Kurt Piehler: ... This begins an interview with Mr. Douglas L. McCabe on April 10, 1995 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey with Kurt Piehler and ...
Jeff Schneider: Jeff Schneider.
KP: And, I guess I'd like to begin by asking a few questions about your parents, and starting with your father. Your father was a lawyer.
Douglas McCabe: Yes. His card said, "Counselor-at-Law."
KP: Do you know how he came to law? Why he chose law as a profession? Had his father been a lawyer?
DM: His father, my grandfather, was, I forget the title, but he was the head of the Proof Room of the New York Times on the night shift and my father described him as one of the pioneers, you know, one of those sort of things, in typesetting and he talked about that. The part that I read about ... there's a New York Times biography and my grandfather is mentioned in that book. And, the book described him as being head of the Proof Room for the New York Times, so I don't know how the typesetting gets in there that my father referred to, but it could have been earlier. And, something that I found out only recently is that early in his life my grandfather was a superintendent at St. Johnland, that my father gave his birthplace as St. Johnland. I couldn't find it on the map. But, talking to my sister, who lives up in Boston Spa, New York, she said, "Well, that was out on Long Island." And, she gave me some places nearby, and I did find a street, a road by that name, St. Johnland, which fit the configuration that my sister described. So, she was saying, ... she sent me ... a copy of what she found. Now this was like a commune type thing. They had the barns, they had the animals, they grew their food, everything. It was a self-sustained little community. And, he apparently was in charge of the print shop there. So, maybe that's where my father got the idea, talked about, the typesetting. And, from that he ... eventually wound up with the New York Times, which I thought was very good. Moreover, I found it interesting that, I think, he was president of the Typesetters Union at the New York Times. There is a very nice article in their house paper that they published about him when he ... died as a result of ... being hit by an automobile. ... He and my grandmother were crossing the street in Brooklyn and an automobile hit him. They got him home, but he ... survived for a few days, then he died. So, there was an article in this house paper that talked about him.
KP: Did you ever know your grandfather?
DM: I never knew him. He ... died in 1923, and I was born in 1922. But, one of the things my parents had, and which I ended up with when my father came to live with us, was a shaving stand. This is something that current generations are not familiar with. But, this was an oak stand with a pedestal, maybe about a foot square, with a drawer and a mirror. And, my sister said she can remember our grandfather standing in front of that, sharpening his razor and shaving. So, ... she now has that shaving stand.
KP: Do you know what prompted your father to go into law? And, did he like being a lawyer?
DM: ... I think he liked it very much. And, I never gave a thought to why he did. One of the things he's talked to me about is the tax law. The tax law was originated around 1933, or 1935, or something, and he recognized that it was something new and that people would have to learn about it. So, he sort of made that his specialty. ... He also became a CPA, and as a Counselor-of-Law ... specialized in authors, particularly foreign authors. I have a picture on my book case that I got from him which is a picture of Monsarrat, and he corresponded with, and did Monsarrat's tax forms for a number of years, and had correspondence with him until pretty close to, he died at age ninety-eight-and-a-half. So, that's, sort of, a special thing.
KP: Did he correspond with any other authors?
DM: Oh yes, I have ... Well, it was not as a personal friend, but as correspondence in his profession, as part of his profession.
DM: I have letters from those authors, and letters he has written. Well, I'm not sure how much I have of his going out, but I have the incoming from the authors because my father liked to save the signatures.
KP: ... Are there any prominent authors that he represented?
DM: ... I didn't become aware of any, ... but foreign authors have to cope with the US income tax laws, and there are certain rules that those authors must adhere to. And, I guess he was the person on the scene, and so he worked with the publishers, and so on, ... my father got all the proper numbers and they were reported to the Internal Revenue Service. And, on occasion he would have to go to Washington and argue a position or two.
KP: Did your father practice law as a sole practitioner or was he part of a firm?
DM: He was part of a firm for a long time, called R.T. Lingley & Company. And, eventually, I guess, Mr. Lingley became older and I don't know whether he had died or that he was just getting out of the business, but I think the transition was that my dad became a sole practitioner, it would be a proprietorship, I guess, rather than a partnership. But, ... in his later years he was working as an individual.
KP: Did your father always practice law? It sounds like he practiced law in Brooklyn most of his career ... .
DM: They lived in Brooklyn until 1923.
KP: So, shortly after you were ...
DM: They moved to New Jersey when I was one year old. Yes. But, I think his practice with the R.T. Lingley Company was down in downtown New York.
KP: So, your father practiced law in Manhattan?
DM: Yes. ... I think it was all centered in Manhattan. I'm pretty sure. And, he became treasurer. He was one of the longest serving treasurers of the ... Brooklyn Municipal Club. Something like that. Which would have been in Brooklyn, but it was ... described ... as a very prestigious organization of only a hundred members. ... I'm not sure how you applied but you had to pass muster in order to be accepted into this organization. And, he served as one of the longest serving treasurers in that organization. And, he described, they would have meetings with the mayor, and the other officers of the town. And, he described a trip one time that, I think, my mother and he went on as part of this organization up to New Groton, Connecticut at the submarine base. And, they had a tour by officers of the Navy through this submarine, and, you know, they were given the first class, red carpet treatment.
KP: Was your father active in either New York or New Jersey politics at all?
DM: No. Only in that he liked to meet with and talk about the big whigs, so to speak.
KP: But, he never ... was involved with any of the political organizations?
DM: No. No, he was not a politician. No.
JS: How long has your family been here in the United States?
DM: My grandfather, the one who we talked about at the NewYork Times, was born in Taunton, Massachusetts. ... It so happened that my wife's parents who lived in New Jersey, and he [my wife's father] worked in New Jersey for a number of years, had his company sold out to a company ... with headquarters in Massachusetts, and he was the only member of the company who was retained and was moved to Massachusetts in 1955 and became their office manager. And, one of the reasons why they retained him was because he had been a salesman for this company. They sold wallpapers, and so he knew the product. They also did like dental plasters, and plasters, and that sort of thing. The burlap and other papers, and that sort of thing. Point was that we had occasion ... to travel to Taunton, Massachusetts. They lived just outside Taunton. So, one day when we visited my wife's parents, I took the day to go into Taunton, and I asked to look up my grandfather's birth record. ... They looked it up, and brought out this big book, turned the page, and found my grandfather's birth. And, the recording on that said the parents were Barney and Eliza McCabe from Ireland." ... And, I have not been able to track it beyond that.
KP: Have you looked at any of the ships' registrars?
DM: In our library there is a listing, and they list a Barney who came through Philadelphia in 1812, and just last week I went one step further, and ... in that same book, or somewhere, they talk about the application to become a US citizen. And, you appear between a John Street court or a supreme court. Okay? And, there was a record of Barney appearing at a John Street court in 1813. 1813 with ... respect to his application to become a citizen. But, there is no reference to Eliza McCabe and this seemed too early because my grandfather was born in, I think it was, 1849 and you take 1812 from 1849 and, what's that, thirty-seven years? Well, I suppose that's not too old to have a son, but I have a little difficulty equating the Barney in Philadelphia with the Barney in Taunton. But, I found, in addition to the birth record I found in the historical society up in Taunton the reference to Barney and Eliza, this is sort of a directory, a census type thing, and Barney and Eliza were listed as living in the Rookery in Taunton. Now the term "rookery" connotes a chicken house. So, I can only think that it was a ... farm that was converted to quarters for immigrants, but I don't have any idea. I mean, that's pure speculation, but it was interesting anyway. [Laughs]
KP: How did your parents meet? Do you know how they met each other?
DM: They met at church in Brooklyn and through the youth group. So, they were very staunchly church oriented.
JS: So, they were very active in the Episcopal Church?
DM: Yes, I think it was Episcopal. I think my mother was Episcopalian. My father, ... one time, we were questioning my father, this was when he's in the late nineties, we were riding in the car, and I sort of talked about it because we think my grandfather was buried from a Catholic church. So, we were asking my father a little bit. And, he said, "I want this distinctly understood! We were brought up in the Episcopal Church!" He was very emphatic. And, I do recall conversations where my mother and father met ... as part of the youth group at the church.
KP: But, there is this element of mystery that your grandfather may have, in fact, been buried in a Catholic Church.
DM: Well, through the Catholic Church.
KP: Through the Catholic Church. Right.
DM: Yes, in fact ... there's a Rose of Lima Church in there, I think, in Brooklyn. And, I think we do have like the service leaflet or something like that. So, it's very puzzling because my father was so emphatic about that, you know? We sort of felt that we shouldn't delve too deep. [Laughter] ... Another time, when he grew too frail to live on his own in an apartment, and we brought him to live in our house, we brought a lot of packages and things from the storage area there. And, I found pictures, his pictures. These were taken in the late 1800s, early 1900s, in the dress of the day, but no names. Who were these people? They must have been someone. And, so I brought out one or two, brought them up to him in the living room one evening and started to ask him about it. He just said, "What's this all about with my family?" Oh, okay! So, I backed off. And, unfortunately, when my sister came down she couldn't identify ... some of these people either. So, it's a mystery. And, I'd really like to know, and I showed her some of these things, because one of them could be my grandmother, or my father's sister, like that. I could tell you a story. There's a number of stories in this phase of, you know, that are very interesting.
KP: You mentioned that your mother volunteered for the American Red Cross for over thirty-five years.
KP: So, she must have volunteered in both World Wars.
DM: Well, it could be. Of course, I was born after World War I.
DM: So, I didn't hear too much about that phase, but when World War II came along her picture appeared in the newspaper. And, I forget whether it was the New York Times or the Newark Evening News, at that time, picturing her with a group of other mothers in New York City, at the Red Cross building. And, the article talked about folding bandages, and that thing, you know, for the troops overseas. So, ... it turned out that there were a couple of ladies that my mother would go to New York City with. And, of course, she was familiar with New York City on the basis that my father worked in New York. And, I don't know about his early years, but come tax time, which is like from February to April, my mother and father would go to New York and stay in a hotel, so that he wouldn't have the commute from New York to West Orange.
KP: Who would take care of you then?
DM: Well, I think this was after, if he did that while we were at home, ... still at home, he would have been doing that on his own and my mother would have stayed home with us. I don't remember being left alone. But, after we had all grown, and left the house, and that sort of thing, that's when they followed that rountine. And, I imagine ... it was part ... of getting older, you know, that the commute became a little bit more rigorous. But, ... he continued to commute to New York City on the Lackawana Railroad until about age eighty-eight. ... About that time they were living ... in an apartment in East Orange, about a mile from the Brick Church Station. And, he would walk from the apartment to the Brick Church Station, commute into New York, and then come home, and walk that back again. And, I think that's one of the things that helped keep him young and vigorous.
KP: So, he continued to practice law ... into his eighties?
DM: Yes, but at a much reduced schedule. I mean, instead of going in at eight o'clock, he'd go in at nine or ten o'clock. Instead of coming home at six or eight, he'd come home at three o'clock. In his later years, yes.
KP: But, he still had clients? He still ...
DM: Yes, and I think Monsarrat was one of them. And, I forget some of the others. But, he had several of the well-known authors at the time. And, I'm not sure they're as well-known today as they were then. Apparently authors have their bright stars for a period, but then the stars fade as new authors come along.
KP: Your father ... did not serve in the First World War. Had he been exempted from the draft because of having children ... or did he try to volunteer? Do you have any recollection? Did he ever tell you about it?
DM: I don't remember. I know he didn't serve. That's true. But, I'm not sure the circumstances of why he didn't serve. Of course, at that time ... he was married and had two children. I'm not sure what the rules in World War I were, but in World War II if you were married and had two children, you were generally deferred. And, I suspect that maybe the same thing applied during World War I. ... He served on a draft board.
KP: In World War I?
DM: ... I'm having difficulty with that. I'm not sure whether it was World War I or World War II, but I think it could have been World War II, in West Orange. I don't have the specifics on that.
KP: Okay. Did he ever talk about World War I at all?
DM: No, we didn't. No.
KP: Do you know why your parents moved from Brooklyn to West Orange? It seemed like you were moving west. First your grandparents lived in ... Long Island, then to Brooklyn, then to West Orange.
DM: I do not know what brought them to West Orange, no. Other than ... perhaps it was a general trend, that Brooklyn was becoming quite crowded, and these were the suburbs, and they had the nice railroads for an easy commute to New York, and so on. It's sort of the beginning of the trend that, you know, that we have today, where we built these satellite villages and a lot of people commuted in. But, I think today that there is less commuting than there used to be. Well, maybe there is still the same volume, but there is so many more in the suburbs that there are many more that are not commuting.
JS: ... What was West Orange like in the 1930s, during the Depression?
DM: Well, yes, the Depression. That was interesting. That was a tough time. And, it was a small town. I enjoyed growing up in West Orange. We had ... I can remember ... two grade schools, was it three grade schools, and maybe one or two junior highs, and one high school. And, I think the population of the town at the time was 25,000. And, we didn't have the transportation, and the cars, that we have today. And, I can remember hiking from our home. One snow, we had a big snow one time, and this was in my senior year, and I was into photography a little bit. So, I wanted to go over to the town hall and the church, [they] were about a mile away, and I had pictures of the town hall and the town. And, I'm pretty sure I hiked over there. But, in terms of Depression, the big thing, when I was a little kid say ten, eleven, twelve, this sort of age, was getting a dime on Saturday afternoon and going down to the local theater. We called it "the Itch." Seeing Tom Mix or Roy Rogers, I forget, you know, in one of those westerns, ... and it was always serialized, and the movie would finish for that day with Tom Mix hanging from a cliff, or you know, the train going down with no brakes, and it's about to crash. Big sign, "Come back next week and see the next episode." So, that was the big thing. Getting ten cents to go down and see the movie. ... Except for being aware that finances were tight, perhaps I didn't experience it as bad as perhaps some others.
KP: ... How did your father's law practice go during the Depression?
DM: That's a mystery to me because he and I didn't. ... My sister was born in 1909. My brother was born in 1910. So, he was twelve years my senior. And, he and my dad talked a lot. But, I seemed to be ...
KP: More distant it sounds.
DM: More distant. And, I didn't get into these personal conversations with my dad the way my brother did. So, I wasn't aware exactly how his business worked. And, when I came to Rutgers, and we were down here in the gym filling out forms and so on, and one of the persons who was taking my papers and checking things out, I had left out an answer. The questions was, "How much does your father make? What's his salary?" I had no idea. And, I said, "I don't have any idea." "Well, take a guess." So, I guessed at $10,000 a year, which I thought was a pretty good salary in those days. ... But, I don't have any idea if that was on target or not.
KP: Did your father have any problem meeting your tuition? Was there any issue about cost?
DM: No, and that's a little bit interesting because here I was a little kid going through high school. I really didn't know what I was going to do. My ... brother had come to Rutgers, he was the Class of '32, and I so I just sort of assumed that I was going to Rutgers also.
KP: ... In large part because of your brother going here?
DM: Yes. Although, when it came time to make applications I thought I'd like to go to Dartmouth. I'd like to go to Colgate up north and do some skiing, etceteras. But, my academics, I guess, weren't quite strong enough for that, and so I was steered toward Rutgers. And, I'm glad ... it worked out that way. I enjoyed Rutgers. And, besides, the tuition was more favorable. So, when it came time to, well, come down here, yes; I came down during the freshman week in the spring. And, I guess my brother arranged for me to stay at his fraternity. But, then I came down and moved into Ford, not Ford, but the Quad. Which is all leading up to something here. I guess I've forgotten. I've lost my track. ... What was the question?
KP: It was more, "it sounds like your father did fairly well."
DM: That was the question. So, when it came time I went to my father and his question to me was, "How are you going to pay for this?" Well, that took me by surprise, you know? [Laughter] But, it was a valid ... question. And, so I said, "Well, I just assumed that you were going to pay my tuition." And, somehow or other that's how it worked out. But, as it worked out, yes, he paid my tuition, and room, and board. And, I guess it was between my senior year of high school and freshman year that I became a counselor at summer camp. Maybe it was the year before. I forget. Anyway, that took care of my summer, and I might have picked up a little pocket change. But, between my freshman year and my sophomore year I worked in Acme Markets, in different stores. I mean, I worked several weeks in one store, and then they assigned me to another store, and that sort of thing. And, I found that very interesting because ... I was in the produce department, string beans, fruits and vegetables, that sort of thing. And then, ... in the second month, I was a cashier. And, so I found it very interesting. I enjoyed that. But, that got me the funds that I used for my personal expenses; I don't recall that I got much spending money. [Laughs] But, we got along without extra money pretty well in those days.
KP: Did your father own a car?
DM: Yes. I can recall an open Studabaker sedan, the one with four doors, with a canvas top and sides that we would snap on for the rain. And, I think the window washers you had to work by hand. But, then he graduated to a Packard. And, I can remember a huge Packard. So, this would imply that his practice was going pretty well.
KP: Did your ... parents hire any help to help around the house? Either to cook or with the yard.
DM: The only one I remember is, we had a gardener come in and cut the grass, and do edging around the garden, and that sort of thing. And, I can remember one dinner where Mother had a lady come in to serve the dinner. And, I forget what the occasion was, but we were all dressed in our finest, and we had to be in our best behavior, and so on. But, as a general, as a regular, no; we did not have anyone on a regular basis.
JS: In your neighborhood, and in West Orange, ... did most of the fathers commute to New York to work, were most professionals?
DM: I don't know that most of them did, but there were several who did commute to New York. Yes. You're talking about the cars at the time. This is the ... mid '30s, late '30s. You could always tell when Mrs. Furey was coming back from taking Mr. Furey to the station because you could hear the Chevrolet coming up. We lived on a horizontal street, up a hill, and you could always hear Mrs. Furey coming up, it was a Chevy, you could hear it coming up the hill to our street from our house. [Laughs]
JS: You played lacrosse while you were here at Rutgers.
DM: At Rutgers. Yes.
JS: When you were in high school did you play any other sports?
DM: No, I was not into sports in high school. I was, I guess the closest I came, I went out, I thought I'd be the manager of the football team in my senior year. And, I lasted a week or two, and that wasn't for me. ... And, I wasn't big enough for basketball. So, I wasn't into sports. I was in to, I forget, French Club or something like that, and collecting stamps. Scouting was my big thing. I was into scouting.
KP: Were you an Eagle Scout?
DM: I became an Eagle Scout. Yes. And, so I came up through the ranks. I was a patrol leader, assistant patrol leader, junior assistant scoutmaster. I guess ... my senior year ... I became an Eagle Scout.
KP: Where was your troop sponsored? Who sponsored your troop and was it in West Orange?
DM: It was in West Orange. And, we met at the Gregory Avenue School, which was a grade school two blocks up from our street. Now I don't remember it specifically, who the sponsor was, whether it was the PTA or the grade school, or whether it [was] some other organization and we just happened to meet there. But, we had some very good scoutmasters, I felt. And, that was a big thing for me, was the scouting movement.
KP: What initially attracted you to scouting? ... Was it the camping and outdoor activities, or did your friends all join?
DM: Well, it was a major activity of the area at the time. In fact, we started in Cub Scouts. But, not at ... Gregory Avenue School. Cub Scouts met in a little church two blocks down the hill, on Valley Road. I think it may have been a Presbyterian church that sponsored the Cub Scouts. So, I started, and I think we used to go to that church. I mean, we belonged to St. Mark's, a couple of miles over towards the center of town, Episcopal, but I think we attended this Presbyterian, maybe because I joined the Cub Scouts. I don't remember. But, I can remember my dad going with me to a, they used to call 'em a "Blue and Gold Dinner." A father and son dinner or something like that. The natural progression was from Cub Scouts into scouting, and I just followed the trend.
KP: Did you go to the 1937 Jamboree in Washington?
DM: No, but it was a big thing. It was a big thing. But, I didn't get to go to that. No.
KP: ... It sounds like you were a little disappointed. That you would have liked to?
DM: Yes, I would have liked to have gone. But, I don't know why, maybe it was because funds were tight, but maybe it was just that we didn't do some of those things.
KP: People ... that I've interviewed that went through the Boy Scouts said that the Boy Scouts, in many ways, helped to prepare them for Army life, or military life.
DM: ... Very definitely. Very definitely. Because I look upon the scouting movement as preparing boys for leadership roles. Those that do go through the ranks, and move up, and become the patrol leaders, and the junior assistant scoutmasters, and take the advanced ranks, like the Star, Life, and Eagle, very definitely, it prepares them for leadership roles.
KP: ... What sort of expectations did your family, and, I guess, your teachers, have for you in terms of college? Did your parents expect you to go to college?
DM: ... I just assume so. ... I don't recall much discussion about that. I guess, my sister went to what was then called the Normal School, and which is now Montclair State. And, I'm not sure, but I think that was a two year school which prepared the students to become teachers. At least that was her curriculum, was to become a teacher. And, when she graduated from Normal School she went to Vermont or New Hampshire, half way up the state, and taught at a school, a rural school up there. But, then my brother came to Rutgers, he was ROTC, and I just thought, "I'm going to school, too." And, I'm not surprised that it was Rutgers.
JS: When you were a student here at Rutgers you were really busy. A lot of activities. Lacrosse, and your fraternity, Cap & Skull. Which activity did you enjoy the most?
DM: ... I enjoyed lacrosse. In terms of, because I think I'd like to make this point, that in high school there was no lacrosse in those days. The only high school lacrosse was out in Long Island some place, and down in Maryland, but ... I don't know that there was even one ... high school lacrosse team in New Jersey at the time. So, one of the reasons I got into that's because I was starting at scratch with everybody else. Nobody else had experience. And, it was a sport for lean and fast boys. So, ...
JS: It sounds like you became much more active in activities in college than in high school. ... Had you been as active in high school?
DM: Well, in high school I was advertising editor of the yearbook, which took some time, I was active in the clubs, but you, I guess, might say that the scouting was really my activity during high school. Okay, now you were asking about lacrosse and other activities. Some of these, well, ROTC and then I ran into the rifle team, and I shot on the rifle team for three years, and then came back after the war. And, in the yearbook I put down that I was on the rifle team in my fourth year, but again I lasted only a little while, because I found after several years of military service I wasn't as steady as I was when I left. So, if you can't hit the bulls-eye ... it doesn't serve to continue on the rifle team. So, unfortunately that's a little misleading, you might say, because it says that I was on the rifle team for four years, but I had to give it up because ... I couldn't hit as many bulls-eyes as I did during the first three years.
JS: Now, you were also Student Council Secretary.
JS: What were the elections like then? I know now the turnout is very low for student government elections.
DM: That was an interesting process. And, of course, we had Targum, and the Targum, I think, profiled the different students. And, I think, ... there was just a small group of us that were permitted to wear white sweaters with the red numerals. Now I don't know whether that's still a tradition here, but a white sweater with red numerals said your sport had an undefeated season. So, I was one of the few that was wearing a white sweater with red numerals. And, I can remember as part of the process, the election process, there was a session held in the chapel. Now I'm not sure if this was part of Sunday Chapel, or whether this is special arrangement, but of course the chapel was filled. This is Kirkpatrick. And, each of us had to get up and at least stand. I forget whether we had to say anything or not, but at least we had to stand, and I had my white sweater with the red numerals. So, I don't know whether that had anything to do with my election or not, but anyway the profile, of course, they would've mentioned that I had been in military service, and a first lieutenant. That sort of thing. But, then quite a few others who were elected to the student council had been in service and had achieved those ranks.
KP: ... Was the majority of the student council veterans, or ... was there a split between veterans and non-veterans when you served on student council?
DM: My recollection isn't too sure, and I haven't been looking at that, but I would think, my thought is, that there was a mixture. That we were not all veterans. And, another point. I don't think we were all fraternity people. I think we had a mixture there, but I would have to look at a yearbook, and look at the members to recall more correctly, but that's my impression.
JS: How much did Rutgers change between when you were here before you left for the service and then when you came back?
DM: That's an interesting question because ... between the time, I was going from then until now, but from then until we returned, I guess the change really started while we were here, after we had been put on active duty in March 1943. Because at that time the Army established a special, what they called ASTP, Army Specialized Training Program, here at Rutgers. And, so our group was put on active duty, and we moved from wherever we were living into the dorms as part of a military unit. And, in addition, they brought other men in from ... outside the campus to become part of this same ASTP, which was a training program. Primarily engineering. And, so that started the change. And, one of the things that we, you know, how do you feed this many people? In effect the military took over the gym. The gym became a cafeteria. And, I think they hired a contractor to do the meals, but ... that was what we called the mess hall, which is a cafeteria arrangement. So, we had all our meals. So, that brought more people onto campus, and that began the change. So, when we came back perhaps ... it wasn't much different from what we had left because the gym was no longer a mess hall. It was back to being a gym. And, now I allude because I was ... in Delta Upsilon, a fraternity, so we returned to the fraternity. And, in that respect it, sort of became, came back to normal. So, I don't remember the cafeteria arrangement after we returned.
JS: When did you join your fraternity?
DM: In the fall of 1940. In fact, when we came to Rutgers, and we signed up for a dorm, I think we signed up for a year. For the school year. ... But, there was a fraternity rush in the fall where all the freshman were, not all the freshman, but where the fraternity would invite freshman to dinner, and, you know, try to, "Oh, we're the greatest! You ought to join us! We have a good team," and so on. And, so I was involved ... in being recruited by different fraternities, and I happened to pick Delta Upsilon. And, that was, so this was like in, I don't know, November or December. I can remember going home, maybe it was on Christmas break or Thanksgiving break, and I had my numbers down for the differences. "This is the meals, this is the rent, the room rent, this is miscellaneous expenses, and so on." I had this for the different fraternities profile. And, we talked about it at dinner at home. And, I said, "Well, I sort of liked DU the best." So, when I came back to campus, and I had to go up to the administration, I don't know whether there's some sort of administration headquarters here, that we had to go to and say, "I'd like to change my dorm room and go to the fraternity." Anyway, it was permitted at the time, and the University supported the fraternities, I guess, in that respect.
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DM: ... You get me talking here, and I find it interesting recalling some of these things.
KP: Yes. Most people think it will only take a half hour and it ends up being, people recall more than they thought they knew, or could recall.
DM: Yes. Yes.
KP: Another question comes up related to the fraternity. Do you remember your initiation?
DM: Yes. Very definitely. I can remember going to French class with ladies, girl panties, over my trousers, and a baby bonnet on my head, and perhaps a bra ... exposed on the outside. And, of course, the French professor wasn't, he was pretty tolerant I guess, because this was sort of normal activity at that time. And, also at the house they would have us blindfolded and say, "Here, these are worms that you're gonna eat," and it was really spaghetti, you know? All sort of innocent things to, just to say, "Well, you're a lowly person." And, we had a little phrase that we had to recite at the foot of the stairs. In the DU house we had a flight of stairs with a grandfather clock. So, we had that little thing to recite to this clock. The message being, "I am a lowly person and you great persons who are the seniors," and this sort of thing. So, it was, I think, but it was all sort of innocent sort of stuff. Nothing outrageous or that sort of thing. And, it sort of built cohesiveness into our class, the freshman at the house. And, also, having gone through that, we then became part of a whole, and it was a very close knit group of men that were members of the fraternity.
KP: It sounds like you stayed in touch with them for a long time, your fraternity brothers, is that ...
DM: Yes, because we would have annual meetings. And, after I graduated from the University, I was on the board of trustees of the fraternity, Rutgers chapter, for nine years. So, for nine years I would come down once a month to a trustees' meeting at the fraternity. And, we would discuss finances ... and repairs that had to be made, and what was going on at the house. And, we had very good oversight at that point, so it is very disappointing to learn of the things that have happened in more recent days. And, I've lost touch after my nine years on the trustees board. I think I might have returned to a few annual meetings after that. But because the annual meeting was always a joint undergraduate-graduate, ... a reunion type thing, ... it kept the alumni involved ... in the chapter, which was very good. We had an alumni, well, you had a board of trustees that would come in and hold the meeting ... each month. And, the officers of, the undergraduate officers of the fraternity, attended those trustee meetings, and had to report on the activities of the fraternity. And, we had a graduate trustee, sort of liaison, between our chapter and national. So, we had a lot of oversight I think in those days. And, I don't know what happened to that.
KP: ... How did your fraternity fair during the war? Did it have to shut down its house or rent it out?
DM: Yes. I forget. Yes. I forget. Yes. We had to move out. And, that occurred after our group was put on military active duty, and moved into the dorms. And, I'm not aware of the details of it, but I do know that the DU people had to move out, and I forget whether it was military people who moved in there or someone else, but we had to move out. I think it might have been military people who ... took over there. And, of course, while we're off in service, we didn't get back. We didn't have much news about what was going on at the house.
JS: Were most of the students at Rutgers, before the war, involved in fraternities?
DM: Yes. I think most of them were. ... It was a significant part of campus life. I can't recall the ratio of fraternity to non-fraternity, but we did have commuters, and we did have the dorm people. So, I don't know, if I were to guess, maybe fifty or sixty percent because we had Ford Hall, we had the Quad, we had Winants. They were all dorms, and so, you know, ... out of thin air I'm pulling this fifty or sixty percent were fraternity. But, I would say a lot of the social life on campus was around the fraternities. They were usually the ones. The different houses would hold parties. Let's go to two parts to this, I guess. One is party weekends which were not university wide. And, then the major university weekend, like the Soph Hop, the Junior Prom, the Military Ball. Those were three big weekends. But, I think fraternities periodically would also have Saturday night parties. And, these were run by the fraternity, just as an evening affair. But, the big weekends, the Soph Hop, Junior Prom, Military Ball, these were weekends where the girls were invited to come and stay. In, like in, the case of the fraternities, the fraternity brothers would move into the dorms with friends, and we'd sleep on the floor and this sort of thing, and the girls would take over the fraternity house. One of the reasons I chose DU was, DU used a dormitory arrangement. Our beds, sleeping, was all on the third floor, in two rooms with cots ... spread around the rooms. In the other fraternities you had double bunks, and so on, in individual rooms. And, I sort of liked this dormitory arrangement. And, our rooms were devoted to study. We had desks, and chairs, and lamps, and that was our room. Two to a room. So, anyway, on these big weekends the girls would come, they would take over the house, the second floor and the third floor in our case, and we'd all be out in the dorms with our friends.
JS: Your wife went to NJC.
JS: Did you meet her while you were going to Rutgers?
DM: Yes. She was a blind date at one of our fraternity parties. One of the weekends, I think.
KP: Before the war or after?
DM: Before the war. And, I forget whether it was ... Well, she was Class of '46, so she was two years behind me. So, that would have been my junior year, I guess, when she was a freshman. And, yes, there was ... some sort of party where she came over to the house, and it was a blind date. And, I guess, I must have asked her for another dance, and so, but then came ... the war, and we were off, and I forgot. So, you're interested in how my wife ... and I got together? It's an interesting story because we came back after the war, and we went to a football game as part of the fraternity group. And, my wife happened to come down, I guess NJC was having some sort of affair, maybe it was homecoming week, I don't know. And, she was in the stands, and she happened to spot me. And, so at night we were at supper at the fraternity, and I get a phone call. And, a fellow by the name of Al Calamoneri answered the phone. And, it was some other girl that was calling Al Calamoneri and said, "Al, is there a Doug McCabe there?" And, he says, "Yes, I'll get him." And, she says, "Well, I have a friend who ... thought she saw him. She'd like to talk to him." And, so she got on the phone, and I got on the phone and I said, "Well, we're having a party in a few weeks. How about coming to the party with me?" And, that's how it all started.
KP: So, you had met her before the war, but you really hadn't stayed ...
DM: We didn't correspond or anything. No, I didn't have any idea. In fact, I guess really, I hadn't thought too much about her. And, she graduated and joined Hoffman-La Roche as a chemist, although she was a Home Ec. major. ... So, that's how it all started. But, she will tell you a story about, I think, one of our first parties. I forget whether it was a weekend. She says, "I didn't see him all night! He was running around, out getting ice to put in the ice bucket for the drinks, and this sort of thing. I didn't see him all night. And, then he takes me home and didn't say a word until we drive up to the door and he said, "'Would you like to go to the party with me next week?'" [Laughs] So, anyway, it worked out. And, I'm very pleased and she's very pleased.
KP: You mentioned that you were an usher for Sunday chapel.
KP: So, you must have very distinct memories of chapel, both the weekly and the Sunday chapel.
DM: Yes. Well, it was a requirement. All students, not just the ... freshman and sophomore, but I think all students had to log into the chapel so many Sundays out of the total. Maybe it was eighty percent or something like that. And, I forget whether we had little stubs that we had to turn in, or whatever, but attendance was kept, and we had to log in and be at chapel so many times. But, I had been an acolyte in high school at my church. And, so when we got down here chapel ushering sort of fell into that. It's sort of a natural thing. And, you may remember Howard Crosby. We called him Bing Crosby. He was Class of '43. He was the proctor in the Quad section where ... I first came as a freshman. So, to me he was a very significant person, because he sort of started me out on the Rutgers career. And, we remained friends through college and after college.
KP: You knew him both as a proctor but then also as Dean of Students, or Assistant Dean of Students, I should say?
DM: Well, after, yes. After he became dean, yes. But, I would see him more on, like reunion weekends, and that sort of thing.
DM: And, he was also involved in the Cap & Skull, and student council. Well, student council, I remember after he graduated he joined the university staff, and he had something to do with student council, because I think I had to work with him on the notes. Yes.
KP: Do you remember Dean Metzger at all?
DM: I can picture him in the white hair, and I think he wore glasses. I can picture him, and I'm sure we met him, but I don't remember much about him.
KP: You majored in math and natural science, but you listed a history professor, Professor Charanis, as your favorite ...
DM: Peter Charanis. He was sort of charismatic. Is that how you pronounce the word? He was very good at teaching, and maybe that's why I recall him more than others. Because I only took that one year of history, I think, which was the early, the Roman, Middle East, what, ... European and Middle Eastern history, or something. I don't remember too much about it, but I remember Peter Charanis being a very interesting professor. I also, well, I had three years of French. I can remember my French professor, but I don't remember his name. But, the math and natural science was more like a fallback because I entered as a business major with economics. And, I think it was at my freshman year, in June, I was taking a finals exam in the gym, the gym was full, I was writing one of these blue books. I read the questions. Sorry, I'm not sure I completed one question. I turned it in. The professor was ... very sympathetic, and tried to encourage me, but, I guess, I realized that economics was not the thing of me. And, so I then had a visit to, perhaps it was Dean Metzger, because he was Dean at the time, and it was with my father. And, said ... I didn't think economics was the thing for me, and I asked, and I said, "I like math. Can I change to that?" So, I was able to come back as a math [major]. But, ... I was not outstanding in math. But, when I, just part of your theme here, when I went overseas I took a paperback math book with me. And, when I had free time I would study that math book, and when I came back I was still math and natural science. So, ... I had to take math courses to graduate. So, I found them interesting, but I was not an outstanding student. I squeaked by on the mathematics. But, I did take a course in my senior year that was accounting, which I hadn't been in before, and I did very well in that. I liked that. And, so perhaps that helped me later on, because when it came time to graduate and, "Where are you going to work when you graduate?" In the math building, of course, in and out of the math building, and they were talking about actuarial studies. "Well, what are actuarial studies?" "Well, they're the mathematicians of the insurance industry." So, ... I guess some of students, math students, would take those math actuarial exams while a student. I never did. But, anyway, when it came time for interviews it seemed that I interviewed with the insurance companies and I ended up with the Prudential Insurance Company. Not in the actuarial program, but I was hired as a management trainee, they called it. And, I guess that was because of a mixture of military service ... and the extra curricular, the student council, Cap & Skull, Scabbard and Blade, because of those things as much as the math and natural science. But, the one thing that the math and natural science did, that I feel, I mean that's the major contribution that I feel came out of that education was to think logically. To address problems and look at different possible solutions. And, so that combination, I think, helped me very well in my career.
KP: Did you anticipate our entry into the war before Pearl Harbor?
DM: I think we generally saw that coming. It was sort of, these activities were going on in Europe and also in China. The Japanese having invaded China, and all the things that were going on, but I think we were more focused on Europe, maybe because we were on the East Coast rather than the West Coast. But, there were the two realms of activity. I can remember going to a movie, like in 1939 or early 1940. I don't remember the movie, but in those days we didn't have TV. We did have radio. But, the thing about the movies, in-between the two features would be a news reel, and the news reel that we saw at that time was of Neville Chamberlain having flown back from meeting with Hitler in Germany. And, he had his umbrella and said, "We have achieved peace in our time," signing this agreement with Hitler. Well, some people thought that, they didn't see it as peace in our time. ... They didn't believe him. But, anyway, that was the message that was being conveyed to the public. So, there was skepticism I think. But, not by everybody.
KP: How did your father feel about Franklin Roosevelt?
DM: ... I don't know.
KP: He never voiced ...
DM: He never voiced. Well, perhaps. Perhaps this might answer the question. When President Hoover was elected my father, at the time, ... had been admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court. He had been admitted to practice before the Supreme Court. When President Hoover was elected my father and mother went to Washington, to the President's Ball. And, afterwards I used to have fun playing with the top hat because it was one of these squish kinds, and you would pop it, and it would pop up. [Laughs] But, anyway, I think that implies that his loyalty was to the Republican party. So, I don't know how he felt about FDR. But, if I, continuing on that ... theme, ... the first election to occur that I could vote, I had been commissioned, and I was at my first assignment, the 113th Infantry at Camp Pickett, Virginia. And, my thinking at the time was that, although my loyalties would prefer the Republicans, I felt we should not change our leadership at this time. That he had carried us so far through this war that we ought to keep him in here. So, my first vote in my first election was for President FDR.
KP: How did you and your father, 'cause it sounds like you know less about your father, how did you feel about the approach of war in 1939, '40, '41? You mentioned Neville Chamberlain, but did you think the United States should get involved? You weren't sure?
DM: I don't think, at the time, I had an opinion as to whether or not we should get into the war. But, we were all young, and those of us who had chosen the ROTC, you know, if you joined the military, ... one of the reasons for having a military is to fight wars. So, it wasn't something that, we particularly, we didn't want to be in a war, I'm sure, because wars are terrible. There are really no winners, in a sense. There's so much devastation. But, that's why we have the military. But, I don't really think, I didn't try to analyze, "Should we be in, or shouldn't we be in?" That was for the politicians, for Washington, and that sort of thing.
KP: When you entered Rutgers, did you think you would stay in ROTC all four years, or did you join after the war had been declared?
DM: No, I sort of thought I would probably, when I came as a freshman, ... I think I thought that I would seek to go all four years through ROTC, and [was] probably influenced by my brother having done that.
KP: Your brother stayed in for four years.
DM: Four years of ROTC, and he had his summer camp at Plattsburg, New York, and my parents went up to Plattsburg to see him.
KP: Did your father end up serving in the army after ROTC?
DM: My brother?
KP: Your brother. Right.
DM: No. No. I don't think so because he graduated, and he joined W.T. Grant Company at the time, and I can ... remember going down to Virginia with my parents and seeing where he worked down there. And, he worked in Florida, and he worked up in Bloomfield, and that. He worked in different places. But, no, ... he didn't. And, I guess he had served whatever time ROTC requirement had on him. He apparently must have served that. In the draft he had a wife and two children so, the draft, he was deferred from the draft. So, he never did serve in the active duty after college, that I know of.
KP: Did you envision serving in the military or making the military a career at all when you started ROTC?
DM: Well, that's an interesting question. [Laughs] I guess when I was a senior in high school, I think it was high school, maybe junior or senior years. We had a, did we call it in high school, "professors?" We had a ... you know?
DM: A teacher who had served in World War I, and he had the American Legion magazine. And, I used to like to read the American Legion magazine. And, then when I asked him about subscribing to it he said, "No, you don't want to subscribe to that." So, I never did. But, anyway, I can remember walking up and down in front of my house counting cadence, and one time saying ... "I'd like to go to West Point, you know." But, I never, I guess, never even got serious about that. But, at one time I thought I might like to go to West Point. I was impressed by ... their spirit, their, you know, their cohesiveness as a unit, and the leadership that they provided.
KP: Did you ever watch war movies growing up? Any of the movies during World War I?
DM: The one movie that I recall was "The Fighting 69th," Pat O'Brien. But, I don't remember others. Maybe I was more influenced by the westerns. I liked westerns. And, of course, the military was always fighting the Indians. But, I, you know, I don't know how much one influenced the other.
KP: You mentioned voting for Roosevelt in your first election, the fourth time he ran, but a number of people I've interviewed, and it had a lot splash, the Targum was, soon after you got to Rutgers, Wendell Wilkie came to campus. Do you remember Wendell Wilkie's visit?
DM: I do not remember Wendell Wilkie's visit. I do remember Eleanor Roosevelt's visit to Douglass. And, there were several of us who went from this campus over to the Douglas campus to hear Mrs. Roosevelt talk. And, this was in a small room, in a lower room, in a building just ... There's a street that runs off, what is it, George Street? And, there was a building on the corner there, and there was a basement room. It was, I don't know, maybe it was only about four times the size of this room. I was thinking back now, it was a rather small room. You'd think that she would've drawn more people, but it was a very small audience. I don't remember her topic, or what she talked about, but I was really impressed by her. And, she was a very good speaker. And, I guess, that is one of the reasons why she eventually ended up as a delegate at the UN.
KP: When you saw Mrs. Roosevelt ... was this ... during the war or was it after?
DM: I would guess it ... must have been my senior year. No, it couldn't have been because he died in 1945. So, no, I'm not sure, because I'm not sure she was there while he was still in office, or whether she came afterwards. I don't know. She was very active as a woman.
KP: Yes. Either way. Right.
DM: ... On her own she was independent of him, in some respects. In terms of her being out, and talking to people, and having her own agenda. So, I'm not sure whether it was while he was still in office, or whether he had died.
KP: How do you think most students at Rutgers, your classmates, felt about the approach of war in 1940, '41? Were most neutral? Were most active supporting American involvement? How many American Firsters were there? Do you have any recollections?
DM: No, I don't. I think there was a lot of this feeling that "America First," as you phrase it. That, "We're the champion of liberty and freedom," which was the purpose of World War I, so to speak. And, that collapsed and well, "Maybe we have to do the job again." ... You know, we were on campus here, and, in some sense, this is a closed group. And, we might have our own philosophy, and so on, and our own opinions, but I don't know to what extent that's representative of the state as a whole.
JS: Do you remember where you were when you first heard about Pearl Harbor?
DM: I do, and most people do. And, it's interesting because I think it was a Sunday, and my parents had come down to visit me. And, ... the DU house is right across the street from Ford Hall, and they were parked right in front of Ford Hall, and I was standing outside the car bidding them good-bye. You know, the last, kind of talking, and little things. Maybe talking about my laundry and this sort of thing. And, they were getting ready to leave when, I think, the news came over the radio. And, I forget whether they had the radio on or not, but we turned on the radio, and that's when we got the news. Yes.
JS: What was your immediate feeling? Your reaction?
DM: Well, probably something on the order of, "Now we're into it. Now we're into it. And, we'll just have to wait and see what happens." But, of course, there were some on campus who felt, "Oh, okay. I gotta go now!" I wasn't one of those that said, "I gotta go now." I'm ... interested in the education, and I'm in the ROTC, so I have a program to complete. And, that program included ROTC, and then military service. So, we'd just have to wait and see how that developed.
KP: Students of mine who, and Jeff included, who have read the Targums for that period, from '42 and '43, the Targum reflected a real element of uncertainty. That people really didn't know what was going to happen to them from semester to semester, even from month to month ...
DM: It created a lot of angst. Is that the word? Anxiety? Yes, because by then the draft boards were in business, and different fellows had draft boards, and there was the feeling, or question, "Well, do I want to be drafted? Because if I am drafted I'm probably going into an infantry unit. Maybe I want to sign up for the Coast Guard, or the Navy, or Air Force. I'd rather be in that unit." And, so the question was, "Well, do I sweat it out and wait for the draft? Maybe I'll be lucky and won't be drafted, or do I take destiny into my own hand and say, 'I go. And, I want to be in this sort of outfit.'" Yes. There was a lot of uncertainty and, "What do we do? And, how do we," and so on. Those of us in the ROTC, I think, had already made the commitment ... because this was 1940. We were freshman, so we hadn't really made the commitment at that time. I'm thinking we had to enlist ... in the Enlisted Reserve Corps in order to be accepted for the advanced ROTC. But, the enlistment in the Enlisted Reserve Corps didn't come until the summer of 1942. So, that was [six months] after Pearl Harbor. So, at the time, yes, you didn't know. But, I guess most of us felt that we would have student deferment to pursue a college degree. And, I guess that did last for a little while, but I think you're right, that there was a lot of uncertainty of what was going to happen.
KP: There was also a good bit of mobilization at Rutgers to help the war effort. Do you have any recollections of that?
DM: No, I don't. Mobilization?
KP: Well, there was, for example, a defense council set up, and there was a black-out drill several times ... performed.
DM: I don't remember that. Yes. Was that your question, Jeff?
JS: Well, I was going to ask about, you know, you hear about how on the West Coast after Pearl Harbor was bombed, how everyone thought that they were going to get bombed, if there was any feeling like that, you know, in the immediate couple of days after Pearl Harbor? I know one person, who was interviewed, said that there were guards at the railroad stations.
DM: I don't remember that there were guards, but there could have been. I think this was standard procedure to have what we called the MPs, Military Police, some, at least one or two, stationed at the different railroad stations. That was sort of common. But, I didn't think much about it. I just thought that was normal. But, yes, then the campaign started about "Be careful what you say, and who you say it to, because ears are listening, eyes are looking," and so on. There was that going on. But, also during that time, you know, this book [Rutgers University Class of 1944 Military History Book] will tell you, in the Navy story. The Navy was into the war ... before Pearl Harbor, in the Atlantic. In the Atlantic. And, that was because of some submarine activity. And, so, yes, I think there was concern at the time of submarines coming along the coast and putting in saboteurs and so on, but also there were sinkings of cargo ships. And, so, I think there was concern and I think we did ... I remember all right. Between my freshman and sophomore year I worked at an Acme Market, and I earned a little money from ... that. And, one of the things I did was to buy a little Ford, 1937 Ford, for a hundred dollars. And, I can remember having to paint the lights on that car halfway down with black paint, part of the black-out concept to minimize the glare exposure to the submarines, or airplanes, if they happened to come over. But, I don't think anybody felt threatened by airplanes. But, the submarine threat was considered real. Now, in terms of the West Coast, the concern that I recall was concern about mines being floated over on the Japanese current, and balloons being floated over with bombs. That was a big concern. And, I think that ... may have contributed to the idea of having all the Japanese, particularly from the West Coast, be put into the camps. And, Dr. Piehler addressed that point in his prologue to this book. So, that was very interesting.
KP: Several people who took ROTC, one of the points they've made to me, ... and to other people I've interviewed with, is that they took ROTC more seriously after December 7, 1941. Not that they were neglecting it before December 7, but they really stood up and listened ... after Pearl Harbor. Is that an accurate way of putting it?
DM: I think that's an ... accurate thought. Yes, I don't know why others took advanced ROTC. We all had to take the basic, but I guess during basic it's a required course, it's not a difficult course, so to speak, compared to their ... other academic studies. So, yes, maybe you were going before the war you were going through it just to get through it, but at least those who had any thought of going into the advanced ROTC were listening, because they knew that if they completed the advanced course, and became officers, that they were going to need to know that stuff and be able to implement it, and lead other people. And, so, yes, you paid attention to those courses.
JS: ... The following summer when you went into the advanced program they sent you to basic training?
DM: That was the summer of '43.
JS: The summer of '43.
DM: Yes. We were put on active duty. I was just reading those orders last week for another reason, and one of the things that came out, one of the phrases in ... those orders said that, "There will be no ... students permitted in ROTC after April 1, 1943. So, this was saying that all, and I interpreted that not only to Rutgers but all institutions, that anyone who was in ROTC was gonna be moved out to an Army base. And, yes, ... we were put on active duty in March of '43, but we were allowed to finish that year, which was our junior year. And, in June, seventy-one of the seventy-three ROTC students received orders to go to Fort Dix. And, we have copies of those orders. Two of us did not get those orders. One was myself and the other was Harry Simon. We both had heart murmurs and instead of being sent with the rest of the group to Ft. Dix to go to basic, we were kept here for a while, and we worked in the supply room, issuing uniforms, taking in laundry, taking the laundry over to Brooklyn for washing, and that sort of thing. And, we were sent over to Camp Kilmer for medical tests, and we had to sign waivers to stay in.
KP: So, in other words, you could have very easily had a 4-F.
DM: Yes, Harry Simon and I. If we had said, "We will not sign a waiver," they would have discharged us, and we would have gone home as a 4-F. Right.
KP: So, you very much wanted to serve? It sounds like a rhetorical question, but it sounds like you had a very legitimate way of getting out.
DM: Yes, yes, yes. But, I don't ... know how well I said it here, but I think I spoke and I said "Well, infantry, we're going in battle! Let's go!" [Laughter] So, we signed a waiver. And, I don't know. We were lucky and we came through it. We were lucky, but not everybody was. And, so it was, you know, it's strange what you do sometimes. Jeff?
JS: When you went to your basic training, and after that you went to finish officer training, correct?
JS: Did your drill sergeants know that you were going to go on to officer's training?
DM: I don't know. I don't know. Harry and I did get orders, maybe about August, and we went, and we had our basic, and we came back in December, just in time for New Year's. I can remember having Christmas dinner at basic training. We came back for New Year's and we got three day passes for New Year's. But, basic training, I don't know if they knew or not. I doubt that the sergeants knew because our, what we called a 201 file, which was a personnel file, was up in headquarters. Harry took his basic ... in the same camp. ... He and I were buddies up here before we took basic.
KP: Well, I'll have to interview him and I can get his ...
DM: Well, unfortunately you can't. He died in 1978, or something like that.
KP: Oh, too bad.
DM: But, yes, too bad. It'd be interesting. So, we went through basic and they must have known because I was sent back here, whereas the rest of my unit, I think, went ... to a staging area. And, I know many of them ended up on the beaches. ... At Salerno, in the middle of Italy.
DM: Anzio. Anzio. That was it. Yes. Anzio. Many of the fellas that I took basic training with ended up on the beaches of Anzio, and one of the reasons I know that is afterwards, after service, I was working again with the scoutmaster. This is after the war. I had met the scoutmaster that was our scoutmaster before the war, and for some reason or another, I don't know why, he and I and some others were over in like Paterson. I don't know where, Nutley. I don't know. And, we went into a bar, and there was a fellow that I went through basic with. And, he was the one that ... told me that most of the group ended up in Anzio and taking a shellacking with the German 88s, which was the heavy artillery. ... But, he survived and I happened to see him. So, the, at least the personnel officers at basic training knew that I should come back here, which implied that I'd be going on.
KP: Before leaving basic training ... you had been up to Plattsburg.
DM: Not me.
KP: You didn't go to Plattsburg?
DM: If I did I don't remember. That's where my brother took his camp between junior and senior year of college.
KP: So, you missed the Plattsburg experience?
DM: Yes. Yes.
KP: You had been in ROTC, ... but how useful was ROTC? Maybe to put it in another way, how much of a shock was basic training to you at Camp Croft?
DM: How much of a shock?
KP: Or not a shock.
DM: Yes. I didn't think of it as a shock. You know, ... we were studying the manuals and we'd had ...
------------------------------------ END TAPE ONE, SIDE TWO ----------------------------------------
KP: ... This continues an interview with Mr. Douglas L. McCabe on April 10, 1995 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey with Kurt Piehler and ...
JS: Jeff Schneider.
KP: ... The tape cut off, and I was urging you to recollect your experience with basic training, and it sounded like you adapted very well to basic and military discipline and to the program.
DM: Well, yes, because you know, I had been, you know, that I mentioned at one point, I thought I would like to go to West Point, and I sort of figured I was gonna be in ROTC, so my frame of mind was towards that, and scouting teaches you a little bit of discipline, too. So, I didn't find basic difficult at all. It was along the lines that I would have expected, I would think. And, I thought it was very good. So, I didn't mind the experience. I thought it was important.
KP: Had you ... traveled much before the war? Had you and your family traveled much?
DM: I can recall riding, and I think I might have been eight or nine when my parents took an automobile tour to Canada and back. And, I can remember one night we were still traveling about ten or eleven o'clock, and they hadn't found a place to stay, and we parked on the road, and we slept in the car, and a policeman came along and knocked on the window. But, I don't remember that trip, but I remember another trip when my brother was working in Virginia. My parents took a boat ride from New York to whatever the port is down near Richmond, and I got to go along. And, in fact, those are the only trips outside of New Jersey that I can remember. I went to summer camp out in Pennsylvania, but I don't remember being out traveling much before the military.
KP: So, Camp Croft was your really first big trip away from home, except for these two?
DM: Yes. Yes.
KP: What did you think of the area around Camp Croft? What did you think of the South? You'd been there once before, to visit your brother.
DM: Well, ... when we visited my brother we stayed in a rooming house, and we really didn't see much. I don't recall seeing much. But, in the military, Camp Pickett, Virginia was out in the country. I'm sorry. That's not basic. Camp Croft, South Carolina was the basic, and that was out in the country, ... and the big thing was to go into Spartenburg. It was like a rural little town in the South, so there wasn't, it wasn't like going as a tourist. ... I don't know. I didn't have much of an opinion. I guess from maybe reading geography books that the rural South was designated to grow cotton. Well, some of our basic training was through a cotton field. You know, we had to dig fox holes in this cotton field.
JS: ... What kind of personality differences did you notice between, like, the people who were at basic from the Northeast and from the South and the Midwest?
DM: ... I don't recall any significant differences. I think we were all pretty much the same. Except in basic we had a forty-five year old legislator from Georgia in our basic training unit. He volunteered. And, he was a legislator in the Georgia legislature. And, he felt that if we were sending our boys over to fight the war, that he ought to be willing to do that, too. And, he was in our basic, at forty-five years old.
JS: What was he like in basic? How well did he keep up with the group?
DM: He kept up pretty well. I think sometimes we might have helped him and carried his rifle, or something like that. But, in general, he kept up pretty well. I think it was more of a strain on him than for those of us who were younger. Another fellow, the other incident that I recall is, we're out on the parade ground lined up and the first sergeant ... put a lieutenant in front of us, who talked about buying war bonds. And, a fellow next to me said, "I'll buy a thousand." I didn't even know what $1000 looked like. And, this is a fellow that, I think, came out of New York City or, you know, a major metropolitan area. He was a little older, maybe he was twenty-six, you know, something like that, "I'll buy a thousand!" And, that was sort of surprising to me. ... But, in terms of personality or view point, something like that, we had a mixture and not much difference.
KP: You didn't have any re-fighting of the battle of the Civil War? Any battles in the Southern military?
DM: No. I don't recall ... anything related to the Civil War, as in terms of divisive. Yes, there might have been rebel yells, but we were all into that. It wasn't a North-South thing. It was a, it was just, it was there. There was no divisiveness because of the Civil War, that I was aware of.
KP: After you completed Camp Croft ... where did you expect to go?
DM: I expected to come back to Rutgers, and that's how the orders were.
KP: And, did you expect to remain at Rutgers, or ...?
DM: Well, we expected to come back here, waiting for OCS. [Officer Candidate School]
KP: So, you knew you were going to OCS?
DM: Yes. Yes. ... That was our program. That we would go to basic, and we were still part of the ROTC program, so to speak, which called for basic training and then OCS. And, it was just a question of when the opening would be at OCS.
KP: And, so that opening came in September of '44?
DM: Well, it came before that. That might have been ... I'm not sure when we went down to Fort Benning, but it was in the spring. It might have been June. Well, one way of measuring is, take sixteen weeks back from August 8th, okay? And, that would have been May ... or June we went to Fort Benning. And, I was within the largest segment of our group that started ... OCS at that time. Class 340. And, about two weeks into the class I came down with scarlet fever. All I knew is that I had a bad fever, and I couldn't, I was out of it. And, I recall a fellow, I think he was from Pittsburgh, going to the PX [Post Exchange - the camp store] and ... he came back with some ice cream and I thought that was terrific. Anyway, I had to get myself to the infirmary, and they say, "Yeah, you belong in the hospital. Go back and get your things and go on over." So, I had to get back to the company, and then get over to the hospital. And, they put me to bed, and I think I was comatose for several days before I came out of it. So, really, I could have gone either way, apparently. Either I could have been gone and that would have been the end of me, or I came out of it.
KP: 'Cause you went to Fort Benning for infantry. Infantry school
DM: Infantry OCS. Yes.
KP: ... And, then the scarlet fever? ... It sounds like it knocked you out of the training cycle for that.
DM: Yes. So, after I recovered sufficiently from that, they assigned me to OCS class 346. Which is what, ... three weeks later I guess. Three cycles later, or however they phrase it. And, I graduated on September 12, and that was, we had a lot of men from Pittsburgh University. And, it turned out that one fellow in that class and I have become friends, because we were both assigned to the 113th Infantry, we went overseas together, we served at the Port of Manila together, and we kept our relationship going afterwards.
JS: Now you had said in some of this stuff, in the alumni file, and where they took a survey for the undergraduates on leave, and they sent a bulletin around. And, you said that Harry Simon was a company over from you when you were at OCS. Did you know where any of the other Rutgers undergraduates were through the bulletin ...
DM: Not through the bulletin, but we knew the ROTC people were for the most part. And, I have an interesting story on this, because I am doing a little supplement to this thing, to the Military History book. We knew, or we know now, because we've been looking at it since our reunion, Class 340 had a majority, but it only went, it turned out, it only went through the Ms. Harold Meskers was the last person in the ROTC infantry group to be in Class 340. From John Pino on, who came after Meskers on the roster, they were in Class 341. And, it turns out there were six of our fellows who started out in 341, and graduated in 341. Now I can tell you where, probably, I'm not sure I can remember everyone, but I have since learned what's happened to most of them. But, maybe that's for another part of this thing here, rather than stick with your questions. Yes. Let's stick to your question, which is knowing about Harry Simon in OCS. Harry Simon was in Class 341 and he graduated on August 15, okay? As did Pino. Pino, let me see. Pino, let's see if I can remember. Pino, Simon, Vogt, Zellner, there were two more ... [Van Zandt and Striner].
JS: And, did you expect, after you finished OCS, to go immediately overseas or ...
DM: I don't think any of [us] knew whether we would be going overseas directly, or what would happen with us. I think we didn't know, or we were thinking, "We're in the ROTC, and our program calls for going to OCS, and after that it's up to the Army where they want to assign us." And, from OCS, well, this book, the Military History book, describes where most of the graduates from 341 and 340 went. And, it also has, what happened to the others, if you get to look at it. But, basically we were scattered. And, I think this was by design. I don't think they wanted to put all of us into one unit. But, we did end up with seven in the 86th Division. I think we ended up with nine in the 65th Division. I forget the exact numbers, ... but there was that. And, even within those divisions they were seldom in the same company. They were in different companies. So, basically, we were scattered. And, then besides class 341 and 340, that was August 8 through August 15, I was the next one to graduate from infantry OCS on September 12, and we had five or six more that graduated. Like one in October, two in November, and one as late as March, I think. The fellow that graduated in March was Ron Rumsey. He had come down with typhus. He was part of 341, and he came down with typhus and got set back longer. Okay? So, that was the infantry group. Now there were ... twenty-one Signal Corps ROTC. And, the Signal Corps ROTC unit was originated while we were at Rutgers. It took the engineers from our infantry group. We were all infantry. It took the engineers from our group and put them into the Signal Corps. And, those twenty-one, except for one, I'm sorry, nineteen out of twenty, went to Signal Corps basic training during the summer of '43. And, I'm not as familiar with them as I am with the infantry group, other than to know that nineteen of twenty went to Signal Corps OCS, and graduated from Signal Corps OCS. The one who didn't go to Signal Corps OCS was ... transferred, and was going for a veterinarian degree. We had one infantry fellow do that, too. So, there are two that went after the ... vet's degree.
JS: Now after OCS you were sent to the 113th Division.
JS: And, you were in Virginia?
DM: Camp Pickett, Virginia. The 113th was a National Guard outfit, and they had been on picket duty on the Atlantic Coast of New Jersey. And, the officers at the time there, whom we met, would tell us stories about being out on the beaches running patrols, you know, and he said, "Ya know, sometimes the fellas would just get so fed up they'd walk out in the ocean, and that would be it for them." I don't know. Too bad you can't get some of my facial expressions on that microphone, right? Because it was a gesture, "What am I to believe," you know? "... Was that true?" and, "How many of those occurred?" and, "What were the circumstances?" But, at any rate, I believe, it was accurate to say that they were patrolling the beaches of New Jersey against the threat of submarines putting saboteurs on shore.
KP: How long had they been doing this duty?
DM: ... They were activated pretty early during the war, and so I think they were on that duty, like, in 1941. I'm guessing.
KP: So, by the time you had joined the unit they were fairly frustrated with this.
DM: Yes, which probably might have been ... one of the reasons why they were at Pickett, you know? I'll tell you about the Pickett assignment, but to stick with the 113th no longer being on the beach, I don't think they were on the beaches when I joined them. I'm not sure when they moved to Camp Pickett, Viginia. But, by 1943, I think the threat of the beaches had been pretty well resolved through the development of joint efforts by the Air Force and the Navy developing their anti-submarine techniques. And, this was one of the things that helped us win the war, was the Navy and the Air Force solving those problems of the submarines, and being able to, in effect, prevent them from coming out from England. Getting over here. Because as soon as they left those shores they had them pinpointed, and between aerial surveillance and the Navy, they were able to knock them out. And, so the Germans could no longer afford to send submarines over here. And, so I think that might have been one reason why the 113th was moved from the beaches to Pickett. And, when I joined them the assignment was advanced infantry training. ... We had no troops. ... We were cadre, you would say. You know, in other words, a staff. We had officers and enlisted men, but we were all instructors. And, so our job was to conduct infantry training. Troops were sent to Pickett for training.
KP: Had the division since been broken up and parts of it shipped off? ... Men shipped off to different ...
DM: The 113th was not part of a division. It was an independent regiment.
DM: And, I can send you the description of the 113th that came from the book that Crandon Clark has, which ... is called The Order of Battle.
KP: Yes. I have The Order of Battle.
DM: If you have The Order of Battle, you look up the 113th Infantry, you'll find it described there, and where it was assigned, and when it was deactivated, and the fact that ... it was an independent regiment, not part of the division.
KP: What did you think of the quality of the National Guard leaders you encountered in the regiment?
DM: ... You know, I never thought of that. They were fellas, men, like the rest of us, and we all tried to do our duty and I didn't form ... any negative or significant opinion about them.
JS: Were you reassigned before the war's end, or were you still doing the training, training soldiers?
DM: We did training until ... I got orders on August 2 of 1945. August 2, 1945 I got orders to head for the Pacific. And, I forget, that might have been the day the first bomb was dropped. I forget the dates, but that was about the time the first bomb dropped. And, we were on a troop train going through Texas when the second bomb dropped. So, we were very pleased to hear that news because that, sort of, told us that the war wasn't going to last too much longer. But, we didn't know.
JS: Were you detached from the regiment or did you travel with ...?
DM: No. ... We were detached. We called them casuals or replacements. So, I was sent over as, you know, they went down the list and said, "Oh, these guys haven't been sent overseas yet, and they're not the original 113th," you know, "They didn't have the beach duty. It's time for them to get some overseas experience." So, they went down the list and my name, ... and others, like the fellow I mentioned from my OCS class. He and I together. But, there were others there from right in that same situation. They were put on this list and shipped over as individuals to the Pacific. And, we were sent to Fort Ord, California, a staging area for overseas. And, the orders were confusing, because when I got to California I thought we might be heading up to Alaska. You know, there was some activity up there with the Japanese. And, so I didn't have, we only had ... summer uniforms, and so I got the impression that we were going to Alaska, so I wired home, or wrote home, "Please send my winter uniforms." So, they put them, my folks put them, in a carton and put them in the mail, and they went south to the Pacific. The winter uniform caught up to me in ... late fall of '46 or '47, or something. After I got out. They had made it all the way to the Pacific and back. [Laughter] But, anyway. so Jeff, ... I got orders in August. We went over as individuals in a group. And, I didn't know it at the time, but it turned out that John Wiggin of our ROTC group, infantry officer, who had graduated, I forget whether it was October or November, and he was stationed at Rucker. This is where we were when we got orders overseas. ... The 113th went from, Pickett, Virginia to Fort Jackson, South Carolina to Camp Rucker, Alabma between September '44 and August '45. And, Jack Wiggin came, he had gone to, separated from the group, I guess, after basic. Somehow or other he got into the Air Force. He was ... training to be a pilot. But, well, before he got his commission [OCS Class 349A] they said, "All you Air Corps guys who are not officers yet, you go back ... and take infantry training," ... and so on. So, he was sent to the 66th Division at Camp Rucker. I didn't know that he was there at that time. And, he was on the roster. He may even have been on the train going to Fort Ord with me and I didn't know it. But, I found these shipping orders had put us on the same boat going to the Pacific. I didn't know it. And, he said, when he described your question concerning the orders to the Pacific in his questionnaire, he said that the headquarters had instructions that, "Any infantry officer who hadn't been overseas should be shipped overseas at this time." I take him at his word. And, so anyway, that's logical because that's the type of individual that was on the orders, heading to the Pacific at that time.
KP: So, you, in many ways, expected when you left [Camp Rucker] to see combat? And, as you were going out you increasingly realized by the time you got to California that the war was over, but you were still being shipped out.
DM: Yes. Well, you know, the Army is a big operation, and things are in a muddle and grind, and, yes, we were shipping over. But, even if the war is over you can figure you're going to have to have troops to go to Japan for occupation duty.
KP: You weren't at all disappointed that they just didn't say, "Go home now," or ...
DM: It never occurred to us. Well, we were on our way when the bombs were dropped, and we didn't know that the bombs would be successful in terminating the war.
KP: So, when you heard of the Japanese surrender where were you? Were you on a ship already or were you ...
DM: I think we were in Fort Ord and we were out on the coast. 'Cause that came around, the surrender came around, September 2nd, I think. And, by then we were in Fort Ord, 'cause I think we were in the boat by September 5th, or something like that. So, you know, those orders were all ...
KP: So, there was grumbling?
DM: No. There was no grumbling. At least, I didn't hear any. And, in any event, you know, this is hind sight on my part. It would make sense to send us over so that the fellows who had been over there in combat could be rotated back home. So, at that time, I think, in hind sight, thinking about it, I can see the rationale. Keep the pipe line going until we really know what we are going to be doing, and then we can change course. But, yes, there was a lot of build up.
JS: And, then, after the surrender you went to the Philippines, to the Port of Manila.
DM: Well, when we left California on the ship, and both Wiggin and I independently said this, the ships orders were to take us to Okinawa. And, Okinawa was the staging area for the invasion of Japan. So, this is where all the troops were being funneled to be ... organized into units, and to establish the order of the invasion. What units were going to go in first, and who were going to be in the reserves, and where were they going to attack. ... And, all these things just don't happen. They are all organized. They put together maps. They put together sand tables. And, so the troops are given advanced knowledge of where they're going and what their mission is. And, so this would all have to take place. And, my impression is that all this was going to take place on Okinawa. And, then a flotilla of ships would be put together to take them off. Take them up to Japan and follow the battle plan that would have been put together. And, then where does that question lead us?
KP: But, you weren't sent to Okinawa?
DM: Okay. So, yes. That's right. So, in mid-Pacific, both Wiggin and I said in mid-Pacific, our ships orders were changed ... from Okinawa to the Philippines. And, so we landed in the Philippines, in our ship, and it was interesting. When we took the ship through, the Philippines are a number of islands, a lot of islands, so we were going through this channel. And, I don't know, maybe the channel was a half a mile wide between these islands. We're going through this channel. And, of course, on the way over we were in black-out conditions. No lights, no cigarettes on deck, and this sort of thing, until mid-Pacific. They did lift the black-out about the time the orders were changed, I guess. But, anyway, going through the Philippines, we're going through this channel at night and it was rather interesting because there were bonfires on the shore and these were giving the ship, the channel, telling them where the channel was in getting through, to get on the other side where Manila is. And, we docked in Manila at night. And, they got us off the ship. It was raining. Put us in these big trucks, and took us to this building, and it was gutted. It turned out, we learned later, it was a gutted department store. And, maybe the urinals were still left there, but, or at least the drains for the urinals, but that's about all that was left there. It was gutted. But, that became our barracks. And, we were on cots, and with mosquito netting, and so on.
KP: Do you have any recollections of your voyage? You noted that you had black-out conditions for part of it, but then that was lifted. ... I take it, it was one of your first voyages except for that short trip to Virginia.
DM: Well, I had another one between my, it might have been, between freshman and sophomore year I think it was. There was a group of us, and somebody said, "... They're hiring on for the cruise ship to go to Puerto Rico." So, a group of us from campus here went up to New York, and signed on, and we took the cruise ship to, you know, part of the crew on a cruise ship to Puerto Rico. I was in the kitchen. I can't avoid some of these stories. I was in the kitchen, and the first time for supper they took us into a little dingy room, about a third the size of this, and six or eight of us, and brought in a pot of potatoes, and boiled potatoes, and I don't know what else. That was the last meal I had there because I was in at the counter, where all these dishes were coming in from the dining room, scraping this stuff into the garbage can. Half eaten steaks, you know, in cruise ships they serve pretty good, ... but from that point on I had the leftovers from the dining room. But, anyway, that's a different story. We landed in Manila at night and they put us ... in the Heacock building. This was a gutted building and we could hear shots in the night. ... Groups were still sending out patrols, smoking out the Japanese.
KP: So, you still had large numbers of Japanese who were reluctant to surrender?
DM: Yes. I don't know that there was a large number but there were enough to give our troops, make our troops, concerned and the units were sending out patrols.
KP: Manila was very devastated by the war. What's your recollection of seeing Manila in daylight?
DM: Devastation. It was devastated. Bombed out buildings, gutted buildings, and I can remember twisted trolley tracks and a burned out trolley car some place, and so on. Yes. It was very much devastated, so while we were there, I guess, the clean-up started.
JS: And, you worked at the port in Manila.
DM: So, my first assignment was as a pier officer on Pier 13. Thirteen happens to be our lucky number by the way. But, anyway, I was on Pier 13 as a pier officer. And, I think there were five or six of us, and they were eight hour shifts, something like three shifts, because cargo was coming in from the ships, and cargo was going out. And, one of the pier officer's job was to supervise the operation of the pier. We had Filipinos ... checking cargo in and checking cargo out, which meant they had a tally board where they would log in the cargo going in and log in the cargo going out. And, see, we sort of had a supervisory role over the pier.
JS: Did you have any interaction with the local Filipinos beyond just having them work at the pier?
DM: Not really. Well, one occasion ... I spent several months on the pier, I guess, and this is a Transportation Corps assignment, not an infantry. It's strange to have an infantry officer in that type of, because it's a Transportation Corps assignment, but the Transportation Corps fellows had been over there for months. And, they were being rotated back, so we were put there to take their place. After several months in the piers, I was brought into the office to be Chief of the Checker Section, and in that group I had maybe a dozen Filipino staff whose job was to take these tally sheets from the piers and work them into ships' lists that went to another unit in the office called "the manifest unit." They kept track of the cargo going in and out. So, I had this, call it a statistical staff that worked on this, and they formed some sort of, call it a fraternity, a little old club or organization, or whatever you want to call it, and one day they wanted to have a party, and say, "Okay, let's go out to this village and have this." So, I was taken in a jeep, and I think we had a Filipino driver, and there were a couple of us that went out to this party in a village next to a river, in little straw covered huts on pillars. And, they had a little party there with the, I don't know what sort of wine it was, but some had a little too much. But, they had their Filipino dances, and the girls were dressed, there's a particular type of dress that they wear with a bouffant sleeve at the upper part that sticks out here [Upper arm, near shoulder]. Very pretty dresses. So, in this muddy squalor, the insides of these huts were clean, and these girls were dressed in these pretty dresses, and the men were dressed in their special shirts and trousers. So, it was interesting in that respect. Another thing I recall is Easter time. Related to the passion plays that we see over here, in a sense it was that, but it was a ceremony that we got to watch. A couple of us, that were buddies, we were able to watch this. And, it involved Filipinos, and these were all Filipinos, and one of them in a loin cloth, with a thorn on his head, bare back, and one carrying a wooden cross. And, they carried this through this village, or wherever we were. I don't remember. And, the other thing that they had, I guess related, it was a whip, and flagellation, I think, is the word. And, they had men who would, Filipinos, who were bare at the top, with loin cloths at the waist, walking in this procession. And, they had others with these whips who would beat them, and their backs would become raw. And, the person carrying, there might have been more than one carrying the cross, and, I guess, reenacting that part of the passion from Easter. And, so this was very striking. I think some of the ... transportation out there were jeeps or buffalo, and buffalo wagons. Yes. And, I have a picture. I have pictures of this procession and I think ... in some of those pictures I have these buffaloes. But, that recollection is going back quite a bit. That's not a current one. Does that answer your question about association with the Filipinos?
KP: Did you attend services, religious services, while you were in the Army at all?
KP: Especially when you got to the Philippines.
DM: Yes. Yes. ... The churches in the Philippines were very important to the Filipinos and they were an attraction. And, the fellow ... that graduated from OCS with me, he liked photography. And, one of the prizes over there was getting your hands on what was called a "graphic camera," which is one of those, we called it, another name for it was a "press camera," and it opened in a slide-out. But, it was big. It was, you know, like, I don't know, maybe eight inches square. And, I think it had slides, the panels that you slide in and out, not a film. The fixed panel. Anyway, he took ... Now why did I get into his taking pictures? [Laughs] Isn't that embarrassing? You had a question which got me into the fact that these pictures ... We went to the passion play, then to the churches. Okay. So, he and I, I had a different kind of camera, more like a "brownie" but it wasn't a brownie. But, anyway, we took pictures of the different churches. And, we would visit them and observe the Filipinos. And, one of their rituals was to walk on their knees from the back of the church to the chancel. I guess, in a way of penitence. In looking for, what's the word, absolution, obsolvement. But, other times we were there when the churches were filled. And, these were Catholic churches because Catholicism was the basic religion of the island. So, we found that very interesting. And, we also have, I also have, a picture of a huge ceremony out in a public square. And, somehow or another I relate it, like July, or Independence Day. Maybe it was Independence Day because we were gone by July 4th. I left sometime in June. But, there was some big celebration out in the square, and it was part US military, and part Filipino military, and a lot of civilians there for Filipino independence ... .
KP: So, you participated in the ceremonies then?
DM: Well, where we could, yes.
DM: But, another thing that we, this other fellow, in fact there were three of us. There were three of us that were buddies, and we palled around, and we still have the friendship. The three of us would go to concerts. There were concerts. There was a Filipino Concert Orchestra. Well, it was sponsored by the special services of the US Army. But, this concert orchestra would put on ... concerts in Manila, and the three of us would go to those concerts. And, it was very interesting, because here's a Philippine orchestra playing Mozart, and other European composers, and playing the traditional European music. So, it was very interesting because there are instruments indigenous to that area that are unlike the European instruments. And, so it was very interesting to go to those concerts ... and hear familiar music. So, yes, in that sense, we took advantage of the cultural events, activities, that ... were available to us. And, if I may put a commercial in here for the Red Cross. The Red Cross was very important to our troops there. The Red Cross ... occupied a rather large building near the Heacock building where we were quartered. And, this was the focal point for a number of activities. Number one, they were the only place where there was a working toilet. So, if we needed to use the toilet we had to go from our Heacock building to this Red Cross building. Later on, they built for us an open-air john overhanging the wall by the river. And, we found that interesting because the Filipinos would swim, the children and so on would swim, down there. And, we just couldn't imagine that, but here's an open-air toilet over the river. Well, eventually that got taken care of. But, when we first arrived if we wanted to use a toilet we had to go to this Red Cross building. Now I think there were two stalls, so there was always a line. In addition ... they had a coffee bar where they had coffee and tea and donuts, and that sort of thing. So, and I'm sure the Red Cross did, they also had a service desk where they would answer questions, and help the GIs with problems, letters from back home where their "somebody" died, and they had to arrange for, you know, they were very helpful. So, our men were very appreciative of the role that they played there. ...
KP: Hold that thought.
-------------------------------------- END TAPE TWO, SIDE ONE --------------------------------------
KP: What sort of problems did you have, both on the pier as a pier officer, and then later in your larger statistical analyst role? What were you trying to do? What were the goals and your mission, and how successful were you, and what kind of problems did you encounter?
DM: What problems encountered on the pier?
KP: 'Cause you started as a pier officer.
DM: We can start with the pier officer. I don't recall many problems ... . I recall ... an accident which wasn't very pleasant. Somehow or another, a fellow fell under the wheel of a big trailer truck that was going off the pier, and the driver of the truck didn't see him, and he got run over, and there was no hope for him. So, that's, you know, you don't like to talk about those sort of things. But, problems; I don't recall the problems.
KP: ... In terms of pier officer, were you responsible for making sure of the security of the cargo? In other words, that there wasn't shrinkage.
DM: No. No. As pier officer we didn't have any security arrangement. There were MPs at the gate. ... We did not have charge of the gate. We had charge of the pier. And, but there were troops at the gate who checked the tally. Made sure the truck driver had a tally sheet, where it was going, and I don't know whether they kept a log or what. But, the trucks were to deliver their cargo to a certain depot. Okay? Now there was a problem with theft. The major one that I recall is cigarettes. Cigarettes were at a premium for some reason or other. And, periodically, we would read about ... one of these trucks being hijacked. And, it would be a truck, and we're talking about the big semi's, tractor-trailer type trucks, that were involved. Now I don't know if ... the whole truck was loaded with cigarettes, but periodically there was talk about a truck being hijacked, and their finding it empty somewhere, empty and that sort of thing.
JS: Was the problem with that from the Americans who were there, or was that all from the Filipinos?
DM: The implication was that it was the Filipinos. I don't recall that they targeted any GIs, but I really don't know.
KP: ... How much of a black market was there in Manila while you were there?
DM: I don't know. There might have been some. I know ... our quarters were not [far] from the main street of Manila. And, that had bars and all sorts of places where you could buy stuff, and quite likely some of it was black market, but I do not know to what extent. But, in terms of the Filipino dock-workers it'd be ... pretty hard for them to hide anything, and to get anything off the piers because they wore very thin shirts and usually shorts. Particularly the workers who worked in the holds. So, they came on the dock with hardly anything on, and it'd be hard, very hard, for them to take anything out. So, I'm not sure how much of that there was. But, we didn't see much of it.
JS: How limited were you in the, like, the restaurants and the bars that you could go to? Did they have to be checked out by the Army first to meet certain health standards, or ...?
DM: I don't recall that they had been checked out or that we were told, "Don't go here, or don't go there," but we never did, I and my friends, never went to a Filipino restaurant or a Filipino store. I might have bought a cap at one of the Filipino stores, but, basically, we didn't patronize [them]. I'm sure there must of been some GIs that did, but I don't know, and not being part of their unit, I don't know what sort of instructions they got. But, I don't recall any. You know, but I think, basically, the thought was, "Well, you're not entirely sure of the sanitation. You know, maybe it's not such a good idea." But, I don't think we were forbidden. But, to address the question of sanitation, you might say, when I got home from the Philippines, and I'm having breakfast, and I'm going through my cereal like this [using my spoon to search for bugs] and my mother says, "What are you doing?" Over there we had, it was our unit, at our major port we had a unit where we were quartered, and so on. In our mess hall we had mess sergeants and so on. We had a regular mess. That's where we ate. But, the cereal, or rice, you'd look for maggots. And, because ... this was stored at one of the piers in bulk, and these bugs would [get into it], and pretty soon, I guess, you'd get used to it, and they were dead anyway, so you didn't worry about it.
JS: But, at first it must have been very unpleasant.
DM: Well, yes. When you first get in, and you see these little things you know they're not raisins. So, you see these, and I guess that habit came through when I got home, first came home. [Laughs] You know?
JS: Did you get to see any of the area outside of Manila?
DM: Yes. The two other fellows, the three of us one day borrowed a jeep from the motor pool, and we went over to Subic Bay, which is a naval base. And, we took our bathing suits. I forget why we stopped at this place in-between, but it was an Army garage. I think it was staffed by Army people, but it was a garage. And, they had tires in this thing. I don't know whether we had a problem with the jeep and had to change tires or what. But, anyway, I remember that. But, anyway we went to Subic Bay and we had our swim. We had a good time frolicking in the water, but I don't remember much about the naval base. And, then we came on back. I did not go, but one of my friends, maybe the both of them, went to a place up in the mountains in the Philippines. The Army had an R&R, what they call an R&R, Rest and Recreation, where periodically, certain troops got to spend a week or so in one of these places. I didn't go, but my two buddies, I think, went. Not as an assignment to go for a week or so, they went on a day trip. And, the attraction was a mountain and the panorama that you could see. So, they took that trip. The only other trips that I took was related to the passion procession, and the party at the Filipino village. So, in that sense, that's ... all I saw of the Philippines. One other thing. ... Yes. A rather nice one. My office group, my statistical staff, the Filipinos, organized a party to Corregidor. And, we went over on a tug-boat. And, I have a picture of me in the front of the tug-boat with my Filipino chief-of-staff, so to speak, holding a beer. But, anyway, we were on our way to Corregidor and one of the things I noticed when we got to Corregidor was on the side of the hill was the 342nd Infantry, and this was part of the 86th Division. Well, we had six of our fellows who had served in Europe in the 86th Division, six of our ROTC group. And, so that was very interesting to me. But, I didn't see them on Corregidor. But, we could see their encampment and we got to see ... the tunnel and so on. And, we went topside, and saw the mortars, and so on, that had been up there, and had been destroyed when we retook Corregidor. So, I had that trip with the Filipinos. So, I think that's what I can remember of seeing outside.
KP: The Filipinos who worked in your checkers staff ...
DM: Let me come back to that question.
KP: All right.
DM: I'll finish this story.
DM: ... I forgot to add on, the 86th Division that I saw on Corregidor, part of them got transferred outside of Corregedor. So, one day, I forget whether I went on my own, or whether it was someone else, anyway, I went out to the 86th Division and met Dick Hale, whose name you recognize. He and I were fraternity brothers. And, I ... met some others there who were part of that 342nd, and saw there were bunks [in tents], and a patrol had just come in with their Tommy guns and everything. They had been out on patrol looking for Japs. But, not that night, but another night, the ... 342nd Infantry held an evening at a club outside Manila. And, it was, call it an officer's club, and it was the Rutgers Club of Manila, we termed it. We had a little Rutgers reunion. And, I have that picture at home. So, to come back, that takes care of the Bay. Now come back to the ...
KP: Your checker section, the Filipinos who worked for you, were they civilians?
DM: They were civilians. Yes.
KP: What was their background? Had most of them finished high school? College?
DM: I'm not sure. The ones on the piers, the dock-workers, were probably uneducated. But, the chap who I referred to as my chief-of-staff, ... he was like the civilian head of the Filipinos. I would guess that he had some education, and it could have been college, but I don't know what education he had. And, I would guess that the others who were working there would've had at least high school, ... because they were doing the tallying, and adding arithmetic, and so on. So, they would have had to have some basic education.
KP: Did you ever encounter any black troops when you were in the military? Particularly in the Philippines.
DM: Yes, I did. I have an interesting story on one group. And, I'm trying to recall whether I had any contact with them at the port, at Manila. It was rather common for the black troops to be in the Transportation Corps in driving trucks. But, I don't recall any direct, I don't think I had a black enlisted man that I worked with. But, my little story concerns the boat ride over, on the ship coming over. The officers were detailed to guard duty. And, one of the duties that I drew was to go in the very forward point of the ship, the hold, and there were black troops. This particular compartment was all black troops. And, I had guard duty at the foot of the stairs of that unit, of that compartment. And, we were in rough seas. Up. Down. Up. Down. There were no facilities in the compartment, so they had to go up topside to use the facilities. They were a nice group of boys, nice group of men, but we were all, somehow or other I didn't get sick, but a good part of this group was sick, being in the forward hold, but they were a nice group of men. So, my experiences were pretty good.
KP: You think you didn't get sick because your were fortified by your cruise ship experience?
DM: No, no. This is a personal thing. You don't have much control over sea sickness. If you're prone to get sea sick you're gonna get sea sick. But, I don't know, maybe that cruise did have something for me, because I had been on swells before. Because it's always rough going around Cape Hatteras, and we did hit some swells, and I was sick on that cruise. This was when I was a little boy. But, I was sick just once, and it was in the main stairwell going from the dining room up to the cabin or something. Right in the main. Anyway, I didn't even realize it, you know, didn't know? But, on this ship going overseas it also helped to psyche yourself out a little bit. So, maybe that had something to do with it. But, I was lucky. I didn't get sick.
KP: It sounds like in both your duties, both at the pier but also in the checker section, that you didn't really have much contact with American enlisted men.
DM: That's right. ... I had an enlisted sergeant who reported to me. And, he was ... pretty much outside the office staff. I had contact with, I reported to a captain, and there were others in the office that I had contact with. But, in terms of troop assignment, it's pretty much this. I had this sergeant whose duty was to get the payroll for the Filipinos and deliver it to a certain place, and arrange for the payment of the Filipino dock-workers. And, also to make periodic tours of the pier to check on the Filipino supervisor. And, I can remember the sergeant bringing to me one of the Filipino pier superintendents, on the basis that he had done something wrong. I don't know, remember what was wrong. So, I had to hear from the sergeant, I had to hear from the superintendent, and come to a conclusion. And, I said, I ended up by telling him, "We just can't take a chance to have you continue on the pier." So, although this fellow was one of the more senior superintendents, I felt he had to be terminated, and so that was my decision. And, he had to be, he was terminated, and we had to find another superintendent.
KP: So, in other words, the actual supervising of the pier was, in many ways, it went through the Filipino managers. If you wanted something done you would usually tell a manager to do something.
DM: Well, ... on the pier we had the officers who were the pier officers, and then you always had the Filipino superintendents who were supervising or managing the Filipinos who were checking the cargo in and out, and also working in the holds, loading the cargo onto pallet boards and having it hoisted up. The Filipinos operated the winches that took the cargo in and out of the ships. So, yes, there was a complete ... Filipino staff that really were operating the piers, and the American officers and enlisted men were just supervising, you know, watching over the thing. ... Often times, you could sit back and, sort of, relax. ... Another problem, if you want to talk about a problem, I'm not sure if this got to my captain, but one day the sergeant came to me and said, "Hey, the workers down on pier 5 are talking about going on strike." I said, "What's happening?" And, he told me, but I forget. But, they were unhappy about something or other, and I said "Let's go." So, he and I, and I forget whether we got in a jeep, or whether we walked, probably walked down there, and we got the superintendent to come ... outside the pier. And, this is like a, somewhat of a boulevard, with a row of railroad ties down the middle and with gravel all around the railroad. So, I said, "Come on. Come on over here and sit down." So, we sat down. You know, the sergeant, and the Filipinos, and I sat down and talked. And, I guess, somehow, it worked out because they went back to work and there was no strike.
KP: What were the grievances? Do you ...
DM: I don't remember that. ... I don't remember what the specific grievances were.
KP: But, you were able to resolve it right there?
DM: But, somehow or other, I was able to placate them and they went back to work. But, I guess that's why I don't think it ever made it back to the captain, but it might have, you know? But, it was, with the Filipinos going back to work, it became no big deal. If they had struck, yes, we would have had a bigger problem. [Postscript - subsequently there was a strike, GIs were brought in to work the docks. I had to organize the issuance, use, and security of tally books that we used in our statistical work. In time a new contract was signed and the strike ended.]
KP: ... You were in the Philippines until the Spring of 1946.
DM: Yes. June,
KP: Which is a long time after the end of the war.
DM: That was about nine months, yes, from September to June.
KP: We've read that there was a lot of dissension among some of the American troops over the long delay it took to process them. Do you remember any instances of that?
DM: Yes. Very definitely, because that appeared in the GI newspaper at the time called The Daily Pacifican. Because there were a number of troops that had been ... in the area for quite a while, and they had seen combat, and so on. ... We operated on a point system. Everybody was given points according to the length of time that they were in the area, and how much combat they had seen. I think combat was part of the formula. So, there were some troops with a lot of points, but there were no ships to take them back. And, of course, the troops think, "Well, the war is over. Time to go back. Where are the ships?" So, yes, there's a lot of commotion about that, and the commanders had to address that. And, one of the solutions ... Incidentally, I have those Daily Pacificans at home. Maybe I could give them to you instead of throwing them out.
KP: Please do. Yes. Please, don't throw them out. [Laughter]
DM: One of the solutions was to take these liberty ships, which your father told you about, Jeff. Which is what we traveled on going over there. These were liberty ships built to haul cargo, in which they built wooden bunks. And, that's how we traveled over to the Philippines. And, they took some of those liberty ships that were coming into the port of Manila, and I don't know whether they did them at the pier or took them to another pier, probably took them to another pier, and got some lumber and built wooden bunks. And, because there was such a clamor from the troops to get out of here, that they did this with the liberty ships, and put them on these liberty ships to go home. And, it's a little ironic because those liberty ships, when we traveled at like, I don't know, ten knots or something, very slow, they took at least a month to get over. Well, faster ships came in that were ready to take troops. And, so some of the later troops, they got on these faster ships, got home before these earlier ones that were so concerned about getting out there.
KP: Did you see any demonstration in Manila by American troops or was there any other commotions?
DM: I don't recall seeing any demonstrations, and I forget whether or not there were any. But, these newspapers that I mentioned ...
KP: You were very aware of the issue, though, it sounds?
DM: Yes, because we were on the pier and we were aware of ships coming in and going out. And, any troops that were leaving, were leaving off the piers that we were watching over. Yes. So, we were very tuned in to the ships' situation, and co-laterally the troop situation. And, these newspapers had some pictures relating to that. So, you'll find these very interesting. I'll plan to send them down to you. [Postscript - copies of The Daily Pacifican were delivered to Dr. Piehler in April 1995. General Eisenhower, in 22 Jan. '46 issue, talks about the conflict between the human desire to get the troops home and Army's mission of winding down operations in an orderly manner and providing long time occupation manpower.]
JS: Did you notice any difference in the way you, being an officer commissioned through ROTC and OCS, were treated compared with say, the West Point officers?
DM: No. ... I was not aware of any difference and I couldn't tell you one from the other. I don't think any of us dwelled on that. Maybe the people back in headquarters did, but those of us at my level we were all just buddies, and all trying to do our job. So, ... I'm really not aware that there was any thought about there being any difference.
KP: You mentioned, in ... the Class of 1944 survey form, that you attended part of the trial of Yamashita.
DM: Yes. Yes. That was very interesting.
KP: What were your recollections of that?
DM: It was a, some sort of community type building. I'm not sure whether it had been a residence, and converted to this, or whether it had been the court building. But, it was set up as a court with the judges up on the back wall, and with the, Yamashita up on the right, I think he was on the right, and you had the defense counsel, and the prosecution, and then you had certain seats available. And, I don't know how it was I was able to get into this thing, but The Daily Pacifican talked about the trial. I don't recall my buddies going with me. ... I'm sure there must have been some sort of guard at the door, that you just didn't get to go in. And, somehow or other, I was admitted, and I recall sitting somewhat near the back of the group. But, it was not a tremendously large building as I recall. And, so I felt very lucky to get in. And, as trials go, I haven't watched much of this O.J. Simpson trial, but as people are finding out there's a lot of drudgery in a trial, and basically ... the day was like that. And, I forget, in the write-up that I gave Jeff this morning, I think, might have mentioned the topic that was being addressed that day. I don't remember it.
KP: If you don't mention it in here, then ...
DM: Okay. So, I don't remember the topic that was being addressed on that day, but it was in the middle of the court proceedings. And, the court proceedings can be pretty dry, but to one who came in there after having read about all the combat activity, the impending invasion of Japan, and the dropping of the bomb, it was very interesting to come in, to sit in on the trial and listen to arguments about the treatment of the US prisoners. Perhaps it was going from Bataan to their, the Bataan death march, and the treatment of the US prisoners, not getting proper food, not getting proper medical treatment, it might have focused on that sort of thing. At least the trial did somewhere along the line. And, I think this is why, one of the reasons why, ... he paid the ultimate price of being hanged.
KP: I guess this might be a good time to ask this question. What did you think of the Japanese as an enemy? You had never seen line duty, but what did you think of the war? About the Japanese?
DM: They were very fanatic, very clever, and very tough opponents. And, fanatic in the sense that, the kamikaze were the air corps people, but the infantry were instilled with the same, I don't know what to call it, but allegiance to the emperor. And, the, I guess going back to the Vikings, to die in battle is great, or something. We were primed with that picture of the Japanese fighter, and I guess you didn't want to really face that sort of thing. But, you know, some of our training we went through, some of the training that we did, when I was with the 113th down at Camp Rucker, concerned training troops going to the Pacific. And, how we talked about, and we built training things where you have a narrow path, and you think the side is clear. Your first reaction, if you get a burst of gun fire from in front of you, is dive. A lot of fellows lost their lives because of that. And, that's because the Japanese would take these bamboo sticks, put a point on them, and they'd have a bed of those bamboo sticks off the trail, where GIs are coming down, and then you have a gun in front. The gun goes, the GIs go off and get impaled on these sticks. If it doesn't kill them, they get infected from the, you know, the fungus or whatever is going on there. So, we had some training in that, and we had some idea of what to watch out for. The other thing, the stories got back that talked about, well, the GIs would flush out some Japanese, and three Japanese would come forward with the hands up, and, bingo, it turns out that one of them has a gun strapped to his back, he bends over, the other pulls the trigger. Yes, the three of them die, but that's what they had. Their kamikaze act. And, so we were cautioned, "Be very careful of these Japanese when you take them prisoner."
JS: Did you encounter any Japanese prisoners of war in transit when you were at the port or in Manila?
DM: I don't recall seeing any Japanese as prisoners. No, I really didn't have contact.
KP: Have you ever been back to Manila or the Philippines?
DM: No, but my buddy has. And, he said we wouldn't recognize it. It's quite different. Well, for one thing it's cleaned up. But, I guess they still have the jeeps running around with their unique decor. ... They would cut out the back, and they open up the back, so people would use them as jitneys, ... they get into the back like they did on their oxen carts.
JS: While you were stationed in the Philippines were you able to pick up any of what the Filipino attitude was towards the Americans? Was it, you know, like, "Well, the Americans drove the Japanese out," or was it, did they want the Americans to finally get out of the Philippines?
DM: I think while we were there, which was, you know, the Japanese ... just had been defeated. They hadn't been long out of the Philippines. There were many Filipinos that worked with the Americans as guerrillas hiding out in the country, and conducting guerrilla operations. So, my impression and understanding is that the majority of Filipinos were very sympathetic and appreciative of the Americans in coming and taking the Japanese out. But, I'm not sure that there weren't some ... Filipinos who got along with the Japanese. And, because, I guess, my own feeling, and I think people might see this, after, not at the time of the hostilities, but the Japanese are still people. And, some of them are just as peaceful as we are. So, you can't wrap everybody all up into the same category. So, there might have been some Japanese there in the Philippines that got along with Filipinos, and ... the Filipinos were quite happy then. But, I think, by and large, the populace, as a whole, were quite happy to have the American troops there. And, as far as I know, they got along pretty well.
KP: Had you thought of making the military a career in 1946? Had you thought of just staying in the Army?
DM: In 1946, no. By then I had concluded, and the reason why I can say that so emphatically is because the word came out from headquarters. They were trying to recruit officers, maybe enlisted men also. I forget. But, at least the Army was trying to recruit men to go to Japan as part of the occupation troop. And, they were asking us to sign up to extend our tour by twenty, twenty-one months, or something like that. I don't know whether there was a prospect for promotion or not in that. I don't remember that. But, my own thought was, "Well, we've done our duty for this war." And, I wanted to get back to Rutgers, and finish my education, and see what happened there. And, so I concluded that I did not want to go to Japan as part of the occupation. Some did. Some of the Pittsburgh fellows that I knew did. And, I heard later that, yes, they had a good assignment, and they liked the assignment, and it worked out well for them. But, I never regretted not going to Japan
KP: You returned to Rutgers, and we've asked you this before, but I thought this might be a good time to reflect. How had the war changed you, and how had it changed Rutgers? What impact do you think the return of all these veterans, some of them like yourself who had been to Rutgers earlier, but some of them had never been to Rutgers and were first year students had on Rutgers?
DM: Yes. Yes. Well, I guess, the campus became a little bit larger than it had been. [Laughs] I'm not sure by how much. But, the thing was that you had these GIs coming back and they were, had been out in world, they had a lot of experiences, many of them had seen combat. So, I guess we were different. Moreover, quite a number of them had gotten married. Some even had children. And, so, the university had built "trailertown" [Hillside] over here by the stadium, what they called the married housing, I think. And, some ... of our group were housed over there. And, I guess they had their own association for their unit, their group. But, others of us went back to the fraternities where we had been. Others who had been on campus commuted, because they were now married. So, ... in that sense it changed. And, perhaps class sizes changed. ... I remember a class. When we got back after the war I took a class on philosophy. I was no longer really interested in becoming a mathematician. I knew I was not a mathematician. So, I wanted to learn other things. And, one of the things besides accounting, I took philosophy. And, I bring that up because the philosophy class, I don't know two hundred, two-fifty, I can recall that class was held in a big room where there was a stage. And, Professor Petersen would sit up on that stage in a chair, and he would go through. He was very good. And, I feel I learned a lot from his class, because this is again, was philosophy in study of logic. You know, "Things may be white but they're not all black," and, you know, taught you a little bit of thinking. But, this, here was a class with two hundred people. One professor with two hundred people. How could a professor teach in that environment? How could the students learn? But, somehow we did, ... and I thought he did it very well. So, I guess there was a change in that respect. Yet, in the physics class that I had, and I think it was in this building, and I think it was after the war, it was a very small class. I think we had, if we had ten in the class it was a lot. And, I know the math classes were very small. But, in that sense, in terms of facilities, of the cafeteria, I don't know where the cafeteria was because I ate at the DU house. But, I know before the war the cafeteria was in the bottom of Winants. But, I don't think it could accommodate everybody at the time. But, I don't think Brower was built by that time. That came later, I think.
KP: One of the things, you talked with us during one of the breaks, is that most people I've interviewed, who came back, said there was very little discussion about the war.
DM: That's right.
KP: Very little interest in sort of veterans' organizations, or other organizations, or talk of the war.
DM: That's right. No, I guess, ... that was something to put behind us, particularly the ugly part. You find that through everybody, just doesn't like to talk about the bad parts. And, that's why in this book you will find very little of that. The one, I can give you two examples, the one who spoke about it the most was a medic [Nathan Shoehalter], and he talked about his experiences as a medic, but he also, he was a medic with an infantry unit. So, basically he was telling what the unit, the shellfire they went through, the smell of ... the artillery going off, and so on, because they were involved in following into artillery bombardment towards an objective and having to occupy the land. And, so he spoke of some of the sights and sounds that those experienced. And, the other was a Marine who was on Iwo Jima and he said he can't talk about it. He still has nightmares of those things. And, this is fifty years after. And, so, of course, you don't talk about it. ... You don't want to bring those experiences back. You want to try to forget them.
JS: Now, World War II changed the US's role in the world, you know, completely making it the major power. Was there any discussion, you know, at the school about how the US could no longer use its oceans as barriers?
DM: There might have been. In the history courses particularly, but I was not taking history then, so I'm not sure what those discussion involved. But, and I'm not sure how many of us really realized the extent to which the world had changed. But, certainly the US came out as a major power. And, that was clear because, but I'd like to remind you that there were two other major powers at the end of that war: Russia and China. Both were still major powers. And, Russia was, and continued to be, a major power along with the US. I think there were five nations that, in the UN that held veto power: Russia, the US, China, I think it was France, and England, might have been the other two. But, I don't think France and England were considered the, I think it was because of their role as part of the allies, but I don't think they were considered major powers the way the Russia, China and the US were. And, it's interesting because this discussion, and your questions, bring out things that I haven't talked with others, because it's been personal, and it's, nobody can corroborate what I'm saying. But, after the war, when I returned home, I got in a discussion with my mother and my father and, I forget who else, maybe Isabelle, my wife, about the world powers. And, I told them, "The power, the world power, that worries me is China." I said, "That's the next World War we're going to have to fight," was with China. Because of the size of their population and having defeated Japan. That Japan was no longer a threat in that area. But, China was so big and had so many people, such a large army, that they posed a major threat in the world. And, of course, Russia did, too, because nobody really trusted Russia. And, that's how it, sort of, worked out. And, it was China, with China, although it was somewhat a surrogate Russia, in the Korean War, it was really China that we had to cope with because they furnished the troops.
KP: Before maybe talking about your experiences at Prudential, you stayed in the reserves after World War II.
DM: Yes. I think we were given the option of getting out or not, but I don't know. I'd been in the reserves and to me it was just, sort of, automatic. I didn't think too much about it.
KP: When you were called up for Korea did you have some ...
DM: That's when we thought about it. [Laughter] That's when we thought about it.
KP: When you were called up did you know that you were being called up to be an ROTC instructor, or did they just say, "Report here on this date?"
DM: No. I had orders for Fort Devens, Massachusetts. And, a major, in First Army Headquarters, saw my name come up on the list, and he's in the adjutant department, and he said "How would you like to have an ROTC assignment?" And, I said, "I'd like that." He said, "There's an opening at Rutgers." I said, "That would be great." So, I came down for an interview, here at Rutgers, and I didn't time it too well. I arrived, let's see, it's an hour and a half ride from where we lived, and I arrived, and I had to go to the john, we're over and I was about two or three minutes late. Good way to impress your future commander.
---------------------------------------- END TAPE TWO, SIDE TWO ------------------------------------
KP: This continues an interview with Mr. Douglas L. McCabe on April 10, 1995 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey with Kurt Piehler ...
JS: Jeff Schneider.
KP: And, ... you were continuing a story, which cut off, about your applying ... to become, work at the ROTC program at Rutgers during the Korean War, and you were late for the interview. And, you also had to go to the men's room before the interview started and ...
DM: And, I got back. And, this was a full colonel, and he was very nice, and he and I chatted for a little while. And, he ended up by saying, "Well, it's nice meeting you, but we really don't have an opening for you at this time." So, okay, I departed. And, so then my friend, that lived over at Fort Totten at the time, ... said, "Well, there's an opening up in Manlius, New York, which is outside Syracuse." And, he said to me, "Does that sound all right?" And, I say, "Yeah. Sure. Why not?" A military prep school. So, without going to an interview, I received orders to report to Manlius School. So, this is in October of 1950. You know, I had worked at Prudential since 1947, I advanced a rank or two. I had married, we had one child, we had one on the way, due to arrive in March. You know, to get called back into service. And, so we got orders. He said, "Be up there on this date." So, we took the orders and my folks drove us up. I guess we left ... our daughter home with our other grandparents. And, my folks drove the four of us up. And, we got up there, and we found this little town. ... Found this Manlius School. Found some building up there. Reported in. Well, the colonel's down on the football field. So, okay, I go down to the football field and he's, apparently, coaching the football team. So, I go up, snap a salute, "Doug McCabe reporting for duty, sir." He says, "Okay," you know, "See you later." So, I don't know whether, I forget how it worked, you know, "Where can we stay for the night?" And, he says, "Well, you know, there's a little place down in town and you can stay there." So, we go down. This is like a gin mill. Takin' my father and mother into a gin mill and they had like three rooms on the second floor. And, it's a little town. ... And, this is like eight o'clock at night or something. Anyway, the fellow was very nice and we told him our predicament, and he did get us some supper. ... And, I forget where they stayed the next night, but I reported the next night, and they left. Took my wife home to New Jersey. And, they put me in one of the barracks, because, this being a prep school, the boys were in a barracks. And, they had a teacher, at least one teacher, in each barracks. And, I guess, they might've bumped one of the boys out of one of the rooms and gave me a corner room, right across from the community john. Which is fine, you know, but I moved my locker in there. So, I became part of the staff, and it was a nice assignment, but by Thanksgiving ... I think I had Thanksgiving dinner alone in town. And, finally my wife said, "This isn't workin' out so good." [Laughs] So, ... I looked for a place to rent up there. And, we found one place on the outside, "built in 1766," or some old farm house, dilapidated, but ... we could make it, up a little steep gully. And, I put a deposit on it. And, my wife came up, flew up, and that was unusual, to fly in those days. And, she was pregnant. And, so we went out to look. " ... That doesn't look too good." So, we found another place in town and this one turned out to be very good. ... It was a large, old-time house and whoever, the chap who owned it, was an Air Force corporal or sergeant, I forget which, and who worked at an Air Force base nearby. And, he had his family in the back and he was renting out the front part of it. So, great, we rented this and my wife came up. And, we had this house, and ... I was part of the faculty, and they had a faculty group there. They would have covered dish suppers and so on. So, this was very nice. But, I, with this colonel, there was the colonel and four enlisted men. And, the five of them ... all were combat veterans, infantry, and I was the one neophyte, so to speak. But, I taught, I got assigned the history and the map reading, ... whereas the colonel was taking the group that taught ... you know, ... squad tactics and the other infantry. I think I had a weapons class. I remember ... I had a souvenir from Rucker, which was a rifle grenade. I had some hand grenades, which had all been deactivated, and I painted them up with colors to show their parts, so we could talk about them in class. So, I would disassemble them and show them the parts so that the students. ... And, the students at the school, we were teaching, ... the courses that we taught ... was the same course that the Rutgers freshman and sophomore received. It was in the high school [level], you taught at the high school level, but it was the same curriculum as the freshman and sophomores at college. So, this was the answer to us. There was one member of the Class of '44 that went to OCS, with the Class of '43. And, it wasn't until after the war that we found out why. Because he had been to a military prep school, and he had finished the two years of ROTC, and he came right into advanced ROTC. ... He was Class of '44 in terms of academics, but Class of '43 in terms of ROTC. Lucky? He did survive, but with wounds. But, he went over. He went through Africa, and was taken prisoner in, I forget where it was, Sicily or something like that, but he came back after the war. He was a prisoner and came back after the war. And, he was a, what was he, president of our class in '47. He was a major member of our class, head of the yearbook, chairman of this, chairman of that, and he eventually became the president of a university in Florida.
KP: I think I've heard of him.
DM: Franklyn Johnson.
KP: Yes. In fact, he has replied to our survey.
DM: Isn't that great. He's a good story.
KP: No. I'm hoping to get to Florida to interview him.
DM: He wrote a book of his experiences, right after the war. And, the name of the book is One More Hill, a copy of which I have. And, so, yes, it's a good book. And, in there he mentions Colonel Koehler, who was the colonel in charge of the ROTC when we were sophomores and juniors, and who had a son, George Koehler, who was killed in combat while in North Africa. Actually, he had been out on patrol, he was returning from the patrol, and his jeep went over a mine and killed him, but you will find reference to Colonel and George Koehler in that book.
KP: Had you thought of staying in the military as a result of your recall, at that ...
DM: No. Definitely not. [Laughs] No. I, because I had started in Prudential, and I was a management trainee, and had gotten my, I don't know whether it was the first or second, I had at least been promoted before I got recalled, and I felt I was on track to become part of management at Prudential. And, so I was more interested in the Prudential career rather than the military career at that time. Even though, you know, at high school level, I was, said, I would have liked to have gone to West Point. ... But, no, when I declined to go to Japan, to extend my tour to Japan, I also declined to extend my tour to stay in. Even though the colonel at Manlius School and the general, the general who was ...
DM: ... Commandant of the school. He was not there as ... an active duty assignment, but because it was military he was a commandant. And, he sent a telegram to wherever, First Army headquarters or wherever, ... recommending me for captain, but, in order to try to induce me to stay on. But, I said, "No." Even with inducement, I was not going to extend my enlistment because if I did, I would have lost out at Prudential, 'cause Prudential ... allowed me to come in to service, and gave me credit for that service. If I had extended my tour, I would have been voluntary rather than involuntary, and they probably would have, I assume, would have stopped my benefits and whatever. But, by then I had seen enough of the Prudential and the career opportunities, and the fact that I was married and now had two children, I was not interested in a military career.
JS: So, the Prudential did hold the job for you while you were gone?
DM: Yes they did. Now, I'm not sure ... to what extent that was voluntary on the part of Prudential or whether there had been some law passed that said that the certain employers had to reserve spots. But, yes, the Prudential ... Well, the Prudential at that time was rather paternalistic towards their employees. The climate has changed, but at that time it was a very close knit organization and they were, took very good care of their employees. And, those who were called into service during [their] career were assured of an assignment when they came back.
KP: How did you initially get your job with Prudential? You stayed there your entire career. ... Did you know at the time when you applied that this would be the course of your career?
DM: I assumed it would be the course of my career when I got the job, but ...
DM: I'll tell you how I came about the job, and that comes back to the math courses in the math department at Rutgers, and they both involve having reference to the actuarial exams. [Coughs] Excuse me. And, the various companies would send representatives to campus for interviews, not only the insurance industry, but all industry. Different industries would send representatives to the campus. I don't know whether it was the Alumni Association, but some, or part, of Rutgers University, sort of coordinated these interview sessions. And, based on the, what was on the bulletin board at the math department in the math house, which was just two doors or so down from the DU house, I signed up for at least two interviews down here. And, one was with Connecticut General, Hartford, Connecticut, and one was with the Prudential. And, I interviewed and I received an invitation to come up and be interviewed in Hartford, Connecticut, and I received an [invitation] to be interviewed at Prudential. The interview, I forget the sequence, but I think the sequence must have been ... Connecticut General first, because I recall going up to Hartford, and by this time Isabelle and I had a closer relationship. This was 1947. We hadn't yet said, "Let's get married," but we were getting very close to it. At least, we felt we wanted to be together, I think. So, anyway, I interviewed up at Hartford, and they, I guess someone in personnel talked to me, and then they took me over and I was interviewed by a chap in one of the departments. And, he talked about group insurance, and going out and visiting clients, and talking about group insurance with them. And, I'm not sure if I realized then, but I certainly learned afterwards the job that they were talking about ... is what we call a group representative's job, which is, basically, a salesman's job, but there's also administrative aspects to a group representative's job. And, that is to seek sales of group insurance. And, group insurance is sold to corporations and ... larger organizations, and even some somewhat smaller organizations. But, then afterwards you have the job of making annual visits and checking on their paperwork and assuring that they're reporting things properly, and that sort of thing. Anyway, I came away, and then that's in Hartford. That's a long way from where my prospective wife lives. That's a long way from New Jersey. "Do I wanna move up there away from my family?" And, then I came to Prudential and interviewed at Prudential and the job that they were offering was a home office trainee. And, they said, "Well, during the first year we'll put you in different assignments, and at the end of the year there'll be some sort of evaluation, and then we'll put you in a permanent assignment, and eventually this should lead to some sort of a management position." Well, that sounded good to me, see? And, it was in New Jersey. In Newark. That's within commuting distance, near my home, near where Isabelle lived. [Laughs] And, I think the offering salary was a little bit better, like thirty-two dollars a week. And, so I said, "Well," I told Prudential that, "I'd like to accept that." So, I accepted that and as a management trainee then I figured, well that's where my career would be.
KP: And, you expected to really stay your career at Prudential?
DM: Well, at least I hadn't thought that, "Well, I'll learn something and move on."
DM: For example, I think in the engineering field it's not uncommon to take a job for a few years and move on. It may be less talked about in the engineers, I don't know, but this hadn't been discussed by me or I wasn't part of any discussion that talked about this, and I just thought, ... when I got with Prudential, you get the newsletter that we get, well, here's the list of the people who have been with the company for twenty years and they get this pin, and they get this award, and they get a nice celebration at their desk, and people buy them gifts. You know, they're very, they were very people oriented. And, call it "paternalistic" if you will. And, so, I don't know, the thought of ... gaining experience and going on to some place else never occurred to me.
KP: You mentioned earlier, and now I guess is a good time to ask, is that you were involved in the ... first efforts of Prudential to use the modern computer.
KP: 'Cause you initially said you started out with the key punch.
DM: Yes, but I was just, what do they call 'em? A mule, a donkey, a gopher type of ... [Laughs] I mean, it was not a low level job, ... it was not management, ... it required some skills. So, yes, that was interesting. Because my first assignment was an underwriting one in the underwriting section of weekly premium insurance. Now weekly premium was the bread and butter of Prudential and the Metropolitan for many, many years. And, this type of insurance is sold to individuals, usually the blue-collar worker who didn't have much insurance, and they would have to buy their insurance by paying five cents a weeks, ten cents a week. ... You didn't buy a thousand dollars. You didn't buy two thousand. You bought in terms, "Okay, I'll buy ten cents a week," or, "I'll buy twenty-five cents a week." That's how they bought their insurance. And, that's how the policies were issued. Well, I was assigned in our unit that received those applications in the home office from the agents, then would have to review them and check the answers against guidelines, and if they were within guidelines we were authorized to sign off and send it to have the policy issued. If we found any questions that were not within guidelines, then we had to refer to somebody behind us, a "back row person" as they called it. So, that was my first job. And, I forget, the punch card work might have been the second job, and that was called, that was in the methods division. And, I guess, they taught us a little bit about forms design before I went into the computer room. You had to learn how to, "Okay, if you have this." You have to think about how much you're putting into the space. You can't have a one-inch space for a street address, for example, you know. You had to think about what was going in. So, that's the sort of thing they taught us, form design and form control. 'Cause this unit, in the methods division, controlled any form that was printed by, Prudential had its own printing plant, so any form that was printed by Prudential had to come through this unit for review before it went to the printing plant. So, I saw that operation. And, another ... assignment was what we called "annual debit accounting." This was for, again for the smaller insurance policies, but instead of paying their premiums in five and ten cents a week, they'd pay it in terms of the annual premium for these small policies. And, we were a correspondence section, ... and we would have form paragraphs, and we would send a slip, a little short slip, maybe four or five/six inches long and we'd write a number. Paragraph number 6, paragraph 8, paragraph 12. Go over to a typing section, the typing section would type it up, come back, "Here's the letter," we'd sign it and send it out. [Laughs] A very interesting approach to it, at that. Talking about the punch card work. Another division, that I was in, was the ordinary policy division. This was a change division. ... These were policies, larger policies, sold to the better, well-off, persons who ... could buy insurance in terms of 5,000, 10,000. And, okay, they got married. They need to change the beneficiary, or this beneficiary died, or the policy changed and we call them, ... or "I want to change from paying monthly. I want to pay quarterly," you know. So, the corespondence would come in, the back row clerk would assign these, hand 'em to different ones, and we'd have the task of reviewing the correspondence and then ... getting the change prepared, inserted in the policy, and mailed out to the policy owner. So, that was [interesting]. But, on that floor, on that same floor, half the floor was clerk typists typing premium bills. This is a big building. Say, the floor, the size of one floor of this building, is all clerk typists typing out premiums. We hadn't yet converted those policies to the punch card billing, so that's what I saw. ... Even a year later, and maybe five years later, if I ... had a copy of correspondence, and I needed a copy to send somewhere else, I had to send this out to the typing unit and say, "Please prepare me three copies of it." Okay, it would come back, sometimes with erasures and corrections and so on, and then I could send this copy on, but it had to go to a typing unit to type. It was before the copying machine, okay? And, so I saw the copying machines come in. The first ones [were] a wet process. We'd have to put the original and the copy in to this one at a time, put it through rollers, and have it go through this solution, and come out and peel it apart. If you wanted six copies you had to do this six times.
KP: I've encountered those in different archives. That original.
DM: Yes. So, anyway, I've seen quite a bit, too. [Laughs]
KP: What were the range of your responsibilities at Prudential, particularly, after your return from the Korean War?
DM: I was in the group insurance department, in the systems unit, as we called it. And, for that I helped design some forms, I designed punch cards. And, punch cards we sometimes had printed with the different ... field names according to what's suppose to be in there. And, I recall one of my first jobs, sending it up to the printing plant. It came back and he said, "The printer said this is one of the worst jobs he's ever had to do." And, I can imagine, getting fine print onto the, for each column, sort of, on the punch card. And, so I can imagine it was a tough job, but it got done, and we used those punch cards in our work. But, another job I can recall is, come year end time, we had a job they called, "Year End Last Premium Entered." This is for numbers to go into our annual statement and be reviewed by the actuaries. We had to review each contract that we have and find out what the last premium paid was, and the amount, and then the last premium that was unpaid if it hadn't been paid. And, so we would have to compile these lists, and that's when punch cards started to come in, and we were reading lists all day and sometimes into the evening and on weekends. And, that's when I got my first pair of glasses. [Laughs] Workin' on those lists.
KP: How did you, over the course, see Prudential change, and the insurance industry change? You mentioned that it was a very paternalistic net when you started to launch a career, but it became a little bit less ...
DM: Well, that continued until about the time I retired. I retired in 1985, and I retired because of the stress of the job that I was in, but it coincided with the beginning of, call it "downsize." They call it "downsizing" now. At that time, I think, it was expense analysis and I left before they made up teams, but talking to a fella who stayed on, he said, "You retired at a good time." ... I retired like three months before they came out with retirement packages, and I would have gotten, I don't know, close to sixty-thousand if I had stayed, but as an inducement to retire, but I retired. But, I'm not sorry I retired when I did because of the pressure that I had from the assignments the past couple years, and the problems that they ran into the ensuing year. 'Cause the fella that stayed on said the following year was very tough, 'cause they were assigned to different teams, and they had the task of coming up with ways of cutting expenses. And, cutting expenses, you may change your systems, and cut out things that you do, but it also begins the process of terminating personnel. And, ... that's a very uncomfortable process to go through on either side. If you are the one making the decision, "Okay, I have to cut three people. Who are the three I'm going to have to terminate? Who are the three I'm going to have to say, 'I'm sorry, but we have to give up three and you've been picked the one to go.'" And, the one who's going is like, "Why me? What did I do?" You know, "I've worked hard." So, it was tough on both sides, and ...
KP: It sounds like it was particularly tough in Prudential because you were really used to a very paternalistic company.
DM: I think that's one of the things. It did make it tough. But, nevertheless, the personnel department, ... now human resources department, was aware of the problems, I think, and they tried to address it. We had, I can recall, shortly before, you know a year or two before I retired, having training sessions and discussions, presentations, and then ... being put in role-models. "Okay, you're the supervisor and you have to talk to this employee." And, this is role-play in class. "You're a supervisor. Now talk to this employee, and say, 'You're not doing quite as well as you should be doing and you need to do this to improve.' How do you do this and what do you say?" So, human resources was trying to address this problem through these training sessions and, at the time, although it was along this lines, it's also, you can say, it's the same type of thinking process that you have to go through if you come to the task of having to separate. It's a very difficult thing. And, some of them have read it in the magazines, like Fortune magazine and other magazines in other companies. So, it's not a Prudential thing, but some people are called in and say, "We've had this review and we've decided that you are to be separated. Clean out your desk, good-bye, don't come in tomorrow morning." Now they may get two weeks separation pay, but because of, you know, the problem of, "Well, how upset is he?" Because you've had situations where disgruntled employees are unhappy and they will do something to sabotage the work. So, this is one technique for having the employee leave under supervision, and not coming back into the building. 'Cause most of those larger companies have ID cards that you need to get back into the building. So, I don't know. I didn't have to become part of that process.
KP: But, you saw that, in a sense, it almost sounds like the insurance industry was becoming more competitive.
DM: Well, yes. And, that's what it was. It was the competitive pressure. Insurance was not exempt, just as any other company. All companies were not exempt, it was just that, I guess, you would have to say, that the payrolls became too expensive and it was necessary to cut down. But, ... what I'm suggesting is that this process started in the mid-1980s and it's continued today. Because you still read about it today. So, I'm not ... unhappy that I retired when I did, 'cause I've enjoyed retirement, and it's been very interesting.
KP: I just wanted to ask you also about your one son who served in the Navy, in the Vietnam War, for three months. Is there ... a story there?
DM: Yes, there is a story there. [Laughs] I'm very proud of that boy. ... The other two were pretty easy to get along with, and both went to high school and got in activities. And Doug came down to ... Rutgers here and became an industrial engineer. Barbara went to Tufts School of Occupational Therapy and doing well. Peter was, he was an arguer. And, even in grade school his grade school teachers said, "You can't win an argument." My wife would argue with them. And, the grade school teacher said, "You can't win an argument with Peter." And, she said, "Now if we can just channel this in the right direction, we've got a winner here." Okay? And, so it was tough on, particularly, my wife because I was working. I had a nose-to-the-grindstone approach to my work at Prudential and I worked overtime and this sort of thing, so my wife really took the brunt of this. But, she was very good. Anyway, ... we tried to be tolerant of Peter, and so on. One of the things I did with him, ... it's somewhat of a digression but it sort of fills in the story, is between junior and senior high school, he was into, we were into explorer scouts. I was an advisor to an explorer scout troop, and, they were into electronics. I said, "Peter, how would you like to build a TV set for us?" We had one ... but, it was an old one. He said, "That would be neat." So, I don't know whether you've heard ... I've forgotten the name, it was a "build it yourself kit." There's an outfit [Heathkit] over in Paramus. And, so Peter and I went over and we bought this nice kit. Brought it home, said, "Okay," and he unloaded it. We had a ping-pong table. We cleared the ping-pong table. So, he worked most of the summer down on that ping-pong table, putting that TV set together. Now he learned a lot from doing that. He leaned circuitry, you know, he learned patience, he learned to read instructions. But, my thought was, "What's this fella gonna do between sessions? Between high school?" Because, where my son Doug was in scouting and he went to scout camp. Well, Peter was in scouting. He went to scout camp, too, but I, for some reason or other, I thought that Peter needed a little bit more than Doug. And, so this was a way of keeping Peter occupied and giving him something constructive to do, and educational. And, it worked out that way. Well, just to mention it. Color TV set, wires, different colored wires, different colored capacitors, and this sort of thing. He gets through high school, he's going to join the Navy. "Fine. Okay. I don't recommend it but it's okay." This was 1954. When was that? Was it '54?
KP: Yes. He was born in 1954.
DM: He was born in '54. So, seventeen. That would be 1971. This was Vietnam, right? The beginning of Vietnam. Infantry officer. I don't like the idea of my son going into service, okay? So, but I wasn't gonna stand in his way. If that's what he wanted to do, I mean, this is his choice. He's getting old enough to make his own choices. He wanted to be in nuclear submarines. So, he went to the enlistment office, I don't know where it was, in Newark maybe, and said he wanted to enlist in the Navy, nuclear submarines. Okay. And, he tested color blind. He said, "Well, I want to be in nuclear submarines. Can I get a waiver?" And, he got something in writing, "You got a waiver to go into nuclear submarines." So, he signed on. He goes down to Florida, near DisneyWorld, where they have their basic training. He went through basic training, and he came in at the end of basic training, and, "Okay, ... you're gonna be a machinist. You're gonna be an electrician." He says, "No, I'm not. I signed onto, on a ... nuclear submarine." Which is a six year enlistment, by the way, not a three year. He says, "No, no. You're color blind. You can't go in there. You can only be an electrician or a machinist." He says, "I'm not going over there." He went over to the legal department of the Navy on base, and talked to a lieutenant there, a whatever-whatever. And, I guess, he must've argued pretty good because the Navy gave him a fraudulent enlistment discharge. And, he came home after that, and that was that as far as the Navy. But, so it turned out all right. And, I'm happy that he did have that experience at the Navy because he learned to be with a group of young men in a disciplined environment. And, he knew, learned, something about how that sort of organization operates. And, so I think it has helped him since. And, so he must've been a pretty good arguer. [Laughs] And, since then, he's now in sales, okay, and dealing with construction. Right now he's in the business that's called "insurance restoration." And, that's where a homeowner has a fire, or a business has a fire, and Peter's outfit gets called in and, well, ... the fireman put it out, but they have to come in and board it up, and secure things, ... and if it's flooded, maybe, they have to pump it out. Anyway, they deal with these fires and major catastrophe type things. And, then Peter's task for a long time has been to make an appraisal of "how much would it cost to fix this." And, he would have a check-list, and he would work out an appraisal of, "How much would it cost to put this back in shape." And, the appraisal is for the insurance company, not the home-owners or the business owners. It's for the insurance company. So, the insurance company tells the home-owner ... or the business, "Okay, we'll do this and this thing, and this is how much money we'll provide." In the case of the home owner, "We'll pay you this amount, and you can get your own contractor," or Peter's organization. I don't know whether they mention it to them or not, but anyway, Peter's organization will do it for this price. You have a guarantee of this price. If you wanna shop your own you can shop your own. So, that doesn't require ... that they take Peter's. If they feel they can do it on their own, separately, okay. So, the business that Peter's in now, in this end now, he's like a marketing director of a company that's in this business.
KP: So, he's been quite successful.
DM: So, I think he has done very well. We're quite proud of him. Yes. So, that's a long story for that. But, it's an interesting one dealing with the military's fairness.
JS: Just going to, you know, when you talked about how your son was in the Navy during Vietnam. What was your feeling during that Vietnam era, when you saw everyone from your generation, you know, who either volunteered or was drafted and went, what was your feeling when you saw, you know, college kids who were drafted and who were refusing to go?
DM: Well, I didn't think it meant so much about the refusing, but I was very apprehensive for those ones that did go, and, particularly, those that were going to be sent over to Vietnam. Well, Korea I was part of, so I didn't think about not refusing and, I guess, I didn't think too much about those that did refuse. Maybe that's where the trend to flee to Canada came in. I don't know, but I think that was full blown in Vietnam. ... In Korea, I think we still had the feeling that America was being surrounded by Russia and China. Yes, China was there, but it was Russia who was pulling the strings, so to speak. There were Russian advisors over in China and North Korea. The North Korean and Chinese premier went to Russia, and came back, and continued the aggression. So, we knew that Russia and China were together in Korea and this was ... basically the site, the area, where it was necessary to stop communism. If we didn't stop them there, then it was little likely that we could. And, it's a very interesting point because Manlius School, where I was teaching military history, part of the history course focused on Korea, and, "Why was Korea important?" It wasn't because of the military industrial complex. It was because Korea has a valley, a natural invasion route into the belly of China, and if we'd lost that we've lost any capability of holding communism in check. So, I found it very interesting that while I was teaching that course to high schoolers, that that was what was being played out overseas. Now, you advance almost twenty years to Vietnam and I was concerned about my two sons. Having been through it and know what it does, I can understand. I mean, I didn't want them to go in. Peter chose to. My son, Doug, was registered for the draft. They all had to register for the draft. My son happened to have a high draft number. So, you might say that he lucked out. So, I can, but I can understand why ... there were so many people against that Vietnam War. And, Eisenhower, even Eisenhower told us, "Don't get involved in a land war in the South Pacific. You won't win." And, Korea helped reinforce that, because, in a sense, we didn't win that either. It came to a stalemate. And, so I think there were, by that, I guess, many of my generation could see that Vietnam was not gonna be a good situation in view of the political climate in Washington, and elsewhere. Because there you have the politics. They'll say, "Well, you can't do this, you can't do that." There are so many strings put on the military that it made it very difficult. So, it ... winded up being the war of bombardment. The big planes ... dropping all these big bombs. But, that didn't work in North Vietnam, because it's too much of a rural, I think, too much of a rural country. And, then they had all these people who could ... They didn't use cars. They used bicycles. They used their feet. Hikers. Backpacks.
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DM: Yes. We're in Vietnam and talking about how many people felt this was a bad situation. How we wouldn't be able to win because of the political restrictions, but also the nature of the terrain and the people in the ... I've read about our planes bombing a section of road in one night or something, and the next morning they have thousands of people on those roads repairing them to get any trucks they can through, and building by-passes, and so on, and portaging goods around some these things. So, ... I can sympathize with the parents and the children that didn't like this in some way. But, having been a military man, and having served time, and having, although I didn't see combat, I was in a position to be assigned that, you know. I wasn't too happy to read about those that would flee to Canada and avoid going. You know, in hind sight, when you think about it, in a way you can't blame them.
KP: Is there anything we forgot to ask?
DM: Well, we've covered so much. I'm surprised at the extent that I've, that we've covered things. And, ...
JS: Actually, I just have one that maybe, you know, for a little perspective. You know, now, in 1995, your generation is sort of handing off power to the baby-boomers. You know, like Bob Dole is probably the last prominent figure of your generation.
DM: Yes. That was in the paper just this week by the way. That there's been some sort of survey, and the polls seem to indicate that the American population would like to have a president from the 1950s era, rather than Bob Dole's generation. And, yet, he's the leading candidate. But, what this seems to be implying is that, well, ... he may have a difficult time getting the nomination, but if he gets the nomination he might have a difficult time getting the Presidency because of that.
JS: My question would be, you know, like if you have any, you know, just general feelings about your generation passing the gauntlet along to ...
DM: I think it's a good time to do that. I mean, basically, I support Bob Dole. And, I think, yes, I think he might make a good president. But, ... his forte has been leader of the senate, as a senator. And, yes, many senators become president, and many senators become good presidents, but I ... agree with the philosophy of thought that this might be the time to bring in a younger generation as the presidency. We've had presidents who are older than Bob Dole, I think, although I'm not sure they were ... elected older than Bob Dole is now. I think, ... I like sixty-five as a measuring point even though it's not ... an accurate one. I mean, there are many people who probably should retire by age sixty, but there are also people age seventy, seventy-five, who are just coming into their prime, you might say. But, I think the presidency is too dynamic a position, and I guess it's time to think about ... other positions. So, much of our population now never even knew World War II, so I don't think World War II should be the crutch or criterion. I had another thought, if I could remember it here, I'll bring it out. Clinton is, is he a baby-boomer, ... or a generation X? I forget how these measure out. But, ... he's a younger generation, and also a refusenick in a sense. He came on board and campaigned on the pledge ... [that] he was not an insider, he was not a Washington person, "We're gonna change government." Well, it's come back to haunt him. And, I don't know whether the papers are right or not, but certainly everything I read ... doesn't seem favorable about Clinton. So, I don't know what that means in terms of the next election, but the Republicans better have a good candidate. And, I don't think they're gonna have an automatic thing, because while they have demonstrated that they can cut into things through this House, the House contract, "hundred day contract," I think they deserve high marks for what they did. I support what they did. I'd like to see less money going to Washington, more money handled by the states. And, I think the Democrats have used an argument that will bounce against them. In effect, some of them have said, "We don't trust the governors." Now, many of the governors are Democrats, and that's a heck of a thing to hang on the governors. So, it'll be interesting to see how this plays out. But, your basic question. How do I think about having a newer generation in the White House? I'm ready for it. I think it may be time. Although if Bob Dole runs, I'll probably vote for him, which gives you an interesting analysis. [Laughs]
KP: I guess, maybe the old thing to conclude is, 'cause you mentioned to us earlier, but maybe to put on tape, 'cause as this project was being formulated you were also involved in a companion project, the "Rutgers University Class of 1944 Military History Book." And, you might want to just, I guess maybe to close out, sum up how you got involved in ... compiling that book.
DM: Yes. That's a good point, a good thought, because I can carry it one step further. You know the basic philosophy of the veterans is not to talk about it and ... try to forget it. But, when Crandon said, "Well, he thinks we ..." Incidentally, Crandon hadn't come to some of the earlier reunions, and he came to this reunion. He says, "I don't see any information about the military history. I think we ought to have one." And, he's a major contributor to the University, so I guess the class went along with him, and I happened to be selected to help him, ... and I had the computer so I helped draft a lot of the, you know, the letters we sent out to get the replies. And, he got the replies, but they came over to me, and then the two of us looked at them. And, he found the archive records in the library, which I assume you've looked at. I know that you've got them into the new boxes. And, so we developed this book based on the replies that we got, and if the person didn't give a reply, or was lost, no address, or deceased, then we had enough information from the archive. We put some sort of information in there. So, we have the story on about two-hundred and thirty out of, like four-hundred and fifty of the class that served during World War II. And, we also have the story on Korea, and two of our classmates served during Vietnam, one in the Air Force, one is General Kroesen. Now the additional thing that's interesting, you asked this question earlier: was there any other group on campus to talk about? And, it's a sub-group of the class, namely the ROTC group, which the original group was seventy-three, but you may have heard the term "Black Fifty." And, that's what I'd like to talk about because we allude to it, ... in some of the biographies we say, "This person was a member of the 'Black Fifty' and they went into Fort McClellan," but we never did define "Black Fifty." And, one of our members came out at the reunion, somebody said, "Well, Phil Baker was not part of the 'Black Fifty.'" Phil Baker was one of those who was killed, the one person who was killed in Europe. And, he was very definitely part of the "Black Fifty." So, a project that Crandon, and I, and Harry Van Zandt, and Johnny Lawrence are now working on is a pamphlet defining the "Black Fifty." And, I've done the first draft. And, the "Black Fifty," the name was ... given to the fifty infantry men who took their basic at Fort McClellan. And, the story is in Crandon Clark's biography. I don't want to get into the whole story because it took a third of a page in the Rutgers alumni monthly in 1959. And, that's gonna be the feature part of our little pamphlet, is to repeat that article from 1959 which describes how they got their name and identifies all those who were in it. The name was gotten by the infantry fifty who took basic training, and it was given by the sergeant who greeted them at ... Fort McClellan. I was not there because I was, Harry Simon and I were not, and Chizzy Thayer ... took off for veterinary school. So, out of fifty-three infantry ROTC, fifty went to McClellan. And, they got the name because they had been through a two or three day train ride on a choo-choo train spewing cinders back into the car. There were ... no bunks, no parlor cars. It was all coach, with box lunches, and two or three days of cinder dust on their faces and all over, and the sergeant said, "You're the blackest fifty guys I've ever seen." So, that's how they got their name. After the war, in 1946, when we came back for senior year, a group of them said, "We ought to have some sort of organization to keep us together." So, they named officers. The officers being: John Pino, President; Jim Dickerson, Vice-president; Sandy DiAntonio as Secretary. And, I've been in touch with Sandy DiAntonio because we were trying to nail down the names of some of the people who were in the picture, and how some of this took place. And, Sandy said that he arranged, there was a reunion dinner in November 1946, Sandy DiAntonio arranged with the hotel Roger Smith for the dinner. He arranged for the photographer. He arranged to have pins prepared for us "Black Fifty." I didn't bring mine. And, he had membership cards and certificates prepared for all the members. And, they had this reunion dinner in November 1946 at the Roger Smith. And, I think there might have been twenty-three or twenty-five people there. And, that was the heading of an article in 1959, which 1959 was our fifteenth [class] reunion. So, part of that reunion was some interviews with Jim Dickerson, Shorty Wirth, Ray Mortensen. A number of the fellas were interviewed and those interviews ended up in an article headed by this reunion picture from 1946 in the May 1959, Rutgers Alumni monthly. Okay. So, when we came out of our fiftieth reunion, without fully defining the "Black Fifty" in this book, and getting feed-back from, verbally, who's in the "Black Fifty," I took it upon myself to draft this pamphlet. But also ... Harry Van Zandt said, "I had such a good time, let's have another reunion." So, ... we're starting to work on another reunion of the "Black Fifty" group, which were the seventy-three members of the ROTC Class of 1944. And, in this book we have the orders that took fifty-one of them to Fort Dix for basic training. And, I put my name and Harry Simon's name down at the bottom, saying our orders came through later. Okay? But, anyway, ... there are the seventy-three. Twenty ... signal, fifty-one infantry, and Harry Simon and myself make the seventy-three that were considered members of the "Black Fifty." And, that's the one thing, I didn't bring the pin, but I brought my membership card. [Laughs] But, even recently in, you know, tracking down information for this new pamphlet, in fact we were trying to identify some of the men in the picture, in that 1946 picture. I'd call So And So, "I think this may be you. Can it be you?" And, he says, "No, it's not me." He says, "But, I'm signal corps." [The infantry guys] got the name, but the organization considers all of the ROTC unit, the seventy-three, as members. So, we're gonna try to clear that up. [Laughter] So, I'm not sure what else to add, but it's been very interesting recollecting some of these.
KP: We appreciate it very much.
DM: And, you can see I'm running out of voice. [Coughs]
KP: Would you like some water?
DM: Yes. I can go out to the fountain here. [TAPE PAUSED] ... In our history book General Kroesen is profiled. He's our celebrity. What's not in there is that he's in the Fort Benning Infantry Hall of Fame, I think, as one of four generals who did not go through West Point. Kroesen, and I know one of the others is Powell, 'cause we saw that on the wall in the Pentagon, I don't know the other two, but this was told to me by Sandy DiAntonio, who is quite friendly with Kroesen. But, that's an interesting thing. Fritz is a non-West Point graduate. He went through OCS at Fort Benning ... with our group, and eventually worked himself through regular Army up to four star general when he retired. So, ... that's a nice story. But, lets stop.
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Reviewed 2/27/00 Sean D. Harvey
3/3/00 Sandra Stewart Holyoak
Corrections 6/13/00 Douglas L. McCabe