NAME: Frank Mattausch
TIME PERIOD: December 7, 1941 Materiel Squadron
SOURCE: Photo and account emailed by son, Barry Mattausch, after visiting the museum
DATE RECEIVED: 6 February 2007, updated 30 August 2008
I was born January 29, 1918 on a farm near Cumberland, Wisconsin. As a child my family moved to Zion, Illinois, where I graduated from high school in 1936. In August 1938, I enlisted in the Army Air Corps to be trained as an aircraft machinist. After basic training, I began a 6 month training program at the Air Corps Technical School at Chanute Field, Illinois.
After graduating in June 1939, I was required to serve 2 years overseas. Choices for overseas posting were Hawaii, the Panama Canal, or the Philippines. Wanting to see the world, I applied for the Philippines, but was sent to Hawaii. Before my 2 years was up, the requirement was extended to 3 years. Military personnel traveling overseas embarked from San Francisco if west of the Mississippi River, or New York City if east of the Mississippi. Thus, from Illinois I went to New York City, with a stop in Cleveland to see the 1939 National Air Race. In New York, I was able to attend the 1939 World’s Fair. The transport ship traveled through the Panama Canal to San Francisco. An exhibition was in progress there at the time, which I also attended.
I reached Hawaii on October 10, 1939 and was assigned to the 18th Air Base Squadron at Wheeler Field. Because I was an Air Corps Technical School graduate, I was given a 2nd class air mechanic rating in November 1939. At the time, I was a buck private earning $21 per month. A 2nd class air mechanic was paid the same as a staff sergeant, $72 per month. However, because I was a private, I still had to pull KP duty. A few months later, I was given a 1st
By September 1941, I was promoted to staff sergeant in the 24 class air mechanic rating, which paid the same as a technical sergeant, $84 per month. Work at the base was Monday through Saturday, with the afternoons off on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
the Materiel Squadron. The rules were that ranks above buck sergeant could not hold an air mechanic rating, so my pay was cut to $72 per month. Later, in early 1942, I was promoted to technical sergeant, returning to the pay rate I had previously had.
In late November 1941, Wheeler Field was placed on alert. The 135 fighter planes were moved to revetments around the edge of the air field. The revetments were U-shaped earthen walls eight feet high.
On Friday, December 5, the alert was called off and the aircraft were moved from the revetments back to the flight line in front of the hangars. On Saturday, the pursuit squadrons decided to do some marching on the flight line and moved the aircraft closer together, where they stood the next morning. Despite the earlier alert, no one really expected anything to happen. We didn’t think the Japanese would dare.
On Sunday, I woke at 7:30 and went to the washroom. About 15 minutes later, I returned to the room on the top floor of the then new L shaped barracks that I shared with seven other sergeants and started putting on the shirt and tie we were required to wear to Sunday breakfast.
Several of the other men in the room were still asleep when I looked out the window and saw some planes that came through Kolekole Pass and headed past the mountains toward Pearl Harbor. It struck me as odd that the Navy was flying on Sunday. A second later, I saw another plane pull out of a dive about 200 feet up, and a little black speck left the airplane. That bomb could have been the first one dropped in the attack.
As the bomb was still falling somebody shook one of the guys who was sleeping and said, “Wake up, Longdyke! The war's started!.” The bomb squarely hit a wooden warehouse blowing it to splinters.
We ran down the hallway and down the stairs to the daylight basement. When I got to the bottom of the stairs, I was surprised to see that my necktie was now tied! By now, bombs were falling on the hangar across the street from the barracks, about 200 feet away. The barracks shook violently, but it wasn't hit.
Six other men and I raced to a supply room where a .50-caliber machine gun on a tripod was stored. It was locked up behind a 2 by 4 and chicken-wire partition, which we quickly yanked down. We set the machine gun up underneath the concrete balcony on the barracks and opened fire as the Japanese strafed the flight line and hangars. Tech. Sgt. Bill Bayham, the machine shop boss and a World War I veteran, succeeded in shooting down one of the planes. The wreckage of this plane was later put on display at the base.
The seven of us were given Army commendations for establishing machine gun firing positions in the midst of the bomb attack. I received a letter of commendation, while Bill Bayham was awarded a medal for shooting down the airplane. For reasons I don’t know, the medal he was awarded was a Purple Heart, even though he hadn't been injured. Several days later, a Movietone newsreel crew shot some footage of Bill Bayham posing with the machine gun. Bill's sister wrote that she was at a theater in Dayton, Ohio, and all of a sudden there was his picture on the screen. She yelled, “That's my brother!”, and everybody clapped and they stopped the film and ran it back through a few times.
The damage to Wheeler was devastating. One of the pursuit squadrons was moving from the base and had all their equipment stored in the hangar that was bombed. The bombs set off stored ammunition, completely destroying the hangar. The attack didn't last very long, and afterwards I went down on the flight line — just a whole bunch of burning planes. Out of the 135 airplanes on the base, only 45 were ultimately salvaged. Most of the salvaged planes were ones that were in for major maintenance and were not on the flight line.
Thirty-four people were killed, mostly soldiers living in a tent city next to my barracks who were hit by stray Japanese machine gun fire during the attack.
After the attack, we were expecting the Japanese paratroops to land. For the next three nights, we were outside guarding the base. Someone got leather flight jackets from the storeroom for us to wear. I could see the smoke rising from Pearl Harbor and we would see tracer bullets in the night sky from time to time. Somebody would open up, then several other guns would join in.
We were just dead exhausted after those three days. Finally, several of us were told to go into one of the houses on base and get some sleep. The officer who lived there later returned and got angry that we were sleeping on his bed.
I remained at Wheeler until July 28, 1942, then transferred to the 362nd
While I was on Makin, I asked to go along when a repaired B-25 bomber was returned to another forward base and another plane with broken radios was picked up for repair. I was granted permission and prepared to go, but for some reason, they left without me. As the second plane returned after dark, it missed the island and the six-man crew, which included my commanding officer, was never found. Service Squadron at Hickam Field. Starting on August 15, 1943, I was given a month long furlough and returned to see my family in Illinois. On my way back to Hawaii, when I arrived in San Francisco, there was no space available on a ship for a month, so I was assigned to work in the Army Post Office. When I got to Hawaii, my unit had left Hickam Field. Asking around, I found they were all at Bellows Field going through amphibious training before going out into the Pacific. I hitched a very rough ride in a spotter plane over the mountains to Bellows. My outfit then traveled to the Gilbert Islands and arrived on Makin Island on November 24, 1943 to set up an airfield after the Army captured the island. We performed aircraft maintenance and remained on the island until October 6, 1944. When we arrived on the island, the bodies of many dead Japanese soldiers were still laying on the ground. During my 11 months there, when the Japanese would bomb the island, we would take shelter in bunkers made of coconut logs placed over shallow holes in the sand.
After the war, I read a newspaper article about the Japanese commander of Mili Island, 75 miles north of Makin, being tried for war crimes for beheading six Americans whose plane had mistakenly landed on Mili after becoming lost.
NAME: John J. McKinney, Jr.
UNIT: 35th Infantry, PFC
TIME PERIOD: 1941
SOURCE: Letters received from Mr. McKinney
DATE RECEIVED: June 5 and September 18, 1998
I entered U.S. Army at Ft. Logan, Colorado (near Denver, Colorado) December 1940, with a preference for the Hawaiian Islands. I arrived in Schofield Barracks in mid January 1941. Took recruit training with C Co. 35th Infantry. Capt. Dalton was Company Commander. My first assignment after recruit training was as a runner for Capt. Dalton when we were on Field Maneuvers. Capt. Dalton had a reputation as a strict disciplinarian but was a fair-minded person. He also had a remarkable habit of being able to sleep during rest breaks and awakening when the rest break ended. Around the late October time frame Capt. Dalton sent word to me that, if desired, I could transfer to Regimental Headquarters with assignment Message Center. I thought about it and concluded “why not.” My transfer to HQ’s Company occurred at October or early November time frame.
As an interesting side light I was on the Arizona the Sunday before she was sunk, and the cruiser Philadelphia, and the submarine Pompano. This was an exchange visit between Schofield Army Personnel and Navy at Pearl Harbor.
ACTUAL LOCATION AT TIME OF ATTACK
I was trying to “sleep late,” a practice that was permitted on Sunday morning. I first heard an explosion, then another, and another, that seemed to be getting closer. At first I thought the engineers (65th) was the cause of the explosions, but I was awake now and decided to go outside. As I stepped on the porch I saw an airplane with a big red dot flying over the 35th Quadrangle. I knew instantly it was war with Japan as Captain Dalton had predicted a couple of months before. I returned to the squad room and started packing a “full field pack.” At approximately 1000 hours we moved in trucks to the Ewa Sector to man defense positions assigned to the 35th Infantry. Regimental Headquarters was located where mountainous terrain met cane fields. I was posted to the West part for guard duty and was told to stay until relieved-- this turned out to be the next morning.
For the next few days, rumors of Jap landings were rampant, and a 1 man Jap submarine was captured near the entrance to Pearl Harbor. In the February-March (1942) time frame the 35th Regiment received a report of radio transmissions from an area west of Pearl Harbor that was a “Boon Docks” area, and the 35th was asked to raid the area during night hours. I volunteered for the raid. During the middle of the night we started searching the area and located a house (really a shack) that might contain radio transmission gear. We surrounded the house and called for anyone inside to come out. No response. Then the lieutenant indicated I should knock, wait for a response and then force entry. I complied and knocked the door off the hinges with my rifle (springfield) and dented the “plate” at rear of rifle. While searching the house for anything of value the lieutenant and I went into a room thought to be a bedroom-- suddenly a shot was fired which scared hell out of me until I discovered the lieutenant had accidentally fired his 45 cal. automatic. Nothing was found of value and I do not know if the transmitter continued to function after our raid.
Life was rather boring after settling down to a more routine way of life. I believe around May ‘42 we could get overnight leave to Honolulu and spend a night in a real bed after a real shower. Another soldier (Phil Speirvogel) and I decided to ask for leave and spend overnight at the YMCA in Honolulu. Since blackout was still on, we had a shower and looked forwarded to a nice hot shower and a good night’s sleep in a comfortable bed. We turned in early and after an hour or so I found I could not get to sleep and Phil seemed to be affected likewise. I asked Phil if he was awake, he said yes, and could not sleep either. We both left bed for the floor and slept soundly the rest of the night.
Later (October ‘42) the 25th Infantry Division was organized with the 22nd Brigade of Schofield and other units from the states. Also about this time we entered a 27 day intensive training period in jungle and amphibious warfare, forced marches, etc. The 35th departed Honolulu on Thanksgiving day 1942.
Rumors indicated we would first land in Australia for further training and then to New Guinea. While en route a troop ship hit a mine in New Hebrides and sank, unbeknownst to members of the 35th Infantry. We were ordered to proceed to Nomea, New Caledonia, and await further instructions. The next order sent the 35th infantry to Guadalcanal, even though we were not combat loaded. As I recall we landed on Guadalcanal on Dec. 17, ‘42, followed by several days unloading transport ships. We landed on the same beach (near mouth of Tenaru River) used when the marines first landed on Guadalcanal. A couple days later the message center chief (Tech Sgt. Vincent Seminavage) suggested and obtained permission to reconnoiter the area. He, myself and two others began patrolling inland from the beach. We did not know it then, but later found out we had entered a No Mans Land. After about 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour we ran across a depression filled with water and coconuts floating on top. Then I spied an abandoned ammo box full of .30 caliber rifle ammunition. A fine time for target practice-- shooting at floating coconuts. I gathered several handfuls of ammo and started shooting at coconuts. The others also joined in, but when I ran out of ammo I set my rifle against a tree to get more ammo. About this time a marine captain appeared and started raising hell for all the shooting-- then he had thought a battle was going on with Jap infiltrators. He was so mad he threw his helmet on ground and jumped on it several times. He then noticed my rifle leaning against a palm tree and asked who that belonged to-- I said it was mine-- at that moment he grabbed the hot barrel, which burned his finger. That did not help matters any. He chewed on T/Sgt. Seminavage and told us to return to our unit. Without doubt, “what” we did was stupid and reflected a lack of “sensitivity” for soldiers who had been thru hell. Although no harm was intended and we did not know of their location. The sounds of another fire fight must have been nerve wracking.
I was unhurt December 7, ’41, through the Guadalcanal/Vella Lavella operation. I was finally wounded in the Battle for Lupao in the Philippines.
NAME : Melvin L. Miller, SSG Air Mechanic 1st
UNIT: 19 Class
TIME PERIOD: 1941 Pursuit Squadron
SOURCE: Letter from Mr. Miller following a visit to the museum
DATE RECEIVED: 25 February 2003
In 1936-1939 I was attending the Ohio Mechanics Institute and the university of Cincinnati in a Co-op program and working in a local machine shop. This program permitted an individual to obtain a Mechanical Engineer degree while working.
At this time our country was recuperating from our severe depression; in Europe, Germany was involved in a devastating war and was occupying many countries. Here in the United States, our thoughts were related mainly to the possibility that our country would be involved in the war.
In the spring of 1939, several students and I enlisted in the Army Air Corps hoping to become pilots. I was sent to Wheeler Army Air Field in Hawaii. I had passed all of the qualifications upon entering the service, but while undergoing the examination for pilot training they found that I was color blind. My dreams of becoming a pilot were destroyed. I was granted a waiver and was assigned as enlisted person to the 19th Pursuit Squadron of Wheeler Army Air Field, Territory of Hawaii.
Because I had not gone through Basic Training, I had lots to learn. I applied myself intensely and studied every manual and course of training that I could acquire. I passed my tests and was promoted from Private to Corporal to Sergeant, etc. I was a Staff Sergeant Air Mechanic 1st Class at the time of Pearl harbor attack with the duty of Flight Leader.
On the base much of our training kept us prepared in case of an invasion. One of my jobs was installing the mechanism that permitted bullets to go between the propeller blades when fired. Later models of the p-40 had machine guns mounted in the wings with a remote firing system. We did most of our work out in the open, but at times did work in “our hangar” - the 19th Pursuit’s hangar- the one at the end of the flight line. Most of the airplanes that we worked on were the P-26’s, the P-40’s, the B-12’s and the B-18’s.
Our base was rather isolated from the activities of downtown Honolulu. The roads into the metropolis were also quite different from the freeways of today. Thus, we spent much of our free time involved in base activities- baseball, football, boxing, etc. Our baseball team won the championship while I was there.
At times we did take flights from Oahu to the various islands to obtain fresh fruits and vegetables. On rare occasions I was given the opportunity to actually “man the controls” and I felt as if I were in Heaven- my dreams of long ago fulfilled. For special privileges we were able to take an R&R vacation to the island of Hawaii to see the volcanoes.
For about 6 months prior to the attack on Pearl harbor we were assigned to duty in the revetments that were scattered around the field. They consisted of a camouflaged airplane with a small hole in the ground underneath the plane. The hole functioned as our living quarters for 3-4 days at a time. Our duty was to protect the plane and to man the machine gun if necessary.
In addition to the revetments, at the edge of the field there was a valley surrounded by papaya groves. There were several caves above the floor of the valley that ran under Wheeler Field. In this valley a runway had been built that paralleled Wheeler Field. In these caves were many airplanes armed and ready to fly with standby crews available. The runway was barely visible to the naked eye because of the papaya groves.
On Saturday, December 6, we had orders for a full inspection and parade. All of the planes of the base were brought in from the revetments, the caves, and the gunnery ranges of Bellows and Dillingham. These planes were lined up on the flight line wing tip to nose, etc. The Navy had also received orders for the placement of their vessels, but had sent their carriers out to sea.
After inspection all who wanted it were granted a week-end pass. Our Base commander contacted Headquarters at Fort Shafter inquiring about returning the planes to clear the flight line but was told to leave them all in place on the line. Orders also included that the interior and exterior guards were to be relieved of duty. We were all flabbergasted with the orders.
On December 7 I had eaten breakfast and was sitting on the porch of our quarters reading the newspaper. When we realized that we were being attacked, we rushed to obtain our guns. These were kept under lock and key in a special closet. We did have some difficulty getting someone to open the locks. We then rushed to the flight line trying to push the planes apart and to a safer area. The Japanese had continued to bomb and strafe our planes and buildings. Some of their planes were as low as 100 feet off the ground. We could see the pilots smiling and looking very happy. They made two attacks at us. We kept waiting for them to return for another run at us. Fortunately, they did not come back. Every plane and every building on our field had been damaged.
We worked continuously trying to repair our planes taking parts from those more severely damaged. We were able to get a total of 11 planes repaired for flying by the next morning. I don’t remember actually stopping to eat or for a break until the next morning when a truck with coffee and sandwiches came to us. In addition to our 11 planes, 6 planes had come to the field from Bellows. Also, Sunday night a flight of B-17s had arrived from the States. Our runways were in comparatively good shape. Many of the bombs that had hit the runways had not exploded. Thus, we felt we would be able to defend ourselves if another attack occurred.
Afterwards, after assessing the damage we were shocked to learn how close severe damage could have affected us. One of our mess halls was in a two story building. A bomb had penetrated through the roof and was embedded in the floor which was the ceiling of the mess hall. The nose of the bomb was actually sticking through but it had not exploded. The demolition squad was able to defuse it. The soldiers afterwards remarked about how rapidly they got out of that building.
During the attack one horrible incident did occur- the bombing of Tent City. This was a Cadre for the formation of a new squadron as part of the 18th Pursuit Group. It was located across the street from the 19th Pursuit building. A large bomb had gone off in this area resulting in the death and/or injury to most of the occupants. I don’t remember the actual number who were killed.
Afterwards, the base functioned on wartime status. Many adjustments were made and we received many new recruits that we had to train. I thought I was doing o.k. I had advanced and was now a warrant officer serving as the Squadron Adjutant. I liked my job. I liked my boss. I was living in the officers’ housing area. Then, orders came down that stated all Adjutants had to be commissioned officers, not warrant officers. Lt. Colonel Tyre talked me into going into Officer’s Training School with the understanding that I would return to Wheeler Field. Needless to say, that did not happen.
I went to Florida and became a 2nd Lieutenant after 3 months of school. I was then assigned to the China, Burma, India theater (CBI). I was stationed in Kumming, then as Base Adjutant at Chanyi AAB, China, and then as Base Commander at Tsuyung AADb, China. These were all 14th Air Force Bases commanded by Clair Chennault, Major General.
In 1945 I was released and I was a civilian until being recalled for the Korean War in 1952-1954 as Captain.
Now all these thought have become long ago memories.
NAME : Roy Moore Jr.
TIME PERIOD: December 7, 1941 Field Artillery
SOURCE: Letter written by Mr. Moore
DATE RECEIVED: Jan. 4, 1986
On the morning of December 7, 1941 I was a 20 year old native of Washington, North Carolina, assigned to Battery ”A,” 8th Field Artillery Battalion, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Territory of Hawaii. Having enlisted in the Army on August 5, 1939, requesting an assignment in Hawaii, I arrived in Honolulu abroad the Army transport ship the “USS Republic” on December 13, 1939. I was conveyed from the pier in Honolulu, near the “Aloha Tower,” to Schofield Barracks, by train. I was subsequently assigned to the 8th Field Artillery Regiment.
Upon the completion of my “recruit training,” on February 2, 1940, I was “turned to duty.” My recruit instructors consisted of a group of Sgt.’s and Cpl.’s from various batteries of the 8th F.A. who had been detailed for that purpose. (As of this writing) I am still in contact with one of them, who was a Cpl. at the time. His name is Joseph S. Zedalis.
At the time of my enlistment, I had requested assignment in the Philippine Islands. But for reasons long since forgotten, I was denied that opportunity. Needless to say, when the war began, I was very glad that I had not gone to the Philippines.
In the months between February, 1940 and December 7, 1941 life was very pleasant for me. I found that I liked the Army very much, and I had no trouble deciding that I would stay in the Army until I became eligible for retirement, which I did. I spent several months on detail out at Waianae, helping to operate a “water-borne target” range. I have walked from Schofield, over Kolekole Pass, to Waianae.
In those days, we used to fire live artillery rounds from the vicinity of the motor pool to an impact area high up on the side of the Waianae mountain range. There was an area on the side of the mountains called “Fire Break Trail.” This area had to be cleared of underbrush and other combustibles as a fire prevention measure. Periodically, on a rotating basis, a large detail armed with axes, picks, rakes, and shovels had to go up and clear Fire Break Trail.
I was never a cannoneer. When I was performing duty with the battery I was always in the communication section, which I liked very much. One time at guard mount, I was selected as “Colonel’s Orderly” by 1st Lt. Westmoreland, who was later to lead our Army in Vietnam as a 4-star General. To be chosen as “Colonel’s Orderly” was considered to be quite an honor at the time. Guard mount was held on the quadrangle (which was not named or numbered or lettered, at the time), and our other formations were held in front of the barracks, on “Reilly Ave.,” which at the time of this writing has become a parking lot. Army pay, being what it was in those days, precluded the ownership of automobiles by most enlisted personnel, and certainly by privates.
Hardly anyone was married, and rarely was a female ever seen in the area. We used to “fall out” in shoes and raincoats once a month and march to the dispensary for a “short arm” inspection. It was a court marshal offense if you were rendered incapable for duty due to your own carelessness or neglect, such as contracting a venereal disease, getting badly sunburned, getting an infection from a tattoo or being seriously injured in a fight with another person. The time lost was called “bad time” and had to be made up at the end of your enlistment.
Known homosexuals, of which were very few, were not tolerated in an artillery battery or an infantry company. A person undergoing treatment for a venereal disease was assigned a specific commode in the latrine, and nobody else would use it. Each battery had its own kitchen and dining room.
We were awakened each morning (duty days) by the “Drum and Bugle Corps” marching through the artillery area quadrangles playing martial music, which was easily heard, since the barracks were open, because we did not have air conditioning. The lights were turned off at 2100 hrs, and rarely was a sound heard until reveille was sounded. We had “live buglers,” no tapes or records played over loudspeakers. The leader of the afore-mentioned Drum and Bugle Corps, in the artillery area, was a Corporal Manyan. During the Japanese attack on December 7th, I would be standing beside him while he blew "Call To Arms" on his bugle, and the artillery area was under a strafing attack by the Japanese aircraft.
In the early part of November 1941, I had gone to Wahiawa one evening to purchase something, and while walking along the sidewalk in the vicinity of a place called "Dot's Drive In," I slipped on some clay and fell down. I suffered a severe sprain to one of my ankles, resulting in the wearing of a brace and the use of crutches for several weeks. By the morning of the Japanese attack, I no longer needed the crutches, but my ankle was still very tender and I was walking with a definite limp.
On the morning of December 7, 1941, I had gotten out of bed and gone down to the mess hall for breakfast along with my friend, who was also my Chief of Section, Sgt. Wilburn L. Osborne. This may not seem to be such an unusual thing, but on Sunday mornings many men took advantage of the opportunity to "sleep-in" and would not get out of bed until "noon chow." So, it was just a matter of chance on this particular Sunday morning that I had chosen to get "out of the sack" and go to breakfast. Upon completion of our meal, Sgt. Osborne and I walked out in front of the barracks and had seated ourselves on an iron pipe railing which marked the street curbing and the walkway leading into the barracks. Our backs were toward Wheeler Field. We had not been seated more than a couple of minutes when we heard a very loud explosion behind us. By the time the sound of that had registered and we turned around to look in the direction of the noise, there were other explosions and we saw large columns of black smoke arising from what we thought was the area of Wheeler Field. While we were trying to digest the significance of this, we heard aircraft over our heads and when we looked up at them, we saw large RED dots on the fuselages and on the wings. We immediately ran inside the barracks, calling to those who were still in bed to "get up." We began to get into our field uniforms and to pack our field equipment. It was at this time that I was standing beside Cpl. Manyan (the bugler) while he was sounding "Call To Arms" on his bugle. My reference above, to my injured ankle, was to show it as a source of amazement and humor a few days after the attack, and after the excitement had diminished somewhat. It was recalled by myself and some others how only a few days before, I had barely been able to walk on my injured foot, and yet at the time of the attack, and in the resulting excitement, I seemed to be quite oblivious to the discomfort that I had previously been experiencing. It became something of a joke for awhile.
Later in the morning (December 7th), after the battery was loaded and ready to move out of the motor pool, we dispersed on what was then known as the Division parade ground, which was located across the road from the motor pool. Some time after that, we began to move out for our previously prepared defensive field positions, where we arrived late in the afternoon. Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 8th Field Artillery Battalion was established at Roosevelt High School in a residential area of Honolulu.
And thus I had survived the first day of World war II. I am proud to have been a participant in this historical event. I am also proud to state that during my 29 years spent in the Army, that I was never court martialed and never reduced in grade. I retired as a Master Sergeant (#-7) in August 1959.
NAME: Simon Nasario
UNIT: Co. “D”, 298th Infantry, tech 4th
TIME PERIOD: Nov 1941- Nov 1945 grade
SOURCE: Received by mail.
DATE RECEIVED: 24 Aug. 1999
It has been 58 years since I was last at or visited Schofield Barracks. I noticed many of the changes since my stay at Schofield Barracks.
Visited the museum. Things that I remember were not on display, such as the water cooled .30 cal machine gun, the 3” mortar, the 80mm mortar and the BAR. I was in a heavy weapons company, which was Co. “D” of the 298th Inf.
Anyway for what it’s worth.
Nov. 14, 1941 reported to draft board in fire station in Waipahu. From there we were bussed to the boxing bowl in Schofield Barracks. After all the testing and physical, we were issued everything we needed.
We then were taken to what was known as “Tent City,” the training center. The recruit training center was located by the central firing range. It was also called Tent City as the recruits were quartered in tents. On Saturday, Dec. 6, 1941 we were given our first liberty pass which was for 24 hrs. At that time I lived on the Ewa plantation. My home was about a mile from the Ewa Marine air base.
Sunday Dec. 7th, morning I was awaken by my grandmother who I lived with, and said that some planes were flying low over the sugar mill and she could see fire coming out of wings (machine gun fire) and she had a couple of machine gun links in her hand. I ran out to see what was going on, then heard the machine guns firing and bombs going off. The planes coming over the mill just missing the smoke stacks and diving towards the Marine air field.
After hearing on the radio “all military personnel report back to your base,” I left my house. A marine who was directing traffic, stopped a car and ask him where he was going. He said Schofield. He told the driver, here you have 2 more passengers. So we piled in and headed for Schofield. We took the Kunia Road from Waipahu. There were several times that we had to bail out of the car as the planes buzzed over us, mostly to scare us I think.
When we arrived at our post we were told to get into fatigues- work uniforms. We were then handed picks, shovels, and hoes. We were taken to where the officers homes were and we dug air raid trenches around the homes plus what was called “North Sector General Hospital.” In the following days when things were a bit more calm, we continued our basic training. All recruits who had had ROTC in high school were given accelerated recruit training. We then were assigned to the 298th Infantry. I ended up in “D” Co. which was located in a cow pasture at the bottom of the Pali. The cadre of non coms were mostly from the 19th Inf.