're going into Germany, going into the Ruhr area.

HG: Yes. One day, a couple of young kids come up the bank, right outside Liege there where we had our gun position, 40mm. We thought they were SS or something.

LP: They were German soldiers?

HG: No, they were prisoners of the Germans.

LP: Oh, I see.

HG: They were Hollanders. They lived at Heerlen, Holland, and they were coalminers. The Germans took a lot of coalminers prisoner, political prisoners they called them and made them work for them. Here we got a red alert that the airplanes were coming in. We were interrogating these two kids, and this one kid said his name wasI said, ``Was du namen?'' He said, ``Namen ist Helmut, Helmut de Jong.'' And I said, ``Nazi?'' He said, ``Bosch? Nein, nein Bosch. Nein Bosch. Hollander. Hollander.'' I went running to the gun to get my position on the 40mm.

LP: Action starts while you were interrogating him?

HG: Yes. And my steel helmet liner had broken, the strap, and it fell off. And I got on the line to raise and lower the gun. And then all of a sudden I heard a ``Halt! Halt! Halt!'' but there wasn't any machine gun going. Just about that same time, we're hearing something up ahead, and I turned around, and here was that kid, that Helmut de Jong, and he had run and got my helmet.

[Tape 1, side B.]

LP: You were talking about how Helmut picked up your helmet and put it back on your head. Then what happened?

HG: He put it back on my head, and it wasn't very long after that, he started running back to the jeep. They were going to take those two boys into the command post. Something hit my helmet and put a dent in it. I don't know whether [it was] a rock or whether a bomb went off. I never did find out what it was, but it knocked my helmet off, and whatever it was, if I hadn't had my helmet on, it probably would have gone through my head.

LP: So he saved your life, or he at least saved you from a serious wound.

HG: I think he saved my life. And so then, right after that, we didn't know what happened to these two boys, never did find out. So right after that on January 26, 1945, we went on a special mission. The general took us on a special mission right outside Linnich to see if we could use our gun section, three 40mms, as anti-personnel guns.

LP: It had been anti-aircraft, but the question is could you use it against ground forces?

HG: Yes. So they were in a big building, two or three story building, and just as they were lowering the gun, I guess the gunner saidwe were all so tiredhe said let her go, or let her drop. And I didn't hear it, so I caught all the weight and I couldn't get back up.

LP: It caught you under the gun?

HG: No, I wasn't caught under the gun. It just pulled me down and my back gave out. And so they went ahead and laid me on the floor up where the officers were seeing where the shells were hitting. And then they had a Piper Cub radio back where the shells were hitting. He was over German lines.

LP: He was fire control?

HG: They finally knocked out [the German command post], and they took me back, or somebody did, to the first aid station at Heerlen, Holland. We had our first aid station there. They had hot and cold running water. They had me taped up from the tailbone clear up to my chest, and I took [hot showers] about every hour or so. And finally my captain came and said that they wanted me back up there, needed me back up there, I guess he put it. And I got back to my outfit some time in February. I don't remember dates or anything, but anyway, the engineers had gotten the pontoon bridge across the Ruhr, so we got the guns [over]. There were four .50 M-51s that went across the bridge and set up east of the Ruhr River and then there were four on this side west of the river. A lot of German planes came over and tried to knock out those two pontoon bridges.

LP: You were protecting the pontoon bridges?

HG: We started protecting them. Twice in about two or three days, there was just almost constantly the tracer bullets from the 40mm M51s going up.

LP: There were German planes coming.

HG: Because we could hear German planes and see them at times, and they were dropping bombs, and not a one hit either one of those bridges, and there were two times we got credited for knocking bombs out, exploding them before they hit the bridge.

LP: You hit the bomb with anti-aircraft guns? You got close enough to destroy the bombs?

HG: And that's what you call luck.

LP: You think you were very lucky with this thing?

HG: I think I was lucky all through the war. More than some of my buddies. And so then we went on from Liege towards the Ruhr River.

LP: Any memorable incidents in this advance? This injury you got, did you get Purple Heart for that?

HG: Yes, but I didn't know it at the time.

LP: You didn't know it at the time. It took a while to clear through. Well, go ahead with your continuing advance on the Ruhr.

HG: Some time in February, we were already across the Ruhr, or they went on across the Ruhr, and I was back at the medical station. And then at Kerfield, on the west side of the Rhine Riverthis was in March. I got back about the end of February, and then March 1, 1945I'd just gotten back a few days from this injuryand March 1, my chief of section got hit with a machine gun from an airplane, one that he was fighting up there, and it went down and took out a testicle. And he went clear to England with his injury. March 5, four days later, there was a big bomb hit and a lot of airplanes came over. They think it was a big bomb; I don't know for sure what kind of a shell it was, but it hit right close to Gun Section 3, my gun section. It hit with so much force it dug a big hole in the ground and took me and threw me up over the gun. The drop hit me with so much power it pushed me under the wheel.

LP: You were under the gun this time.

HG: I was under the gun. The first thing I remember, none of the fifteen men in the gun section heard anything coming in the air or anything.

LP: Which is unusual.

HG: Well, if it's coming right at you, you don't hear it.

LP: You don't hear the ones coming right at you. You hear the ones that are coming a little distance away.

HG: Anyway, I just remember turning to the right and a big puff of black smoke, and that's all I remember. And the next thing I knew was somebody said, ``I'm all right. Better look at Goodwin.'' And I thought, ``Look at Goodwin?'' And I tried to move and I couldn't because I was stuffed under that wheel. And so they said, ``Just wait a minute. We'll get you out.'' So they had outriggers they had put up there and dug me out. Whatever went off gave me a concussion so bad for months afterwards it felt like my ears were pressed together, and oh, the ringing in my head. Anyway, right away an ambulance was there, and our doctor, he gave us too much morphine, I think. There were four of us that got hit. He said, ``Take your clothes off, take your jackets off and your shirts.'' It was cold, but we did. I was hit in the right shoulder, and another [soldier] was hit in front of the right shoulder. And he was jumping in a foxhole, and the bloodwhen he came around, he lost control of his arm and the blood was just flowing. The captain said, ``Take your pants off.'' We didn't want to because it was cold, but we did. And this one kid was hit on the right side of his arm; besides his leg looked like it was just cut half-way through clear down to the bone, and the skin was open. It wasn't bleeding really that much. I thought it would be. And then he went into shock when he saw that. He didn't even know he was hit there on his leg. So then finally we were operated on at the field hospital, and I went into shock just as soon as I went into that hospital because there was so many wounded, a lot of then with legs gone and arms gone, a lot wounded a lot worse than I was. But I went into shock, and I remember them putting the blankets, army blankets, just a bunch of them, grabbing and putting them on me because I went into shock. And then I found out that they gave me the new drug, sodium pentothal. That was a new drug that was first put out to interrogate.

LP: It was truth serum.

HG: Yes, truth serum is what they called it, but they found out it worked good to put you out. That morphine the doctor gave us didn't work too good with the sodium pentothal, and for the next three days, I was in and out of it. They said they were going to fly us back to Paris, but the weather was so bad that they couldn't. So they put us on 40x8 trains. I don't remember much of the ride because I was in and out of it so much. But we pulled into Paris and I thought we had been captured. I didn't see any Americans except the ones that were wounded, but Germans, Germans, and here they were the prisoners of war and they were using them as litter bearers. Boy, that gives you a thrill when you think you're captured because all you could see were Germans.

So we went up there in the hospital, and the captain came aroundI don't know how many days I was back therebut the orderly came in with the gurney, the meat wagon as they called it. And they said, ``Which one is Private Howard R. Goodwin?'' They gave my 3753-3369. And I said, ``I am.'' They said, ``Hop on.'' And I said, ``Where are you going?'' They said, ``Operating room.'' Well, I said, ``I've already been operated on.'' I wouldn't get on it. They said, ``Captain's waiting for you. He's going to be mad.'' And he came down and boy, he was mad. He came over to my bed and he said, ``Why wouldn't you get on there? We're waiting for you up here. We've got a lot to do.'' I said, ``Well, I've already been operated on, Sir.'' He said, ``Did you ever look at your arm?'' And I said, ``No.'' He said, ``Why not?'' I said, ``Because it stunk too bad.'' He said, ``Let's look at it.'' I had a big patch on my right arm. He grabbed that thing, and he jerked that thing off, and he said, ``Look at it.'' I started to, but I got a whiff of that, and it about made me sick. Finally he grabbed my head and pushed on it more, and here I had a big gash about like that, and wide, and you could see the bone and muscle moving down there. He said, ``We're heading up where we have to sew you back up. We've got sulfur powder in there, and we had to get the inside cleared up before we could sew you back up.'' So boy, I jumped on that meat wagon, and away we went. And then he asked, a few days later, if I'd ever been awarded a Purple Heart. And I said no because I'd never heard of it.

LP: This was for the injury.

HG: This was for the first injury. January 26th. I guess the general put me in for it because we were on that special mission for him. Finally, we thought we were going home, but we didn't. We got orders to find our captain up around at that airfield near Hannover, where the three of us went back. And we got back to our outfit, and my captain said, just as I was getting out of the jeep, ``Goodwin, I want to congratulate you. You're the only one in Dog Battery that got two Purple Hearts.'' And I said, ``No, I've only got one.'' And I showed him the one I got in Paris. And oh, he was mad. He got the personnel section and wanted to know where my first Purple Heart was. He [the personnel section man] had it somewhere with all the literature. I think he got relieved right then. And then the captain was really mad, because he had to take that and send it back to the Paris hospital and then write a thing where the Purple Heart that the Paris hospital had awarded me had to be rescinded and made an oak leaf cluster, because during World War II, you could only receive one medal and then a cluster for each one after that.

LP: By the way, did you ever run into this Helmut again in all of this?

HG: Yes.

LP: Or am I getting ahead of your story?

HG: I got ahead of my story. When I went back, January 26th, to this coal mine area, I was on my cot up there reading the Stars and Stripes.

LP: This is where you got the first injury?

HG: First injury. Here this kid looked like a black boy, just covered, totally black. His lips were red, his tongue was red, and his eyes were white. And he was just jabbering. And I said, ``No compris. Nichts verstehen. Didn't understand.'' And he said, ``Ja, ja, ein moment. Helmut, Helmut de Jong. Ein moment.`` He went down and took a shower and here was that kid. And before I got relief to go back to my outfit in February, I got a pass, and I visited with Helmut and did quite a few things with him. I visited his family and then up until about two or three years ago we wrote.

LP: So you kept in touch with him?

HG: I kept in touch with him. My wife and I went over to Germany twice after the war, and both times we saw him and his wife and family, his brother. So we kept track of him. I figure he saved my life.

LP: Well, you went back then after the second wound and rejoined the outfit again.

HG: Yes. We thought we had a million dollar wound; everyone said we were going home this time.

LP: But there you were back on the front again.

HG: So we went from Hanover then, after we got back to our outfit, and we went up to Bismarck, and clear over to Stendal, Germany, and that's right on the Elbe River. And that's where the Russians came across the river and met us. We met them, the Russians, at Stendal.

LP: And very shortly, we had the end of the war.

HG: Yes, it's getting close to the end of the war. It wasn't that day; I can't remember when it was.

LP: It was early in May, the first part of May. I believe May 8th.

HG: That's when the war was over. But this was a little before May, a little before May 8th. Anyway, we weren't there very long after the Russians and the Americans met, and then we came back down; we came to a town called Gardelegen. And as we pulled in, here was a big barn, and there were 1,016 political prisoners that the Germans had cut holes in the roof and thrown gasoline in on them and set them on fire. And oh, it stunk for days after that.

LP: It was one of the big war crimes of the war.

HG: Quite a big war crime. So we were at Gardelegen for quite a while. For three or four days after we were there, it was still smoldering and stunk so bad. Some of them saw something move in there. They said, ``Well, somebody's moving in there.'' Come to find out, five or six, maybe more than that, I can't remember how many it was, had lived in there because if they did get out through the wooden doors and stuff or dug out, the Germans had machine guns around. They mowed them down before they left town. They [the Germans] left town by the time we got there. So we had to take the ones who had lived in that mess. They said there were 1,016. There were so many in that barn, they couldn't even all lay down at one time. They just had straw in there. And so we put them up in a big house.

LP: You saw German wartime atrocities first-hand.

HG: Oh, it was bad. Then we were there quite a while, quite a few months. That's when we started guard duty and pass and looking for SS and stragglers.

LP: The war is over and you're on occupation duty.

HG: Yes. German occupation, it was called. They made everybody except little tiny babies and real old people get out and dig graves for all these people in Gardelegen. And I guess they have a huge, beautiful thing there, and they've got to keep it green at all times and cleaned up.

LP: What did you think about the Germans when you saw that?

HG: I thought they were pretty damn mean. I mean, it was so stinking, it would make you cry to see them like that.

LP: Did you feel hatred for the Germans?

HG: Yes, yes. Mostly the SS. The regular German army was just like we were. They were drafted. And they either had to fight or the SS would kill them. They were up in front all the time.

LP: You distinguished between the ardent Nazis and the rest of the Germans. Would that be a fair statement?

HG: Yes. And this Gardelegen, town of Gardelegen, it was Nazi clear through. And they were trying to get to these ones and kill them, so we had to have armed guards.

LP: The ones that escaped death in the barn, they were still trying to kill them?

HG: They were still trying to kill them because they knew. They knew what they were going to tell.

LP: While you were on occupation duty in Germany, did you have much contact with the German civilian population?

HG: Well, just talking to them or trying to talk to them. You couldn't fraternize with them.

LP: That was against the rules.

HG: That was against the rules. If you got caught fraternizing, you're liable to get shot. Court martialed.

LP: Court martialed. Maybe not shot.

HG: Some outfits, not my outfit, but some of them did pretty bad things. I did get into my story there once. Should I go back?

LP: Yes, sure.

HG: It was sometime after the second time I got hit. Sometime between Wesel andI can't remember where it was, but anyway we had just pulled into position. This was after we crossed the Ruhr. I guess it was right between the Ruhr and the Rhine somewhere. We pulled in position and down at a crossroad, our captain was trying to get our attention, and we thought he was getting shot at or something because he was firing a gun down there.

LP: He was down ahead of you?

HG: Yes, and we'd already pulled into our position. And he gave the sign to start your engine, come on the double, and so chief of section said, ``He's wanting us down there at that corner.'' We got down there and he said, ``Just line your guns up, your 40mm, you're so much distance away, your M51 machine guns.'' We had four machine guns, .50, and the bazooka man, and then the next four on one side of the road.

LP: So you're lined up and aligned with the Americans and the Germans are out ahead of that line.

HG: Yes. They're out ahead of that. And this road that we were on both sides of, it went down and we'd already escorted the infantry boys down there along that other road. And so that was trouble; the captain said, ``We got orders to stay here until the last man. The infantry is going to have to retreat.''

LP: The American infantry is going to retreat back through your line?

HG: Yes, because tanks, quite a few German tanks, were coming.

LP: After the Americans come the Germans.

HG: And the weather was so bad, there hadn't been any planes out.

LP: So you didn't have any air cover.

HG: No. Anyway, after we got all set up there, you could see the tanks coming. They were quite a distance away.

LP: These are the German tanks?

HG: Yes, these are the German tanks, Tiger Tanks. And you could just hear guys praying.

LP: You were in a very bad spot.

HG: We were scared. It was cold, you were shaking because it was so cold. And you were just scared to death. And here everybody's praying and the sky just opened up like, I'd say like a funnel, and way up there, way up there, you could see blue sky. And just as soon as the sky opened up, here were the American airplanes coming down through there, and they started strafing and dive bombing those tanks and knocked out a lot of them.

LP: The whole situation cleared up.

HG: Yes. And the tanks turned off, turned and went back.

LP: What did you think of that incident?

HG: What did I think of that?

LP: Yes.

HG: I think the Lord was working with us. The Lord was with us. He heard us praying. I never heard that outfit pray; they weren't really a religious outfit, but they were praying.

LP: Would you say this was your tightest spot in the war?

HG: Yes.

LP: As far as you personally were concerned?

HG: Yes.

LP: This was the point you were most under stress and most scared?

HG: Yes. Yes. But I was scared quite a bit of the time. Boy, I'll tell you, tanks fighting each other, and you're pretty close to them. Let me tell you, it is bad. You know how it is.

LP: No, I don't know how it is, because I've never been shot at. And you don't really know until you are shot at.

HG: You were in the field artillery.

LP: I was in the field artillery, but I never was in combat.

HG: Oh, it was terrible.

LP: I mean I can imagine by the practice stuff we did, but you had to imagine it. It wasn't like you knew, unless there was an accident, you weren't going to get hit.

HG: I consider my buncha lot of them got hit, a lot of them got killed, but for the aircraft we counted eighteen at one time FW190s strafing from different positions and stuff. When the ME-109s and the FW190s come down at your gun section, they're coming at a motion that goes back and forth; they're coming down to you and they're strafing you. And time after time, there wouldn't be a single [person] hit, but gas cans would have holes in them, tires would be blown out, and stuff would be damaged so bad, but [none of the] fifteen men in that whole gun section [were] hit, not a soul hit; now that was something.

LP: I see what you mean.

HG: Somebody's looking out after you. And many a time it happened like that.

LP: Well, we got up to the end of the war, we talked about the occupation. I'm glad we went back and talked about this incident. There's a couple of other things about the war while it was on that we'd like to ask you. One thing we like to ask is what did you think of America's military leaders? Did you have an opinion of say, General Bradley, who was the field commander?

HG: We liked him; we didn't have any real contact with him. We had Major Busby that we had more contact with him. He wrote all the letters and stuff.

LP: Your immediate officer. Did you have an opinion on General Eisenhower?

HG: Yes, I liked him. When he slapped that boy, I thought that was the right thing to do.

LP: That was not General Eisenhower. That was General Patton that slapped a boy. It was a big slapping incident.

HG: Was it Patton?

LP: Patton. That was in Italy.

HG: I wasn't under either one of those. But I was for him, whoever it was. That's what should have happened. All of us were scared. But you know, that's why they want these eighteen, nineteen-year-olds in there because they'll tell them to do stuff, and they do it.

Whereas you get older, you'll tell them where to go.

LP: Let's talk about the political leaders a minute. Did you have an opinion on President Roosevelt as a wartime leader?

HG: No, I just really didn't.

This is tape 2, side A.

LP: Howard, we were talking about the wartime presidential years. I let the tape run out, so we've got to back up just a little bit. What was you opinion of President Truman again?

HG: Well, I always liked him. I thought he was a pretty smart guy.

LP: Did you approve of his decision to drop the bomb to end the war with Japan?

HG: Yes.

LP: Why did you think that?

HG: It saved a lot of American lives.

LP: It was kind of easy to feel that way at the time. Do you still fell that way today?

HG: Yes.

LP: If you'd been President Truman, you would have done the same thing?

HG: Yes.

LP: That's what we wanted to getyour view of that. We've got to get you home sometime during1945. You didn't come back to the States in '45 though, did you?

HG: No.

LP: You came back in '46.

HG: See, what we did was we came on down and then we did all that guard work and checking papers and stuff. And we came back through Cologne, and then we ended up at Mons, Belgium. They had a prison there, and we pulled guard duty sometimes. And they had a big warehouse that we were protecting from stuff getting stolen because there was a lot of black market going on. And we were at Mons, Belgium, for quite awhile.

LP: And before that time, you had spent a lot of time, had you not, looking for Nazis, SS, and people of this type?

HG: In the forest, Black Forest, Hitler youth. . . .

LP: Was this at all stressful duty, or was it pretty easy as compared to the war?

HG: It was easy compared to the war.

LP: You could feel fairly relaxed?

HG: Going through the forest, it was kind of hard to see. They gave these crickets, because you couldn't see each other on each side of you. They'd go along the road and drop a man off, every so often.

LP: You were really searching for people.

HG: Yes, we were searching for people and we found quite a few Hitler youth. They had a lot of guns but no ammunition. But they all had little Hitler knives, we called them, little Hitler knives or daggers. And they had one or two different groups. We caught three or four groups, and they had one or two women cooking for them.

LP: So there was still some kind of organized resistance, you're telling me, after the war was over; or at least there was some resistance, how organized was something else. Okay. How did you come back from Germany?

HG: Well, we were in Mons, Belgium, when they came out with the points system. If you were married you had so many points, so much time in the service, each medal you received had so many points.

LP: Of course you were married and had two Purple Hearts.

HG: Had two Purple Hearts.

LP: But you'd actually gone in fairly late in the war, so that probably didn't help you a lot.

HG: That put most of my outfitI had to leave them. And they put me in the 80th Amphibious outfit to come home. So I was with them for a while, and then we moved from Mons back down to Cherbourg, and I can't remember if we were at Camp Lucky Strike or Camp Chesterfield. We were at one of those.

LP: Bob Eckland told me about those places.

HG: Then coming back, it took us a long time.

LP: What kind of ship did you come back on?

HG: I think it was a Liberty Ship or a cargo ship. We had to climb down a big ladder on the side. Boy, I was sicker than a dog. We went through one of the worst storms they'd ever had. You know a ship in a storm it can only go over a certain amount where the keel comes up and tries to come out of the water. And we were past that for three days and we didn't know it, though, until we got back to New York. They wouldn't let us unload because of the longshoreman's contract. We couldn't get off the boat. Then the captain got on and told us about it, and he said the load had shifted and it was just ready to go on over. Flip the keel out of the water. It took us a long time.

LP: When did you finally get out service?

HG: Get discharged?

LP: Yes.

HG: January 31, 1946.

LP: Okay. Did you consider staying in the Reserves?

HG: I did.

LP: You mean you did consider or you did stay?

HG: I did stay. They talked me into it. When you went to get outCamp Chaffee, Arkansas, is where I got out, where I got my discharge. And they were saying, ``You're in for the duration, for ten years, and they can call you back anytime if something happens. And it's better to be in something you like than in the infantry that you don't like.''

LP: So you signed up for the Reserves.

HG: Yes.

LP: And you never did get called.

HG: Never did get called.

LP: And I take it you were in the inactive reserve because you didn't go to regular meetings. You were in the paper reserves. So when did you finally get discharged?

HG: January 30, 1949.

LP: How do you feel you came out of the war physically? Bad? Well?

HG: Well, I'm alive. I'm lucky. I was just in the wrong places a couple of times. I've had a lot of surgeries.

LP: A lot of surgery, why? Is this your back problem?

HG: Yes, I came home to find outI suffered for four years after I got out of the servicemy back has three ruptured disks. So Dr. Havorka here in Emporia sent me to Dr. Rumbold to have my back checked. And they told me what it was. And they gave me a fifty-fifty chance of walking again. And they took hip bone off my hip, and when they opened up my back, those disks came right out. And I have two metallic screws holding that hip bone onto my back.

LP: When you were discharged, did they consider you partly disabled?

HG: Twenty percent.

LP: Did they ever increase that?

HG: Right along, they did, yes. And then my arm, see, I was on the job training when I first got out, and they found jobs for me. But they were jobs that didn't pay too good; they were jobs like woodworking and carpentry, and things would get rough and I'd get laid off. And thenI can't remember the guy's name here in Emporia, would find me another job.

LP: You're just working on temporary jobs.

HG: Yes, temporary stuff. On the job training.

LP: It was a job where you got some wages and some government subsidy for the job?

HG: Yes.

LP: This leads me to this: was this through the G.I. Bill?

HG: G.I. Bill, yes.

LP: What do you think of the G.I. Bill?

HG: Well, it was all right. It kept me going, just barely. But a lot them went to school, got to go to school.

LP: Do you think that was a good thing?

HG: Oh, yes. But I couldn't do it because the first five years I was out, I had bad dreams. I choked my wife.

LP: The stress of war continued.

HG: They didn't have what they've got now, you know, these things, this stress stuff.

LP: Were you ever hospitalized for this stuff, for the bad dreams and this sort of thing?

HG: For my back, I went up there quite a few times. They told me [my back problems were] all in head; there wasn't anything wrong with my back. [I think they told me this] because they didn't want to operate on me.

LP: They blamed your back problems on the stress of war?

HG: Yes. I finally got a job at Alcorn Wood Products in Osage City. And then I got laid off there, and I came back and I was just sick of it, so I got a job delivering laundry. But that wasn't good for my back. And that's when in 1950, Dr. Havorka sent me to Dr. Rumbold, and I had the operation. Then I got a job right after that at Boeing Air.

LP: Which is in Wichita.

HG: Wichita. And I was on production, and I liked it. But I'd already taken a test for the civil service to get on the post office. I don't know how long I was in Wichita, four months, six months, and Mary Alice called and said that Earl Gadberry at the post office had called and wanted to know if I wanted to get on with the post office. So I came back and got on there.

LP: And that was your career.

HG: Yes.

LP: What did you do at the post office?

HG: I was a window clerk most of the time.

LP: I probably saw you one time or another when I came into the post office.

HG: And I loved it, I loved it. Well, I carried and clerked, up for the first five years I was in there.

LP: What do you mean when you say you loved it?

HG: I loved the public. I loved the public.

LP: You'd love to have people around.

HG: They'd come in mad, and I'd have them laughing going out. But then it got so when I was sorting mail and stuff, you know, my arm, I'd go out so far. I was having a lot of trouble with my arm. Here my hand started to turn black, the little finger and the middle finger; [it would] clear up and [then] it started to turn black and the skin started to fall off. It was hurting so bad that I went to the VA. And I was up there about three months that one time. They wanted to know if I could get my wife up there. She was still working at Santa Fe, and I said I could get her up there. So they got her a room, and they told her I had gangrene setting in. They were going to have to cut my arm off. And then she came back and told me, and I said no, I like that arm. I'll just try to find something else.

LP: When was this?

HG: This was after I started working at the post office. That's when I was using my arm a lot sorting mail and stuff. And it always hurt a lot. And I'd hold my arm up like this, and right away a knot about the size of a walnut would pop out in my arm. But they couldn't get my pulse. The blood was settling back down there. And so finally, I had two doctors, one a specialist from the Denver, Colorado, VA and one from Atlanta, Georgia. They were there at the same time. They were checking me, and they told Mary Alice [that they needed to] take my arm off. And before they left, they called me in and they said that they were going to send me to the VA in Kansas City. They did something where they cut in my neck, they cut a big muscle, nerve, trying to get more blood going down here. And I tried to make myself think it was working, but it didn't work. Then I got a doctor, a brilliant doctor, Wayne Hurd, in Wichita. He's dead now. I went down to see him, and he put Novocain in here, and he looked at my fingers, and he said, ``Why, I think I know what you have.'' And I said, ``What's that?'' He said, ``What's called Raynaud's Disease.'' And I said. ``What's that? I never heard of that before.'' He said, ``From the shrapnel wound you had, it damaged the nerve and muscle so bad, it went in the big nerve trunk and it's diseased those nerves back there.'' And I said, ``Can anything be done.'' And he said, ``Professionally, medically, no. But I operated three years ago on a fellow from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and instead of this part of his hand, it was the middle finger and the thumb.'' And he said it was so bad you could see the bone real good and the muscles and tendons moving down there. He said, ``I operated on him.'' And he said he was still going pretty good.

LP: So you let him operate?

HG: And I said, ``Could you do that to me?'' because I was at that place that gangrene hurt so badI was at the place I was hoping I could die, it hurt so bad. And that's bad when you're that sick.

LP: I take it you probably weren't able to [work] at this time?

HG: Well, I was still trying to. So anyway, I went down there, and they started right about in here, and they took out a rib or two; they cut clear back in here, and they opened me up and took out ribs. They had a machine that pulled the ribs apart and they collapsed the lungs and moved the organs around and worked on the front on the right side on my big nerve trunk along my back. And they cut out ganglia and something else and it got rid of my gangrene. It hurts a lot of the time.

LP: Your hand looks very normal today.

HG: Yes, I still have my arm, but it gets cold.

LP: You're probably lucky you've got the arm at all.

HG: Yes.

LP: There are a few things before we close. Tell me about your family.

HG: My family?

LP: Yes. Tell me about your familyyour wife, your children.

HG: What do you want to know about them? I have a sweet wife. Been with me all these years.

LP: How about your children?

HG: Well, I had four children. My next to oldest daughter got killed in an accident in Montana two or three years ago. My oldest daughter, she just lost her husband two years ago. I've got a boy that works for an insurance company in Kansas City. He's real brilliant. He's very high up in it. And I have a youngest daughter.

LP: Three girls, then and one boy. And your youngest daughter, you were going to tell me?

HG: She's in Canada right now. Her husband is up in Canada trying to get oil out of sand on that new deal.

LP: Do you have any grandchildren?

HG: Well, twenty-fiveno, fifteen.

LP: Fifteen grandchildren.

HG: Fifteen grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. And I've got five grandchildren, some of whom are just graduating; some of them have already graduated from medical school.

Mrs. Mary Alice Goodwin: One of them is going on to school. He's going to be an orthopedic surgeon.

HG: One of their wives is going to be a baby doctor.

LP: Well that's pretty good. I know something else about you. I know that you have been very active in veterans affairs since you got out.

HG: I love marching in the parade.

LP: Tell me about your involvement in veterans affairs.

HG: I loved to put on that uniform and march. I marched for years with that captain of the Air Force, Trevor Lewis. I don't know whether he's still alive or not anymore.

LP: I think the answer is he's not, but I'm not sure of that. He was a very prominent architect.

HG: The last three or four years, I've ridden in cars, convertibles. One year I rode on a motorcycle, the back of a motorcycle. The last two years I was on a float with the Purple Heart. But I loved to march in the parade because it makes you feel so good. And I liked to march because I wore my World War II uniform. Now I can't get in it anymore. I quit smoking about six months ago and I've gained so much weight.

LP: You gained so much weight? You don't look very fat to me.

HG: I weigh about 150 now.

LP: I weigh190, so I don't think anyone who weighs 150 is very fat.

HG: What I can't figure out, in the service, guys came in there weighing maybe up to almost 300 pounds. They had the same food, same exercise, they would go down in weight, and the guys like me, 130, 135, I got up to 165 by the time I got overseas.

LP: Same thing happened to me in the Army. I got down to 160 pounds in the Army. I weighed 195 when I went in and 160 when I got out. Have you been involved, how should I put this, in veterans' political activities or anything like that?

HG: No, I'm not well enough.

LP: You belong to the American Legion?

HG: I'm not a life member. I've belonged 64 years, or 65 to the American Legion. VFW, I'm a life member. DAV, I'm a life member. Military Order of the Purple Heart, I'm a life member. Knights of Columbus, I'm a life member. But I never go to anything because I can't get involved because I'm too nervous. Things upset me so bad. My nerves are shot.

LP: Well, I thought you've done very well today.

HG: Well, I hope it comes out all right.

LP: It will.

HG: Well, talking about going back, the food, the Army food overseas, I liked some of that. I liked the hash. I liked the SOS. You don't know what that is?

LP: Yes, I know what SOS is, I certainly do. Dried beef on toast.

HG: Dried beef or hamburger.

LP: Hamburger? I've never seen any with hamburger.

HG: Oh that's good on toast, on the shingle.

LP: I have one other thing to ask you here. Well, I have a couple of other things as a matter of fact. As you look back on it, how do you feel about your Army service?

HG: My Army service?

LP: How do you feel about it?

HG: I think everybody should have to go a year, at least a year.

LP: You'd be in favor of compulsory military service?

HG: I sure would. I sure would, because I think it does a world of good.

LP: This is in spite of the fact that you're still having problems because of your Army service? Let me put it this way: If the situation were the same, and you were the same age, would you do it again?

HG: Probably, because I wasn't very smart back then. I was smart enough to get married to a good-looking gal and stay with her. Or she stayed with me.

LP: One other thing, from your experienceshere in the 1930s and into the `40s, the United States went from trying to stay out of the affairs of the world to being very heavily involved in the affairs of the world. And you lived through that transition, going into the World War, and then America became the world leader, became heavily involved in world affairs. What's your opinion about what America's role in the world should be today?

HG: Well, I don't think they did the Social Security right. My dad signed up in 1936 for Social Security, and he worked down at Poehler's. Didn't get much, but no one was getting much back in those days. And then, when he retired, my wife's father retired about the same time, and he was a farmer. And they took the farmers in for two years, and yet her dad, when he retired, he got $100 more a month than my dad.

LP: Who had worked all his life.

HG: It's all right to take the farmers in, the doctors in, those people in, but not just for two years. They should have had to go back and pay so much money in. They really fouled Social Security up. Now I can't get Social Security.

LP: Well, you get a Federal pension.

HG: I get a Federal pension. I'm on Medicare through work coverage.

LP: How about America's role in the world? What do you think that should be today? Are you satisfied with what America is doing in the world today? Dissatisfied or what?

HG: Well, my wife's probably not, but they've got to stop all this killing and stuff. I mean, all this stuff that we saw over in Germany, the furnaces and all that stuff. And Iraq, that monster, I guess I disagree with them on trying him.

LP: You're talking about Hussein, Saddam Hussein.

HG: Yes, they ought to have had some talk and then killed him. Because I'm afraid he'll get out of it, the way the United States is, oh they'll say, some people, religious organizations, they'll say, ``Inhumane, inhumane.''

LP: Did you approve of America's going into Iraq?

HG: I thought to keep them out, of people coming here. I don't want anyone coming onto our soil. I'm afraid maybe we're going to have trouble down at the border down there. It's no fun fighting on your own soil. I'd rather go somewhere else to fight than on our own soil. Because most of the people in the United States, unless they were in the service, they don't know what fighting in a country is, how terrible it is. It just ruined all those people's lives over there, tore up their towns. But of course, being United States, we got all those gothic buildings and everything just back like they were, after the war.

LP: I'll put it this way: You are in favor of President Bush's war in Iraq then?

HG: Yes. A president, any president, can't do what he says he's going to do or what he wants to do unless he goes through the Congress or Senate, but you've got too many people like Ted Kennedy and that other guy, whatever his name is.

LP: Is there anything we haven't talked about you'd like to put in before we close?

HG: Not that I know of.

MAG: I'd like to say something.

LP: Okay, go ahead.

MAG: I'd like to say something.

LP: Come over and sit here.

MAG: I've always said that I would never want any of my children or my grandchildren to go into the service because they did not treat Howard adequately. We were so poor, that my aunt stopped and I didn't even have a piece of bread to give her. And if it hadn't been for his mother carrying groceries up to us, we would have starved to death.

LP: This was right after the war?

HG: Right after the war.

MAG: He got about $12 a month from the government. It was terrible, it was terrible.

HG: When I found my right arm had gangrene and they have this surgery for Reynaud's Disease, why I tried to get the Veterans' Administration to pay for it, but they wouldn't do it. They said if I came back to their hospitalsame way with my backif I came back to the veterans' hospital, and they check it and they think that's what's wrong, then they'd do it. Well, somebody tells you you're nuts, that it's all in your head, and they're going to take off your right arm, I don't want them operating on me. I just kind of got a bad deal. A lot of the boys didn't, but I have to go to the VA.

MAG: It was absolutely terrible. Then I went back to work and things got better. I worked for the Santa Fe.

HG: Twice a year just to get my medicine, see. VA has to authorize. I have to get my medicine through the VA.

LP: Well, I know there's one other thing. I know you're about to move. You say you've lived in this house, what, 53 years?

HG: And I don't know whether I'm going to be able to stand it. It's going to be a lot smaller, I've got a lot of stuff to get rid of.

LP: But you're only moving what is almost right across the street, or not very far, anyway, just down there. Well, I wish you luck on the move, and I thank for this interview.

HG: What do you mean, right across the street?

LP: Well, I misspoke. It's really up a few blocks. Thank you again for the interview.

HG: I hope it's all right.

[Interview ends tape 2, side A, count 420.]

Item Description

Copyright © 2007-2021 - Kansas Historical Society - Contact Us
This website was developed in part with funding provided by the Information Network of Kansas.