Kurt Piehler: This begins an interview with Mr. Crandon F. Clark On June 12, 1995 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey with Kurt Piehler. And I guess I'd like to begin by asking a few questions about your family. Your father grew up in Boston.
Crandon F. Clark: Yes he did.
KP: And got his first job at Western Union.
CC: Right, where his father and his grandfather had worked. And I followed as a Western Union messenger for one summer in New York City in 1939, so there were four of us in that family that worked for Western Union.
KP: Why Western Union? Why had your family been so loyal?
CC: Well, my grandfather was a telegrapher, and he must have helped teach his son, who was my father. And in those days, the sons quite often went to work for the same company where the father had worked. In fact, when my father had moved to New York and had gotten married [to] my mother, ... then he left Western Union. His father had come to New York also with Western Union, [he] couldn't understand--my mother often told me this as an adult--that her father-in-law couldn't understand why his son left Western Union. His son felt it was much better opportunity in going with the Rand Cardex Company than doing the systems work that he was doing at Western Union. And it turned out it was better for him. But there was real loyalty to companies, and this would have been around 1929 or 1930. ... And my father's father was still working for Western Union. He did until just about that time, close to retirement, and his son had gone to another company.
KP: So your father really broke with family tradition by leaving ...
CC: Well, he moved from Boston to New York. Actually, the company moved him. He was moved by Western Union to New York. ... About that time, he actually worked for Western Union in Washington, D.C., and he used to wear a uniform. He might have been 25 years old then. It had a cap on it, and as we were children, I had two brothers and one sister, as young children we were shown a picture of my father with this uniform on, and of course like most fathers in the '30s, they liked to say they were in the Army, or well maybe they hadn't been, and eventually my older brother, three years older than I, Thomas, read on that cap "Western Union." So that was a little family joke that it was the "Union Army" that my father was in. So he was working in Washington, and my mother said he feared the thought that he might be drafted, but he had probably an essential job in communications in Washington during World War I.
KP: So your father never was in fact drafted during ... World War I.
CC: No, he wasn't.
KP: Your father left Western Union. What time?
CC: I think that would have been around 1925 to 1927, and went with Rand Cardex, which was the beginning of Remington Rand. ...
KP: And he stayed with that company until ...?
CC: No, he stayed with them for a while, and then during the recession they let him go, I believe, '32 or '33 Depression, and he went back with them in 1940 and was sent to Washington, D.C. where he was in sales promotion work to assist salesmen who were calling on government offices. I remember when a destroyer went to sea, there had to be 35 typewriters on it, and a battleship probably had 135. And there was a tremendous amount of business, and you had to have, you know, government had priorities, and it was [a] very active period. And my family moved to Washington when I was a sophomore at Rutgers College. I was no longer an in-state student, and this is something that has to do with the scholarships that I have given to Rutgers. They wrote me a letter. I said I wasn't able to return. I was going to go with the F.B.I. I was working for the British Purchasing Commission at that time. It was a summer job. I wasn't able to return to Rutgers, and Rutgers wrote me a letter in August, and I think Dean Fraser Metzger was involved and Harvey Harman, the then football coach, saying I was awarded an Upson scholarship. It was because somebody in my class had lost one. It was a full-tuition scholarship. Even though you didn't live in state it was worth full-tuition. Tuition was about 100 dollars more, 500, I think, if you lived out-of-state. That enabled me to go back to Rutgers at that time, which I did.
KP: How did the Great Depression affect your family? You mentioned your father got laid off from ...
CC: That was the Depression when, ... [there were] 25 million unemployed, I think. They just weren't doing enough business to support the number of salesmen, and he was laid off. He immediately went to work with a company in Philadelphia. ... He was their New York representative to sell printing supplies and do systems work .... My father, I believe, had several patents with Remington Rand. He had designed ... systems that involved better ways to present files that had to be accessed quickly and so forth. ... That was one of his specialties. He was considered a ... method specialist in those days. That's what they called them. So he was pretty well known in the industry. He had a good following, and he was a good salesman.
KP: So he was able to obtain work in the 1930s even though he at one point had been laid off.
CC: Yes, he did. Always, yes. Right, right, right. ... One of his big customers was Western Electric, which was a part of AT&T, at 195 Broadway, and his office was just a couple of blocks from there. And he probably called on that company two or three times a week. And a lot of the business that he did do, was with people he used to do business with when he had been at Remington Rand.
KP: You mentioned on the survey that he didn't attend college, but you think he ... took some courses at Columbia University.
CC: My mother. ... He told me that. And you know I would have been not born yet. I was born in '21. I think he took those courses between ... 1918 and maybe 1925 ... in their evening division. My brother was influenced because he went to Columbia and graduated and went to their College of Physicians and Surgeons and graduated from that. I was interested in Columbia. I was not accepted right out of high school, and I went to prep school, and then I was accepted. No I wasn't [accepted at Columbia], and I came to Rutgers, happily. At the end of my first year following the family tradition, I tried to transfer to Columbia, and I was accepted, but I decided, and that was about the time I got the letter from Rutgers, I decided I didn't want to go to Columbia. I stayed at Rutgers, and I'm pleased that I did. So there was some tradition there.
KP: When did your parents meet, and how did they meet?
CC: A good question. My mother, now again in my family we might have heard that somebody was an uncle or an aunt, and they really had no relationship. There were a lot of little quirks like that. A good friend of somebody else became an aunt to us when we were young children. The lady that we thought was my grandmother (Furbish?), my mother's mother, was really my mother's aunt. My mother's mother had died shortly after the birth of her second child in Jersey City, New Jersey. And that would have been around 1900 or 1901. My mother was born in 1897. For many years she thought it was '98. All the record had been burned ... [in] Jersey City, New Jersey, and when she went to go into the Army in World War II as a WAC, and she was in her 40s, they made her get a birth certificate, and they found out she was born in ... 1897, not '98. ... Well the woman had always taken the later year. She was a WAC grandmother. That was a little story we had. But back to how they met. My mother was training as a nurse in Frost General Hospital in Chelsea, Massachusetts. Now all my life I have gone to Saugus, Massachusetts ... to see my grandmother, and my aunts and other relatives, so I know a lot about the area, and I eventually went to school in Boston. And as I understand it, my mother took care of a patient, who was my father, living in East Boston, probably with his family. My mother was from Saugus, which is just ten-fifteen miles away. And she had not finished her nurses training. She meet my father, and they fell in love. They got married and moved to New York because my father was in the process of being transferred to New York City. So that's how they meet, and of course till that day, until my mother died, about thirteen years ago, she, of course, wished she had completed her ... nurses training because she did a lot of work in ... the health care field, but she never had that R.N. And of course that made a lot of difference financially. And she didn't really work until after my father died, which was 1941. ... My mother was a widow for about 40 years. But she didn't have that R.N., so she wasn't able to go into a hospital and get a job, just like somebody that didn't get their degree in college and so forth.
KP: What year did your parents get married?
CC: ... Now some of those relatives that could have told me this [have passed away]. ... I have a daughter that's a real buff on genealogy [and] she knows a lot about these things. They either got married in Boston and moved to New York or vice-versa, but they lived in Brooklyn for three of four years. My older brother, born in 1918, Thomas, was born in Brooklyn. I think my sister was born in Brooklyn, and she is ... two years after my brother. And then I was born a year and a half later. ... My family had moved to Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. They had a new house there which somebody from Western Union told my father about, and I was born in Hackensack Hospital. My younger brother, now deceased, was born five years later in Hasbrouck Heights at home. I just helped to get his birth certificate for his widow. My brother died of cancer of the prostate ... in February of this year, 1995. ... My sister-in-law thought it was Hackensack. Maybe she heard this story about my being born ..., and they didn't have a birth certificate. And she called me, and I said, "I think it's going to be in Hasbrouck Heights." So I went and got it. And ... I sent it to her.
KP: Your mother, when you were growing up, she did not work then outside of the house?
CC: No, never, never. She had four children ... in ... eight years, relatively close together.
KP: Did she do any volunteer activities when you were growing up?
CC: My mother helped people that were sick, maybe relatives or friends, but she was a pretty busy person. We had a car. She didn't do the driving around that my daughter's children in Washington do. They've got swimming practice at seven a.m. and soccer practice in the afternoon, and the daughter may go off to some volunteer job she has. I mean, ... my two children with children, my son in California, whose a doctor, I'm going to see him later this week, they take their children 200 miles to be in a triathlon, shooting pistols, riding horses and swimming. And this little girl aged ten came in first in her ABC class in Monterey, California a week ago. ... A couple weeks before that she was at a soccer tournament up in Redland ... or someplace near the southern end of Washington. They drove four hours to get there. ... The other sister ... goes to ice skating practice in Sacramento twenty miles away, three times a week. ... My mother didn't have to do that much. And most of the things we did we walked to in the little town I lived in. But ... no, she was not a volunteer that I know of.
KP: Was she active in the church at all?
CC: Well, my mother became a Catholic when she got married. She was a Protestant. ... My father was ... quite a benefactor to the local church Corpus Christi in Hasbrouck Heights. He gave a lot of furniture and things like that for their new school. My mother wasn't anybody that was in the lady's guild or anything like that, but she did a lot of things for people individually, but not ... in any group. She was in the Women's Club, and maybe they did some things. I don't know other than she was always ready to help somebody in a health matter if necessary.
KP: Your mother enlisted in the "WACS." What spurred her to do that?
CC: Well, I think she was a little embarrassed. She had three sons. My brother in medical school at the time at Columbia had high blood pressure. My younger brother was at a Cheshire Academy where I had gone to school after Hasbrouck Heights High School and before Rutgers, and he had a punctured ear drum, so he was sort of like a Four-F. Eventually, my brother Byron, who came to Rutgers, ... was very interested in military science, and he got a commission in 1948 from General Eisenhower with his diploma from Rutgers. He was very proud of that, that Eisenhower was the commencement speaker, and he gave out the diplomas and the commissions to the advanced R.O.T.C. And my brother was in the regular Army, not the Army of the United States. And he thought he wanted to make a career of it, and after a couple of years he decided he didn't, so he went in the reserves in New York City. I think the Seventh Regiment. But he didn't stay for twenty years. Fortunately, he resigned his commission before June 1950 when the Korean War started. He didn't know it was going to happen, but he was on a traveling job, selling for United Merchants and Manufacturing - Cohama Division, and he couldn't keep up with the weekly drills and so forth, so he dropped out.
Now back to World War II, my mother had four children. One was a girl who was working in a defense job in New York, and her one son in medical school was supposedly a Four-F, and my younger brother was a Four-F, and maybe she felt that she should do something. She was driving as a volunteer for the Red Cross in the New York area taking people to various military stations, and she decided she wanted to get back into health care and military, and she signed up for the WACS and joined ... an organization of nurses and other medical technicians, had her training at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia and then came back to ... the Second Army area and was a nurse's aid or medical technician at Holleran General Hospital on Staten Island, New York, which was a hospital ... primarily for veterans who had been injured and needed special ... help in getting back to normal, paraplegics I guess, but people that had something to do with their muscles and their legs and so forth. She did that for a couple of years. When I came home from the service, ... her health wasn't good, and she had some serious operation, so she ... finished up her career with the Army. I think she was in for about three years, so she was a WAC grandmother by that time.
KP: So both you and your mother could both join the American Legion. You both had been in the Army during the war.
CC: Right. And the others hadn't. Right. Then eventually my ... older brother, they got him in 1953 after he moved to California as an orthopedic surgeon. And he was able to choose his area, so he went to Germany for three years and was a captain over there in the Nuremberg area in one of the Army installations. The other fellow I told you, Byron, ... he stayed in for two years, and he was out of the service before his older brother went in in 1953. So they all did serve, but only one male during wartime, my mother and I, let's put it that way, during wartime.
KP: If your father had remained alive do you think your mother would have enlisted in the WACS? It's a hypothetical, but ...
CC: I'd say, yes, I don't think so. I know of a case, let me go back if I may. My grandfather on my mother's side was Martin Weiler, W E I L E R, born in Langanou, Germany in (Baden Wortenberg?) a few miles from Ulm. He came over here in 1855, and the records only show that he came from Germany. That's the way they were in immigration at that time, and only through military records did we find out that he was born in Langanou. And he was in the Civil War as a private in the New York State Twelfth Heavy Artillery Regiment. It might be Twelfth or Sixteenth. I have some records on him, and we found out where he was born because his wife applied for a pension many years later from Saugus, Mass[achusetts] living with her daughter, who was the lady we thought was our grandmother, but she was really an aunt. Her name was Josephine Weiler, but she married a man by the name of Furbish, so she was Gram Furbish. But we know that that real grandmother of my mother's, my great grandmother, lived in Saugus, Mass[achusetts] with her sister, and her husband was alive in a veterans home for Civil War veterans in Taugus, Maine, outside Augusta, which is just outside of the capital of Maine. I think is the capital of Maine. There are two big cities up there, and I just can't think of it right now, and we've been up there, but apparently there aren't any records around of who was there, but we have letters from him and a picture. He used to wear his uniform, and that would have been ... maybe in the late teens of 1920, you know 1918 or so. And for some reason or another his wife lived a hundred miles from him where he was in a veterans home. Now maybe he went up there because his wife was living in Massachusetts and he was from New Jersey. He became a cigar maker. He used to make cigars by hand and twist them and .... he lived in Jersey City. And his son ... worked for a newspaper. That was my real grandfather, and his name was Frederick Weiler. And Frederick Weiler and Bertha Dole were my mother's father and mother. Bertha Dole was from Newton, New Jersey, and ... Frederick Weiler was from Jersey City. And the son of the man that came over from Germany was in the Civil War. Now to bring up the picture on military background. My grandfather, my paternal grandfather, the man that was in the Western Union, he was in the National Guard in Massachusetts. ... And we have a picture of my grandfather holding my father on his lap. He was about five years old. Probably just before the Spanish-American War. ... My father was born in 1894, and if he was five years old, it was right around the Spanish-American [War]. And my grandfather was in the Spanish-American War in the Signal Corps, and he had swords and big books on the war which I saw as a boy six or seven years old, and we had gotten a hold of. But he is buried in Saint Joseph's Cemetery in Hackensack. [He] died in 1931, and he has some Spanish-American War ... insignia ... at his grave, and on Memorial Day we go and put a flag, as we do for my brother now, who's recently deceased, on that cemetery. And his wife is buried there too. So we did have in my family, not a father who was in the service, but a grandfather on my father's side, [a] captain in the Spanish-American War in ... probably in the Massachusetts National Guard, I don't know. Supposedly he was at San Juan Hill with Teddy Roosevelt, and we have a maternal great grandfather, who was in the Civil War. And my wife's father was in World War I, but he was stationed in Texas during the war.
KP: Your maternal grandfather ... Thomas Clark who was in the Spanish-American War ...
CC: That was my paternal .... My father's name was Thomas Benedict, and my grandfather's name was Thomas Francis Clark, and mine is, I have the Francis as my middle name.
KP: Did he ever talk about the Spanish-American War at all?
CC: Yes, we did, but please remember that he died in 1931, and I would have been ten years old. We visited his apartment in New York City once, and he offered to give us some of his books, and we did have them in the attic in Hasbrouck Heights, and some of his swords, but my parents didn't want me to have the swords ... and rightly so. (laughs) We saw some of those things. I'm sure there's information. You know the Spanish-American War was not a big war, and there's got to be some information, and one of these days I'll be researching more on my [great] grandfather in the Civil War ... and my grandfather in the Spanish-American War. I only wish that they had done what I've been a part of and wrote a biography from Class of 1944 Military History Book. If my descendants want to find out what I did in the war they can take that book. Of course my daughter and two sons both have copies.
KP: You grew up in Hasbrouck Heights, which is still a relatively small community.
CC: Yes, when I went back the only person I know in the town, or the two or three people, happen to be working ... as the registrar ... of vital statistics, and her husband was a friend of mine who was at Rutgers, Class of '49. And that man's father was instrumental in getting me, his name was "Soup" DeRussey, Class of '27, Rutgers College, getting me to go to Rutgers along with 39 other people. I asked him one time at a reunion, this would have been twenty years ago, how many people he helped go to Rutgers. And he said, "40."
KP: So Rutgers hadn't initially been on your list of places you had wanted to go?
CC: Through this man, he went after my parents on my older brother who wanted to go to Columbia. And I was the guy that went to Rutgers, and then through me, my younger brother went to Cheshire Academy as I did for three years. I went for one year. And he came to Rutgers. My younger brother was not accepted at Rutgers initially as I remember. I was in the military then. It was in 1944. I wrote to Dean Fraser Metzger and asked if he could be reconsidered, and he was accepted and graduated with honors in Military Science.
KP: So one brother went to Columbia, but your other brother and you went to Rutgers.
CC: Right. Well, I told you about Columbia, and Columbia helped me go to the prep school I went to and supposedly I was going to play football for them. But when I was finished with prep school my grades probably weren't good enough for Columbia. But they were after I came here for a year. I went to Rutgers, and I decided to stay. Well, I guess there is a certain tendency to stick with the investment field today. I'm considered successful. Of course I buy and hold good stocks. The market was up 32 points at 11:30 today. I don't know where it is now. (laughs)
KP: But it sounds like you initially had a lot of ambivalence because you initially wanted to go to Columbia and follow family tradition.
CC: Because of the family, yeah, right. And I mentioned to you about the working in one place and so forth. Those things have changed quite a bit. My brother was a better student in high school than I was and possibly in college. ... At Rutgers they used to have that system: 1 was an A, which was just ass backwards. I'm surprised I got into any place with that system on a transcript. I ended up with straight 1's in the last term that I was at Rutgers in my junior year. I got 1's in all five courses. In ... the fall of that year I think I got 1's in four out of five. But my last term here at Rutgers I got a perfect grade in each course that I took, which wasn't the case when I was freshman. I was playing football. We didn't go down to eat along Albany Street as members of the team until about seven or eight o'clock at night. I don't know how we got any studying done. We didn't have a training table for freshman. I was also on the track team, and I also worked at the State Theater, which operated then as a movie theater. In fact, one of the big pictures they played the first year I was her was Gone With the Wind, which had sell out crowds. I was an usher for about ten hours a week, and I made 40 cents an hour. That was one of my part-time jobs. I did not have a scholarship as a freshman. I didn't get one until the middle of my freshman year when, I believe, Dean Metzger awarded me ... a general scholarship, which was worth 200 dollars or half of that, I am not sure. That enabled me to stay in school. And I told you earlier that during the summer I was awarded an Upson scholarship.
KP: How were you able to go to the Cheshire Academy? It sounds ...
CC: ... I wasn't a good student in high school. In high school I got letters in four sports: football, basketball, baseball and track. I said I wasn't a good student. I didn't spend a lot of time reading and studying. I wish that my parents had made me do that. My brother at college said Crandon should go to prep school. He said the same thing about my younger brother. And in both cases we went. So, we looked at prep schools. ... [At] Columbia, my brother ... had played football and baseball there for a year or two, and then when he was going to be pre-med he decided to drop out of both sports. The freshman coach at Columbia, Ralph Furry had connections at Cheshire because Columbia freshman used to play Cheshire every year in football. And they were helpful. They recommended me to Cheshire, and Cheshire accepted me. I got a scholarship there. It was a $1750 dollar a year school then, and I went for $500, which was a very nice scholarship. Since that time I have given them a gift for several scholarships, and Cheshire was very helpful for me because you just had to study. If you didn't get your grades up, you had to study every free hour you had in a study hall, and I didn't like to do that, so I got my grades up, and I didn't have to go to compulsory study hall every night. I could study in my room. And Cheshire was very helpful in enabling me to stay in college once I got here. As I told you, eventually I got high grades ... by the time I was a junior in my college courses.
KP: Your brother had done quite well at Hasbrouck Heights, but you had not done ...
CC: My older brother was a very good student, and he didn't have any trouble getting into [Columbia], actually the principal of Hasbrouck Heights took him over. Hasbrouck Heights only had 100 people in their .... graduating class each year when I was there. He took him over to Columbia, and he was accepted based on the recommendation of the principal. I don't think that principal (laughs) would have taken me. ... And it was this Mr. Soup DeRussey from the class of '27 that got me interested in Rutgers. I came to Rutgers in my junior and senior year for what they called prep school weekend when you come down and look at the school and the fraternity would, you know, sell the school and so forth. And I was interested, but then when I had the chance to go to prep school I knew that was better for me. My parents were willing to send me, and it was better for me. Then I didn't apply to Rutgers, but I wasn't accepted at Columbia after prep school and in August, it meant a trek to schools all over the country, my friend said, "I'll help you get into Rutgers." He called Luther Martin who was a registrar. He said, "I'm sending my friend Crandon Clark down, the man that's looked at Rutgers and wants to go." My mother and I came down, and they accepted me. I lived out on Easton Avenue. The dorms were all taken up then, 500 freshmen. I didn't have a scholarship. I knew the importance of studying, and I played football and track that year, and the next year I got that full tuition scholarship.
KP: How crucial was the scholarship for you?
CC: Well, I wasn't going back, ... It was then 1941. My father was working in Washington. He just accepted that job with Remington Rand. He had a son that was in medical school by that time, and that's about all they could afford, and my father was a great one for working and going to night school. And through his contacts, Remington Rand calling on the F.B.I., I met the chief clerk. ... The F.B.I. or any of those government offices, the big guy on all decisions for lower level employees is the chief clerk, like a personnel manager. And they were about ready to say you can come and work for us and go to night school, and you can ... prepare to be an agent. Now that looked good in two respects. I was in Washington where my family lived. I could go to school at night, didn't have to do a lot of traveling, and then ... I [would become] an agent. ... [It] looked pretty good. Might even keep me out of combat, and I was only finished [with] my freshmen year at Rutgers. But ... the F.B.I. interviewed my boss at the British Purchasing Commission, who knew it was a summer job. He said, "Boy they had three F.B.I. people here. One asked the questions. The other guy wrote down the answers, and the other guy watched my reaction." He said, "I gave you a good recommendation." He said, "I hope you get it." ... You know they also came to Rutgers, and Rutgers knew that I was thinking about going to work for the F.B.I. That might've triggered something, and maybe Harvey Harman and Dean Metzger ... and the scholarship committee said, "Hey, let's see if we can get this guy to come back here." And they sent me that letter, and that changed everything. I had to go and tell the F.B.I. that I wasn't going to be available, and I told my company, British Purchasing, I had a chance to go back to school. Everybody accepted that as a better opportunity than what I had.
KP: How did you get the job with British Purchasing?
CC: Again, my father, being new in the office in Washington but working with people he had known years before, he talked to one of the salesman. The man's name was (Fuchs?), who called on British Purchasing, the purchasing manager, and he said, "I have a man who's the son of a man that's one of our method specialists and he knows a lot about systems. Maybe you'd like to have him work for you." And that wasn't done as a summer job. You didn't get jobs if you said just for the summer, and I did work for British Purchasing, and I did a lot of work in systems in their supply department and their office layouts and so forth, and I learned a lot. And that's how I got that job. It was a summer job.
KP: What types of work did you do?
CC: Well I helped on the ordering of supplies and maintaining the stockroom and filling orders. British Purchasing had, really, thousands of people that came from England or ... were in Canada or someplace, and they wanted to help. It was a procurement group in Washington, and that's ... what that function was, and the department I worked for was the department that took care of the office equipment and the office supplies. It was 908 "G" Street where that office was. The building is still there.
KP: You were working for British Purchasing before we had entered the war [in the summer of 1941].
CC: No I wasn't, no. Oh, ... before we entered, yes, that's right.
KP: Yeah, before the United States entered the war.
CC: Right, right. They were doing a lot of purchasing probably from 1939 on, and I joined them in '41 in the summer.
KP: How did you feel about the war in '40, '41, especially in '41? You were working for the British government.
CC: Well I knew that they at that time, we saw pictures of the bombing of London, and we met a lot of British people that came back and forth. ... [As for supporting] the aid to Britain, ... one of our instructors, Professor Harold S. Corlett at Rutgers, I took Spanish in my freshmen year, he wore one of those things. He ... was loyal to the British as a professor at Rutgers. I don't know what the connection was, but I was aware of that, and yet when France fell in June of 1940, and I was getting ready to graduate from prep school, I knew things were going to be different. Naturally all of us hoped that we would be [able to avoid war]. I wasn't like some who after Pearl Harbor ran up to Church Street in New York and either enlisted in the Marines or the Army and so forth. ... My goal was to get my education. I became more interested in military science once that happened, and I applied for the advanced R.O.T.C. I thought there's an opportunity to go in to the service as an officer, which I did, ... after getting ... what I needed in the way of R.O.T.C. and basic training and OCS. I felt if I'm going to serve, I wanted to serve in a position where I could make some of the decisions and not just be a guy that had to take orders. Now other people feel differently. Does that answer that?
KP: Yeah, I mean it does, but one of the things that struck me was how really divided the Rutgers student body was before 1941. That while many were quite adamant that America should enter the war, there was a significant number of vocal people who were opposed to it. And there was a large group that I can't quite figure out where they stood although they seemed to have been very busy.
CC: Naturally none of us wanted to leave [Rutgers]. I mean, college was very important once we got here. We had just come out of the Depression. We talked about this in my own family the other day. This may be of interest to the listeners. My granddaughter who just finished the sixth grade in Washington D.C. in John Eden School, the public school, now has to go to a different school because that only went through sixth. She could go to a seventh, eighth, and ninth grade school a few miles away in Washington, but my daughter, the mother, and her husband feel that children that have gone to private schools in Washington at the higher level have done better as far as college acceptance. So they're willing to sacrifice the ten or twelve thousand dollars a year extra for private school at the junior high school level knowing that college is not going to get any less expensive when this girl is ready six years from now. ... And they haven't really said to her, "Yes you can go." They've told us, the grandparents. We said, "Well, why don't you tell your daughter? She's ... worrying about it. Where is she going to go to school next year? Just tell her. Make her feel good." ... I said, "My family wasn't that way. They didn't say you can definitely go. They helped me go to prep school, helped me go to my freshmen year in college, but after that, it looked like I wasn't going to be able to return."
My wife was the daughter of a Columbia graduate, an engineer, a civil engineer who worked for New York Central Railroad, and there was always a question whether his two daughters, who were in the same class, could go to college. They went to Douglass. The only college they would've been able to go to was New Jersey College for Women, and they started in 1939 after graduating. And their younger sister never did five years later. She never did go to college. And my wife and I told my son-in-law directly a few days ago, "Please tell your daughter, you've got enough money to send her to school ..., private school for one year. Don't keep her on the ropes." And they said, "Well, suppose we can't?" I said, "You can do it. We're not offering." I have four scholarship funds for my four grandchildren, and that's not to be touched for this. That's coming along later when they're ready for college. ... Most of it's in zero coupon bonds, but I think that it's too bad that people have to be on the ropes like that. ... I think in my daughter's case they have more funds available for this private school than my parents had for me as a second son, not going to medical school.
My mother always had that medical school preferance because she ... had been in nurse's training. ... That was the situation. This is post-Depression. You know we had a Depression. The stock market crash was October 1929, and the market did go down fifteen or twenty points in one or two days. But in 1937 there was what they called a recession, where the drop in the market was more precipitous than it was in '29. So there really was a ten year period there where people were wondering whether they had a job, what kind of income they would have, whether they could afford to send their kids to college. We were just coming out of the Depression, and we lived through so we ... knew there wasn't a lot of great funds around. But I would've gone to college either way, maybe after whatever, the G.I. Bill and so forth. But a lot of people, they give up at that point and so they don't do it. They were not pushing me into college. I wanted to go to college. I didn't take the right steps as far as academic work in high school, and I was willing to accept the opportunity to ... go to school at night and work, say in Washington, but it turned out, thank goodness for the people at Rutgers, that I was able to get three years finished before I went on active duty. And when I came out I had my degree in absentia from Rutgers in '46.
KP: You had mentioned the long shadow of the Depression. How did your family and yourself view Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal?
CC: Well, the guy I remember on the radio and that's ... the [only] media we had then, was Father Coughlin who ranted and raved in Detroit at the Shrine of the Little Flower. And my mother and father used to listen to that on a Sunday. You know, there wasn't any television to look at. ... I guess my father was a Republican, and my mother was, and they weren't pro-Roosevelt at all.
KP: What did they think of Coughlin? Were they faithful listeners?
CC: Well, they liked him, but I look back now, and I say goodness, how could they even listen to him? He was a rabble-rouser if I ever heard one, and ... I don't think it's proper. At that time I was a Catholic. I think it's inappropriate for a priest to get involved the way he did. Just like I think it was inappropriate ... [for] Senator McCarthy to rant and rave about the Communists, and they should've eased him out. Free speech protects a lot of nincompoops in this country, and I'd put Coughlin and McCarthy in the same boat. And ... I'm not a student of the political aspects of what both of those people did, but I dislike it. I wouldn't want to be a part of a church that had somebody like that that was elevated to that level. My parents probably objected to it, but I don't know. ... In my family, you could talk to my wife and if you say something bad about President Clinton, she might get a little upset. And if you say something bad about Dole and Gingrich, I might get upset. So we get along fine and ... the mail that comes from Democrats goes to my wife and from the Republicans goes to me. She votes in primary elections and I don't. I vote in every general election that I can, but never in the primaries. I'm considered an independent. If anybody in Washington wants to hire me, not that I'm looking, I'm considered an independent.
KP: Just staying on the subject of politics for a minute, do you remember the visit of Wendell Willkie to Rutgers in 1940?
CC: Yes. Funny you ask me. That was 1940, and there's a town hall down there in New Brunswick near the post office, and I remember going down. It was filled with people, not a great big area, and he spoke. And I knew he was president of a utility company in the south, which was Southern Utilities or something like that. I own some stock in some of those companies right now, ... and he had been around the world and wrote a book, One World, and he probably, where Roosevelt was saying he's going to keep us out of war, and American Heritage has an interesting article now on Roosevelt. They know what he did, but they don't really know what he stood for, and I haven't read it yet, but I've got it. I want to read it. Yes, I heard Willkie, and I know my parents ... undoubtedly voted for Willkie. They had Willkie buttons. I guess that's the one presidential candidate that I saw in person, and that's because he came to New Brunswick.
KP: What did your fellow classmates think of Willkie? How many were for Willkie? How many were for Roosevelt?
CC: Don't forget now we were, if that was 1940, I would've been nineteen years old. I think at that time you had to be 21 to vote, and I don't know that I ever voted when I was in the service, ... maybe by absentee ballot if I did vote. I was up till 24 years old when I was in the service. I remember when Roosevelt died. I was crossing Germany in Thuringia, near Leipzig, 12 of April, I think, 1944. ... Willkie lost and Roosevelt won, and as it turned out, I mean, changing horses in mid stream is not good, but Roosevelt was very ill. And I guess the Congress and the Constitution is set up now, if a guy is in the condition that certainly Woodrow Wilson was in, he would be set aside and the Vice President would take over, which he couldn't do without that power of the ...
-------------------- END OF SIDE ONE, TAPE ONE -----------------
KP: ... Continue.
CC: Were talking about, I mean, Willkie didn't make it and I think as a serviceman eventually, shortly after that, I just felt they should stick with the person they had and Roosevelt would never of been reelected in the second term if he ... had a platform of getting us into the war. We found out later that the importance of doing something to counteract the Nazis, and the Japanese solved that problem for us. In the back of my mind I wouldn't be surprised if ... eventually it were true that Roosevelt knew something was going to happen. He certainly did a lousy job of keeping the military in readiness, and the diplomats were doing certain things which was really slapping the Japanese in the ass, and we were surprised when they finally decided to do something about it and hit Pearl Harbor. ... I was so embarrassed that I eventually became part of a military organization that ... continually gets caught with their pants down. And the Battle of the Bulge would be another example, and the capture of the small ship off Korea, the Pueblo. If you're going to send a ship into an area, you better have a lot of power with it or don't send it in, unless it's a sneak submarine or something like that. And the commander of that thing did a bad job. He didn't know how to sink the ship, remember. They drilled it and so forth. They got their hands on a lot of records, material that they shouldn't of had. And, ... Reagan sent people into Lebanon for a show of strength, and we're so God damned interested. And the Marines are having the front door with the red carpet and a couple of colonels standing there to salute any visiting representative or politician that comes that they didn't take precautions to keep the God damned enemy out of the place with their truckload of bombs and ... that's the Marine Corps. They used to say in World War II, they had one correspondent and one photographer with every squad in the Marines, and ... that's kind of ridiculous. I think we out to stress security in the military forces of this country. Teach people about security and make them follow it.
KP: You majored in business administration at Rutgers. In 1940 what path did you think your career would take?
CC: ... My father had been a salesman as I told you, and I thought I'd would do that. As it turned out my younger brother was a salesman all the way through. I majored in business administration and did three years here and a year in Biarritz, France where one professor, Professor Schmidt from NJC, at that time was over there as a history professor. I didn't take a course with him, but I did take political science courses there. When I came back I applied to three graduate schools: Wharton, Columbia, and Harvard. And I always had Harvard as my number one choice. I thought of it when I was here at Rutgers as an undergraduate. And I was accepted, and it was a G.I. Bill. It didn't really cost me anything. My mother then, my father had died, and there was a trust which was really primarily geared for education. My younger brother was able to go to prep school for three years and college for four using the funds from that trust, and probably my brother, older brother was helped in medical school for a year or two, but I did not need any money from my parents, my mother, for going to graduate school. I had gotten married just before we went to Boston. My wife worked for the Harvard Cooperative Retail Store that had a branch at M.I.T. It was called the Tech Store. With the money that I got as a married person, all of my tuition and books were paid for. It didn't cost me a nickel at Harvard, not a nickel. It was one of the best things the government ever did, the G.I. Bill.
KP: Did you expect the G.I. Bill?
CC: Well, I just read recently, ... I think it was signed, approved by Roosevelt in 1941, pretty early, or two, or shortly after Pearl Harbor. We knew about it, knew it was available, didn't know any of the details obviously, but from what I know now and learned shortly after I started, it just didn't cost me anything at Harvard. Now I got $120 a month because I was married. If I had been single it would've been $80 maybe and we, my wife and I, were good budgeters. We learned to live within our budget. We did not have funds from outside. I think I had a bond that paid 2 percent or 2.9, and once every six months I would go and clip a coupon off and [go to] the bank and get my twenty or 30 dollars. It might've only been worth a thousand or two because that was [with] some of my military pay that I bought this bond. We lived within our budget. We lived very modestly. We didn't have an automobile. ... Cars were not made from '41 up until '47, about a five or six year period. So we went to college and graduate school without an automobile. I mean it was a minor thing, very few people had them, and we got along. And we tell our children that there are things they expect today that we didn't have and we got along all right, and we learned to live within our budget.
KP: Do you think you would have gone to Harvard Business School without the G.I. Bill?
CC: ... If there hadn't been a war and so forth, I would've hoped that I would've gone to Harvard and graduated two years after '44, which would be '46. As it was I started in '46 and graduated in early '48. I went right through the summer, so I probably lost two years in my educational progression because of the war. Fortunately I was able to get, ... no credits for the A.S.T.P. work here, but at Biarritz I was able to do my senior year's fourth quarter, fourth semester, or second semester, and I got my degree in '46 in absentia. If I hadn't been able to do that I would've come back here and gone to school in '46 and '47 and graduated in '47 and then hopefully graduate school and graduated in '49. So I picked up some time there. I don't feel that the government owes me anything. Their favor to me was the training that I got in the military before I went into combat, and I'll talk on that in a minute, and the fact that I had that G.I. Bill which paid for my graduate school with my wife's help. If she were here she would remind me. Back to the training, the ideal situation would be to have the R.O.T.C., and most of the officers came from R.O.T.C. ranks. The R.O.T.C. work in the summer camp as the class of '42 and before had and then go to ... Benning with your commission and take some further infantry training. Then go to unit training. What I did, we got our three years here. Then we went to basic training, which R.O.T.C. graduates never get. Basic training was best, and if you read General [Frederick J.] Kroesen comment, the best training he had was when he ... went through basic training twice at Fort McClellan. They didn't have room for us or someplace, A.S.T.P. We just took another sixteen weeks where I got a little better on marksmanship in my second time around and at OCS I did even better, you know, because I was doing these things. We learned to be, as enlisted men, to do all these things, and then with the officer's training, which was a very well run school, General Omar Bradley had been one of the first commanders down there. We were not there at that time. We had that training, and they taught you to really to be a battalion commander at Benning. It wasn't just company commanders or platoon leaders, and ... we were assigned to various, we went off to five or six or seven different divisions per our history book. We were assigned as platoon leaders or whatever we had, and we worked with, in unit training which meant we were working with a division that was ... [about] getting ready to finish it's two years of training as it had come into being about a year before I got there. And I joined it in the second year and in November, after having three months with the 69th Division in Camp Shelby, and the 65th was there which had several Rutgers people although I didn't see them at that time. We went oversees, so I had been working with my people for three or four months as a platoon leader with a company commander and the other platoon leaders. We were in England in strategic reserve. Fortunately we were not sent right into the Battle of the Bulge. The Bulge occurred on December 16th. We'd been there about three weeks, and they took 50 percent of our rifleman from us for, to be used as reinforcements. And the Battle of the Bulge, where the New York Times reported there were 91,000 casualties over a six week period, and we just went down the list with the company commander and every other man in our platoon was gone on Christmas Day. And we ... eventually crossed the Channel around the 15th of January as a Division that had lost 50 percent of the rifleman, which meant 2700 people had been taken away from us. ... We just [had been] training in England and training other people. And we got to Belgium and a week before I went into combat I got the twenty people back from my platoon of 40 and the Division got 2700, the total back, and they had to be trained, and I realized a lot of people go as a replacement. They don't know anybody until they get into combat, and they're there. I had the opportunity to work with at least half of my people in maneuvers and in garrison training for a three to four month period before we went oversees, and that's the ideal situation to go in as an officer in a unit and work with them in unit training which is 30-hour problems and nine mile forced marches and all those things that you come to get to know your people and how well they can perform.
KP: You started at Rutgers in 1940 with mandatory R.O.T.C. and also ...
CC: Yes, for the first two years, right.
KP: Would you have stayed in advanced R.O.T.C. if there hadn't been a war?
CC: Probably, probably. I don't know. It was sort of the thing to do, to get into the advanced course and get your commission. In the event that [there is a war]. ... I guess my feeling was if I was going to be called sometime I'd rather be an officer than an enlisted man. If I were going to be in combat, I would like to a part of the decisions than just be somebody that's told to do this. And it turned out I was told by many higher up people all the time, but I think so. Rutgers had only infantry until they brought the Signal Corps into the picture in '43. They had a lot of engineers here and somebody said gee, we need Signal Corps, but I know Benning was graduating a class a day in '42, a class a day of 200 people, those that didn't wash out. The Signal Corps probably had a class every week of maybe a 100 people. The Signal Corps probably didn't lose one for every ten that the infantry lost in combat. The Signal Corps guys lived. They had a much better situation. They were not a fighting arm of the Army. If I had been an engineer, of course, I would've been in the Signal Corps. We had one or two people who were engineers who wanted to be in the infantry. They didn't quite make it. One of them did. (laughs) I was anxious. I was anxious. I looked forward to being, hopefully being around at the end of the war, and I think the figure that I've seen or read is the infantry makes up twenty percent of the Army and had 80 percent of the casualties. Is that a figure that's ...?
KP: Yes that's true.
CC: I've even heard it as high as, as low as ten percent and 90 percent.
KP: And junior officers was a particularly dangerous occupation.
CC: Right. Scouts and junior officers, yeah.
KP: Were you aware of how dangerous the infantry was when you were training?
CC: (laughs) If I had been maybe I wouldn't, I don't know. You know we read about Guadalcanal and how difficult the fighting was there, and North Africa we knew something about. When we got to basic training we knew a lot, we learned a lot about Africa, the technique the Germans had and the 88 millimeter and our 37 millimeters on our tanks and so forth, and there were a lot of people from North Africa who were there to train us, and there were some people that weren't training us, but they called them the Arabs. They were guys that had been in North Africa, and they were probably still under shock. The other thing, we didn't have as you know, I mean the Germans had been fighting for years. One of the instructors there, Captain [Robert B.] Johnson at Rutgers said, "This is like the Americans being an amateur team, and there playing against professionals." The Germans are professional, were professional soldiers, and we were amateurs and the certain something you get when you've been in combat, ... you become more proficient. The learning curve is a very short one, but you need it. It's helpful. What I'm saying is I think it was good that the military had people that had training in North Africa and Sicily and Italy before they invaded Europe, and one of the key divisions they had was the First Division, which had fought in North Africa, and they came up, and they were in the first four divisions that went in. The First Division was there.
KP: Did you think of enlisting in either the Navy, Army Air Corps or the Marines?
CC: Not the Marines. I thought of the ... Navy Air Corps or the Army, and I probably, you know they had V-7, V-12, and you could as a student look into all these things, and a lot of people that didn't want the infantry or didn't want R.O.T.C. signed up for these programs. Many of our people, we didn't do a final study on it, but a lot of it's in there, that they were in the V-7 or V-8. Because R.O.T.C. was here I took that, but I think I did take a physical once for the Navy Air Force, and I had a deviated septum or something like that, and they ruled me out or my teeth didn't come together. So I said, "I guess I've got to be in the infantry." We had no choice. If you were in the R.O.T.C. here, you were in the infantry, except along came the Signal Corps for the engineers. I probably could've asked them. I would've made a great signal officer, climbing up those poles ... or communicating back in Paris, but I always thought I wanted to be, I would've been good in the Quartermaster. I eventually ended up in the retail business. ... A friend of mine from Prep School was at Michigan where they had Quartermaster training.
KP: Yes. In fact, I interviewed someone who, in fact, was in Harvard for Quartermaster training.
CC: ... In relation to this, he must of gone up there around '42 or '43 because if you were at Harvard in '43, you came out and you went in the Quartermaster. I have a friend from Ridgewood, wasn't Rutgers, but he went in the Quartermaster from Harvard. They had this Quartermaster School. Harvard was great in retail. I took their retailing course, which they probably used the same professors to teach the guys for the Quartermasters.
KP: Going back to Rutgers for a little bit, you joined a fraternity?
CC: In my sophomore year.
KP: How did that come about? Why a fraternity?
CC: When I came here for prep school weekend and saw all the things, I stayed with people from Hasbrouck Heights. There were three people in the same fraternity. I didn't want to be in the same fraternity where the people from Hasbrouck Heights were in, so when I came to Rutgers as a freshmen I went to various fraternities that I was invited to, and a fellow by the name of Mal Gillette whom I met as a freshmen, he must of been on the rushing committee, and he got me interested in the Deaks. And I was living at Wessels Hall in my sophomore year, and I didn't know whether I could afford it or not. I was back. I had the scholarship. ... My father died in ... November 7, one month before Pearl Harbor. ... We were very saddened, and he had been ill. We thought he died of cirrhosis of the liver, but my brother tells me now the doctor [said] that he had cancer. My mother was one who would keep that from her family. She wouldn't mention that, and that's bad because you have to tell your doctors what your predecessors had. About that time I guess I felt that ... my mother said the inheritance was pretty good, and my father had a lot of insurance. And I asked her if I could join a fraternity, and I guess I did in January of my sophomore year, and I moved into the Deak house although I had lived in Wessels, and the first year I said I moved out on Easton Avenue in one of the rooming houses there.
KP: So how did you like fraternity life?
CC: I had a room, a private room. I didn't like a situation where there'd be a lot of playing around. I used to study until about eleven o'clock and then break off on the studying. I found that I had in it for playing football and track. I had to do my studying sometime. I liked the dances, the get together, the eating arrangements, but I didn't like the fact that in that fraternity there were people just listened to the Shadow or to the radio all afternoon or played cards or went to a different movie five times a week. The influence of people that had gone to Amherst or Yale or some other school and didn't make it and then came to Rutgers and weren't going to do any studying at Rutgers and didn't stay very long, that was negative to me. That was negative.
KP: What about the initiation?
CC: We had a house mother, and I liked that because that ... kept some order, and we had good meals. I was a waiter for part of the time. If you applied you could be a waiter for maybe one third of time. You got your meals free. That helped keep my costs down.
KP: What, what about the initiation? Do you remember that at all?
CC: Yeah, I do. ... I just happened to see a paddle in the window up here on Somerset Street. Gee, I haven't seen one of those and I used to have it hanging up in our basement at home when the kids ... [were] young. I didn't, don't agree with that at all, and I read about this hazing and people going out on cliffs and have to do things. I don't think that's a measure of anything other than older people trying to suppress younger people. You know, I don't ... agree with that at all, and we didn't do anything outside of the house as far as people getting dumped off 50 miles from home. No, I didn't like that.
KP: You didn't like the whole initiation?
CC: I didn't like the initiation part and the secrecy and all that stuff. That you could do without, you know, the meetings for the chapters, the rooms for the chapter meetings, and so forth. But aside from that, the fraternity was a place you could bring a date for a dance and ....
KP: In fact, you proposed at a fraternity dance I read, I think, in your yearbook at one of the DKE dances.
CC: I might have done that. (laughs)
KP: It sounds like you met your wife?
CC: I met my wife, she was going to Douglass. She was '43 and I was '44. A friend of mine, who wasn't a fraternity brother, Ed Bodner, who was a Signal Corps engineer, said he had had a date with a girl, but he had another lady who didn't want him to date anybody else, so he said, "I have to go back to my regular lady." He said, "It's a nice girl. You might want to meet her." And so he gave me her name, and I called up and said Ed Bodner told me, and I made a blind date with my wife to be. And the first date was for a Rutgers Crew meet, and I was down at Princeton in a track meet that afternoon. And I finished the track meet and then came up on the train or somehow and met my wife through one of my freshmen brothers who had met her and took her up to the crew race. And in those days they didn't encourage NJC people to go to any of the sporting events. I mean it was kind of backwards, and I met her, and she graduated from New Jersey College for Women a month or two later, I met her in April, and that was '43, and I was then on active duty and went to basic training, came back to [New Jersey]. Fortunately she lived in Teaneck, and I lived in Hasbrouck Heights, so I'd see her when I did come home. And then when we came back for "ASTP" Army Specialized Training Program, Jane was invited down for dates and dances and so forth. So we did have a chance to utilize, and the fraternity such as it was, there weren't many civilian men around this place then, but my younger brother had started at Rutgers in '44, and he was there at the DKE house, and I liked that part of the fraternity life and the orderliness of the meals, you know. I think we wore coats and ties, I'm not sure, and we had people waiting on the table, and we had two cooks in the kitchen and a house mother, and she ran the place, and did it very well.
KP: Who was your house mother?
CC: Yeah, we had a Ms. Slider, and when I came back after the war she said, "By the way, you got your degree." And she gave me a copy of the commencement program for June 1946. I didn't know I'd gotten my degree in absentia. I'd sent the credits in from France, and then gone on to Austria to finish my active duty there.
KP: So she was the one who told you, "Congratulations, you've graduated!"
CC: Yeah, right, she told me. She had gone to the graduation and there I got, it was in absentia, and that's what it says in the Rutgers College 1947 Yearbook.
KP: Do you have any regrets you didn't attend your college commencement?
CC: ... My ship took seven days to come back, and I came back on the 30th. I think the commencement was a few days before that. They were usually later then than they are now. No, not too bad - and because when I was at Harvard, we ... had these stepped up classes. We graduated-- we could actually leave Harvard in February, 1948. We were called the class of March '48. We could leave Harvard in February, and I went right to work for the department store that ... had .... [come] to meet me, and I went out to see them in Cleveland. They wanted some Harvard people, and my wife and I drove out there. My mother helped us get a new car, the first car we had, a '48 Chevy which was about $1400 dollars, a lot of money then. And I was working at Halle Brothers in June when Harvard had their graduation which I could have been entitled to attend. I don't know how many of my class attended that graduation because we all left the school in February, maybe the people in the Boston area did. I have planned to go to a Harvard graduation which I will do, either next year or the year after. I have my 50th at Harvard Business School in 1998. So I don't miss the fact, I'll tell you what I did for Rutgers. As a co-adjunct instructor at Rutgers over a fourteen year period in the Marketing Department, I came back to a Rutgers graduation when Mason Gross was the president, and a fellow by the name of [Nicholas de B.] Katzenbach who was the Attorney General. He was given an honorary degree, and I would guess that that was maybe 1969 or something like that, and my wife and children came to that graduation, and I marched as one of the members of the faculty with my master's degree sash and my cap, had my picture taken, just to be in a Rutgers graduation as a faculty member rather than as a student. So, you reminded me of something I hadn't thought of recently.
KP: Once America was in the war in December of 1941 it really changed Rutgers and the country. A number of people have commented that there was a great deal of uncertainty on campus.
CC: If you knew or are aware, and Professor Richard McCormick does a pretty good job, Rutgers went from seventeen or 1800 students say in October of 1941 down to maybe two or 300 of people that weren't eligible for the military or had certain special areas of discipline or studies. Except as the civilian enrollment went down the Army Specialized Training Program stepped up and at one time, in that McCormick book, it says they had as many students, like 1800 counting the military people and the few civilians that were here. They had as many as they did have on campus in pre-Pearl Harbor, so ... it was just a change. ... And the people in the military knew they were going to be ordered around, and the civilians were just going to keep doing what they were planning to do.
KP: But a lot of the fraternities shuttered up.
CC: Oh, yes.
KP: People were coming in and out constantly after December 1941?
CC: ... Well what happened, when Pearl Harbor occurred, many people left that day and signed up for some service and some of those people that signed up were not called for maybe up to two years later. And others were accepted right away. So we were losing people all the time. A fellow by the name of Plat Adams, who was maybe only a freshmen or a sophomore, and he signed up and he was killed very early in the war, a fraternity brother of mine. ... People were doing strange things. Everything was dominated by the fact we were in the war.
KP: You mentioned that Richard Reager was your favorite professor. Why does he stick out?
CC: ... He was. He was a public speaking fellow. I think he was a Rutgers graduate. He was very gregarious. Whenever I get together, I mention Ed Bodner, I can mention John Brown, class members, we talk about Professor Reager. My younger brother took courses with Professor Reager following my suggestion. He thought the world of him. Professor Reager, ... he wrote a book called Speech is Easy. He had a man working with him named Stevens, who was I think a Ph.D. in public speaking, but I had my courses with Reager. He had the ability to inculcate in his students the fact that if they train properly, they could get up and talk to a 1000 or 10,000 people, and they shouldn't be nervous. And to carry that forward as far as my own situation, after talking one or two of his courses say in my sophomore and junior year, I was here in what would have been my senior year under the Army Specialized Training Program. Now a friend of mine, John Brown, who's in the book there, said, "Hey, they're having a speech contest down at Professor Reager's class. Let's go down and go in it." You know, as seniors, we ... were theoretically seniors, but we weren't working for that business administration degree. And I went down with John Brown, ... I don't think Ed Bodner was there, some of the other fellows who'd been in our speech classes were. We weren't able to take speech then. We had to take engineering, and there was a fellow from St. Peter's Church, one of the priests I guess, and Professor Reager and maybe another judge or two, and they said, "This is going to be an extemporaneous speech contest." Now an extemporaneous speech is a speech in which you are allowed a few minutes to prepare. It's not an impromptu. It's an extemporaneous. ... And the subject was, "Colleges after the war." After the war. And this was 1943, probably November. It could've [been] January of '45, but it was right around the holidays, and we were allowed three minutes. John Brown gave his talk, and I gave my talk and maybe ten or so, these are seniors. And it was the Earnest Quick Prize in Public Speaking that we were vying for, and I won first place. And John Brown won second, and to this day he'll remind me, why the heck did I ask you to come down. So, that tells you about Professor Reager. He was tremendous, and we used to correspond. Some of the RUOL "Rutgers Undergraduates On Leave" record cards in the RU Library Archives cards show that I wrote a letter to Professor Reager and told him what I was doing and he passed it on to these Rutgers RUOL secretary. He was quite an influence. I can name some of the other professors. You probably noticed that I have a good memory for detail.
KP: Yes you do.
CC: Dates and things like that.
KP: Did you ever take Arthur Burns when he was here?
CC: No, he was the head of the economics department. I never took Peterson, who was the premier philosophy professor. And after the war I met Professor Peterson. I said, "You know, I always wanted to take your course." And he said, "I would've liked to have had you in my class." Wasn't that nice? Couldn't take everything you wanted.
KP: What about Professor George, did you ever have him?
CC: Never had him, had Professor Peabody in Business Administration which was a major twelve credit course in my junior year, which you went instead of six credit in one year, it was twelve credit. That was a major course that I took. The accounting, I didn't learn a lot. I did take statistics, which was a valuable course. And I do know that Rutgers emphasizes the liberal arts say more than the technical courses, and I think that's okay.
KP: One of the questions I ask everyone is, what do you think of Dean Metzger?
CC: Gee, he was tremendous. He was in an office on the second floor of Old Queens. I guess the president had an office there. I never saw the president in his office but I visited Dean Metzger many times. ... Dean Metzger ... did two things. He was also the chaplain of the ... college, and he was the dean of men, dean of the college. They didn't bother to say 'men' because ... there was only a few women [who] took some journalism courses. And ... when my father died in November of 1941, which was the beginning of my sophomore year, he wrote me a letter of condolence, and of sympathy. I thought that was very nice. And I used to keep in touch with him about my financial needs, and he did give me half of a general scholarship at the ... middle of my freshman year, which enabled me to stay in school. See I didn't have a scholarship. Most of my classmates who were playing football had a full tuition scholarship.
KP: They had the opposite.
CC: ... I did not have that. So my parents needed 400 dollars, which some of the others didn't, and that's like 4,000 today, easy. Tuition then was 400 dollars. Today it's 3,600. ... I'm very familiar with what the tuition is because I gave Rutgers 32 tuition scholarships. In addition to that, I'm chairman of the Scholarship Committee for the Class of '44, which is giving out an additional eight half-tuition scholarships into perpetuity. My scholarships start in 1995 in the fall, and they will run for eleven years, and then they're finished. The Class of '44 scholarships will run into perpetuity. I chose to do it my way, and as a member of the committee I like ours to go on and on, and we hope we keep generating them. I wanted to bring that scholarship thing into this discussion because I am an example of somebody that got a scholarship.
KP: So you thought it very important to pay back your debt to Rutgers it sounds?
CC: Right. Dean [James] Reed wrote me a letter after he heard about this, and he said, "There's one thing common to both of us. We both love Rutgers." And he was a big influence in that he came to our class's 49 Reunion and I started giving zero coupon bonds to Rutgers twelve years ago. The first zero coupon bond that was worth a 1000 dollars cost me 270 dollars because I extended them out. In total, I gave Rutgers $100,000, but it only cost me $50,000 the way I did it, and I put that in the class newsletter, but nobody ever followed. They all agree now. "Oh, it would have been a great idea." Dick Hale, he said, "Gee"-- well, that was a whole speech that he gave when we started our scholarship. He says, "The guy did it right, he started ten years ago." And I recommended the same thing at Harvard. I gave Harvard a sum less than what I gave Rutgers, but it was done on zero coupon bonds. I gave to my prep school-- I did that a little differently. I just gave them a couple of stock funds, and I said, "Here, these are yours. Use them for the next five years. Give out two and a half thousand dollars every year." And now those funds are worth more now than when I gave it to them, and they're already deducted because the market has gone up. Yes, I am a case, an example of a guy that wanted to give back and did, and there are many people in my class that had scholarships all the way through that undoubtedly had larger incomes than mine, but did not choose to put Rutgers as one of their primary charities. Many people in our class for our 50th Reunion Class Gift have given generously, you know, we raised almost a million dollars.
KP: A lot of people had a distinct memories of chapel. What do you remember of chapel?
CC: Well, there's a funny thing about chapel. I think it was a great idea. ... It was compulsory, and I think we had to go one day a week, not every day. I think our day was Friday. I'm not sure. We went to chapel, Dean Metzger, and he told us, every class I'm sure. He said, "Look at the people on the left." There was a Roman Clark next to me, and there was a Roger Carol on the other side. There were two Clarks in the class, and Carol was there. He said, "Look to your left and look to your right, and when you graduate only one of you will be here." That was the mortality experience at Rutgers in the '30s, late '30s, early '40s. That's not thinking anything about the war which changed things all around. I was a Catholic at the time, and I guess I asked ... the assistant pastor of our church, and he said, "I don't think you should go to a non-sectarian chapel." I'm sorry I asked him, or maybe somebody at the Newman Club. He said, "If you tell the dean that if you have religious scruples, you'd probably be excused." And I did do that with Dean Metzger, and he excused me, and I regret that in a way that I asked him.
KP: You didn't attend chapel regularly?
CC: I didn't have to attend.
KP: You didn't have to.
CC: I only attended it, probably, for the first half of my freshmen year. But I'd like to say about an influence of Kirkpatrick Chapel. In the back of Kirkpatrick on the left side as you go in and go up the stairs you will see a plaque about this size. I was there about fifteen years ago for my reunion, and I knew about these Upson scholarships, and there was the Upson, the man that was the giver. His first name slips ... my mind, but he worked for the university. He was a librarian. He eventually ended up as a treasurer. I think he was a class of '15. He probably didn't make a lot of money, but when I came to Rutgers in 1940, he had established the Upson scholarships which meant ten scholarships for each class. In other words if you got one in your freshman year you could keep it for four years, 500 dollars a piece. I figured out that was 20,000 dollars in 1940. Today, that would be ten times that. It would be 200,000 dollars. And I was really influenced by that. And it had nothing to do with chapel, but when I saw that fifteen years ago, I said, "I'm going to do something." ... I didn't go to [the] Foundation or anything. I just said, "Here's what I'm going to do." And then many years later when I met with John Pierson of the Foundation, I had $50,000 .... I said John, I'd like to do something, and I was influenced by Dean Reed and his saying: "We ... want money for scholarships." I had stopped giving, and I said, "I'd like to do more." I said, "What would it take to have a scholarship in my name?" He said, "The threshold is $100,000." I said "Fine, I'll give you another $50,000 in zero coupon bonds." So we laid it out, and they've got this program of three scholarships a year for eleven years. So, see all these influences? You now know more about why I did things than anybody else. To this day, my wife isn't sure. ... I told her, what I gave was the lower figure! If you read in the ... Daily Home News and the Asbury Park Press, when we ... had our 50th graduation, I was one of the people that was listed as having gifted approximately ... $100,000. As Dick Hale did, who already had given three million for the Hale Center, but you asked the question. ... The influence was in...Irving Upson. Now those scholarships, I think, have been blended in, but what a tremendous thing that gentleman did. He had 40 people at Rutgers, ten in a class. Full tuition scholarships. That encouraged out-of-state people. Now, my scholarships, do you know when they start? You can't get one until you've completed one year here. Do you know why?
CC: Why do you think I said you've got to complete one year at Rutgers before you can get one of my scholarships?
KP: To make sure that they're really college material?
CC: Well, that's what I did. I was here for a year. Then I got my scholarship. Now, the high schools: Hasbrouck Heights High School, Cheshire Academy, Ridgewood High School, where my children graduated from, and Teaneck, where my wife graduated from. If you attended those high schools, and you come to Rutgers, and you need a scholarship after the first year, you'll be ahead of everyone else because that's one of the first requirements. So those schools will be told that, but it doesn't mean a lot to the students because you can't get them when you start. And yet I'm sure at the end of each year at Rutgers, there ... will be people in a similar state, financially, that I was in, where the Dean can ... say, "Well, we've got a scholarship for you. You can have it for three years." See that. Some people would say I'm egotistical. I probably am.
KP: At some point I do hope to repay my college scholarships, so I can understand the sentiment.
CC: And I hope to meet these people next year. See, my scholarships don't start till this fall. Our class scholarships started last year, or in the beginning of the season, and they overlooked us and didn't invite us to this April scholarship and donor meeting, but that's been corrected with my friend Mr. [Jeffrey] Lamie. He's my on-campus spy, to keep up with what's going on.
KP: Before going to the Army, you had R.O.T.C. classes your first ...
CC: For three years.
KP: For three years.
CC: Right. We went ... on active duty. We had to sign up at the end of our sophomore year. Before we got into the advanced R.O.T.C., we had to sign up for the enlisted reserve corps. That was a requirement which in the old days, of course, you didn't have to do in peace-time and then we got in the advanced course, and we were told that we could stay in school until we graduate. And we stayed for three years, but we went on active duty in March of our junior year, ... '43. And we stayed in school for another couple of months to finish our courses. Then they sent us to basic training. There wasn't room for us in OCS, and we hadn't had the summer camp which would be equivalent to basic training.
KP: Having had all this R.O.T.C. training but then going to basic, how do you think it made you a better officer?
CC: Oh, obviously. You go to basic for, first of all when we arrived down in basic training and the story is told there of the Black Fifty. The Black Fifty is a unique group among Rutgers World War II veterans, as you will find. We'll make sure you get invited to our party, buy you a drink. We may run the brochure by you to get your opinion. I'm sure we will. ...
--------------------------- END OF SIDE TWO, TAPE ONE -----------
KP: This continues an interview with Mr. Crandon F. Clark on June 12, 1995 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. You were telling me the story of the Black Fifty.
CC: ... [It started from] when we got off that train. We'd been on the train for two and a half days. We just had K-rations. There really wasn't much in the way of water facilities. There was some running water, but ... it was an old southern railroad car, probably 40 or 50 years old, and we arrived at the Fort McClellan, Alabama Railroad Yard. In the camp an old sergeant by the name of Sergeant Greenway from Alma, Georgia, he's a guy about, probably just tall enough to qualify (laughs) for the Army. He had a red face and was kind of bald, and he was probably 40 years old, and he stood there and said, "I've never seen a blacker bunch of white men arrive at this camp than you fellows." And he knew why, because we had ridden on this train. They probably had people come in like that every day, maybe he told the same story, I've never thought of that. So for some reason we remembered that, and we became known as the Black Fifty. We were the Black Fifty. The Signal Corps wasn't there at all. That's ... something we have which nobody else had, the group that went to Benning. The Signal Corps Group of 20 didn't arrive on the old railroad car, and they weren't the Black Fifty. We were.
And the basic training then, it was sixteen or seventeen weeks, and you made your beds. You had inspection every day. You scrubbed floors. You cleaned latrines. You pulled k.p., not for discipline reasons. We used to run at night. We had a Lieutenant Vopat that was in that company, and we'd go out and run three or four miles at night, for conditioning. We had obstacle courses. We used to help some of the guys over them. I had no physical problems in the military. We used to stand at attention for weekly regimental parades under the hot Alabama summer of, you know, June, July, and August. Many guys fainted from the heat. We had rifle target practice. We used to pull the targets and shoot, hiking, construction of bridges and things like that, tactics, fire and maneuver, long marches, 30-hour problems. You know, when the regiment was going to do something together the platoons, if it was eight o'clock we got up at five and then the companies had to be ready at five thirty and the battalions ready at six. We'd all get ready and wait. You learned how to take orders, and if you had a speck of sand in your bayonet at an inspection, I mean you didn't get off that weekend. It was good, very good training, and we did that twice. We were in two different companies, sixteen weeks and then another for sixteen weeks. When we went to Benning, they had basically the same thing, but there we had to learn how to operate the machine guns and take them apart and put them back together and weed people and instruct people on how to do it. And had very good training at Benning, they had mortar groups and map reading groups, and I always liked map reading. That was one of my specialties when I had taken geology here at Rutgers. We knew the subject. We knew about night compass courses and how to set them up, and how to run them, and how to do them.
There was never a question in my mind as an officer ... when I arrived at the 69th Division and we were assigned to a platoon that I knew how to do all these things that we were going to train these people to do. ... In combat it was much like maneuvers, but more fouled up, and in combat I'd been back with some of my men to Europe and other members of the 69th Division. And they say, "Oh, I remember being here, (Blitzingheiger?), Germany on the Vienna River," which is on the border of (Beinge?) and (Asa?), and they say, "But I never knew the name of the town." But I always knew the name of the town because I was an officer, and we'd get our orders, and we'd get a map. And my company commander would say "Okay Lieutenant Clark, you're going to lead the regiment through this area." I had 88 millimeters fired upon me from a Tiger tank that was a half a mile away. Fortunately the guy wasn't very accurate, and when we went into combat, we used fire and maneuver, or marching fire, and we hoped that the mortars were going to be there and the machine guns and the liaison planes were going to tell us where these things were. All these things that we learned ... in basic and at Benning. Benning was like a Hollywood movie lot, you know. And they wanted tanks to come out of the woods as they came out, and they wanted some planes that fly over. They flew over. ... That's good training. That's realistic.
KP: What would you have missed if you had only taken advanced officer's training and skipped basic training?
CC: I would've been like a 90-day wonder, to use that expression, which was a World War I expression. ... I've studied the Civil War for 30 Years, people could form a regiment and go to the Governor and say, "We're ready to go to the Army of the Potomac" and it was a political job. Well, ... we had some people above me in various jobs. They didn't get them because of politics, but they'd been in the reserves and maybe they were teaching mortar training at Benning, and they became an executive officer of a battalion. They were not ready for that, and maybe the guy wasn't in physical shape, and all those guys weeded out that I knew of, and they put better people in those jobs. ... Going into combat the Army is pretty requiring. If a guy is not physically able, doesn't have the ability to lead he's, doesn't last very long. There were a lot of changes made in the 69th just before we went overseas. Some of those people went to other jobs, but I think it's very important that the officers have the stamina to keep up with the men. That they lead them. You know, an officer in the infantry, when you have chow, you get at the end at the line. If the men don't get anything, you don't get anything. It's not a case where you get it first. I think the Navy was a little different in that respect. They treated their officers a little differently. No, that was good training. You got to ... read Kroesen in [Rutgers University: Class of 1944 Military History Book] ... on [this point]. He went over there as a lieutenant in the 63rd Division in say the 255th Regiment, and he eventually became the company commander of that company and got his promotion to captain in May before the war was over. I met him back in Paris when he had his captaincy. I was still a second lieutenant. I had just finished combat and he says that that training, the basic training and everything else, helped him and of course he went on to Korea, where he was in the 187th Airborne Regiment over there. And then he was in Vietnam in two different hitches, but he stresses the fact, how good that basic and OCS training was, and we know from the records here, Doug McCabe picked this out, Kroesen was the first four-star general to have graduated from the Infantry School at Fort Benning. All the other guys went there as, you know, Omar Bradley and those people, they were running the place. He was an officer candidate and he ... knows better than I how important this was.
KP: By going through basic, you seem to be implying that you sort of walked in the average infantry man's shoes ...
CC: Without going to basic?
KP: By going to basic, by in a sense, being a private, going through basic training you had a real sense ...
CC: When we trained, really unit training, which ... it's called. Unit training is when you [are] training with a unit as an officer. If I hadn't been to basic training it would have been mostly theory what I was teaching these people rather than having [done it]. ... The Army had this arouse interest, explanation, demonstration, practical work, and critique. You know they had the military orders, information, decision, employment, maybe supply ... or signals. They had ideas, I D E A S, and in setting up perimeter fire in the military and the infantry, you had to have three requirements, FIG: Flanking, Interlocking, and Grazing, right. It has got to be around all sides. It has got to interlock so nobody can slip in between, and grazing means it's only going to be this high, if it's 10, because the Germans were smart. They had grazing with regular bullets, and they had tracers up here, and you thought you could go underneath, and that's where all the, most of the fire was. Would I have learned all those things at R.O.T.C., I'm not poo-pooing the formal R.O.T.C. training here, but you really started to learn. The R.O.T.C. was helpful when we went to basic, but the basic was more important to me than anything.
KP: What were the strengths and shortcomings of R.O.T.C.?
KP: What were the strengths and shortcomings of R.O.T.C. and how much does it also reflect ...
CC: Well, actually, R.O.T.C. was one of those courses that was considered an easy course until the war started.
KP: Yes. In fact a lot of people have said before the war they did not take it that seriously.
CC: I mean, we used to try to get out of anything, you know, and not wear our dress shirt. I had these little dickeys from the movies, the theater where I was an usher and I'd wear those. Once I had to take our coats off. ... You didn't need a whole shirt, but you needed something in a tie. R.O.T.C. was not a course that I and maybe Kroesen didn't pay too much attention to. Although, he always thought he wanted to go into the regular service, and he did because his father had been in the National Guard. I never planned to make a career of the military, but I liked R.O.T.C. I liked the map reading. ... Today I can tell you a regiment in World War II had 3200. They had 250 officers. The Division had 13,500. All those things I can remember. It's just something that I'm able to do. ... I guess I liked it, ... and we were in the toughest part, the Queen of the Army. We got the royal screwing.
KP: Did you ever hear that lecture, "Welcome to the Queen of the ..."
CC: "The Welcome to the Queen of ..."
KP: "Welcome, you're the Queen of the Army. The infantry is Queen of battles."
CC: Yeah, Queen of battles. (laughs)
KP: Someone has this very distinct memory of having this chaplain that was giving this long lecture, how you're the Queen of battles and ...
CC: Well, at ... OCS where the motto there is, "Follow me, Suivre moi." ... We went to basic. You might think this is unusual. I can remember the sign that was at the beginning of the training area, "You're Contribution To National Defense Begins Here." I still remember that, and yet I can fail to make the correct right turn or a left turn when I'm going someplace. (laughs)
KP: Had you been to the South before the war? You had lived in Washington, but you ever been to the deep south before training at Fort Benning and Fort McClellan.
CC: Well, you know, I hadn't. I hadn't. I'd been to the Chicago, you know, we didn't do a lot of traveling as a family in New Jersey. ... I went to a camp up at Lake George, which was a good experience for me and doing athletic things with other people, but we'd had never, I had never gone south of Washington D.C. You asked, I know I had been in fifteen states when I went to the World's Fair in Chicago in 1934. I went on a train, a little trip, three or four day trip. A friend of my family who worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad. He took me along. I was a fourteen year old boy that wanted to go to the World's Fair, and it was very educational for me, but I had never gone further south than ... Washington D.C. No, I had not been in the South before.
KP: How much of a shock was it? What struck you about the South?
CC: Well, we spent the first summer at Fort McClellan, Alabama, which is between Birmingham and Atlanta and the second summer at Columbus, Georgia, which is Fort Benning which is even further south, and the third, and after that summer we continued over to Shelby which is further south near Biloxi, Mississippi. So, I spent really, not three summers, two, two full summers in the South. ... I spent four months, six months, I spent almost a year and a half in the South, in those three states, and that's deep South. ... You tried to get out on weekends, and there were buses to take you to the various places. ... The people were most hospitable in a place like Atlanta. You'd go in there on a weekend or Birmingham, and they would go to the USO, United Service, and if you wanted to have dinner with a southern family ... you were invited, and you usually went with a friend, and you had dinner and met the family, and they had places where you could get coffee and sleep. You could sleep on an Army cot, you know maybe 50 cents, maybe they didn't even charge you. And I went to, as an officer I went to New Orleans for a weekend. This was just before we went overseas, and I met a couple, maybe at the USO. I'm not sure, but they took me around and showed me Bourbon Street, and it was very nice, you know, the people were very hospitable.
KP: You also came back to Rutgers as part of the A.S.T.P.?
CC: ... Finally they found out where we were down in McClellan and A.S.T.P. had already started. We were ordered back to Rutgers and back we came and there's a picture in our Class of 1944 Military History Book of us coming down College Avenue in November of 1943 which would have been our senior year.
KP: Your group had seen Rutgers, both regular Rutgers students but now as part of A.S.T.P.
KP: The A.S.T.P. group remains very elusive to the oral history project because a lot of them did not go to Rutgers.
CC: Oh, of the people that came back with us, of the 50, there were some people in that group that had gone to CCNY and for some reason or another they were in basic with us, but they came ... to Rutgers. But in addition to that at that time where we were 50, there was 1500 other people that could have gone any place, ... most of them were not Rutgers people.
CC: ... I know people that went to Syracuse or went here or there or whatever, right. ... It was like a military organization.
KP: How Rutgers did it feel to you?
CC: Well it was good for us because we'd been here, and we could go to our own fraternities for the dances. I mean that group of 50, a couple of guys, Van Zandt was a ZETA, I'm sure he went to their dances, and Kroesen went to the DU's, and Dick Hale did to the D.U.'s and [James B.] Carlaw went up to the Phi Chis, I guess, the white place up there on the left. You did your own thing with the people you knew, but you were under military [regulations], you know, if you went up to New York, you had to be back by reveille. We went up say, New Year's, John Brown and I, we had to be back before the bugle woke you up at six or seven o'clock in the morning, or else you got a pass, and you could go, and you ... wore your uniform. You had to then. It was war-time, but you got a good rate on the railroad, about a 50 percent discount, ... I used to wear my R.O.T.C. uniform when I wanted to travel and go up to see my grandmother in Boston. I'd put on my R.O.T.C. cadet's uniform on. It didn't have any gold bars, and you got a discount on the railroad.
KP: You mentioned earlier, before we had gotten started, that you had been required to take a lot of courses that did not fit your degree. It seems like a lot of them were in engineering?
CC: You mean here at A.S.T.P.?
KP: Here, as part of the A.S.T.P.
CC: You took just strictly engineering. You took physics, and you took engineering drawing. You took a math, and I don't know what the [other course was], maybe only four courses. Nothing like public speaking or any of that. ... You didn't take those courses, and there wasn't anybody around to teach you that I knew of, the business courses. If I had been smarter I would have asked for business courses, gotten the business guys together and gone to see the Dean or something. But I, you know, I was in the military for a while before I started asking. I asked to go to Biarritz University when I heard about it. I knew a professor who was going to go down and teach, so when I got to Austria I made sure I got an assignment that wasn't essential, and I asked the company commander. "Oh yeah there's,"-- I didn't want to be the I and E officer for that battalion because then they would say, "Oh we need you." He said, "Yeah there's one of those. Would you like to go to that school?" ... I said, "Yeah," so I went. And I stayed for two terms. I became an honor student, so I could stay for another term to get all the credits I needed. I didn't call Rutgers on the phone. I heard about this lady who said, "Oh, I haven't heard from my son. He's in the marines, my grandson. He hasn't called us in two weeks." Gee, I was overseas for eighteen months, and I never called home. (laughs) ... It was twelve dollars then. ... At Biarritz, I wrote a letter to Rutgers, to say, "What courses do I need?" I didn't have one of their, maybe I did have one of their catalogues there. But I took some courses, and I found out I didn't take the 400 courses. I needed senior year economics courses. So they wrote me a letter and told me that. And I had a friend who was one of the instructors. He'd been in our 69th Division Battalion. And he said, "You know, if you're an honor student, you can stay for another term." And I had just about all A's. ... I think there's one course in two terms I didn't get an A in. I took five courses and most people only took three. When I wasn't taking French appreciation or anything, I was taking economics courses. But they said, "Yes, you can be an honors student. If you're an honors student, you can stay." In the meantime, my outfit in Austria, we wired them, "... Could I stay?" And they wired, "Come back while I'm making a decision." A friend of mine was in the signal office, and he tore that telegram up. I never saw it. I met him at Harvard and he told me about the wire.
KP: So that's how you learned about how you were able to stay.
CC: That's how I was able to stay. And I stayed. ... And then when I left there, I took six weeks to go back to my outfit in Austria, and then by that time, the 26th Yankee Division had gone home. The 83rd Division had gone home, which I'd been transferred to on paper, and I went to USFED headquarters in Frankfurt. And the guy said, "Well gee, you were in Austria. You better get down to Vienna to USFA, United States Forces Austria, and I went down there and by that time, you know, I had 53 points. I only had about three months left before I'd have enough points to go home. Each month you got another point. And ... I went to Austria. I got an assignment in a special service company. And I was able to take trips and go on tours and stuff. So I started to ask for things. The best thing that happen to me in the Army was that I could go to college at Biarritz, which is a beautiful place on the Gulf of Biscay. ... I want to go back there sometime. I've been back to Europe seven times, but we never went over into that corner of France, but I'm going to do it.
KP: One of the things that people reflect on a great deal was their NCOs and their drill instructors. What do you remember of your NC0s and drill instructors?
CC: This guy, Sergeant Greenway, I told you where he lives and what his name was. Alma, Georgia and his name was Greenway, and I don't know what his first name was, but he was one of the toughest.
KP: Was he regular Army?
CC: I think he was. I think he was. You know what? He must of been because John Brown, I keep mentioning John, he was called on active duty in the Korean War, and he arrived at a fort, a camp in the south and who was there but Sergeant Greenway. By that time John was a captain. (laughs) I guess he was nice to him. The guy in another office was Lt. Vopat, but there was a Sergeant Gilley I can remember. We had some tough sergeants. They were good for us.
KP: What was your relationship with your own sergeant?
CC: I had a sergeant, got trained with me in unit training. His name was Donald Cameron. He'd been in the 82nd Airborne Division. Now a lot of these guys made up great stories about what they did when they were in Africa or Sicily, and I never really checked the records. But I accepted that, and he was good. But believe [it] or not when we went into combat, we had two passes in the company. We were in the front lines, ... we were up on the Rhine River. We had gone through the Siegfried Line. We were on the Rhine waiting to cross. We were about the eighth or ninth division to cross the Rhine, the Second Division crossed ahead of us. They were in Fifth Corps, and we followed them, and at that time, we were in a position, the Germans were on the other side of the river, and they were moving back fast because they were being pushed back. Remagen Bridge had been taken on March 7th, and we had two passes in the company and the company commander said, "Do you want somebody in your platoon to go?" I said, "Yeah, why don't we let my sergeant go, Cameron. He's a good guy." And another sergeant went who was a Fourth Platoon heavy weapons. They went back to Paris in March of 1945, and we never saw them again. What happened, the big push came, and believe it or not, they wouldn't let these guys come back on their own. They said, "We've got to move ammunition. We've got to move gasoline. You guys, they'll get along without you." I didn't see the guy until the day after the war was over, so my best sergeant wasn't really in combat with me after the Siegfried Line.
So we moved a guy up that had a drinking problem. We had another guy. His name was Johnson. He took cigarettes from the men, didn't give them to them, and he bartered them off for whatever, so we had to take him out of that platoon. So I had three different guys as platoon sergeants. I did have a platoon guide. His name was Ferris from Newnan, Georgia. I talked to him on the phone once. And three good squad leaders, and when we were in combat I remember using the one squad leader. I said, "We got to get those Germans out of a barn up there. Why don't you go up with a group of guys and knock them out with your bazooka," and he did. We got along.
The other ... interesting thing, we went into combat, in my 69th Division history book which I think you've seen, it's in the library, I have a sketch that I made of riding on tanks and maneuvers. During training we were never allowed to ride on tanks. We followed the tanks. We got across the river, the Rhine River. For the first time we had tanks with us and we were told to put the men on tanks. Well you can't put twelve guys on a tank. That's a squad. I had three squads, so we had to divide the platoon. The squads had to be broken up, part of a squad on one tank and part on the other, which means we had to use the assistant squad leader for one group, and we rode practically 200 miles on tanks or other armored vehicles across Germany. And again one guy had a drinking problem. I would say I had good ... squad leaders, platoon guide, good messenger, a fellow by the name of Lopez from Redondo Beach, California. He came running to me in a little town of ..., Landwehrhagen, just east of Kassel. We had relieved the 80th Division and Patton's Army there. He came running up to me ... just as, we were behind the company that took the town, C company. We were B company. He said lieutenant, "The Germans are counterattacking," and we learned down in OCS that Germans will always counterattack, and they always did. No matter who they had left they would counterattack, which was really stupid a lot of times, and they counterattacked and my platoon was the only one up there. We moved into this gully, and we held them off and eventually our assistant battalion commander came up, a West Pointer. He said, "Let's go out and get them." So we fixed bayonets, and we went out and all those guys surrendered to us that were out in the field. What they were trying to do was keep us from going down to the next town that we went to the next day. And as you moved across Germany in those days you had to take the towns if you wanted to move down the roads. The towns were astride the roads, and their towns were defended, and you had to take [them]. You couldn't go around them. You had to go through them, and that's when we had most of our casualties, the next day.
KP: In taking towns, what tactics did you use?
CC: In ... the case of this second town that we ... led that day. They alternated the companies. We had a platoon of tanks with us. We had one company. One platoon went down the right side, and one went down the left over an open field marching fire, and they had German machine gunners on a hill, which we couldn't see, and they had Germans on the left. I was in reserve that day because I'd been the guy that held them off the day before. The company commander said, "You can be in reserve and go up that draw." Going up that draw there were Germans inside that draw in the front of a bridge. Instead of being behind it, they were in front of it and obviously they couldn't get away, and they, of course, held us off for a while. And that's where the barn was when we hit it with a bazooka. I saw some Germans out on the left behind some kind of a little hill, and I sent guys up the draw and down the draw. I said, "Both of you, converge your fire," and the middle guy went up with a grenade, and we got rid of them. But on the right side, where my platoon wasn't, thank God, those Germans were ... in the machine gun nests and a US liaison plane, an artillery plane, pointed out where those machine guns were to our platoon on the right. I was in Second Platoon, but I was in the reserve moving up. The two that went up, the one that had the most casualties was where those machine guns were and there was a guy by the name of a Mortenson who single handily with three grenades knocked those machine gun nests out, and he got the Distinguished Service Cross. Only three Distinguished Service Crosses were awarded in the 69th Division, and he got one of them, and he was in our company. He was not in my platoon, but he saved a lot of lives. I am in touch with ten or twenty guys in that platoon, and someday we're going [to] retell that story, and we never know what happened to Mortenson. You know, he doesn't come to our reunions, but that was just a case of tremendous bravery on the part of this guy to save a lot of lives because that, those guns could've knocked us out. Now I wonder, we had mortars in our own company. We have battalion mortars we could have used in the heavy weapons company. I don't know why we didn't knock those guns out with mortar fire before we sent the ... company in. ... Except everybody was rushing. And the very next day, or at the end of that day I was given the assignment to lead the regiment after that town was knocked out we kept going toward the Witzenhausen. And I was the guy that was in the first jeep in front of the whole regiment, and we moved into an open area, and I saw a tank a thousand yards ahead and the fire, it looked like he was firing off at a 90 degree angle. And I should have realized when they fire those muzzle breaks send the smoke out to the right and left and that 88 shell came down and missed my jeep by about fifteen yards. It hit in the road and by the time he got ready with the second one I was no longer in that jeep, and we eventually moved up. The tank was being towed. It must have had some mechanical problems, and it couldn't get around the hilly terrain. It was only a dirt road and several hours later at night that tank was down in a ravine. They either pushed it down or it slipped down, and it was burning. They set it afire, and we had more towns like that that we had to take before we got to a bridge that they blew up in our face.
KP: Did you ever have to take a town that you had to fight through the town. It sounds like many of your battles were on the outskirts?
CC: ... By the time we got to the town that I told you about, the people defending it were knocked out, or surrendered, so we didn't have to fight through that town. Where ... the regiment or another regiment in our company, a town by the name of Eilenburg, which was the heaviest defended town between the Mulde and the Elbe river, that was a fifteen or twenty mile stretch where we were not supposed to go past the Mulde. The Russians were not supposed to go past the Elbe. There was a no man's land in there, and that's where this famous link up took place. When one of our regiments wanted to take Eilenburg on the Mulde River which was defending the road to Torgau, and I was not there. I was a few miles away. The next day was up guarding the road beyond that when ... the link up took place. Our division expended 9,505 105MM shells on one ... town. The corps commander said, "We don't want to lose anyone. Level the town." And they fired on it for a day and a half, and they leveled it. I was not there, but we did like to have tanks with us or artillery because once a couple of tanks came or a couple of shells went in, the white flags came out. But like in ... the city of Leipzig, as people came up with white flags, civilians, the Germans would shoot them in the back. They didn't want anybody to surrender.
KP: Did your particular unit fight in Leipzig? I know the division did.
CC: Yeah. We did. Leipzig was the fifth largest city in Germany. After we crossed the Werrer, W E R R E R, river at Witzenhousen, we were in Thuringia, which was the Russian zone. We didn't know that at the time. I don't know how far those orders went down, ... whether division commanders even knew that. But that secret was, Operation Eclipse ..., the Germans captured that information from the British in the Battle of the Bulge per Cornelius Ryan's The Last Battle, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1966. Anyway, Leipzig was assigned to the Fifth Corps, Major General Clarence Hubner, the Fifth Corps commander under Hodges, of the First Army. The Ninth Armored Division, which was famous for the capture of the Remagen Bridge, the Ninth Armored Army went around the right flank to protect the two infantry divisions that were going into the city. The 69th came around inside the ninth armored to approach the city from the east and the Second Infantry Division, which landed two days after D-Day, they were a really inexperienced infantry division. The guy that wrote The Company Commander. I can't think of his name right now, Charles MacDonald. He wrote a...good story of what the Second did. They came in from the west, and we linked up in the second day in the middle of the city. By that time the mayor had committed suicide and the Germans had surrendered. It wasn't the battle that the Germans would have liked to it have been. ... Our tanks didn't want to go in to the city because they were afraid the Germans with Panzer force would shoot the tanks, and ... we in the infantry had to go first. Then the tanks followed.
KP: In advancing through the city, how did you advance? Did you advance building by building or did you advance through the street?
CC: We advanced through the street and the buildings were, many of them were six and eight stories high. Now probably ... Berlin is probably the biggest city that really was a 100,000 casualties on the part of the Russians. Our casualties were light. We had tanks with us. They were not up front, but ... well we shelled the railroad station. We shelled the City Hall, and we shelled Battle of Nations monument SE of the city. The Germans were hold up in the monument. It only took about 48 hours to get them out of there. The walls were probably ten feet thick. We did not fight in that city house to house, but in the town of Witzenhousen, which was on the other side of the river where they blew up the bridge two weeks prior to Leipzig, most of it was on our side. We did send guys down, companies down through the streets, ... and the city was completely deserted when we got there, fortunately, but we didn't know that. We had to check every house. The Germans had a nice habit of letting you go by, and then they'd come out from behind you. ... I did not have any, other than little towns and a few houses on the outskirts of the town, I did not have any combat experience taking house after house in a big city, fortunately. We went to a town called Heiligenstadt in Thuringia. Must of had a 100,000 people. That was declared an "open city" just before we got there. You know, we had air support, too, if we needed it.
KP: How good was your air support and how quickly could you call it in?
CC: The best I saw was Al Fassen, this artillery guy spotting those machine gun nests to tell our people about it, calling down to them, and I met that pilot, later on, many years later at a 69th Division reunion. There was air support around, but we didn't, I didn't see any that really helped us.
KP: What about artillery support?
CC: Oh, we had, always had a liaison guy or forward observer from our division artillery, this was our own. 69th Division had three artillery battalions, and one of them was assigned to our regiment, and one of the batteries was assigned, maybe, to our battalion, and I think their system, ... it's funny, you forget some of these words. You know they lay down a smoke shell, and they adjust all guns and the battery on that. The liaison was good and their concentration. They had everything ahead, if you weren't moving too fast, everything ahead zeroed in, so you said .... I often and not very often, I would call in, where I saw 88s firing I would call in artillery. I'd say I'm at a road juncture or I'm at a railroad track and the azimuth from this road and that where the fire is coming from I estimate is two miles or so and so, and they would follow it up with artillery. But generally it was a liaison officer that did that. It wasn't infantry platoon leaders, but we could do it.
KP: But you could request it, from liaison?
CC: Right. We'd tell them. We'd say we see guns firing at this location and ... I've always been the guy that ... liked to work with maps and compasses and, you know, guesstamating distances and so forth. And I was capable of doing that, but I was not a liaison guy.
KP: Had you ever been a Boy Scout?
CC: Yeah. That's when I learned about map reading. Topographical maps, and whenever I go anyplace I like to get a topographical map and measure. ... I knew that my stride of 108 equaled 100 yards, so I could measure off something fairly accurately. I didn't have a chance to do that in combat. You did it by guesstimate. I hope it was helpful. It was a great experience, once or twice I had an occasion where I would tell my men that I would meet them someplace, and I didn't get there, ... to this day I'm embarrassed that I didn't keep my word. This was after the war and occupation. I said, "I'll see you there at two o'clock," and something came up, and I didn't meet them there. And they said, "Where were you?" Because they had been used to my keeping my word. I felt badly about that. That's like my coming today, and I went to the Center for Historical Development, and I looked at all those names. I didn't see Piehler's name. I said, "Boy, there's got to be something wrong," but we got together. You have drawn out of me things that I have almost forgotten about.
KP: Yes. Your're not the first to say that. People have more to say than they think they do. Going back a little bit, what were your first reactions to combat? Where was the first place you saw combat and what were your immediate reactions. Do you have any memories of that?
CC: I told you about losing half of our people ... for replacements in the Battle of the Bulge. We went right into the Battle of the Bulge area in Belgium, and we went into a place called Bulingen and St. Vith. We went through St. Vith and saw how demolished it was, and we went through there. The first week of February 1945 - just after the Bluge was restored to the Seigfried Line.
KP: Were you scared at all when you really saw what could happen?
CC: I don't know, just hoped it wouldn't happen to us. We saw a lot of dead bodies in the snow on the ground, and ... the armament that had been destroyed, and the way trees had almost looked like somebody had cut them down with a sickle. We knew the Germans were nearby. We could hear the shells and we ... could see them occasionally. We went into the Siegfried Line just ... east of Bulingen. ... The Siegfried at that point was about 1800 yards ahead. [They had] the Tiger Teeth here, and they had put them about two miles out or so. So if you had to get through you had to move your artillery out. They had it figured out that way, and the Germans also had reinforcements, so it wasn't just a matter of getting in pillboxes. ... Everyday the Germans would shell us at the same time. They were very precise, and our shells would go over their places and ... they were so accurate, you know, there'd be Boom Boom Boom Boom, big explosion of 105 millimeter shell. It could really do a job if the troops were out, but they were probably in the houses or underneath them. That went on for quite a while, and about that time, shortly after that, we were there for a month living in foxholes in the snow and the mini-wafers came in, and we had Medics that weren't allowed to carry arms and they didn't want to keep guard duty, you know, and we had two guys in a foxhole, one guy had to stay awake. If they had come down on us we couldn't have done much with them, but we had our artillery which would keep them from coming up the roads. We were guarding a several hundred yard front. A regiment of the front, the 69th we replaced the 99th Checkerboard Division there. The Second Division was probably on our left, ... we were in the Fifth Corps then, and the Third Army was on our right. We were on the right flank of the First Army.
About that time we got the word to move ahead, move forward, and it ... just coincided with the Ninth Armored Division being 35 miles ahead as an armored division and capturing the Remagen Bridge. ... The Germans really pulled out. They had to get out of the Rhineland, or they were going to be captured. We only heard that news a day or two later, and we moved up ... into a German town, and we used to live in the woods and in dugouts, and we got to this town of Dahlem, D A H L E M, maybe a town of a couple of thousand people. And we moved into the town, and we just took over their houses. The people had to move out, and we stayed in the houses. We didn't stay out in the ground anymore. There was a pinch off there and only a certain number of people could get across the Rhine at Remagen, the Victory Bridge a pontoon bridge was built a couple of days after March 7, before the Remagen railroad bridge collapsed one week or 10 days after it had been captured. And I say they might have pushed 50, 60,000 people across, and then we went up to relieve the Second Division, who had just gone across, and we were along the Rhine watching for guys, swimmers and anybody that might try to destroy the bridges that were being built. And ... we crossed on the 27th of March, two and one half weeks after, three weeks after the bridge was taken, and we crossed unopposed. ... In fact, in one of Eisenhower's bulletins he said he was pleased that the 69th Division only lost sixteen people in crossing the Rhine River, which wasn't very many for ... 15,000 troops. We crossed by boat, but the vehicles went across on the bridges. That's the next day. A little town near Erenbreitstein, which we captured that old fortress which had been the last place the American flag had been lowered at the end of World War I occupation, just across the river from Koblenz. ... That's when we had this tank unit, the 777 Tank Battalion assigned to us, and we were told to get on the tanks. And we moved forward. In some cases we went 40 miles a day, went up to Kassel, up the Lahn River Valley, to Kassel and then over to Witzenhausen. And each time there was something like a river, the Fulda, Werra, there was an obstacle, and then Leipzig ... was captured and our regiments moved out to the Mulde River, Mulde-Elbe, 30 kilometers apart, and we weren't supposed to cross that, and they weren't supposed to know there was a no-man's land there. And those three patrols went out, and they met the Russians and that was the 25th of April 1945. I've been back there three times. I didn't go this year. I may go to Europe next year. Now there's a monument there, and that was the 25th, and the war ended on May 7th. The ... Germans had no place to go, after the "link up." And I was fortunate. It's funny that 50 years later, I'm talking about these things.
KP: When did you start talking about the war? It sounds like you didn't talk about it for awhile after the war.
CC: Well, if you look in the tenth Reunion Book that our class had. We had an unusual class you know, '44. I didn't realize that until about five years ago, that '44 is an unusual class. Jotham Johnson, a member of the Rutgers Alumni staff, told me that. He said, "You were in a very unusual class." I now realize that he was an astute observer.
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CC: You have asked a good question.
KP: When did you first start talking about the war or writing about the war? Because you have been quite an avid reader and writer and talker about the war.
CC: ... For the Tenth Reunion - 1954, our class members were asked for information on what we were doing civilian wise, and I was not on the committee or anything, and I just wrote, and you can look in there. There's a little paragraph says nothing about the war that ... I recall. And we had other class books for the 25th, nothing about the war. The Black Fifty existed in '46, and everybody forgot about it. The 45th reunion we had a class book, had nothing about the war. I did say a little bit in there about I'd gone to Biarritz University and so forth. Nobody else did really. When I came here two years before my 50th reunion, I saw the book that the Class of '42 had. It was very poorly prepared. It was longhand writing and what professors you liked, why do you want to come back, nothing about the war, and they had a tremendous record, Class of '42, more casualties than '44. '43 had nothing about the war. The fellow that was president of the class, Frank Travisano, I asked him about that. He said, "Well, we just had a civilian book," and that was written in hand and so forth, and I felt ... and Jay Comeforo, who's our expert on class books, we ... thought that was a disgrace to the ... class to have books ... as poorly prepared as that. You know it's about as economical as you get. Maybe it cost them a buck a piece, I don't know. I had just been the editor of the 69th Division history book, which involved getting all sixteen units to contribute write ups and put it together. We had a book right after the war, but this was the first book we had 50 years later, and of course, I said I could distribute it. I ended up being the editor and I really, I didn't have much of a committee because there wasn't anybody near me, just the president of the association and I, and he was in Pennsylvania. We got together and went down to see the publisher, ... Turner Publishing, and we put a good book together. We had maps and so forth. This book was donated to the Rutgers Library and the Library of Congress.
KP: When was this?
KP: When did this all take place, all this planning?
CC: That took place. That book was done in about 1991.
KP: So you really, for the first 40 years you really ...
CC: The first 40 years I did nothing, said nothing about the war as far as Rutgers reunions, and Rutgers had no class that said anything about the wars. Isn't that correct? There's no book like that on Rutgers. There's no book like that on any school that I know of. I ... heard about the one from Texas A&M, but it's mostly civilians. West Point wrote me a letter and said that it's really unique to get that, and the people in Washington, at the Pentagon, had not seen anything like this. Well, I saw the books for '42, and the 50th anniversary of World War II coming up, and I saw the books for '43, and I had just had the honor of being the editor of the 69th Division history book, which is in the library. I think you've seen that. I loaned you that before. Obviously, having been an editor of a military history book, I knew something about it. Our 49th reunion, one year before our 50th, we had a preliminary, we had a dinner on a Friday night. And I had a chance to speak, and I brought a series of charts, and I said, "We are going to have a history book for our class, and it's going to come out next year for our reunion." We may have a separate civilian book. Jay Comeforo was there. I know we'll have that, but we're going to have a history book. It may be tighter, and it may be separate. And Doug McCabe happened to sit next to me. That was quite a coincidence. Now of course I've known Doug for a long time, but I couldn't of told you what he did in the military. I couldn't have told you what most people did because we didn't know. It was never recorded and disseminated.
KP: It sounds like you never really talked that much about the war?
CC: ... We didn't talk much about it, no. And I had a chart, and it actually had a picture of the cover. It said Rutgers Class of 1944, I said college, and I was corrected, make it University, Class of 1944 Military History Book, and I had pictures of the Remagen Bridge and some other stuff and some maps, and Doug McCabe said he'd help me. I didn't have any committee or anything, and eventually we got a hold of Harry Van Zandt. I knew he knew ... a lot about Korea. He'd been in the Korean War in addition to World War II, and he's a good ... artist. And it was really three guys plus, and here's what I want mention to you, we wanted to get the Marines story. We used Irv Baker who was a Marine. He got every one of the Marines to write their story. We wanted the Signal Corps. John Lawrence got all the Signal Corps guys to write their story. We wanted the engineers. Dave Sengstack, he's an engineer, he took care of that. We wanted the Air Force. Al Sidar started on that, did a very poor job, didn't want to do much more, he turned it over to us. Doug McCabe found two guys in the Air Force that were tremendous. I called the Air Force at Maxwell Field, Alabama, and I said we got these guys that were in these Air Force units, these squadrons, tell us more about it. ... "Oh, this guy was in this squadron. Oh, that was group so and so, and he gave us all that information." If we had had a real expert in the Air Force available he could have made the Air Force story a little better, but we have some good stuff in there and on the tankers, we had one guy out of five that was in the armored division, that's Ray Mortensen in Florida. He wrote the tanker's story. We sent the information to him. He wrote that story. So in each case we had somebody who was one member of that branch who was able to get the other guys, like paratroopers, we had five guys. We had one guy that went after the paratroopers. He did a good job. I'm convinced the only way to get any of these jobs done, including the oral history, is to get people in the classes that know people that will get them to do these things. If I wrote to the guy, Ernie Nedvins, who was in Guam, in the Marines in World War II and in the United States in the Korean War, he would of, he wouldn't have paid any attention to me, but Irv Baker got him to sit down and write his story for the first time. I got some guys from the Signal Corps that I know very well, that I pleaded with and they wrote their story. Ed Bodner and Lou Angililli. Nobody knows that Angililli, knew that he went to China, and that he ran a signal company over there outside of Shanghai, but now we know. Nobody knew that Pete Reynolds, who went to motor maintenance school but then was in the Fifth Division and in one of the battalions, I got a hold of his wife and got most of that story. So we decided if we're going to do it, let's do it right, and I had this wonderful executive committee for the reunion and for the scholarship fund that gave me the green light to produce an outstanding quality book. Don't worry about it. We'll get the money. That book cost us $9,000, and it's worth more than nine times what the other civilian books for the other classes cost.
KP: As a group you never really talked much about the war before the early 1990s. Why did you have this urge to write and talk about the war? I guess as comparison, Vietnam veterans have been often more willing to talk about their experience or fill this need, where as a lot of World War II people did not have this same urge to talk about the war.
CC: This has come ... out in everything you see on television, everything you read, about say, the World War II veterans or the babies of the Depression and so forth. For some reason, I mean, I know people in my town. I have to ask them what they did in the service and so forth because I've given talks in Ridgewood and know people that give talks where now some of this information is coming out. ... And I don't think the Legion has done a good job. I told somebody in town, a hell of a guy, ... Elwood Hearns, RU '44, who grew up in Ridgewood. I said here's the story. This is what happened to Elwood Hearns. They didn't know that because the only reason we know these things, we've asked people, to tell us. ... You saw our questionnaire: what theater you were in, what branch you were in, what division, all those questions, and if a guy says he was in the Fifth Division I can go and open that book. ... I know about him now because he was a guy that was in that unit, like a guy that played on a Stanford football team in a certain year. You can get information about that. I think my quest was to get some facts on the people, and we filled in a lot from the sources that we could. Again you asked a good question there, but I did have the opportunity, I said the honor, of being the editor of a infantry division history book, just two years before we did our book, and I don't know why I did it. My wife was, to this day, I mean, you write a book and you get tied up and ...
KP: Yes I understand.
CC: I mean I still got the files on these things at home and ...
KP: When you came back did you join the American Legion or the VFW?
CC: No. I don't know why. I never was a joiner. I now belong to a hobbyist group up in Ridgewood, and I belong to a tennis club, and obviously, I mean, we have all kinds of things, bowling and golf and tennis and so forth. No I never did, and I think the Legion hasn't done a good job. Maybe because they have guys like Crandon Clark around that don't offer to help them, but I don't know. ... What I've done, I've put my flag out everyday, and I go to the Memorial Day services and put flags in the cemeteries for my relatives. I think it's, for some reason or another, and World War II is supposed to have been the good war. I've enjoyed, I read every one of those biographies, ... I got them first, and I gave them to Doug McCabe. I know about people now in our class. We had a guy that got the Distinguished Service Cross. His name was Sargent. I don't remember him, but the archives had half of the people in that book [that] we haven't been in touch with for fifty years, but their records were there for us to use.
KP: Going back to your infantry days, I guess one of my questions is, what did you know about the various people above you, and maybe, I'd like to begin by asking you, what do you remember about your Captain, William Moore?
CC: The guy I liked, Captain George P. Moore, he had been in construction in the York, ... Pennsylvania area, and he went into the Army probably in '40. He was a captain, and the company commander of my company. He had been to the University of Alabama, maybe for a year or two. I don't think he was a college graduate. He was 37 years old when I knew him when I was 23. I think he was tremendous. I never asked for anything special. I took the Second Platoon. Sometimes he was critical of my not maybe trying to get along with the other officers or whatever. He told me I could be the best officer in the regiment if I changed my ways or something, but we got along all right, and I always carried out his orders or hoped I did. ...He had a lot [of] points, so he could go home right away, when the war ended in Europe - May 8, 1945, right at the end of the war, and I was still with the 69th, and he left. And I met him, he went back to the United States and found out he couldn't get a job for, what he, he said 85 dollars a week at that time in construction, so he went back in the service. And when I was going through Lucky Strike at Le Havre on the way home a year later, he was coming back to put in another year or two in Europe, and then I bumped into him twenty years later on Fifth Avenue one day, and I'm sorry I didn't follow him up because no one has seen him since the war except me, maybe, and I don't know that he's alive. I liked him. It was an honor, ... a pleasure to serve under him, and he's a guy that had his four years in when I met him. He knew something about the military. He had certain quirks, but he was a good leader.
KP: What were his quirks?
CC: Well, I don't know. He ... was different. He was a very neat dresser. He wanted his soldiers to look neat. He didn't chew you out for, you know, chicken shit stuff.
KP: But it's tough to be neat in a fox hole.
CC: He was a good guy. You wouldn't mind going into combat with him. He'd raise hell to get the help he needed from the battalion commander if he needed it. I don't know whether we got enough help at that town at Benterode, Germany, which was the name of the town where we had most of our casualties. I don't know whether he got the battalion commander to give him the artillery and the motor and machine gun and support that we could have used. I think we could have gone a little slower and knocked out those machine guns and not had as many casualties as we did have that day. We ... did it ... the tough way, with the infantry without ... the armor was behind us. They weren't in front of us. He was, he was a good, good guy, and I see four, five, or six of my fellow company people at reunions, and we all speak highly of Captain Moore.
KP: What about your regimental commander? That's more distant, but ...
CC: Well you went by battalion. That was a Colonel Raymond, who was a West Pointer, and he might have been about 45 years old, and he was a good man and above that was a Colonel Buie, B U I E, who was kind of an egotist. He was a southerner. We had black troops in our regiment. We had two black platoons, which was more than most regiments. Most regiments had one platoon of blacks toward the end of the war. We had two, and he was a southerner. I'm sure he took them against his will. I never saw the regimental commander during combat, I saw the battalion commander in combat a few times, I never saw the regimental commander, and I sure as hell didn't see the division commander, Major General Emil Reinhardt. He used to use the Division Combat Reconnaissance Squadron as his body guard in the rear echelon instead of using them out front the way they should have been used. They had the equipment. We did that ourselves in jeeps and our own stuff, you know. I didn't, I wasn't inspired. He wasn't any General Patton that would come down to talk to you, and, of course, I only saw the top guys when we were at Torgau, April 25-30, 1945 and when we were guarding the road, I saw everybody from General Bradley on down.
KP: You had mentioned that you had had several black units attached to your division. Did you have any contact on the battlefield or off the battlefield with them?
CC: No. I knew both white platoons [leaders] of these troops. ... Their platoon commanders were white, and they were in combat, and one of them was in our company. I felt sorry for a guy that had to go into combat as a white man ... and a white sergeant, a platoon sergeant, with 40 black troops because he was an obvious case of identity. He's the guy the Germans would shoot at. Of course, they became integrated in ... the Korean War, but not in World War II. Those people had a chance. I met the guy that wrote in my history book. ... He's a professor of religion at Wesleyan University, and he spent his life studying black troops in World War II, and he wrote or, helped me write an article. We put both our names on it telling about the black platoons of the ... 69th Division.
KP: Do any of the black troops come to reunions?
CC: Good question. One or two. At one of our reunions in California, and I had just finished a prostatectomy three years ago, and I didn't go to that reunion, a fellow called me up after that reunion. He said, "How come you didn't mention the black troops." He said, "One of the blacks came," gave me his name, and he wondered. And I said, "You got your history book there?" He said, "Yeah." I said, "Open it up and look in the index and look for the Fifth Platoons," and he opened it up and said, "Heck, you did." He said, "You tell a nice story here." He didn't know it was even in the book, and neither did the guy that came to the reunion that was claiming .... So, I was criticized for that by some people, but you know, I was the editor and that's what I thought ... was important. That's ... a pretty good article if you want to find out about black troops in the infantry, and how am I doing a lot of these things? When I went to the Rutgers Library and asked for the head of the archives and met Mr. Frusciano, I said, "I have a book I'd like to give you." I gave him a copy of the 69th Division history book because I'm a Rutgers graduate, and I thought they'd like to have it. That's how I met Tom, and I said, "By the way, what do you got on World War II, for Rutgers people?" And he gave me this printout which said they have records of the various people. I put that in the back of my mind, and I got a copy of the Order of Battle Book on World War II which I needed, and I went to my 49th reunion, and I said, "We're now going to have a history book." And I think you would agree, we now have one. So I did a favor for Tom Frusciano. He did a favor [for] me, and the best guy on research and production and everything else we have is Doug McCabe. If they had a Doug McCabe in the Class of '43, they'd probably have a book, and we were a good team. I think a lot of him, and he's ... doing a great job on this, I'm supposed to get the revised copy of the Black Fifty book from Doug. He can really put these things together.
KP: What was it like to lose a man in battle in your unit? Did you at all feel responsible?
CC: Well, I don't know. I'd like to feel that I paid attention. I made sure the guards were awake and on duty and if we had to take a position, I believed in fire and maneuver, and I told you, I sent one squad up to the left and one to the right and a guy up the middle. And I mean, I did all the basic textbook things, and I had a good pair of eyes, and I could see things. I had binoculars. I didn't have any missions where we supposed to take a heavily defended thing by, you know, by foot soldiers, myself. I think that that town I told you about, Benterode, where they had those machine gun nests that we didn't know about, that we should have waited, but the whole sense was, keep them off balance and keep going. We went twenty miles that day, but it took us three hours to take that little town. Then after that we went until we got to the next town when there was a delay. And then there was mostly white flags, and we had the tanks with us. But your question was?
KP: Did you feel at all responsible?
CC: Oh, (---?) killed. I went around, on ... the field, and I ... didn't know all the company and the men, [with a] 197 men in the company. There were guys in other platoons I had to ask other people, "Who is this?" because I had to identify them. They did have dog tags too, but I remember, some of these guys, they didn't look dead, but they were dead. You found out later they were hit in the head or whatever, and I wasn't around when the bodies were picked up. We moved on, and, you know, I see these movies where I'm moving ahead and somebody gets hit and ... I've got to keep going. I'm not the doctor. The aid man, you call for an aid man and you hope he can come up and take care of him. I would like to feel, first of all we were very fortunate that we did not ... take part in the Battle of the Bulge. We did not take part in the Normandy landing where the casualties were tremendously high. We got into combat when the ... Battle of the Bulge had been straightened out, six weeks after the 16th of December. And the forces that were against us were not generally the S.S.'s except in a couple of cases in Leipzig and in that town that I wasn't in at Eilenburg,on the Mulde River defending the Torgau area. So we met Volkstrum troops, and young troops unfortunately. Some of them didn't have shoes, fighting against us. They had weapons, and they had some leaders that knew what they were doing. I would like to think that we took enough precautions that we minimized the casualties in our ... group. Our division, I have a record of all these from that Order of Battle and right in there were some divisions had five and 6,000 casualties, our division, now I'm guessing, I forget, maybe we had 1529 casualties, 341 of whom were killed in action and 42 died of wounds. And of those, many survived. We ... were fortunate. We got in ... afterwards.
KP: If it had been just a few months earlier, you would have been in the Bulge?
CC: If you went into D-Day, and you were a second lieutenant, the 29th Division is an example. They probably had eight platoon leaders for each platoon over an eleven month period. They were in combat for 11 months. The First Division is the same. Bob Prentiss, RU '44, was in the First Division, but he became a reporter. He had been a B.A.R. man with five battle stars, but I think three of those were as a reporter, not as a infantryman.
KP: Before entering combat, did you know how dangerous it was to be a lieutenant in an infantry unit?
CC: I guess we heard.
KP: Because now if you look at the statistics it almost, you almost wonder why you did it, because you were almost signing your death warrant. But is that postwar realization?
CC: Right. No, we did hear. We were at OCS. We heard about Jack Everett, RU '43. I'll bet we heard a week later that he was killed. He was killed ... June 8th. Emil Potzer, RU '43 was a football player that I knew. He was killed over there. Ten or eleven other guys were killed, and most of them in Europe, you know, when they weren't in the Pacific. There's some rule of thumb I guess. An outfit that loses one third of their guys is no longer capable of fighting well. There replenishment system which they had, they didn't have it in the Civil War, you know, if you lost guys you got down to 50 guys, it was a regiment. We heard about these things, and [when] we went to England we met a lot of guys that had been in combat. They were at the hospitals there, and they would go to dances and so forth. I don't mean that we went into the hospitals to visit the sick. And they said get a lot of rest because once you're in combat you're not going to get much rest.
KP: Did you take that advice?
CC: What could you do about it really? You moved through the Siegfried Line, and you slept in the woods at night, and it was raining, and you'd go to move on the next morning, and you'd see the Germans had very skillfully made one of these abates, its a French word, (a road block using felled trees) where they blew up all the trees in the woods, so they'd come down like this, and they'd had mines in, and it took the engineers a half a day to clear that before we could move ahead. I mean, ... you did what you had to do when you had to do it, and then we ate a lot of German food, and we all got the G.I.'s and that, because we hadn't had stuff like that, you know, and we got this little town, Dahlem. ... I saw cases where guys were on guard. They're guarding a position for say the Second Division, and they were quite an outfit, and they were asleep in the daytime, which disturbed me. I think, as my men would not, they would know that they would have gotten chewed out if they did things like that, and the 80th Division, we relieved them near Kassel. ... They'd been in combat for several months, and they were shooting at rabbits and stuff and their bullets were bouncing off the road as we were moving up. Jackasses.
An awful lot of guys lost their lives, ridiculous action on the part of other people. One of our guys climbed up on a ... command, I'll call it a M-8 armored vehicle. It wasn't a tank, but ... one that the recon, the tank destroyers used. He was supposed to have his lock on his rifle engaged, so he couldn't pull the trigger. He didn't, and he climbed up. The trigger was pulled, and the guy standing above him was shot and killed unnecessarily. Another guy, probably didn't want to stay in combat, he put his hand around the outside of a pill box, and let a grenade go off and blew his hand off. It was definitely a self-inflicted wound. Another guy was cleaning his pistol, and he shot himself in the ... leg. Another guy was searching a house in Witzenhausen with another fellow and the guy had a B.A.R., and a B.A.R. was a very sensitive gun. You could look at the damn thing and it would go off, and a lot of rounds, twenty rounds before you knew it. He was searching a house ahead of this guy with a B.A.R., not a good gun to use searching a house and his gun went off and shot the guy in the legs, didn't kill him. Stupid things. We had a case in another regiment where they took a satchel charge, ... a platoon of 30 or 40 men was going to go out and take a pill box. They brought the satchel charge in this barn, and some how or other the God damn thing went off and killed everybody in the barn. A satchel charge should never have been brought into the barn. Reminds me of what President Reagan did in Lebanon, with the Marines you know, that type of thing. So an awful lot of people were killed.
I'll tell you what I did. ... We were in reserve when we first went into combat at the Siegfried Line. We knew we were going to be called down to replace one of the regiments, so I went down to reconnoiter what the line was like, got a jeep, got our driver, we had two jeeps in our company, drove right down to the front lines and right through the front lines out to no-mans land, on a foggy morning. I was two or 300 yards out in front of our lines. They don't have a big white Hollywood type fence that says, "This is the front line." They don't have anything, and these dumb guys let us go through, G.I.'s. Fortunately somebody put some tanks in the road, some mines, and they didn't bury them. If they had buried them, we'd been out of luck. We saw those mines. This must be, and then we heard these guys, get back, get back, your out in no-man's land, so the driver backed up, and we got [back]. But if the Germans, they must have seen us, and they could have shot us, or they could have captured us and ...I would have been court martialed for turning myself over to the enemy. So I was eager. ... But two nights later we went down and occupied that same position, and I had seen it at daylight, so it was helpful, in that respect. The other mistake I made was telling my platoon sergeant he could go back to Paris on a pass, and I never saw him again until the war ended. So those are my mistakes. You know, I have never, since I had my prostatectomy three years ago been in a situation where I didn't use a toilet for more than four or five hours, and I have not used a toilet since I left home this morning. Just shows you what you could do. Are we about finished?
KP: Well, we can finish now.
CC: I'll stay to finish, but let me run to the john.
KP: Yes, that's fine.
KP: I guess I have some questions about daily life on the line. How often did your unit get a hot meal?
CC: Yeah, that's interesting, you ask. When we were in the Siegfried it was kind of open and you couldn't have any. The mess sergeant operates out of a truck. The food was cooked and put [in] these, in a covered area which was a kitchen, in these marmite cans, and they would deliver them up to the platoons, but there was many a day when we didn't get that hot meal at night, and they would give it to us in the morning. Finally the regimental commander heard about it, and he said, "Throw it away and cook breakfast for them. Don't give them a hot dinner, in the morning," which we liked. You know, that was better.
KP: You preferred to have breakfast?
CC: Oh, yeah. Right. ... We didn't get hot meals much in the ... line. When we moved into that town and waited two weeks to cross the Rhine, we had a treat with hot meals because ... there was no enemy around and the place were secure. K-rations with a little cheese and maybe some ham in a can and some crackers. Those you could carry with you, and then there was C-rations in a can. You had to open the can and the tankers, and occasionally, they had better meals, they had a ten and one where they could feed ten people, and they had little stoves which we didn't have. We did get little tabs that we used to heat our hands with in the winter, and you could also use that little tab to heat a cup, your canteen cup. The canteen cup had a little hook on it. If you didn't have [it] hooked securely, as I didn't once. I was heating my coffee, water for coffee, put the powder in. It was the real beginning of, we call it Nescafe now, it's instant coffee, and as I went to pick it away from the fire the damn thing tipped, and I didn't have anything. Water, if they didn't have adequate supply, you could use these tablets, Vaseline, I forget what they called them, or ... the company had a water thing, where they purified the water, and you could go and ... fill your canteen. In combat situations, the infantry that I was with, I would say about every other day you didn't get a hot meal, and then when you did, for a while it was the last night's dinner that you never got, and you got it the next morning. And they said, "Lets give 'em, cook 'em breakfast, and coffee and stuff." Lunch usually was a K-ration. They didn't make sandwiches or anything like that. I don't know, you got along. You would hope to get one hot meal a [day], ideally a hot breakfast and a hot ...
KP: Hot dinner.
KP: What about a shower? How many showers did you have during the war when you were actually in combat?
CC: You went back. Every now and then they'd take a group back on the truck, and they had showers set up, and they had the ... water being heated, and you usually got clean underwear and clean socks and ... in the winter you're supposed to carry a dry pair of socks in your shirt. ... We had a lot of guys that we lost because of trench foot, and I think some of it was intentional. They didn't take care of themselves. That was a high part of the 90,000 casualties in the Battle of the Bulge.
KP: And you think some of it was a deliberate effort by some men to contract trench foot?
CC: They didn't take care of themselves, just like a guy not cleaning his rifle. ... If a guy's wounded, he should be, have the wound taken care, so he doesn't become so serious that he has to go back. We got along, meal wise. I mean, I can't ever remember being completely [hungry], it was always something. Maybe those little chocolate bars which didn't taste very good, to eat, but we liked it when we did get a hot meal. Now in the Army, ... when I went back to Paris right after the war, the day after the war, you took your mess gear and you had a jeep and a driver. You took your weapons, but you didn't need them, fortunately, and you'd stop. You'd see a group of Army guys, a company. You'd stop and identify yourself and get in line with your mess kit. You had to have your mess kit. They didn't have them for you, and you'd dip it into hot water, sterilize it. You'd eat the food. You'd clean it and sterilize it again and leave. You ask permission, but that's ... how you operate in the Army. You didn't need any money. There weren't any stores open.
KP: How good were the medics and how good was the medical care for the men who were wounded?
CC: The medics were people that had some medical training. Each platoon (40 men) had a medic, and their helmets were painted with a large red cross on a white background. In our Class of '44 Military History Book you'll see two pictures of medics. I purposely [put them in] because we had two men that got the Combat Medics Badge, Shoehalter and a guy who's also name begins with "s" who's up in Buffalo right now, and ... those guys I give a lot of credit to. They weren't allowed to carry weapons. They had to go out and help people that were wounded, and they did, and they had extra bandages and so forth. And they'd crawl up next to a guy. And we had two of the medics in our company, and we had one in each platoon. We probably had four medics, two of them were killed. Now I think the Germans just shot at guys that had those helmets on with the white. They were good, yet when a guy was killed they couldn't do much for him, except maybe help identify them. ... One of the guys that was with me in my platoon, he ... was killed, not in the Siegfried Line, but he's the guy that didn't want to watch, you know. He wouldn't, he said, "No, we can't." ... They don't carry ... weapons. I didn't ask them to, but they said no, "We can't be guards ...," which I didn't think was right because the guy in his ...foxhole had to stay awake all the time. They were good. They were necessary, made you feel better that there was somebody around that [care for you if wounded]. Now what happened after that, I mean, people were brought back and then the field hospitals were nearby. They probably had vehicles they could pick these people up and take them back.
KP: But you were pretty confident that there was adequate medical care for those who were wounded?
CC: A medic would ... take care of them, there were no doctors around. These were medics, men that had some training. They would get them back. There weren't any vehicles generally ... out in the open. ... Two people carry them back. I didn't see any stretchers, and we radioed to somebody in battalion. We had to ... send a jeep up to take this fellow back. No, ... rifle companies only had two vehicles, two jeeps. Where as say a weapons company might have twenty jeeps because they had weapons to carry.
KP: What about the chaplains? Did you encounter chaplains at all?
CC: Yeah, there was a Father Freen (Captain) who was a Catholic chaplain from Brooklyn. He used to serve mass on the front of a jeep, on the hood of a jeep, maybe his jeep, probably was. And when you can, you went to mass and received communion. It wasn't necessarily on a Sunday. ... He was one chaplain for a whole regiment. Now I'd say one Catholic chaplain, 3,200 men. There were probably two others, maybe a Jewish chaplain and maybe a Protestant.
KP: How close did the chaplains get to the battlefield?
CC: I don't think they got very close. I never saw them there. ... They were behind. They were at battalion, you know, maybe near battalion headquarters probably.
KP: What were the first German prisoners that you took?
CC: The first German prisoners that I took were when we got the word that we could move through the Siegfried Line. And we had taken prisoners before that, but I didn't. Again, our regiment was in reserve when two of our regiments were up front for maybe two or three weeks, and they had to go out and take pillboxes and get prisoners. I didn't have any of that experience. When we moved through the Siegfried, and the Germans were trying to get out of the Rhineland, we took some prisoners that, you never knew whether they had sort of uniforms on, but they looked like they were people from the local towns that got a uniform and a gun. And we didn't know what they might do, so we thought it best not to leave them as we advanced. We made them come back with us and get in the column and be taken to the rear. After that, when we were up near Kassel, and we went out and took these prisoners, again, we marched them back and somebody else took them. ... Let me give you an example. When I took the first three that I took, it wasn't my mission, and I was told to see what they were doing, but our mission was to move ahead. You know the old rule is to follow your orders if you're supposed to go up and take a bridge, don't go off and do something else.
... Later on we would take ... [more prisoners], we were on tanks. We had one platoon. We'd often took some towns. We'd take a hundred prisoners. We'd get them to ... take their guns and lay them on the road, and this was my method, and I'd just have the tank run over those guns, so they could never be used again. They were these mauser rifles, German mausers, and then those guys marched back with one or two guards. Later on we would say, it was like a parade, thousands, regiments at a time, marching back under German commanders with maybe no guards. ... Finally they realized, get out of the Russian zone. We were in the Russian zone. We crossed into Thuringia, which is ... where the ... Werra, W E R R A, River meets the Weser near Hansmunden. ... We didn't know at that time that it was the dividing line between the US and Soviet occupation zones. We knew where we were, but we didn't know that ... at Yalta that was finalized that would be ... Thuringia [would be] Russian. That's the way they divided up Germany, by states, but you'd never see this in writing. But that's the way it was done, finalized at Yalta-in February 1945 by the Big 3 Powers. They got five states of Germany. And the German high command knew about how it was going to be divided. If they'd been real smart they would've told all of the Germans to surrender to the Americans and the British, but they didn't. And the ones that didn't surrender were captured by the Russians. Most of them went off to Russia and never came back. Well these [Germans] ... must have suspected it would be better to have the Americans take them prisoner rather than the Russians, so that's why we got so many of them. I ran a prison camp in Austria after the war with 4,000 German prisoners.
KP: What was that experience like?
CC: Well, these weren't the real tough ones. ... They found out where [they lived], checked them out, and they'd let them, put them on a train, and they could go home. And most of them had to walk a great distance, and if you needed drivers, they all knew how to drive trucks and there were no discipline problems there, hardly at all, except somebody stealing from somebody elses pack. And the Germans ran the camp. I was the American commander and a German major reported to me. ... I needed a shave, he'd have five barbers there or whatever, cutting my hair. That was ... the assignment I had before I went to school at Biarritz, France. Fortunately they let me go. And that camp was a former camp used by the Germans, for either ... allied personnel or displaced persons, barbered wire and all that stuff.
KP: When were you the most scared in battle or on the line?
CC: The most scary thing for me was when I was in the front of a column and the Germans were backing, moving slowly back with that tiger tank that there was no where to go except up that road, and they had control of it. Fortunately they didn't have half a dozen of those tanks. We did have the Germans outnumbered ten to one in armor towards the end, though. They had better armor, but we had more and more tank fuel. Scary was when you were, I would much rather have been back in Paris with the Signal Corps or back at the Quartermaster taking care of the showers. I think in that three months of combat I might've had a chance to take a shower twice, but we did get into some houses where they had some running water and stuff, which was just as good or better. But we didn't have any movies or anything like that. You know, some people back in division headquarters, they probably had a movie every night. Just that little difference, three or four miles from the front line to the ...
KP: So you could see that life got better just a few miles up the road.
CC: Yeah, .. I mean I'm glad I had the experience, and you know, I poo-poo people that stayed in the states, that didn't go overseas at all. They get the same deduction I get on my property taxes and so forth. But I'm not bitter. I got a lot out of the military, I think. Experience is good, military experience. Combat is something you don't want again, but you're proud of it, that you got through it, and you didn't turn and run. And the G.I. Bill of Rights ... gave me a graduate education at no cost to me, which I think ... was a wonderful step on the part of the US government to provide.
KP: Well that might be a good place to stop now, but I want to conduct a follow-up interview at some point. ...
---------------------- END OF INTERVIEW -------------------------
Revised 7/19/96 by Linda E. Lasko
Reviewed 7/26/96 by G. Kurt Piehler
Edited 7/31/96 by Susan G. Contente
Corrections 8/1/96 by G. Kurt Piehler
Reviewed 8/14/96 by Crandon Clark
Corrections 9/11/96 by Sandra Holyoak
Reviewed 9/12/96 by Kurt Piehler