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Emil Campbell audio interview on experiences in World War II

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This is Suzette McCord-Rogers and Peggy Stanton, and we are at the home of Emil Campbell in Gladstone, MO. Emil, I know you have been dying to tell us your story…Can you tell me where you were born?

Mr. Campbell: In Brown County, Kansas in the Iowa reservation.

Suzette: OK, and your date of birth?

Mr. Campbell: 9-16-23.

Suzette: And how does that make you?

Mr. Campbell: 73, oh, 83!

Suzette: Gosh, you are a young man! You are a member of the Iowa tribe of Kansas and Nebraska?

Mr. Campbell: Yeah.

Suzette: OK, and you served in World War II.

Mr. Campbell: World War II.

Suzette: What was your highest rank?

Mr. Campbell: PFC. It took an act of Congress to do that!

Suzette: It did?! Does that tell me you were drafted instead of enlisted?

Mr. Campbell: Well, I was drafted but I could of got out of it, I guess, I went to work in that Sunflower Ordnance out there by Lawrence and they put me in the payroll office and I had a card, got a letter from Franklin telling me to get back to the farm or go in the Army in 30 days. So I just stayed there and in the 30 days I got a greeting from President Roosevelt. That's when I went in.

Suzette: How old were you when you went in?

Mr. Campbell: I'm guessing 18, I guess.

Suzette: 18. Had you graduated from high school?

Mr. Campbell: No, no. Just went through the 10th grade.

Suzette: Went through the 10th grade, and then you went down and started working at the Sunflower Ordnance…

Mr. Campbell: No, I'd been all around, to Omaha and Oklahoma, and different places. Then I got back to Lawrence.

Suzette: OK.

Mr. Campbell: The reason I didn't finish high school my dad let me take my car down there.

Suzette: You went down to Haskell. And you took your car.

Mr. Campbell: Um, hum. I took my car, I took Beanie, sister Beanie, and Diggie, Leggin, and Judy all down in my car. And that was my downfall!

Suzette: Was it a little roadster?

Mr. Campbell: No, it was a little bitty sedan. You don't see any kind anymore that had a, 1931 with wire wheels, side mounts on the fenders, and a little back seat with a trunk line. You don't, I haven't seen any.

Suzette: I don't know how you get that many people in it.

Mr. Campbell: Oh, you can get 3 in the back and 3 in the front.

Suzette: So, when you got down to Haskell, did you study a lot?

Mr. Campbell: Not when I got my car down there! I wasn't, I wasn't really a bad student, but teachers all didn't want me to quit. They said, ``they'll help you; you'll get caught up.'' But I still had my car there, so I knew I wasn't going to get caught up. …finish the year out, went over to the bakery, that's why I became a cook in the Army, I guess.

Suzette: Ah, ah! You had this experience….

Mr. Campbell: Yes. And two years of college.

Suzette: And two years of college. What made you decide to become a baker while you were in college?

Mr. Campbell: Why?

Suzette: Um, hum.

Mr. Campbell: I just started...the kitchen was just right across from the bakery. The girls were all in the kitchen! Ha ha So I was close to the girls! And it looked like an easy trade.

Suzette: He wasn't born yesterday.

Mr. Campbell: It looked like an easy trade, so that's how I got there. I was pretty popular with the rest of the guys. They always wanted me to bring a pie home at night, in the evening.

Suzette: So that training provided you with your Army career?

Mr. Campbell: I guess! I went to….should I start with Leavenworth?

Suzette: Yes, you were drafted and you went to Leavenworth.

Mr. Campbell: …went to Leavenworth, in July. We got to go for my examination and I passed and they let me go home for two weeks, so I guess I'd already quit working at Sunflower in the payroll office. I went home and come back, went to…kind of…inducted into the Army then. Of course, …of `em in different places, so they was down across the road from the mess hall and from the rest of the camp, they had some barracks over there. So they put some of us down there. And I got acquainted with ____ down there, a real good buddy and friend, and we stayed that way all through the Army and afterwards. But..

Suzette: And you met after you enlisted, I mean after…

Mr. Campbell: I lost him, but I met him on the street here one time afterwards. Anyway, we were down there and we'd go to lunch, and breakfast and lunch and dinner. That's all we did, go out and get breakfast, go back and get lunch, and dinner, and we'd go back to the billets. They got tired of us staying around all day, I guess. We must have been there a couple of weeks, I guess. So finally one day right after noon, they wanted the guys down across the road, they wanted them all to fall out over behind the mess hall. So we figured they got us ready to ship out. So they picked some groups out to go here, do this, truck drivers and another group. The truck drivers we found out ended up on the wheelbarrows. And our group, with my buddy, we went down to the railroad tracks, and they were unloading reams of paper, puttin' `em on trucks, and we went down there that afternoon. Oh it was hot, in that old hot boxcar, so the next morning, ``all you guys fall out there in your regular division'', guys down across the road over there, and they give us our group, and my buddy was standing there right by the sidewalk that went to the PX. There was people walking back and forth, and they said, ``You guys with the railroad car, the boxcar group, fall out over here,''. He just grabbed a hold of my arm and we went down to the PX and spent the afternoon where it was nice and cool. Ha Ha

This is what happened every day when they said ``box car group fall out'' we just went down…that was very curious at Leavenworth. They finally did ship us out there, then, and we got to go together. We went to anti-aircraft group in Camp Wallace, Texas, 13 miles from Galveston. We was in two-story barracks, then, the top floor, you could just step out the window and go on the roof and see Galveston over there. And then we finally got to go. We finally after two weeks or so we got to go to______. We had a lot of fun over there.

But then, I guess we were there probably two months or so and they must of needed infantry men, and different ones over in Germany so they closed the anti-aircraft camp down and sent a bunch of us to Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, in the infantry. My ole buddy got to go with, well, no, I got to back up there. He'd already, he was pretty smart. He'd already applied for something else, and he got him a desk job. He'd already left, so I lost him. They went to Camp Claiborne. And on my first furlough after I got to Camp Claiborne, come home and got ready to go back to camp, I went down to Union station to go in to go home, and there was my friend, setting there. He was going back to Camp Claiborne; he was in another outfit, but he was stationed at Camp Claiborne too.

So we got to run around a little bit together there, and let's see. Then when we finally,…we must have been at Camp Claiborne probably a year or so, a short 18 months in the States….

Suzette: Were they training you?

Mr. Campbell: Yeah. Oh, yes.

Suzette: So you were in the PX at Camp Claiborne.

Mr. Campbell: …You was in the Army then. They knew where you was and where you was supposed to be. So we was taking infantry training then. But when we went, they just come off of six months maneuvers, but we still got plenty of training there.

Suzette: So then from there, where did you go?

Mr. Campbell: From there, when we shipped out of there, we went to Camp Philamin, in New York, to get ready to go overseas, and I don't know, I guess we were there probably a couple of weeks before we shipped out. But we got to go to New York a couple of times. Checked out a couple of ballrooms,…

Suzette: I understand you could ride free on the subways, is that right?

Mr. Campbell: In New York? I didn't ride the subway. Yes, yes, I beg your pardon, we did too. We rode, I don't remember riding free, maybe I did, it's been a long time ago. We went to the Empire State Building. I got up there.

Suzette: Were there famous ballrooms in New York?

Mr. Campbell: Yes! Two..

Suzette: Where did you go to?

Mr. Campbell: I can't even think of the names now…Roseland was one. They had two bands there playing. And, …of course I went with another friend of mine, and our last trip to New York, I think we were overstayed, about a day late. We were on alert, you know, to go any time,…I would have been, but the guy that was driving the bus he.., we went into camp about, oh about 12 o'clock, I guess. There wasn't but about a few on the bus and when we passed the guard station, he just laid there and told him everybody's OK. So they waved us on, we went on in. It was about two days' later then we shipped out, got on the boat.

Suzette: Good thing you got back in time.

Mr. Campbell: Oh, we got back in time, but they were ready to ship us out. But I can remember getting on that boat. I don't know what the….amount, you had your gun, and your gas mask, and everything you owned, or gonna own, was on your back and you went up this long, long gangplank to get on the boat. I remember goin' up there and lookin' at these guys' heads in front of me…

Suzette: You're thinking back to that time.

Mr. Campbell: But anyway, we go on there. All I remember there is waving good-bye to the Statute of Liberty, wondering if we'd see it again. So we was on there I don't know how many days, seven, eight days going across, seventeen days coming back!!

Suzette: Why did it take so long coming back?

Mr. Campbell: Because we was on a little bitty boat!! A little bitty boat, and something happened out there, and we sat out there in the ocean, I can't remember the name of it now. But it was only about, I don't know, a 1000 guys on it, I think. I don't know why they put us on there. I guess that boat was going so they just threw us on there to come back.

Suzette: So seven days over on a troop carrier,…

Mr. Campbell: Yes, and we landed in Scotland, Glasgow, Scotland. And we went in there at night and the next morning we woke up. There was a rainbow, I told Mae(?) about this, a rainbow that come up. It just looked like it came out of that ship. Beautiful!!

We got off that day and they put us on trains and sent us down to Winchester and I guess that's where we grouped again, and then the next trip, I don't know, we were there probably a couple of weeks, getting regrouped and everybody together, and then that's when we went to Liverpool and went across the Channel.

Suzette: …across the Channel, and you went to Omaha Beach.

Mr. Campbell: …went to Omaha Beach. Seen where those boys had to go up that mountain, that cliff.

Suzette: Had you heard stories when you were in England about D-Day invasion?

Mr. Campbell: No, no. Well, we knew there was an invasion, but we weren't prepared to see what we seen when we got off the boat. All the equipment was still that got shot at, everything but the boys. But you could just look up that cliff and wonder how anybody ever got from the beach up there, but I guess they finally did get enough air power that, they were losing all the guys, some of `em did get up there, and got the machine guns taken care of. They just couldn't kill `em all, I guess. So they got up there and got that taken care of.

You can imagine just sitting up there with a machine gun, just mowing `em down as they come off the boat. Well, this is what I am told; they said that the water was just red…just to step over `em and go on. It might have been a buddy.

Suzette: Now you were falling behind the 35th Infantry.

Mr. Campbell: Yeah, my sergeant, yeah, 35th Division, that was Falls City and the National Guard group. When I was 16, Jake was in the National Guard so he got all the Indian boys in, Max, Louie, all a whole bunch of `em. Glen was in the CT camp, I don't think he went up there. But he was in the National Guard. I knew all those boys in Company B, and my cousins were there, so, when we got back, we went on maneuvers with `em, when we got back from that Furman and I went to Haskell then, my first year of Haskell. We didn't know it, but I guess they knew the war was comin' and Emmett, our dads got us out. We didn't even know we were out. So that's how I didn't go with my cousins cause we was goin' to school. They was mobilized and went to Arkansas, and then before they got to Camp Claiborne…

Suzette: No, no, we were talking about Omaha Beach and you just come up off the beach and seen where the Germans had been stationed with their machine guns. And I know earlier you mentioned something about, was it the 34th Division had gone in and fought with you?

Mr. Campbell: Yes, I think they was, I'm guessing at the dates cause I don't know them exact, because it was after D-Day, and I think a couple months after D-Day when 35th Division my cousins were in went in. I was always about a month behind them. When they went to New York I was a month behind them, and then they hit Omaha Beach I was a month behind them then. Still I never knew where they were, but they went on up and they fought quite a bit through France. Right after Omaha Beach, because they fought through St. Low before you get to Paris and, as I mentioned a while ago, St. Low, I went through there. That little old village was just shot up, all to pieces. And it was bad. And then when I got home I found out that's where Louis DeRoin was. I didn't know that until I got home.

But we went on in, went on in Holland and Belgium and then we went to the Siegfried line. That is where they had I think about 20, I suppose they had them other places, but where we went through there was about 20, 21 of those, they called them pill boxes. And they had, I've heard 14, 15-foot of concrete over the top of `em. Bombs wouldn't blow `em up. They had trenches between them; that's where the Germans were gonna make their stand, the Germans. They might have had others, someplace else, but that was called, when we got there, was called the Siegfried line. But we got through and went to the line, and we set there. We were setting there quite a little while, it was a pretty good-sized area, and then they had to___, down in Belgium, what they called the Battle of the Bulge.

Suzette: …the Germans broke through the lines there.

Mr. Campbell: They broke through, they pulled equipment from all they could every place and put it down there, and broke through the lines down there. That's why they called it the Battle of the Bulge, when they broke through them it made a big horseshoe.

Suzette: Oh, I see.

Mr. Campbell: …a lot of prisoners, killed a lot, and we had a big fuel dump there. And that's what they were trying to get. But the Americans were able to blow it up before they got there. They just blew it up, see, so the Germans wouldn't get it.

Suzette: So the Germans were desperate for supplies?

Mr. Campbell: They were. If they would have got the fuel dump and probably a lot of other stuff, the war would have continued quite a little bit longer. But they got more Army down there to stop it.

Suzette: So you were involved in that, tell us about that.

Mr. Campbell: We left there, and we got down there October 25, I guess, cause that's when that boy was killed, there in that picture, October 25, that's where he was killed. And oh, it was cold down there. The tanks, it was icy, real cold and a lot of snow, the tanks would even slide off of the road. The big old tanks, many times, would slip right off

Suzette: Were there mountains there?

Mr. Campbell: Mountains? Yes, there were mountains. Some roads, but not real good. You know, they weren't highways; they were roads all through, like a big park, I guess.

Suzette: Did you have warm clothing?

Mr. Campbell: We had everything that, I had two sleeping bags put together, so I did pretty good. We were there. I can't even tell you now, it's on my papers over there, how long we were down there, but I can remember…

Suzette: Now were you in the battle? The battle itself?

Mr. Campbell: Oh, yes. We were there…

Suzette: Now how long did that last?

Mr. Campbell: That's what I'm trying to tell you. It's on my equipment over there, but, or on my sheet over there, someplace,…The time it was over, where we ended…

Suzette: …34th Infantry Division, and the Battle of the Ardennes. December, 1944, January, 1945. What is that, 60 days?

Mr. Campbell: Sounds about right. A lot of pictures in there…

Suzette: What were you doing there? What was your…

Mr. Campbell: Well, we had a tank gun, we had two of those, two 50-caliber machine guns, and we had two trucks that had 50-caliber machine guns mounted on them. That was our, what we had. Of course, we had to pull that around..

Suzette: You were in artillery?

Mr. Campbell: No, we were in Headquarters company, but we were right behind the front lines, and in between the artillery.

Suzette: So you were kind of like an advanced artillery?

Mr. Campbell: Yes, yes, yes.

Suzette: And so, snow on the ground, it must have been very cold, were you sleeping in camps, where were you sleeping?

Mr. Campbell: We were sleeping wherever you were. Well, I remember one place, we were set up on the side of the road then, we set up there. This hole had already been dug back in the bank, and there was enough room for two of us to get in there. We'd get in, then you could set up after you got in there.

Suzette: So there was like a hole dug in the snow?

Mr. Campbell: No, into the bank. The two of us would get in there, and our gun was out there. I don't know, we stayed several days there, but then one time, we had tent set up in the, at the end of the forest. You couldn't see, we was under cover, you know, and we had the tent set up back there. I don't know, a 50-gallon drum, we'd put wood in there, and of course, the smoke was all in the tent, but then ….where'd we sleep. So we'd move that thing around, once in a while.

I remember one time, there was a bunch of us asleep there, a few of us, some jerk came in and threw something on the, he imagined it was about out, so he found something and had fire all over his…and we had to put it out. That's what we went through.

Suzette: Now were you actively fighting? I mean, were you shooting your guns, the Germans were advancing, what was the situation?

Mr. Campbell: We wouldn't do any fighting there, we just had the guns in case some of them got through. But when we started movin' `em back, and started movin' toward getting' the Germans out, there would always be pockets of `em back behind you. You'd have to go back and clean them out. And sometimes, some of `em didn't even know the Germans had already moved out. There'd just be pockets of `em there, some of `em would come out and surrender, or want to fight…it seemed like a long time down there, but like I said, I don't know of anybody freezing, in other words, but it was cold.

Suzette: They say that that was one of the hardest fights for the Allies.

Mr. Campbell: A lot of `em did freeze their feet, like we had one guy in the American Legion who just died here a while back, he had feet frozen and he had trouble with `em and ever since. He'd come sometimes and his old feet would just be black. Of course, he was over 95 when he died.

Oh, and in my Legion post too, we had a guy that was down there, in the Battle of the Bulge, and I always mentioned about the..New Year's Day or Christmas Day, one or the other, it was a nice sunny day that day. I had a hard time….(Mr. Campbell rather upset here) He was in a tank, he drove a tank, he remembered that day. The bombers were comin' over to go into Berlin, bombing, you could stand there, and look back that way, all you could see was bombers. They'd be about four abreast and then there would be fighters on the side and then you'd look up that way and all you could see was bombers. And it was a good feeling. That, as we were standing there.

Of course, the Germans ____right on the line, and the Germans were flying then, but their artillery. One of `em was hit, one of these big bombers was hit, and it turned and tried to maybe get back to the American side, but he was high enough, revved that old plane up, and just about leveled off, remind you of an old car just startin' to leave down, they rev it up, they did that about three times, and it went out of sight. We heard it. At that time, all I could think of was Jessie. He was the tail bomber, tail gunner, and one dream of a pilot(?). That's all I could think of.

But then, shortly after that, I don't know whether we moved up any or not, but I guess it was after that it was all over. One of the German fighters was shot down, and I think he wasn't going to bail out at first, and then he finally bailed out. We heard the plane hit, it was where we could see him, he was over on our side, so they went out and picked him up. And they had one of these German leather suits on, and he bailed out, and when he hit the ground, he just busted all the seams in it, when he hit.

That's about everything down in the Bulge, I guess, except I don't know whether you want to hear that or not.

I mentioned that the Germans were getting real low on all of their supplies, and they threw everything down there. I guess when they would take some of the Americans, they'd maybe they didn't have shoes or their shoes were bad, and they kind of liked our combat boots, and I suppose the guys, prisoners would take us they didn't have any shoes they'd cut their shoes. I know when they was marching some of `em back that they had taken prisoners, a lot of `em didn't have shoes on. The Germans had made shoes out of `em. So we knew they had been wearing combat boots.

Suzette: Oh! They had been wearing American combat boots and they took their boots back because it indicated they had shot Americans…

Mr. Campbell: Well, they got `em some way from the prisoner somehow. I don't know how much that was, but I noticed them comin' back, and we knew. I didn't see this, but I heard when they first started taking prisoners, they'd line them up out there and mow `em down.

Suzette: They didn't want to take care of prisoners.

Mr. Campbell: I guess. That's what I've heard, I didn't see it.

Suzette: In the Battle of the Bulge, that you were taking prisoners as many as a 1000 a day, of German prisoners.

Mr. Campbell: …sending `em back to the United States where they was eating a lot better than we were. When I was in Camp Claiborne, down there, they had a German prison camp and an Italian prison camp. They would let the, somebody would come in and want to take `em to town, the Italians, they'd let `em go to town. The German camp had guards and a fence all around it. The same truck that delivered to our mess hall backed up to theirs. And when they got overseas and we started to taking prisoners, if they would come back on the truck or something, you could tell every one of `em that had been in that prison camp. They were so skinny and they had been there for awhile. Some of `em would have a chicken, if they stopped, they were going to have something to eat. A couple of times a guy would have hold of a chicken, they were going to get something to eat.

Suzette: Are you talking about American prisoners?

Mr. Campbell: American.

Suzette: …our people were in prison.

Mr. Campbell: Yes, and they were bringing them back in trucks. I know one time, it was noon and we were getting ready to go to chow, and we were lined up to go in, and the truck pulled up with the prisoners…(can't hear Mr. Campbell)…they knew what they'd been through, let them go. (Mr. Campbell obviously upset here)

Suzette: …you had a pretty strong bond with the people…

Suzette: …from the Bulge, then you continued…

Mr. Campbell: We went back up and right into the position where we were when we left up there, only whoever took over where we were, they'd been pushed back four or five miles. So when we got up there, everybody was…of course, there was nothing, just to go on in by that time, to go on in to the river. You chased them right on across to…but then we were reorganizing then to get across the river. We had to build bridges. The bridges were all bombed out, so…

Suzette: I wondered about that, crossing the Rhine, did you have to rebuild the bridge..

Mr. Campbell: Yes. The Corps of Engineers had to get down there and build those bridges sometimes when the firing was going on. But they would set up pontoons and we would drive across on these pontoons. I guess we stayed there probably two or three weeks, getting organized, coming back and getting our supplies. And that's where I run onto my cousin cause we were setting…this is as far as the road went, where we had our gun position. They were coming down the road, as far as they got to go, down to the river where the Germans was. But they had to turn left, to me it would have been north; our gun position was right up there on the bank where we had our anti-tank gun and our 50-caliber machine gun. Sometimes we would pull four hours at a time on the, you know, while you were on duty.

I had just got off duty and it was in the morning, 8 o'clock or sometime, and I just walked out to the road and the first one I seen, I seen it was Company B, 135th Division, that's where Mick, and all my cousins are, and all the Falls City bunch are, looked at them standing there. I'm in the middle of Germany, I had no idea where they would be. So I kept thinking about it, let it go two or three days, seen the same thing, I don't know if it was in the same place or not, I seen this weapons carrier coming out, you know, the back of it, 135th Division, Company B, and I just jumped out in the road…I walked a couple of miles and I run on to some MPs, and they wanted to know what I was doing, what's my business. And I said, well, I explained to `em I seen a couple of vehicles come over this way that belonged to Company B, 135th Division. They said what about it. And I said, I had some cousins in it. They said what's their names? I give `em three or four names, and they said, get in. MPS in a little jeep. They took me down across the field, they said you go in there in one of those buildings there, and they'll tell you where they are. I went up there and the first guy, I didn't know the first guy, and asked him…do you know…yeah…where can I find him? You go in that building there, so I walked in there and I met the first one. (Mr. Campbell reliving memories here) What a day.

So, we visited awhile and there was a machine gun right outside the building there. Once in a while he would just open it up and fire a few rounds and I asked him, where is Ted? He's on that machine gun out there; go on out. So I walked out, and patted him on the back, he turned around and his eyes were about this big. So somebody relieved him, and all afternoon, got their lunch, and come back, and I think I even went to dinner with them and they called the MPs and they come and got me and took me back over to my side. Visited all day with `em. In three or four days they had H-I among them, they bust the lines, called it H-hour, ..

Peggy: H-hour?

Mr. Campbell: Uh, huh. It's probably in that one, I think. I believe it must be in that one. I think it says, 45 minutes, it sounds like its two hours. It was just nothing but just shells, the artillery was right behind us. They just lobbed the things over there for. Then that day we just walked across to that town, and you can imagine what was over there.

(a discussion in the background; must be talking about some pictures)

Oh, while we were right there too, the Germans had what they called a V-T, a buzz bomb. They were like a little plane, but it was nothing but a bomb. And they would send them into England. Have you heard about the…they were sending the V-2 rockets over there. You could see them going over at night. They would just be, have a little ole flash, putt, putt, putt along. I don't know why they didn't shoot them down, it was nothing to see one going. You knew where it was going to England because you don't have to worry with those because they go til they run out of gas and that's when they fall. So they knew when it starts to get….

Suzette: So, to get it across the Channel…

Mr. Campbell: No, it was not manned. It was just a bomb. V-2 rockets, I think they was. But we called them buzz bombs.

Peggy: The precursor to the jet engine.

Mr. Campbell: I liken it to a little ole Maytag washer. It just go putt-putt-puttin along, sit there and watch it go. While I was at that same place, back there `fore across the river. I'd just got off duty one evening, probably 12 o'clock, in an old bombed out building, there wasn't nothing on top, it had basement, I had me a place for to go down there and sleep. I just got in bed, and laid down there, and heard the thing goin' and didn't pay any attention to it, and then I heard the motor start. Louis, my friend Louis, he was in the artillery, he said, ``I didn't remember that''. They killed some of the artillerymen. They (end of side 1 of the tape)

Mr. Campbell: …They had one and they wanted to give it up.

Suzette: ….Geilenkilchen

Mr. Campbell: Geilenkilchen was back. No, that was before we got to….

Suzette: That wasn't the Rhineland?

Mr. Campbell: It was the Rhineland, but it was before we got to the river.

Suzette: But was that the Battle of the Rhineland?

Mr. Campbell: Yes.

Suzette: It says it was the second largest German town to fall to the Allies, and that the ____85th Division was the American unit which teamed with the British to capture the German stronghold. Geilenkilchen…that was really a tough battle.

Mr. Campbell: …where they had a tank battle, tanks from their side and this side, and I talked to my friend in the Legion that was in that, he was in some of those. Where the forest was, it just looked like somebody went through there and topped all the limbs and stuff off, they were just firing at one another, hitting the trees.

Suzette: It says in here that you were divided and became part of the 9th Army and you were the spearheads.

Mr. Campbell: Uh, huh.

Suzette: After Geilenkilchen.

Mr. Campbell: The 35th was probably the same army because we were right there together.

Suzette: OK.

Mr. Campbell: After we crossed that river, I never seen them again. When we went across there, we were pretty much on the move. In fact, a lot of times a lot of us would ride on the back of, climb up with our equipment and ride on the back of the tanks. We were moving fast enough we would go on tanks, or trucks, or something. Every once in awhile you would get somebody coming over strafing or something.

Suzette: Ok, so after you got through with the Rhineland, the Battle of the Rhineland, when you took Geilenkilchen, is that correct?

Mr. Campbell: Uh, huh.

Suzette: Then what was the next big battle that you were in Europe?

Mr. Campbell: That was just about it when we crossed the Rhine. Course we had a lot of, we run into troops that were left behind or something, you know, cause we pretty much on the move after we crossed that. Til we got up the Elbe, that's where we met the Russians, but we got there about a week before the Russians did. And we were supposed to wait there until the Russians got up to the Elbe.

And the Germans didn't want to be taken, by the Russians. They'd come across that Elbe, on logs, anyway they could get across, when they knew the Russians were coming.

Suzette: They'd rather be caught by the Americans…

Mr. Campbell: They wanted to come over to our side rather than to be captured by the Russians, but they'd been fighting the Russians, you know, before we even got into it.

Suzette: The Russians weren't probably as kind to them.

Peggy: Emil, remember you told us a story about your pothole filled with water…

Suzette: Tell us about that. (Mr. Campbell chuckling)

Peggy: Where was that?

Mr. Campbell: That was there on the Rhine, we had quite a bit of activity there, because we set there awhile. We was settin' up there, we could see the Germans, and the Germans could see us, so, sometimes there was a little wind or something, and we had a little stove. We made kind of like a toilet, looked like a toilet, we just made stuff up there, you know, and had a little stove in there that we could take our helmets and heat up, heat up some water when we wanted to take a big bath and shave. There was bomb craters any place we'd go, we didn't have to walk over 50-60 feet to half a block or something and get your helmet of water.

That morning I decided I guess I needed to shave and clean up a little, so I got me some water and put it on the stove and was heatin' it up. I was sittin' outside and was enjoying myself and seen a shell hit down the hill there a ways, pretty soon another one hit, and I set there, another one, they started getting close. So I got up and started movin' around, and the next one was out real close, so I'd got in there and threw my water out. Then next one was goin' to be right close to me there, so I dove in this thing, didn't have a liner on it, just put my helmet down. Of course, when those shells hit they go this way, you know. They go up.

We had one of our guys on the gun killed right there. We was shooting artillery over there and shrapnel hit him right there and he laid there all day long before they come pick him up. But they went on across, they just hit there, and the next one went on south. They were zeroing in on the artillery right behind us, I guess. That was about the only big excitement I had.

Suzette: I thought that after you went from Geilenkilchen to something called Marche, that was like another big one. Is that the battle of central Europe?

Mr. Campbell: Yes, all of that area right there was..

Suzette: OK, a key main battle that your group, the infantry, your Rhineland, and then Central Europe.

Mr. Campbell: Yes, (both Suzette and Mr. Campbell talking at once) and that whole Rhineland was just like that Battle of the Bulge was a big area.

Suzette: Wow, this is really, really interesting.

Mr. Campbell: Well, I thought it might be. If you just read the captions under the pictures there you get a lot out of it.

Suzette: Now, you mention that you had different buddies that you met at various places. Did you maintain your friendship when you got back?

Mr. Campbell: Well, my main buddy…I left the 84th Infantry and went on into Berlin after we'd pulled way back into Germany. I'll tell you a pretty good story too, a fun story for me.

We'd pulled back and oh, that was May the 8th, the war was over. And we'd done pulled back a month before they signed and declared May the 8th. So we pulled back to where we was once before this area. What was I going to tell about?

Suzette: I asked about your buddies.

Mr. Campbell: Oh, yeah! He come up to my company when we were, after we'd cross the line there someplace, Term come up and found out where I was, and he come up to see me twice right after we crossed the Rhine, Term did. And Ray had come up there one day to my company, I don't know where he was, he must have been someplace where he had transportation. He finally ended up with a pretty good job, Ray did, my buddy. So he'd come up there, and left a note, but I didn't get to see him. So when the war was over, you went home by points, so they was sending guys different places to get ready to come home. I went in to Berlin. I must have been there a month or so, I guess, the fact that…I get my stories mixed up now…

Suzette: You can take a minute.

Mr. Campbell: …I went into Berlin and stayed there a couple of months and we only had to work while we was in Berlin. They had all German cooks and we didn't do nothin'. There was some good cooks in the Germans, you know, and they had some good food to cook with. So we had just to keep `em busy. They worked two hours out of 24 and they had a big ole headquarters building there. And we'd go down, and they had MPs out in the front, and they'd send a couple of us to set behind the desk and just give us something to do. We'd set there in this big building, two floors, and they had different outfits in this place, and they come in wantin' to know where a certain whatever they was lookin' for. Of course we had the map right in front of us. Second floor, left wing, somethin' like that, that was our big job.

And goin' out there one morning from where we was, it was a couple miles and just had a little bit of snow on the ground, and this guy that was takin' us out there, he was playing around, going around the trails there, you know, and that old truck slid sideways. Had to pull Germans on each side…hit him in the butt, knocked him up on the grass up there, the driver jumped out, and he said, ``Get home! Get home!'' And he probably put in a lawsuit after that, probably got…

OK, I finally get to goin' and get back on the train to Paris. I go into this, can't think what you call it, where the GIs all go, anyways, for the GIs, there was a horseshoe bar, and if you had anything you could check it in there, and go roam around before they sent you on back to point of embarkation where you were going. It was just a stopover for us before guys go where they were gonna go. I walked in there, and I looked over there, and who's standing there, my buddy. So we got to have a night on the town there in Paris. And I think the next day we got on one of those little old narrow gauge tires, took us back to where we were goin'. He got to ship out about a few days before I did. We didn't get to come home together. We both went back there. Ray got to come home a couple days or so before I did. I never did get his address, where he lived. I knew he was from Kansas City, down in Kansas City here.

So I set at home quite a well, I kept thinking about him, kept thinking about him, and I'd go down to the Post Office, just checked everyplace to see if I could find him. I done give up then; and I'd been home a long time when we was over to Jean and Herb's one night when we first found him. I was comin' home from work one night, comin' home, drivin' down the street, and I looked over at the neighbors and heard him talk. We both pulled over, and we really got together then.

Families--He had two kids by then, yeah, they had two kids and we had two kids. They finally moved to Northtown, but for awhile they was out at Sunflower. They closed that up and a lot of those barracks. He was working for the Veterans Administration, right downtown, he was always in an office. So we got with them. Before we met them again, he and his wife had gone back to England; he was in the service and they went over there for a year, and come back, and that's when we met them. Then after that, they moved down to Holden, and we'd get together, and again, again, Shirley had the camp club out here. We'd go out there and camp if she wasn't there, or co-camper.

They had a big ole mobile home, they'd go to Texas for the winter, but he's gone too. But we got to camp with them out there a few times.

Suzette: Were there other people from your unit that you also maintained friendships with, or was he pretty much the primary…

Mr. Campbell: Well, that's just about all. I had another little buddy, I got his picture here, we were together quite a bit in our company. He was a cook. Oh, I got out of the kitchen, I didn't tell you that!

Suzette: You didn't tell us what you were doing in the kitchen…

Mr. Campbell: It was a good deal. When I was in the States here, you worked 24 hours on, and 24 hours off. Now the 24 hours you were on, like if you'd go in at noon, the other cooks, there were usually three or four cooks on. We fed the MPs and soldiers, and the band. Had a big band.

Suzette: You did?!

Mr. Campbell: Yeah, yeah! We had our own division band; they ate there. So, there'd be sometimes four, five cooks on. But we'd go in before, like if we's on at noon, we'd go in before, course we wanted to eat too, we'd go in before the meal was getting ready to be served, and help serve that meal. And that crew would go off, then, at noon, they'd go off, you had a Class A pass. You didn't have to be back until the next noon. So, you had quite a bit of freedom, we didn't have to go on any marches or anything.

I went on one 25-mile march; each cook had to go out on one 25-mile march, but otherwise, you were busy.

Suzette: 25 miles in one day?!!

Mr. Campbell: Oh, yeah! Chuckling

Peggy: Pioneers walked 25 miles a day.

Suzette: Ah, I thought it was 15.

Mr. Campbell: one 25-mile, guys, you know, that wasn't cooks, they went on several of them.

Suzette: So when did you become a cook, Emil? As soon as you were drafted?

Mr. Campbell: No, when I went to Camp Claiborne. I don't think I was in the kitchen…guess maybe I was. They probably had that on my record, probably before I went there. But at Camp Claiborne I was a cook. And they didn't inspect your barracks cause there was always somebody sleeping, see.

Suzette: Oh, I see.

Mr. Campbell: So, we was just…free. What I'd say, we had a Class A pass and you'd go and get back to serve the next dinner, but then, at the evening meal, if you had five cooks, you always had a buffet, had a bunch of KPs.

Suzette: Well, you had people to peal potatoes for you, right?

Mr. Campbell: Well, yeah, we had regular potatoes peelers, but a lot of times you had, you'd just leave it on and they'd eat it up. But you'd throw a big bag of potatoes in there, and this thing would just roll `em around and peel them. In the evening, you had to clean that kitchen up. And so, as soon as the meal was served, there'd be one cook stay, and the rest of `em would go, because he was first to see that the KP got the dining room ____ cleaned, mopped the floor. The one cook that was left, and then in the kitchen the dishes were all washed and cleaned. But a lot of times, if we were short on KP I'd be moppin' the kitchen myself. When I was on, I don't know if the rest of `em did or not.

Then the next time you were on, if you were on then, you got to go right after the meal was served, because then you had another cook. So we rotated.

Suzette: So, did you volunteer for this duty, or they found out you had a cooking skill?

Mr. Campbell: No, I guess I probably said I had baking skill. Then while I was at Camp Claiborne, they sent me over to Camp Polk to learn to be a mess sergeant. I was over there a couple of weeks, about 25 miles away, another big camp. It was a camp just like Claiborne, but they wanted me over there.

But when I got overseas, I didn't like that and I got out.

Suzette: Didn't like it? How come?

Mr. Campbell: I don't know; I wanted to be outside I guess.

Suzette: Wanted to be outside. So was your highest rank then was a private…

Mr. Campbell: PFC.

Suzette: Even though you were going to be a mess sergeant?

Mr. Campbell: I didn't make it!! Chuckling

Suzette: OK! Were you ever injured?

Mr. Campbell: No. I was injured, …chuckling….when we left central Germany, we rode in trucks, trucks, all in the back of trucks, you know, all day getting down there, and they, called `em D-Bar, you know, it's a chocolate bar, bitter chocolate bars about that long and about that wide and about that thick, that's enough for you to eat all day long.

Suzette: because of the energy?

Mr. Campbell: Um, hum. When you left, that's what you got, because you stayed in that truck all day, bouncing in there all day. I'm gonna tell you this story.

So a couple days after I got down there, I had a hemorrhoid. Oh, that was sore! Then, I'd already got out of the kitchen then, see, I was in the defense platoon.

Peggy: Were you regretting it?

Mr. Campbell: No, no, cause they was in an old building and they'd be serving out of a window here, you know, as you went along. I didn't see….uh, how do I finish this story…I had that hemorrhoid so bad I couldn't hardly walk, so I was to go down for breakfast, and it was blackout, and we was going for breakfast early in the morning, it was so dark you couldn't see. You had your rifle on your shoulder and your mess kit and your coffee in one hand. So you'd step right in there, they'd throw that slop in there, give you a cup of coffee, and I was going around this building. It was the first time I'd been down there that morning, going along, holding on, come to this place where there was a basement there, and there was no door on it, holding on, and I was going along and I stepped off of this thing and I fell down in there. Hit on my leg, I don't know where my food went, but I laid there, thought I broke my leg, and I laid there, finally got moved around, I was OK, I crawled up out of there, and for the next few days I could just barely walk and then I had this thing on my butt. So I went to the medics, and they said, we'll send you back to the field hospital. No, I'm not going back to the field hospital. You'll probably have somebody like Jerrell, Jerrell was the medic, my friend, over there, he was the medic (all talking at once here) he's not going to be cutting on me back there! So I sweated it out.

That was a…I can't think what I was going to tell you.

Suzette: If it comes up, you can tell…

Mr. Campbell: That's enough, isn't it?

Suzette: No, were you awarded any medals or citations?

Mr. Campbell: No, you can't hardly read it. Right under the thing there, that big map up there, the one folded over. That's from our general, our whole division…no, you can read that, but after it's over.

Suzette: (Can't hear her plainly)

Mr. Campbell: No, it's just a piece of paper.

Suzette: …the officers and men of the 183rd Infantry ___Division, is this it?

Mr. Campbell: No, that's something they dropped behind the lines. An old ugly piece of paper…(all looking for something)

Suzette: Is this it?

Mr. Campbell: I don't think you need to read it. That was for our division. No I didn't get anything for myself; I was just a soldier. I did my duty, but I played too.

Suzette: This is a commendation. ``The commendation contained in this letter by Commanding General, 9th U.S. Army, is a direct result of the fine leadership and capable planning on the part of commanders and staff and the execution….and the whole quality of individual soldiers…displayed by the non-commissioned officers and the members of the units comprising this corps. It is a great pleasure to be associated with such outstanding organizations, of these included in the 13th Corps.'' And this is signed A. R. Bowling, Major General, United States Army Commander. So that is wonderful.

Mr. Campbell: The old ``Stars and Stripes'' is what I should be taking care of, the old one over there, the real old one.

Suzette: Yes, you should. Let me ask you just a few little more questions about..

Mr. Campbell: I got one more.

Suzette: OK. Go ahead.

Mr. Campbell: The war is over May 8th, but the war was over three weeks before. So we pulled back, that's what I was going to tell you a while ago. We'd pulled back, and just relaxing back there, until May 8th, the officers had a big, big, big party that night of May 8th. And of course, like a said, we had a band. I knew all those boys in the band, and they were my buddies, I'd see them all the time, fed them part of the time, you know. So…(Mr. Campbell loses his train of thought due to something happening in the background!)

Suzette: OK.

Mr. Campbell: (continuing) The war was over, we'd been to the Elbe and been pulled back for probably two weeks, I guess, just sitting around doing nothing. Go down to the gun, had to go down and set on it, you know. So May the 8th the officers had a big, big, big dinner and a big party. I don't know whether the nurses and all of `em come from, and what else they had. They had dance, …(someone in background asks something) They were having a big party for the officers. But the band, they had a full band, the base band was there, all of `em my friends, all of `em really good friends, so in the kitchen the party was here, the band was right there at the door, and I'm sittin' here. I'm going to listen `em. The party was supposed to start at 7 or 8 o'clock, but they said, ``you guys, you go down there and help them out, see what you can do, help them around there.''

So I go down there, and the band's playing, I pulled right up here and the band's playing. The officers started to givin' `em drinks, and they'd pass `em down, pass `em down, for the night was over, for dinner was served, I think I was….!!! They had to carry me back to the barracks, I guess, and work the paddlefoot(?) the next day. There was nothin' you could do. He said, I guess the other guys they went on and worked. I wanted to enjoy the music, you know. So he come up there and he said, ``God damn you! Send you down there, try to..'' Oh, I got ahead of my story!!

The reason we had to go down was come midnight, May the 8th, the next night was when they had the party. The guys on the machine gun at 12 o'clock, they had tracers on those bullets. They'd turn that machine gun around, …there'd be somebody on that side of town, turn `em on, and they'd make a big D. So somebody else would turn on, they had about three of `em then, about the third one come up, he had a leg up there, pulled that thing off, and put that thing up there, and make a letter D, you know, here come old Paddlefoot, that's what he said, ``You're gonna get duty for this.'' That's when he sent me down to work for the party. I went down and had a big dinner, when I got down there, had all the drinks that I couldn't take care of, then he come up there…

Peggy: Tough duty.

Mr. Campbell: Yeah, tough duty, he give me hell. Because he was in disguise, you know. I never did ….''How come you don't have a….'' I said I can't cope. ``Well, you got a sore ____, we'll take him away.'' He couldn't take nothin' away. I had something there, and I just give `em over to him. He turned around and walked out.

Suzette: Paddlefoot was your favorite, right?

Mr. Campbell: Paddlefoot.

Suzette: You called him Paddlefoot cause he had a big foot…

Mr. Campbell: Well, that's the way he walked too. He was a funny soldier…

Suzette: OK, I got some very open questions. I have questions that I need to ask. I didn't want to interfere, of course I knew most of them. I was going to ask you when you came back from the war, what was the date you got out?

Mr. Campbell: You'll have to ask my wife. January? January 31, 1946?

Suzette: January, 1946. OK. Where did you go when you came back to the United States?

Mr. Campbell: …gonna find my wife.

Suzette: You were married then?

Mr. Campbell: Sure.

Suzette: …when you went overseas?

Mr. Campbell: Um,hum.

Suzette: Now when did you get married?

Mrs. Campbell: July, of '44.

Suzette: Oh, July of '44 you were home on leave and you got married?

Mr. & Mrs. Campbell: Um, hum.

Suzette: Had you been writing letters back and forth?

Mr. Campbell: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I tried to get her to get married before then, but she wouldn't marry me.

Suzette: Oh, so the uniform didn't snag her.

Mr. Campbell: Yeah, I guess it did! I said, I tried to marry her before I went in, because we were going together. She was looking for something better!

(All chuckling)

Suzette: So you didn't meet your wife as a result of being in the Army?

Mr. Campbell: No, no.

Mrs. Campbell: I didn't want to get married until after it was over, but in July, 1944, …

Suzette: When you were coming back to be with your wife, where were you living at the time then?

Mr. & Mrs. Campbell: In Kansas City.

Suzette: In Kansas City? And you were intending to come back to Kansas City.

Mrs. Campbell: And we've been in Kansas City ever since.

Suzette: And you've never left. Did you receive any training that helped you get a job after the war? What was the training that you received?

Mr. Campbell: Furniture finisher and upholsterer, and I dropped the upholstering, and I went on job training for three and a half years.

Suzette: This is the GI Bill?

Mr. Campbell: Yes, three and a half years that I made a $200 a month. Then I started, for it was over, we had Shirley, didn't we? Yeah, before my training was over, if your employer give you a raise, they took it off of the GI Bill. You couldn't make over $200, but I worked a lot at the overtime. I got to be real good friends with him too.

Half of the tools I got, and that little table over there, he's my kids' uncle, uncle Joe.

Suzette: Ok, so the GI Bill was helpful to you coming back, and…you could get a job.

Mr. Campbell: Oh, yeah. I got in the union. I got to working for the big department stores..

Suzette: You made custom furniture for the department stores then?

Mr. Campbell: No, there John Deere stuff!

Suzette: You made furniture for the department stores,…

Mr. Campbell: No, Your big department stores, like Macy's, and Jones which I usually worked for, all the major stores not the little ones, Duff and Repp's the one I started with, they only had the one store, that was right down across from Main. They had everything, housewares, rugs, carpets, upholstery, they had about 5 cabinet makers, 5 finishers,…

Suzette: So you were finishing furniture that was being made for them, is that correct?

Mr. Campbell: No, brand new. Kind of like your automobiles when you get `em.

Suzette: When you finished them, what did you do?

Mr. Campbell: At that time, you buy it in boxes now, right? You take it home, open it up, and put it together.

Suzette: Uh, huh.

Mr. Campbell: We had exclusive furniture, nice furniture, some of the best. It would be opened up, they'd have somebody open it up, when I was with Duff and Repp they had a perfectly level place, it was built that run across the furniture floor, first of all. Then they had some guy, an old guy that cleaned it, polished it. The slightest thing wrong with it, you'd be surprised. Even your better furniture, what you have to work on. And then it kept getting damaged in delivery, or whatever, they have to bring it back and you make it go out as new. So they'd open the furniture up, run it across and have the inspector look at it, anything wrong they'd push it back over. They had one guy there if it just needed a little bit there, he'd fix that. But if it needed any major stuff, get it on the elevator, and come up to our big finishing room. And they had a design room, that they used lacquer, everything was sprayed, and then we had to rub it, rub it all in by hand. Then finally they got a rubbing-machine. Your better stores were downtown and that's where I worked, the Macy's, Jones, and Helmer's…

Suzette: Did you take any other advantages of the GI Bill other than to get your training?

Mr. Campbell: No.

Suzette: Did you get your home with the GI Bill?

Mr. Campbell: Oh, I bought it on…

Suzette: a GI loan or something?

Mr. Campbell: Yeah, for 4 or 4.5 percent interest when I bought it.

Suzette: So it was useful, the GI benefits were useful for you.

Mr. Campbell: Yes, yes. I spent that three and a half years. And then that guy I was working for, I guess I got tired, I got tired, and when I was working for him like that table right there, somebody sent that in to have it repaired. I tore it all down, repaired it, and finished it, and it set in the window for a long time. And one day, he said, ``Why don't you get that thing out..'' Oh, somebody'd come in and want to buy it. And whatever price he had that day, they'd offer him, and he'd say, ``Nah, it's not for sale.'' When he had a price on something, he wouldn't come down. It's not for sale. It set that way for a year or so, and he said, ``Take that thing home with you.''

All that stuff in the living room, I think, I had it stripped, it was sittin' there at his desk, ``Wait it a minute. That's what I did, it would be opened up.'' They'd polish it, and then, you'd be surprised at the stuff the factory turned out. Just like your automobiles now. They send it out and the dealer has to take care of it, get it ready, and that's what we did in furniture. And a lot of times you'd have to refinish maybe a whole top.

The worst I ever, ever, seen was a, then they started to puttin' this, and it was good furniture, puttin' this phony grain, painted, the stuff put on, and then a finish over it. And if you sand through that, there's nothing there. It's just an old piece of ___wood under there. They sent this table out, well, they sent this dining room set out, and they had this distressing room, they went into this distressing room. When I first went into furniture there wasn't such a thing as distressing. If there was a little bitty spot on there you took that out. But then it got to be where they made it distressed, you know. But this had distressing in it, and they would send it out to this gal and she cleaned it over off of there. And I went out on a service call for years, taking care of little things, people sending it back in, and I went all over.

But my service man went out, I was the foreman of the shop, you see, the service man went out there and he says, ``You are not going to believe what I know is going to come in.'' I said what? He said, some particular table, he said, ``that woman tried to sand all of those distressings, took it down to the wood.'' Well, we couldn't do anything with that. ``I know it,'' he said. But that's the way it goes. So finally, one day, the buyer come down there, and we told him about that table that had been sanded, and we said, ``we want you to fix that,'' and he said, ``you can't fix that damn thing. There's nothing there to fix.'' So anyway, that was the last table they had, she didn't want anything else, she wanted `em to give her another table, so she said, ``see if you can't fix it.'' So I worked just like the rest of the guys did in the shop. If they was busy, I worked probably more than they did, now and then I run around a little bit, but I pushed it in the back there, and every time I'd get a chance I'd work on it. I got it all done. I said you make her come in and see it before you deliver it. She come in and she was satisfied.

Suzette: Excellent! So your occupation you followed, then, was a result of your training with the GI Bill.

Mr. Campbell: Absolutely.

Suzette: And do you take advantage of the Veterans Medical benefits?

Mr. Campbell: No.

Suzette: OK. So you have your own doctor and…

Mr. Campbell: I have my own doctor and insurance, but I'd rather have to go get my medication.

Suzette: OK. And that's because you are Native American? Oh, that's a really tall bottle, Emil (rattling his pills!) Um, are there any other benefits you receive for being a veteran that I didn't touch on?

Mr. Campbell: No, I didn't even take the 21, the rocking chair money they called it, that they get…I don't know what it was…

Suzette: I don't know…

Mr. Campbell: When you got out of the Army…I'll bet ol' Louie and Glen got it. I never got it. I went to work as soon as I got out,..two weeks of partying, then I went to work.

Suzette: If World War II had not come along, do you think you would have followed a different occupation? Your father came from a farming background…

Mr. Campbell: But I wasn't going to be a farmer.

Suzette: You had already decided that. World War II did not affect that being from the White Cloud area…

Mr. Campbell: I went back there, then I went to Omaha and worked at the packing house. Ummm, I didn't want to farm. I shucked one-half load of corn and another half load when I was working for Raymond, I was shucking a load of corn and two gals come out of Rulo, walked out there, course I had a car then, they walked out there and said, ``Take us home.'' So I took `em home. And I said, ``they ain't gonna be no corn shuckin' for me!'' Cause those gals come along.

Suzette: As a Native American, were there any Native Americans in your group, in your outfit?

Mr. Campbell: No.

Suzette: Most of them were in Company B.

Mr. Campbell: Yeah.

Suzette: Were people aware that you were Native American when you were in the Army?

Mr. Campbell: Oh, I'm sure. I didn't hide anything.

Suzette: Let me just recap this, you were in the 324th Regiment,…

Mr. Campbell: No.

Suzette: 82th Infantry…

Mr. Campbell: No. I was in the Company B. No, this is my Legion number.

Suzette: Oh, OK. Speaking of the Legion, how important were the veterans organizations to you after the war?

Mr. Campbell: Fun.

Suzette: So you joined the American Legion..

Mr. Campbell: Yeah.

Suzette: And how long have you been a member?

Mr. Campbell: 61 years.

Suzette: So you've really enjoyed being a member of the Legion.

Mr. Campbell: I have, and I have a lot of good friends. Lot of good friends. They are all gone now. Well, I got a couple guys around my age out there, the commander now. I was commander '78, 1978, and…

Suzette: At the American Legion, what's your post?

Mr. Campbell: 340. Conboy Nichols. That was a soldier that got killed, and his dad was in our outfit. Conboy Nichols. That was Nichols. Conboy, I didn't know him. But I met, he was in our Legion. His boy got killed and they named, one of `em was Conboy and one of `em Nichols.

Suzette: So, was it a social organization?

Mr. Campbell: No, it was veterans organization, but you had dances, dinners,..

Suzette: So it was a means to get to know people and to do things.

Mr. Campbell: And bring people in. Our post was one of the biggest in Missouri ( end of tape, side 2)

(Side 3)

Mr. Campbell: …the manager of the building, he was pretty popular. We'd have on Sunday mornings, he would talk, and then about 15 minutes, I think, on Sunday mornings. He was on the radio, and he'd have band music, marching band and that kind of music, and then he would talk. Sometimes he'd have the dancers…

Peggy: Emil, didn't you tell me before this interview that your American Legion helped buy a gun for the 1st World War memorial?

Mr. Campbell: Yes, we had a commander then, and he was, he had something to do with the museum over there. He got us interested in the thing, and I can't remember whether we bought it or put quite a bit of money into getting one of those. For the museum, the World War I museum. But I looked at all of those guns and they don't have it.

Peggy: They don't have it on exhibit?

Mr. Campbell: They don't have anything; they don't say what they are.

Suzette: That's too bad. But it may be a museum policy.

Mr. Campbell: It might be.

Suzette: Let me ask you also. Did you also help your community, did you have community-based activities as well?

Mr. Campbell: At first, every Christmas we put out Christmas baskets to all of the vets that we knew. And then, and we're still doing that. But it got so bad that we would go…the last couple years, we've just been taking one family, and paying all their rent, and all their gas, and fixing them up for Christmas. Because we got to going out and taking the baskets out, and one year before we went on, this young couple, we went in and he had probably over a $1000 worth of fishing stuff left out there on the porch. He had three cars out in front, and a boat, and we went in and knocked on the door, and he hollered ``Yeah''. We're leaving a Christmas basket. ``Leave it on the porch''. We said no, you have to accept it. So finally some little gal come out…and she took it. We left, we went to a couple like this, and the last one…we went out and went to this place, dirty, they had a grandma and two dogs, and I think there were two or three kids in there, and there were several adults. You had to go to the front part of the house, and, and you have four or five boxes of groceries and stuff, for Christmas. Their name was turned in. At first, when we would go to the veterans, we'd go out and talk to them and investigate them. Later on, when we got out of the city, we moved out of downtown, somebody would just give us their name. So we go in this place, and we had to go into the front room, and walk down the hall to a kitchen. When you walked down the hall you could just see where, that was the only place that was clean. Everything else was pushed up against the wall. And we got all the groceries in there, and a great big old bottle of Jim Beam sitting out there on the table, big bottle. I said to Bob, I said, ``how many miles'', we're doin' it for needy people, I said, ``did you see what was sittin' on the table?'' Yes, I did. So that was the end. We're gonna quit. First team came up with the same kind of stuff, you know. It got a little worse, and a little worse. Now they just find a family that's behind on their rent…course we're about broke ourselves now because our post is so small.

Suzette: You have so few people in your post now. How many are in your post now?

Mr. Campbell: About a hundred and fifty.

Suzette: That's quite a reduction. Let me ask you something, do you belong to the Honor Guard?

Mr. Campbell: Yes.

Suzette: And are you honored as a military veteran by your clan?

Mr. Campbell: Well, I think so. I think so.

Suzette: …So what does the Iowa honor guard do?

Mr. Campbell: We go to honor all veterans who have passed.

Suzette: To be a member of the Iowa honor guard, do you have to be a veteran?

Mr. Campbell: Yes. And an Indian.

Suzette: And when was the honor guard, was that fairly new development?

Mr. Campbell: I don't know. Again, I can't tell you.

Suzette: You were pretty active, you'd go to funerals, and you'd do other things.

Mr. Campbell: Until lately, I attended almost every one of `em. Almost, from down here. I hadn't missed very, very many.

Suzette: So you'd drive up to White Cloud to go?

Mr. Campbell: Um, hum.

Suzette: …participate in pow-wows,

Mr. Campbell: honor all veterans.

Suzette: Overall, would you say that your experience as a result of having been in the war has been positive, in terms of the way your life has been?

Mr. Campbell: Yes, yes.

Suzette: OK, I appreciate it so much. Thank you very much.

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