Sandra Stewart Holyoak: This begins an interview on October 5, 2002, in Lower Macungie, Pennsylvania with Raymond E. Logan at his home. I'd like to thank you, Mr. Logan, for taking time to sit for this interview, and to begin with I'd like to ask you to tell me where, and when you were born?
Raymond Logan: I was born October 5, 1922, in Garfield, New Jersey.
SH: and can you tell me about your mother, and your father, a little of their family history?
RL: Yes, sure. My mother's name was Lavinia McAlpine. Her father was born in Scotland, and he was a laborer in the City of Garfield. I don't think my mother's education probably went past grammar school, but she was very interested in history. I think that's where I got my intense interest in history was my mother. My mother knew a lot. I don't know where she got it all from, but she knew a lot of things, and I had an uncle who, I had two uncles who served in World War I, one of whom, one was her brother who never left the States, and she had a brother-in-law who served. He was of German descent, served in the United States Army overseas in World War I. I learned a lot of history on my mother's knee, and how it is in retrospect at this point, I don't know how, but she was the one who encouraged me, and in those days there was a lot of old-fashioned, I suppose we call it nationalism today, but there was a lot of old-fashioned patriotism. On the eleventh day on the eleventh hour everything came to a stop with the Armistice. In fact, there was a radio program we used to listen to with every Armistice Day, called theLost Battalion. They made a movie out of it just recently with, I forget the young actor, Major Whittlesey, and we had to listen to that every year. In the Argonne Forest, and not the one, the Battle of the Bulge. Then my dad was a widower, and he had been living in the Garfield area all his life, and his name was Robert Ray Logan, and he worked, he was a laborer. He made ink pads that used to be used in post offices years ago, and when you post you'd have a big stamp, rubber stamp, and an ink pad, and he was a short little man, and probably about maybe ten or fifteen years older than my mother, and he had a, his first wife had passed away, and I had a half-sister, and she lived in Freehold, New Jersey, so I was raised as an only child, and coddled as an only child, and probably so much sissified as an only child. There were a lot of expectations for the kids in those days. You didn't do this, you didn't do that, and there are a lot of rules, and regulations that you had to conform to, and I think actually, I think my going to the service was probably one of the salvations of my breaking away from my mother's apron's strings, if you want to be frank about it. I'm being very candid here about it.
SH: One of the things I would like to talk to you about is growing up in Garfield, and tell me please where you went to school.
RL: Well, at Garfield, Garfield was a very ethnic town. It was great growing up because I was a white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant, and whiteness, of course, in fact, I think in my whole high school there was one black student, but being an Anglo-Saxon Protestant was a very unique experience. In fact, I had someone ask me one time, when we changed our name, from probably Loganski or Logand or something like that, and where most of the people worked, the big woolen mills, came over from Europe, the Botany Mills, and the Gerura Mills and, in fact, my mother worked in one of those English-owned mills, and they made some of the finest textile woolens made in the world. In fact, when I got out, one of the things we said when we got out of high school, "Where are you going to go?" "I'm going to go in Botany Tech," and that meant the work you're going to go work in the woolen mills. This was the expectation of what your education was going to be, and so where I went to. We were Presbyterian, which was also a minority group, because I would say seventy-five percent of the population was middle-European Catholic. That didn't mean a damned thing. I don't know quite why I'm getting a little teary about that, because there's all this ethnicity today was actually completely non-existent, and I will say one thing, and probably if you want to edit these things, the first thing everybody learns to do is speak English. Even all my friends, even though their parents were foreign born, I would go, and I would date various girls, obviously, as I got a little older, and we went to high school, if you went to their homes, their parents all spoke English. They may have spoken with an accent, but, by God, they all spoke English. I'm sorry if that offends some people, but that's the facts of life, and we didn't have a nickel to our name. We had a wonderful football team. I played in the band, and in grammar school I was a good student. In fact, when none of us had any, there was no such thing as a guidance counselor. When I graduated from grammar school, I don't know I was second or third in my class or something like that. I graduate from grammar school. I took a commercial course, and the principal of the school, who took a liking to me, she called me, and asked me why I did that, and I said, "I did it because all my other friends did it." So, she said, "Well, Raymond, I think you're straight As, you should be in science." So, I signed up for what was called a technical course or something like that. So, then I graduated from grammar school. Now I think I was still wearing knickers when I graduated from grammar school. Talk about me being a little bit of a sissy, I was still wearing knickers because that's my mother, with my mother's assistance I dressed. So, then I went on to high school, and, again. I did well in high school. I was in the band. I did some other things. We used to travel around to various schools. Garfield was a poor community. There was a lot of as I say ethnicity. The Third Ward, for example, would be all Italian. Up on the hill, so called, would be the Slovak Lutherans. Those of us who were Anglo Saxon derived would be down in the First Ward, but I can't remember that many of them. I dated the girls; the girls were just as pretty in the Third as they were in the First Ward.
SH: What did you play in the band?
RL: I played trumpet in the band, high school band. That story will come out later on, when we get to Japan because I was proud of the way we conducted ourselves. I played trumpet in the high school band. Then I had some very good friends of mine who, in fact, it was kind of reverse discrimination, because they formed the Holy Name Drum, and Bugle Corps, which became one of the, ultimately became one of the premier Drum, and Bugle Corps in the United States, and my best friend is in the, there is such a thing as a Drum, and Bugle Corps Hall of Fame, but I wasn't allowed to join because I was Protestant. So, I would go up to the church at night, wait for my friends to finish up practice, and then we'd all go out for an ice cream soda. There was no drinking, there was no drugs, and sex was something that was completely unheard of. We all knew about it, but if I sound naïve, I don't know whether you got this from any of the other guys my age, or anything else, I don't know, but maybe I was raised, maybe I'm an aberration, but this is the way we were raised, and we'd go to, a big deal would be to, in fact, the day we graduated high school, we went out to a soda shop after, our graduation, and that was the way we celebrated our graduation.
SH: Did you have a job after school?
RL: No, I did not. My father worked very hard, and as I got older, like in my junior, and senior year, I felt that we were not well off, and although we always had food on the table, but my father said to me, "Raymond, you're going to be old long enough." He said, "I've been working since I've been almost a child," and he said, "I want you to enjoy your youth." So, he said, "you make the most of these years, and he said I'll take care of the family," and he said, "you can go to work when the time comes, but for these summers enjoy yourself."
SH: What did you do for your summers then?
RL: Oh, we hung around. I don't know what we did. We had, we'd sit around. We would talk. I don't know what we talked about. We would, there were several of us, and there were things like softball teams. There would be streets, not gangs, but there would be games, and there would be, Commerce Street would have a softball team, and Hudson Street would have a softball team, and they would mark bases in the streets, and would paint base in the streets, and they'd be games that you would go to, and we played games like, "three feet off the mud gutter," and, "red light." We entertained ourselves. We entertained ourselves. We had, you go down, you could buy a softball; we used to get a ball called a nickel rocket. You bought a ball for a nickel, and it got so beat out of shape you can hardly use it, and you tape it back up with tape again, and you'd play with it again. Now this sounds like I'm putting on a poor mouth. These are facts I'm giving you, but we entertained ourselves, and we never seem bored. I can't ever remember one friend of mine ever having any trouble with the police department or anything else. We never were bored, and we looked forward to going back to school.
SH: Did you go into Boy Scouts, or anything like that?
RL: No, I did not. We had a Boy Scouts organization in the church, but I did not. I don't know where the summers went, but we seemed to, oh, I know one thing we used to do though, which I didn't particularly appreciate… We went down, my father had an older daughter by the first marriage. She, and I were never very close, unfortunately, until toward the end of her life, and then I took over her whole, I managed all her affairs after her husband died, but I had to go live with my grandparents in Freehold, New Jersey, which is down around Asbury Park, pretty much for economic reasons. We'd go down there during the summer, and then I lived with my grandmother, and my sister and, if I had to tow the line before, when I lived with the grandmother, and an old sister, "Raymond, good boys don't do this, and Raymond, good boys don't that." "Raymond don't put your elbow on the table," you know, "and don't do this with your napkin, and then because I was, it's a wonder I'm not all, more psychotic than I am, because I was the new kid on the block every summer, and then three or four of the kids down there would all, they'd make the patsy out of me. We'd get on the swing, and they'd jump off the swing, and then I had to bang down the other end. For two or three months, I was the punching bag for the kids that all belong there. Nothing, you know, I never had a scratch on me, but I was always the easy mark for the kids. So, I never really, and we would go down to Asbury Park, and we'd sit on the boardwalk, and we didn't have any money to spend, we just sit on the boardwalk, and watch people go by. My mother never realized, my mother couldn't always understand after a while why I wasn't enjoying all this so much. But as a kid, the only kid, with all these older women, you know, very high standards of behavior were expected of me personally. I don't know about others, and I never rebelled very much against it because I love my mother very much, and I just never, maybe I should have, I don't know. I don't even know where I got it then when the war came along, and that's another whole story, how that all came about. I wasn't unhappy. I didn't know that I was.
SH: I wanted to ask what evidence that you saw personally of the Depression, and the effects
RL: Well, I don't think it made too much of an impact on me because it was a way of life. You'd see men on the streets selling apples and, oh, one of the big impressions, we lived in, come to think about it, now that you mentioned that, was we lived about fifty feet from the railroad tracks, and as the trains would go through, there were always men riding on top of the boxcars. They weren't hobos as the press might use the word today. These were men looking for work. In fact, I may have written this. I know I wrote that somewhere, and these were men who were going, looking for work, any work, and going from place to place, and then, in fact, a coal car, a train laden with coal would go through town, and every once in a while, if one of the trainmen did it on purpose, a hopper would be left open, and there would coal on the tracks, and we would all of us, including the Logans, would be out there with paper bags picking up coal because, you heated your house with the coal stove. We had like a flat. We had a furnace because my uncle lived downstairs, my mother felt that we could save money so they bought a stove, coal stove, and we heated our flat with that, but it was not an uncommon sight to see, a hundred to two hundred people out on the railroad tracks picking up coal, and then sometimes the kids would throw stones at the guy so he'd throw coal back at you, and we know our clothes may have been worn, and threadbare, but they were always clean, but everybody was in the same boat. It may have been a town like Ridgewood, where we eventually ended up, where maybe they lived or something, but I don't ever remember being, I remember my father being out of work, but my father never once had too much pride. He never once took a penny of relief money. He wouldn't take it. I don't know how he managed, but my father had so much pride that he would not take a penny of relief money, you know. I don't mean to offend anybody, but those who did I'm not drawing comparison, I'm just telling you about my father.
SH: Did your mother work?
RL: No. My mother went to work after my father died, but my mother with my father, I don't know how they managed, but they did. I know they went hungry sometimes. When I ate I know sometimes they went hungry, and I know my mother, in particular, at time went hungry so she could feed my father, and myself. I know that. I realized that after. Also, I didn't realize it at the time, but I realized that later, and then also another thing, too, the kids used to steal our milk. You had the milk delivered by a milkman, obviously, this sounds rather stupid, but actually … you had the milk delivered by a milkman, and you'd come out in the morning, and the milk was gone. So, then we would do things like we'd get out a little earlier, and we bring the milk in, and we put soapy water in the milk, and put it back out on the porch, and then finally, my uncle, who lived downstairs, laid in wait for the kids who were stealing our milk, and my uncle was all man, and that was the last time anybody ever stole our milk. Those are the vignettes that I remember the most, you know.
SH: Tell me about how involved, and about the political atmosphere in your home, and what they thought of Franklin Roosevelt, and the New Deal.
RL: Oh, my father hated Roosevelt. My father was a dyed-in-the-wool Republican. I mean, I think my father thought that Roosevelt had horns, but I don't remember too much about it. The politics in our town were pretty much, although my uncle, the name McAlpine was a pretty well known name in Garfield, and, in fact, the family looked alike, and my uncle was, one of my uncles was a fire chief in Garfield, and another uncle was a councilman, but yet it was a basically Democratic town, and I guess it was the usual politics, and many corruptions that went on, but my father was a dyed-in-the-wool Republican. I don't remember much being interested in the politics at all. I mean, I enlisted in the Army when I was nineteen, that's another story, but most of the town was mostly Democratic, and outside of that I never, in fact, my interest in politics almost have come 180 degrees again. I went from being quite interested to getting so disillusioned again that I've almost come full circle.
SH: One question I also want to ask was how involved was your family with your church?
RL: They're good churchgoers, but involved? Not to the extent beyond that, they went every Sunday, and they were Presbyterians, coming from Scottish extraction we were Presbyterian, but not like myself. The church is another, my wife is Catholic, and we became Episcopalian. I was on the vestry of the church in Ridgewood, that sort of thing. They went to church every Sunday, but that was the extent of it. They didn't do anything except go to church every Sunday.
SH: I wondered if you went to camp or…
RL: No, I didn't have things like that. They had camps. They had them within the church itself. The people across the street, and another good friend of mine I talked to the other day, I think they might have had some things like that, but I don't remember a lot of activities. I don't remember a lot of that, that doesn't say they didn't have them, but I can't recall. Oh, there was the Christian Endeavor, and things, some organizations, and things like that. I did belong to the YMCA for a while, I guess, it is a quasi-church association, up in Passaic, but outside of that we went to church, and that was the extent of it.
SH: Tell me, when you went to high school beginning in 1936, and while you were in high school was there any discussions of what was going on in Europe, and you said you were taking a more scientific line of coursework.
RL: I can't recall any kind of, I was active in the band. I was active in the Glee Club. I spent a lot of time in high school, I can't remember any great, see, most of our news would come through the local newspaper, newspaper called the Passaic Herald News, and we had no television, obviously. We had a radio, and even though with all the ethnicity in town, I can't remember any kind of, with a lot of Italian people with Mussolini obviously, no Germans that I can think of, maybe a few, but I can't think of anything where we ever occupied ourselves with, about what was going on in Europe. I think it wasn't until Pearl Harbor that we realized that there was more of the world than we had known it was.
SH: Upon your graduation, or approaching graduation, were you thinking of going on to college?
RL: Yes, yes, and interesting enough, I went to Rutgers, and my mother, and I went down to, in fact, we had no guidance counselors, I graduated third in my class in high school, and we had no guidance counselors so we went down to Rutgers at that time. You know, I went to Rutgers for a while, and I didn't even know Rutgers was a State University when I was going there. Would you believe that? I didn't know that. I think it dawned on me about the second year that Rutgers was a State University, and we got such a cold shoulder out at Rutgers, and when we asked about our economic situation we just wrote the whole thing off. So, we went home. However it didn't leave a bad taste in my mouth. They just confirmed that we couldn't afford a college education, and the word scholarship was never mentioned. I never heard the word scholarship.
SH: Even in your high school?
RL: Even in the high school, no. When I graduated from high school I think there were two people who went to college. One of them, his father was had a job as a foreman in a woolen mill, he went to Georgia Tech, and another one went out to a school called Parks Air College in East St. Louis. There were two of them that went to college out of the whole graduation class.
SH: You remember their names?
RL: Yes. His name was Ted Klepatsky, which makes my point, and the other's name was, this next one was an usher at my wedding was Emery Muhr. He lives in Fairlawn now, and he went to Parks Air College. His mother, and father worked in the woolen mills, and acquired some money, and Ted's father had been a, had a fairly good job in the textile mills.
SH: Do you remember anybody in Garfield getting the State's scholarship?
RL: No. No, that would have been the talk of the town if that had happened. In fact, I think then the next question would be, "How did they do that?" But now they may have, I'm not saying, but we have class reunions, we still have had classes, we had it. I missed it. I didn't know they had it because we'd moved, but they had a sixtieth reunion here, and I can't think of anybody I know that got on a scholarship. So, when I graduated in 1940 I had, we lived very close to the chemical plant, and you talk about air pollution. In fact, the chemical plant, of course, I had studied a so-called technical course in high school, and the fact when the school was so close to the chemical plant, one of the plants made salicylic acid, which is an ingredient, ASA, is what aspirin is, and they had certain times when they would do things in the plant. We're taking gym we'd get salicylic acid on our clothes, and the old expression used to be, "it smells like money" and that's what air pollution was called in my generation. In fact, I used to call on after, later on, I'm jumping ahead. Many years later, I called on paper mills, and there's nothing worse than a pulping mill. You can smell them miles a way, and all the residents used to say was, "It smells like money." So, that was what air pollution was thirty or forty years ago. So, one day I decided I wasn't particularly thrilled about working in the woolen mills so I walked down, and went down to, they had a little gatehouse, and I went down, and asked, oh, I know what had happened. I'm being a little unfair. We did have career night. We did have career night, and that was all up in Number Eight school, which was part of the high school system. When you first to high school your freshman year was in Number Eight schools, and Number Six school was where the high school was. Some high school, it was pretty shabby by today's comparison. When I see these schools today it's incredible. We had to walk up about two miles to class in the morning, walk back two miles for lunch, walk back two miles to go to the freshman classes, and walk back two miles to home, and there were no such thing as school busses. They just expected you're going to hoof it because they couldn't afford school busses, but anyway the Doctor Bauman, Phil Bauman, who later becomes head of Bristol Myers Laboratory, became President of Bristol Myers, came up, and he spoke to us about the chemical industry. I was rather interested so I went down, it had been my first experience in selling yourself, I guess I went down to the gatehouse, that little old gatehouse there, a little Polish guy in there, or something, gave me and I said that I knew Dr. Bauman, which was a lie. I didn't know Dr. Bauman, but that got me into the laboratory, and I got a couple of interviews, and they hired me, and they paid me fifteen dollars a week for what was then a forty-four hour week. Not many people realized that before the forty-hour week there was a forty-four hour week, and I got a job as a laboratory technician, and what, our job was quality control. We would get all the, we had a PhD in charge of the laboratory, and he very conscious of the quality of the product that left the plant. We dumped our effluent out in the Passaic River, of course, and that's another story in itself. In fact, with all the textile houses, I'm digressing I know, but with all the textile houses associated with the woolen mills, the Passaic River was red, green, or blue depending upon what color was being run that day. You could smell it four or five blocks away from where it was, but going back to Heyden Chemicals, Heyden Chemical became part of Heyden Newport later on. My job was quality control, and they would make the products, and we had to set specifications that the products had to adhere to, and we would test those particular, we made products for aspirin for example, and we made products for dye stuffs, and we also made formaldehyde, which was, you talk about things we did in the laboratory. We made formaldehyde for phenol formaldehyde plastics, and formaldehyde is thought of embalming, but the big use it was for plastic manufacturing, and we would pipette formaldehyde with our mouth. Now if the pipette, if your familiar with the pipette, it's an instrument for drawing liquid up, and taking samples for treatment, and when you would pipette the formaldehyde with your mouth, the first thing you would do would be to open your mouth, you put your thumb over, that's for procedure, you put your index finger over the, at the pipette to hold the liquid, and then you would open your mouth. You would expel these formaldehyde fumes out of your mouth and, once in a while, if you got the pipette above the meniscus, the liquid, you'd get a mouthful of formaldehyde, and we used to do things like that, and methanol, which is also highly toxic. In fact, I often think of, in fact, one of the fellows that continued to stay there, he didn't go in the war, he got a deferment, he died of cancer, and I'm not surprised. I have a very good friend of mine, in fact, he went to Rutgers, and he roomed with me, I have two books he's written, two books on genetics, dedicated one of them to our daughter. Just to say I went through the formaldehyde thing, and I hope I'm not probably boring the life out of you, but we went through this methanol thing, and then what you would do you wash your glass, you had to clean your glass up, and then we used methanol because methanol would dry quickly. If it was the summer time you'd draw methanol all over your hands because it was nice, and cool, and then there was another product called acetaldehyde, which boiled at room temperature, and then you put the acid out behind the refrigerator, and the pipette in the refrigerator, and you'd try to pipette it quickly so it didn't boil up on you, but nobody knew any better. This wasn't criminal. These were people with PhDs, these were people who were decent people, and we had all kinds of safety drills, and another thing that happened too, which was different in today's world. We were always pretty well occupied, but business wasn't always good. I mean, the economy wasn't all that great. What brought the economy around, you'd asked about Mr. Roosevelt, I'll tell you something about that in a minute, which is not derogatory, which to me is fact, out in the plant things got slow they handed people a paint brush. Nobody got laid off. In fact, if you got a job, in fact, the Polish used to say, "You got job in Heyden Chemical that was like, man, are you lucky. You got a job in the chemical company. And this was a highly desirable thing to have happen, but if the business got small they just gave the guys a paintbrush, and a gallon of paint, and say "paint," and nobody got laid off. So, having a job was like having an annuity, and went creeping along, and we had, and then if you worked, I mentioned the forty-four hour week before, what they used to make you do was if we had somebody had to come in on Saturday, and they wanted you to work all day Saturday, they made you take four hours off during the week so you if you come in on all day Saturday, you never got any paid any overtime for it because there was no union or anything like that, but we all did this because the way I was raised was the company, and the boss was king, and the company could do no wrong, and we just accepted that as part of the job. Then finally what happened they hired some young kid that they, a couple of years, the company says, "I'm not going to do that any more" we all just said, "Hey, maybe that's not the right thing to do." So, then they started to pay us overtime, but those of us who had been raised in the old tradition you never questioned the management of the company, but that's the way the things were, but then the thing that really got us booming, and, in fact, they had two people working in the control lab. I was the third one that they hired, company had been there a long time, and then Lend Lease came along, and that's the thing that really started, then they started to hire more people, but with all due respect to Mr. Roosevelt, and I was not either way, I mean, my father hated him, but I now am pretty much thinking on my own, and eighteen, or whatever, but it was World War II that put the economy back. You know we made stuff to ship them to England. They came up with prophylactic materials, chemicals for venereal diseases, and things, and we were making products, not for American troops because we were not shipping anybody over, but we were making an awful lot of stuff. We sold a lot of formaldehyde to Union Carbide for example who made plastic products, and now we started, this Lend Lease program came along, and that's what really gave the economy its jump-start, you know. I'm not saying that any of the programs that Roosevelt initiated did not, but I was saying in my mind the true catalyst of the turn around of the American economy just prior to World War II was Lend Lease.
SH: Did your mother have any family still back in Scotland or…
RL: Not that I'm aware of, no. We never had any contact with anybody in Scotland. All of them seemed to be over here. They came in through Lowell, Massachusetts where they worked up in the textile mills in Lowell, Massachusetts, and there was Aunt Lavinia, my mother's name was Lavinia, and then they gravitated down to, my grandfather was a pipe fitter at a paper mill, Hammerley Paper Mill in Garfield, but when he came he was about five years old. In fact, I still have his; I believe I have his immigration papers or something. Some of them, some of them are all torn, but I can't recall any relatives at all.
SH: I just wondered if you…
RL: No, no, and we had nobody that I, as a matter-of-fact I know where my grandfather was born. My grandfather was born in a town called Loch Winnoch, Scotland. They came over here about the age of five years old. The other side of the family, I have gone back, and done research on that, my mother's side of the family, was my great grandfather was killed in the Civil War. His name was Flandreau. I've gone back to the 1600s or something. I've done here in the United States. I've got genealogy files. I found a relative, a known relative, in California, and got files that I have done in genealogy of the family going back that far. So, now that brings us up to Heyden Chemical on World War II.
SH: Right. Tell me when you first heard about Pearl Harbor?
RL: Oh, I was working. I was working. It was the Sunday that I was working, and I remember I heard somebody yelling out in the yard, and I stuck my head out, raised the window, and he said the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. Well, I knew where Pearl Harbor was because I had subscribed to National Geographic for so many years, and I've been a pretty avid reader so I had a pretty good idea where Pearl Harbor was. Some people didn't, but I knew at least it was in was in Hawaii. At that time I guess it's real hard to remember my emotions at that time. A lot of it I'm sure was racist to that extent. "Who those little old bastards think they are?" If you want to put it frankly like that, but almost instantaneously I knew, sooner or later, I would have to go into service.
SH: I was going to ask about the draft, I know …
RL: There was a draft prior to that time. In fact, there was an expression I can't recall, "Over the hill," in "'40" or "'46" or something. It was something with the draft, and there were some expression about guys who are, go over, you know, what over the hill means? To desert, and there was an expression, I think, we used to have one, "Golden Gate in '48, breadline in '49" but no, there was a draft, and I can't remember, I remember a couple of fellows who lived in our area belong to the Naval reserve, oh, interestingly enough, they never went in the service. They all got married, I don't know what happened. We're talking to a friend of mine the other day, but there was draft, and one of the things too. Several of my friends went into the CCC, which was a paramilitary organization, but that was part of the Depression, and they were allowed to, I know one of them, in particular, went out to Missoula, Montana, and they were fighting forest fires, and things like that. So, this was another way of getting government funding, you know, and that's what some did do during the Depression, and I think they didn't, ultimately now, I found out after, they still see bridges across around here with a Civilian Conservation Corps designate, this, and their wonderful work. Sometimes I think we needed something like that today instead of all these people on relief, but I can't recall too much about Pearl Harbor being attacked because everything was done with radio, and any picture that you saw was usually the Arizona, on the front page, blowing up, and at that time, I think, I was pretty well convinced that I wanted to enlist almost immediately. I wasn't sure, I'm not sure whether I had the guts to do it, or felt that I should do it, but, intuitively, I felt emotionally and, in fact, I had another emotion like that much later on, but cooler heads prevailed, but, I mean, there was no reason to think that, I had never done anything physical. I had never been raised as a real, I never played in the football team, or anything else, but immediately I felt somehow or other. One of the things about getting older is that you can be very candid about things, you know, and getting to say things you'd get away with, things you wouldn't say when you're, and as I look back sixty years ago, I don't know if my courage was as great as my outrage. I know people got killed in the war, you know, and I had no background on that, but I expressed the normal outrage, but one of the things was, I was only nineteen at that time, in fact, or eighteen, I guess, when the war, whatever the arithmetic is, and they were only taking people in the draft over twenty-one. So, if I were going to enlist, I'd have to have my parents' permission, and they wouldn't give me their permission at that time, my mother particularly. My mother is pretty much, my mother wasn't dominant. My father went to work, and he read the paper, but my mother ran the house, and so I went along for a period of time, and my friends were going into the service, and you could sense the peer pressure as time went on. You could sense the peer pressure, you know, and so one day I picked up the newspaper, and it said, in the local newspaper, it said something about the Signal Corps reserve. It said you could, and also at this time I was going to NYU, nights, studying chemical engineering. I would work during the day, and then I'd catch a bus, and take a subway down to Washington Square, get out of class eleven o'clock at night, take the subway back up to Times Square, get a bus back, and go to work the next day.
SH: When did you start doing that?
RL: In, I guess my second year because that's when most of the fellows who were going, working in the laboratory, were all going to school nights, going to either Newark Tech, NC, Newark College of Engineering, and one fellow had just gotten a degree. It was a sort of the accepted thing to do. You were kind of expected to do that, and it was a grind, boy, I'll tell you. I wondered I had more time after I enlisted in the Army. I had more time in the Army than I did before I went. So, it [newspaper article] said you could enlist in the Signal Corps. You would be put on reserve status, and you go to school four nights a week, five nights a week, in Passaic, which was a hop skip, and a jump away, then when you got out of this, then you'd be on active duty in the Signal Corps, and this was supposed to last for a period, I don't know, four or five months, or something like that, and I saw that, and I had no desire to be a hero. If I was going to be in the service, I thought, gee, I'd like, you know, maybe I'd, God bless infantrymen. They win the war, but on the other hand if I didn't have to be an infantry man, and I could do something, so why not? So, maybe that's a reflection on my courage, I don't know, but as it turned out that wasn't the case, but I thought "Well, if I have to be in service I may as well do something," you know, maybe there was that type I was interested in, so, in any event, I went to my parents, and I said, "Look, I'm going to have to go eventually," and even down at work, they said, "We can maybe get you a six month deferment," and I didn't want to be deferred because when I would go in the locker room, we had men in there thirty years old, and some of them are married, and they're all scared to death about going in service, and another fellow, who was one of my dear friends, I still contact him one day a week. In fact, I have a book here I'm going to send it to him after I'm through reading. He and I would get disgusted at their lack of patriotism. We were ashamed of them, as Americans, that they would be so damned yellow, in our opinion, that they'd do anything to get out of going into the service. I mean, not everybody was a big hero running around, and shooting guns, you know, there was a lot of yellow son-of-a-bitches around at that time, pardon the language, but in any event, I went to my parents, and I said, "Look, I'm going to have to go anyway. This is almost too good to be true. I can go in to this reserve," and I said, "I'll go school nights, I get out, I go in the Signal Corps. In addition to that, they send you to basic training in Camp Edison, New Jersey." I said, "This is too good to be true." I finally talked them into it, and I was just nineteen, and my mother, my dear mother, she cashed her life insurance policy, she bought me a seven hundred dollar 1939 Chevrolet so the two us, of course, this was in 1942, so the two of us go down to Newark Armory, she waits in the car, and I passed, I went through the physical. I have hammertoes, and the doctor looked at me, and he said, "Do they bother you when you walk?" I wanted to go in the service. I really wanted to go in the service, and I said, "Yes, they don't bother me at all." So, he said, "Okay." They had me "fit for duty" then I raised my right hand, I was sworn in as a private in the United States Army Reserve. So, now I'm in the service, and come home, and they start the courses, and every night we'd go up to this school in Passaic, and we'd take courses in electricity, and simple courses. You know by today's standards it, maybe they teach this in grammar school, I don't know. But it was all new stuff to us, and it was taught by a fellow who was an engineer in the Public Service, a fellow by the name of Elmer Torre. In fact, I ran into him after the war, heck of a nice guy, Elmer Torre. So, this course is supposed to last for several months. This was August 31, 1942 I was sworn in. I was in the United States Army, and I would go to church, and I would get digs from people "why aren't you in?" and everything else, and I would say, "It's against my religion," or some such thing. I figured it's none of their business, and so now I complete the course, and I don't hear anything from anybody. Here I am, I'm a private in the United States Army. Meanwhile, there was a time when the United States Army, and it wouldn't take very long, was pretty much hurting for a rifleman and things. The units were getting maybe taking cooks, and guys like that, and hand them a rifle, and here I am, I'm nineteen years old, I'm in the Army and, I mean, I could have been, you know, it was amazing to me. So, I have a letter, I finally sat down, and wrote a letter, and finally they called up one of my friends, and I wrote a letter to somebody, I have a copy of it here. If you're interested I can show you some of that. I have a copy of the letter I wrote them said, "Hey, when am I going to be a soldier?" and they wrote back, and said, "Eventually," and, I mean, this is amazing. In retrospect, today this is amazing that, you know, because they were taking guys right, and left. In fact, you hear stories that, you are watching movies sometimes, where some kid shows up, and they hand him a rifle, and next thing they show, goes off and gets killed, and the sergeant says, "Who was that?" You know, and here I am in the Army for almost four or five months already, and I'm not on active duty. So, then they finally called me. They finally called me up to duty on June 30, 1943. I've been in the Army since August of 1942. They finally called me to active duty. So, I reported down at Fort Dix, and stood around in civilian clothes, in the cold of the night, and freezing to death, and it was an interesting experience. It's a cross between being confused, and scared, not scared physically, but scared because this is all so new to you, you know. Holy gee, what a departure from what you've been living, you know, and so then one day they finally issue us uniforms, and shoot us all full of holes, and everything else, and give you the best pair of shoes you ever had in your life, seriously, the best pair of shoes you ever had in your life, and they put us on a train. Then we marched up to this Pennsylvania day coach, and we got on this train, and all these guys with me, they're all a lot of them New York men, mostly guys from New York metropolitan area, it was interesting, we had a great bunch of people, and because of the nature of the course; some of these guys would use this to stay out of the draft. We had lawyers in our outfit, in fact, at one time my outfit was rated having the highest IQ in the Third Army because we'd all went through this Signal Corps reserve thing, and we had a little bit of a reputation. Do you mind if I talk of a few little incidents or vignettes. We had a sergeant by the name of Sergeant Lidik who was written-up in Life Magazine.
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RL: Just wanted to prove that, you know, he was a sergeant, and we were a bunch of raw recruits. They kept us out there in, this was in June, but it was cold. They kept us out there in sports shirts, and things, and at two or three o'clock, somebody said somebody might have gone AWOL, you know, and they call the whole roster with, name by name, and he kept us out there. We're freezing our butts off, and then he says to the line, "I understand we got college boys in this outfit," and he says, "I got IQ sixty," and out of the back of this thing somebody yelled, "Who helped you on the test?" So, he kept us for another two hours. Welcome to the United States Army. In any event, we, they put us on this Pennsylvania day coach, and we were all going down to Camp Edison for basic training. Well, we passed the Philadelphia Zoo and somebody says, "Oh, maybe they want to confuse the enemy," or something, because we should have been in Camp Edison by now. When we finally got to St. Louis we figured out we weren't going to go to Camp Edison, and we were on this Pennsylvania day coach, which was a coal burning train, with the windows open, and in July, and we got so filthy that, in fact, I passed a friend of mine from my hometown, all I could see was the whites of his eyes. So, I said, his name was Emil Wall, and I said, "Emil, do I look like you?" and he says, "You look worse." So, when we got to St. Louis, they took us down to the Y to give us a shower, and we looked so terrible that people thought we were prisoners of war. In fact, we should have been prisoners of war the way the Americans treated prisoners of war, that's another story, but, in any event we, then we get, now we get back on the train. We were on this train for like three days or something, and we pulled into this turn-a-side terminal in this camp. We were in Camp Swift, Texas, which is a long way from Edison. Then a bunch of non-coms met us, and they said, "Welcome to the 304th Signal Operations Battalion." Well, that was the greatest thing to ever happen, because I was with, the whole time I was in the Army, I was with the same outfit, same guys, the same time. I was so fortunate, same outfit, and the day I got in, the day I got out, I was with the 304th Signal Operations Battalion. So, we were down there at Camp Swift, Texas, and that was a sweetheart of a place. That was built right it was about twenty miles north of Austin, was a wartime camp, and we were all just getting adjusted, and it was a camp when you put the lights on in the morning, about eight million cockroaches went across the ceiling. There were guys they'd be taking big GI shoes, and kill the cockroaches all over the place. In fact, if you were on KP duty, after you emptied out the deposits, there would be cockroaches in the bottom of the pots. I guess the mess sergeant put them in there for flavoring, but, in any event, this was at Camp Swift, Texas. So, we were, you know, were taking five mile hikes, ten mile hikes, and all this business. I was there about two weeks, and they said, we were standing on retreat, you have to stand on retreat every night, and bring the flag down, and the first sergeant said, "Attention to orders. The following enlisted men will proceed to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey for Signal Corps training," and then they read out, "Private Raymond E. Logan." Now Raymond E. Logan gets back on the train, two weeks later, I have a great admiration for the administration of the Army, you would think of what they did. But two weeks later now I'm back in Fort Monmouth, you know. So, I go back up to Fort Monmouth, and I was in Forth Monmouth for I don't know, six months or something. I was home almost every weekend. … You had to stand fireguard. They had to have so many troops around the camp in case, the term was fireguard, so I assume in case there was a fire, but for five bucks you can hire some guys to stand your fireguard, somebody who from, you know, who didn't have any family around. So, I was home every weekend. I have been dating Lillian. She, and I worked, my wife now for fifty, fifty-four years. I've been dating her off, and on while we were working in the chemical plant. I used to walk home at lunch, just happened to walk home at lunch, and she was walking home at lunch, and I think that really solidified our relationship, because I was home every month, every weekend, when I was at Fort Monmouth, and so then I finished my basic training in Fort Monmouth. In the Army, you have a spec number. You're assigned a military spec number. Even a rifleman has one. I was 187, which was called a repeater man. I have a copy of my discharge, a repeater man, a repeater is a device you hear of them today, in fact, when the World Trade Center collapsed, and there was poor communications with the firemen who didn't hear, a repeater is a device that enlarges a signal. It takes the signal down the line, it takes a signal in, and it puts the signal out at a larger volume than it went in, and that was my, 187 was my spec number. So, I came back, and went back to the 304th Signal Operations Battalion. By that time, they had moved from Camp Swift, Texas to Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas, and that was like going to heaven. That was right in the heart of San Antonio. It had been the home of the Second Army Division, the Indianhead Division in regular peacetime division, and they had PXs, and movie theaters, and things that rivaled Garfield, New Jersey, and better facilities than Garfield, New Jersey, and we were in wartime barracks, and that was, by then I don't remember what it was, I guess, I was still a PFC, and by then I found out, I was a PFC because I'd finished at Fort Monmouth and, God, I cleaned more latrines, and did more KP, and pulled more guard duty, and it got to be embarrassing because I got to have letters from my friends, and some of them were getting to be corporals, or sergeants, or seamen, you know, third class or whatever, and when, in fact, one time when I came home on leave, I went home, and I ran into a friend of mine who joined the Air Corps, now he's a first lieutenant. Some guy I went to high school with, and he wound up thirty-eighth in his class, or something, and here I am still PFC Logan. These guys were, he didn't pull rank on me, or anything else, but I was ashamed of the fact that I was in the Army, and still a private. I was greatly ashamed of it. To make matters worse for some reason or other, I don't know why it happened, we were getting, God bless them, if an organization… now the Army has, you probably heard this term TO before? Table of organization. An Army is not a haphazard thing. It's an organized thing, and a battalion would have, you'd have a colonel, you'd have major, as the commanding officers, and then you'd have so many first lieutenants, second lieutenants, so many master sergeants, so may T-4s, T-5s, etc. etc. etc. There was a table of organization, just like there's a table of equipment of service equipment. The Army is not a haphazard thing, by any sense of the word, so when I went back down to Fort Sam, that's everybody calls the fort, Sam, repeater men they had two T-4s, and a T-5. Well, I was still a private, and we were getting all these guys who came back from North Africa. The North African campaign had been going on and, for some reason or other a lot of these guys were coming back from, some of them had Silver Stars, and everything else, and they would come to our outfit, and they would keep the TO filled, the table of organization would be filled with all these rank. Meanwhile, I'm still cleaning all the pots, and cleaning all these latrines, and everybody liked to read the newspaper on Sunday, and you had to go in there on a Monday morning, and try to clean the latrine out, that was quite an experience, but at any event, this went on for quite a while. I was getting quite discouraged because I was getting tired of all these work details, and then we had to qualify to go overseas. I mean, ironic, I said about the young kid that they handed a rifle to him, and he got killed in fifteen minutes, and nobody knew his name. We had to qualify to go overseas. So, we had to be able to put installations in, and establish communications within a certain period of time, and then an inspector would come in, and they'd attach a jeep to your field wire, and then yank it all out, and they timed to see how, how a shell hit, simulated shell hit, and they would time it to see how fast you could reestablish communication, and then we had to practice moving forward, you know. We never practiced retreating, God bless the United States Army. We always practiced jumping installations. We'd have an installation, we'd move forward and forward and we finally qualified. I guess we failed a couple of times. I tell you this amazes me in retrospect, now what it took. We had the war going on, and they're treating us with this kind of, well, the war turned on communications. If they didn't have communications, they couldn't conduct the war. So, the word went out that we were getting, we were getting the word was, "hot." We were getting hot. In fact, it was a kind of a joke. They cautioned us, they'd take us up to the day room, which was a recreation room, and they say "We can trust you now, the 304th is hot." Where no word, and then you go downtown into San Antonio, and some guy takes a taxicab, and the taxicab driver says "I understand you guys are leaving soon, you know." So, in any event, we get ready, and now we're qualified, and everything is set, and I wanted a furlough, pre-overseas furlough, but when I left Fort Monmouth they gave me a so called delay enroute, three days delay in route, and they told me that that was going to be my furlough. I went to see, they had a wonderful lieutenant by the name of Hewitt. Most of these guys were all telephone company men, and they weren't soldiers, they were college educated, executives, managers in the telephone company, and, in fact, most of our non-commissioned officers were telephone company men, real high type guys, and, in fact, our master sergeant was almost like a father to us. So, he finally got me a furlough, and I came home, and then I went back, and then we got on the train. We marched up, I don't know where. In fact, have you seen the movie, A Soldier's Story? The lead actor was in the Heat of the Night, Howard Rollins, in any event, it reminds me of us, we marched out like soldiers to the railhead, and we looked like soldiers. In fact, guys cheered us, and clapped for us. After three days of a decent train ride, we arrived at Camp Stoneman in California. We weren't out there too long, and, in fact, a couple of guys did get, a couple of people did get leave to go in, a pass, did get leave to go into San Francisco. I did not. We weren't there long enough. So, we were out at Stoneman for, oh, it wasn't too bad. I mean by then we'd been around. By then there was nothing we couldn't handle. I mean your ability to survive in the Army got better as you, you got so flexible it was almost nothing that you couldn't put up with, you couldn't handle by that time, and that was the way the Army got you, and, in fact, there may have been married men. You know, you hear a lot of stories about, "I wasn't in the service because of this or that." It depends upon your draft board a lot of times, and how desperate they were for people. I had guys with children in my outfit. I had guys with broken eardrums, you could see in one side, and you'd see daylight if you look through their two broken eardrums because it depend a lot of times on the draft board. So, we had all kinds of people, but mostly we had a pretty good type bunch of guys, and good men, and they put us on aboard a ship called the Sea Snipe. Now C is a class, there is a C class, and the Sea Snipe is a C, this C, that is because of the class of, probably telling you too much detail. There was a class of ships called C class, and they were cargo ships, and it had an armed guard on it. It had a three-inch gun on the rear, and it had twenty millimeter quick firing weapons in little turrets around the side of it, and we had, I don't know, we had about, I don't know 1800, there were 600 men in our battalion. We had some other troops with us, and we got on this thing, and we were on it for thirty-two days. That was a lot of fun. (Attempt at irony)
SH: What did you do while you're on there for thrity-two days?
RL: Stand, and watch the sea go by. We're out of stuff to read. One of the things that was the greatest thing that ever happened to me in normal times in the service, the Time Magazine put out a little pony edition. It was about, oh, maybe five inches by five inches, and you're always standing in line in the Army, and you put this pony edition of the Time in your back pocket, and you'd see, being the kind of outfit we were, I sound like an elitist, but the kind of outfit we were you'd see a lot of guys standing there, and just reading the Time Magazine. I mean, you turn it off. You learn, even now, when Lillian and I go somewhere, and we go to a doctor's office, and I now go into my Army mode. I go 'click', you know, and I tune out, and you learn to tune out, and so we're on the ship, and most of time we just spent standing over the rail, leaning, you know. By now I'm not pulling any KP, or anything else, because I was at T-4, which is a sergeant technician fourth grade. I was a sergeant so I didn't have to pull KP, thank God, because, I mean, those guys would be down there pulling KP, and that ship would be rocking back, and forth in that water. They were washing the dishes, and everything else, and now these guys are down, these guys are throwing up. I have got to tell you some of this stuff, too, because this is all part of it, and then the latrines would stuff up, and there'd be feces rolling all over the floor, and I'm not, I hope I'm not being offensive, or salacious, I'm just telling you the facts of life, and then they put us, we were down in the hold. I would think it was the number three hold, or something, and they would have "abandon ship" drill, and by the time we abandon ship, I mean, we guys would still be coming out of the hold yet because there was just no way you could do it. I could put my hand against the bulkhead. I could feel the water going by. The bunks were about five high. They were just steel poles with canvas strung through them, and if you want to turn over you had to have the guy on top of you to move so you could turn over. One of my buddies Sol Ludwig above me, because he was a little on the heavy side, he was sleeping on top of me, I say, "Hey, Sol, I want to turn over," and Sol would have to lift himself up, and I turn over. It was almost like aerobics because the way you got in, you took your two hands, and you lifted yourself up, parallel, and you slide yourself in like a deck of cards. You couldn't climb into the bunk. You had to push yourself in sideways. So, we were on this thing for thirty-two days, but it was a great experience. I was really, because I had been quite a reader up until I had time, and we left for overseas October of 1944, and we invaded the Philippines like October 15 or something. So, we thought we were headed directly toward the Philippines because that's where the Pacific action, main Pacific action, was at that time, but it turned out that we were delivering Christmas mail and I got, if you had hired a tour agency to say "give me a tour of the Pacific War up until that time" that's what they would have done on the C Snipe. First we went to Guadalcanal, and that was the backwater of the war by that time, but we stopped off at Guadalcanal, and then we went to places like Oro Bay, and Milne Bay, and we went to Bougainville, we went to New Britain. We got an Iron Bottom Sound tour, you know, Guadalcanal is where they'd show you these sunken ships. Guadalcanal we went all through there so we got to see all these places. In fact, when we laid off Bougainville we could still see the difference between the European War, and Pacific War, I'll get to that in a minute, we could still see Australia was still bombing the Japanese in planes. We got to see all of that, but we didn't participate in any of them. So, even today when I read stories, I can honestly say I went to Guadalcanal, I went to Bougainville, I was in New Britain. In fact, that's one of the thing that irks me because the Marines, I have the greatest admiration for the Marines, I mean, they did things that, thank God, I never had to do, you know, the expressions used to be, "the Marines, the Marines, those publicity thieves," you know, and they claim that Guadalcanal was the first victory against the Japanese in the Pacific. I maintain that it was not. There was an action in a place called Oro Bay where the Japanese came ashore, this is not my experience, this is where Ray Logan's reading of history, where the Japanese came ashore, and were repulsed in their landing by Australians and a few Americans. It was the first time that the Japanese were repulsed by anybody, it was before Guadalcanal, and secondly the action in the place called Buna Mission where the United States, and the Australians, again, defeated the Japanese before Guadalcanal. Now in comparison to the sites of the operations they were much smaller operations, but they were the first victory of American forces. It happened to be the Army, which is, in the first case, it was the Australians, which is why I have this bias, but God bless the Marines, we can't take anything away from what they went through. So, then we finally ended up in, after being on the ship for all this time, oh, and then we used to get food, food was pretty bad, but we wouldn't go hungry. We didn't have a, the Catholics had a, there was a Catholic Chaplain on board, and this was kind of an eye-opener if you have any kind of ecumenism or religious bias. To me it was kind of an interesting experience. The Catholics, we had a Catholic Chaplain on board, and the Catholics would hold services on the hatch cover. This was the church, and when the Catholics got through, one of our officers, we had no Protestant Chaplain aboard, when the Catholics got through, one of our officers, a Lieutenant Cunningham; in fact, he was from Westwood, New Jersey. His father was a minister, and Lieutenant Cunningham was very, very versed. I can't say a religious man, but a very decent man, and he would conduct services on the same hatch that the Catholics just left. That was an eye-opener for me. Do you understand what I'm saying? The Jewish fellows had someone in their, they had no one like that, but they had, in fact, I was talking to one of my friends, Arnold Halpern who lives down in here around the Jersey Shore, I was just talking to him the other day, and we were reminiscing about some of that. In the Jewish group there was a fellow who was well versed in the Jewish religion, and he would conduct services. That went on, you know, that went on for thirty-two days, and then it got pretty cruddy. Guys would sleep topside because it was hotter than the dickens down below, and then you had to stand in line to get an apple, you had to stand in line for three or four hours, and they give you an apple for your lunch, and then guys would throw the cores, and there'd be guys sleeping on, up on top of the deck, and they're rolling back, and forth in the rain, and dirt, and it was a pretty cruddy experience, and we went all the way to Guadalcanal without an escort. In fact, we traveled the same waters that the Indianapolis was torpedoed in. The cruiser, the Indianapolis, left Tinian, we were in the same waters that the Indianapolis was torpedoed, and then we went all the way to Guadalcanal from San Francisco without an escort, and then when we got to Guadalcanal we picked up an escort, and we finally ended up in Hollandia, which is Dutch New Guinea, and we got off at Hollandia, and they took us, and we marched back up in the hills somewhere, and for about a month or two, all we do is, some guys, some of the men started to do some work down in Hollandia itself. The Navy ashore looked better than the Army because the Navy had CB battalions, and you went, when you go down into, I have pictures of us living in, we lived like a bunch of animals in New Guinea. We had shelter halves, and you get very resourceful. You learn to steal a lot, too. Did you ever hear this from any of the guys that tell you these stories? You lived as good as you are clever. You get very resourceful, and you can do things that, nothing dishonest, but there's always somebody who is very clever at doing something. When somebody had one there was always a guy that had two, you know. You've seen a little bit of the Sergeant Bilko kind of thing on television, some of that is real. I did some of that myself.
SH: I wanted to ask you, on the ship, was it manned by the Navy or was this…
RL: Only the Armed Guard was Navy. It was manned by, with civilians on the ship, well, that's another story. In fact, you've reminded me. That's what left me a bad taste in my mouth about the merchant marine, to a degree, because they had an armed guard on board the ship and, in fact, we used to kid them. They would release balloons, you know, and target it, they couldn't hit anything. They had a lieutenant, or an ensign, or somebody with the armed guard. They were supposed to have the armed me, to protect us in the event we were attacked, thank God, we never were, but as we would file down past the, in this line to get our apple for lunch, or whatever the food, the food was horrible. They'd have, the ship was manned by civilians, and they would have the mess hall. We would have to pass the mess hall, through the port hole, and they would have a chalk board with "today's menu" on the chalk board. It would be eggs to order, this like that, you know, and we'd look at it, and we'd go "those son-of-a-bitches," they're eating like that, you know, and we didn't think very kindly to that, and they weren't very nice to us either. They were probably getting big money, or something like that, you know, good for them I suppose. We didn't have too good a feeling for the crew. In fact, what happened one time I had gone to, I used to take advantage of things. They decided they wanted to have a projectionist. So, we did a lot of training films, and every payday you got to see the VD film, and I'm not being, this, you know, okay? Every payday you had to see the VD film to scare the hell out of you. But, in any event, maybe they should show more of that kind of thing today, but in any event, I got to be the projectionist. So, we were going to have, we had six films for thirty days. I used to remember what they were, but the guys would sit there, and mouthed the words, and then, you know, they had to button up the ship at night. We'd run dark at night, and we'd all be sitting in this part of the ship, must be 110 degrees there, watching the same films over, and over. Oh, I remember one of John Wayne Tall in the Saddle was one of them, and you could almost recite the dialogue out there about the second, and third week. I needed an… in order to make the projector work, I needed an adaptor. The ship's current was different. It wasn't 110 volts, it was, whatever it is, somebody would know, but it was different from the current that ran the projector, so I needed an adaptor. So, they told me to go see the ship's electrician. So, I go down, and I knock on the door of this cabin, and this kid, going in there, he's about twenty years old, with a fan blowing on him in his underwear, in a bed or something, and I asked him what I should do. He says, "Well, you go down, and see So-and-So." So, I went down to the, straight down about two holds, down to get this adaptor, and I discovered they had a cold water fountain. My God, that's a luxury, a cold water fountain, and you could shave with the water that we used to drink, you know, and so I took a drink of cold water, and after that I found an excuse to go down there, and I took my canteen with me, and I used to fill the canteen up, and share the cold water with the guys until one of the ship's crew caught me doing it, and he stopped me from doing it, and don't you think I didn't love the merchant marine after that. He wouldn't let me have a drink of cold water. Well, I understand it was, they had, the ship had condensers, and the water was piped, and everything else, but for God's sakes, you know. So, that's a little bit of pettiness I suppose on my part. So, I'm digressing, so we end up in New Guinea, and we stay around New Guinea for a while. Then they decide that they were going to move us up to Leyte in the Philippines. I don't know if you know the whole history of Leyte. They were going to originally invade Mindanao, and then Halsey was raiding, Halsey with his Third Fleet was raiding the Philippines, and suddenly found out that air opposition was light got back from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and said, "Look, why don't you, Leyte was in the middle of 2000 islands in the Philippines, and Leyte is the central island so instead of attacking Mindanao why don't we go farther north, and go up into Leyte?" So, they accepted Halsey's recommendation so the Sixth Army landed on, the General Kruger, Walter Kruger, invaded Leyte in October of 1944. Then he decided they're going to move us up, too, and now we begin to find out why we're there, and what we were doing for the last two years or a year and half, while were in the Army. So, they put us on a liberty ship, the Charles Loomis, which was another, I probably spent almost two or three months at sea being in the Pacific. I spent more time at sea than some sailors. I know a sailor that never was on the ship, and I spent almost three months on a ship. See the seas were our highways in the Pacific. The sea was your highway. So, they put us on this Charles Loomis, oh one thing I didn't tell you, here, if you're interested or not I can go back. I did get a break on the Sea Snipe because before, I used to volunteer for a lot of stuff to keep, not because I was a hero, but just for change sake. So, in addition to that, I took the fifty-caliber machine gun training back in Texas, so I could take a fifty-caliber machine gun apart, and put it back together with my eyes blindfolded. So, in order to spell the Navy, when they go to lunch, we used to have guys like myself, who had machine gun training who would go up, and be in the gun tubs awhile, and would get a, you've seen them, the phones, and the speakers, and we'd tell them when the ship was making too much smoke, or you saw a crate flying by, which maybe a harbored a periscope from the submarine, so at least I got to be all by myself on the upper decks, and got away from all the filth, and everything else, in the humanity down below. So, that was the thing. Sometimes volunteering does work out. So, they put us on the, now leaving New Guinea, and they put us on theCharles Loomis, which was a liberty ship, which is another dirty tub, and we were on that for about seven days, and we were never in combat. I never fired a weapon at an enemy, and nobody ever shot at me, but we were in a place where you could get killed and, in fact, we arrived on Christmas Eve, we arrived in Leyte Gulf in the middle of an air raid. The first time we've ever seen enemy shells were going off, and they weren't bothering us, but you could see the anti-aircraft fire. We were all kind of intrigued by this, and then the commanding officer said, you know, "all of the personnel will now go below," and you've never seen so many guys hurry below so fast in all your life. So, we went ashore on Christmas Day in 1944, and the Sixth Army had been taking over operations in the Philippines, in Leyte, and now we became the communications group for the United States Eighth Army. You know what an army is? An army is an administrative organization, and you could be one day a unit, a division, could be in the Sixth Army, and another operation could be part of the Eighth Army, just like a fleet in the Navy, Third Fleet, Fifth Fleet, Seventh Fleet. They would move ships in, and out depending upon the operation. So, one time a unit could be attached to the Eighth Army depending upon the nature of the operation. The Eighth Army killed 45,000 Japanese on the island of Leyte after we took over. The combat men did. We had, out of the 600 men we had, we lost three men died, but they were all in almost like civilian type accidents. We were filthy from being on this transport for seven days, and a bunch of guys went down, I didn't swim, which is another reason I didn't joined the Navy, and a bunch of guys went, ran down into the ocean to bathe, and an LST backed out, and two of our guys drowned just like that. I often thought later on saying what would it be like to be a mother of a son who gets a letter, "The War Department regrets to inform you that your son, what do they tell them, "drown?" You know. Then we lost one other man who, we used to have a lot of power equipment to run our Signal Corps equipment, obviously, and we had one fellow who poured gasoline into a hot engine, and he burned to death. So, we lost three men in the Philippines, and I was no longer, no more that just ashore. Also in the extension of my repeater experience, we had become, we had formed later on now we formed a carrier platoon, and the carrier platoon was a, carrier was a piece of equipment bigger than oh, I don't know. It weighed about 600 pounds, and it was about six, or seven, or eight feet high, and three feet across, and you could run three telephone channels, and one Teletype channel off the same set of cables, coaxial cable. So, our platoon formed, and you talk about almost like a corporation. Instead of having, being a repeater man with two T-4s, and a T-5, now I'm in the carrier platoon, and we got master sergeants, staff sergeants, and tech sergeants, the whole organization changed. Now all of a sudden, I'm a staff sergeant having, you know, having gone from being a PFC not too long before. So, they sent me up to, I don't know how they picked me, but they sent me up to general headquarters in GHQ, which at that time was in Tacloban, which was the ("ha ha") capital city of Leyte. You know when we got up to Japan our feet hurt from walking on concrete, you know. I'm not drawing any combat experiences. I'm just drawing, you know, some of the things I've seen in Europe, places the guys go in Europe, you know. I got the pictures I can show. It would rain, and we dig five or six foot deep pits to drain the water off the tents. They were full all the time, and the mud will always suck the shoes. This is the capital city of the island of Leyte. So, I was up at GHQ for a while, and then I was very fortunate. I was always on detached service. I was very seldom with my unit, which meant that I didn't have, I think I pulled the sergeant of the guard once, but I was away from all the routine. In fact, people, officers used to come up, and spend time with us to do the same thing. Just to get away from the routine, because these guys who worked at GHQ were, I almost went to work like I was at a job. They almost had to work like everyday, the guys in the message center, and the guys who go into the office, they all pulled shift, and they went to work every day, and here I would be, you know, I would be the sergeant in charge of maybe one or two of the guys on top the hill someplace. I remember one time, they used to allow us to have beer rations. I didn't drink. In fact, the beer was so warm when you open it up half of it escaped out the, Coca Cola would go bad. Coca Cola would go sour because it would spoil. But I would go down to one place, and I'd say, "how about helping us out with a beer ration?" I ended, up sometimes, I ended up with about four cases of beer for the guys that were with me. But I'd be on top of a hill someplace, you know, away from all the, half the time running around in my underwear, and I had it good compared to a lot of, they lived I guess, they had to live like that, you know, I mean, you had to put up with the living conditions, and so I really can't complain about my time overseas. In fact, it might have even helped me later on with my job, I don't know, the independence, and things, but, again, you lived as well as, and you did some things that were terrible. When our outfit finally left the Philippines they had a table of equipment, and we buried things like radios, and machine guns. They'd give a requisition. It was a terrible waste, what a terrible waste. They give you a requisition for SCR, Signal Corps Radio, and you go down to the dump where all these equipment was, and you go in there, and the guy says, "Okay," and you go in there, you'd see SCRs so, and so, and maybe you're entitled to three radios, you take seven, or eight, or nine radios, because you never knew, and then you go back, and you find out they're for tanks, and they don't work off the same frequency. So, you cut the speakers off, and throw the radio away because we used to rig the speakers up to Armed Forces Radio, and we could have, and this is, it sounds terrible now, doesn't it? but that's the way it was, and you lived as good as resourceful as you were. That's how good that you live. So, then after being in the Philippines for about nine, or ten months, or something like that, although we staged guys for the invasion of Luzon
SH: What do you mean by staged guys?
RL: Well, you stage them meant that you, we maintained the communications between the headquarters, and the units that were actually going to have to do the operations. In other words, we would put circuits in from headquarters into the units that were going on the operation, and then I ended up in a place, just before we left the Philippines, I ended up in a place called Ormoc where they were still fighting the Japanese and, by now, we're also, you see this was the interesting thing about it. We kept having challenges. That's why I consider myself, I don't want to gloss over this, and say it was all one big fun. I had a great time, you know, and everything else, but you had to adjust to the living conditions, and the life, and military life, and everything else, and, you know, but I was fortunate that I did chose the Signal Corps. So, one day they backed up a bunch of radio, and they said, "You're now in the radio telephone business." But we didn't know anything about radio telephones so we practiced putting up within sight; these are line of sight VHF. So, we would practice putting antennas up, and we finally taught ourselves how to do this. So, then the Army, the last installation they had, they put us on a, I was on the top of the hill because you had line of sight communication so you had to be, and we had a circuit down to Mindanao where the, in fact the, one of the regimental combat team of the 40th Division, which is another story, they were going down. We were staging them. They were going down to invade Mindanao. In fact, they wanted us to go with them. I didn't volunteer to do that. So, they went down, and we had guys, my unit had guys, men on Mindanao, and we established a circuit between the Eighth Army over in, of course, the island to my relay station down in Mindanao, and they would do their transmission, and pass the traffic off that way. That's why I got a Bronze Star for that. The Bronze Star is awarded for two reasons. Bronze Star is awarded with a "V" for valor for combat, and a Bronze Star is also awarded for meritorious service. The Army was of the opinion, basically, that it couldn't be done. In other words, which is all new, but we were able to achieve these circuits, and get them working so they thought it was worth a Bronze Star, and I got a Bronze Star for that before I came home, and then things got very quiet. The Japanese were pretty much, there was always the question in the Pacific of containing the Japanese after a while, although somebody would be ambitious, and get some poor guy killed because they wanted to be a hero, and they'd attack. Bougainville for example, I mentioned our watching the Australians bomb Bougainville. The island of Bougainville, which the Marines took, I don't think they ever took any more than like a mile or two inland, and they just pushed the Japanese back to die, and rot on the vine, was the horrible expression. In fact, there was another expression I want to go on record with, it was like the operations that we conducted on Leyte would be called, not Ray Logan, let me put that very clearly, because I've never made that claim. It would be called "mopping up." As I said, the Eighth Army killed 45,000 Japanese mopping up. General Eichelberger who I also have a great admiration for the Commanding General of the United States Army wrote in his book, Our Jungle Road to Tokyo, "I hoped that in the next war that there's some other term to have some mother's son die for more than mopping up." So, then we went up, I missed my date with history. I probably would lie a little if I was talking to somebody besides you, but I can't lie on the record because I missed my date with history, and this book refers to it. Things had slowed down in the Philippines. I mean, it pretty much got to be patrolling action by the combat troops. We were maintaining our service, but we started to close down operations on the island of Leyte. The war ended. The Japanese went off, and surrendered in August. Probably about June, July, we started to slow down, and we were installing our equipment in great big vans. I personally know the guys were actually striping down, we couldn't move carrier equipment, and our officers told us this was where we were going up to Okinawa to stage for the invasion of Japan, and then when the Japanese offered to surrender some of our units were picked to go. In fact, I was one of them had went up, and helped to load up these C-54s the first big commercial aircraft after the war, but they were called C-54s during the war, and loaded up equipment, but my unit, elements of my unit, flew into Japan before MacArthur with the 11th Airborne Division, who were to provide security for the arrival of General MacArthur. So, I missed my date with history because I wasn't, to this day I regret not being, because they landed three days before anybody else came in with the 11th Airborne Division, and I would have loved to have been in Japan before anybody else got there, but I became the ranking non-com. I was a tech sergeant by now, so I was the ranking non-commissioned officer in B Company. I was in B Company. The unit consisted of two companies; A Company, B Company, the Headquarters Company, and we had a medical detachment. Thank God, we had our own doctor, and so I remained behind, and helped, basically, to close down operations, pack up the equipment, and then we came up on an LST, Landing Ship Tank, also known as "Large Slow Target". You've heard that expression before. So, we ran into a typhoon, and that was fun.
SH: Which LST were you on?
RL: 802, see I'm not bad at recall, but we ran into a typhoon, which has been referred to, and boy, that was an exciting thing, I tell you because we had about sixty ships, we had about sixty-nine LSTs in this convoy. We all rendezvoused in Batangas Bay in the Philippines, picked a bunch more, and then we went up, and we rode out this typhoon, and I can remember sitting on top of some equipment to stow it, one minute you'd be looking at the sea, the next thing that you look up at the sky, and these things weren't meant for that kind of service at all, you know, and the screws would come up out of the water, the propellers, and the thing would shake itself, and she'd bang down, and the bow would bang down, and you could see the whole thing shake, four, five, or six feet, she came down, and we'd swear to God, she was going to break in half.
-------------------------------------END OF SIDE TWO, TAPE ONE--------------------------------------
SH: This is tape two side one of an interview with Raymond Logan on October 4, 2002. Please continue.
RL: I think the last time we were about to go to Japan, and I said I missed my date with history, and the reason I made that comment was because my unit was among the very first troops that flew into Japan prior to the arrival of, in preparation and to establish communications. In fact, they saw Tokyo Rose, and they saw the Imperial Headquarters, the Frank Lloyd Wrights Imperial Headquarters, and some of them had seen them arrest Tokyo Rose, and I was back in Leyte, closing down the unit. I was the ranking non-commissioned officer, as a tech sergeant, packing up all the switchboards, and everything else, and getting ready to come up to, and I mentioned putting it in that LST, and going, 802, in going through this typhoon. The last thing I said was about the way the ship shuddered with, the thing that was really scary was to see other LSTs in the convoy rolling so much you could see the red lead, the paint, on the bottom of the ships. Well, this all calmed down after a while. We finally arrived in Yokohama. We got there, I forget the specific date, I don't know why, but about the second week of the occupation, I guess, and we traveled to Yokohama. There were zones of occupation, the Army, the zone of occupation we had being attached to, Army headquarters, fortunately included Yokohama and Tokyo. The Navy had I believe Kure, and places, and the Navy had Sasebo. In fact, theoretically, we're supposed to get a pass if you went from one zone to the other, but we had enough to do in just in our zone of occupation. We had Mt. Fujiyama, obviously, in our zone, which was interesting, and we established operations, and the unit had begun to, in fact, the unit had been in operational, we were quartered in what was a Japanese silk mill, which is still there. In fact, one of the friends of mine, a close friend of mine that I was in service with, his daughter works for the Atomic Energy Commission. She goes to Japan quite frequently, and she'd taken pictures of the building within the last couple of years, which is still in existence. It's just down the street from Yokohama Harbor, and we worked in what was the Eighth Army, United States Eighth Army Headquarters, which was in an old former customs building and, in fact, having worked in a chemical laboratory prior to the war, I was somewhat disturbed one day to walk in what must have been some testing laboratory for the Japanese. I see all the glassware broken, and everything else. I don't know who did that. The laboratory was in shambles. I suspect perhaps the Japanese did this because I'm intensely proud of the way that the, at least the troops with whom I was associated conducted themselves in terms of discipline. We were extremely disciplined. In fact, there was a story I've just seen some of the things on television at some of the looting that went on in Europe. Perhaps we didn't loot anything because there wasn't much worth looting. Some of them might claim that, but there was a story that the 11th Airborne Division, there was only one airborne division in the Pacific, which was the 11th got into a Japanese brewery, and got pretty beered up, and I understand the story was that General Swing, who was the commanding officer, marched them two hundred miles up the Sendai as punishment for getting, for breaking discipline, but I'm not surprised that that happened because that was the way most of us conducted ourselves. Anything I ever brought home from Japan as souvenirs I purchased. I didn't take a single thing that did not belong to me. Anything I had, I bought. In any event, the Eighth Army, we were quartered in this silk mill. We operated out of the customs house, and we were operational there for sometime. It got pretty much into routine, and then replacements started to show up for those of us who had been in the service, you probably heard all these before, we came home on the point system. The military, I don't know what the Navy did, but the Army established points. You got so many points for being in the service, number one. Fortunately, I told the story earlier about enlisting in August 31, 1942, and being called to active duty on June 31, 1943. I was given credit in the Army from the day I enlisted so I had a point for every month that I was on record as having enlisted. You also got points for the number of operational stars you have. You got a star for each campaign. We were given a star for being in New Guinea. We were given two stars for operations in the Philippines, which would be fifteen points, five points each. Also, you got five points for every decoration, so I got five points for my Bronze Star, so about, oh, probably again coming back to Christmas time, I was relieved of duty probably about November, and you have an acronym for everything, I think it's the right word, acronym, for everything in the service. The replacement depot was called repple-depple, and so I was sent out to the repple-depple, which had been a former Japanese, I think it's probably at Sugi Airfield, which is outside of Tokyo, and it was a pretty rugged place. There was no heat or anything, but who cares. Even though it was muddy, we're on our way home, and I was sent out there, and put on a ship, and I left Japan December 25 of 1945, and there was an old saying that if you saw Japan through a porthole when you left, you would return one day, and as it turned out, as a result of my occupation after the war, I went back to Japan probably about a half a dozen times, long after the war was over, but it was interesting, we were in Japan. It's a beautiful country. We came, in a way, to admire the Japanese. It was never meant to be degrading, and I don't know how I can explain that, sixty years later. We treated the Filipinos, we shared our food with them, if they needed it. We gave them excess clothing. We never abused them, yet every Filipino was a gook to us, and that was the way it went on, and yet I can honestly say in my heart, and I could look my maker in the eye to this day, I never thought there was a racial overtones to that expression. It was just something that we used, but I'm sure that there are people who are horrified at the very thought of our having done something like that. There was something called PCAU, Philippine Civil Affairs Unit, and what we did say in the service about the Filipinos was the seeming lack of interest in the physical labor. We used to make fun of the WPA during the Depression about, you know, have you heard about the fellow who was hurt during the WPA, he fell asleep on a shovel, and broke his arm or something like that? But you would assign the Filipinos a job to do and, if you didn't supervise them, within twenty minutes half of them were gone. When we got up to Japan, if you assigned a Japanese a job to do, in ten minutes the job was done, they were back looking for more, and that made an impression on us. So, we, when we occupied Japan, I can honestly say there was never really any hate of our feeling for the Japanese. I can only speak for myself personally. Maybe I'm digressing here. Maybe this isn't the subject, but the subject that's in my mind. After I was in the service for a while I used to lie in bed, and wonder what it was like to be a civilian. I don't know whether it was my own personal philosophy, or psychology I should say, but the Army had gotten me so that I felt I was in the Army, I was born in the Army, and I was going to be in the Army forever, and whatever they sent me to do, whenever I had to do, that was my job, and I would do it, but I never did it with any hate or rancor in my heart. I had a job to perform, and when I got up to Japan, we communicated, we never did anything, my unit never did anything that we could be ashamed of in our contact with the Japanese. We were able to communicate with them. Surprisingly, of course, all the Filipinos spoke English. I admire them greatly for that. I don't think I ever met a Filipino that didn't speak English, and I thought that was one of the greatest things, but the Japanese were more like us in many senses. They were industrious. They were very industrious people, and we communicated with them by sign language. We made up words, the hot became hotsy. We had all kinds of psuedo-languages, and we communicated with them, and we got along. In fact, one of the favorite expressions I remember, Japanese one or two of them telling you all this, and I have a tendency to mimic them. I got to be pretty good at it in their broken English, but I won't do that, but they would say, "No, it's a big mistake that we fought you," and we allowed that that was correct. They say, "Now we should get together, and fight the Russians." So, maybe they were more, what's the word, prescient, is that the word? but in any event, that's what the Japanese used to tell us. By now I'm a tech sergeant, I could go down to the motor pool, and I could draw on a jeep. We traveled all over that part of the country, as you get outside of Tokyo, which was a terrible mess, Tokyo was a mess. Yokohama was, and the Air Force, and the Navy or whoever had bombed Japan had done a tremendous job on it. The desolation was just terrible, and, in fact, we had to put a barbed wire to keep the Japanese away from our chow line. Again, we would take extra food, and because they would be standing there outside the barbed wire, otherwise they would, and some of them would actually be crushed on the barbed wire. We tried to prevent that from happening when we fed them. In fact, that's why after a while we were ordered not to feed them because some of them would get hurt on the barbed wire. Well, we had to string barbed wire to keep the Japanese away if we ate outside, but many of us would take our extra food, and they would end up, "eating our slops" in order to survive. This is the way it was. Again we would give them extra underwear, clothes we had, too but we would take a jeep, and we did a lot of, we had a lot of time off now because replacements were starting to come in. It's a very beautiful country outside of Tokyo. The Hakone National Park, Fujiyama, of course, which is sacred to the Japanese, and we traveled the countryside extensively. In fact, one place I remember we discovered, and several years after the war was over I saw it advertised in New York Times Travel Magazine. We discovered this Japanese inn, which was very lovely. They had the koi these Japanese fish, large Japanese carp, in the pool. It was as though there had been no war. It was completely undisturbed, and we would visit this place from time to time. Never touched anything, never did anything that would do any harm, never did any damage, and one day we showed up, went into the place, and there was this second lieutenant, which to enlisted men after a while is sort of the lowest form of animal life. If any of the second lieutenants from Rutgers ever hear this, I apologize, but for the enlisted man as I said before was that the second lieutenant, when the paint was still wet on this kid. He'd just been commissioned, and we walked in this place, and he said, "What are you doing here?" or words to that effect, "This place is now off limits to enlisted men." but we've been going there for some period of time, and doing nothing, and the thing that really teed me off, and I clean that up, was that here there was a bunch of enemy aliens, the Germans, and others in there, plus our officers sipping cocktails, living like kings, and this place was now off limits to Americans because they were harboring, not harboring they were giving residence to enemy aliens. Well, that didn't sit too well with us. Another example of our conduct. We walked into Radio Tokyo. We walked in, we went anywhere we wanted. I mean, we were conquering, we were conquering heroes, and we were eighteen, nineteen, twenty, I guess I was twenty years old at the time. It gives you a feeling of exuberance to think that, you know, you've done what you've done. We never bullied anybody, but we walked in right at the Radio Tokyo, and they were broadcasting, and we simply walked in; we quietly opened the door, walked in, and this Japanese is going on in there in Japanese. We learned later on that he was talking, doing the children's story. Obviously, he had them cleared by American censors, and another point I wanted to make, I referred to it earlier; I played the trumpet in the high school band. I was fairly good at it, and walked into another studio, and here were all the instruments for a full symphony orchestra, a full symphony orchestra, completely, all sitting there on their stands, and everything else, and, you know, what we did? We did nothing. We looked at it. I never even considered taking the trumpet. This is the thing that amazes me when I hear all these stories of looting, I can't conceive, either we were better disciplined, or there was something I don't know, but there must have some difference between Europe, and the Pacific. Or maybe there were guys that did it, but my unit did not. My unit would never have considered something like that, and I'm very proud of that. Well, we're getting close to the end of the story now, this part of it. I went up to the repple-depple, was out there for a while, got on a ship called theMarine Marlin, and, again, in the Marine Marlin was another class of cargo ship, run by civilians, and this time we came back first class. It was almost as though we had a trip. By now I'm a tech sergeant, and they had special quarters for the first three graders. The first three graders: staff sergeant, tech sergeant, master sergeant, and we were really out living, oh, I guess, as good as you were if you had been a traveler, and we were on this ship. There were more than several of us crammed in this, and we're on this thing for two weeks. It was a very pleasant trip home. It was almost like a cruise, but as I said before I did see Yokohama through a porthole, and the legend was, Japanese legend that you're going to return to Japan if you saw it under those circumstances, which I subsequently did in my civilian career. Arrived at Fort Lewis, Washington. I was at Fort Lewis, Washington for a while, a couple of days. Put us on a train with beds on the train. Took the train all the way from Fort Lewis, Washington. It was kind of nice. It was interesting though in a sense that our coming home, we didn't come home quite the conquering heroes that some of my friends did because the war in Europe had been over for over six months already. In fact, when I went back to work, it was kind of like where have you been? and because so many men, more men were in the European theater in the Army than were in the Pacific. So, I came home to Fort Dix, and I was processed at Fort Dix where I had originally gone in, and I was discharged in January the 19, 1946. I came home, and picked up, in fact, all the while I was overseas Lillian May Sheredy whom I knew from work, had been to high school with, we were in the high school band together. She was in the color guard. We picked up, she wrote me every day, believe it or not every day I was overseas, fifteen months she wrote to me, and we came home we picked up, she met me in Newark, the Penn Station in Newark along with my mother, and my uncle because he had the car, and we picked up where we left off, and after making some adjustments I proposed marriage to her. She told me she wouldn't marry me not because she didn't love me, but she said you're going to go to college. Who wanted to go to college? I just spent almost three and a half years in the United States Army, and I want to get married, and by now I'm twenty-four years old. I want to start my life, but that was the deal. So, a bunch of us, all of us who went, worked at Heyden Chemical went off to college. The John Hacik who I worked with had been in the Navy before I did. We all got in the car, I had the car, and we went to Lehigh University. I took the entrance exam to Lehigh. We went to Drew. At that time Drew was a Divinity School, but we were all kidding about turning our collars around because schools were all crowded up. All the schools were full of GIs trying to get into college. I forget where else we went. I know we went to three or four schools, and I applied for Rutgers, and John got into Lehigh. I don't think I passed the math at Lehigh. He wanted to be a chemical engineer anyway. I didn't want to be a chemical engineer. I had been in the chemical industry, but I wanted to go into sales, and marketing, and I wanted to use chemistry as a stepping stone, degree because, you know, the graduate classics, is that the old graduate, but anyway I wanted to be in chemistry, but I wasn't interested in being in the laboratory so I got a BS in chemistry. Another fellow that I worked with Norman Rothwell, he went into the service. He was drafted. He worked in the laboratory, and he went to Rutgers, and I was in Ford Hall. He went a year ahead of me. He went to Europe, and he got out of school a year ahead of me, and he got out of the Army ahead of me. So, he was in Rutgers by an earlier term, and I lived in Ford Hall for a year. Those were the days when football at Rutgers was fun, and all the football players all lived in the dorm, and they all ate together, and we had great times, and then we got an opportunity to, six of us to live in a private home over on, I believe it is on Union Street. Mrs. Peepitone was the woman's name. This is the story I tell so many times, and I don't know if anybody believes me or not, but with the six of us, every one of us had been in service. Every one of us was on our mid-twenties, and every once in a while the door bell would ring, it would be the Dean of Men would be checking up to see we weren't living in sin. I told that story so many times, but the door bell to ring about oh, maybe once or twice a year, and here was the Dean of Men checking up on us to see what conditions. Can you imagine that happening today, with what was done in school?
SH: What was the Dean's name?
RL: I don't remember. At any event I lived in New Brunswick for two years then finally I got married.
SH: Do, you know, the names of the six men?
RL: Oh sure. There was Mickey Van Brundt, Bill Casper, in fact, there were two Caspers that went to, Mickey Van Brundt was one of them. He was from, these were all Jersey, and then there were two Casper brothers, but Bill Casper is the one that lived with us, and both of them had been in the service, and then Norm, and myself. That was five of us, there's a sixth. I can't remember the other fellow's name. He was a Johnny come lately, but it was Mrs. Peepitone we lived with, and had kitchen privileges, and it worked out very well, and then in my junior year I got the biggest order of my life, my wife finally agreed to marry me, and we got married in the Kirkpatrick Chapel at Rutgers. All the family came down, and I wish I could remember the name of the chaplain. I'll remember it afterwards.
RL: Abernathy. How did, you know, that? Abernathy. Did you guess it?
SH: No, it's through our research.
RL: Abernathy was the chaplain, and Lillian was Catholic, and I was Protestant, and we were Ecumenical way ahead of our time, and it didn't sit well, I don't know, my mother, and father didn't say anything to me because I've been in service, and they didn't dare say anything to me anyway, but her dad wasn't too happy about the whole thing. I won't go in the detail on that, but he turned out, we go along fine after. He found out I wasn't all that bad. So, when it came time to get married Abernathy for some reason couldn't marry us so, oh we got married by a Van Coke or Van Scoyk from the Dutch Reformed Church. I guess from the seminary across the street, and we got married on August 21, 1948. It's fifty-four years this year anyway.
SH: August 21, '48.
RL: August 21, 1948. So, we finally got married, and I commuted from Passaic, New Jersey, which was a grind. I commuted from Passaic, New Jersey ; want to continue with post war?
SH: We can, yes.
RL: If you want to.
SH: And then I'm going to ask you to go back. There's a couple things I need to ask you.
RL: Okay, just quickly. I commuted, and I got my degree in June, I got a BS in chemistry in 1950, and I immediately got a job, Allied Chemical had come to the campus, and did some recruiting. I immediately got a job with Allied Chemical. I worked for them for a short period of time. They were cheap, mean outfit. They had a reputation for that, and then I decided I had enough of a big company. I'll wind this up pretty fast. I went to work for a small company. I found out that wasn't all it was cracked up to be, and I finally ended up in, working for American Cyanamid Company for thirty-four years, and I had a number of… I started off as a salesman, had a number of middle management jobs, and managed a couple of departments. The two departments, with seventy-five, eighty million dollars in sales, which wasn't all that bad, but the fun part of it, which is perhaps more germane to this story is in the latter part of my career. It got to be after a while, when you got to be sixty, and you got the blocking thing, quite a bit of stuff, they wondered what to do with you. They came up with a brand new research project which, and they made me manager of market research, and market development for the project, and I got to travel Europe extensively. I was back, and forth to Germany, and France, and Holland periodically, and I got to go back to Japan about half a dozen times, which was, and mostly Tokyo, and just one more experience very quickly. We were out to dinner one night, and as I was the senior of the group, I was in my sixties, I retired at sixty-four, I decided it was prudent to get out before they get rid of you, which was typical of that time, and we were having dinner one night, and because of my age, some Japanese looked at me, and he said, "Mr. Logan," he said, "have you ever been to Japan before?" and there was kind of a dead silence on the part of my companions because they didn't know what I was going to say, and I merely said that I had been part of the occupation forces, and we went on our merry way, but there was quite a bit of satisfaction beneath that very brief comment I made. That's pretty much the story.
SH: What I'd like to do is go back, and talk a bit about, you had mentioned the treatment of prisoners of war, and I believe that was when you were in Texas?
RL: No. Perhaps it bothered me more since, than at that time. We were, by virtue of our having to qualify to go overseas, there came a point in time when we were out in the field constantly in a place called Camp Bullis, which is outside of San Antonio, and it was really a marvelous training ground because it was, we used to say, "Heaven made Fort Sam, and the devil made Camp Bullis" because the trees, branches of trees would break off when you lean against them. There were rattlesnakes out there, and there ticks, and chiggers, which we were always picking out of some very, very personal spots on our bodies while we were in the shower. It's amazing where these things would get. We'd be dragging our butts in on a Friday, marching into camp, and the German POWs, who did strenuous things like cut the grass and pull the weeds around the PX, were lolling in the grass, sucking on ice cold Cokes. During the war, Stars and Stripes newspaper had a cartoon called the Sad Sack. It shows the Sad Sack looking at this German POW behind this, and the Sad Sack is pointing his finger at the German POW, and he's laughing at them, and the German turns around, he's got a sign on his back it says, "Ship to USA." That was the punch line. That came home more to me now, when I just recently got another, I asked a friend of mine, who was taken prisoner in the Battle of the Bulge, and he wrote his story of how he was treated by the Germans as a POW, and I contrast that with my experience in seeing the POWs at Fort Sam Houston, and also the fact that this place we used to visit in Japan where we simply enjoyed being there was eventually made off limits to enlisted men because they were harboring a lot of enemy aliens there. That had been stuck, well, on my throat for almost sixty years that we would be treated as second-class citizens compared to enemy aliens. That was the only point I made.
SH: One thing I wanted to ask you where were you when you heard the news of the D-Day invasion, and how did that affect the morale of the troops in June of '44?
RL: June of '44. I don't remember. I would like to say something intelligent. I almost draw a blank on that. I think we just looked at that as another operation. As I said before, you know, I'm sure everybody else thinks his version is different. I've heard there were guys who entered the service that probably fought at every step of the way. I sort of went with the flow. In the first place my first desire was to be a good soldier.
SH: Did you ever apply for any special training programs, or Officer's Candidate School?
RL: Yes, I applied for OCS. I figured we were going to be in the war for a long time, and I did apply for OCS. This sounds almost self-serving. I'll tell it like it is. I applied for OCS, and I took the course, I took the test at Fort Sam Houston. After I applied for it, I learned my outfit was to go overseas. I asked my name be withdrawn. I don't know if I passed the test. I was told by one of our officers, later on, I went to our platoon lieutenant, I'll never forget I've been with this outfit for almost two years now. These guys were like brothers to me. I had spent all the time training. I was pretty good at what I did. I don't want to sound like a hero, but I'm trying to tell like it is, unless you've been through this you can't understand it. I love these guys, some of them. Some weren't all that nice, but some of them I loved, and when I heard that the 304th Signal Operations Battalion was going to go overseas I went to our platoon lieutenant, and I asked that my name be withdrawn from Officer's Candidate School. I don't know if I passed or not. I was told by one of our officers overseas that I had passed. When it came time to get discharged at Fort Dix, I asked them to look at my records, I said I understood that I had passed the test for Officers Candidate School, but there's nothing that shows on my record. However, let me tell you the flip side of that decision. One of the fellows who came in to the outfit was a college graduate. He had been graduated from, he had graduated from the Syracuse School of Forestry, and he joined the 304th, but when he came to the Army, it was his understanding that he was to go to Officer's Candidate School. His name was Dick Watt, and all the while he was there he was fighting the system trying to get himself into Officer's Candidate School, a nice guy. Did his job, did everything, he was a good soldier. He just did, he wasn't even supposed to do, but he had these orders. Somehow or other, the Army screwed up, and just before we left to go overseas, Dick Watt went off to Officer's Candidate School. Well, one day we were in Japan about two weeks before I was relieved of duty somebody said, "Hey, Dick Watt is downstairs, and he's a lieutenant." So, I went downstairs, and here was Lieutenant Dick Watt, and I shook his hand, and I said, "Goodbye Dick, I'll see you," and Dick went on occupation duty. We all went home. So, there's a flip side to that story.
SH: Well, the other question I wanted to ask is do you remember where you were when you heard that Franklin Roosevelt had died?
RL: Yes. Again, I was on detached service, and, you know, we went off on in retrospect how these things sound to people. Again, as I said before you get, I wish I had heard some of the other veterans, how they talk, what their mental set was like, because I was with, it wasn't with my own outfit. I was on the circuit somewhere with another outfit, detached service, I was in the chow line, and somebody said, "Hey, President Roosevelt has died." I went over, and sat down, and ate my meal, and that was the end of it.
SH: Was there any other reaction that you saw?
RL: There was no reaction on my part. There was no reaction on the part of the other enlisted men that I know of. I know of no reaction on the fact that Roosevelt had died. It was just something that happened.
SH: Was there any discussion about Truman's ability to step in?
RL: No. Never gave it a second thought. Now, may I ask you a question? Is it fair to ask you a question?
SH: Of course.
RL: What do other veterans say?
SH: Well, what I will do at this point in the interview is to refer you to some of the interviews that are on the project's web site, but I'll talk to you when we finish.
SH: One of the things that I wanted to also ask..
RL: You're not so interested in your own daily survival, and living, and doing what you were doing, and it's a very strange and different environment. Maybe, I don't know how things were in Europe. Let me just digress for a minute. Right after the war James Michener wrote a book called, Tales of the South Pacific. As I say, something a little bit being in the Pacific, is a little bit like a sideshow. You know we did things, we hardly, sometimes we're completely out of uniform, or we're in our underwear, and you should have seen a picture of me with a sombrero on, and everything else, you know, and, but Michener opens up his book, the first word that I remember in the,Tales of the South Pacific was Michener's in a bar, and he's hearing somebody who's a veteran of the European theater of operations, ETO, and this guy says, he's talking about the golden tanks coursing down the Autobahn. In other words, I think that's almost verbatim, and Michener says, "How do I tell people what it was like in the Pacific?" He goes on, and tells about the Remittance Man, and the Bloody Mary, you know, and things that, it was different, and maybe your mental set was there. Don't forget we were a long way from home. We were 10,000 miles from home, and maybe we weren't in cities, you know, maybe that made the difference, I don't know. To get back to President Roosevelt, when he died it was just like, well, he died. Nothing political about it.
SH: Being in the Pacific like you were, did you hear any of the grumbling that perhaps that there were more men, and material, more attention being paid to the European Theater than to the Pacific theater of operations?
RL: I think only the only evidence of it was we did have to, I know it was in that respect, but there were times when we were very low on critical equipment. Our carrier equipment, our carrier base ran off of power, I think they called it thyratron, and they were the source of the power for our equipment. I remember one time we were down to one tube. If our tube had gone, I don't know what we would have run that particular equipment on. So, I think there was evidence of the fact we were on the long end of the supply chain, but I don't think we ever felt that there was any question. We knew that we were a long way from, you know, from the States, but I never put in the perspective that Europe vis-à-vis Pacific theater.
SH: Do you remember when you heard that the war in Europe had ended?
RL: Yes, but again, matter of factly. Our war hadn't ended yet, and there were grumblings, in fact, there were grumblings about troops coming over, too. I'm not sure this is correct, but because I'm surprised at what I'm about to say myself. I think there was some grumbling about guys coming over from Europe to help us. "Who needs them now? They're going to come over here, and claim all the glory while we've been busting our butt over here for the last couple of years. These guys are going to come up, and show up from Europe now, and they're going to take all the credit for beating the Japanese." Of course, I wasn't an infantryman, you know. I don't know if we necessarily felt that we needed them because we were so, we're confident with what we had done up until now. We lived our own daily lives on a day-to-day basis, and didn't pay too much attention to what went on someplace else.
SH: You talked about the fact that your wife had been able, your wife at that point was your wife-to-be, or your girlfriend as you say, had written to you every day. How were you able to get your mail?
RL: We got mail very quickly, regularly. It was surprisingly good. I don't remember how long it took to get a letter, but we wrote one every day, just about every day. Mail service was very good. I had no complaints about the mail service at all. Our medical coverage was, we had to have, actually, we had our own doctor. All in all, I was very fortunate. I was very fortunate.
SH: Were you ever given a chance for R&R?
RL: No. We had nowhere to go. In fact, I only ever saw one USO show. I found out later on that the Eighth Army had a theater over at the beach. One of the nice things about it was you talk about a Bob Hope movie or something. Some of the installations, one or two of the installations I was at we had our own beach for miles, and miles, and miles, and one thing I remember about it was the palm trees at night would be full of fireflies, thousands of fireflies, and here you are on, and don't forget our, even the general, the commanding general lived in a tent. I mean, it may have had wooden sides on it, and screen, we all slept on mosquito bars, that was what, except the combat troops. but I remember one time we had an installation, coincidentally, called Fort Dix, and we were on this beach, and for miles, and miles, and miles we had as far as the eye could see, and then at night the fireflies would get in the palm trees, and that big silvery moon up there, it was almost like a Dorothy Lamour movie, you know. It was too good to be true. Somebody wondered why I didn't pay for all those experience, but I remember most of the good parts. The bad parts were the lousy travel, and, you know, discipline, and don't forget most of our officers were civilians. We had a few jerks, you know. We had a few that we felt couldn't qualify to be, I'll tell you one experience, which may demean me or not, but there was always a sort of a game between the officers, and the enlisted men, and you would do things, little petty things trying to, you know. The American soldier never lost his individuality. I think that's one of the things that distinguished the, perhaps, American soldiers, maybe other armies, I mean, perhaps the Germans, but we recognized in this war that we were so, underneath it all we were still quite individualistic. I remember one time one of the officers, Lieutenant Legg, we used to say he was an ex-grocery boy because that was the standard kind of demeanor and he came up, and he left his tennis shoes. They used to come up by us because they liked to get away from base camps, and we went down, and sold his tennis shoes to the Filipinos for five pesos, two and a half bucks. I got a call afterwards, some of the roads, you say R&R, there were certain times you couldn't get where we were because the road was under water when the tide came in. I have pictures of guys when the tide came in, and Lieutenant Legg left, and he didn't show up back at the headquarters, and I got a call from the office, and they said, "Lieutenant Legg hasn't showed up yet," and I said, "Gee that's terrible." I don't know, it's a call in the middle of the night, the phone rang, and I said "I'll go look for him right now." I went back to bed, and the next day he called me up, and thanked me for, you know, I didn't care whether he drowned or not, you know. This all sounds terrible now, doesn't it? American soldiers, I say, never lost their individuality. The only time I ever saw a USO show was two men, and a girl, and I remember the song was, Rum and Coca Cola I remember that. So, they performed that, but they did have traveling shows come to the Pacific. I did see one other show, and, in fact, they had, I have a film upstairs, I won't bother with it. I have a movie film, one of the fellows in my outfit, believe me, had a movie camera, and I have some films of our unit in the Pacific, but I was always on detached service. I didn't get to see it, but I did see one thing. Joey Brown, the comedian, you're too young to remember who Joey Brown was, but Joey Brown, right, he lost his son in the war. He had a son who was on the combat air command, his plane crashed, and he came to Eighth Army, and he put on a show. He used to do this "Elmer the Great" routine where he did a baseball pantomime, and threw the baseball to General Eichelberger, commanding general of the Eighth Army, and he did this routine, but that was another thing, too. I got a chance to, shall I say in addition to, I don't know if it's on tape or not, of seeing General MacArthur. I don't know whether I expressed my admiration for General MacArthur on tape, but the reason I expressed my admiration to General MacArthur, and there isn't anything that's been written I probably haven't read, but I think there was no other person at that moment who lived in history, who had the persona who could substitute for the Emperor, and carry out the occupation of Japan. I mean, there were times when there was maybe 50,000 of us, and thirty million of them, and when General MacArthur would come out of the Daiichi building, which was an insurance building, one of the few buildings untouched by war, the Japanese would be out waiting to see him come out. He was very punctual. He'd come out like by three or four o'clock in the afternoon, and the Japanese would be out there by the hundreds, and they would all bow when he came out, and he was a great substitute, as far as I'm concerned, and one of the reasons why, I think the occupation of Japan has been called by some, "the most peaceful occupation in the history of mankind," that's too broad a statement, but I think a lot of this is because of MacArthur's persona, plus the fact, for some reason or other, we as troops were extremely disciplined.
SH: Did you see MacArthur?
RL: Yes. MacArthur came out, I was up in Tokyo one time MacArthur came out, and he had a big, old Packard car he picked up from someplace, I don't know where.
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RL: …on the curb, and he was on the road, and we saluted him, he returned our salutes. So, that was my moment in history. One of the nice things about being with Army headquarters, I did happen to be in the presence of some of the people who were written about in history books. General Eichelberger, who was commanding general of the United States Eighth Army, actually, I've been in an elevator with him. That was a long story. An order came out, probably, again from some second lieutenant saying that nobody was to ride in the elevator with the general, and several of us arrived, this was after we were up in Japan. This is in the Eighth Army headquarters, in the Customs House Building, and the elevator arrived at the same time the general did. So, we all deferred to the general, stood back, and then the general, he used to call the troops, "lads" in his book, "Our Jungle Road to Tokyo" he refers to the troops as lads, and the general looked perplexed for a minute, and said, "Come on, lads, hurry up, and get in." So, we all got in the elevator with the general, and rode up with the general. General Eichelberger after he retired, he lived in Ashville, North Carolina, and I was an admirer of his, and so I wrote a letter to the general telling him about this event, and I got a, at that time he was entitled to an aide or something, he's a Lieutenant General when he retired, I got a letter back from his aide thanking me, and saying that the general appreciated it, got a big kick out of my letter, and appreciated it very much, and he died shortly after, and then there was another general, his second in command, being where we were, with command in headquarters. When we got to Japan we were pulling long hours because there weren't many of us there, even though I wasn't part of the original landing, I was sitting there one night. We had our circuits working, and General Clovis Byers who was a major general, in fact, Clovis Byers went on to, in fact, my unit as far as I know the 304th Signal Operations Battalion is still in Korea, the Eighth Army, I'm getting ahead of myself here with Clovis Byers, but at any event Clovis Byers came about two o'clock in the morning, and he was a major general and, of course, I jumped to my feet, he says, "Sit down, Sergeant, we're all tired." Pretty good bunch of guys. My unit when I was discharged, as I said before, I had reached the exalted position of technical sergeant, and they herded us into a hall in Fort Dix, my wife has heard this story sixteen million times, and some colonel walked in. He said, "Good morning, gentlemen," and boy, when a colonel calls enlisted men 'gentlemen,' right away my ears went up, and my suspicions became aroused, and I said, "What's this guy looking for?" So, they tried to talk us all into the reserves. I was half-tempted to do that because I had pulled, you know, at that time things were beginning to heat up with the Russians. Remember the line from the Japanese about, "Let's get together, and fight the Russians," and the Cold War was starting to heat up a little bit, or is beginning, and I had just spent almost three and a half, four years in the Army, and I pulled KP, and I did this, and I did that, and I thought, "Gee, maybe I will stay in the reserves." Well, I'm glad I didn't because within a matter of two or three years the Korean War broke out, and the 304th Signal Operations Battalion became the operational communications group for the Eighth Army, and, in fact, as far as I know, is still in Korea. It became part of the regular Army, and as far as I know, it's still there. I didn't get involved in that part of it. I know fellows that did, and, you know, one thing I want to mention, too, we'll get that off my chest, is Vietnam. Not so much as the war, but the men who were in Vietnam. Just about everybody I ever met, or have talked to, said, as soon as they say, "I was in ' Nam " so I'm supposed to genuflect or something? I recognize, I've read about the Vietnam War, I recognize the conditions under, which they were fighting. I recognize what went on in the home front. I understand what that must have meant to the men who were putting their lives on the line everyday, but if the United States Army in Vietnam was much like the Army that I was in, only ten percent ever saw a real combat, and I never met anybody who was in Vietnam yet didn't give the impression that they were a bloody combat veteran. Well, that's simply not true. It cannot be. In all deference to the men who put their lives in the line every day, just because you were in Vietnam doesn't mean you are any more different than I was, perhaps in the rear echelon in World War II, because only ten percent of the men who served in World War II actually saw combat. So, I have to get that off my chest. One more thing, another thing, that I have to get off my chest, I don't know if this is germane to your story or not is when I see people who talk about the current military situation, and they talk about casualties, and I'm not immune, I'm not hard or anything else, or heartless, but my premise is once you put that uniform on, the trade-off is your life. That's the way I felt about my military service, and if someone joins the military, particularly in a voluntary military, there was a big article the other day, "How do you explain to a mother whose child is killed in combat?" Well, when you join the United States Army or the military, Marines, whatever, you raise your right hand, you take that oath, the trade-off is you're willing to sacrifice you life for your country. If you're not going to do it, then don't put the uniform on. Did that bother you?
SH: I'm here to take your story down, and one of the questions I always ask was, what did I forget to ask? Did you join any of the organizations like the VFW, or any of those?
RL: I joined the American Legion for a very brief period of time to see if I could have contact, I never joined anything, never became active, but I was looking for their publication to see if I could have contact with any of the people in my unit, and I don't remember how, but through some circumstance, I found out that the 304th was holding reunions on a regular basis, and I went to a couple of them, but I found out that most of the people who were active were our replacements and, don't forget, I was younger than the average, probably at nineteen or twenty. We had married men, we had fellows, so it got so after a while, and then, I think they're having one now, but I just don't bother traveling that much. There is probably half a dozen fellows that I keep in contact with. We had one at Gettysburg, we had a reunion at Gettysburg, but we do it sort of extemporaneously. On our own, we get together, and we talk on the telephone, that sort of thing, but I never had been a big joiner, much anyway.
SH: You have talked about some points that I want to thank you for talking about without my asking, but one question I do want to ask you is, where were you when you first were aware of the atomic bombs that were dropped, and when did you realize what they were?
RL: I was in the Philippines when they dropped the atomic bomb and for some reason, because I had worked in a chemical laboratory, or something, and I had some sort of association with technical issues, I had a feeling I understood what it was about. We were in the Philippines, and again, but I don't think the implications of dropping the bomb dawned on us. We never realized the extent the destruction might cause, but it's just another weapon, but, again, I think I had, sound egotistical, I think I had a concept of what was meant by an atomic bomb, having worked with people who, you know, PhDs in chemistry, and that sort of thing. So, simply by osmosis I had something of a feel for what that piece of machinery was, once again, but the implications of it didn't have any dawning on any of us, and then they dropped the second one. I highly approve of it, by the way. Just one more thing quickly. One of the letters you have from my friend who was in the Navy, he still thinks it was the right decision, and I never detected anything in the Japanese feeling that it was something less than, it's something that happened during the war. The Japanese never mentioned it at all, and I got to know a lot of Japanese very well, but I never detected any great animosity towards us because we did that. I didn't get to Hiroshima. It wasn't part of our zone. My friend did, but I never felt that that was an issue as far as the Japanese were concerned, at least nothing was expressed to me.
SH: Like you said, you took your tour through the South Pacific, and into the Philippines, what were you told about interaction with the natives, and did you see or have personal experience of any interaction with any of the families, or people that were native to these different islands, or in the Philippines? Other than you talked about the generosity, and how you tried to feed some of the men?
RL: Well, in New Guinea, I only ever saw one native. Where they were I have no idea. Hollandia at that time was a big installation, big naval installation. We were back up in the hills, but only I ever saw, and this is completely an aside, what the soldiers used to do. They used to make fake souvenirs, and take them down to sell them to the sailors. So, the sailors, who thought they were made by the natives, they made spears, and things, and would take them to the sailors. The sailors would buy anything, you know. These guys will make spears, and things, and paint them up, and take them down to the naval base, and sell them to the sailors who came off the ships, but I never saw any natives. The only native people I did see, we had a lot of contact with the Filipino people. The Filipino women all did our laundry. So, we had a lot of contact with the girls, but they weren't particularly attracted to us. It wasn't a racial thing, or anything else. I mean even the Japanese women that you see, if you see a Japanese woman today, who probably… these, Japanese women all wore big moon face, big pads, and they could have been Dorothy Lamour or Marilyn Monroe underneath all of that, but you'll never know the way they were dressed, you know. There was very little interplay. A lot with the Filipinos and as I say, they all spoke English. I probably have ten or fifteen words of Japanese I can speak, but the Filipinos; there was no social interplay that I know of.
SH: The interaction between the different services, you talked a bit about the marines, other than having the Navy guards on board the ships that you were on, did you see any interaction? There's always the story of the tension between the different services. Were you aware of that?
RL: No. I saw none of that whatsoever.
RH: Did you have any interaction with any of the Allied troops? You talked about the Australians, but any of the British or any of the others?
RL: I can't think of any. While you're asking these questions, I'm asking, why we didn't, but there doesn't seem to be any reason for that. Maybe after you leave I'll think of something, but I can't think of any contact. I do remember seeing some Australians, and they were all great big guys, about seven feet tall, and they had these hats they wore, you know, like you see in the movies, and everything else, and I think, basically, from what we, basing our feeling was, without having contact, we sort of admired them because up until now they had been holding the fort, you know. But any kind of interchange, or any kind of technical interchange, or any kind of use of facilities, we were very much self-contained, as far as that goes.
SH: You talked about the number of months that you spent at sea as a soldier. What were some of the things that people did to entertain themselves other than just watching the ocean go by?
RL: Well, we had, as I say, going to New Guinea we had six films, and mostly you just blocked it all out. I don't remember if we had anything in particular to read. I don't even remember doing much in the way of calisthenics. You sort of went into a, I don't know, time warp or went into, you simply just existed.
SH: Was there gambling or…
RL: Not a lot.
SH: Any kind of music being played or…
RL: No, no.
SH: Did you ever play your trumpet while you were in the military?
RL: No, no, of course, the ship was all blacked out at night. I mean, if a guy would light a cigarette he would probably get rid of it, and throw it overboard. I didn't smoke so that wasn't a problem for me, but you just sort of existed. You existed for that amount of time. You survive. What you do is you had friends, you talk, and they might talk about their, but outside of that you just, one day became just like any other day.
SH: One thing I wanted to ask, did your family talk about what they were going through on the home front?
RL: No. Well, no, I think that Lillian would just give me a lot of chit chat in her letters because their letters weren't censored. Our letters were censored. In fact, one of them, funny part of it was, the most ridiculous part, I guess, they're obviously learning; when we first went to California I put in the letter that I saw my first orange tree, and they cut it out. You know, APO 17343 Postmaster, San Francisco, but in any event mostly they would try to keep your morale up. If something was wrong home you almost never knew it.
SH: Another question I want to ask you is about Rutgers. You come back, as you said, you've been in the military now for three, and a half years, what was it like to be in a classroom with men who were eighteen, nineteen years old, just coming into school, in '46?
RL: Oh, you kind of look down on them, you know, "what the hell does he know?" But there were enough of us who were veterans, that nobody talked about the war. Of course, there were all kinds of guys. We all knew some of the guys were real heroes, and some of us weren't, and some of them flaunted it, like you mentioned a particular individual, but, by-and-large, there was a good flow of, although the ones you tended to pal around with all veterans. There might be one or two non-veterans in the group, but everybody you palled with tended to congregate with members of the veteran's group.
SH: How did the professors treat the veterans in the classroom with eighteen, and nineteen year olds?
RL: See, at Rutgers everybody called "Mister." I don't know if they still do it or not. They don't do it? Oh, it's Mr. Logan, you know, and I would say they were pretty much differential because some of teachers were, they weren't older than we were, and some maybe younger than we were, but everybody was Mister. They would call you, Mr. Logan, and it was all male when I was at Rutgers. There were no women there. I don't remember them being particularly differential, whether they did it or not, but I also didn't remember anybody being disrespectful because he wouldn't have gotten away with it, and I think the English professor we had, with the English instructor we had, I liked him very much. One of the things I liked about my first year at Rutgers, I had to write my heart out. We had to write six term papers, and I love to write, and I thought that was great. In fact, I didn't do well on the placement test, and I had to take remedial English, and I learned more in remedial English in six weeks than I learned in four years in the high school. The best course I ever took, who, whom, and all that stuff, you know. That was great. So, I really appreciated that, but I don't remember any, and we had a couple of guys who used to make fun of everything, you know, the usual stuff that goes on in college.
SH: Who was your favorite professor?
RL: Who was my favorite professor? Oh, you're talking, may go back a long time, they were probably, you know, I have an expression that says, and I'm trying to get this; I'll answer your question this way. It was probably the humanities teacher among the humanities teachers. My favorite expression is, "I went to college, I got a degree in Chemistry, and I earned a living, and I got a profession, but I became educated through the humanities." My granddaughter, for example, is interested in the theater, and she's been over here to Muhlenberg, and she expected to walk in, she went to see the people in charge of the theatrical courses, and she expected it to be like Fame,everybody is going to be dancing, and singing, and I keep harping at getting a good, well-rounded education. I had an economics professor, you know, I have a trick when you get old. Let me tell you the trick. I run the alphabet, you'd be surprised how many times that works, and I were a card, I'd get the professor. I had an economics professor who I thought was excellent. I had a good English professor, pardon me, and I had a chemistry professor who was pretty good. But I think he was a heavy drinker. I think he was hung over half the time the next day, but the courses that I remember most are the ones that I took in the humanities. I can't recall specific professors, but those are the ones that I probably, I had a philosophy teacher, in fact, Steve Assont was one of my classmates, and, in fact, he never went overseas. He was in the draft before the war. What was the expression over the hill … or something like that, and he was hit by a car in California, and broke his leg, and so he never got out of the States, but he, and I went to see this, as an elective, we went to take this philosophy course, and the professor took us aside, and he suggested perhaps that as chemistry majors we might not be comfortable in his class, and we both ended up getting As. I wish I had gotten As in my chemistry. I got better grades, I would probably would have been, I did better in my electives than I did in my major. My major to me was a means to an end, which happened to pan out in my career path, and not the way I wanted it to, but I thoroughly enjoyed the humanities courses. I took the chemistry course because that's what I wanted to do for a living.
SH: Did you go to school in the summertime or did you take time out, and work?
RL: Oh, I took courses. I was trying to get out in the summer, but I didn't. I didn't do it. I don't remember why. I don't think, I think I flunked out of calculus, or something. I had to take calculus over again. I don't know why, but I did go to school two summers, but then I decided I needed some money so I got a job. My uncle was a signal supervisor on the Susquehanna Railroad, so I got a job that was almost like being back in the Army again. I got a job working on the railroad putting electric, among the first electric gates ever put on in the East Coast. Most of it is pick, and shovel, but I was with a bunch of guys, and it's just like being back in the Army, you know. They were older than I was, but it was like being back in the Signal Corps with a bunch of guys, and it was outdoors all the time, you know, guys climbing poles, and all that stuff. It's like being back in the Army, and I was getting paid for it again. I did that the last two years. Funny, I can't think of the economics professor. He was very good. Will that do it?
SH: Well, that's it. If there is anything I forgot to ask…
RL: I hope you didn't take, I hope your time hasn't been wasted.
SH: No, not at all, not at all, and I thank you very much.
RL: I'm delighted you came. I am honored you came out.
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Reviewed by John Eiche 7/30/03
Reviewed by Sandra Stewart-Holyoak 8/24/03
Corrections entered by John Eiche 10/30/03
Reviewed by Raymond Logan 12/03