Interview with George E. Timmons
Interviewed by Bruce W. Bainbridge
Interviewed on May 11, 2003 At 520 Chinworth CT. Apt. A Warsaw, Indiana
BB: Today is Sunday, May 11, 2003, and this is the beginning of an interview with George Timmons at his home at 520 Chinworth CT. in Warsaw, Indiana. Mr. Timmons is seventy-two years old; he was born December 12, 1930. My name is Bruce Bainbridge and I will be the interviewer. George Timmons is a friend of my grandpas. Mr. Timmons, could you state for the recording what war and branch of service you were in?
GT: I was in the Korean War, U.S. Marine Corps, [unclear].
BB: Why did you decide to join the Marine Corps?
GT: I wanted to join the service and I liked the Marine Corps. So, I decided to join the Marines.
BB: Do you recall your first days in the Marines?
GT: I do, I can remember my first days in the Marines. It’s hard to explain, but yes I remember my first days. Confusing, because you didn’t know what they were talking about. For example, they’d say that the smoking lamp is out. Well, what’s a smoking lamp? You didn’t know what that was. Things like that.
BB: Can you tell me about your boot camp or training experiences?
GT: Yes, boot camp was tough. As long as you paid attention to what they told you, you’d come out OK
BB: Was boot camp the same length of time that it is now? Like six weeks.
GT: No, it was twelve weeks.
BB: How did you get through boot camp?
GT: Will and determination, self-reliance in yourself.
BB: Mr. Timmons what was it like in Korea?
GT: Hilly, rocky, not much forestry, mostly hilly and rocky. There really wasn’t much there when we were there. Shacks in what they called little towns and stuff like that. That’s about it.
BB: What was your job or assignment while you were in the war?
GT: I was in the Triple A anti-aircraft and artillery plus, I was a BAR man in the infantry.
BB: Now, for the people that don’t know exactly what that are, can you explain those two?
GT: A BAR man is in a fire team and you carry the automatic weapon. And four guys around you protected you the best they could because you were the only one with the automatic weapon. But, you’re the one they tried to hit first. It wasn’t fun being a BAR man, not at all. Anti-aircraft and artillery, I was on the forties, forty millimeters, and a leader and fifties and a gunner.
BB: Tell me of a couple of your most memorable experiences?
GT: Incoming fire that we went through and being pinned down by machine guns. You don’t forget those things. Ands there’s others things that I don’t like to remember.
BB: Were you rewarded any medals or citations? And if so, how did you get them?
GT: Yes I was, and how I got them, I don’t know because they just awarded them to me for meritorial service and for duty served above and beyond your conduct. That’s why they gave them to me I guess.
BB: How did you stay in touch with your family?
GT: When we got the mail, by letters. But, it wasn’t often that we got mail. When it came that’s how we’d stay in touch.
BB: What was the food like there?
GT: Well, it was mostly rations. Some good and some bad, you kept some and traded the others off for what you liked. I didn’t care much for it as a whole.
BB: While you were in the war did you have plenty of supplies and guns and stuff like that?
GT: Not always, we didn’t always get supplies. Sometimes they didn’t arrive. Convoys would get ambushed or they wouldn’t get there for some reason or other.
BB: Did you feel any stress or pressure?
GT: Constantly, you were constantly under stress and pressure. While in combat you were. And afraid? Yes I was.
BB: Was there anything special you did for “good luck” or anything?
GT: I kept my head down. That’s what you learned to do. Keep your head down. As far as anything for luck, no, I just took along all the luck I had.
BB: Do you recall the day your service ended?
GT: Yes I do. I wanted to re-enlist butt they wouldn’t promise me I wouldn’t go back to combat zone. So, I wouldn’t re-enlist.
BB: So you didn’t want to go back to war?
BB: Did you work or go back to school?
GT: I went back to my old job at Ball Fiber Paper Products in Marion.
BB: Did you make any close friends while in the service?
GT: Yes I did. I had four or five very good friends that I kept in touch with for years. Which most are deceased now. I know where one lives now and I keep in contact with him about twice a year.
BB: Did you join a veteran’s organization?
GT: Yes I did. I joined the VFW and American Legion. I’ve been in them ever since.
BB: What did you go on to do as a career after the war?
GT: I went back to work at my old job after I got out of the service. If you had a job and went to war or went to the service, they had to give you your old job back. Which I did get my old job back or any advancements that I would have got while gone. So, I went back to my old job.
BB: Did your experience influence your thinking about war or about military in general?
GT: It changed my thinking about life. I learned that life is no bed of roses. You earn what you get. And yes, I did learn a good experience while in the service. How to be constructive to other people. These are hard questions to answer.
BB: Is there anything that you would like to ass that we have not covered yet? Like stories or anything?
GT: No, I don’t believe so it’s hard to sit here and think about one specific thing. It’s hard to do because it’s been fifty-two years since I was in there. There are a lot of things that I forgot and did. And there are just things you don’t like to talk about. That’s about all I can tell you about that.
BB: All right. Well, thanks for your time.
GT: Well your welcome. Anytime I can help a kid I will help him or her.
BB: All right. Thanks.