Shaun Illingworth: This begins an interview with Mr. Alexander Horanzy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 14, 2014, with Shaun Illingworth. Thank you very much for having me here. To begin, could you tell me where and when you were born?
Alexander Horanzy: ... I was born in Poland. The reason why I was born in Poland, my parents came over here in 1916. They got married and had three children. They decided to take a trip to Poland. I was then born in Poland on April 22, 1922, and was about three months old before we returned to the United States. So, they just went over for a vacation with our three siblings and I was born at that time and this is what happened. To this day, I don't know anything about Poland, only what my parents have told me. ...
SI: What part of Poland were they from?
AH: That's up in the northeastern part. Right now, my father was born in Janow, J-A-N-O-W. That's right by Bialystok. It's up north. That's [the] northeastern part of ... [Poland], about maybe about twenty miles off the border of Russia. Also, my mother was born there. Altogether they had seven children,but I'm the only sibling that was born in Poland. The rest were born here in the United States. ...
SI: Do you know why your parents immigrated to the US?
AH: [laughter] That's a good question. I think they thought the streets were paved with gold and everything that was around here was just fine. Well, actually, to make a long story short, they came over for a better life, like everyone else did at that time, because they were out of work, they were hardly educated, so that they figured, "It's a place of opportunity, here in the United States." That was why they came.
SI: Did they get married in the US?
AH: They got married in the US. They got married here in Philadelphia, the section called Manayunk--St. John the Baptist Church, in 1916.
SI: Did your parents know each other in Poland?
AH: No. ... I think my mother, she must've [had] relatives here, in the United States somewhere. I can't put my finger on it, but what happened, I think they met on the ship, believe it or not, yes, is what happened, and so, they got married, 1916.
SI: For the record, what were their names?
AH: Oh, now, these are--the last name's Horanzy. Horanzy is, like, it's like a phonetic from--they changed the names around when they came to this country. His name was (Horazy?) in Polish and, what happened, they changed it to Horanzy, H-O-R-A-N-Z-Y, see. ... My mother's maiden name, that's a hard one, Grabowiecka. [laughter] That was her maiden name.
SI: How do you spell that?
AH: Well, I have to show you on a piece of paper, later on, okay. ... I'll show you the pictures when I get done. Yes, I've got pictures of [their] wedding. I'll show it to you.
SI: When your father came to this country, what did he do for a living?
AH: He was a laborer, but, after that, he decided he wanted to better himself. ... He worked in the steel mills during the Depression. Then, he became a salesman like, a dry goods salesman, ... but, during the Depression, it was hard even doing that kind of job, because nobody had money to buy anything. So, it was tough, because, what happened, they had seven children when the Depression hit. ...
SI: You said that there were three siblings older than yourself.
AH: Well, there were, let's see, one, there's two, three--I was number four, yes, number four, yes.
SI: How many boys and how many girls?
AH: We had five boys and two girls. The only one living, is my brother and myself. He's about eighty-three and, right now, I'm going on ninety-two, so, yes.
SI: Which area of Philadelphia did you grow up in? Was it Manayunk?
AH: Manayunk, right next to Roxborough, that section, yes.
SI: Can you tell me a little bit about the neighborhood that you grew up in?
AH: Well, Manayunk was made up of different ethnic groups. There was the St. John the Baptist, it's an Irish church, there was St. Josaphat's, that's a Polish church, there was St. Lucy's, that's an Italian church, there's Holy Name Church [Holy Family Church?], that was a German church. They had all ethnic groups. They had their little sections, groups, they lived among, but they all got along good. So, they all came from the same field of looking for opportunities at that time.
SI: On your block, was there a mixture of Irish, German, Polish, etc.?
AH: Oh, a mixture, yes, but that's right, like, the Germans, they stayed in one section, Polish stayed in another section, the Irish stayed in their section, but they all mingled. There was nothing what you'd call anything wrong-doing, but they all had tough times, like anybody else, especially during the Depression times.
SI: Did your family move around at all or did they pretty much stay on the same street?
AH: They probably moved around. As far as I remember, only one, but before that they probably did move around different sections, until they got situated among their own people, because they could not talk English until later on. My dad, he took some correspondence courses and he started trying to get educated.
SI: Can you tell me about any Polish traditions that were kept up in your household?
AH: About what?
SI: Do you recall if your family kept up any Polish traditions in your household?
AH: Oh, they always did, yes, especially around the holidays, Easter, Christmas. They have their own celebrations, they have their own styles of eating, preparing food and everything else.
SI: Can you give me some examples? For example, at Christmas, what would you do that was different in the Polish tradition?
AH: Well, they always had, like, seven courses of fish--and I never liked fish [laughter]--but they always baked cakes and cookies and traditional things and they used to have nativity sets of Jesus. They think it's all fun, but what the parents did was a lot of work they went through. With like, kids, when you're young, five, six years old, ten, twelve, they don't realize what parents do, especially during the Depression. It was tough then.
SI: Can you tell me a little bit about how the Depression affected your family?
AH: Oh, let's see, during the Depression, my mother died in 1936, and my father, he had to take care of seven kids and things were really tough in the Depression. ... What happened, they had this welfare thing going on, like, if you were a teenager, you're seventeen years old, eighteen, nineteen, they used to get these young fellows to volunteer or put them in the CC camp, what they called Civilian Conservation camps. They served for about six months, which was very good for the kids. They learned how to take care of the environment, build roads, and then, clean up the environment, which was very good, which they don't have that today. At that time, when you joined the CC camps, I think they were for thirty dollars a month and that thirty dollars a month went to the people that were on welfare. Like my dad, he almost lost his house, but what happened, he put it up, that he'd like to get welfare. [Editor's Note: The Civilian Conservation Corps was an agency that was part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, which employed young unemployed males in outdoor conservation projects from 1933 to 1942. The young men could send most of their pay home as an allotment to support their families.] So, altogether, by the time it was over, he owed four thousand dollars to the welfare, but, now, they ... would not take that money as long as he's alive, but, when he died, passed away, the house is up for sale, we had to give the welfare back the four thousand dollars. So, that's what happened. So, we turned over the money to the welfare.
SI: Did any of your older siblings go into the CCC camps?
AH: What happened, my oldest brother, he went and then, my youngest brother, he went, too. I don't know whether it was during the war or maybe about a year before the war, six months before the war started. I think he went to the CC camps, too, but my first brother, he was out already, but, then, the second brother went in. So, that's the one that was killed in Okinawa, the first one, or the second one, but, here, what happened to me--in fact, that was back in 1939--I was going to go to a CC camp, believe it or not, and then, I figured, "Well, wait a minute, I think I'm going to join the military," which I always wanted to do. So, I went in with some other fellows. I went in with three other fellows, me and two other fellows. So, I told these fellows, "The first military organization that's recruiting people for the military, I'm going to join up." The first one I went into was the Army. So, I took it. You had to be eighteen, but I told them I'm seventeen. So, I lied. I told them I'm about a year older than I was supposed to be. I took the papers up to my dad and I told him. He didn't want to sign at first, but I talked him into it. So, he signed it. I went. I wound up in the Army, and the other two fellows, they went into the Marines, yes, and this is what happened. So, I stayed with the Army.
SI: Before we talk about your time in the service, can you please tell me a little bit more about growing up in this neighborhood? What kind of things would you do for fun? Did you have to go out to work?
AH: Work, especially if you were a teenager, there's no work at all, because, during the Depression, the people, like the people that were married, they have kids, they took any kind of Depression [job]. Like, during the Depression, they had, like, these welfare programs where they had the man of the family gets a job for the WPA--that's what you called the Works Progress Administration. So, the dads used to go out and work for fifteen dollars a week and ... he could have six or seven children he's got to take care of, and that was pretty tough, yes. [Editor's Note: The Works Progress Administration, or, after 1939, the Works Project Administration, was an agency that was part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and employed millions on public works projects like buildings and roads, as well as in specialized areas, such as the arts, from 1935 to 1943.] So, what I used to do when I was a kid, I was about twelve, thirteen years old, I used to do caddying. I used to go up and carry golf clubs for the players. We used to get a dollar for four hours' work. [laughter] That was good money and, if you were a good caddie, the player would usually give you maybe ten cents or a quarter tip. [laughter] So, that was good. ... People did anything to get money. People used to go to these dumps, where they used to throw a lot of stuff out in the field, especially from the factories. I remember, my neighbor, he had about four or five kids, the straps that they used to turn the machinery--the old-time machinery, they had leather straps--they used to take the leather straps and use it for shoes, which [they] put on their shoes, and they used to distribute the leather to the neighbors sometimes, so [that] they could put shoes, the leather, on the kids, yes.
SI: I know many people tried to raise food themselves during the Depression by having large gardens.
AH: Oh, yes.
SI: Living in that area, was your family able to plant a large garden?
AH: Well, they had small gardens, but they used to do all their cooking themselves, like, what I mean? Like, stores, they had stores, but you just didn't have money to buy it. You didn't have anything. ... If somebody's advertising for an opening in a job, maybe they've got two, three openings, I mean, you got guys out there early in the morning, five, six o'clock in the morning, waiting to get called, and, yet, there's a couple hundred people out there waiting and they only have jobs for about two or three people. That was like Budds Mfg. I remember Budds when I was a kid. I'd seen all these people, I didn't know what the heck they're doing. I told my dad, "What the heck they doing out there?" He said, "Well, they've got some opening for a job. They're all looking for a job. They can't get it." So, that's it.
SI: Do you recall seeing many people who were down on their luck, hobos, coming through town?
AH: Oh, well, they'd been all around. They would sleep out in the street. They used to sleep in flophouses and everything, yes. They didn't have nothing like that. People did anything--they even bootlegged, for goodness sake. One time, I was at the road, I was with my dad, there was a coal truck there. On top of the coal truck was all coal, but the state troopers checked out the truck, took the tarpaulin off the truck, found all five-gallon bootleg whiskey, yes. The top was filled with coal and the bottom was filled--the whole platform's filled--maybe about twenty five-gallon containers are filled with alcohol, bootleg whiskey. So, they had things like that, to make them a buck, yes. [Editor's Note: The era of Prohibition began on January 17, 1920, with the enactment of the Eighteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, set in motion by the Volstead Act. It ended with the ratification of the Twenty-First Amendment to the US Constitution on December 5, 1933.] Even when people used to dispose of their trash, people used to go look in other people's trash, see what they could salvage. They used to follow the dump trucks out in the dump where they used to dump all that stuff and some people used to set up shacks. They used to live out in the dumps for some good equipment they could salvage out of the trash. ... I remember things like that. ... Depression was coming to the end when the U.S. entered World War II and while President Roosevelt was in office.
SI: Can you tell me a little bit about where you went to school?
AH: Oh, I hated school. I don't know whether I should tell you this, record this or not. They ruined my education, to be honest with you. So, I was about ... six, seven years old, me and this one fellow, young kid. The nun picks us each up, me and him, and puts us in a dark cellar in the basement of the church, all dark. I wondered, "What the heck did I ever do?" I didn't know what I ever did and the kid didn't even know what he did. ... Before she took us down there, she says, "The place is filled with rats," and everything else she's saying. She's telling us [this] and we're scared as heck. After all, we're only six, seven years old and it's dark. So, we just ignored her, but she puts us in that darn basement and she closes the door. That kid with me, he started screaming his head off. The nun didn't even bother coming in until about an hour or two later to see what he's doing. So, she comes, looks at us. I'm not saying nothing, I'm not crying or nothing, I'm just keeping my mouth shut. What happened, two hours after we're in the basement, she takes him out, because he's yelling his head off, but she left me in there. So, here, twelve o'clock, she pulls me out to eat, she puts me back down again, and so, I said, "How come you took him out, you didn't take me?" "Well, he was scared. You weren't scared." I said, "You know why I wasn't scared? I was afraid the rats would come and get me." This is what happened.
AH: I still don't know what happened that day, but that sort of ruined my education. ... Even when I had kids after I got married, I wasn't going to send them to Catholic school, but, eventually, I sent every one to Catholic school, because I used to question them, ... "How do you like school?" ... They loved the Catholic school, but, to me, that stayed with me all through all my years of going to school and, even when I went to eighth grade and all that through the Catholic school, I didn't have faith in the nuns or anything like that, because it was embedded in me, because I used to have nightmares with that stuff.
SI: Sure, of course.
AH: So, that's what they used to do. I used to tell my children, I told my wife, "I'll never send my kids to Catholic school," but the kids wanted to go to the Catholic school. I sent them, they done great. ... I'm glad I did, in a way, but it didn't suit me any, because, you know, what they did when you're young, that stays with you. They leave an indelible mark on your soul, ... and you won't forget it. ...
SI: In general, did the Church play a big role in your life?
AH: The Church? Oh, they did. Oh, yes, they did. The way I looked at it, when I was there, when I used to go to school, they used to put the fear of God to you. ... Very seldom did they put the love of God--they put both of them, but the fear of God, I remember, they used to say, "You see this fellow out there, he's fixing the roof? He's got ... this fire pit going and he's got all this tar, all this fire burning up the tar, so [that] he could fix up the roof. If you die, you're going to go to hell and this is what it is, just like hell, what he's doing there," and I remember that. I still remember that and, sometimes, you'd see a crippled, old man when we're out on recess and we felt sorry for him. ... Some of the nuns said, "See what happens? He must've been a bad person. God punished him," things like that. So, it all depends. They don't do that anymore. They didn't do it to me only, most of my friends I used to hang around, they had the same treatment I did and they remembered that, how bad it was, yes, but, well, it's not all the nuns. A lot of nuns were good. They were doing the job, but a couple of these particular nuns, ... what they done to the children and what I've seen, they should've been arrested for child abuse, because if you'd go tell your parents that you were punished by the nuns, you'd better not tell them, because you're going to get whacked yourself, because they had faith in the nuns at that time, and the priests and everything. It wasn't only the Polish parish there--all of them were just like that. They always put the fright of God into their souls, instead of the love of God. ...
SI: Was it a Polish order of nuns?
AH: It was a Polish [order], yes, St. Joseph's. I think it was St. Joseph's, a Polish order of nuns, yes.
SI: When you were growing up, since your parents spoke Polish, did you grow up speaking Polish?
AH: Yes, yes. I still know how to speak Polish, yes, but I didn't start speaking--I'd always been educated ... in Polish, until I got out on my own, until I was seventeen, I left home.
SI: Was it difficult for you when you went to school? Did your classmates also speak Polish?
AH: Well, when I met somebody; ... no, at first, then Polish school had Polish and English. They used to teach Polish and English and, when you used to go to church, we used to have the Mass in Polish and, when the kids used to go to church, say, eight, nine years old, you'd go to church, the priest says the Mass in Polish and you'd better know what he said, because the next [day], you go to school Monday, the nuns are going to ask you, "What did he say?" and you have to know it. So, a few times, to me, I didn't know it and I got punished for it, loaded me down with homework, put me in the back room with the other kids that are stupid, and this is what the heck happened. Instead, there's the schools [today], before that, when a kid had a hard time studying or something, they used to put them in the back and they put the smart kids up front, to show an example. They used to bring a smart kid up and recite his lessons in front of the whole class, and then, the nuns used to point their finger at this kid, "This is what you should be doing, what he's doing. See how? He's going to go somewhere when he gets bigger." [laughter] So, that's what they did. I remember the bad things about most of them, hardly, the [good things].
SI: It sounds very traumatic.
SI: The cellar, particularly.
AH: Yes, you live with it. You live with that type of style and it stays with you all the time, and, now, speaking about going to church, I listened to the parish priest talk and I was called up a few times. "Now, what did he say in Polish?" Well, I said a few words and, "I don't know." So, twice it happened to me. So, I figured, "Well, what the heck?" I said, "I'm going to get punished every time I go to church, don't know what the heck he's talking about." So, here, what happened, what I used to do, my mother and father sent me off to church when I'm nine years old, I was supposed to go to church, but I used to take a walk around the block and, right after, an hour later, I'd show up at home. They said, "You go to church?" "Yes, I went to church," but I never did. The reason why, "Why should I go to church if I'll get punished if I don't learned my lessons?" So, I figure, "If I get punished, I [will] deserve it," but I skipped a lot of church, not going to church a lot, when I was young, but, then, I started to get educated more. So, when I was a little older, I [went more often?].
SI: When you were younger, what kind of things would you do for fun? Were you into sports or anything else?
AH: Oh, no, we used to go fishing a lot. We used to swim at the Wissahickon Creek, used to swim down the Schuylkill River. Oh, yes, we used to do a lot of fishing, yes, and, sometimes, we used to go out there, raid the farmer's apple trees or pear trees, yes. We did that. [laughter] When nobody's looking, we used to sneak up. We were children then, because this was during the Depression. So, we used to sneak into the garden. Whatever they've got growing, you used to pick it up and take care of ourselves, yes.
SI: The area was more rural back then.
AH: Oh, yes, this was all during the Depression time, I'm talking about, yes, but that's what happened there.
SI: What did your family think of Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal policies?
AH: Oh, they thought he was a great guy, oh, yes, because, during the Depression, it was pretty tough, but, since the war started, he took us out of the [Depression]. ... Well, it was him, but, when the war started, they started to get jobs and everything else. Plus, he created a couple of ideas, like, people were still getting welfare, and then, he had the NRA, National Recovery Act. He had that going on, too. So, he tried his best. I think everyone loved the President.
SI: Before you entered the service, had you ever traveled much beyond Philadelphia?
AH: Let's see, [laughter] this was when I was about thirteen or fourteen years old. We decided we're going to take a long trip down there, ... me and this fellow [who] went to school with me. He says, "Well, we're going to go to North Carolina," see somebody down there that he knows. So, we started hitchhiking. Now, we were supposed to be in school. So, we started hitchhiking. Here, the police picked us up at Laurel, Maryland, and he says, "What are we doing out on the road? It's ten o'clock at night." He said, "We're going down to see our grandmother," [laughter] but we didn't have any grandmother. So, he got wise. He says, "Look," he knew what we were doing. He saw we were hitchhiking, and then, we finally told him, "We're hitchhiking down to North Carolina." So, he took us to the police station. He held us until our parents came down and picked us up. [laughter] Oh, God, things like that, well, that's the lifestyle, yes. ...
SI: In the years before you went into the service, in the late 1930s, were you following what was happening in the world? Did you follow the news about Hitler taking over in Germany and taking over other European countries?
AH: Well, at that time, yes. ... I was seventeen in 1939 and Hitler was already doing his dirty work there, right. I remember that. I remember about China, too, ... Japan invaded China, yes. I still remember that, also.
SI: At that time, did you think American forces would be drawn into the war?
AH: Well, at that time, no, but I used to see the movies in that time, and you used to see the newsreel, used to get all your information from that and from the radio and I used to remember that, used to show photos, like, the main attraction, especially when the war's going on between China and Japan, used to watch that.
SI: Growing up in, as you said, a mixed neighborhood, do you recall people being very pro-Axis or anti-Axis?
AH: Oh, there's a couple places I knew that there's one pro-Axis, yes. I do remember that, yes, especially depends what country you're from. Maybe, if you're German, sometimes, you have feelings for the country there; if you're Italian, you have a feeling for Italy and I remember a couple places, ... a couple of these people, they had drugstores and they belonged to the Bund organization during World War [II], before World War II, and I remember them. There were a couple of them, about two or three of them. Then, there was a bakery shop, they belonged to it, too, up in Roxborough. They belonged to the Bund organization and, when Germany started, they used to shun themselves, you know. They looked like they went underground. They didn't expose themselves too much, but they were around, yes. I still remember that.
SI: Would they have swastika flags in their businesses?
AH: There was one place had a swastika flag. Yes, he had it in his kitchen, hanging over like a curtain. He used it for a curtain, like, the flag, or maybe he used it for a signal, I don't know. He used to put it down and put it up--maybe he had things going on there, like meetings or something. If the flag's up, maybe meeting, if the flag's down, no meeting--I don't know, but that's what I thought he was doing, you know. So, yes, there were a lot of pro-people. ... They stuck up for their nationalities, especially during the war.
SI: Did your family stay in touch with any family members in Poland?
AH: Yes, they did. Actually, I've still have relatives living in Poland, but I never went there. I've got letters from them, pictures at home here.
SI: Do you know if your family got any word about how their family was faring in the lead up to the war?
AH: When was that, before the war?
SI: Either before the war or during the war, did you get any word from the family about what they were going through?
AH: No, no, I didn't get no word, no, no.
SI: Your mother passed away in 1936.
SI: Was your father able to keep all the children together in the same household?
AH: Well, like I said, two went to the CC camp. The oldest one went to the CC camp and also youngest went to the CC camp. So, we had five brothers and two sisters, yes.
SI: How many of your siblings went into the service?
AH: ... Let's see, wait a minute, ... we're all in the service, five brothers were in the service, yes, five of us. I was the first one to go in. I went in back in 1939 and I think the other two, they joined the Navy, and the last one, he joined the Army. Counting me, it's five, yes.
SI: You were seventeen when you joined the Army in 1939. Which month did you join the Army?
AH: July 13, 1939. I got discharged July the 13th, 1945, when the war was almost over, six years.
SI: Tell me a little bit about going into the Army, reporting in. You mentioned why you joined the Army, but what were those first few days and weeks in the Army like?
AH: First days and weeks?
AH: ... As soon as I went in?
SI: Yes. Where did you have to report? What was the process like?
AH: Okay. When I first went in, I ended up at Fort Meade, Maryland. It was the 66th Infantry (Light Tanks) outfit. It's a tank outfit I went into. They were stationed at Fort Meade. [Editor's Note: The oldest armored unit in the US Army, the 66th Infantry Regiment (Light Tanks), originally stationed at Fort Meade, became the 66th Armored Regiment in July 1940 and joined the Second Armored Division at Fort Benning, Georgia.] We stayed at Fort Meade. Well, this is where I had my basic training because they did have facilities there for training and everything else. ... The first thing you'd done was, they'd take you out, they process you and feed you and clothe you, and then, you're there to take orders from then on. So, that's it
SI: Did you have any difficulty adjusting to military life?
AH: No, no, I didn't. Actually, to get into the service at that time, you had to be sponsored, more or less. So, what happened, before I went in, I had a cousin, was in the Philippines, back in the early '30s, and he's the one that sponsored me, because this was during the Depression. You know, you just didn't go in and say, "Hey, I want to be this, I want to be that." You had to be sponsored. So, that's what he did, yes.
SI: Do you think most of the men that you served with in your training unit had joined the military for similar reasons?
AH: Well, they were there for the same reason, yes. Actually, when I went in, 1939, actually, they even had some men from World War I. That's how long they served--they made a career out of it. So, what was it, about twenty-five, thirty years from World War I to World War II? Sure, we had some that stayed in there all that time, yes.
SI: Was your basic training very physically demanding?
AH: ... Well, it depends what unit you're in. I was in the infantry. You've got infantry, artillery, quartermasters, and ordnance, ... but I was in the infantry, and you do a lot of training in the infantry. You do all that stuff, do machine-gun firing and everything else. We used to go out then, we used to do -gun firing out in the fields, and they used to show you how to fire the machine-guns at an aircraft. In other words, they used to send an aircraft with a sleeve. They used to pull the sleeve, right, and then, they'd tell you how many leads you should take before you fire at an aircraft, and then, you shoot at the sleeve, then, later on, the plane comes down, he drops the sleeve and you see how many hits, ... how many bullet holes went through the sleeve. So, we'd done that many times, yes, with airplanes going up and they used to set targets out in the bushes. It was good training, I think, yes. It was good. Actually, I was seventeen--to me, it was, like, [fun]. I enjoyed it, because [I was young], but, when you got older, you started to think. [laughter] We're a bunch of young guys, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, yes. ...
SI: When you were serving in the 66th, what did you do?
AH: Occupation? Well, actually, we had about, let's see, one, two, three, three tanks, but I was in headquarters. We used to do a lot of processing of all the (corps cadets?) on hand, supplies and everything else. We used to do all that and we used to clean up the tanks, look for spare parts, make sure it's in working order and then again, you have all kinds of duties. They believe in keeping the guys active and busy, "Don't let them lay around." If you're going to lay around, they're going to find something for you to do, because, especially in the infantry, they're always out there doing something.
SI: One of the things that historians look at is the fact that the American military was so unprepared for World War II.
AH: Yes, yes.
SI: They were underequipped. Could you sense that at the time?
AH: Well, you know, to me, I didn't think too much about it. It was up my [alley], it wasn't up to me. I figured I've got big leaders in Washington to decide what to do. I had faith in them, like everyone else. You're just a young fellow that goes into the service--you don't know what goes on. It's Washington and the other top echelon that knows what to do. So, we just used to take orders from them. Half the time you're going somewhere, they don't tell you where you're going until you're halfway there. So, that's another thing.
SI: How long were you stationed at Fort Meade?
AH: Oh, Fort Meade, I was there about for six months. From July, we were told to pick up and we're going to go out on maneuvers. So, we didn't know where we're headed for. Finally, we headed for Louisiana, but we had convoys, and many trucks. We used to take the side roads, to get off the main highways, half the time. So, we used to head for the fields, put our tents up, sleep out in the tents. Next day, we used to pack up, do the same thing. Then, we used to go out to the armories. We used to sleep out there, until we got to Louisiana. We used to sleep alongside the roads and everything. We used to have what you called pup tents. Each person, like, he had half ... a tent on his pack and the other soldier had a ... half a tent on his pack. So, when we got to the field, we used to put two tents together. ... That's where we used to sleep, out on the ground, yes.
SI: Were you able to act interact with civilians on your way down to Louisiana?
AH: Oh, yes, you met a lot. This was down in Louisiana. This is when I started to get bored. I figured, "Maybe I should put in for overseas." So, they took my name down, they took other fellows' names down, but you had to go through a routine exam again, just like you're going into the service. In order to go to [the] foreign service, you have to commit at least two years, right. So, they asked me which one I wanted to go to. They gave me a choice--no, but, first, here's what happened. When I signed up to go, ... must've been about twenty of us; so, to go overseas, you had to take a physical exam. So, out of twenty, two were picked, me and another fellow. The other guys didn't make it because they had some all physical deficiencies with them. They never made it. When they called me up, they say, "Where did I want to go, Panama, Puerto Rico ... or Philippines?" I said, "I'll take Philippines," because I had my cousin in the Philippines. I figured, "I'll take it." So, here, they send me to Fort Moultrie, [South] Carolina, to get the ship, the troopship, to take us out, me and this fellow. We ended up [going] to Fort Moultrie, stayed there for the month, but there wasn't a ship available at that time, and they postponed it for about two months, before the ship would come pick us up. So, they sent me home on a furlough for twenty days. ... So, I had my furlough at home, but, from Fort Moultrie, instead of taking a bus, I hitchhiked from Fort Moultrie, South Carolina, to here in Philadelphia. I was only about eighteen, seventeen, yet. So, I hitchhiked. When I'm hitchhiking, this one fellow picks me up from Columbia, South Carolina. He said he's going to Washington, DC. I said, "That is great." So, we drove up all night, but, before we got to Washington, DC, two state troopers stopped us and, here, what happened, the state troopers asked us, "Where were we going?" This driver, he was only about twenty-two years old. He said, "I'm getting a job in Washington, DC." He says, "Let's see your wallet." So, the driver shows him his wallet. The driver only had ... five dollars in his wallet. The state trooper, gave it back to him. He was looking for money and he asked, "What's the soldier doing in there?" He said, "Well, I'm giving him a ride. He's going home on furlough." So, he said, "Okay, go on and go," but these two state troopers wanted to see whether he's telling the truth. They were looking for money, but they didn't know, at that time, he only had five dollars and I had, I remember, I had seventy-eight dollars in my pocket--good thing the state trooper didn't stop me. [laughter] So, I remember, and, hey, that was a lot of money, seventy-eight dollars, during the Depression.
AH: Yes, I remember that. So, from Washington, DC, ... we departed, he left me off, and I'd done the rest hitchhiking back to Philadelphia and, when I got to Philadelphia, my furlough was almost up. So, I get the telegram from the State Department, or the military department [War Department?], saying, "The quota is filled at Philippines. We don't need any more military people in the Philippines." So, they decide [it is] up to me, "Do I want to go to Panama, Puerto Rico ... or Hawaii?" So, I figured, "I'll take Hawaii, go see the dancing girls, hula girls." [laughter] So, that's what I took, I took Hawaii.
SI: How long was your initial enlistment for?
AH: ... Three years, but, then, I got stuck for three more after the war started. You see, they kept you.
SI: After you returned from your furlough, you were shipped overseas.
AH: Oh, I went back to Fort Moultrie, Charleston, South Carolina. We got the ship. The troopship was there, ... called the [USS] Leonard Wood [(APA-12)], an Army transport. So, we started out from Charleston, South Carolina. Then, we headed towards Panama Canal. We went through Panama Canal. From Panama Canal, we shot straight over to Hawaii. Most of the ships went through Panama Canal, they used to stop at San Francisco, and then, go, but we went directly from Panama Canal all the way up to Hawaii, yes. So, that's how I ended up going into assignment at Schofield Barracks. I was assigned there, in the infantry, Schofield Barracks.
SI: What was the ship like? What were the conditions on the ship like?
AH: The ship was nice, yes. Well, it was nothing like a vacation ship or anything. You had cots, one on top of another. All these troopships were just like that. You had bunks, maybe one, two, three, four laying on top of one another like that, but you had enough space, yes, you had enough space.
SI: Was this in 1940?
AH: ... I landed there on November 2, 1940.
SI: You were assigned to the 24th right away. [Editor's Note: In the Fall of 1941, the Hawaiian Division was disbanded and recast into the 24th Infantry Division (comprised of the 19th Infantry, the 21st Infantry and the 299th Infantry Regiments) and the 25th Infantry Division. At the time Mr. Horanzy joined the 19th Infantry Regiment, it would have still been part of the Hawaiian Division.]
AH: In other words, yes, we were all taken off and we were in this big, great auditorium and they assigned you to different areas, different groups, where your marching orders were. You had papers filled out, where you're headed for. So, they had a train from [the port]. I remember, November 2nd, was raining like heck, too, ... they took us, they put us on the train and this train took us up to Schofield Barracks. Some went to the infantry, some went to the artillery and wherever their stations were. So, yes, that was a train, took us up, and that's where we started from.
SI: Where were you assigned? Which regiment were you assigned to?
AH: I was assigned to the infantry, 19th Infantry, Schofield Barracks.
SI: What was daily life like there, once you settled in at the 19th Infantry?
AH: Oh, I'll tell you, people think, just because Hawaii's a beautiful place, and it is, but, if you're in the military, you do your work. They'd put you out for training, you'd do your own cleanup and you do your marching orders and all that stuff. You get out in the morning and you do your physical exercise. You go in, you have your breakfast. ...
AH: Yes, so, it was nice during the peacetime era, but we had it pretty good there. It was nice. I enjoyed it. There's no place in the United States had a place like Schofield Barracks, because the Schofield Barracks was made up-to-date for the military. I think ... it was opened up in 1922 and everything was just beautiful there, ... but you trained, you trained and you don't slouch around. I mean, you could work your butt off, but, every Wednesday, you were off. If you're not on duty, you're off. They used to take you out to the North Shore. You'd go out there, take a swim. Later on, during the day, they'd go out, pick you up again and bring you back, but you've got to be off that day. If you're not off that day, you've got to work, you do your work--you can't go to the North Shore (Soldiers Beach).
SI: Were you able to go into Honolulu?
AH: ... Oh, sure, any time. They used to give us a three-day pass, but, then, again, who could live on twenty dollars a month? [laughter] I'm talking about 1941, yes, twenty dollars a month, until you started getting raises. Yes, Honolulu was a good place, but, then, they had all these prostitutes, hangouts, hotels, street and everything else, yes, especially when the Navy used to come in. The cabs used to come to Schofield Barracks to pick up soldiers and transport them to Honolulu. The drop off place was the army and navy and YMCA and the Black Cat Bar that was across the street from [the] YMCA. The cab fare at that time was twenty-five cents each way. The cab drivers put in as many soldiers that the cab could carry, so that he could make a profit. You used to see the line outside.. [laughter]
SI: Did the soldiers and the sailors get into fights?
AH: Oh, they were all like that. But still got along together. So, sometimes, the Marines got on the nerves of the Navy, the Navy got on the nerves of the Marines, they used to have fights when drinking, but we, the Army, got along good. Yes, we got along good. They had an Army-Navy, let's see, area down in Honolulu. They all used to get together, swimming pools there and everything, yes.
SI: Like a service club?
AH: What's that?
SI: Like a serviceman's club?
AH: Yes, a serviceman's club, yes, Army-Navy--what's that? What the heck did they call that? Army and Navy YMCA.
SI: The USO?
AH: Not the [USO], another one there. I forgot what, yes. That's where we used to [go], and, across the street, there used to be a bar, used to call it the Black Cat. They used to all go there, too. I had two brothers in the Navy. I used to go see them, yes. What happened, they'd come up to see me, and then, I used to go down to see them, there at Pearl Harbor. They used to come up and see me at Schofield Barracks, yes. ...
SI: Were you serving as a rifleman or did you have another job?
AH: I was a rifleman, yes, just a lineman. ... I was just a grunt, nothing nice about me. I was a grunt. I was just like any other soldier. Of course, I was just a private then. I was no sergeant or nothing like that, at the beginning.
SI: What did you think of the NCOs and officers that you served under at that time?
AH: What did I think about the officer?
AH: Oh, they were great. I had no problem at all, nothing. You do what you have to do. You have to learn that. You never say no, you always say yes, and you're on your way, yes.
SI: Did you feel like they were pretty competent?
AH: Oh, they were competent, yes. You always find some stragglers. Some of the NCOs, when it really came down ... to combat, I know a few guys, they shirked their duty when it's time to go into combat. I know what's going on, yes. ...
SI: I will ask you about that later on, when we talk about combat.
AH: Yes, talk about it.
SI: Were you able to keep in contact with your family while you were overseas?
AH: Yes, I kept in contact with my father and my sisters and my brothers, and my brothers in the Navy, I kept in contact with them all the time.
SI: Were your brothers always stationed at Pearl Harbor?
AH: Oh, no, they were all over the place. My other brother, they had nine battleships--I mean, nine, there were ...
SI: Battle Stars?
AH: Nine Battle Stars on his ship, my oldest brother, right, because they were in a lot of wars [battles] up in Kiska, in Alaska. [Editor's Note: In June 1942, the Japanese captured Kiska and Attu in the Aleutian chain. The US Army's Seventh Division led an invasion and campaign between May 11th and May 28, 1943, that liberated Attu.] Before the heavy war started, they were up there, doing their fighting, but, ... now and then, they would come down to Pearl Harbor and they used to call me up. ... Sometime, we'd both get together, go out.
SI: You got to Pearl Harbor in November 1940. Over the year that you were there before the attack, could you sense that tensions were rising with Japan?
AH: Oh, yes, well, we'd seen that. At that time, tension was rising with Japan, because we heard all kind of rumors, what goes on, and what happened, we went on alert many times, because they'd say, "Hey, we're on alert." Their alert was mostly on saboteurs. They didn't expect nothing like an air war. So, they figured saboteurs. In fact, all these planes that we had, they were all put out in the open field, out on the airfields, and Army, Navy, Marine planes were all out there. They anticipated that if they're going to be attacked, they're going to come through the hangers, so that by the planes being out, being exposed, you could see everything, what goes on. So, this is what happened. They had all their planes out in the airfields, ... but we knew something like that was going to happen, but we didn't know where, when and how. Nobody did. ... Like I said, they thought maybe it was going to be just a saboteur thing going on, but, no, nothing like this.
SI: When you went on alert, what would you be doing?
AH: Well, we used to go up at the North Shore. The North Shore, our division had [the] responsibility of taking care of the North Shore completely, the whole North Shore. Then, there was another division, the 25th Division, they were supposed to take care of the lower part, around Honolulu, you know, in other words. Then, they had the Coast Artillery set up and, well, you could do nothing else. You're just on a standby and just keep alert, but keep alert for what? What's happening? Nobody knew, you know, nobody knew, but we're always prepared, but nobody was prepared for that day, because you figured that Admiral Kimmel and General Short, I think they were out playing golf that day. I don't know, ... I think they were out there, but, still, they had nothing to do with it. They did what they had to do. ... [Editor's Note: At the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, US Army Major General Walter C. Short commanded all Army forces in Hawaii and Admiral Husband E. Kimmel served as Commander-in-Chief of the US Pacific Fleet. Both officers were removed from duty and reduced in rank following the attack. The Roberts Commission, appointed by President Roosevelt shortly after the attack to investigate its circumstances, found both men guilty of "dereliction of duty" in its January 1942 report.]
SI: Tell me about the attack on Pearl Harbor. What do you remember? What were you doing the day before? What were you doing that morning?
AH: Well, before, we'd been on maneuvers, up on the mountains at the North Shore, for two weeks. We didn't get back until December the 6th. We were unloading ... all the equipment, came back to Schofield Barracks to unload all our equipment. We decided not to sleep that day. ... We got there about two o'clock in the morning, didn't get to bed until then. So, we would not get up for breakfast. Many soldiers did get up for breakfast. Me and the other soldiers, we just slept. As soon as the planes came [in], we knew who it was, because the planes came down so low, you could see the red insignia on the plane, on the wing, yes.
SI: Did the planes wake you up or was there an alert?
AH: Oh, the planes, they were machine-gunning the area and what happened, they came down so low, ... actually, you could see the pilot's head. They started machine-gunning the area and they headed for Wheeler Field. You could see them dropping the bombs right at the airfields. ... So, that's when we headed towards the ammunition [depot] that was filled with explosives, because we're going to carry all of it up to the mountains to fortify the North Shore, but we knew something's going to happen. We knew it, because we'd seen the writing on the wall, and we were supplying England with all equipment and we were supplying Russia at the same time. [Editor's Note: In March 1941, the Lend-Lease program opened a steady channel of supplies and war materiel from the United States to the Allies.] So, we knew it, sooner or later, [would happen]. I actually think that we were looking for an excuse to get in the war and there's a rumor that maybe Washington knew all this, what's going to happen, let the Japanese come in Pearl Harbor, give us a chance to go out and support England, all kind of things going on like this, people talking, and they wanted to know, "How come ... the aircraft carriers left Pearl Harbor a few days before Pearl Harbor was hit. Did they know that Pearl Harbor was going to get hit, to save the aircraft? Is that why they went out?" Who knows? It's nothing but rumors. Nobody actually knows. To this day, people still talking about it.
SI: The barracks were strafed. Your base was strafed.
SI: Was there a second wave?
AH: Oh, well, the first wave came in about five minutes of eight. The next wave came in about an hour later. They came in for the kill, you know what I mean, because they got all the aircraft. They're all out in the field and destroyed almost every one of them.
SI: By the time the second wave came, were you still on the base or did they deploy you right away?
AH: Still at the base. Well, in-between we couldn't get our rifles, because everything was locked up, until maybe a half-hour later, we were able to get our rifles. ... When they were flying over, you didn't have anything, you couldn't defend yourself, because they were told to keep everything locked up. The reason for that was, ... blame it on the saboteurs, they says, "They could get a hold of our equipment." So, everything was locked up. ... We finally got our M-1 rifles and went out, firing at the planes.
SI: Did they send you right out to where you were supposed to be?
AH: Oh, yes, we knew where we were supposed to be, went up to the storage area that was filled with explosive and equipment. Planes were flying over the area where we were loading up the trucks, fortifying the North Shore with heavy equipment and explosives. We figured that, "Man, they're so close, they're going to bomb the hell out of us," but we decided--we stayed there one time, but, again, the wave starts coming over--we figured, "Well, we're ... not going to stay in this place, because they're going to bomb it." So, as soon as we heard them flying over again, we started to run towards a ravine, a ditch, many yards away, we figured get us some cover, but, as we were running over, they didn't fire directly at us, but they fired in front of us. I don't know whether they're trying to create havoc or what. Then, they left. We're going back to the warehouse again to load trucks with explosives. There, they come again. Well, that happened about three or four times. They kept coming over. Again, they did not fire on us directly. Maybe they did, I don't know, but all these times, they kept firing around different areas and this is what had happened. ...
SI: What was going through your mind at that time?
AH: What was going through my mind? Oh, I'm just doing the work, what we were all supposed to be doing. ... People took things for granted. In a way, we expected something like this [was] going to happen--who was more excited was the civilian population. They didn't know what was going on, ... and I think the Japanese were trying to create havoc on us while we were running across the fields, but I'd seen them dropping bombs at Wheeler Field, strafing the area with machine guns and bombing the barracks.
SI: Were there any casualties in your area?
AH: Oh, there were a few of them, yes. There's one soldier, got shot in the leg and in some other area. ... At the last flight, we did shoot at the five planes, and then, I'd seen one plane coming down, coming over, like, he was going like this.
SI: Waving his wings.
AH: And then, I lost track of him and I forgot. Then, as I'm taking the truck up towards the North Shore, filled with explosive, I'd seen this plane, was outside of Schofield Barracks, the little town called Wahiawa. I'll show it to you, it's right here. I went up and look in there, the pilot was gone, but ... I looked underneath the seat. I seen something red, I pulled it out, it was a Japanese flag. So, there's a Japanese flag. I saved it.
SI: You have it framed over here.
AH: Yes, that's the flag. That's the flag from the airplane.
AH: That one there. So, I got the flag and took the other supplies up to the northern part of the shore, and then, during the day, we kept running up and down with supplies, all kind of equipment, etc. ... It created havoc for a while, because people ... never expected nothing like this, anyway, but I did see Wheeler Field. They knocked the heck out of that, ... all their planes damaged, and later on, I took some supplies down to Hickam Field. They got hit with the [bombs]. The Barracks got hit with twenty-five bombs and the airfield itself, they got hit by a hundred bombs, yes, a hundred bombs. Then, the whole thing was a mess, because, when I went down, you could see, off the highway, things burning, yes.
SI: Burning in the harbor or at the airfield?
AH: Both Hickam Field and Pearl Harbor. Oh, in the harbor. Now, another thing, I don't see why they never bombed the oil tankers that were along the highway. They were supplying the ships for the Navy. If they would've bombed all these tankers filled with oil, that would've really created a larger havoc ... around Hawaii, around Pearl Harbor, around the whole town of Honolulu. Even the explosive warehouse, all they had to do was just probably drop one bomb, the whole place would've blown up, but, where I was in the big field, it was surrounded by concrete barriers. That was all filled with explosive, yes. ...
SI: How soon after the attack did you see the harbor?
AH: ... I went down towards Hickam Field about maybe six hours later, because I had to go unload the truck with ammunition. I'd seen Wheeler Field, because it was right next to us. I had to take equipment down towards, Hickam Field, to supply them with ammunition and some weapons, and they were really hit hard. The whole place was burning up. It created havoc all around the island.
SI: Were your brothers' ships in Pearl Harbor then?
AH: No, at that time, they were not. They were lucky. Their ships were out at sea.
SI: At the North Shore, can you describe what it was like over the next few weeks after the attack?
AH: Well, over the next few weeks, it was all barbed wire. You had a defensive buildup along the embankment of the mountains, you could see the North Shore. We had the bunkers built up in the mountains, because the North Shore has ... mountains and low levels. A lot of people use that as a tourist place for boating and recreation. ... It was a very nice place. They used to do a lot of surfing there at the North Shore. Yes, it was a very nice place, but that's where the Japanese came in from, ... let's see, about the North Shore. I've got something here. You want me to read this to you? ...
SI: If you would like.
AH: Do you want to have it on? Okay, this is the 24th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks.
SI: "24th Infantry in its First Attack."
AH: I'll read it, okay. Is that on?
AH: "The 24th Infantry Victory Division was formed from elements of the old Hawaiian Division on October 1, 1941, at Schofield Barracks. The 19th and the 21st Infantry Regiments and the Hawaiian National Guard Regiment, which was later replaced by the 34th Infantry Regiment, made up the division. The 19th Infantry is nicknamed 'The Rock of Chickamauga' for its action in the Civil War. The 21st Infantry is nicknamed 'The Gimlets' and also traces its lineage back to the Civil War and the Seventh Infantry, nicknamed 'Cottonballers,' began its history at the Battle of New Orleans, 1812. The 24th Infantry Division's first casualties were recorded on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and Schofield Barracks. The men of the 60-day-old division had just returned from a week-long field problem and they were celebrating by sleeping in. At 7:45 AM, the calm of the beautiful Hawaiian morning was shattered by the sounds of death and destruction. Fright was quickly replaced by action. When the day was over, five Japanese fighters had been brought down by the 24th Division's small arms fire. The fledgling division was the first Army unit to feel the fury of Imperial Japan and the first to fight back. Immediately after the Pearl Harbor attack, the 24th moved from Schofield Barracks to northern Hawaii, setting up defense against a possible Japanese invasion of the Hawaiian Islands. In September 1943, the division moved to Camp Caves, near Rockhampton, Australia, on the eastern coast for an intensive training period. For five months, soldiers of the 24th concentrated on the amphibious landing and jungle fighting. It was hard work and morale suffered as many felt the division would train through the war. They were wrong. On the last day of January 1944, the 24th moved again, this time to Goodenough Island, to prepare for the New Guinea Campaign. Finally, the word came--the 24th Infantry Division would play a major role in the return to the Philippines. On April 22, 1944, the division stormed from landing craft at Tanahmerah Bay and slashed across Dutch New Guinea. After five hard-fought days, the 24th swept from the beaches, across the jungle terrain and captured Hollandia Aerodrome, inflicting heavy casualties on its defenders. The long, frustrating months of training in Australia had paid off." I won't read anymore.
SI: I wanted to ask about some of what happened in that period. Can I just check the date here?
AH: Go ahead. You can have that, if you want it.
SI: Thank you.
SI: Between the attack on Pearl Harbor and when you left Hawaii in August 1943, what were you doing? What was it like?
AH: Between when we were stationed there?
SI: Yes, before you left for Australia.
AH: Before we went to Australia, or what?
SI: Were you always on the North Shore?
AH: Sometimes the soldiers spent time at the North Shore, defending the island for a possible invasion that never occurred. Oh, when we were on the North Shore and Schofield Barracks, we were doing all kinds of military. See, actually, right after Pearl Harbor, the whole island went in blackout. Everything blacked [out]. You walked the streets, you would've been shot, because no one was allowed to walk streets or in the fields or anywhere. They were completely blacked out. The military, martial law took over. So, that's what happened.
SI: Can you give me a sense of the difference between the prewar Army and the postwar Army? What changes did you see?
AH: Well, changes in-between 1940 ...
SI: Between the years that you served before Pearl Harbor and the years that you served after the attack. Was there a change in operations or a change in attitude?
AH: Oh, a change in attitude; well, before operations, you're young and dumb at that time. [laughter] You don't say dumb, but, things like that happened after the war, I don't know. During the war--you are going into the war business, and you get your head together.
AH: Okay. Now, I'm going a little bit farther ahead of you. I contracted malaria, I ended up at the field hospital in New Guinea. After that, I went to Fort Bragg and I came home; I started getting an attack. I was assigned to Albany, New York, to a military police outfit. I got an attack of malaria and they sent me by train, with my orders, to Utica, New York, Rhoads General Hospital. I'd passed out, but I didn't know how I got there, but I woke up during the night and [I was] laying in the hospital. I think the military police knew. I had my orders and they used to come through the trains, check out the paperwork and all. So, they probably got me to the hospital. So, that was my first attack I had. That was Utica, New York, but I kept getting these attacks, even when I came back home. Then, I'm on furlough. Then, I got another attack. I went up in Valley Forge Hospital. That was up in Phoenixville, and I was still in the service then. Even when I got discharged, I kept getting attacks, about three years after I got discharged. I ended up in the veterans hospital, which I never cared for. They treated you like a welfare person, as if ... you owe them something, but I always hated it there. One time I stayed there, they didn't treat me. I just laid there, being sick. So, following two days later, I felt a little better, I walked out of the hospital, then I came back. They started raising heck with me, saying I shouldn't go home without them letting me know. I said, "Well, you people never took care of me, so, I went home." So, that's why they took my retirement. They took my pension away from me. ... I used to get fifty-percent disability, but they found out that I'm not cooperating with them. They probably wrote me up for not cooperating, but they didn't do nothing for me. I just laid there. I laid there for two weeks. Every time I got malaria, I was in the hospital for two weeks, but that place, I didn't care for it. Once you get out of the service, forget it, but, [when] ... I was in the service, the military took really good care of you, very good care of you. I ended up in Asheville, North Carolina, a rehabilitation center there. I spent time there, too, when I was in the service. ...
SI: Because of the malaria?
AH: Yes. I must've been in about five, six different hospitals, yes. When I was in the service. That's right before I got discharged. Now, when I came back, they assigned me to--I was a military policeman in Philadelphia. When I was in the hospital, they actually had me [in an] assignment that's classified as A-1--to go back overseas--and I'm still laying there and the guy shows me my reassignment. I was supposed to go back overseas. I said, "What the hell? I just came back." So, what happened, the superintendent of the hospital, he gets a hold of this letter. He says, "You're not going nowhere." So, what happened, he got me assigned to the Philadelphia military police. It was right next-door to [the] Bellevue-Stratford Hotel. During World War II, there was a military police station there. So, that's where I was assigned, too. That was a very good duty, because I was able to get home. So, I stay there, but I still kept getting sick with malaria, until I got discharged, back on July the 13th 1945.
SI: I want to go back to when you left Hawaii.
SI: Can you tell me about the trip from Hawaii to Australia?
AH: The ship I was with soldiers was the Lurline. This was a cruise ship during peacetime. It was converted into a troop ship, arrived in Brisbane, Australia July, 1943. Australia was nice, but it's real tough training there. We're up in the northern part of the island, Rockhampton. That's the northern part of the island, and along the coast, around the Great Barrier Reef. We had jungle training, we had amphibious training, yes, let's see, one more, endurance training. We had three of them, yes.
SI: Had you had jungle training or amphibious training before?
AH: Well, we had a little bit in the States, a little bit, not too much, but most of it was in Australia, because we were ready to make invasions on some of the islands in the Pacific. We knew that was coming, yes, before, we had some of it.
SI: What stands out about the jungle training? What did they try to impress upon you there?
AH: ... Well, in jungle training, it was survival training. Out there, they tell you what to eat, what kind of berries you could eat, what kind of Chiquitas [bananas?] you could eat, different fruits, plants and anything else, also chlorinating tablets for water, also they used to show you, taking care of your feet. If you ever got the survival equipment--how the heck could you take care of yourself? You have to have equipment to take care of yourself. So, yes, one time, we drank contaminated water. Here, we all got that--what the heck do you call it?
AH: Dysentery. The twelve of us went on patrol one night and we set up ... in one of the captured aerodromes, the airfield there, from the Japanese. In the morning, we'd been on patrol all night. We got there, by the airfield. There were Japanese foxholes there. I decided to put my stuff inside the foxhole, my rifle and my pack. Now, I'm there with twelve other soldiers and there are Japanese foxholes all around. We went down to wash and clean up. We were sweaty. Here, I come back, I see my fox[hole], my rifle and pack is thrown in the mud. ... I figured, "Who the hell did this?" So, an officer comes up--I didn't know he was an officer--he said, "What's the matter?" He says, "Is this your hole, your foxhole?" "Yes, this is mine." ... Then, he asked me, "What are you doing here with this hole?" He said, "I dug this hole. [laughter] It's my hole," ... but he was real polite. He said, you know, "This is not a dugout by a Japanese." He said, "That's my hole, my foxhole." I said, "Why the hell did you throw my pack into the mud and my rifle?" He was very polite--he said, "Look, I just put it on the back. It must've fallen by itself." So, I'm raising hell. Then, I walked away. I went down to talk to my other buddies, the patrol, and this lieutenant comes up to me. He said, "You know who you were talking to? You were talking to the General." [laughter] Yes, he was a general. So, he was in charge of the whole division, the whole operation. I didn't know it, because he didn't have [his insignia on]. He did not reveal any rank on him, because this is a combat area. Oh, that was so embarrassing. I figured, "Oh." I've got a thing I got written up in the book, something like that. ... I didn't know it was a general. We went out to drink that water. We filled our canteens up and put chlorinating tablets in it. Then, at the bottom of the creek, the water's staying still and looked kind of slimish there. It was all slime. We decided, "Something's happening up above." So, we decided to go up there. Here, we'd seen six dead bodies up there, laying in the water, Japanese. So, we dragged them out, and then, we got a hold of some natives and we gave them gasoline. They put gasoline on the bodies and burned them up but, anyway, we drank that water. Boy, I'll tell you, did we get dysentery. The twelve of us got so darn sick, because it was contaminated from them laying in the water. So, we used chlorinating tablets, it didn't help, but, yes, that was a bad sickness that time, yes.
SI: Can you tell me a little bit about the preparations you made for the landing at Hollandia?
AH: Oh, Hollandia, yes. Well, what happened there, at the landing, let's see, this was on my birthday, we made the landing, ... actually, right on my birthday, April 22, 1943, '44, okay, yes. Well, we had the ships, we had the Landing Craft, Tanks, we had barges, we had everything, but, while we're landing, at the same time, the Navy and Army and Marines, they were shooting overhead, and then, you make your landing there and around the island. You dug in and, to secure the area, you know--like, I was with 150 men, right--so, right there, at the time, we dug our own holes. We're going to stay put until further notice, until we get organized, right. So, it's getting dark. At that time, it's getting dark and we decided to dig our foxholes. It was, "Stay away from the water. Keep away from the water. Come up where the trees are and everything else, dig your holes there." So, we dug our foxholes there. So, we're laying in it at night, and then, we could see the Japanese, they're landing. It was a moonlight night, was very bright. You could see down the beach, where the Japanese are coming in, ... about four or five barges. So, we know they're coming in, but we still can't go out after them, because we're outnumbered. So, here, what happened, we're sleeping. All of a sudden, we feel water coming up from underneath the ground in the foxholes. We're all sleeping in damn water. Then, all of a sudden, water started to come up. The tide was out when we landed and, here, while we're there, now, the tide's coming in. The water did not come on top to our foxhole, the water came from underneath the ground, and we had to sleep in the hole, in the water there. Yes, so, it happened to all of us, because maybe we should have gone deeper into the jungle, dig our holes, but, no, we were at the edge of the trees, where the foliage was, like, trees and everything else, but we slept, all night, in that damn foxhole, but we did see the Japanese coming in with barges. ... They were around, yes. ...
SI: When you landed, the first day, was there any resistance?
SI: Was there any resistance when you first landed?
AH: ... Was light. Oh, yes, there's fighting all over. See, New Guinea is the second-largest island in the world, and there's fighting all over the place. I mean, you could be in a foxhole, but you could hear firing on this side of the island, north side, all over, but ... you're staying put in your own area, right, because you've got different areas fighting their own way. They've all got their battles. That's what we had. We had different areas, so, but, before that, while we're making the landing, they were blowing up the place, like the Navy and the Army Air Corps, they dropped all their bombs along the shore. You figured, "How the hell could anybody survive?" Yes, they really [hit it]. It looked like all bomb craters. Even when you're going out on patrol, you'd see, you could hear the, "Phew," something's going to go, you know, because they're shooting overhead.
SI: The next day, did you move to a new position or did you start going out on patrols?
AH: ... No, see, everybody's got their own sections. We had 150 in our own section. So, what happened, we got organized. We break up by units first--we have so many units--and they would have a place to meet somewhere. Okay, then, they'd say, "We have to go take that airport. They've got their airfield up there. The Japanese [have] got the airfield up there." That was our main objective, to get that airfield. So, here, what happened, I'm with this group, 150 guys. We're at the edge of the jungles and there's a big hill up there. On top of the hill, you could see everything, yes. Now, out of 150 people, I'm in the background and the Captain's up front. He says, "Horanzy, where's Horanzy?" "That's me," I said. "You come forward." So, I said, "Yes, sir." So, he says, "You're the point man." You know what point man is, don't you? So, he says, "Give me your rifle." He tells the Lieutenant, "Get hand-grenades." Man, he's giving me all these damn hand-grenades, he gives me ammunition and he takes my rifle, he gives me a BAR. You know, that's a very fast weapon. Then, he said, "Go up that hill." [laughter] Out of 150 people, he chose me. That's what you call a point man. I said, "Oh, God, here I go." I said, "It's the point of no return--what the hell you going to do?" [laughter] So, I kept going, going, going, and then, I could see Japanese. They're in different areas. When I tell him--I had signals, like this, if I see anything, I would go like this, right--I told him, "They're there, on both sides, left and right." [laughter] So, I get on top of the hill and, ... one by one, they started to come up and we could see all these Japanese around. So, once we're up there, we all break up and only twelve of us [stayed] on that hill. I'm on the hill with these other soldiers and the other patrols went the other way. So, we dug our holes in there, in the foxhole. We're sleeping in there and it's getting dark. The guy in charge of the patrol, he tells me, "Boy, am I scared." Now, he's in charge of the patrol. He's a lieutenant. He's in charge of the patrol, of the soldiers. So, what am I going to do? So, he said, "I'll stay in the hole with you." Okay, so, we stayed in the hole. We've got hand-grenades all over the place. He stays in the hole. He says, "Okay, now, we're going to stay put." Now, it's getting dark. We don't hear nothing. So, here, all of a sudden, we did hear something coming up. There's about six Japanese, looked like they wanted to start a banzai attack. They came up, trying to attack us, when we opened up and we shot them all, yes. This guy was so scared, yes. He's a lieutenant. He was so scared, but, you know what happened to him? When he got home, he committed suicide, yes. Yes, I've got his picture here somewhere. Yes, he committed suicide, yes, but he was a nice guy, but what are you going to do? Was I scared? I was scared to be scared.
SI: Was that the first situation where you had to fire your rifle?
AH: Oh, no, we fired a few times, yes, oh, no. These Japanese came towards me like a banzai attack. They come up with a group, had six of them, but we'd seen them coming through the moonlight, though. There's still moonlight--thank God for the moonlight--was able to see them coming up, closer, closer, closer, then, all of a sudden, started rushing us, but we were waiting for them to come up and we'd set our positions up, one to the left, one to the back and somebody watching the back, and that's it, yes. No, we shot a few of them. We invaded a lot of Japanese shacks that they were living in. Yes, we invaded them. ... Another patrol, we went up. We're supposed to bring some live Japanese, "Don't shoot them. Bring a couple in for interrogation." When we came across one shack, it was raining, pouring. We see smoke coming out of the shack and we crept up on them, on the shack. We're seeing them. ... It was about, maybe, ... ten Japanese in there. They had their rifles stacked up in the corner there and they were all wet. You could see them drying their clothes over the fire. Now, we have only twelve in our group, with the patrol. We figured, "Well, they need live Japanese to take with us, back for interrogation." So, we decided, "Well, we're going to surround this place and we're going to rush them." I said, "Okay." We rush them. "We will not shoot them unless they go for their weapons." So, here, what happened, as soon as they'd seen us, we rushed them and they rushed, right away, get their weapons. That's when we started shooting them, but, then, we crept up to the other three. We captured three, but we shot the other ones that were there, because we weren't going to shoot them, because we wanted to bring them down with us, but we did shoot them. Then, we took the three down for interrogation. We set the shack on fire and we took these three Japanese with us. We tied their hands up and, here, we're going down the jungle trail. There's no roads or nothing there, you have to remember. We were going down the jungle trail and they're making all kinds of commotion. They want to get shot. They don't want to be captured. So, we tied them up, we started to drag them. They started screaming and yelling, all kind of noises and everything else, to give our positions away. So, here, what happened, the guy in charge of the patrol says, "Hey, we're going to get shot up. It's either them or us." So, here, they keep pointing to our foxhole shovels. They want our foxhole shovels--they wanted to dig their own graves. ... Well, the soldier says, "Let's give them our shovels. Let them dig their holes, and we have to shoot them, because, if not, we're going to get shot [by] the other Japanese around." They took our shovels, they started digging their own graves, the three of them, believe it or not. They started digging. We untied them, but we were ready to shoot if they wanted to escape. They were digging their own ... [graves], and just letting them just dig. Then, all of a sudden, we hear something coming up the jungle trail. It's another patrol coming up. ... So, there must've been about thirty soldiers there, with the soldier leading them must've been a captain or something. He'd seen what we're doing. He knew what we were going to do--we were going to shoot them. He said, "Look, just leave everything go." He said, "We'll take care of these three Japanese here." So, they got them up, tied them up again. They took them back, down to the holding area, where they held the Japanese, yes. So, yes, we were going to shoot them, because that place was loaded with Japanese, where we were there, yes, but, see, they don't believe in surrendering. The Japanese, they never did. It's an insult to them, like, to the ancestors. If you die, you're in glory, you know, but you never want to be captured. They had that embedded in them. They didn't want to get captured. They were fierce fighters, I'll tell you. They were fierce, yes.
[Editor's Note: Mr. Horanzy included the following excerpt from Leonard Boasberg's 2009 article, "Bush Cronies Rewrote The Rules On Torture In World War II, Such Tactics Were Inconceivable," in his revisions:
In World War II, Japanese soldiers fought not only tenaciously, but fanatically, as we learned in Guadalcanal, Tarawa, the Philippines, Okinawa, Iwo Jima, and elsewhere. As Ulrich Straus noted in his excellent study The Anguish of Surrender, the Japanese army's field service code, Senjinkun, decreed it impermissible for soldiers to be taken as prisoners of war.
To many Japanese soldiers, capture was a fate worse than death - a dishonor to them, their families, and their country. Many were convinced that, once captured, they were without a country; after the war, they would try to go to the United States, Australia, or Africa - anywhere but home. Considering themselves beneath contempt, captured soldiers contemplated killing themselves, and some did.
Terrified at what the Americans might do to them, they were surprised, relieved, and forthcoming when we treated them humanely. The American government abided by the Geneva Conventions during the war not only because it was the right thing to do, and not only in the hope (if not necessarily the expectation) that our own captured soldiers would be treated decently, but also because it made strategic sense.
This article first appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer on May 20, 2009.]
SI: Were there other times when you faced banzai attacks in New Guinea?
AH: No. I think that's the only one, but other places had them, that they had them. Of course, they didn't care about their lives. They'd die in glory. If you surrendered, you go ... back to Japan, you're an outcast. They don't have nothing to do with you. That's the way they're brought up, yes. They were fierce, fierce fighters.
SI: Were there any other situations where you had to try to capture prisoners?
AH: Oh, yes, we always got prisoners, yes, oh, yes. ... One time, we got about twenty prisoners we got, yes. ... Trouble is, you have to surprise them. You have to ambush them, like, you know what I mean, make sure they haven't got no rifle equipment. Like, there were a couple of trucks, when I was up in the airport, we captured them, yes.
SI: When you captured the twenty prisoners, did you face a similar problem, where they tried to make noise?
AH: Well, with some of them, diehards, you have some diehards, they'll do anything just to die in glory for the country or something like [that], but some had Korean prisoners with them. They had Korean prisoners there. I think they did not give up a fight--I mean, they gave up the fight, but the Japanese, they would not give up a fight, because some of these Japanese, they had Korean women with them. Yes, we came across some of them. Up by the airfield, they had their own tents up there. They had the women up there. They were captured prostitutes or something like that, for the soldiers, something like that. They were up there by them, yes. [Editor's Note: As early as 1932, the Japanese military abducted or otherwise coerced women from the areas they occupied into becoming "comfort women," unwilling participants in the sexual activities of Japanese soldiers serving across the Pacific. Between two and three hundred thousand women are believed to have been kidnapped and assaulted before the end of World War II.]
SI: What was the fight for the airfield like?
AH: ... Oh, that was about seven miles off Hollandia. We had to go up the jungle trail to find it, yes. So, we finally, after five days, we captured it, but it was tough, because there's no roads up there. You had to go through all kinds. It's mostly trails, it's mostly trails you go up there, mud and everything else, yes. So, let's see, I had all these pictures, you know. ...
SI: I will pause this for a second.
SI: You were telling me about one time when you were establishing a perimeter in the native area.
AH: Yes, yes, we pulled the perimeter because we had troops inside and nobody's supposed to get out of the perimeter, and so, we put a bunker above the creek. There was a creek alongside of us. What happened, we dug in during the night ... and we're pretty well surrounded for safety. So, the one place [that] was open was that creek, because [the] Japanese usually followed down around inside the creek and creep up on you. So, at night, we're staying and it's very dark. You can't see nothing, because the trees and everything else is covering everything up. You can't see no light. All you hear is, like, crickets, frogs, making all kind of noises, and then, all of a sudden, you hear a louder noise coming through. All of a sudden, we hear something rushing down the creek. We thought, "The Japanese are running down. They're ready to attack." [laughter] All of a sudden, we open up with the machine-guns and the hand-grenades and, here, nobody got out of the water. Nobody went down to the water to see what goes on, because it's too dark. We just waited for daylight to come. As dawn began to break, we went down to see. Guess what we'd seen? three dead cows, yes. We thought it was the Japanese, but what happened with these cows, years ago, missionaries used to bring livestock up to the natives and some of them went astray and that's what happened. At first, I thought we were having a banzai attack, but it was three cows. What happened, the natives took care of the cows and they slaughtered them and we had good meals later, after that, because, at that time, we could not get any food and we had an airdrop. When the airplanes came over, dropped food, most of the time, they dropped it in the wrong places, where the natives used to get a hold of it, and, this time, we had something to eat, because, when we killed the cows, the natives took over and they butchered [them] up and they shared the meat with us. [Editor's Note: Mr. Horanzy begins to refer to a photograph album/scrapbook.] Yes, that was them, yes, all natives, all pictures of natives. That was funny about all that. ... Now, that was way at the beginning; that was Fort Benning, Georgia.
SI: When were you at Fort Benning?
AH: At Fort Benning, that's me there. ...
SI: When were you stationed at Fort Benning?
AH: Fort Benning, 1940, yes, 1940, off and on. This was in Mississippi, when we were in Mississippi/Louisiana on maneuvers, yes.
AH: Yes, see, yes, that's on maneuvers. That's Louisiana.
SI: It was in the swamp area.
AH: Yes. ... Here's the Japanese, was Japanese there, lots of postcards. ... That's Japanese invasion money. See, when the Japanese take over a country, they have their own money. It's like, "Your money's no good." ... In other words, they have what you call invasion money, like, they capture, like, the Philippines and New Guinea, here's one, here's some here, see, "Japanese Government, Five Pesos, Japanese Government." See, that's their own money, invasion notes, that's their own, yes. See, it's all their money. That's real Japanese money. ... Yes, so, that's all invasion money, yes. ... See, they were ready to invade Australia, too.
SI: Where did you pick this money up?
AH: ... The Japanese had them on them, yes, where we used to take them, yes. Yes, you see this? That's a bullet hole, Japanese. ... When he got killed, we used to search them. They used to search us, too. This is Australia. ... All the guys put their signatures down on it for me, when I was on leave. Yes, that's Dutch New Guinea--no, that was Australia there, but this is another in New Guinea, yes, a Japanese Zero. Now, these fellows here, I knew. I've got a big picture of these guys. When I got home, 1945, I'd seen their picture in the paper, was in the Collier paper, was about that big. I knew some of these fellows. They landed in the Philippines. They met the guerrilla fighters here.
AH: Yes, "Filipino Patriots Harassed By Japanese For Nearly Three Years," yes, but, let me think, what else? Do I have anything else here? That's it. ... You don't have to have the recording on.
AH: Do whatever you want. ...
SI: We spoke a little bit about your time in combat on New Guinea. How long in total were you fighting on New Guinea?
AH: In total.
AH: ... Well, we had sporadic fights, because, around New Guinea, there's different, various islands around New Guinea, like, you have Wadke, Biak, Atape, there's New Britain. These were sporadic areas, like, throughout. You go here, go there. Well, maybe about one good year, or something like that, you know, throughout the area, yes, throughout the area.
SI: When did you contract malaria?
AH: I'll tell you, I've got an idea. ... Let's see, we were on a patrol and we were ambushed. ... Yes, well, actually, we were not exactly ambushed, but we were about to be ambushed. So, we decided to get off the trail that's leading us to another area. So, we decided, "We'll go through the swamps." So, that's where I contracted malaria, because what happened there, ... during the day time, it's nice, but, when it started getting dark, you get all kinds of leeches, get bloodsuckers, get the black flies up there, you get all the mosquitoes. So, this is when I first [contracted malaria], because we stayed there in the damn swamps for about three or four hours, because the Japanese were right across from us. So, that's when I got it, yes, in the swamps of New Guinea, because we could not leave the swamps, because we were surrounded. That's what happened, but, you could get it anywhere inside the jungles. On the coast, not too bad, but you go inside the jungles, you're going to, sooner or later, get it, because there are three types of malarias, one, two and three. I had the worst kind, and this is something funny I want to tell you. You could record this if you want.
AH: Okay. We wind up at Fort Dix, New Jersey, after I was getting, three of us. We decided to go in town, three soldiers. As we're going in town, we see a group of women, they're looking at us, wondering, "What the heck?" They're staring at us. So, a woman came up and told us, "How come you fellows are so yellow?" I said, "Listen, lady," I said, "we're captured by the Japanese and we had a blood transfusion." [laughter] No, what happened there, when we're in the jungle, you take this Atabrine and it makes your skin real yellow, like a yellow tint on your skin, and it's on there for a while and you had to take these Atabrine tablets every [night]. Not Atabrine--yes, that's it.
SI: I believe it was Atabrine, yes.
AH: I was right?
SI: Yes, most people have reported that they got the "yellow tan" from Atabrine.
AH: Yes, yes, okay. Well, this is what happened, because I'd been yellow for about a couple years after I took them, because I'd been taking Atabrine every day, and this is what happened, but it was a joke with them. They thought, actually, that we were captured by the Japanese and had a blood transfusion, [laughter] but that went on as a joke. I had to laugh after we got done. The lady used to go back [to] the other women, said, "Oh, them (boo-boos?), they've been captured by the Japanese." [laughter] That was fun. Yes, so, that was great. No, I wound up in quite a lot of different hospitals there. I'll have to see where the heck I went.
SI: You said you went into the field hospitals in New Guinea.
SI: How long were you in there?
AH: Oh, only about a couple of days, that's all, because the fever went away, because when you get the darn fevers, you know what you're getting. It hits you all of a sudden, and then, your bones begin to ache, the whole body begins to ache. Then, you get the cold sweats and everything else, and then, you get the shakes.
SI: Did they send you back up to the line after that?
AH: Oh, after that, yes, oh, yes, after that. ... Then, shortly before that, we're ready to invade the Philippines. We're getting our equipment. Everything's ready to go to the Philippines, make an invasion there, here, but, when we're all ready to go, this was October 1944, we're ready to invade New Guinea, loading up the ships, the barges, everything's ready down at the bottom of the beach. All the ships are ready for an invasion. Here, , they called my name out and they called three other soldiers out to that area and says--they checked our points, how many points we had. So, they used to check you out according to how many points you had. So, I was one who had plenty of points. I almost had four years in [overseas], and the other fellows had about the same time. So, he says, "You fellows are going back to the States." [laughter] That was great. So, here, they were headed for the Philippines and we're headed for home, and we're supposed to be headed for the Philippines. I'll tell you, if they did not call us about a week before, we would've been headed for the Philippines, but, here, they had our points ready. They told us we're going, but we're going home, they said. We're going back to the States. That's how I got back. They used to discharge you on account of your points. If you're there long enough, you're going to go, you're going to go, if you are lucky.
SI: However, the malaria kept you in the hospital in the States.
AH: Oh, in the States, I got it bad, yes, ... but, still, I was still in the service. Yes, that's when I started going to all these military hospitals. I was at Utica, New York, that's Rhodes General Hospital, I was [at] Valley Forge Hospital, I was at Asheville, North Carolina, that's another hospital, but, then, I came back from North Carolina, back on duty, as a military policeman. I got an attack, I wind up in Valley Forge again. Then, I wind up at Fort Mifflin, up in Philadelphia. From there, they transferred me back to Valley Forge Hospital, but, then, every time I got sick, spent about two weeks in the hospital, but, then, I used to get the damn malaria in the hospital. I used to get the attacks in the hospital. They couldn't get over it, but, then, one specialist, he knew all about the malaria. He says I've got ... one of these kind of crazy attacks that it's hard to get rid of, because there are three different strains of it, and I had the worst one, because, as a Catholic, they gave you, what? the Last Rites. Are you Catholic?
AH: See, they give you the Last Rites. When I was up at Utica, New York, Rhodes Hospital, I had my Last Rites when I was passed out, delirious, had a temperature of 106 degrees. I didn't know it until five days later, because they thought I was going to die, but I made it. What are you going to do? So, that's it, but you know what? I donated five gallons of blood, but they did not use my blood for a regular transfusion. They used it for plasma only. They just used it for plasma. They did not use it for transfusion, but I still ... I gave them five gallons of blood, when I worked for the U.S. government, after discharge from the Army.
SI: When you were still in New Guinea, was it important to you to go to religious services, if they were available?
AH: Oh, yes, sometimes, yes. What it did, to me, it didn't matter. I went to the--once or twice, I went. I didn't go much, to be honest with you, but, when I came home, I'm going to get married, I'm still in the service. That's my wife there [in a photograph], by the way. Okay, I got married and here's what happened. Before I got married, we went to the priest. We're talking about getting married. He just gave me a sly look, like, you know what I mean, and then, my wife went for visits to the priest before marriage. So, she comes home, she tells me, "You know what? The priest is trying to discourage me from marrying [you]." ... I said, "Why?" "Well, I don't know, he just tells me that." So, I got so mad, I went down the next day, I knocked at the rectory. He lets me in, he said, "What can I do for you?" I says, "Look, what are you trying to tell my wife about not getting married?" I'm telling him this, you know. I says--well, what the heck did I tell him?--I says, "I'm here to get married and my wife wants to get married, but you don't want to marry us?" "No, I don't want to marry you." "You don't?" I said, "Why not?" He says, "All you soldiers and military people want to get married right away. When ... something like this happens, the marriage don't last long." He says, "I want her to be a good wife and you to be a good husband." I said, "Well, if you don't want to marry us, I'll go to a justice of the peace to get married," and I was ready to walk out. Actually, I was already walking, said, "I'll walk out." I says, "I don't have to be here. I'll go get married at the justice of the peace." He said, "Now, wait a minute, wait a minute, don't get excited." He says, "Just calm down," he's telling me. He said, "By the way, are you God? Are you telling me what to do?" He's trying to put me on the defensive here. I said, "No, I'm not God, but, being realistic, what are you saying?" yes. So, he said, "All right," he said, "okay." Now, okay, he said our marriage won't last--here, our marriage lasted for sixty-six years, [laughter] and he thought we were going to get divorced in a couple of weeks or months, but we were married. That's her, see, a wonderful life. She was beautiful, my wife, yes, and, another time, before I got married, I went to my parish priest. I went to my church. I figured I'll have to go to confession, to make my marriage right. So, I went to confession and the priest says, "Did you go when you were in the service? Did you attend the services?" "Yes, I went to the service." "What service did you attend?" "I went to any service. I went to Protestants, Lutherans, anybody that comes." He said, "Well, why?" I'll tell you, he got mad. He said, he hollers, started hollering at me, said, "What? You mean to tell me you went to these services?" He said, "What's the matter with the Catholics?" I says, "I didn't have any Catholics, so, I went to anyone." He said, "Why'd you go to there for?" I says, "Look, Father," I said, "they preached everything nice about the Lord." I said, "They didn't do anything bad about it. It was nice." He says, "I don't want you going there no more." I said, "Why not?" He says, "They're going to sway your way of thinking towards them." Oh, wow, I'm telling you, that's what the heck he tells me, yes. So, he gives me Stations of the Cross to do, yes. [laughter] ... All these guys (survived?) and, you know, I was shook up the way it was when I came home and these guys were telling me what the heck to do. "I can't do this, can't do that. Come on, get the heck off, off my back. Leave me alone."
SI: When you would go to the services in New Guinea, do you think they helped you in terms of coping with what you were going through?
AH: Well, to be honest with you, I only went [to] about two or three times. You just [go], a guy preaches there and everything else. I didn't care whether it was a Catholic, Protestant, Lutheran, whatever. He's preaching, they're saying the good word about God. Nobody's telling me I should do this and do that and, I just went there, and then, I'd go back where I came from. I didn't see no harm in that. I thought it was good. Sometimes, I watch any kind of preaching, sometimes, I listen on the radio, some of these guys, the way they talk, because they thought I'd be converted to Protestant and Lutheran and whatever, [laughter] but, you know, that's what it's all about, yes.
SI: How did you deal with being in combat for so long and what effect did it have on you after a while?
AH: ... Well, let's see, it does have an effect on you. I think it affects a lot of people, because you'll never forget it. No, you never forget it. I'll tell you, when I came home, I didn't know what the hell was wrong with me. I did not know, yes. I couldn't sleep or nothing. Even when I was married, I was still married, I got married in May and I got discharged in July, so, two months, I'm still with my wife, but I was bad, like, post-traumatic stress. They didn't know what the hell that was. I couldn't sleep. ... Oh, well, there was a lot of things, like, I can go on and on, yes. [When] I couldn't sleep, I went to a druggist at that point. I didn't know anything about drugs. I figured, "Okay, so, I'll go to the druggist," and I says, "I'd like something to put me to sleep. How about some drugs?" He wouldn't give me anything. So, I started walking out the door. He's talking to me, he said, "Come here." So, I went back. I went there and he gave me some sleeping pills. I couldn't sleep. Even after I got married, I used to walk around and, now, let's see, one time, a couple times, I went into town. She's wondering what the hell I'm doing there. I'm walking around, and then, I go sit on the bench there, in the park, dark as heck, and, turn around, the cop says, "What are you doing here?" I was still in uniform. I said, "I'm just sitting around." He says, "Where you going to sleep at?" I said, "I'll find a place to sleep." So, he takes me over to the Y, the YMCA. [laughter] There's a lot of post[traumatic stress]. You know what? They didn't know what the heck posttraumatic stress was, at that time. Now, they've all got posttraumatic stress today. You take a person today, he never was overseas, he's never seen combat, but he's got posttraumatic stress, but why has he got posttraumatic stress? He didn't see nothing like combat. You know why? because he left his children behind, left his wife behind. That's posttraumatic stress. He gets the same deal, but different ways. Sure, he's worried about them. He's worried about the family. That's posttraumatic stress, yes, but this is why so many guys are putting in for posttraumatic stress. They'd never seen combat, never seen it. They should've categorized this, like, if you're in combat, it depends what situation you're in, but they didn't. They compiled it all together, "[If] you're a veteran, you're a veteran. You're not a veteran, you're not a veteran," yes.
SI: When did you earn the Purple Heart? [Editor's Note: The interviewer was confused by a display in Mr. Horanzy's living room that combined some of his and his late brother's wartime decorations and insignia.]
AH: No, I didn't. The trouble is, I didn't get a Purple Heart. No, you had to be wounded in combat, but, it's funny, I was in the jungles and in the swamps, and then, I'm under fire and, yet, they call that, what the hell did they call it? I did not get the [Purple Heart]. My brother got [that]. That's his Purple Heart up there.
SI: Okay, all right.
SI: Was he in the same division?
AH: He was with the 77th Division and killed in Okinawa, May 2, 1943. No, ... some of my medals are there. I've got my medals upstairs. ... It's only a little bit I put them up there, yes. So, all this is crazy, yes. You know, so, they gave me fifty-percent disability then, when I left, but, when I left the hospital on my own, I think they wrote me up and, gradually, they started taking it away from me, take me fifty, forty, twenty percent, then, all of a sudden, they took it all, yes.
SI: Where were you when the war ended?
AH: Where was I? Let's see, Germany already surrendered, I was at the military police, down there with the police, on Broad Street, Philadelphia, next to the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel. I was there when Germany surrendered, and then, I got discharged July 13th 1945, and the following month, in August, Japan surrendered. So, I got discharged about two, three weeks before Japan surrendered, yes.
SI: Do you remember any kind of celebration at that time?
AH: Well, I didn't have any celebration, because I felt bad about my brother being killed, but, it all depends how you were affected. [Editor's Note: Mr. Horanzy's brother was killed during the amphibious invasion of Okinawa, which began on April 1, 1945, and lasted until the island was declared secure on June 22, 1945.] Now, I know a guy, one of the Pearl Harbor Survivors, you know, yes, he's still living. [Editor's Note: The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association was founded in 1958. Its members include those service personnel who were at or in the vicinity of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.] He was at Wheeler Field. Now, they asked him the same question, "How do you feel about the Japanese? Have you got any regrets or anything else?" "No," ... he said, "I think they're pretty nice people. You have to give them credit. They're smart people. I don't harbor no hard feeling against them. I think they're terrific people," but he didn't go [through] what other people went through. [If] they asked me, I would've ... told them what I thought, because he didn't have any [overseas duty]. Right after Pearl Harbor, he goes home--he never left the States. What I heard, the way he's talking, he's praising the Japanese. "My God, you know, it didn't affect you any, ... you just happened to be there, but how about the other guy?" but, then, I did tell them, I said, "Well, to me, it happened different. To me, it hurt." I said, "It took three years away from me," because he stayed stateside for three years. He's still telling the people that, how he loves the Japanese. [laughter] I wouldn't even buy a Japanese car--I didn't even buy a Japanese or German car, believe it or not. I've got a Hyundai, but it's a Korean car. [laughter]
SI: At the time, what did you think of the Japanese?
AH: At the time, when I was fighting them? I didn't have no feeling at all. Honest to God, I didn't have no feeling at all, just shoot them, "Bang, bang, bang, bang," yes, none, no, no feeling at all. No, I said, "You've got a job, you've got to do it, you've got to do it. You have to do it, what else are you going to do?" yes. ... If not, it's going to be you.
SI: In that kind of jungle fighting, did you run into many booby-traps?
AH: Oh, there's a couple. ... The natives told us. The natives used to tell the boys, "Be careful where you're going," what area he's going to. Actually, once we established ourselves, they pointed out where the booby-traps were, yes. See, the natives were pretty good with us, yes. They kept away from a certain area because [the] Japanese probably told them, "There's booby-traps, don't go in there, it's for Americans." So, they had the field detectors probing around the ground, different areas, no booby-traps, yes. Yes, the natives helped us out a lot.
SI: When you were in combat, did you face a lot of artillery fire or aerial strafing?
AH: Okay, look, ... I was with these tanks. Do you see the picture of the tank?
SI: Yes, you showed me in the book.
AH: Yes, okay. ... Well, they're seventy-five-millimeters. We used to take it up on the hill and you could see the Japanese, like, mingling around and we used to fire towards this, where they're staying, with the tank, with its seventy-five-millimeter. ... Then, these tanks were mobile, but, then, other things we had towed, seventy-five-millimeters and 105-millimeters. You know, you'd tow them up to the mountains and high ground. Then, you'd fire from a distance, yes.
SI: Was Japanese artillery a problem for you?
AH: Well, oh, yes, no, they're a big problem, yes, they're big, because, yes, that's where my brother got hit, too. He got hit with a mortar shell, yes.
SI: Did you get shelled often?
AH: ... Did I get shot?
AH: Oh, yes, I got shelled a lot, yes. Oh, you get shelled, you get things flying all over, because you didn't know what direction they're coming in, because, when I was a point man, I thought that was going to be it. ... I was point man about three or four times already and I said, "Hey, I think it's a matter of time. They're going to get me, sooner or later," but it came out all right, yes, well, but, like, I got six, seven stitches here. That was three days after Pearl Harbor. We're up on the North Shore, putting barbed wire along the beach. They hooked the barbed wire on the wench of a jeep and he's pulling and we're right there. All of a sudden, ... the damn thing snaps. It grabs me right here, right along the thumb. See, well, you can see the scar.
AH: Well, it's not bad, but it's good now. I had about six stitches here, right, and then, I got slashed across the eye, here and here. I didn't get nothing for it, see, but you've got to be actually in combat. Combat stopped, see, you're not under fire. That's it. Even here, see, I've got a scar here yet, from barbed wire, here, here. When he pulled that wench, it snapped, and then, all of a sudden, it went, "Phew," just like springs, spring wire. About three of us were right there standing. We all got scratched up, yes, and then, we went out on the ocean, out on the beach. There was, ... an empty tank from an airplane that had gasoline. We would sit in there. Guy had some concussion grenades. We figured, "We'll go in there, ... to get some fish with a concussion grenade." So, all of a sudden, the guy, he throws another one and, "Bang," it was a live grenade. Now, I got hit in the leg here. (This event took place at the beach of Hollandia, New Guinea.)
AH: But, he thought it was a regular grenade--not a regular grenade, concussion grenade. Concussion grenade's just nothing, but, yes, I got hit in the leg like that, but you didn't get nothing for that. Yes, so, see, it's got to be actually combat.
SI: Are there any other close calls from your time in New Guinea that stand out in your memory?
AH: No. Well, let's see, you're always in harm's way. There was one time, it was [a] close call when this soldier ... We were on patrol, we're going through swamps. Then, Japanese mortars came in overhead, right, and then, one soldier, I think this guy was just brand-new, him and his friend, and he got killed by a mortar, but, when I went up to this soldier, he tells me, he says, "Tourniquet, tourniquet," and that's what he says, because he was hit. So, I go like this, moves his hand over his shoulder--I got burnt, because shrapnel hit him in the shoulder, yes. So, I tried to push him over, but he's bleeding all over. He died, but the mortars they have today are different types of mortars. ... They've got electronic mortars, they've got, I can't think--my son-in-law makes them up. He makes mortars, all kinds of equipment at this defense plant, yes--proximity fuses. On shells, you set your fuses on the mortar and it blows up, yes, and so, close calls, yes, I had about four or five close calls, maybe more than that, yes. You take one day at a time. Actually, I think I was a cat [that] had nine lives. I just happened to be fortunate, to be honest with you, what I went through, yes.
SI: Can you describe your attitude for me? Did you just think, "It is not going to happen to me?"
AH: Oh, well, to me, I didn't care one way or the other. Especially, [when] you get paid, we used to gamble all our money away, believe it or not, because you're in the infantry, you never know when it's going to happen. But it's always the fear of it, that you're going to get it, sooner or later, especially if you see your own people dying.
SI: You had served with these men for a long time beforehand.
AH: Yes. There's one soldier that died, I meant to see his wife, but I never got to see her, and he's from South Philadelphia, yes. So, he was on patrol and he went up and they got a hold of him, but, by the time they went in, the Japanese stripped him of all of his clothes, but they brought his body back and they buried [him], put him in his sack and they put him on the road, but they took his body out and sent it away. Yes, so, he was from South Philadelphia. ...
SI: Was it difficult to bring in new replacements?
AH: What's that?
SI: Was it difficult to integrate replacements into the unit?
AH: Oh, what, you mean when I came back to the States?
SI: No. When one of the men in your unit would get wounded or killed, would they bring in replacements?
AH: Oh, yes, they had replacements. Oh, yes, they'd replace them--that's if they're available. Yes, they were usually available. You have to have enough to keep going.
SI: Did those men work themselves into the unit well?
AH: Well, they worked well with the unit. They'd go with the unit, yes. Yes, you'd get guys, maybe they were drafted or something like that, or they were National Guards. They'd get drafted and they'd come into the unit. They worked pretty good together, yes.
SI: Towards the end of your time in the service, obviously, you were dealing with the malaria very heavily.
SI: What did you see for yourself after you got out of the service? What did you want to do with your life then?
AH: Well, I didn't know, because, I didn't have what you'd call a good education, because, I dropped out of school and I figured, "Well..." Then, I was sick with malaria. This is it. See, when the GI [Bill] came out, he is entitled to 52/20. You know what 52/20 [was]? get twenty dollars a week for fifty-two weeks, right. So, I get malaria and I figured, "Well, I'll go get my 52/20." I go--they would not give it to me. You know why? because they says, "You're out of work, but you're not able to work. You can't go look for a job in your condition." So, I never got the 52/20, but I lived on that fifty-percent disability I had. [Editor's Note: The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, known as the GI Bill of Rights, offered funding for college or vocational education, as well as one year of unemployment and loans to buy homes, to returning World War II veterans. The "52/20" clause provided twenty dollars a week for fifty-two weeks to discharged servicemen while they looked for work.] Then, I lived with my father, until I got on my feet and I figured, "Well, what am I going to do now? I have to get educated." So, I figured, "Well, I'm going to go to school." I went three years to art school, right, under the GI Bill, right. ... Okay, after that, I get out, I figure out, "Oh, boy, these guys don't want to give you nothing." They wanted to give you peanuts to get started. So, I gave that up, after three years. So, I figured, "Well, I'm going to go see what happens." I see my friend. He was wounded in World War II in Europe. He had one leg shot off. So, we're talking, talking. He tells me, "Why don't you go in, put in for a government job?" he tells me. He says, "Put in for a government job." So, he gets me a form to fill out. So, I filled that out, I send it in and I felt, "I'll never get no job." Here, they called me in ... to work for security for the Department of the Army. So, okay, I worked for security for a while and I figured, "Well, I'm getting nowhere with this. I'd better do something else." So, I went in and I figured, "Well, I have to get my [career going]; I want to be something." I figured, then, they had an apprenticeship for machinists and toolmakers, because they were in great demand for that. So, you had to take a test for that. I went to apply for the test and he says, "No, you cannot take it. Where's your high school diploma, GED test?" [laughter] "Oh, hell, here I go again." So, okay, I get my GED test, I passed it. So, I go back, the time come up, okay. They put me on the list. "Man, there's about two thousand guys going to put in for these jobs and how the hell am I going to get something like this?" So, I go take the test, a two-day test. Here, that was all. I didn't hear nothing, but, while I'm walking with this one fellow, he says, "Oh, I know this, I know that, I know all about the machine equipment." Here, they called me for an interview. So, I passed that interview. ... Well, they interviewed me quite a lot. The main object was, "Do I know anything about this?" Well, they told me a lot of things, too. "I don't know a darn thing about this." "Well, why do you want this job for?" I say, "Look, ... I'm in security. I want a job." Okay, so, [they] didn't say nothing, but, about three months later, I put in [for] a job for [the] Police Department in Washington, DC. I passed the test down there, too. They called me down, to come down. So, I passed the test and I'm waiting and waiting, no test. They're not waiting for me. Here, the Department of Army calls me up for an interview, to interview me. I got the job. Okay, I could go for my four-year apprenticeship. As I'm working, here, the Police Department in Washington is calling me to get sworn in. [laughter] So, obviously, I could go to either one, but I figured, "I'm going to stay with here, stay, be a machinist-toolmaker." So, I stayed with [being] a machinist and toolmaker, about--well, I went to school for four years. That's a tough course, but a very good course, though, because you had a good education there. I stayed with them and I worked in the shop for about four or five years, because you learned all this equipment and all, metallurgy, scientific work and all that, yes, and then, I worked my way up to be the quality assurance specialist. I used to do a lot of government surveillance for contractors that got contracts. You work according to military specifications. Like, say, you've got a plant or something, you're working for the government, and, before they got the award, contract, I'd go out and make sure they've got all the equipment, all the men, all the knowledge and all, [so] that they could do the job, and all your equipment's according to specifications. Do you get the job or not? So, that's what I used to do. Last few years, I had that. That was a good job, but, at the beginning, I had nothing. You're seventeen years old, well, what are you going to do? Your head isn't together yet. It's not, but, as you get older, ... you wise up.
SI: When did you retire?
AH: From Department of Army, thirty-three and a half years (Grade G-511). Oh, to be honest, I retired when it was, 1978, I was fifty-five, but I worked all these other different places, all over. I worked, subcontracted for the U.S. government, at the Naval Supply Depot for about four years, yes. I worked all over, like, doing part-time work. I didn't retire, actually, until I was seventy-eight years old, and then, I worked for my son-in-law. ... Well, before he bought the place, I worked down there for about nine years. They do a lot of military work for the government. I worked there. I was a quality assurance specialist. I used to inspect their work and make sure it's according to specifications.
SI: Were all of your jobs here in the Philadelphia area?
AH: Yes, in Philadelphia, yes, a couple places in New Jersey. What's that place, off over in Riverton? I worked there for a while. I was trying to think of a place. What the hell's that name? Oh, man, it's someplace in Philadelphia, Hatboro-Horsham, I worked, yes. I worked for RCA, yes. Well, I didn't have any time. I didn't have no worry about jobs, because that was all there for me.
SI: When you went to the art school, what were you studying?
AH: Commercial art, three years, GI Bill.
SI: Okay, commercial art.
AH: Commercial art, yes. I went for commercial art, yes, but they didn't want to pay nothing. I said to myself, "How could I survive? I've got a wife and two kids now," but, then, my wife went to work. We got somebody to watch the kids. She done good, yes.
SI: What did she do?
AH: She was employed by Frankford Arsenal--inspection. Well, she became--like, they had optics, like for tanks in there. She used to inspect the glass, or something, whatever you call it, and employed by the IRS as a tax examiner.
SI: The sights?
AH: Well, the lenses that go inside of telescopes.
AH: The lenses, yes, the lenses. She used to be an inspector in that, and then, she got promoted to other jobs. ... Then, she got the job at the IRS. She worked for the IRS, yes.
SI: How many children did you have?
AH: Three, one boy and two girls. My son's got a good job. He works for Texas Instruments. Yes, he's got himself a good job. I got him started in that. When he was about five years old, I took him down to (Berlin Mart?), New Jersey, and they had radio equipment laying [there], all spare parts and everything else. So, I looked at one piece. There was a crystal set there, like you could probe, and then, ... with earphones, you could pick up radio stations. So, I got him a set like that. He started playing with that for the longest time. So, I figured, "Well, I'm going to bring you some other stuff, like, maybe from RadioShack," buy him a little equipment, like, electronics equipment, and he was fascinated by electronics. So, he started taking all that apart and putting things together, and then, he had some parts [from] where I used to work. They used to scrap a lot of electronic parts; I used to bring them back home. He used to fix it up. He even made his own computer when he was fifteen years old.
AH: Yes, he did. Then, he became president of the computer [club], up in high school and where he went. ... Well, actually, that's how he got up there. He started exploring all this electronic equipment, and then, he graduated as an engineer from Temple and he worked for a Japanese outfit by the name of Okidata. Now he works for Texas Instruments. He made about three or four patents for the company. They gave him about ten thousand dollars each, for each patent he made, and now, he has a good job. He's on his way. So, that's how he came in, and then, my other daughter, she's vice-president of the company my son-in-law owns. ... I'd like to take you up and see that place sometime, how they manufacture things. He's got all high-tech equipment, all high-tech equipment. So, yes, his plants is at Keystone [Industrial] Park, at Bristol, Pennsylvania, yes. It's all modern equipment.
SI: When did you become active with the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association?
AH: I never talked about any of the war, never. My kids or no one knew anything about it. I'll tell you what, somebody got a hold of me. They ... knew I was a Pearl Harbor survivor and they always wanted me to join the organization. I said, "I don't want to do nothing about the war," but I didn't want to disappoint my friend. Now, he was the president of this old chapter. That was back in 1995. He said, "Well, why don't you come down at the meeting? We're having a meeting." So, okay, I go down to the meeting. We had a Naval Supply Depot up here in Lawndale, right. So, the meeting came out nice, and so, we went out to dinner a couple times, and he still wanted me to get in. He said, "You ready?" "No, no, I don't want to." "Okay." So, he insisted on me to go one day. He said, "Maybe we'll go see a ballgame after you come out of the meeting." I said, "Okay," but we never went ... to a ballgame, because he just wanted me to come to the meeting. So, okay, I signed up. So, that's how I got involved. That's back in 1995, but, before, I never wanted no parts of it.
SI: You were not in the VFW or the American Legion.
AH: Yes. All I'd done was just belong to the VFW, lifetime member, but I never went to no meetings. I still carry a membership for VFW, up in Roxborough, yes, but I never [went].
SI: Was there any particular reason why you did not want to become active with these organizations? Was there a reason why you did not talk about the war?
AH: Well, nobody would be interested, nobody'd been interested. ... Right now, they're more interested about Pearl Harbor. You know why? because half these veterans are gone. They're on their way out. That's why they keep calling me up all the time. Yes, they keep calling. I've got so many places to go, because there's nobody else around, because they're all gone. They'll have me down at functions. You have to go down and see the Flag [Day] Association, Army Day, when they have that in June. [Editor's Note: Each June, numerous organizations in Philadelphia join together to commemorate both Flag Day and Army Day with a series of events and celebrations at Independence Hall, the National Constitution Center, the Betsy Ross House, and other venues.] They have everything going on down there, yes. Then, they had me sitting up in the front with the VIPs, right, and I'm up there sitting with the VIPs, up in Betsy Ross's place. They had a place for me up on the stage, all of the big boys of Obama, fire department chiefs, all kind of Philadelphia chiefs up there, all these people up there, and they've got me sitting on the side. So, they introduced me. ... Then, first, they introduce these guys here. They got a little clap, but, when they come up to introduce me, they all stand up and clap, and I seen all these chiefs, they're looking around, "Who's this guy?" and I see them turn their heads around. [laughter] Oh, that was funny, that was funny. Another time, I'm down at--this happened last year, yes, last year--I was invited to come down to the Army and Flag Day celebration in town. So, in front of Independence Hall, only VIPs allowed up there, they've got me as a special guest. So, I'm sitting there ... on the end and who's sitting, comes next to me, it's an officer. Then, all the guys from Washington, DC, they're all sitting up front and, here, this fellow next to me, I didn't recognize [him]. I just didn't ... even look at him. Then, he started to talk to me and I looked--oh, he's a two-star general, two-star general. So, he started talking to me and I started talking to him, like I'm talking to you, ... because he says he got his stars the hard way. He had to work for it, he said, okay. So, I says, at the end, I says, "You know, General," I said, "you've got two stars." I says, "You know what? Why don't you give me one of them?" That's what I told him. [laughter] You know what he said? He said--he reached in his pocket, he gave me a coin with two stars on it. You know, did you ever see these challenge coins?
AH: Yes, he got his challenge coin, with two stars on it. He gave me his challenge coin. Then, he says, "You've got the two stars." [laughter] I was only kidding with him, yes, two-star general, yes, and another time, year before that, I met this one-star general. He was talking to me. I was ready to leave and, inside the front of Independence Hall, people were there and a lot of people wanted to talk to the General, but the General spotted me. He's standing there, he started talking to me and all that. I says, "General, look," I said, "I've got to go." I said, "All these people are waiting for you." He says, "Let them wait. You're more important." [laughter] That other guy was General--I've got his name upstairs--General (Matti?), General (Matti?), and this other one I got, the first general, one-star, his name's General (Lanza?). His name's General (Lanza?), yes, General (Lanza?), yes, but the two-star general, man, ... when you're in the service, you don't mess around with them.
SI: You said earlier that you thought highly of your officers in the 24th Infantry Division.
SI: Did that opinion hold up during your time in combat?
AH: Yes. Now, you know what happened? ... The first officer we had, he went berserk, and then, we got another officer, was Captain ... He was pretty good. I've got his pictures. ... Yes, the first officer was Captain ... Captain ..., he was related to the people here in Philadelphia somehow. They had a big furniture place in town and, one time, at one of the islands, somebody gave him motion pictures about the kids he's got, and he called me up to see his kids on the screen, like in the jungle. ... I knew he was shook up about it, but he used to talk about it, used to walk in a daze and because he wasn't in combat yet. So, one night, he'd come out ... in the middle of the night, got all the troops together, go on this long march, all during midnight, and he kept talking to himself, and it happened for quite a while. After we come back, we were ready to go back, take our nap, "Get up, go out. Go out to the field again. Start getting your rifles together, clean them up. Make sure everything's in order," crazy things like that, that you didn't do ordinarily, but, one time, finally, he really went berserk. He started screaming out of his head, didn't know what happened. First thing you know, I haven't seen him anymore, but I heard he went [berserk] because I think he had the family, when he'd seen his pictures with the kids. The family sent him the films and he had a projector, a battery-operated projector. That's how he'd be seeing it there. ... So, I think that's what got to him, yes, but he was a good captain, but it's just the way he acted at the end, because he'd think he's going to combat, but he had never seen it, but, then, we got a hold of this other Captain ... . He'd done pretty good.
SI: Was that while you were still in Australia?
AH: Oh, no, no, this was another island, after we left Australia. This was another jumping [off] point. We were on Goodenough Island, southeast of lower New Guinea.
SI: Goodenough, yes
AH: See, it was Goodenough Island in there, if you see it in there, Goodenough Island, yes.
SI: Did you see any other cases of men not being able to handle the stress of combat?
AH: Oh, yes, there was one--we were in Australia then. This one soldier, he gets out of bed, he's running and we've got tents all around. Now, this is at night--always at night. What happens, he used to get out of bed, used to run up and down the tents, screaming like a dog, barking like a dog, every [night], and he used to howl like a dog. ... The soldiers used to grab him up and they would shake him, he looked like he was in a trance. ... It kept going for about a week or two, so, they finally got rid of him. So, it only happened at night, not during the day--fine, he's just like I'm talking to you--but, at night, he's a different person. I think he must've had nightmares or something, because he used to scream like a dog and bark like a dog and he used to run into the woods. So, oh, yes, another guy, he committed suicide right after Pearl Harbor. We took loads of ammunition, explosive, up to the North Shore, we come back. I'm walking up to my place. All of a sudden, "Bang, bang;" here, I run upstairs, the ceiling, all blood up on the ceiling, everything. The guy's laying down in bed, his head's blown off, just like this. ... I think he put his rifle in his mouth and, "Boom," yes. So, that's one time I seen it. That was right after Pearl Harbor, I think about a week after Pearl Harbor, yes. He blew his head apart, that was still dripping, that was still dripping, was coming down. Everybody came out to help with the guy, but, him, he was a regular person. He was a regular person. You could talk to him, nice, solid guy, but you never knew what's on his mind. I was surprised he committed suicide, and that lieutenant, he committed suicide after the war, because my friend went up to see him after the war, a couple times, and then, later on, the next time he went up, found out he committed suicide. So, yes, it's hard to get adjusted. ... If you're overseas, it's easy, but, if you're in a different situation, that's when it's bad, yes. That's when it's bad. Yes, you just don't want to get in those situations. Like you said, "How come I never talked to anyone?" I never talked because the kids were not interested in anything. You go to schools today, "Who's your heroes?" football players, singers, rap song music people. "You know all the names?" all the hands come up, "Yes, I know this guy, I know that person, know this woman." "You know any Pearl Harbor survivors?" "What's that? Who's that?" [laughter] Well, now, I go to school, I talk to the kids. I go around, joke around with them a little, get them interested. So, you have to do it, yes.
SI: Is there anything else you would like to add to the recording?
AH: ... Maybe there's things I forgot, let's see. Let me show you my picture of my father and mother.
[Editor's Note: During the break, Mr. Horanzy began showing the interviewer a series of framed newspaper covers and posters from World War II.]
AH: Okay, now, you see those posters?
AH: They're original. They are original, these here, see?
SI: The Honolulu Star newspaper [reporting on the Pearl Harbor attack].
AH: Yes. ... Now, how I got them posters was, the day after Pearl Harbor, they said, "Get all your stuff together, your trunk, everything else. Whatever you have, take it away, stash it up, put it in your trunk. We're going to send it back home, to the house." So, anything that was in the dayroom, what we had there, I just threw it all in. I forgot all about it. About fifty years, it was in the trunk all these years.
AH: Yes, I just started taking them out not too long ago.
SI: They look pretty well preserved.
AH: Yes. Well, before, they're just laying around in the trunk. I never bothered looking at it or nothing. Even the flag, I never [took out], had everything, was together, didn't bother with it. So, that's it, yes.
SI: Thank you very much. I appreciate all of your time and thank you for your service.
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Reviewed by Shaun Illingworth 3/7/14
Reviewed by Alexander R. Horanzy 4/9/14