November is a time to remember veterans. Several of our Cary World War II veterans remember their war experiences:
Clyde Evans Jr.: During World War II, I spent six years at the Portsmouth shipyard in civil service working with the Navy on ships with big guns. Ships half blown up and destroyed would come in there to be repaired. We’d fix them up and send them back out.
Carl Mills: In 1943, I volunteered in the Navy and wound up as a Marine. I was in the Pacific with the 3rd Amphibious Corps. We were the first Marine division, a reinforcement group at Guadalcanal, but I did not see the main action there.
Our amphibious operations culminated at Okinawa. Okinawa was most unusual. The activity was very calm. The 1st and 6th Marine divisions formed the amphibious group.
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Three divisions were at Iwo Jima when one Marine group made a diversionary attack at Okinawa that we came in on. There were no Japanese anywhere in the area. We had activity north on the island. The 10th Army had the southern part. We had very little opposition, and we managed to occupy the northern part quickly.
We returned south and found the 10th Army where we left them. Then the forces were combined, and the invasion started into Okinawa in earnest.
We had such a poor relationship with the Japanese that the 3rd Amphibious Corps and 1st Infantry Division weren’t allowed to go to Japan as an occupying group, so we were scattered all over North China and the Philippines. The feeling was so bitter toward the end at Okinawa that the powers-to-be felt it was best to not come in contact with the Japanese after the war.
Pete Murdock: I joined the Army just out of high school, and went overseas on the USAT Thomas H. Barry, a big ship. The ship had to change directions every 15 minutes on account of Japanese submarines.
We went through the Panama Canal to the Pacific and landed at Fort Moresby, New Guinea. Every night they dropped bombs all around us, but we weren’t in hand-to-hand combat. I left there in 1944, coming back to the United States on the Queen Mary.
Billy Rogers: A Marine, Perry Sloan, lived next door to my grandmother. He was killed in Iwo Jima. Perry worked at my father’s grocery store and joined the Marines shortly after high school.
When he came home from basic training, he told Daddy, “I did so well down there, they want me to stay at Parris Island and be a drill instructor, but I want to go where the action is.”
So he went to Iwo Jima and was killed in action. How sad that was.