Mr. Dave Spaulding: WW II — Part IV

by

(Click here to go to this blog’s home page.)

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

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

* * * * *

L.:  Anything else about the Japanese prisoners [from 1946, when you guarded Japanese prisoners on Guam]?

Mr. S.:  Nothing unusual.  They were pretty docile, really.  They were a lot happier being prisoners than they were running around loose on the island.  There were still Japanese on the island that hadn’t surrendered yet.  In fact a friend and I were out scrounging for Japanese ammunition. I’d learn how to disarm it and take the explosives out and then I’d trade it off for someone’s beer ration.  We’d get back there in the hills sometimes.  One time this friend and I heard someone shooting and we wondered who was shooting at whom.  The bullets were kicking up dirt around and we just ran like the wind as fast as we could down the hill and found a hole and dove into it.  Then pretty soon there was a Jeep coming up from down below in the hills with a bunch of MPs in it.  They were ready to shoot anything that moved so we called out, stuck our heads out.  They wondered what we were shooting at.  We said we weren’t.  There must have been some of those wandering Japanese that hadn’t been captured yet.  Anyway, they didn’t get us.  We ran faster than the bullets, I think.  That’s the only time I ever got shot at.  That was enough to make me decide I didn’t care for it.

L.:  Did you ever shoot at anyone?

Mr. S.:  No.

L.:  When did you come home, back to the States?

Mr. S.:  In June of 1946.

L.:  How long were you in Guam?

Mr. S.:  About six months.  I know I was in Hawaii for Christmas of ’45 but after that I went to Guam so it must have been six months there.

L.:  Then June of 1946 was the end of your military service?

Mr. S.:  No.   We had a system, a point system, where you got so many points for each month of service, and points for this and that.  When you accumulated the necessary number of points, then you were eligible to be discharged.  I never knew how that system worked.

L.:  Obviously you got enough points.

Mr. S.:  Eventually, yes.  But I kicked around southern California from June ‘til August.  I was stationed at a camp outside…I’ve forgotten the name of it.  And not doing much of anything.  Going out on liberty and working the food canneries or going to San Francisco and raising Cain, keeping away from the shore patrol and so forth.

L.:  Since the war was over, why were there still Japanese prisoners?

Mr. S.:  They hadn’t been repatriated yet.  They hadn’t been turned over to the Japanese.  There were a lot of them.  There were probably several hundred Japanese prisoners on Guam.  There was still a bunch that weren’t prisoners that were roaming around free, hiding out in the jungle.

L.:  When were you officially done with the military?

Mr. S.:  On August 10th of 1946 I was discharged.  I got out about a week before I was nineteen.

L.:  So that means your birthday is coming up here.  What day is your birthday?

Mr. S.:  I don’t know.  I’ll have to look at your calendar.  Tuesday.

L.:  I mean, what date is your birthday?

Mr. S.:  I know what you mean.  August 18th.

L.:  So, you were officially out of the Navy on August 10th.  How much notice did you have before August 10th that you were going to be discharged on August 10th.

Mr. S.:  I can’t remember.  It couldn’t have been too long.

L.:  Is there anything about today’s military that you want to comment on, or maybe you are kind of private about that.

Mr. S.:  No.  I’m glad I’m not in there.  Things were a lot more relaxed when I was down on the island.  It is a lot more disciplined and organized now.  It didn’t get that way, I think, until several years after the war ended.

* * * * *

(In about a week I’ll post more about Mr. Spaulding, aiming to add a new post about him every week or every-other week. He and I both appreciate your interest. He also greatly appreciates hearing from his former students, their parents and his former co-workers, including when people provide “memories” or “what-I’m-up-to,” etc., comments on this blog.)

(Click here to go to this blog’s home page.)

Advertisements

Tags:

3 Responses to “Mr. Dave Spaulding: WW II — Part IV”

  1. Clara Says:

    I’ve enjoyed all your interviews with Mr. Spaulding. He must be among the very youngest WWII veterans.

  2. Marti Gunderson Carlson Says:

    I’ve enjoyed the interviews too. Happy Belated Birthday to Mr. Spaulding!

  3. Peg Says:

    Excellent reporting, Louise! I’m sure it must take time, a good eye for grammar (and a knowledge of grammar) to get this typed up. A gift to your readers! Not to mention the art of drawing this fascinating information out of Mr. Spaulding. Nice!

    My favorite two sets of lines:

    “In fact a friend and I were out scrounging for Japanese ammunition. I’d learn how to disarm it and take the explosives out and then I’d trade it off for someone’s beer ration.” 🙂

    “We ran faster than the bullets, I think. That’s the only time I ever got shot at. That was enough to make me decide I didn’t care for it.”

    And my next question (which is fine to answer at your own pace–you probably have a time table in mind):

    Mr. Spaulding, in response to your statement: “[The military] is a lot more disciplined and organized now. It didn’t get that way, I think, until several years after the war ended.” So . . . when and HOW and WHY did you get that discipline? I assume it that discipline is the same (or a cousin of) what you brought to your RHS students? Thank you, too, for being willing to let Louise interview you and for giving us all some glimpses into what makes you tick. (Tick, eh? Not *there’s* one excellent unintended pun! ;-))

    Peg

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: