Veteran interview Essay
My grandfather, Larry, served in WWII. He enlisted and stationed at Camp Polk. He went through places like New Guinea and the Philippines during the war.
When I asked him if he experienced any combat he said; yes, I experienced some combat. But most of the time I spent in combat was in a tank.
Not too much action there.
A typical day in my grandfathers life at the time was to wake up at the crack of dawn and get ready for a full day of combat, well at least for the ground troops that didnt have a tank to be protected by. Of course for him, driving a tank was easier then being a ground troop. So that made things a little easier. He told me every day the main thing he did, and I quote, kep my head low. Anything could be expected.
At Camp Polk him and some other troops had a idea to set up a trap to alert them if the enemy tried to get into their base camp at night. They would set up grenades filled with half the explosive powder needed for a full blast, and they would bury them around the perimeter of their camp with their pins tied together by trip wire. Once the enemy would set foot in that perimeter and tripped the trip wire it would pull the pins to almost all the grenades. But the grenades didnt go off right away so the jap that snuck in would just think he tripped on a branch or something. Until the grenades would finally go off and alert the camp to catch the intruder. Thats if the grenades didnt catch him before they did.
Yep, I would be dozing off to sleep when a critter or a swift breeze would set those damn things off and wake me up again. Then youre stuck setting them all up for the rest of the night.
The thing that stuck out most in my grandfather mind he said was; looking forward to go home. The war got tough in many ways and situations which made my him wish he was home with his family again.
I asked him if he thought about the war very often now and he said; so so. Not alot.
Glad its over.
When I asked him if he lost any friends or people he served with in the war he said that he lost some friends in combat but he didnt talk much about that.
He carried his sacred heart metal with him everywhere he went. He would pray for the war to end at night before he fell asleep.
The friends he made in war are either dead or he no longer keeps in touch with them at all.
There wasnt much said about his worst and best experiences in the war.
All he said on that was to keep alert and stay alive.
The war did not change him.
My grandfather was received with lots of love. He was going to go to Japan but he ended up going home early. He was in Minilla on V-J Day, the day the war ended. This was a victory day celebration.
I asked him if he had been scarred either emotionally or physically from serving in the war and he said; yes, both especially when you get surrounded. One time he told me that he opened the top hatch to his tank to see if the cost was clear. There ended up being a jap hiding in a tree above him and he caught him at the corner of his eye tring to drop a grenade in with him. So my grandfather quickly slammed the door shut and listened to the explosion of the grenade followed by the jap falling out of the tree and hitting the top of the tank with a loud thud.
And after all. Yes, he did believe in the war he was fighting for.