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McDougall, Charles W.

Kurt Piehler:  This begins an interview with Mr. Charles Walter McDougall on November 9, 1996 in Alexandria, Virginia with Kurt Piehler and

Pete Mele: Pete Mele.

KP:  I guess I would like to begin by asking you about your father who was a Rutgers graduate, Rutgers College Class of 1911.

Charles McDougall:  That was Walter B. McDougall.  He graduated in 1911 and he was the director of the vocational schools in Atlantic County.  And was taken ill in 1932 and died in April 1932. And I was thirteen and I had two brothers seventeen months younger than I, who were then eleven, and my sister was six.  And all four of us were graduates of Rutgers.  My sister graduated from Douglass, and the three of us graduated from the Class of '42.  We were born and brought up on a farm and while at Rutgers, we tried to tend the farm as well as go to Rutgers.  In the fall we had to harvest apples on weekends and in the winter there was pruning to do of the apples and the peach trees on weekends. ... Then in the spring there was spraying to be done and we did that for three years and then my mother decided that was too much for us and she leased the farm to one of our neighbors and so we were freed of that in our junior year because things got pretty busy by that time.  That's what we did during our college years and I guess that prevented us from being too active in too many things in college.  But we were all active in something, when time allowed.

KP:  Rutgers actually has a copy of your father's obituary from the New York Times, and he was a very active man.

CM:  Yes, he was.

KP:  He had a bright future and was very young when he died.  I think he was ...

CM:  Age 42.

KP:  Oh okay.  I mean he was active in the community and seemed very well-respected.

CM:  Very much so.

KP:  Could you maybe speak a little about what he was active in.  You mentioned he was a Boy Scout leader and an active in his church.

CM:  He was a Boy Scout leader, and was active in Kiwanis Club, in the church, and in county affairs.  He was the Director of the Atlantic County Fair Association.  I recall as a young boy spending days at the fairgrounds and watching the carnival come in, the exhibits go up and down.  And that was fun for me at a ripe age of nine or ten.  And I ... recall those days, when he was busy trying to take care of the farm and do his work and be active in the community and take care of his family.  ... He was well-liked and well known and we enjoyed having him as a father as long as we did.  He was a great dad.

KP:  Were you and your brothers Boy Scouts?  Because he was active in Boy Scouting I read.

CM:  ... I did join Boy Scouts for a couple of years, but we lived about three miles out of town and couldn't always get back into town all the time when needed.  But we were active in a 4-H Club for a while, and some sports in high school, but the farm kept us busy.

KP:  Oh, I can imagine.

CM:  Most of our odd hours were spent on the farm.

KP:  Your father was a Rutgers graduate.  What did he ever say about going to Rutgers?  He did very well at Rutgers I read.

CM:  Yes, he made Phi Beta Kappa.  We heard about Rutgers many times and some of his classmates visited our home.  We never thought about going to another college, except Rutgers.

KP:  Really from day one.

CM:  From day one.  Then after he passed away, Mother always thought we ought to go to Rutgers.  She wanted us all to have a college education.  She went back to teaching after Dad died.  ... It was a hard course for her, too. ... The Depression days of the 1930's.  We didn't make that much money from our farm.  I think Mother started out at $1200 dollars a year as a teacher in 1932.

KP: Which even in the 1930s does not go that far.

CM: No.

KP:  Your brothers alluded that even though your father was a very good student to make Phi Beta Kappa, he ran into some disciplinary problems at one point.  Do your remember were there any stories about that?

CM:  I've forgotten some of those stories.  I know that he was a bit devilish at times and did get in trouble, but I've forgotten what it was about.

KP:  You do not remember any incidents he told you about.

CM:  I don't recall.  I think my brothers may recall it better than I do.

KP:  Speaking of your Mother a little bit, do you know how your parents met, do you remember?

CM:  Well, my Dad was based in Pleasantville, New Jersey.  And my Mother taught in Northfield, New Jersey and they met through some friends.  ... And then on November 3rd, 1917 they married.  I was born March 30, 1919.  But, you know, I was happy that I had the years, the close years to my Dad while he was living.  He taught us how to do many things, and even how to work some of the machinery.  I drove a farm tractor, an old Fordson tractor, when I was nine years old while my Dad sprayed.  Of course, it was very slow-going driving between trees, while he sprayed.  I think he gave me a quarter while I did that. (laughter)

KP:  It seems that your parents' decision to maintain an orchard and a farm was really crucial for your Mother being able to make it.  That even though your Father had a regular job, he kept his orchard.

CM:  Yes, he did.

KP:  Do you think that was part of the idea that this was something to fall back on, or that it was a hobby, or that it was part of his work?

CM:  Well it kept him updated in his work, because he knew a lot about fruit diseases and insects and soils.  He taught me about insects and soil problems and how to look for them, and what to do about soil and fertilizer and liming.  There were many chores that he taught me how to do before he died.

KP:  So, it sounds like you have very fond memories of your father.

CM: Oh, yes.

KP: That he really left you with quite a bit.

CM:  Yes.

KP:  One of your brothers specifically referred that your Mother really was a very good teacher.

CM:  She was and a good disciplinarian.  And she was that way at home too.  (laughter)  She didn't stand for any nonsense.  ... We knew what our objectives were, and what we had to do and what our responsibilities were.   And we all took turns, in fact, doing different jobs on the farm and even took turns in cutting the lawn.  ... I think we had perhaps an acre and a half of lawn, and it was too much for a push lawn mower, and we took turns.  But, growing up in high school we had a lot of fun, a lot of friends, went to a lot of parties and I was in several plays in high school, as were my brothers.  I enjoyed my high school days.

Upon graduating from high school, I didn't have the best grades.  I think I had somewhere between a B+ or C average and so I went to Westfield, New Jersey and spent a year with my Grandmother, and went to high school there, as a post-graduate student, which increased my abilities to do better in math and English.

... The next year I took a short course at Rutgers in the College of Agriculture. ... Then at 19, I joined my brothers in admission to Rutgers in the fall of '38.  Three boys in college at once was quite expensive in those days, during the depression.  We rented an apartment, cooked our own meals, and we were all in ROTC.  And some of us had the same classes, but I don't think we all liked being in the same class together all the time.

KP:  You wanted some individual identity.

CM:  Yes.

KP:  You didn't always want to be just the McDougall brothers.

CM:  Right.  I guess in our ... freshman and sophomore years with some of the basic courses we were in some classes together.  But then we began to major.  I in horticulture, Howard in entomology, and Bob in dairy science. ... I guess Howard and Bob both ended up in medical school and became doctors and practiced together for 40 some years before they retired.  ... After graduating in 1942, I was offered a job by the Federal State Inspection Service.  Warren Oley, who was a classmate of my Dad, was head of the Inspection Service in New Jersey and my first job was in Virginia on the Eastern Shore.

KP:  So that is how you came to Washington initially?

CM:  Oh no.  This was Eastern Shore, Virginia.

KP:  Okay, yes.

CM:  But this was 1942 and the draft board told my Mother that ... they didn't want to draft all three of us into the service.  My brother Bob left the day after graduation for Cherry Point, pre-flight school, ... that was Navy, and then he took his commission in the marines as a dive bomber pilot.  In 1943, I went to Philadelphia to the Naval Recruiting Office and they looked at my background and commissioned me as an ensign.  I went to Cornell University for officer training.  After four months at Cornell, I was assigned to Little Creek, Virginia, the Amphibious Base for U.S. Navy.  After several months I transferred to Fort Pierce, Florida, another Naval Amphibious Base for further training.

And from there ... my new orders were to report to LST 531 in New Orleans which was on a shake down cruise out in the Gulf of Mexico.  I joined that ship and became the first lieutenant and I really liked the skipper aboard that ship.  His name was Behrens, and he was from South Dakota.  He was a Navy man from age seventeen and grew up in the Navy.  He was a very fascinating officer.  I stayed on LST 531 and went overseas in January '44, we arrived in Roseneath, Scotland and sailed down to Plymouth, England a few days later.

I received orders to be reassigned as a small boat officer at Dartmouth Naval College, on the River Dart, in England.  We practiced landing on English beaches getting ready for the invasion of France.  We practiced landing for several months, and then was reassigned to an LCT, {Landing Craft Tanks}.  I joined that ship in Portsmouth and was trained for landing Sherman tanks on the beachhead.

We landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944 an hour before H hour.  I was fortunate in landing my Sherman tanks from the Third Armored Division, which was General Patton's division.  The ships on either side of me hit mines and the Sherman tanks went up like match boxes, up 30 or 40 feet in the air.  They were twelve tons apiece, at least, I think that's what they weighed.  I was fortunate.  We came off the beach and went out and loaded up some more troops and equipment.  My second landing was around 10:00 that same day.  And then, on my return trips from the beach head there were wounded soldiers.  We took them out to a hospital ship.  We kept on taking in equipment, soldiers, guns and anything the army needed.  I think we worked steady for 48 hours without any sleep.  From then on we were unloading naval ships, merchants ships, troops, equipment, mechanized equipment. ... I worked off Normandy for several months.  There was one break for about a week.

My flotilla went down and made a landing in southern France.  That was an easy landing.  We didn't as much opposition as Normandy.  I don't recall many ships being sunk or too much loss of personnel in landing there.  We only stayed there about two days and then came back to Normandy and continued working there until November '44.  We went back to Dartmouth, England.  I was then reassigned and made engineering officer of Flotilla Twelve.  We began to restore our ships to working condition, overhauling engines and getting them ready for possibl[y] another invasion.  We stayed there until the end of the war came on May 8, 1945, and then I was on my way home on a troop ship.  We landed in Boston, and I had a 30 day leave.  Then I was reassigned to Little Creek, Virginia as an engineering officer of a new flotilla.  I was then later reassigned to another LST as an executive officer.  ... Oh, the first LST I was assigned to, the officer that I spoke about, Mr. Behrens, ... when I left that ship, it was on maneuvers.  A month later a German E-Boat sank three of our LSTs, ... with great loss of life on all three ships.  I was kind of lucky to get off LST 531 a month before it went down.

KP:  When was this?

CM:  This was before D-Day. ... This was April 28th, those ships were lost in a maneuver off the coast of England.

KP:  Basically practice run.

CM:  Practice landing.  And German E-Boats came over from France and torpedoed all three ships.  And I guess I was lucky not to be on that ship at that time.  Then I got on the other LST, which was 533, and we made several trips up to Newfoundland.  It was after the war.  We were taking supplies up to the naval base at Agentia, Newfoundland.  I stayed in, as I wasn't married and I didn't have enough points to get out until July 1946.  I took a little vacation, for four or five weeks and then began to look for jobs.  I went up to Rutgers, and I was interviewed there for possible jobs in Cooperative Extension Service. ...

Sandy McDougall:  Remember when we went to Dartmouth?

KP: Just go ahead.

CM: Last year my wife and I went over to England and Scotland and went up to where the McDougall family clan started, back in Oban, Scotland.  We drove all around England and Scotland and enjoyed it.  Our last trip was down to Dartmouth, England where I was based in 1944.  We went to a pub and met this fellow who kindly gave us a book which described the sinking of the LSTs during training.

SM:  That was in Torquay.

CM: Yes, that was in Torquay, which was just a few miles away from Dartmouth. ... That was our major place to go for recreation.  The Imperial Hotel was located there and we would take the train down from Dartmouth to Torquay.  There was a dance at the hotel, and nothing but army and navy there dancing with British girls.  ... That was our fun for the evening when we were stationed in Dartmouth.  When Sandy and I were there we went to this pub.

SM:  The Hole-in-the-Wall.

CM:  Yes, at the Hole-in-the-Wall Pub.  We were walking and I saw the Hole-in-the-Wall and I said, "Gee, I've been to that place back in World War II."  So I took Sandy in.  That's how we got acquainted with the former owner who was just visiting the day we were there and ... we had quite a chat.

SM:  He wanted to know who you were, how you knew about Hole-in- the-Wall.

SM:  And you told him that it was a hang-out during World War II.

CM:  It was a hangout for some of us. ... It actually was a hole- in-the- wall when you went into the place. (laughs)

KP: The name fit.

CM: The name fit properly.

SM: And all the names on the ...

CM:  Oh, the ceiling was loaded with names of army and navy personnel that visited during World War II. ... You couldn't find space to write another name, could you hon?

KP:  Had you written your name there?

SM: Yes, but it had been covered over and recovered with modern names.

CM:  Modern names, yes.

KP: Oh, so your names had been covered.

SM:  Yes.

CM: But it was amazing.  I remember writing my name up there.  Everybody did that.

SM: This guy ... wanted to know .... how you knew about the place and so you told him and he said, "Well I have this book that you might be interested in."  And it was something.  It was titled "The Forgotten Dead," by Ken Small.  He gave it to us.

SM: It tells all about this exercise ... on the beach.

CM:  Yes, the exercise during which LST 531 was sunk. ... And some of the other happenings of World War II: both navy and army. 
SM: And it listed all the personnel from 531 and you knew most everybody on the ship.

CM: Yes, and most of them were killed, good friends too, some of them were.  Well anyway, let's see.  Where are we now?

KP: We can go back a little bit. You grew up in Hammonton which your brothers have described as very much an agricultural community.

CM:  It was.  There were some clothing industries there.  Pants factories, suit factories, women's dresses.  A number of the farm families worked in the clothing factories during the winter months, and then left to work on the farms in the spring and back to work in the fall in factory.  It was sort of a complementary economic base, both farming and off-farm occupations.

KP:  And you grew up in South Jersey at a time when there were major differences.  Even though New Jersey is not very big, there was and still is a North-South split.

CM:  Oh, very separated.

KP:  Could you comment a bit on that?  You not only came to Rutgers, but Westfield is very North Jersey compared to Hammonton.

CM:  Right. ...

KP:  Could you maybe comment on some of the differences you saw between North and South Jersey, especially relating to the year you spent in high school in Westfield.

CM:  I think there was more money up in North Jersey.  Residential neighborhoods were much finer than some of our neighborhoods.  My farmhouse was built by a New Englander who was a carpenter and he built quite a nice home.  The Adams family, came down from Massachusetts and there were three carpenters in that family.  And each generation had some more carpenters.  They were well-known as excellent carpenters.  The differences in North Jersey, I think, probably better schools and more economic activity.

KP:  Did you notice there was a real difference in the schooling?

CM:  Oh yes.

KP:  Do you remember anything specifically about it?

CM:  I think they had larger schools. ... I think the teachers were better equipped as teachers, had more advanced degrees than the ones in Hammonton.  Sports were big on campus at Westfield High School.

KP:  Much bigger than Hammonton?

CM:  Oh, yes.  It was a much larger school.  ... The kids ... seemed better informed, ... had traveled and they knew all about New York City.  I didn't know much about New York City at that time, but in my junior year of college I worked at the World's Fair.

KP:  Oh really?

CM:  I worked for Ford Motor Company and they had introduced a new hydraulic lift tractor, known as the Ford-Ferguson Tractor.  Mr. Ferguson was the one who invented the hydraulic lifts for the implements that were carried behind the tractor.  He teamed up with Mr. Ford.  We demonstrated those new tractors.  We ploughed up ground 20 or 25 times a day.  (laughter)  People would watch us and people from Brooklyn and the Bronx would come out there and they'd say, "What is that?"  They had never seen a farm tractor before.  They'd ask questions about it.

PM:  That was in Flushing?

CM:  Yes, Flushing, Long Island and I lived in Forest Hills at the time and it was a five-minute bus ride down to Flushing.

KP:  You being a farm boy growing up and now you lived in Westfield which was a very northern community and then lived in Forest Hills which was very urban and worked at the World's Fair, it must have ...

CM:  It was more sophisticated I would say.  Much more sophisticated in New York, and Westfield and some of the northern areas of New Jersey.

KP:  My stepfather went to the World's Fair, which was terribly exciting and he remembers it very vividly.  In your case you were on display and an expert, but you must have also enjoyed viewing the exhibits at the Fair.

CM:  Yes, I thought I was quite a guy to get a job like that.  It paid 30 dollars a week and I could live very comfortably on 30 dollars a week and save money.

KP:  How did you end up living in Forest Hills?  Did you just rent a room or is there a story there?

CM:  Somebody at Douglass College gave me the name of a widow-- ... her husband had been a dentist and the son was a dentist.  But he said, "Why don't you go to see her, she might be willing to take you as a boarder."  George Luke from the Class of '41 was a partner of mine at the World's Fair.  We went up there to see this lady in Forest Hills and she looked at George and she looked at me and talked to us.  She was a very refined lady.  She said alright, and I think she charged us five dollars a week to live there and she gave us a nice room.  We did some things like cut her lawn and a few other things for her, but she was a very nice woman, we enjoyed living with her.

KP:  You had a quite a take in your era.  I mean you were taking 30 dollars a week home.

CM:  Well, the $30 was our check each week.  We had to pay her $5, and then we had to eat.  We ate at a diner in the morning and then ate at the World's Fair at noon.  Then I think we ate mostly at the diner back in Forest Hills in the evening.  We worked until 8:00, but sometimes we would stay and go down to the amusement area, which was quite a gathering of people every evening.  We had a pass, so we could get into a lot of those shows and many of the amusements down there, because we were working at the fair.

KP:  One of the themes of the World's Fair was the World of the Future, and the greatness of technology.

CM: Tryolon and Perisphere.

KP: At the time, what did you think the future would be like?  Did you expect all this to happen?

CM:  It was interesting and educational.  There were a number of things that you could study at the World's Fair: machinery and science.  If it was a rainy day at Ford, at the World's Fair and the attendance was down quite a bit they didn't want us to hang around so they would tell us, "Go to your locker and cover up your Ford emblem and take off."  And we would ... travel around the fair and see the sights four or five hours, then come back and work a few hours.  That gave us a chance to see more of the fair.  That's how we spent our time.

KP:  Going back to Hammonton just a little bit more, was there a large Italian community?

CM:  Very much so.  It was settled by New Englanders to begin with and then Italians.  New England people who bought farms brought in some of the Italians from New York to work on the farms.  And it wasn't too long afterward they would buy a small farm.  And most of them were in the berry farms: raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.  Then they advanced to, very hard working families.  They would advance and buy more property. ... Oh, many of them could buy and sell me now, many times over.

KP:  How did the Italians get along with the other groups in town?

CM:  I didn't have any trouble growing up with Italians.  I learned to swear in Italian before I did in English.  And I learned how to speak Italian.  I can't do much of it now, but there are words that come back to me now and then.  But, the Italians were outgoing people, very friendly, very generous too, I might add.  So, I think, being brought up as a Scotch-English background, and being confronted with Italian backgrounds, I think it was good for me.  I learned a lot about other parts of society and learned how to accept other peoples with different backgrounds and work with them.  And I thought it was very interesting.

PM:  You had mentioned before Westfield, growing up in South Jersey.  Before Westfield you had not known much about New York City.  You were kind of half way between Atlantic City and Philadelphia.  Had you spent much time going to Philadelphia with your dad?

CM:  Well, Philadelphia was our shopping area.  If we wanted clothes we'd go up to John Wannamakers, Strawbridge and Clothier or Gimbels.  And my Mother and Dad would take us up and fit us out. ... Of course, we outgrew our clothes every year and so we had to have a suit to go to church and we'd get a new suit and mother would get furnishings and things of that nature for the home, but there weren't too many good stores in Hammonton at that time.  So most of our shopping was done in Philadelphia. 
And Atlantic City was an amusement area to go to.  The Steel Pier and the Million Dollar Pier, next door to the Steel Pier, was an amusement pier.  You could spend all day, and go on all kinds of rides when I was a little kid.  That was a lot of fun.  And the beach was, of course, nice to go to.  We liked Ocean City more than we did Atlantic City for the beach.  My mother later bought a place in Ocean City.  We spent many good times down at the shore. ... While we were growing up my Dad was still living, there was quite a group in our church.  After church we'd go home and change our clothes.  We'd get in our cars and go down to Ocean City.  We'd pack a lunch and spend the whole afternoon on the beach and then come back in the evening.  That was a usual practice for many years, to get to the ocean and enjoy the ocean. ...

KP:  The church was fairly important.  I could tell by interviewing your brothers that the church was very important to them and it still is.  But growing up it was, it sounds like it was very important to your lives.  It sounds like your father was very active in the church.

CM:  He was very active, he was an elder.  He was superintendent of Sunday School.  My Mother was a teacher in Sunday School.  We all went to church every Sunday.  And we were active in the church.  And I guess all three of us still are.

KP:  Yes, the importance of the church to your brothers was obvious when I interviewed them, even though I never asked them a direct question about it.  So I wanted to be sure to ask you a direct question about it.

CM:  A little interesting fact about the church we went to in Hammonton.   Dr. McKinney later became the minister of the First Presbyterian Church in Westfield, which is a much larger church than our little home church in Hammonton.

KP:  That is interesting. ... You mentioned that there was large Italian community in Hammonton and in the 1920s there was a large Ku Klux Klan movement in large parts of the country.  Do you remember any Klan movement in South Jersey?

CM:  No I don't.  I don't recall any of that.  There were a few Negroes, as we called them then.  And I had a few in school with me.  In fact in high school there was one gal that sat behind me lots of times.  She's gone, she passed away, but I enjoyed talking to her.  Mother had a colored gal come to help clean the house. ... I never remember being too much ... racially conscious at that time.

KP:  I get the impression that most people got along in Hammonton.

CM:  Yes they did.

KP:  You do not remember any incidents?

CM:  I do not remember any animosity. ... We may have had some fights now and then with boys, but nothing major.

KP:  The black families in town, you mentioned one of them cleaned for your mother.  Did any of them own any farms or land, or did they mainly work?

CM:  I don't recall that I knew any blacks or Negroes at that time that owned farms.  They were mainly working on farms or working in homes as domestics.  I don't recall any that I knew that owned farms in Hammonton.  But I might be wrong.

KP:  You and your brothers all set out for Ag School and your brothers mention how they did not have any intention on becoming physicians initially.

CM:  Howard, my brother Howard had some interest. ...

KP: Some interest.

CM: In medicine.  We had a doctor in town who Howard particularly liked.  The doctor knew that Howard was interested and I think that he was the one that ...

KP: So, he was more interested.

CM: He was more interested than we were.

KP:  Yes, because I remember your other brother really had the vision he would be a dairy farmer.

CM:  Yes, ... I don't think Bob knew what he wanted to do until after the war when Howard said, "Why don't you go to med school?"  So that's what he did.  He went to Temple and got his medical degree and then went to York for his residency.  Then Howard moved in from Little Washington, Pennsylvania and they decided to practice together, which they did.

KP:  They have told me various stories of York, which was very enjoyable.  In contrast to your brothers, you did in fact go into agricultural work in the end.  You did not own a farm, but you were very much associated with agriculture.  When you entered college what kind of career did you think you wanted?  Did you want to own a farm?  Did you think you would work for the USDA?

CM:  At that point, I was interested in what my dad did in vocational agriculture.  I kind of looked at him ... as a father and a leader and I guess ... he spent more time orienting me toward agriculture than anyone else did.  And, of course, none of his family were agriculturists.

KP: I was curious about that, because when I saw what Rutgers had in a file on him, he really did not come from a farming background.

CM:  No his family were jewelers.  They made rings, thimbles, and you may recall a button that women wore mostly with a little chain on it for their pinched nose glasses, when they took them off, it would hang on their dress.  And they made those for years.

KP:  Do you know what drew your father to agriculture given that he did not have a farming background?  Did he ever talk about it?

CM:  I don't really recall.

KP: It sounds like ....

CM: Apparently he was sickly when he was growing up.  And the doctors told him that he ought to do something outside.  He had to look forward to being out in the air.  And ... I think that's one thing that drove him to agriculture and then when he got into it, he liked it.  And he particularly liked Dr. Lippmann whose was the Dean of Agriculture at Rutgers for a number of years.  When I came out of the war and was interviewed for a job, Mr. Cook said, "Well, there's an assistant agent job up in Bergen County, in Hackensack."  And he says, "We'll take you up and see what the Board of Agriculture thinks about you."  So I went for an interview and the board met with me and the agent as well--and there was W.R. Stone.  They hired me or at least asked me if I would be interested in a job.  So I took the job-- ... very difficult trying to find places to live.  And Mrs. Stone said, "Well, why don't you come and live with us?  Our family, the boys have gone, and I only have one little guy." ... So they gave me a bedroom and  I stayed there.  I was then going with my first wife in Philadelphia.  She was a nurse at Jefferson Hospital. ... My sister introduced me to her, because she was doing dietetic work as part of required work at Douglass College.  And so I'd go back home to Hammonton weekends ... as much as I could, and then I went to Philadelphia to date Eleanor. ... I was married in Kirkpatrick Chapel on August 14, 1947.  In March 1947, I was made the agent of Bergen County.  Mr. Stone took his life while I lived there.  His wife, Lillian, came up and woke me up.  I didn't hear it.

PM:  You were there at the time?

CM:  Yes, I was there.  He went down in the basement took a shotgun, put it up next to his heart.

KP:  Do you know why?

CM:  He had, I didn't really know this before, but he'd had one or two nervous breakdowns.  And that was probably working up to it.  I stayed at their home until I got married and helped Lillian for awhile.  She was broken up.  And it was a shock to me, really.

KP:  Because you had seen a lot of death being on Utah Beach, but to have someone kill themselves must have been a shock.

CM:  Yes, the boys that got killed during World War II, that I saw, were banged up and killed.  You know it was done by other people, but he did it to himself which was kind of shocking.  But anyway, they made me the agent after he died.  And I was the agent there, until 1955.  I was asked to go down to Rutgers and be an Associate Agr, leader on the staff there.  So I moved down there in August of '55, and later became Ag leader, when Jim Faucet became the Director of Extension. ... Health was a problem for him and he was out several months at a time, two, three and four and five months.

--------------------------END TAPE ONE, SIDE ONE-----------------

CM:  I was acting director for a period of time.  And then in 1962, which was the anniversary of the land grant colleges, E.T. York from the Federal Extension Service was asked to be the speaker at the anniversary.  What's the place on the old Nielson Field?

KP:  The passion puddle?

CM:  No, no Nielson Field, which ... later became the big cafeteria.

KP:  Oh, Brower Commons.

CM:  ... Yes, the large cafeteria.  Well, that's where we met. I went up to Newark Airport and picked him up.  And, we had quite a chat.  I took him to the hotel and then I picked him up for the dinner.  The next morning I took him back to Newark Airport.  I guess there must have been a thousand people there at that dinner, that night.  But anyway, before he left ... the car at Newark Airport, ... he asked me to come down to Washington and look at a job on staff here.  So I came down and was offered the job as Field Representative for the Federal Extension Service.  I was at that job for one or two years and then became Assistant Administrator for University Relations.  I worked with all the land grant colleges throughout the country.  I enjoyed that work because each university has its own environment.  It was very interesting to visit all these universities and get a feeling for the environments within the states and what problems they had and what the university was all about.  I initiated the extension services in the Virgin Islands and Guam and American Samoa and visited all the trust territories.  I started Micronesia with an extension service as well.  I had a very interesting time.

KP:  You literally travelled the country.

CM:  Yes, I've been in every state.

KP: But going back, I guess it sounds like you very much followed the career path your father might have taken.

CM: I did.  I enjoyed all nine jobs I had in extension work.  The work as a county agent was very interesting.  I just had to quit in the morning and get out of the office in the afternoon to go out visiting farmers and to see what was causing problems and what diseases and insects were around for my newsletter each week that went out to the vegetable farmers and the fruit growers and the dairy men and so forth.  I didn't have too many dairies, but I had a lot of fruit growers and vegetable growers on the muck in Paramus area, which is all built up now.

KP:  I want to ask you some questions about, I mean you remember Bergen County as an agricultural county.  Which now you would not associate it with agriculture.

CM:  No, you wouldn't.  I remember that I never had any experience with muck farms.  It was black walking on it and it was very spongy.  ... They were farmers that grew anywhere from thre to four crops a year on that muck.  They'd grow onions and celery and spinach and lettuce, beautiful crops. ... And the farmers had bags in their eyes down to their chin.  They'd farm all day long and then get up at 1:00 in the morning and take their produce into Bronx Terminal Market or Brooklyn, and stay over their until it was sold and come back, change their clothes and work on the farm all day.  It was ... quite a job for most of those farmers.  They were of Polish, German, and Dutch backgrounds.  The muck was taken over by a number of Dutch and Polish people, but they were fun to work with.

KP:  How well prepared were you for Rutgers?  You had a post high school year at Westfield High School.  How prepared were you for Rutgers and the work?

CM:  I think I did very well at Rutgers.  I was on the dean's list by the time I graduated.

KP:  But was it easy from the beginning or did you have to work?

CM:  Some of the basics that we had, zoology, some of the basic sciences were a little rough at times.  But I'm glad I had them, because it prepared me for my work later as an agent.  And I recall a number of things that happened to me in class at Rutgers, which supported me as an agent.

KP:  You were at Aggie and you had a lot of your classes on a different side of town.

CM:  We had a number of classes downtown, main campus.

KP:  You did not feel you were separate.

CM:  No, ... I knew lots of other classmates ... who were engineers, liberal arts, journalists, etc.  I was active in my class.

KP:  You played soccer.

CM:  Yes. ... In my freshman and sophomore years.

KP:  When soccer was still a very new sport here.

CM:  Yes, it was.

KP: It was still then very, very new.

CM: What was the name of the coach?  George Docker I think was the coach.

KP:  Any other activities that you took part in?  Did you go to the dances and the balls?

CM:  I loved to dance. (laughter)  I used to go to the dances over at the Coop (... Douglass).

KP: A military ball. ...

CM: A Military Ball.  Yes, I went to all of them.

KP: My students have commented ....

CM:  It was hard to squeeze out the money for it sometimes. 
(laughter)

KP:  Your brothers talked about having I think it was an old Model T if I remember.

CM:  We made a Model A Ford out of a junkyard.  It was a Roadster with a rumble seat.

KP: They told me that it needed a lot of work all the time.

CM: Yes. ... There was a Mr. Peter Ranere who was Buick dealer in town.  He had a big junk yard and a farm about one half mile from where we lived and he gave us permission to go into that junkyard and get parts.  We put a Model A together.  A body from one car, wheels from another, an engine from another.  That was our transportation back and forth to Rutgers from Hammonton, freshman year.  And then my birthday, I think I had $55 in gifts from relatives, $5 here and $5 there.  We traded it in on a 1931 Ford.  And then I worked for the World's Fair, which culminated in a job over in Somerville at Duryea Motors selling tractors, during the summer of my junior year and during my senior year on Fridays and Saturdays.

KP: So, you had some very interesting jobs in college.

CM: Yes, I sold 56 tractors in Somerset County and Middlesex [County]. ... What's some other adjoining places?

KP:  Hunterdon County.

CM:   ... Flemington, Hunterdon County.  And I'd go out and take a tractor out and demonstrate it on a farm and sometimes it would result in a sale, sometimes not.

SM:  Is that where you met Doris Duke?

CM:  Yes.  Met Doris Duke on her farm, sold her two tractors.

KP:  That's a lot of sales.  If you would sell 56 today, you would be very successful.

CM:  Well, that was over a year's time, a little more than a year.

KP: But that still is a great record.

CM: Almost one a week.

SM: But not on commission.

CM: No, I should have been a little more savvy about asking the boss for a commission.  I realized that I was worth more to him.

PM:  Did you work there your senior year?

CM:  Yes.

PM:  Did you live in Somerville your senior year?

CM:  No, I lived in New Brunswick.

PM: Oh, okay.

CM: I'd just travel over there.  Oh, I did have the use of a car.

KP: It was part of the job.

CM: Yes, part of the job and I'd drive back and forth and drive all over Hunterdon, Somerset and Middlesex Counties.  There was a car traded in that had a banged up front bumper.  It was a tan 1937 convertible.  I asked the boss, how much he would sell it to me for and he said, "150 bucks."  So I said, "Well how about the fender, will they fix it up?"  He said well, "I didn't mean to have-- that's going to cost us money.  But I did get away with getting the car for $150 and the fender all fixed up.  So that was our transportation.  And then we left that car with my mother during World War II.  Then Bob used it in medical school at Temple.  He was married and he used it during his Temple days.  So, that's how we got ...

KP:  It sounds like you had a really good time at Rutgers.

CM:  I did.  I enjoyed my college days.  They were the best four years of my life!

PM:  Did you live in New Brunswick the whole time?

CM: Yes.

PM: All four years?

CM CM: Yes.

PM: What did you think of New Brunswick in '38, '39 '40, before the war?

CM:  It was mostly a town of working people, you know, ... who worked at J & J, ... factory people most of them.  The landlady we had worked at J & J. ... It was principally factory people the neighborhoods where we lived.

KP:  Did you ever think of joining a fraternity or living on campus?

CM:  ... The Delta Phi Fraternity had us over several times and they even gave us a proposition for three boys.  It was better than ....

KP: A discounted rate so to speak.

CM: But we just couldn't afford to pay the dues of a fraternity and live there at their prices.

KP:  So, in other words, it was really, it sounds like it was more of a monetary issue.

CM:  It was a monetary issue more than anything else.  But we were invited and ... we enjoyed some of the fellowship of the fraternity brothers there and ... they invited us to two or three parties.  The members of that fraternity had far more money than we had.

KP:  Because one things the students reading the Targum are struck at how fraternity row really dominated the Targumeditorial board and student council president.

CM:  All the best jobs in the university, you know, the ... officers of the class, the fraternities all backed one another.  ... Beat that down if you want to get anywhere.  I didn't have anything against fraternities, ... they were well organized.

KP:  It's a standard question I ask everyone.  Did you ever have any dealings with Dean Metzger?

CM:  Oh yes.  He's a fine old gentleman.  He was a disciplined guy though.

KP: Yes that is in part why I ask.

CM: You had to live up to his standards.  He didn't mess around with anybody.  ... But he was a well-meaning task master and sort of a father in a way to you.  He knew your background, he'd help you.  There were many men I think that were helped by Dean Metzger.  Because, he ... more than went out of his way to learn more about students and their backgrounds and their condition.  And he's deserving of many honors for the way he treated students.  But he was a task master.  I mean you had to live up to his standards.

KP:  One of the other questions is chapel.  Did you go to chapel?  Do you remember chapel?

CM:  Oh sure.  We went to chapel.  It was a must.

KP: Well, it was a must during the week.  Did you attend weekend chapel or were you usually down at home?

CM  ... There were some good speakers, ... guest speakers at chapel.  And some of them were very good and well known.  And for that reason we'd just go to chapel, not every week, but we occasionally went.  I think in our freshman year we had go to chapel at least once a week.

KP: I know there was weekday chapel and then there was weekend chapel.

CM: Do they still have chapel on Sundays up there?

KP:  Yes, they still do.

CM: Do they?

KP: A little service, inter-denominational.  It still goes on.

CM:  The pictures all over the wall?

KP:  Yes, the pictures are still all over the wall.

CM: They were just loaded with them.

KP: I think there is even a few more.

CM: I don't know where they found room for them.

KP: You were going to school on the eve of World War II.  And you mentioned that when you came up to North Jersey and to New York, people seemed more worldly.  What did you know about the world and particularly what was going on in Europe or Asia in the late 1930s?

CM:  Not much, not much.  We'd read about it in the papers or listen to it on the radio.  We didn't know a whole lot about the war.

KP:  Did you think ...

CM:  Of course, Hitler was in the front page for several years.  And we recognized the possibly we were going to get into it.

KP:  But you did not stay in ROTC.  Or did you try to stay in ROTC?

CM:  No, I didn't try.  But I guess the background in the ROTC helped me to become an officer in the navy.  I'm sure it did help.

KP:  What do you remember of ROTC?  And why did you decide not to apply for advanced training in ROTC?  Do you remember at the time what the reasoning was?

CM:  Well, you had a lot of courses to take in your junior and senior year which took ... time away from my major classes.  That was one reason. ... You'd be tied to a program which you couldn't get out of very well.  I mean, there were drill days, and regular classes for the advanced ROTC.  And I just didn't have room for it, with all the majors and classes that I wanted to take.  Most of my courses also had three hour laboratories.

KP:  Some people have said that one things they learned from the ROTC was not to join the infantry, too.  Did that occur to you?

CW:  That didn't occur to me. ... No, at that time it was ... regulated and we learned how to march and handle a gun.

SM:  Why did you choose the navy?

KP: Actually, I was going to ask that question.

CM:  I liked the water.

KP: So you really like the idea of being on the water.

CM: I had an uncle who was in the navy during World War I, my Uncle Howard, my mother's brother.  He used to tell me stories about World War I.

KP:  Really, growing up?

CM:  He was on a battleship.

KP:  And what did he tell you about the navy?

CM:  ... He was a seaman first class.  I don't think he went beyond that.  But he told me about the rough days and he'd get seasick. ... That didn't bother me.  I was never seasick in the navy.  I don't know why, because I went through some real rough seas.

KP:  Did you think before Pearl Harbor at any point that war was inevitable?  Or were you still surprised?

CM:  Pearl Harbor was really a surprise.  In fact, I was at the University of Maryland on December 7 at an apple judging contest, and I was representing Rutgers.  Professor Clark drove us down.  There were four of us in the car with him and that's all we talked about on the whole way home, from the University of Maryland to New Brunswick, was what we heard on the radio that day, December 7. ... It was [a] shock to us.  Then we knew that somewhere along the line we were going to get in it.

KP:  I guess before going to the military, one or two last questions that come to mind about Rutgers.  What about your professors?  Do you have any memories of any of your professors that stand out?  It sounds like you liked the agricultural curriculum, and particularly horticulture a great deal.

CM:  Well, there was Professor Blake who was head of the horticultural department. ... And Professor Clark, Professor Schermerhorn, Professor Davis, over at pathology,  Pepper, in entomology and Professor Joffe in soils.  There were several professors that you remember or recall. ... I took meteorology and climatology, with Beal.  He was quite a nice professor, too.  He came from Germany and they hired him on as a professor of meteorology.

KP:  Did he ever talk about coming from Germany?

CM:  I don't recall that he did.

KP:  Not even in passing.

CM:  No, ... but we knew he was a German Jew and he told us that. He had to leave Germany, and he got out of Germany, I guess before Hitler got too rambunctious about the Jewish people.  But he was an outstanding professor, too.  And Professor Heylar, I guess most people remember him.  He ran the resident instruction program.  If you got in trouble, you had to answer to Professor Helyar.  He'd call you in and dress you down if you needed it and praise you if you needed it.  But he was ... kind of the nucleus of the College of Agriculture at that time, even more so than the dean.

KP: Really, Helyar was the core.

CM: That's how he was revered.  Because, the dean didn't have much to do with the students and he was an overall administrator.  Dean Lipman died, I think, while I was there and then Dean Martin took over.  But ... I learned about Dean Martin ... later on ...  after I graduated and became a Rutgers faculty member.

KP: You actually got to learn it better than you ever thought you would.

CM: Yes.

KP: You mentioned you were driving up in the car from Maryland back up to New Jersey.  Did you think you'd be going to the service right away?  Or did you think you would finish school?

CM: I didn't know what was happening.  I thought the draft was in place at that time and we had to ride by Fort Dix.  We went from Hammonton to New Brunswick and you could observe more activity around Fort Dix and more soldiers hitching rides and it was growing.  I think the draft started in 1940 and there was much more activity around Fort Dix on our way.

KP:  So as you would drive up to Rutgers, every year you would see more activity.

CM: Much more activity ... during the four years.  And I guess I thought at the time, ... the day of Pearl Harbor, that we'll have to go into the service.  And I didn't know when.  I wanted to graduate first, which I did, but it was sort of unknown as to what you'd do next.

KP: You mentioned earlier that the draft board really did not want all three of you in the service.

CM: One of the draft board members spoke to my mother and said, "We wouldn't like to draft all of your sons."  And she said, "Well, I don't know what they're going to do."  But we all landed up in the service anyway.  We volunteered.

KP: Your brothers have mentioned that.  Your brother, Howard, he ended up in medical school.

CM: He ended up in med school, and I guess he was in the service in med school.

KP: Yes, yes.

CM: The University of Vermont and as soon as he graduated there, he did his residency outside Philadelphia, ... I remember going up to see him.  He had a half a day off a week, I think. ... I was on ... terminal leave and I'd go up and get him and bring him home, have dinner, and take him back.

KP: It sounds like you had the money in family, because I learned that residents did not get paid then and I just can imagine having no money.

CM: No money.  They were kind of tough days when you look back on them, but we kind of smiled through it and had some fun on the side anyway.

KP: I am very curious about the draft board.  You must have known the people on the draft board, Hammonton being such a small town.  Or did you?

CM: I don't, Mother knew them.  But I don't recall.  I probably knew one, maybe, but I don't recall his name.

KP: Your Mother's feelings, would she have liked one of you not to go?  I am sure at certain point she was glad when she heard her one son was in Vermont, but were her thoughts on your all volunteering?

CM: Well, mother was very much a patriot.  I don't think she liked us all in the service.  I think she worried a lot about ... what the outcome would be.  We were a very fortunate family that all three returned.  Very fortunate.

KP: Your brother was in even more danger, not that you had a "safe" assignment.

CM: We really have a lot to be thankful for to go through the war and come back unscathed and continue our lives.

PM: There's almost a year from the time you graduated until the time you enlisted.

CW:  Yes.

PM:  What were you doing for that year?

CM: I was a federal-state inspector.  I worked in Virginia and New York State up near Rochester.  I was at one plant for three months.

PM: That was fruit?

CM: Vegetables, tomatoes.  I was in Canadaigua, New York.  I worked long hours at that job.  I started at 7:30 in the morning and finish up at six or seven at night.  I worked in a cherry factory, too, where they canned cherries.  But, the tomatoes were the biggest one.  And potatoes in Virginia.

KP: What was your responsibility?

CM: The farmers would bring in their truckload of tomatoes.  They'd have five, six tons on a truck.  We'd take samples off the truck and grade them and he would be paid by the grade we put down on the paper, before he took it into the factory.

KP: To be honest I know very little about agriculture, but you always see the grade on a number of products.

CM: There were grade A, B and C and you would sort up in three bins for size, blemishes, diseases and some farmers didn't like the grade we gave them.  When we gave them grade C, they wouldn't like that because they'd be downgraded in what ... they got in return for their load.  But some of them were very happy with what we did.

SM: Where was the sauerkraut?

CM: Oh, sauerkraut.  Oh golly, that was an awful.  That was the only place that almost made me sick.  Doing cabbage.  Grading cabbage.  To have that smell all day long from the factory was terrible.

KP: You would literally be at the factory as the product was coming in.

CM: The product was coming in and we graded it before it went to the factory which was right next door.

KP: And Virginia and New York, where did you start and where did you go?  Did you follow harvests?

CM: Followed, I guess.  I started down in Exmore, Virginia on the Eastern Shore, Cape Charles and worked on potatoes there.  But that was shipped for fresh market.  It wasn't being processed. Then I started working the processing plants up in New York State.

KP: And where did you live at that time?

CM: Boarding houses. ... I didn't get much pay, either.  $35.00 a week or something like that.

KP: Yeah, which was really not much better than the World's Fair and it sounds like a lot more work.

CM: It was.  Long hours.

KP: Since you were here in the United States for a bit of time before entering the service, do you have comments or observations on what was going on at home, particularly in agriculture?  Because I have read that it was increasingly difficult for farmers to get agricultural workers.  Did you observe any of that?  Or was it too early for that?

CM: During World War II they began to bring in agricultural workers from Jamaica, Trinidad, West Indies.  During the war, you know, the boys, the young boys were all drafted.  So there was a void in the number of people who could work on farms and then they began to bring in people from the West Indies and the South, too.  Southern migrants were brought in to work.  But, you know, agriculture has changed considerably with the insecticides that we used.  People would drive ten miles to get away from it now. ... I wondered why we didn't succumb to some of the things that we did with chemicals on the farm and what we sprayed with.  I'd be completely white ... with sulphur and arsenate of lead.

KP: In Hammonton.

CM: In Hammonton, spraying trees, yes.

KP: Ralph Schmidt ...

CM:  Yes.

KP:  ... he described working in a DDT plant in World War II and just being coated with DDT every day.

CM: Oh yeah, just coated with it.

KP: Which now you rarely see happen.

CM: And even as an agent, I prescribed DDT every day of my work practically, while I was there.

KP: In Bergen County.

CM: In Bergen County.  And you could buy DDT over the counter in chemical stores and farm supply stores.  Backyard gardeners would just drive me nuts over the phone.  I'd have hundreds of call a day.

KP: From backyard gardeners.

CM: From backyard gardeners in Bergen County.  It was terrible.  You'd never leave the phone up there.  Malcom Harrison who was Class of '41 was my associate agent.  We'd sit there, he at his desk and me at mine, on the phone all the time.  We hardly spoke to each other.

KP: It is interesting because I have often wondered what agents for agriculture did in more urban counties and they are still there.

CM: Bergen County had 71 municipalities, 71 or 72.  There were 56 garden clubs in that county and they would ask you to speak at every one of them.  We had to turn a lot of them down.  ... We spent every night out.  Being a young married guy and having two children, and being out every night was rough.  And I enjoyed going to Rutgers, because I didn't have to be out every night.

KP: Which must have been hard on your wife.

CM: Yes.  I'm sure it was.  And I thought well, I'm a public servant. I'm being paid out of the public trough, it's a cooperative venture, federal, state and county.  And I thought I should answer and be of service to the taxpayers and that's the way I felt.

KP: But your wife at times might have said you had given enough service.

CM: I felt relieved after I went to Rutgers and ... I was relieved somewhat when I came to the USDA, I wasn't out all the time, but I'd go out two and three days a week.  When I first came down here and went out to the West Coast, they'd like you to stay out and find other reasons to be out there, because it would cost so much to bring you back.

KP: So, a trip would be longer trip than you might have wanted to take.

CM: Sometimes, when you were out on the West Coast, yes.  You'd go to two or three states at a time and then come home.

KP: You were subject to rationing, how did the rationing affect you?

CM: In World War II?

KP: Yeah, before you joined the military.  How did the rationing affect you?

CM: Well, meat was hard to get.  I don't recall.

KP: Like gas rationing, were you effected by it or did you have a special ...

CM: I had a special--

KP: Exemption. ...

CM:  Exactly, I could buy all the gas I needed for being a federal/state inspector.  I had a little sticker that you put on your windshield.  You'd drive into a gas station and fill it up anytime.  I was exempt from the three gallons a week.

KP: What about your other needs? ... Some agricultural products were rationed.  You were not affected by that?

CM:  No, because I principally ate out on my job and then when I went into the navy rations didn't mean anything to you.  I mean, ... you were fed well in the navy.

KP: What prompted you to join the navy?  You had been holding this job for a year.

CM: I enjoyed the water and I thought maybe I would enjoy the navy more than I would the army.  When I joined I was sent to Cornell.  I learned ... more about diesel engines and boats and how to handle them and navigation.  It was kind of fun.  It was another challenge in your life to learn about these things and it was a new experience and challenging too.

KP: Let me let Pete ask some questions.

PM: You had been in New York, but what about the travel, you came down to Virginia for some training as well?

CM: For what?

PM: In the navy.

CM: Oh, in the navy.  Oh, yes that was down at Little Creek, Norfolk.  That was my principal base.  We called it Crippled Creek. (laughter)

SM:  Little Creek.

CM:  Little Creek was the amphibious base which was near the Norfolk Naval Base.

PM: And then from there you went down to New Orleans?

CM: Yes I was on board LST 531.  At New Orleans I went aboard it while it was on a shakedown cruise, with a brand new crew.  I was a small boat officer going aboard that ship and later became the first lieutenant on it.  I was really sorry to leave that ship because I enjoyed the ship's complement, particularly the captain.  I was sorry to leave that ship, really. ... But I was lucky, too.

PM:  Was a lot of the crew from the south?

CM: The crew was from a good many states, all over the country.  They were from California, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, all over.

PM:  Your first ship was LST 531 and how many crew members were on that LST?

CM:  I think we had a crew of close to 200.

PM:  And was it very segregated between the officers?  You mentioned that you were a first lieutenant coming in.

CM:  The officers' quarters were up topside and the enlisted mens' quarters were down in the stern and their galley was down there, too. ... You know, I never had any trouble with enlisted men. ... They knew what to expect from me and I was friendly with them.  I didn't lord my position over them.

PM:  But you socialized mainly with the officers?

CM:  Well, yes, ... I didn't socialize with enlisted men ... off the ship.  They had their own places to go and I guess, we, as officers, had our own places to go, but I didn't think of them as different than anyone else on board ship.  We all had duties to perform.

PM: And your training.  You were over here what almost, not quite a year, six, seven months in your training before you went over there.

CM: Let's see.  Yes, about that.

PM: Do you have any experiences from Virginia or New Orleans?  Did you have any leaves or passes?

CM: Well, it was all new.  There was so much new experience that I was going through and learning and we had fun while we were doing it, too, but I don't think there was anything exceptional happening.  I don't recall accidents or any thing of that sort.

PM: Just getting to know some of the people on your boat.

CM: Yes, getting to know the crew.

PM: What ship did you over to Europe with?

CM:  LST 531.

CM:  We joined a convoy at Halifax, Canada and went over from there.  I think there were 400 ships in that convoy and I remember two or three ships being knocked off on the way over by German submarines.

PM:  What was that like?  Because I really have not read much about the convoys, but to go over across the Atlantic with 400 ships that must have been pretty impressive sight.

CM: ... That wasn't much fun.  We had a scope that we used to keep the distance between the ship in front of you and ships on the side of you.  As I recall, there were five lanes of ships and we were assigned a certain position.  We had to stay in that position all the way over and then we broke up in Scotland.  I think there were at least three ships sunk by German submarines out of that 400 ships in that convoy. It was a big convoy, one of the largest convoys.  There were merchant ships, naval ships all in the same convoy.

PM: How many days did it take to cross?

CM: I think it was six or seven.  There was a ten-knot convoy.  That's pretty slow.

PM: Right.

CM: We couldn't go faster than the slowest ships.  {There were ships ... that could go 20 knots.}  There were destroyer escorts going around the convoy all the time.  But we had our own duties to perform like keeping your position.  You'd speed up a little bit and slow down a little and some would get out of line and sometimes you had to get on the radio and tell a ship to get back in position as they were off their position or getting too close to you.

KP: As an officer on such a small ship, you must have done a lot of deck duty.

CM: Oh, yes.

KP: You were the officer in charge.

CM: We were officer of the deck.  We all had our duties as officer of the deck.  We would have a four hour shift.

KP: Which basically meant you were in charge of the ship.

CM:  You were in charge of the ship when you were officer of the deck.

KP: Which meant you were responsible for the navigation.

CM: Yes you were responsible for navigation, and everything else, seamanship.

KP: I guess, reflecting on, especially as often you either knew it or not.  How good was your training?  I guess beginning with Cornell.

CM: I thought the training was good.  I didn't know how to really judge it then.  But I thought it did me well.

KP: During your crossing you felt your training prepared you well?

CM CM: Yes, I think my training served me well.  I didn't have any real problems.

KP: What was the hardest thing to learn about, especially on smaller ships, if you are on a large ship, you might just be the gunnery officer and that's it.

CM: The LST was 327 feet long.  It wasn't too small.

KP: But with a smaller officer complement.

CM: Yes.  It was.

KP: How many other officers did you have?

CM: A skipper, an exec., navigation officer, first lieutenant.  There were probably twelve officers on board.

KP: Which on a battleship you would have many more.

CM: Oh, a hundred or more.

KP: Yeah, a hundred.  So your chances at being officer of the deck were far smaller.

CM: We had more experience, overall experience on a smaller ship than you would have had on a battle wagon.

KP: Yes.

CM: I mean you did everything.  You did the navigation and that was fun.

KP: So, it seems like you took to these different jobs very well.

CM: Engineering officer, you know, in the engine room, you'd talk to the engine room and you talked to all the watch people who were on deck and they were supposed to be sighting things for you and you were up there with a telescope and binoculars all the time.  Then the radar was running, too.  That was something new for me to have a ship equipped with radar and it was running 24 hours a day.

KP: So, you had no training beforehand.

CM:  No.

KP:  You literally learned radar when you were crossing the Atlantic.

CM: It was fun to watch the radar screen, too.  See the blips here and blips there.  "What's that?" You know.  You could even pick up buoys with it, going into a harbor.

KP: During the convoy over did your ship ever release any depth charges at all that you remember?

CM: No.

KP: That was mainly the responsibility of destroyer escorts.

PM: Did you sail directly into Dartmouth?

CM  Did I what?

PM: Sail directly into Dartmouth?  Is that where you came in?

CM: No, ... the convoy went to Roseneath, Scotland, and then it broke up from there.  Then we left Roseneath and went down to Exmoor on the west side of England and we were there for a few weeks, I think, before they decided to send us to Plymouth and we were in Port Plymouth.  Then we went to Dartmouth which is not too far a way to the River Dart.  We were based at the Dartmouth Naval College, which was their Annapolis.  The Americans took it over. [laughter]

KP: I mean you referred to for example the pub you went to and the British women you took to dances.  In some ways although there's a war going on it sounds like at times had a great time.

---------------------END TAPE ONE, SIDE TWO----------------------

KP:  This continues an interview with Mr. Charles Walter McDougall on November 9, 1996 at Alexandria, Virginia with Kurt Piehler and

PM:  Pete Mele.

KP:  When the tape ran off, I wanted you to if you could reflect a little bit about being in the navy, being an officer and being in England.  Some of it seemed like you had a good time.  And you mentioned about going to dances at the Imperial Hotel and you just could not tap any woman on the shoulder.

CM:  No, you had to be properly introduced at the hotel there.  ... There were two hostesses there that were probably in their mid-60s or 50s who introduced you properly to the ladies.  And it was quite a nice hotel.  I mean it was a nice class of people that frequented that hotel, and we'd go down and they'd dance.  All good social rules had to [be] followed.

KP: Which you enjoyed it a lot.

CM: Yes, I enjoyed it.  We had different people and there were navy personnel and army personnel.  I don't recall too many marines, but mostly army, navy and British navy and army personnel also.

KP: What did you think of the English?  What did you think the English would be like?

CM: They were friendly, very friendly.  I thought their sense of humor was better than I thought it would be.  I thought the English weren't supposed to have a sense of humor, but their sense of humor was every bit as good as ours.  I made some good friends over there.

KP: And it sounds like you liked not only the dances, but the pubs, particularly The Hole in the Wall a great deal.

CM: Well, I guess we did drink a lot of Black and Tans beer over there.  I guess I don't recall doing too much pub crawling, but we'd go out with a bunch of guys and we'd go to this pub or that pub.  The pubs ... were more outgoing and [there was] more freedom to meet people there and talk with different people.  I mean you weren't properly introduced to them.  You just chatted with people.

KP: Well, pubs even to this day, pubs are often a very informal place.

CM:  Very informal.

KP:  And the British can be a very aloof people, except apparently in the pubs, I have read.

CM: Pubs are very friendly.  They are.

KP: Did you date anyone when you were in England?

CM: Yes. I met Cynthia Hay.  Her father was a retired colonel in the British army, and they lived in Torquay.  She worked in London and came home weekends.  So, I only met her on weekends and we'd go over to the Imperial Hotel and dance.  She was engaged to be married and so was I.  Her husband to be was way off in the Far East somewhere and had been gone for three years.  I've forgotten what his name was.  But anyway we enjoyed each other's company and I enjoyed her father and mother and ate many dinners at their home. ... Last summer we tried to find the place, but it wasn't there anymore.  It was a big retirement home now.

KP: So, you were engaged before you went overseas.

CM: Yes.

KP: And this was your first wife?

CM: No, she married before I came home.  She was a Douglass girl.

KP: When did you decide to become engaged?

CM:  I've forgotten what date it was.  But before I left for overseas she really wanted to get married.  I didn't.  I thought, "Well, I don't know what's going to happen to me."  The mail was all screwed up, because I was being transferred here and there before I came home and I guess I hadn't had a letter from her for four months, but I'd written to her.  And when I got home the first telephone call I made in Boston was to her home.  Her mother answered the phone and she said "Marion got married a month ago."  (laughter) So, that was my introduction to: ... "Welcome home." ...

KP:  Welcome home.  So, you never got a Dear John letter.

CM: No, I didn't get a Dear John letter.  Her mother delivered the Dear John message.  So, then I was loose and free.  (laughter)  My sister was at Douglass then and she introduced me to my wife-to-be.  She was from Belfonte, Pennsylvania and she was a nurse at Jefferson Hospital.  I went with her for a year almost, and married her August 14, 1947.  We had two daughters.  My oldest Cynthia lives out in Overland Park, Kansas which is just outside Kansas City. ... She was in American Youth Performs,  ... she's a vocalist and a good one.  We took some kids from around the country and one of them happened to be Allen Leet from outside St. Louis, Missouri and he stayed with us.  He played the French horn.  That's how they met and then they continued to correspond.  Cindy asked me in April, I think, or May of her freshman year at Chapel Hill, she said, "Can I transfer Dad."  I said, "Where?"  She said, "The University of Kansas."  I let her transfer and she can't believe it to this day that I let her do it.  They went together four years and married and they have four children and the oldest is 21, he's a junior at Texas Christian.  And the daughter is at DePauw University, she's a vocalist with a beautiful voice.  Another son and daughter are at home.

CM:  And Sue, my daughter Suzanne, was born three years after Cindy was born and she lives over here in Derwood, Maryland.  They both married engineers, both girls did and they both have their own companies in air conditioning and heating large buildings.

KP:  The two sons-in-laws.

CW:  The two boys, the two son-in-laws.  And my son-in-law, Sue's husband, has the same birthday as my oldest daughter Cindy.  They were born on Christmas Day.

PM: My mother was born on Christmas.

CM: Really, on Christmas Day. ... She wasn't due until the 29th, but she came on Christmas Day.  But anyway, and Sue married a boy who was the same age as Cindy and born on Christmas Day and his father graduated from Rutgers.  He and his wife live in Virginia Beach.  They were originally from Atlantic City.  Daughter Sue has three children, Scott, who next year is going to Harvard.  He plays baseball.  And they've been scouting him down here, so he's been invited, and he was up at Harvard a few weeks ago and he's going to go up again shortly, I guess, and go to class with some of the baseball team.  ... He's 6'3" and plays a good game of baseball.  Chris, who ... is a junior in high school and little Kate, she's ... ten are Sue's other children.

KP: I guess just going back very briefly.  The relationship you had with this English woman, Cynthia.

CM: You know, I really admired her.  She was a nice British gal.  [She] came from a very nice family, well-educated, she was too.  And we just had a lot of fun together.  I mean it was, I don't think we were in love, but we enjoyed each other's company.

KP: It sounds like it was terribly innocent, but a lot of fun.

CM: Yes.  It was a nice relationship.

KP: I mean you actually got to know a family.

CM: Yes, I knew her family, her father and mother.  I met her brother who was also in the British Army.

KP: England had been at war for a long time.  Did you they ever talk about what it was like to be at war and in a sense England was a battle ground?  You had bombings and you had severe rationing.

CM: Oh yes, many nights we were out.  You know, the sirens would ring and we'd have to go out in the fields and wait for it to be over.  The Germans would fly over and bomb a few places, but we never got bombed at Dartmouth.  We could hear 'em, but we didn't get bombed.  But the British ... had to give up far more than the Americans did for the war effort in food and everything else. I would try to steal a can of something from the navy, off the ship to take when I was invited for dinner.  I knew they gave up a whole lot just to invite me for dinner, because they didn't have that much to live on.  It was a nice family, and I enjoyed it.

KP: What about your British colleagues, particularly the British navy?  You mentioned often being at the Imperial Hotel

CM: Well, we'd meet other officers from British units.  I never had to work with the Brits in the navy.

KP: You never had the joint training or joint briefings.

CM: We did our own thing when we were over there.  I mean, we worked with the British higher up.

KP: But not at your level.

CM: Not at my level. ... We met a lot of British soldiers and navy personnel. ... We respected each other and got along with each other.  We had no problem there.  If there was anyplace in the war to go, I mean I probably picked the best place there was.  (laughter)  I mean you had English-speaking people and friendly people and they were at war and the Germans were bombing London every night and Cynthia had to get out of her place of living many nights down in London.  She lived right in London.  ... She was a civil servant and worked all week and then she'd come home for weekends.

KP: Did she ever tell you exactly what she did, because it sounds like she was more than simply a secretary.

CM: Oh, yes she was.  Off hand I've forgotten exactly what she did.  She had, I guess, a fairly good job.  She could afford to live in an apartment.  She lived with two other ladies.  I never went to London to see her apartment.  She usually came home to her folks.

KP: You never got into London?

CM: I got into London once, and was there only two nights I guess, that's all.  But we were in London last year weren't we?

SM: In Dartmouth, Torguay, and Plymouth.  It was really your first time back in fifty years, and he would continually remark about how things had changed.  Like Dartmouth-- tell the difference when you were there and when we were there.

CM: Oh, it had grown up tremendously.

SM: The river was all full of military ships.

CM: Oh, just loaded with American naval ships.  Just loaded, ... side-by-side, clear across the river and this time there were nothing but yachts, private yachts.  All tied up and it was loaded, ... even more so, than it was when we were there.

SM:  But in Plymouth we still saw some bombed out buildings, like a church, that they'd never restored.

CM:  Never restored.

SM:  I guess they wanted to leave it as a reminder or a memorial.

CM:  It was eerie walking down some of the British streets, particularly in Plymouth.  And seeing nothing, the moonlight would be out and there was just walls and open windows, you know, no windows. ... You'd look through every building and see the moon.

KP: This was when you were in the service?  These buildings had been bombed?

CM: Oh, Plymouth was terrible.

KP: You knew this was a hard war for them?

CM: It was.

KP: That's sounds like ...

CM: And Plymouth was almost all bombed out, the residential area.  And you'd walk down street after street and that's all you'd see was all blown up buildings.

PM: What was that like getting over there during your training and really seeing it and having the expectation of war, to really know that it was real and that you were going to probably going to go into it real soon?

CM: It was more scary. I mean, you ... were aware of your surroundings and what was happening around you.  And there were many nights when we would have to get up out of bed when the sirens rang and get out in the field somewhere, and if you were anchored in the harbor you just waited it out.  You didn't get off the ship.  You stayed there.  But if you were at Dartmouth Naval College or on the base at Plymouth, you were chased out in the field somewhere to wait until [it] was over.  Because you didn't want to get bombed and be one of their casualties.

PM:  So, a lot of time you were up at the dorms at the Naval College?  So, you did not have it too bad as far as being in the navy.

CM: Yes.

KP: What about your men, did they ever get in trouble?

CM: I never had much trouble in my crew.

KP: You never had problems with drunken brawls?

CM: No.  Sometimes the men would come back inebriated, but they didn't cause any problems.

KP: No problems with civilians.  Nothing ...

CM: No.  Never had any of that trouble.

KP: So, your first ship sounds like it really was a good group.

CM: All the crews I ever had, they were good gangs of boys.  ... I had a man who was a seaman.  His last name was Drum and we called him Tiny Drum.  He was six foot, five [inches], great big man and he would throw a six inch (hauser?) instead of a monkey fist with a small clothesline rope on first which most coxswain would throw over first.  He would throw the whole damn line.  And, the people would watch him throw that line.  He could really throw a line on the pier if you got in close enough for him.  But I always tried to get in close enough so he could throw it.  Everybody would look.  His name was Tiny Drum.

SM:  Can you tell the story about the guy who was called before the captain.

CM:  Oh, this was on LST 531.  One of the boats in base brought a seaman up to the captain's mast for something he did.  I'd forgotten what it was.  But he put him on report and he came up before the captain's mast and I was in the captain's mast and he came up. ... "Joe, what did this man do?"  He says, "Well, captain he gave me a lot of shit."  (laughter)  That's all he said.  And the captain said, "Well, what did he really do?"  And he repeated himself.  But you know, that was some of the laughs you got out of the navy.

SM:  You'll have to cut that one out.

KP:  You left your first ship.  When did you leave?  When were you transferred?  How long were you in Plymouth?  And when did you get transferred?

CM:  I got transferred ... shortly after January of ... '44.

KP:  January '44, you left ...

CM:  I left 531 in January or February and then it was bombed or torpedoed in April 28. ... One of the ships that was torpedoed in the stern was towed into Dartmouth Harbor.  I knew some of the personnel on that ship ... I think it was LST 286.  I saw them towing it in and I met one of the officers down at the pier and I said, "What happened?"  And he told me what happened the night before.  And 531 was one that went down and 286 this was the only oneleft.  A lot of the crew were killed, because it hit in the stern's quarter.  No officers were killed, but there were a lot of enlisted men.  I think there were 90 some men that were killed in that ship.

KP: That is a huge loss.

CM:  Yes.

KP:  And you were still at Dartmouth even though you got transferred.  You definitely knew when this happened.

CM: Yes, I ... [knew] the next morning.  When they were towing in this ship, I went down to see it and I met one of the officers, ... I made an effort to talk to him, and he told me what had happened the night before and I was really amazed.  I was surprised.

KP: So, no one survived.  The whole ship was lost in a sense except for you.

CM: Yes, and the small boat crews the seaman that got off with me.  I think we had six small boats, LCVP's, with four crew members to a boat. ... LCBPs

KP:  Had been detached off of it.

CM:  Right.

PM:  How long had you been with that ship?

CM: LST 531?

PM: Yeah.

CM: From I guess it was October or November '43.

PM: So five months or so.

CM: About five months.  I got to know them pretty well.

PM: You had been transferred to an LCT from the LST?

CM: LCT.

PM: Oh, the LCT.

CM: No, I was small boat officer when I went aboard and I went off as a small boat officer and was reassigned to Dartmouth Naval Base.  We were going out on maneuvers off the coast of England for pre-invasion maneuvers.  We knew we were going to go somewhere over on the coast.  We didn't know exactly where.

KP:  And your responsibilities after being transferred,  were you then a flotilla engineer or that was later?

CM:  That was later.

KP:  What were you doing?

CM:  ... Just before Normandy an officer killed himself cleaning his 45.  He didn't know he had a bullet in it and he shot it and killed himself.  So, I went on 592 which was an LCT.  Took his place.

KP:  So that is how you got your own LCT?

CM:  That's how I got my LCT.

KP: Before that were you assigned to a particular boat?

CM: I was assigned as a small boat officer on Dartmouth Naval Base.

KP: You really did not have a specific boat assignment.

CM: I had six small boats that I was in charge of.

KP KP: Okay.

CM: And they were also in a flotilla.  And we went out on maneuvers every day.

KP:  How small were these small boats?

CM:  LCVPs would take 50 troop members, and one vehicle like a jeep or ... another vehicle a little larger than a jeep.  They were principally personnel boats to go in.  They had ramps on them with, you know, tracks for vehicles.

KP: Were these the famous Higgins boats?

CM: Well, there were Higgins and LCMs, too.  Landing craft mechanized.  You could take a tank in with them, one tank, and also another 50 personnel.  There ... weren't many facilities for the army on board those ships.

KP:  No, they were very small.

CM:  Small and crowded.

KP:  They were really meant to pick them up and drop them off.

CM:  That's right.  Pick them up and drop them off.

KP:  In your maneuvers, you were gearing up for D-Day which you did not know when it would be.  What would be some of the maneuvers and practice runs that you would do?

CM:  ... We'd go out to a troop ship, take army personnel off, land on a beach and the army would do its thing after they got on the beach.  We would go back and get materiale or land some other vehicles ... on the beach and ... that was principally the type of maneuvers that we went on.

KP: How often would you practice with the troops?  Would it be once a week?

CM: Oh, more often than that.  Daily we'd do these things.

KP: You really got used to the whole connecting ...

CM: Yes.

KP: What was it like to work with army people?  How did that relationship go?

CM: No problem. ... They were our kind of guys, too.  We were fighting the same war.

KP: You did not feel any rivalry?

CM: No, we didn't feel any rivalry.  They had their duties and we had ours.  And they were Americans and we were fighting the same war and we tried to cooperate any way we could.

KP: Now, you were in the dungaree navy which is often the smaller navy, was there any tension with your part of the navy, the LCTs, and the other smaller ships versus the battleship navy?  Did you feel any sentiments in this direction?

CM:  Oh, I think so.  In a way, yes.  Those that were on board the large ships, the destroyers, and the cruisers and the battle wagons kind of looked down upon us, because it was a new part of the navy.  Actually it was.  I mean they hadn't done much in the way of landing personnel and landing craft until World War II.

KP:  Would you have liked to have been on big ship?  Or did you like the fact that you were on a smaller ship?

CM: Well, that was my assignment and I couldn't cry over it.

KP: You did not have dreams of being on a battle wagon?

CM:  No, I didn't.  I mean when you get on a battle wagon, with 2000 men, and you're lost. [laughter]  At least I knew what was going on and you had your own little share of activity.  And I guess looking back on it, ... I enjoyed the navy.  I enjoyed being in it and I enjoyed the personnel and the things we did.  Sometimes I didn't enjoy everything.  But, I mean, it was a worthwhile experience.

KP: You mentioned the 531 that was torpedoed by an E-Boat, but there was also the very famous U-Boat attack on a training exercise that involved a number of ships and landing craft.  A number ships were sunk and men been killed on one of these practice runs.

SM:  This might have been the one.

KP:  This was the one, this was part of the larger attack.

CM:  Yes.

KP: I got the impression you were instructed not to talk about it.  Were you instructed not to say anything about what had happened?

CM: Oh, we had to keep mum about everything.  We weren't allowed to tell the British anything or civilians.

SM: That's why this guy wrote this book.  Because, after the war this guy did all this research and he actually came over here and found out.  They found stuff washed up on the beach when the ships were sunk and the British didn't know anything about it.

CM: ... We were to keep mum about everything we did.  And we couldn't even write. ... I had to go through the crew's letters to their girlfriends and family and not let anything get out about what was secret.

KP: What was it like to read other people's mail?

CM: It was a pain! [laughter] I mean I didn't read for the comments that were made.  I was just looking for anything about where we were or what we were doing.  We weren't allowed to tell that.  But by and large the men carried out the instructions very well.

KP: You did not have any problems.

CM: I didn't have any ... real problems.

KP: You were doing all these practice runs in the winter and spring of 1944.

CM:  Spring of '44.  When did you know the invasion was coming or sense it even though you did not know the exact date?

CM: I think the whole time we were practicing maneuvers we knew that we were going to go into an invasion.  But the time, date, we didn't know anything about.

KP: You did not know. ...

CM: ... We went to Portsmouth we joined convoys, ... then I knew.  There was so much activity at Portsmouth I knew something was about to happen and then we were told that we were on our way to France the next morning.

KP: So, that is only when you learned?

CM: That's when we learned.  And then we had four Sherman tanks to take in and they were Third Armored, Patton's Third Armored Division and the major in charge was, I've forgotten his name, but he was a nice guy.  They all got in.  I saw them on the beach later in the afternoon.  He and his tank group.  And, I was happy to see them again.  He was still alive.

KP: So the group you took in you knew made it through the first day.

CM: Well, ... the object was to get some good fire power on the beach, because there were plenty of gun placements all on the beach head.  They were camouflaged well and they were firing all over the place.  The object was to get some firepower on the beach before the first wave went in.  When we were coming back after landing ours, we could see the first wave coming in.  We were going out and they had to go around us to get in.

KP: I read in Steve Ambrose's book that the landing of the tanks that you had taken part in, for example, he mentioned several of your ships and you even mentioned earlier two of the ships next to you did not make it.

CM: That's right.  They hit mines.

KP: Was that just luck that you didn't hit a mine?

CM: We were told ...

KP: It was not navigation skills.

CM: We were told on the way in the Seabees cleared all the mines out.  And, here these two ships hit mines on either side of me and I just kept going.  So, I was lucky.

KP: So you were told that the mines were clear.

CM: Yeah, ... that put our minds at ease somewhat and we felt a little better about going in.  We knew the beach head was all mines.  We knew that our people were in there trying to defuse the mines and clear them out.  That's what they told us.  They cleared them out.

KP:  At the time were you worried, annoyed or angered over the fact that you had been assured that the mines were cleared and now the ships next to you have exploded.  At the time, did you think someone screwed up here?

CM:  Well, I had ... too many other things to think about than.  I mean, I saw it blow up and I saw the tanks go up in the air and men flying out and we couldn't even stop to pick them up.  ... We did pick up two on the way ... back.  There were two bodies.  One was still alive and one was dead.  We picked up two and we were told to keep on going, get the hell out of there.  There were still men floating in the water that we couldn't pick them up.

KP:  Alive or dead.

CM:  Well, either way.  Dead or alive.

KP:  You could not tell.

CM:  No, you couldn't tell.

PM:  So that was your first death you saw over there?

CM:  Yes.

KP:  I have also read in Steve Ambrose's book that you were given a specific spot to land the tanks and that proved to be difficult to achieve and that you did not land them at exactly the spot that had been originally planned.

CM:  I think we were pretty well on course.

KP:  You were.

CM:  We landed where we were supposed to land on Utah Beach.

KP:  How close to the beach did you get with the tanks?

CM: We tried to get in as close as we could because tanks can't go in too deep water.  They did have canvas sides on them.  These canvas sides were I guess three or four feet high and they were especially made for that invasion and they ... had them up when I landed.  But, I was fortunate to get them in pretty close and I guess they landed in about four feet of water.  That's about as close as we could get.  And then, of course, we dropped our anchor on the way in to help.  We had a good anchor machine that could help pull us off the beach.  So, with our load lightened up  ... because the tanks were off and we pulled ourself off.  We didn't have any trouble.

KP: I imagine you are steering the ship into combat, you must have been very scared even though you are concentrating on what you have to do.

CM: We knew exactly where, we had a map.  We knew exactly where we had to go.  We were up on a bridge and we told the coxswain how to steer it and we landed and the men are all trained to know what to do.  They let down the ramp and helped the army get off and they had their engines all started and ready to go.

KP:  Was the major pleased with how close you got?  Before D-Day there was sort of a fight on who would determine when the ramp would come down.  Would it be the navy officer or the army officer on board?

CM:  It would be the ... naval officer.  We determine.  We can get in as far as we could, because we knew that the tanks couldn't get off in too deep water and we didn't want to see them sunk.  Even though they had these special canvas sides that were collapsible.

KP:  But I also imagine if you were not close enough, the army, they would have let you know as you are going in.

CM:  I told the major.  I said, "We'll take you in as far as we can go."  I said, "We ... won't let you out in too deep a water if we can help it."  So he appreciated that and we were in and I guess not more than four or five feet of water.

KP:  How long had you been in the channel before you had army people in tanks before the actual invasion?

CM:  Oh, they were on board for about two days before.

KP: I have read that it was some very choppy water.

CM: ... Sea rations. ... The army had their meals and we had ours.  And sometimes they would have to use our water.  And we were filled up with water on our voyage.  We took on a lot of fresh water before we left England.

KP:  And whose rations were better?  Their rations or your rations?

CM:  They were pretty much the same.

KP:  And while you are out for two days, you obviously have a lot of work to do as an officer.

CM: We made some landings over in England and then we met ... the tank crews as they came on and they were friendly.  And, you know, the major was in charge of the four tank crews and he was from Manhattan, New York.  But ... he was a regular New Yorkish type of guy. [laughter] ... He was well-trained.  He knew what to do.

KP:  What did most of the army men do while they do while they were waiting?

CM:  Read comic books, the ship's crew and the enlisted men were always reading comic books.  I never saw so many comic books in all my life.

KP:  Really, they did not gamble?

CM:  Oh, they'd shoot crap.  Not while we were looking though.  I mean we weren't supposed to allow crap games on board ship.  But they were there anyway.  We knew where they were.

KP:  You had a way of not looking for them?

CM:  We didn't look too hard for them.  That was their enjoyment. 
KP:  After you took in this tank crew and got them off safely, you pulled up your anchor and pulled off the beach and then where did you go?

CM:  We were assigned by radio to a merchant ship which had personnel on it.

KP:  American or British.

CM:  American personnel.  We took another load of personnel, just solid personnel.  And I think there was maybe one vehicle, weapons carrier. ... Then we took wounded back and we left them off at a hospital ship where the deck was loaded with wounded on stretchers.

PM:  What was that like?  You said you had worked for two days straight.  You literally went from never having any ...

CM:  We hadn't had any sleep at all.

PM:  Any battle experience.

CM: ... I think the first night I went out and anchored about two o'clock in the morning and we went to sleep.  I mean, the crew was so tired and I was too.  So, we just took two hours off and slept and got up and went to work again.  Nobody gave me any hell for doing it.

KP:  Having all these wounded aboard, were there medics with them?

CM:  Yes.  There were army medics with them.

KP:  But there were still a lot of wounded and very few medics.

CM:  ... I don't know how many medics there were, but there were a number of them.  They were even giving blood transfusions to some of them.  But there were a number of men, I don't know how badly some of them were wounded.  Some of them were pretty bad off.  Then we went out to the hospital ship and we put the men on.

KP:  What did it all look like?

CM:  Chaos.  I mean at night, even at night, the Germans would fly over and drop flares and they'd light us up like a carnival. Then another group of planes would come over and start bombing and we were fearful of that.  We were scared for several weeks on the beach head.  They were trying to do all they could to disrupt the landing and get more men into the beach head.  Night after night we were lit up like a carnival.

KP:  It is so crucial to have blackout at night that must have been ...

CM:  We weren't allowed to show any lights at all.  No running lights.  No lights at all.  That's why you have to be very careful at night when you're navigating.

KP:  You must have been a fairly good navigator.

CM: You had to watch everything.  You could see even in the dark of night.

KP:  But you cannot see that well.  Did you have any close calls, especially in the first few days of the invasion there are so many ships?

CM:  There was a merchant ship that I was unloading and I was tied up to it and ... a German bomber came over and he layed an egg right in that number five hole ... of the merchant ship.  The hatches were all off.  Put it right into number five hole and blew it up.  So, then we disengaged.  We took some of the crew off and cut our lines to the ship and the stern went down and the bow was still up in the air, out of the water. That's the closest one I guess I had.

KP:  That is pretty close.

CW:  We were tied up near the bow and number five hatch was out in the rear of the stern.

KP:  And I guess most of the crew was killed by the explosion or did most get off?

CM:  No, there were quite a few survivors on that ship.  They had just emptied that hold.  They were going to get ready to cover it up and go to the next hatch and unload it.  It had cranes ... [to] lift the stuff out and put it on our ships.

KP:  But say if it had been ammunition, it probably would have been worse.  You probably would not have made it either.

CM:  No.  It could have been a lot worse.

KP: You were very lucky.

CM: I was.  I just recall that.  That was the next closest thing I had happen to me.

KP: Well, you took these initial waves on the first day because the beach was very active.

CM:  Very.  There was so much going on.  You were assigned your position and you did what you were told.  The ships [would go] back and forth, small boats, ... merchant marine ships out there anchored four or five miles off the beach, and you had to go back there to get your loads.

KP: Did you ever get any fire from the beach that hit your ship or came close to your ship?  Any artillery or any small arms?

CM:  Oh, I remember some things that landed close by, you know, that blew up.  They weren't that close, but you could see the splash and hear the noise.  I guess it's something you really don't get used to, but it's part of war.

KP:  Or at least it sounds like you didn't let it affect the way you handled the ship and your job.

CM: ... I didn't think about it.  I knew what I had to do and I knew what I had to do if we got damaged.

KP:  What were you supposed to do if you were damaged?

CM:  If you were damaged, you take care of the men first.  See that they're cared for.  Wounded, and if you could save your ship, save it.  If you couldn't, get the hell off.  And we have life rafts that blew up, you could insert air into them and you could take care of the whole crew that way and you two small boats aboard, too.  And we had ... 20mm guns, we had four of them on the LCT.  On the LST we had a lot more 40mm as well as 20mm.

KP:  And in the invasion, I assume you used them?

CM:  Oh, yeah.  They were all manned.  We also had guards around the tubs, the gun tubs, so that you wouldn't shoot other men on board ship. ... If you're shooting, it's easy to follow a plane and then ... hit your own men.

KP:  Did any of the navy people on your ship get hurt during the invasion?

CM:  None of mine did, no. ...

KP:  No shrapnel, no accident?

CM: Well, I had one guy that got hit in the butt with two pieces of shrapnel, but it wasn't serious. ... We swept up the deck after the bombings.  I remember the crew sweeping up the deck and they had a pile of shrapnel about two feet high that fell from the night before.  You know, it felt like it was raining sometimes.  But you had your helmets on and you had special clothing on. ... But I was amazed at how much they got when they swept up the deck.

KP:  When did you feel secure on the beach?  That while you are still in a war zone that the Germans are no longer dropping flares.

CM:  I think it was probably six weeks or so.

KP: So, for six week you really still ...

CM: Yeah, they were trying to interrupt our landings and supply lines and so forth. ... We were supplying the army with material and that's all we did was just unload and take it to the beach.

KP:  How long would a typical day be?  When would it start?

--------------------END OF TAPE TWO, SIDE ONE--------------------

CM:  We'd start at least at 6 a.m. and go 'til after dark some nights.  You had to judge how tired your own crew was ... from all the work that they had to do.  We'd go out and anchor five or six miles off the beach and sleep for a while and get up and go again.

KP: When you had been on naval base in some ways it was a fairly comfortable existence.  You had showers.  You had hot meals.

CM:  Oh, sure somewhat better than the army.

KP:  Yeah.  But now doing this ferrying thing, it sounded like it was not that comfortable.  You worked very long days.  What would you eat?

CM:  We had a cook on board.  He was a good cook, by the way.

KP: You were still getting hot meals once the invasion was under way.

CM:  ... We had hot meals.  And I ate with the crew in the crew's quarters.  There was a table that was used for mess in the crew's quarters.  I ate with them. ... I had a good chef and he prepared good meals.

KP:  While you were ferrying supplies, you were eating well.

CM: Oh, we were eating well.  We had to ration our water.  We had to give the army a lot of our water, because they weren't sure of their sources of water on land.  We would pump water off our ship. ... I think we had at least 15,000 gallons of water on board and we'd give some to the army.  We had a lot of buoys, there were 36 buoys on my ship on a LCT and a number of buoys were filled with fresh water. ...

KP: And what about a shower?

CM: We didn't take showers too often.

KP: So, those six weeks were really ...

CM: No, if you got a shower every three or four or five days or once a week even. ... Men grew beards.  They didn't shave.  We got a little lax ... in our health routine.

KP:  Because in the navy, on bigger ships unless you're actually in combat it is often very strict.

CM:  We were wearing ... special clothing and masks in case we got gassed and it was smelly and heavy and felt like you had a piece of sheet iron on you.  That was one big scare the Germans might use gas on us.

KP: That was a real threat to you.

CM: That was a threat, too.  But it didn't happen.  But we had to wear this clothing for days on end.

KP: And you were all prepared to put on gas masks if you need to.

CM: We were all issued gas masks and we had this gas-proof clothing and it was heavy and not comfortable at all.

KP: Especially after you did not need it anymore.

CM: Yeah, I think we threw it overboard. [laughter]

KP: When did you stop carrying wounded back?

CM: Oh, I think I took a couple loads of wounded out, but there were special ships that were assigned to that duty.

KP: So, after the first day ...

CM: After the second day, I didn't take any more wounded in, I felt sorry for some of the men I saw lying in the ocean when we had to get out of there and go back.

KP: You knew some were alive?

CM: We knew some of them were alive and ... we picked two up and that's all we were allowed to do.

KP: The one who you did pick up, did he make it or did he die?

CM:  I don't know.  We transferred him.

KP: So, he was alive when you transferred him.

CM: One was dead, I think and the other one was still alive.  His leg was injured.  And by the way they had gas gear on, too.

KP:  They ended up wearing it for a long time, for several months.  When did you leave Utah Beach?  When did your ship get reassigned?  Because you had mentioned.

CM: That was back in, ... I think it was around ... the latter part of October or November '44.  We went back to Dartmouth, England and we refurbished our ships, did some engine overhaul, some repainting 'cause we thought we were going to be used again.  We didn't do a hell of a lot, except train new crews and fix our ships up and then I was made engineering officer.  I was no longer on the ship.  I was based up at the college again and there was a new skipper assigned to my ship but the old crew was still there.  So my main purpose then was to see that the ships were ready and able to do whatever was ordered for them to do.  And there was a lot of fixing up to do after being in an invasion.  And there were a lot of ... bullet holes in the ships ... and some of them had to be ... welded below the water line, but there were some above the water line that were tapped through that hadn't been cared for yet.  So there was a lot of ... preparation fixing the ships up again.  ... Then we ended up, I guess, giving some of them to Russia.  Some of these same ships we took up to Scotland and the Russians came down and took them over.

KP:  Were you there when you transferred them to Russia?

CM: No, I wasn't.

KP: But you knew you were getting them ready for the Russians?

CM: Yes.

KP: So, it sounds like once you went back to England, you were getting things ready and it seems like a much more routine, much calmer.  You would wake up and go to bed at a certain hour.

CM:  ... Yes, a lot better.

KP:  But also in England, the island was crammed full of G.I.s and now it must have felt a little deserted with this massive invasion army now in France.

CM:  We didn't notice it that much.  There were still troops coming over from the U.S.A.  They were being camped for a time before they were ready to go to the various ports in Europe. There were ports reopening up as the army advanced.  But there ... were still troop ships coming over.  Some went direct.  But some would land in England maybe there for ... a little more training and then they would go on.

PM:  Did you get the Bronze Star for landing with the tanks?  Is that what that was for?

CM:  ... Yes, the whole flotilla did.

PM: Oh, really.

CM: Yes.

SM: How did you know that?

PM: How did I know that?

SM: Yeah.

PM: It is in a couple of places in his alumni file.

KP: Yes, Rutgers was very faithful at one time cutting newspaper clippings out.  There's a great article we have which we have seen of you describing your other two brothers and yourself in the service and what you were doing.  Actually, I do not have it here.

CM:  That was another thing.  We weren't allowed to take pictures when we were in the service over there.

KP:  Did you take any pictures?

CM:  There were a few that got away with it.  But I didn't.  I didn't have a camera.  We were told not to take pictures, not to take a camera.

KP:  That rule was violated a number of times.

CM: Apparently it was.  I didn't know this until after the war.  I was shown pictures of lots of things. ...

KP:  Actually, some alumni have given us pictures for the archives.

CM:  But we were specifically told not to take a camera or use a camera. ...

PM:  [Showing SM a picture]  That's the picture.

SM:  Oh.

PM:  That's the article you can read.

SM:  Look at the shoes.  He had like ... white shoes on ...

CM:  Oh!  Where was this, in the Hammonton paper?

PM:  Hammonton, I think so.

CM:  I'll be darned.  I didn't remember that.  Where did you get this stuff?

KP:  Rutgers kept newspaper clippings, a file on people.

CM:  Really?  Sarah Woodruff, I knew Sarah.  She was in the extension service.  She was from Bridgeton.  She graduated from Douglass.

KP:  You took part in another invasion of southern France.

CM: Southern France, that was easy compared to Normandy.

KP:  You had crossed the Straits of Gibraltar.

CM: Yes, but that wasn't any problem.  I've forgotten how many ships were in convoy to go down there.

KP: No submarine activities?

CM: There was a threat of it. ... We took some vehicles down, army vehicles and then the troops came aboard when we landed.  But we weren't there long. ... Two days and we were back.

KP:  Back to England?

CM:  No.  Back to Normandy. ... We were off southern France about 48 hours.

KP:  So, in other words, you did not leave from England to do the southern France invasion?

CM:  No, we left Normandy and came back to Normandy and finished working there.

KP: In other words, when you went back to England, you went back to England and that would be it.

CM: Cherbourg was opened up which was a major port and that lessened the activity on Normandy Beach.  I went to Cherbourg stayed there for a night.  We took our LCT out to Cherbourg and worked there for a few days.  But, that harbor was full of sunken ships and they were trying to get them out ... of navigational area so that larger ships from the U.S. could get in there.

KP:  You mentioned transporting wounded, but did you ever transport any German P.O.W.s?

CM: Yes, I think we did have some.  They were captured ... in the early part of the invasion.  Yes, I remember taking some out.

KP:  What did you think of them?

CM: Well, they were dirty and worn out. ... I guess most of them seemed be glad they were a prisoner.

KP:  You could tell that.

CM:  From their facial expressions. ... They liked our food.  You know, some of the crew would give them a candy bar or something like that.

KP:  Did any take their watches or anything like that?

CM:  No.

KP:  No instances that you saw?

CM:  No, I don't remember any of that. ... They were dirty and their uniforms were dirty and they looked like they'd been through the war.  Literally.  They didn't speak English.  They'd smile and you'd ... talk ... to them, and they couldn't answer you.

KP:  You were back in England during the buzz bomb attacks.

CM:  Yes.

KP:  Were any of those near you?

CM:  I was in London one night and there were several buzz bombs that went off that night.  I just heard them and I heard the noise afterward, ... but there ... wasn't anything really  near me.

KP:  Where were you during V-E Day in May of 1945?

CM: I was aboard ship coming home. ... We heard it over the radio that the Germans had surrendered and you could hear a loud voice yelling all over the ship.  They were glad it was over. ... There was a lot of wounded men, that were recovering from wounds, that were on board.  Mostly army personnel. ... There were about maybe 200 of us that were navy.  The rest of them were all army. 
KP:  And this was aboard what ship.

CM:  ... I've forgotten which ship it was, a former ... German cruise ship.

PM:  Oh, I'd seen a documentary on that.

CM:  What was the name of that?  It was a former German passenger ship.

KP:  And you were part of ship's crew on that vessel?

CM:  Oh, no. ... We were just plain old passengers coming home.

KP: Which must have felt strange, because on the last trip, you had a lot of responsibility for the vessel.

CM: I didn't even need a ticket.

KP: You must have had a lot of time on your hands coming back.

CM: Oh, we played bridge and poker. ... We read books.

KP:  And you had some time to talk to people.

CM:  We ... chatted with people with their different experiences and so forth.

KP: Did you talk to any army people about what their experiences had been?

CM: We did.  Some of them were in the ... Bulge and there were one or two that I met that were ... in the invasion of Normandy.  And they talked about the loss of men and how they got the Germans to surrender and what they had to put up with.  Some of the French were kind to them.  They slept in French homes and ... that was the first time they had a bed in some time.  But we traded information about our experiences.

KP:  It sounds like all around you were much happier being in navy.  I would assume that you were glad you chose the navy compared to the army.

CM:  I think so.  Overall, I think ... I enjoyed navy life more ... after seeing what the army had to go through.  I enjoyed the navy ... more so.

KP:  How often would you hear from your brothers and your mother?

CM:  The mail was unpredictable. ... Sometimes you wouldn't get a letter for weeks and then you'd get a batch of mail.

KP:  Because I know your brother Howard, was in Vermont and said he was quite worried about you.  He was in Vermont and not in harm's way, but you and your other brother were really in harms way.

CM:  ... Well, we wrote.  I guess I didn't write as often as I should have.  But I tried to sit down and write letters to my Mother, my sister and Howard who was up in Vermont and Bob.  I guess I wrote to him a few times, but not too many times, because  I didn't know where he was.  He was down in the Pacific somewhere. ... You'd go from one assignment to another and the mail would get screwed up and they wouldn't catch up with the change in address for a while.  You'd get things that were crossed out in your letter and another one in red or ink or whatever.  And you know, sometimes I got letters that were four months old.

KP:  When did you leave England to come back?  You mentioned that you were at sea during V-E Day.

CM:  Oh, I've forgotten the particular date, but I know we were on the High Seas on May 8th.  We heard the news aboard ship and they broadcast it all over the ship as soon as they heard it.

KP: When you came back did you assume you would have something to do with the war against Japan?

CM:  Yes, ... that was our next effort.  We knew that when we went back to Little Creek that we were training for the Pacific. 
KP: So you came back in May.  You landed in May or June.

CM: May ... 1945.

KP:  And you got leave.

CM:  We got 30 days home leave.

KP: And what did you do during that 30 days?

CM: I guess I did a lot of resting.

KP:  And your mother must have been really glad to see you because your other brother was still in combat.

CM:  I spent sometime fixing some things up on the farm and ... I went up to see my sister a few times. ... Howard was in his residency ... I would drive up and get him.  He had ... an afternoon and an evening off. ... He come home for a few hours and we'd have dinner and then I'd drive him back and my mother would save some of my ... gas coupons.  She didn't use them.  I had a book of them left.

KP:  From before entering the service.

CM:  From before the war.

KP:  From before you went in.

CM:  And she wouldn't use them.  She kept strictly to her three gallons a week.

KP: Your mother followed rules and she expected others to the same.

CM:  She expected others to do the same.

KP:  And she expected her students to do their best.

CM: Yes, she did.  She required the best out of everyone, even her students.

KP:  So, after your leave is over, you went back to Virginia for training.  What kind of exercises did you do?  Did you do anything different?

CM:  ... I was made the engineering officer of a new flotilla and there were flotillas being shipped out, ahead of us that had been home and reorganized and there were men being flown to the Pacific Coast and then there were other men that were taking ships down to the Panama Canal.  And the LCTs were sometimes loaded on an LST and then unloaded overseas.  We took one over to England and unloaded it at Exmoor.  And we had to pump a lot of water on our port side and get everything ready so that when you cut the cables, that thing would just slide off into the water.  And it was all greased. ... It was fun to watch and fun to prepare for.

KP: It sounds like you enjoyed life on the sea.

CM: I enjoyed ship life. ... I was kind of glad to get out too.  But ... they wanted me to stay in the navy.  There were several regular officers that wanted me to stay in.

KP: It sounds like you had given it some thought.

CM: I thought about it, I didn't know whether I wanted this for ... the rest of my life, ... another twenty years.

KP: You did not stay in the reserves either?

CM: The reason I didn't stay in the reserves was due to my job as a county agent.  I couldn't go to the [meetings] ... I was out every night.  And if you were in the reserves you had to go to so many meetings a month and so much training to stay in the reserves and I gave it up.  I was in two or three years and then they asked me to resign.

KP:  But if your schedule had not been so crowded.

CM: If it hadn't been so I probably would have stayed in.

KP: When did you learn the war in Japan was over?  Were you still in Virginia?

CM: Yes.

KP: Did you think you would be getting out soon?  When did you fully learn about the point system?

CM: There was another guy that was in my outfit.  We went to downtown Norfolk and had dinner at a 69th Division Club.  We had dinner and while we were at dinner they announced the end of the war with Japan.

CM:  We had a couple more drinks to celebrate. [laughter]  Norfolk streets were completely covered in white sailor uniforms.

PM:  You have gone over everything, except when you came up here to Washington where you were Director of Extension.

KP:  In terms of the navy, when did you learn that the point system would keep you?

CM: Right ... after the war finished. ... They had announced.  I thought, "Geez!  We can get out of this thing."  And then they announced that you had to have so many points ... for each month you were in the service and then if you were married I think you got twelve or fifteen new points and that ... in its self ... helped you get out earlier.  So ... not being married, I had to wait my turn.

KP: You were actually in the navy, the war ended in August and you weren't formally allowed to leave until June, although I assume you got some terminal leave.

CM:  Yes, I did.

KP:  You were in the navy, the war was over for a while, so what was were assignment.

CM:  That's right.  I was on a LST 533 as the executive officer and we made a lot of trips up to Newfoundland Argentia Bay and mostly taking supplies up to the base up there.  I remember taking a load of telephone poles up there one time.  God!  It took days to unload them.  I mean they snaked them out.  You know those big long telephone [poles].  Well, they were being used for piers.  They were chemically treated.  And it took them the longest time to get those telephones poles out of that ship.

KP:  The crew you had, were they eager to get out, too?

CM: Yes they were.

KP: It sounds like ...

CM: They were all reservists.  There were very few regulars that I met during the war.  I don't recall.  There were some of them that had 30 days leave and came back and joined up in the regular navy, but they were principally enlisted men that I knew.  After being home and finding out maybe there wasn't a job available, they came back and joined up for another three years.  But I don't remember any officers doing that.  They were all reservists.

KP:  Did you get along with your last crew well?

CM: Yes. ... Most of them wanted to get out.  The skipper was a regular navy man and ... he had about six or seven years to go before he put in his time and he was an old chief boatswains mate. ... He was an old Mustang.  And he had gold stripes all the way up to his elbows from all the years he'd been in.  Every four years you got another gold stripe on your uniform. ... But he ... was an alright skipper.  I think he wanted out too, but he had more time to serve.  But we went to ... Davis, Rhode Island where the Seabees were.  And we must have made five or six trips up to Newfoundland.

KP:  It is more common in the Pacific or more memorable for people, but one of the things that struck me about the navy was the weather can be a real enemy.

CM:  It sure can.

KP:  Weather can be the enemy for the air corps, too, but you can often get of out it by landing your plane.  But for the navy, when your are out to sea you are often very far away from land.

CM: The worst storm we went through was off Cape Hatteras coming from New Orleans to go up to Canada.  We made 24 miles in 24 hours.  We had to take the storm off our quarter and there were waves that were twice as high as our ship.  They were huge. ... I remember being on the bridge and you'd see this mountain of water coming toward you and you'd ride up and then down.  That was the worst storm I was ever in.  We had some storms in Normandy too in the Channel, but the worse storm was off Cape Hatteras.

KP: Were you a little worried you would not make the one off Cape Hatteras?

CM: Well, it shook us up plenty.  Almost everyone was seasick.  Some of the men couldn't even serve their watch.

KP:  Because they were so sick.

CM:  They were so sick.  There were men who wanted to die. I never saw anything like it.  You know, they said, "Let me die."  There were actually several of them on aboard that wanted just to fold it up.

KP: In the military how often did you get to services?  And how often did you encounter chaplains?

CM:  I didn't meet too many of them.  At Dartmouth there was a chaplain on base and they had a service on the base.  They had several services.

KP:  Did you attend?

CM:  Yes, I attended them, many of them.

KP: Did you ever attend any services in England?

CM:  Church services?

KP:  Local churches.

CM: ... Local churches, I don't recall any of them, no.

KP: Did you stay in touch with any member of your various crews?  There was the one woman you got to know, did you ever stay in touch with anyone after the war?

CM:  Not much.  There was a crew [member], when I was a county agent up in Hackensack and I was walking down Main Street in Hackensack one noon and here was a former crew member, "Hey, Skipper!"  And his name was Kinchley, Ray Kinchley. ... He was in his father's real estate business.  And we had a few meals together. ... But, I've lost touch with him, too.  By chance, I ran into a fellow officer at the Chicago O'Hare airport several years ago.

KP: Have you had any reunions?

CM:  I don't know that we've had any reunions.  I just don't know of any.  My brother, Bob, has had several reunions with his outfit.

SM:  Every five years. ...

CM:  Yes, ... they've been pretty good at reunions.

KP: Had you thought of going to any of the commemorations for D- Day?  Did you every go back for the 50th Anniversary?

CM:  No, I was thinking about it, but ... didn't make it. ... We didn't get to Normandy.

SM:  No.

CM:  ... We did Scotland and England pretty well.

KP:  You had never been back since the war, it sounds like it must have been absolutely...

SM:  Oh, he loved it.  He had a wonderful time.

CM:  What, going back?

SM:  Yes.

CM:  Oh, I showed her all my old haunts, even The Hole-in-the- Wall.

KP:  Well, a lot had changed.  It sounds like you really remembered quite a bit.

CM:  I was amazed at how much more growth had taken place and new buildings gone up.  And there was a lot of change.  Dartmouth wasn't the same. ... Nor was Torquay, either.  And Torquay ... is like Atlantic City, only it's a much nicer place.

KP:  Had you thought at all of taking advantage of the G.I. Bill when you came home?

CM:  ... I guess I did give it some thought, but I didn't take advantage of it.  My brother Bob did, went to med school. ... I don't know whether it was too late when I went to Columbia University to get my master's.  I used to take the train or bus up to New York City and then take the subway up to 116th Street and walk to Columbia take my classes in the evening and got home about eleven or twelve at night.  I did that for two and a half years.  But I didn't use the G.I. for that.  I spent my own money for that.  A lot cheaper then, than it is now.

KP: You would pay a small fortune now to do that.  Did you ever join any veteran's organizations?

CM: No.  Never did.  Been invited to, but I never joined.

KP: I guess you even alluded to it, but Bergen is such a suburban county.

CM:  It sure is.

KP:  In the time period when you got to know Bergen county.  You were there for a long period of time.  Did you have any sense from in that period from 1947 to 1955 what would happen to Bergen County?

CM: Yes, ... I used to tell the farmers to hang on.  I said, "You'll get a bigger price next year for your land or two years from now."  Because ... they were getting what I thought was outrageous prices for their farms back in '46, and '7 and '8.  And for those who held on, they probably ended up $75,000 an acre.

KP: If they'd really held on.

CM: If they'd really hung on.  I told lot of farmers, "If you can hang in there, you'll get more for your farm a year from now than you will now."  But I think when I went to Bergen County there were about 2,000 farmers, according to the census.  I think I had on my mailing list close to 1700 farmers and when I left I ... think there was ... a little less than 700.

KP: You saw a lot of the farmers go.  This was still a lot of land.

CM: It was a market garden area, over 50 different vegetables were grown in that area.  And they were all ...

KP:  Truck farmers.

CM:  Truck farmers.  And they were all marketed in New York City, pretty much.  A few went to Newark, New Jersey.

KP:  Eventually in the 1970s and 1980s there would be farmland preservation.  Was there any thought in the county to say we need to do something to keep farms in Bergen County?

CM: I don't think you could stop it then.

KP: There was no interest, it sounds like.

CM: There was no interest.  It was mostly developers that ... held all the strings in politics, ... politicians didn't care.  They just wanted more taxpayers.  The county grew rapidly.

KP: There was no movement.

CM: There was no movement to save the farms in Bergen County when I was there.

KP:  Which is unfortunate.

CM:  It was.  I hated to see some of those nice farms go.  I didn't think the Paramus group would go, but finally some of these engineers found how to build on that muck soil.  Huge buildings on some of them.

KP: Exactly, especially the Paramus Mall, which I am sure you have seen.  I would have never guessed that those were muck farms.  What happened to the farmers, but also the farm laborers?

CM: ... There was a lot of imported labor when I was there, particularly for all the fruit farmers, Jamaicans principally.  And there were a lot of Jamaicans, some Trinidadans.

KP: What happened to those people when farms started going?  Did they move on?

CM: They'd go back to their homes.  You know, they'd come up for the season and and maybe go back and work down home and see their families and then come back in the early spring and stay through the harvest season and then go back again and the farmers paid their airfare.  They would fly into Teterboro Airport, direct from Jamaica.

KP: So a lot of the farming, especially at harvest time was done by imported labor.  What about farmers who sold out?  Because you got to know a lot of farmers fairly well.

CM:  Oh yes.

KP:  What happened to those that sold out?  On one hand they are getting a lot of money, but on the other hand they are losing their occupation and possibly even their home if they sold everything with it.

CM: ... Some of them were near the age of retirement, anyway.  Older men who had worked hard all their life.  They were in their late 50s or 60s and they wanted to retire any way.  Some of them stayed on their farm home and sold the rest of the farm off.  Some did that.  Some sold everything and then moved to another home in a development. ... There were a few who moved over into western ... Sussex or Warren County, bought other farms.  There was some muck land up at Warren County some of them moved to.  Some of some of them went to Pennsylvania or Rockland County, New York.

KP: So, the farmers really differed.  Some retired.

CM: A lot of them.  There were a number of farmers that I had that were ... almost at retirement age.

KP: Did any of them start nurseries or go into that line?

CM: I had number of nurserymen ... they went into the landscape business.  That was a pretty profitable business with new real estate development.

KP:  Because there was a need for a lot of lawns.

CM:  But I had three million square feet of glass.  I had a number of florists who were growing commercial flowers for the flower market.  There were a number of them went out of business, too.

KP:  Being an agricultural agent, if you had been in Indiana, it would have been hogs and corn.

CM:  I had a big variety of agricultural projects.

KP:  You had everything from the garden clubs and more genteel things to the farmers who had a wide range of crops to the florists.  So you had to know a lot.

CM:  There were a lot of vegetable farmers.  Sweet corn was a good crop up there.  You could really make money on sweet corn.  Just open up a stand and all the people that lived ten miles away would come in and get your fresh sweet corn and you could charge for it.  George Troutwein was a graduate of Rutgers in 1935, and he had his father's farm and he had 80 acres of sweet corn.  That's all he grew and he had a roadside stand and on Sunday afternoon you couldn't get near it.  There were so many people stopping to get fresh tomatoes and corn.

KP: So, those are very profitable.

CM: I had a few big fruit growers.  They had their own storage houses.  Tice Farms up on Chestnut Ridge Road in Woodcliff Lake and the Carlough Farm in Upper Saddle River.

KP:  Yes, the name I have heard.

CM:  ... I stopped there two or three years ago, when I was going up to see my sister in Maine. I was on the Garden ... State Parkway and I thought, gee I'll go over there and get some peaches for Sis, so I did.  The two Tice brothers that I used to do business with were dead, but one of the sons was still running a big operation.

KP:  So they still have orchards in Bergen?

CM:  Yes.

KP:  Oh, so there is something left.

CM:  Not much.  I like to go up there and run around some of my old haunts and see what's left. ... I don't know whether there's an agent up there or not.

KP:  I am not sure.

CM:  After I left they moved out of the courthouse and went over to county buildings in Paramus.

KP:  You mentioned earlier you were glad to come to Rutgers, because it was day job as opposed to day and night.

CM: I was tired out all the time.

KP: What did you do at Rutgers?

CM: Well, I came down as an associate ag leader for the county agents and specialists.

KP:  So, in a sense you were supervising agents.

CM:  Yes.  Lindley Cook was the director then.  He retired soon after and Jim Faucett moved into the director's job.  And then ... he had a malady that took him out for three and four months at a time so I was an acting director, too.  When I was offered the job in Washington, I was carrying two or three jobs while I was at Rutgers, and I thought, "Well, I'll try Washington."  So I came down here in '62.

KP: You were at Rutgers when Rutgers was changing fairly fast.

CM: It was really changing.  There were only 2,000 students when I was there.

KP: It fully became a state university when you were there.

CM:  No, it was in '45.

KP:  But there were still elements of a private school structure.

CM:  The only element was the ag school that was state, ... the rest was private and then in 1945 it became a state university, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.  That was during World War II.  I read about it in the Stars and Stripes newspaper in Europe.

KP: How did tremendous growth of Rutgers affect the Ag School?  Did you notice any changes?

CM:  There were more students there when I was there as a faculty member than when I was a student.  I don't know how many students they have now in the Ag school.  I really don't.

KP:  ... I think it's about 2,000 or 3,000.

CM: That many?  Well, they're probably in a lot of related fields, not strictly farming.  Nutrition, manufacturing, and businesses related with agriculture. ... Packaging,  frozen foods.  I didn't realize they had that many students.

KP: It is very big place, but also the nicest of the campuses.  Parts of Rutgers College are really nice, but parts of it should really be blown up.

CM:  You see where they dug out ... Passion Puddle?

KP:  Yeah, that still looks as beautiful ever.

CM:  Does it?

KP:  Yeah, that area around there.  Did you do any teaching while you were at Rutgers?

CM: No.

KP:  Yours was very much an administrative job.

CM: Right. ...

KP: When you were involved with the agent program at Rutgers, what did you think in the late 1950s and early 1960s would be the future of agriculture in New Jersey?  Because you saw Bergen County change.

CM: ... I saw Bergen County go down hill as far as agriculture was concerned and I thought that much of Passaic, Hudson was gone.  There were big farmers there and they used me as their agent and they'd come up to my office.  They were principally ... hog feeders.  They'd go over to New York and get their garbage at night and feed the hogs.  And it was sort of a ... light meat that they had.  But there were some 80,000 hogs there in Secaucus at one time.

KP:  There was a very famous hog farmer, Mr. Krajewski.

CM:  Krajewski

KP:  ... Who used to run for governor. You knew him.

CM:  I knew him very well.

KP:  He was quite a character.

CM:  He was a character.

KP:  Because apparently from what I have heard, he would run for governor and one of his planks was there would be no more tolls.  And, he would have big parties, campaign rallies at his farm.

CM:  He was a leader down there among the hog growers.

KP:  Which is now the Meadowlands.

CM:  ... You know, those metropolitan counties in New Jersey were losing farmers at a great rate.

KP: And you thought of that as a march of progress.  But there were still a number of counties that were agricultural.

CM: Land was ... more expensive, and worth much more as real estate development than it was for farmland.  And, people didn't seem to mind the farms going.

KP: And you never saw, while you were in either position, you never saw an effort that we must stop this?

CM: Yes-- it concerned me ... to see our land going for other uses than agriculture in New Jersey.  Because it was a metropolitan area, and it was more difficult, for farmers to continue farming in an area like that.  There were more hardships, there were more thefts, difficult labor, taxes were higher.  They had had to fight increases in taxes all the time.  And it was hard for them to continue farming for several reasons.

KP:  Agriculture changed a great deal after World War II.  It became much more mechanized and used even more chemicals,

CM: ... Lots more chemicals, now there's less. ...

KP:  Now it's the other ...

CM:  The other way around.

KP: In terms of your career, what have been the strengths of your career, in terms of the U.S.D.A. particularly the land agent system can do for farmers and how they have helped?  And what would you say some of the weaknesses are? How could this system be improved?  Since you got to look at it from a national perspective.

CM:  I've been away from it so long now that I'm way out of date.  I think the research part of the U.S.D.A. and our land grant colleges have done much to improve agriculture.  And we're probably one of the top nations in the world in production of food.  We're exporting more all the time and there's less restrictions on what farmers can grow than there used to be.  And they can grow for the world market.

------------------END TAPE TWO, SIDE TWO-------------------------

KP:  This continues and interview with Mr. Charles Walter McDougall on November 9, 1996 in Alexandria, Virginia with Kurt Piehler and ...

PM:  Pete Mele

KP:  It sounds like you see agriculture as being a great success and that the land grant system has a great deal to with it.

CM:  I think the cooperation of the land grant colleges with the counties and with the U.S.D.A. had a lot to do with improving agriculture clear across the board.

KP:  As a land agent you get to see directly who you help.  I mean you give someone a brochure, you figure out a problem, you put them in touch with someone.  In your career, you moved further and further away from direct contact.  Was that something that you missed?

CM:  Oh, yes.  I missed it.  But there were so many demands made on you as an agent in a county like Bergen which was in transition. ... I was floored by the number of people that had nothing to do with agriculture, homeowners who wanted to know something about their lawn or why they lost a cherry tree.  What can I do about mosquitoes?  What's this insect?  Can I test my soil for lime?  You know, it just ran you crazy.  My office had more than 10,000 phone calls per year.

KP:  See, I never would have thought of calling an agent as a homeowner.  I figured they were for the farmers.

CM:  Well, word spread around.  And then you were asked by the Bergen Evening to write a garden column, which I did, too.

KP:  You did write a column for the Bergen Record.

CM:  Yes-- every week.

KP:  You were very busy.

CM: Oh, I was.

KP: When you worked for the Agriculture Department, especially, and even Rutgers when you had the agents, you could get to know every agent fairly well.  But when you were in charge of the national program, you were dealing with a large number of people. Was that ever frustrating that increasingly you had to send out directives and memos and that some of them would be followed and other would be ignored?

CM:  You know, I thought the relationship between the U.S.D.A. and the land grant college was really something special.  We never had a whole lot of animosity from the states in regards to the U.S.D.A. and its relationship. ... The Smith-Weaver Act of 1914 spelled out what the U.S.D.A. would do, what the states would do and what the counties would do.  So, it was a three-way cooperative effort, particularly on the financial side.  It used to be 60 or 75 percent federal money and the rest was county or state, but now ... I think it's below 20 percent federal money and the rest of it is all state and county.

KP:  Really, so you have seen a shift.

CM:  I've seen a shift in the way it's supported and better relationships.

KP: Is that a more recent pattern?

CM: It's been gradual, very gradual change.  And it's probably good that it has been gradual.  Nobody's been flustered over it.

KP: You retired in 1980 from the Agriculture Department.  Did you want to go?  Why did you leave then?  Because you did not just stop working, you ended up doing some other things that were very interesting.

CM: There was a change in the administration.  There was a change in the directorship and I didn't particularly care for  the environment that was there.  And I thought, well I got 37 years of service.  So I left.  They wanted me to stay on, but I left anyway.  Then what did I do?  I went to Egypt.

KP:  I was very curious about that.

CM:  I got a call from E.T. York one day and he said, "We wondered if you'd be interested in going to Egypt."  E.T. York, who was the chancellor and provost from the University of Florida, hired me in the USDA.  He called me and he said, "Would you join a team effort to go to Egypt?"  I said, "Sure as long as he was there."  I'd go with him anywhere, because he was a great guy.  So, I went over, ... visited most of Egypt and most of the visiting was along the Nile, that's where all the agriculture is located.  And it was rather primitive in some areas.  And the extension service, small number of farm advisors is what they call them over there.  They weren't even talking to research.  And they didn't know what was going on.  Research didn't know how to get it transplanted to ... the farmers.  So, we tried to work out a relationship and an organization whereby extension and research were in the same family and would cooperate and research could be imparted to the farmers directly through the extension service.  There was more training to be done of the staff over there at that time.

KP:  It sounds like especially when you saw the Egyptian model, you had a greater appreciation for the American system of extension service.

CM:  ... We wrote a lot of job descriptions.  They had no job descriptions whatsoever.  But I was constantly after my Egyptian counterpart or staff member.  I didn't want to write something that they couldn't understand or live with so I was constantly checking with him to see that we could live with this kind of job description for your farm advisors and your specialists and so forth.  But that was a good experience.  I enjoyed it.

KP:  How long were you in Egypt?  How many months?

CM: Seven or eight months.

KP:  So you really were in Egypt for a period of time.

CM:  We travelled all over the country.  Another extension staff member from Michigan State was my counterpart.  We worked together on it.

KP: You also for a time worked for the National Association of Land Grant Colleges.

CM:  I worked for the Ag. division down at One Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C.

KP:  Did you do lobbying or research?

CM: We didn't do lobbying directly.

KP:  In other words you kept members universities informed so they could take direct action.

CM:  Members supplied with information, yes.

KP: And you were also the executive director of the National Committee on Agricultural Research Extension and Teaching from 1983-88.  I mean, you had a very active retirement.

CM:  Yes.

KP:  What did you do on the National Committee?

CM: Well, that was working primarily with ... deans, directors of research, extension, and resident instruction and trying to learn the needs for the future.  How to get that information imparted to our key members of committees in Congress and the Senate.  That was fun, too.  They organized the lay leaders a lot more ... in the states to do some lobbying, personal lobbying, they'd come to Washington.  We'd have a meeting with them.  They'd go up to the Hill and visit all the friends and congressmen that they knew and it did some good.

KP:  In the course of your career, and even going back to the 1920s and 1930s you really saw agriculture and the agricultural work force shrink.  From your prospective, how much of that was inevitable and how much could be prevented?  For instance, if policies been different could things have been different for agriculture?

CM: I think with ... more science applied to agriculture and more highly educated farm owners, I think farmers are better ... educated now than years back.  Many of them are college graduates.  Farm operators throughout the nation. ...  And I think the application of earth sciences and research results have made our agriculture very prominent in the world.  We produce far more per man than back in the '20s and '30s.

KP: You see agriculture as a success story even though the number of farm families has declined.

CM: Oh yes. ... We still supply our nation with enough food and fiber and supply other nations with what we have left over.  It takes far fewer persons to produce food and fiber.

KP: Your first wife, you mentioned she had passed away several years ago, when did she die?

CM: She passed in March of ... 1992.  She was very sick for a couple of years.

KP: And you remarried.  And I think you mentioned that you were leaders of different Kiwanis Clubs.

CM: That's how we met.

KP: Your name is?

SM: Sandy, Sandra.

CM: Her name was Sandra Johnston Cooke.  She had lost her husband in '89.

KP:  And you met.  You knew each other before going to France in June, '93?

CM:  Just briefly, ... One week before she came to our club with several of her co-members of the Falls Church Club ... and I just briefly met her then.  Then we were on the same plane out of Dulles for Nice a week later.  I represented my club at the international meeting, with B.D. Smith, our secretary.  The next morning I went down to sign up for some of the tours.  And she was in line and I saw her again and she had her niece or grand- niece with her.  So, I signed up for at least three of the same tours.  So we got to know each other a little more.  We met again at a district meeting in Wilmington, in August.

CM:  And then I saw her there and asked her out to dinner and that started it all.

KP:  So it is a good thing that Kiwanis let in women, because otherwise this meeting would not have taken place.

SM:  I was surprised to find out that his dad was a Kiwanian also.  You know, I didn't realize that until Ann showed us that picture one time.  So we're all good Kiwanians.

KP: How does it feel to be newlyweds?  You were married in January.  You are newlyweds again.

CM:  We were down in Florida with my brother Howard and his wife, Dottie.  They were going to celebrate their wedding anniversary on January eleventh.

SM:  Twelfth.

CM:  Twelfth.  So, Howard said, "Why don't you two get married?"  So, we got married on their anniversary.

SM:  Everybody had been pressuring us to have a wedding and all this big to do.  And I said, "I don't want to that."  So we said, when we went to Florida we were going to get married, but we were just going do it quietly.  No fuss and no bother. ... That's how it actually happened, by the way, it was on Howard and Dot's 45th wedding anniversary.

CM: I was his best man when he got married.  And he was my best man when I first got married and he was my best man for my second marriage.

KP: You are one of the few newlyweds I have interviewed.  You were in Washington during the Vietnam War, admittedly in Agriculture.  Any thoughts you had about the war?  You served in World War II and you stayed in the naval reserves.  Looking at it, what did you think of the war?  I know that is a very broad question.

CM: I sometimes wondered why we were in it.  I didn't see the need that we saw in World War II. ... It didn't impress me that we should be in that war.

KP: Even in the 1960s.

CM: I supported our efforts ... after we got into it, but I didn't feel we should have been in it.

KP: It sounds like you had no great enthusiasm for it.

CM: No, I didn't.

KP: It seems you like Washington a great deal.

CM: It's an interesting place to live.

SM: That's one of our problems right now.  You know, I still own my home over in Falls Church and we have this house here and we'd like to have another house, but ... this is home.  We've both lived here for 30 years and so we don't where else we would like to be.  It's a wonderful place to live.

KP:  I have lived here for two one-year stretches, so I know it very well.

CM: It's a little higher cost than most places.

SM: That's part of the problem.

KP: Coming from New Jersey, this is actually slightly less.  It's a strange perspective.

CM: Slightly less than New Jersey.

KP: Especially in housing, ironically.

SM:  Really.

KP:  Yes.

CM: Housing has gone down here.

KP: Housing in New Jersey is very expensive.

SM: ... Here you can hardly get a medium house for less than 350,[000].

CM: Prices have gone down in the last few years here.

KP: Is there anything we forgot to ask?

CM:  ... I told you about my two lovely daughters, didn't I?

KP:  Yes.

CM:  And my grandchildren. ... And they're a lot of fun and it's fun to watch them mature.  And they've been no problem to their parents or to me, either.  There nice kids.

SM:  I think it's really unusual to have the three brothers in the same class.

KP:  Yes.

SM:  Even though Charles hasn't said it, I think his Dad was a big influence from what I've gathered, but I think his Mother was even a bigger influence.

CM:  Yes, she probably was, because she ... was alive during my  maturing days.

SM:  But you can see that in all the boys and the families that there's a big, big influence there.

CM:  Well, I guess she thought she was burdened with a lot of responsibility ...

SM:  Sure she was.

CM:  When Dad died.  She had many new things to do and learn.  And she had to take a lot.  ... You know, when you look back on your life, ... she was a good Mother and she did what she thought she should do.

KP:  It must have been very hard, especially in those first years.

SM:  She was a young woman with four young children to raise.

CM:  She was only 40 years old, and she had four kids, and my sister was only six.

KP:  Did she ever think of remarrying?

CM:  I don't think she ever did.  She thought, "I've got this family care for." ... I don't ever remember her having a date or anything.

KP:  Really?  No gentlemen callers?

CM:  No, she had lots of friends.

KP:  And she lived ...

CM:  She lived until she was almost 98, three months or four months before [her] 98th birthday.  She was quite a gal.

KP:  Thank you.  I always leave the recorder on a few seconds in case someone comes up with a great story.  Thank you very much.  We really appreciate it.

CM:  You're very welcome.

------------------------------END OF INTERVIEW------------------- 
  
 

Reviewed:  6/11/97  by G. Kurt Piehler 
Edited:    6/18/97  by Tara L. Kraenzlin 
Corrected: 7/20/97  by Charles Walter McDougall 
Entered:   7/30/97  by Melanie Cooper 
Reviewed:  8/6/97   by G. Kurt Piehler

 

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