Mr. Dave Spaulding: WW II — Part III


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To understand the background for this post, it will be helpful if you first read (if you haven’t already), Part I and Part II.

The following is a continuation of Mr. Spaulding’s and my conversation this month about his military service.  more...

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L.:  Before you went into the military, were you well disciplined?

Mr. S.:  Not very much.  No.

L.:  Because you expected your students to be disciplined, which, I wish more people did, do you think you got a lot of that from the military?

Mr. S.:  I believe so.  Yes.  You had to, or else.

L.:  You went from boot camp back to Great Lakes.

Mr. S.:  Sometime in between there they had you taking aptitude tests to show what you might be good at.  I don’t know how they decided, but from Great Lakes they sent me to St. Louis to electrical school.  I must have had some sort of test that showed I was capable of that.

L.:  Do you remember when you went to electrical school?

David Spaulding, circa May, 1945, at the finish of electrical school. (Click photo to enlarge.)

David Spaulding, circa May, 1945, at the finish of electrical school. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Mr. S.:  It was from about January of ’45 ‘til about the end of May of ’45.  It was four months of electrical school.  After electrical school I was out in California at a camp waiting to be sent someplace. I stuck around there for, I don’t know, three or four months.  Then they finally decided they had a spot for me so they sent me to Hawaii.  Oahu.

L.:  So, you were shipped to Hawaii in about October of ’45?

Mr. S.:  I’d say about then.  I’d have to look someplace in my old Navy stuff. I had a little book of where I was and what ship and so forth.  When I was in Hawaii the Army Signal Corps was teaching us to climb telephone poles.  Spikes, leather belts and all that stuff.  We would walk up the side of a pole, digging the spikes in.  That had nothing to do with what I learned in electrical school.  That was just a waste of time for the service.

L.:  Were you in Hawaii waiting for what was next, and the next thing was Guam?

Mr. S.:  Yes, I know I was in Hawaii through Christmas and then I took a destroyer ride to Guam.  That was interesting, too.  Rough ride.  It was something like 3,500 miles from Hawaii to Guam on a rock-and-rolling destroyer.   It was almost enough to make you seasick.

L.:  I have in my notes that in Guam, you guarded the Japanese prisoners.

Mr. S.:  Right.

L.:  Were you ever afraid there?

Mr. S.:  Oh, apprehensive, maybe.  We had them working for us as prisoners.  There was one time I and another guy were working from a camp and they went down through the jungle.  They were cutting a trail through there to put in a series of poles for telephone lines.  Two of us were in charge of fifteen prisoners.  At about chow time at noon, we’d flip a coin to see who’d go back for a hot meal at the base.  The rest of us would eat K-rations.  That would leave one person there with a carbine and fifteen Japanese prisoners, machetes and axes and all sorts of things for clearing the jungle.  If they decided they wanted to do away with you, they’d have a pretty good chance because the .30 caliber carbine, that was a short rifle, only had fifteen rounds in a magazine.  You’d have to be a deadeye.

(Part IV will be posted Tuesday, August 18th, which is also Mr. Spaulding’s birthday, or Wednesday.  I’ll post more about Oregon later this week.)

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