Jack "Bucky" Woodard
Personal Narrative of Jack “Bucky” Woodard
From: Jack Woodard
Medium: Audio Tape
Date: Thursday, April 29, 1999
Place: Home of Jack Woodard, 3511 Wildwood Dr. Marion, Indiana 46952
Collected by: Matt Backs
00:00 mb: This is Matt Backs. This is 29 April 1999. This is being recorded at 3511 Wildwood Drive, Marion, Indiana. I am speaking with Jack Woodard. Please state your name.
jw: Jack Woodard, better known as Bucky.
00:21 mb: Do I have permission to interview you?
00:25 mb: Do I have your permission to submit this interview to Marion High School?
00:29 mb: Do I have your permission to submit this interview to the Marion Public Library?
- 1 Oral History of Jack "Bucky" Woodard
- 1.1 Places to Go and Things to See
- 1.2 Marion High School
- 1.3 World War II
- 1.4 Home Again
- 1.5 Final Thoughts
Oral History of Jack "Bucky" Woodard
00:31 mb: First off, Mr. Woodard, where did you live and how old were you in the 1940s?
jw: In 1940, I was, ah, 15, 15 and ½ years old
mb: You lived . . .
jw: I lived in, uh, South Marion, um, on 31st and Way Street.
jw: Better known as Little Kentucky.
00:59 mb: So did you attend Marion Community Schools?
jw: Yes, I did.
Places to Go and Things to See
01:04 mb: Ok. What were some popular places and some popular things to do at that time?
jw: Well, going to high school, we had many, many places to hang out, which they don't now, but we did. We were fortunate to have a lot of great places where the girls went, and one of them was called the Hill Top, which was that the corner of, ah, 3rd and D Streets. And we had several drug stores and ice cream parlors downtown. One was called “Meyers." Ah, one was called, ah, “The Grooms” and, and the New York Candy Kitchen, which was a drug store, and, um, but several other places, too.
02:02 mb: Was the movies real big?
Jw: The movies were big at that time, yes. We had four theaters at that time, the Indiana, Paramount, Luna, and Lyric. And, ah, as a young boy, I worked at those theaters for, ah, about 2 and ½ years, while I was in high school -(Pause)- and, ah, which was great entertainment. Ah, the Indiana and Paramount even through the week were generally loaded with people, ah, because, ah, because two nights a week they would have, ah, bank night, which would draw patrons, and, ah, Saturdays and Sundays we had a lot of old time movies that you still see today like Gone With the Wind, Sgt. York, a lot of famous old movies in those days. But, um, it was a wonderful town, wonderful city.
We had streetcars that hit every district in Marion and even at this day today. Uh, the streetcar lines that we had in those days would take care of most of Marion, except out where the mall is, which all that we had to do is run a “spur” and maybe the south end of the bypass and the streetcar line also went all the way to the Matter Park. And, uh, very expensive to ride. It cost you a nickel to ride the streetcar and that was, ah, great transportation especially for kids, ah, because there wasn’t very many automobiles in those days maybe . . . I can remember maybe 6 or 8, maybe less, automobiles at our high school when I went to school, and that was for all the grades. So . . . any other questions?
04:24 mb: (Laugh) You said something about Matter Park. Could you go into detail?
jw: Matter Park was a beautiful place. Ah, huge, they had a huge swimming pool that you could put many hundred people in. And, ah, a lot of slides that they don't have now like that, ah, went down the hills and, ah, a lot of equipment out in the end of the park, close to the river. And there used to be canoeing and everything else back then. But it was a great place if you had a girlfriend and most of us guys did. We all had girlfriends, and, ah, it was a great place to have fun. Picnics and everything else.
Marion High School
05:16 mb: Uh, let's talk a little bit about the high school. Uh, do you have any memories about what it was like?
jw: My memories are very found of my high school days. We, um, had a lot of good teachers. We had good athletic teams. And, as short as I am, the only sport I could really excel in was baseball, and we didn’t have a baseball team. Later on after the World War II, I played two years of minor league baseball, but, uh, I thought that was a pretty good accomplishment in those days because I didn’t have any high school experience. I played Legion ball.
But, uh, as far as high school, ah, it was up on Nelson Street hill, and a lot of our, our basketball games were played over at the old Coliseum, which was a beautiful place to go, a great place for entertainment. And, also, at school those days, we had a lot of different functions at the old Coliseum like the Easter Pageant and the Easter Parade. And for the high school kids and we had a lot big name bands come in. Not, uh, we weren’t fortunate enough to get a Glen Miller or a Tommy Dorsey but we did have a lot of other big name bands in those days and it was very frequent, too, not just once in a while. And we also had a a lot of events, would go to the two larger theaters and would put on wonderful shows.
07:03 mb: Um, do you have any outstanding memories of the high school, other than . . . things you remember fondly, like certain teachers, just the way things happened everyday in everyday life?
jw: Yes, I, uh, I have a lot of fond memories of many teachers, uh. In fact, one just died a couple of years ago, Bernie Carmen, who was on the school board for quite a few years here. But he was one of my teachers and Dina Boys. But Bernie kept me out of a lot of trouble, along with a lot of other guys. But we did have discipline, pretty strong discipline in those days, and, uh, if you did something wrong, you were going to pay for it. But, uh, I have a lot of found memories of other teachers, too. Especially Caroline Willdeath [Carolyn Wilhite], who passed away a few years ago, an English teacher. And, uh, but we had a lot of great teachers, and,uh, they had very little problems with discipline.
08:19 mb: Um, are athletics, or should I say were, athletics as big as they are today? I mean did everyone attend the game?
jw: Yes, athletics like . . . we didn’t have baseball, or soccer, or things like that but we did have golf teams. We had real good track teams and pretty good football teams and the year I graduated, we had a real good basketball team that went to the semi-state that came in second, which was the first time that Marion had gone that far in years, but, um, but it was good entertainment. In fact, it was. We had a packed house all the time. Football games, too.
World War II
09:15 mb: Ok. Could you give a little insight about what it was like just getting out of high school, with the political events, the big things going on?
jw: Well, before I graduated, World War II had started. Pearl Harbor was bombed and, um, December 7, 1941. And I was a junior in high school. And because, well, we had a lot of comradely [camaraderie] in those days and everybody was a true American, defend the country, everybody wanted to be a hero. And, in fact, in my junior class several young men, with their parents permission, joined the service in early 1942, right after the war started. I graduated in 1943 and, uh, made a stupid statement. I thought I was was going to miss the war and immediately I went into the service. Uh, I turned 18 on the 29th of May and got my greeting to the United States Government the same day. So being drafted, I joined the Marine Corps in, uh, June of, right after graduation. And, uh, they were still having, the war was not going too good at the time for our country, but shortly after I joined the service, we started winning more battles and more engagements.
A Marine in Battle
Shipped to the Pacific
And, um, I went to the Pacific, and I was in the invasion of Saipan, which was after Guavalcanal [Guadalcanal]. And, uh, some other other islands in the South Pacific, Tariwa [Taiwan] and New Guinea and, uh, Bogofil [Bougainville]. I immediately after boot camp went overseas and, uh, saw the tail end of Saipan, and then they shipped us to Guavalcanal [Guadalcanal], which had been secured earlier, and I did a few months training there with the division I was in. And we didn’t know it, but we were on our way to back up Iwo Jima, which they secured.
And then we landed at Okinawa and I spent 80 some days at Okie but, uh, Guam after that was over and, uh, before there after they dropped the two atomic bombs, we were shipped, my outfit, was shipped to China, North China to get the Japanese to surrender and all of North China, which, uh, the section I was in there was 200,000 of them and 200 some thousand of us, but then they repatriated all of them back to Japan.
And I stayed in China a few more months, which this was 1946, and I was, I came home in May of 1946. No furlows, no overnight passes. Particularly [sic] three years in the Marine Corps, and I still have no bitterness, but, uh, I was personally glad that they dropped the two A-bombs because that saved several hundred thousand lives - and maybe up to, it has been quoted up to a million. But then the war ended, and I came home in May of 1946. Anything else?
Fighting on Okinawa
14:36 mb: Um, could you go into detail like what it was like in the battle? I mean what happened, or the first thing you remember, or any feelings in it at all?
jw: Oh yes. I remember very clearly when we landed in Okinawa. We surprised the Japanese by landing from the - China Seas' side, not the Pacific side. There was several hundred thousand Japanese on the island, and we hit there with two divisions of Marines and four divisions of Army. The Sixth Division, which I was in, and First Marine Division and the Second Marine Division was held in reserve and those divisions were around 26,000 strong at that time. The Army division, there were at least four or five of thousand. Now I think they ran in the neighborhood of 15,000 in their divisions. But we landed with very little opposition.
I was in, ah, at that time, the Japanese were - their ploy was to let the first wave get in, like they did at Eyo [Iwo?], the second wave get in, and when the third wave comes in, and that’s several hundred, several thousand men in each wave, but they would let the third division, the third wave come in and try to get them all then. But I was in the third wave going in, and luckily, we caught very little heavy fire, some small arms fire. And, uh, it happened so that the Higgins boat I was on, we were packed on like sardines, and the Higgins boat I was on got hung up on coral, coral reef. And the cogsenct of the Higgins boat, the landing door came down, and said, “Everybody off.”
Well, we were catching small arms fire. Instead of going straight forward, I went to the right, off the end of the gate and went into about eight, maybe ten foot of water and, uh, got cut up pretty bad on coral. But I had to, uh, get rid of my pack, my weapon, my helmet, all my gear, all my ammunition to keep from drowning, and, uh, I fortunately I got to the beach and started diggin’ in. And my, everybody was getting set up my defensive positions, and my Sgt. yelled at me, “Woodard, we're movin’ out!”
I told him, “Not me.”
He said, “Why not you?”
I said, "I had no weapon. I have no gear. It's back there in the ocean, was in the China Sea."
But he said, “You're movin’ out.” So I got a guy's gear that was wounded, and we moved out and secured the air fields.
And this landing, we started at 3 o’clock in the morning making landings so - and, uh, when I got in, it was still dark. And that was in the neighborhood of five. But we secured the air field and cut the island in half, the first day and set up or defenseless [our defenses], really surprising the Japanese because of the heavy bombardment they had taken for [from]the air and the navy, which were several hundred, even thousands of ships there. Really heavy bombardment on the island. And they attacked; it was a fake. They had a fake landing on the south end of the island, and all the Japanese, most of the Japanese went south. And, uh, that is how we surprised them. And, uh, this all took place in 80 some, 88 days I think it was.
But, uh, it was pretty tough - diggin' in every night, seeing a lot of your friends get wounded, killed. But, um, I had a lot of friends. In fact, one of them was, he was one of them, was an All-American at Purdue, name of Tony Buckavitch, got killed real close to me, All-American football player. But, um, but we secured the north end of the island.
And then 20 some days, 24 days something, and then they moved us, moved our outfit back down south where they had a lot of opposition and the Army and what few Marines were down there weren’t movin’ and only moved a few thousand yards. And they moved us south, and we got back into it and started having real heavy casualties then. And, um, there is not much print about it, but there was causilities on Okinawa than any campaign in the South Pacific - especially the Kamikaze planes that were coming in and sinking a bunch of our ships, but fortunately they didn’t hit any troop ships but, um, they had hit a lot of aircraft carriers, battleships, and, uh, destroyers and, uh, uh, um, heavy cruisers. And we lot [lost]quite a few people during that, during all that problem.
And, um, and it took us about 55-60 days to secure the south end of the island, which the Japanese would just not surrender. And they were dug in every place, in the caves. Every hill had hundreds of caves in it, and some of the caves were huge, huge. In fact, one place they called Sherri Castle. They estimated over 25,000 Japanese in this one; it was a city underground. It had hospitals, ammunition dumps, and everything and this really in caves. And that’s where we lost a lot of our people, which was a, the biggest battle on Sugar - Okinawa was called Sugar Loaf, which was part of Sherri Castle area, which was just north of the city of Naja. And time when [went] on and it was secured and I was sent back to Guam and then onto China. And that’s it.
Fraternizating with the Local People
22:58 mb: Um, what was it like talking to your fellow, uh, officers and talking to . . .? I mean you said you stayed in Guam and China temporally [temporarily]. Did you have any type of communication with the people there?
jw: With, with the Guam people?
jw: No, no we had not fraternization with the people there. Uh, we were not allowed to have any fraternization with the local people. But, uh, they were good people in Guam. But, uh, when we got to China, the people were good and we were allowed to fraternize with them all, but, uh, no, it was usually business as usually.
Of course, we started to have liberty at night when we hit China, and we got, uh, started eatin’ some decent food then. But, uh, the food was terrible overseas. We were eating a lot of Australian and New Zealand food, which was not to my liking.
The End of the War
The New Weapon
But, uh, the two A-bombs that they dropped saved not only my skin but several other thousand American young men, and we hear negative talk about that now. But, I was awake. The first A-bomb they dropped,I was awake and I was on Guam. It was very hot out there at this time of year. A lot of guys would take a shower in the evenings to try to cool down so they could sleep. And, uh, we didn’t have, our showers were water poured into 55-gallon drums and then you tipped the barrels. You would soap up, and then somebody would tip a barrel so it had holes in it to get you rinsed off. But, uh, it's when we first heard about the first A-bomb, and everybody, 'cause they didn’t tell us, they just said a special weapon. And, uh, but it was a very interesting part of my life. I think I went in a child and came back a man.
25:55 mb: Um, where you at when you first received the war was over?
26:03 mb: Where were you at when you received news that the war was over? Of the War.
jw: Where was I at when the war ended?
mb: Yeah and what was the feeling, well, obviously excitement, but . . .
jw: I was at Guam when the war ended.
jw: When they dropped the two A-bombs, well, they hadn’t signed the armistice. But I was on Guam when they dropped the two A-bombs, and we were pretty happy group, hearin' about the new weapon.
Surrender of the Japanese
And then, uh, of course, when we got to China, a few weeks after that, to re . . . get the Japanese to surrender and to get the armistice. We had our own armistice over there, and all of the officers came in and surrendered, plus their troops. But it was a big, they made a big to-do out of it. And we, as a unit, we very cheerful and thinking about home and girlfriends and wives and because I had quite a few of my friends that got to, uh, they had wives and girlfriends and fiancées that they wanted to see bad.
27:21 mb: So were there parades over there?
jw: Well, uh, yes. We had parades over there, not like they had in the United States but, uh, you gotta remember the people that celebrated back in the states were, uh, people who had been in earlier engagement or something and back in the states or you know - or maybe what I used to call a rare echelon of people who never went to war. And they got in all the parades and all the, because, uh, the main body of our people were still, a lot of them were still in Europe when the war ended and in the Pacific. We thought we had to go to Japan yet. So the majority of the Marine Corps and a great deal of the navy were still out there when the war ended. So they didn’t get to celebrate on VJ Day.
Or, but when we got home, there were bands playing when we came home and a few months later, in my case quite a few months later, they still had bands playing and a lot of people greeting us at the . . . I came on a ship that had about four thousand marines on it and they gave us a lot of free food, free drink, and plus a lot of music. Of course, they gave us liberty, and we went out on the town, city of San Diego, and had a great tine. And, uh, I didn’t spend much time, like two days, in San Diego and went back to the Great Lakes and got discharged. And, uh, the celebrations were over when I came home mostly except with my own family and my own buddies here at Marion and high school chums that I had, and we all celebrated.
Bucky's Rank in the Marines
29:34 mb: Um, what did you come out of the whole war, what was your ranking?
jw: I was a private going in and a corporal coming out.
jw: Some of that was, uh, the main reason I didn’t have more rating was possibly, uh, I, uh, got into trouble a few times. I got thrown into the “brig” a couple times, but, uh, it was, uh, fun and games and some things I didn’t take too serious - but, uh, like partying when you shouldn’t have been partying, you know.
mb: Um, uh.
The 50/20 Club and GI Bill
jw: But after the war I came back to Marion and, uh, joined a real famous club at that time which was the 52/20 Club, which was the government gave us twenty dollars a week for fifty-two weeks if we didn’t want to go to work. And I took advantage of a few weeks of that, quite a few weeks, about eight or ten. Finally they, uh, the factory I worked before going into service told me either to come back and take my job or there wouldn’t be a job, so I went back to work. But a lot of guys went on to college then and, uh, on a G. I. Bill, which was a great thing. In fact, some of them retired now. Most of them retired now right here in Marion, went to school on a G.I. Bill and friends of mine and were teachers here. But I had a desire to go play baseball and, uh, spent my time doing that, two years doing that.
Minor League Baseball
31:56 mb: What years were these?
31:59 mb: What years were these?
jw: I tried to start playing baseball, I got home in late ‘46 of May, and, uh, played a little baseball around Marion. There were quite a few teams in those days, and then the summer of the year of ‘47, I made up my mind I was going to do something, try to get on better baseball teams to learn more so I started going to tryout camps and in January of 1948 went to Florida for a few weeks and didn’t do very good and came back and went to Hot Springs, Arkansas, to a tryout camp at a school and signed a contract out there and went to Texas and played in the old St. Louis Brown farm system, which is now the Baltimore Orioles at Del Rio, Texas.
And the next year, I played in a Cincinnati chain in 1949 at Rockford, Illinois, which was called the Central Association, which is the same league that Fort Wayne and all these teams are in now. I played up there a year. Then I, uh, decided I wasn’t making any money, that I better get to work, and I went to Fort Wayne and started working and, uh, a couple years later started a family.
33:32 mb: Um, on this baseball, do you ever recall seeing any famous players, getting to play with any of them that you know of?
jw: Yeah, I played baseball with quite a few famous players. One of them became manager, general manager, and vice-president of the Philles, by the name of Paul Owens. And, uh, Orlando Cepeda was breakin’ into the minor leagues and I didn’t play with him but I played against him and he was truly a great ball player. Uh, but a lot of my coaches and instructors in those days were real famous old-time ball players like Rogers Hornsby, who was, I think still is, as great a right-handed hitter that ever played the game. And he hit over .400 three times. He was a coach of mine and an instructor. I met a lot of old time . . . I met Ted Williams and Bobby Dohr and Bobby Penske, who played with the Red Sox. And, uh, I met a lot of famous players and played with a lot of good players.
34:58 mb: Do you recall how much you got paid and what were the road trips any -
Jw: My first contract was 150 dollars a month. Now 150 dollars in two days is small pay now. But, uh, my first contract was 150, no, 140 dollars a month, and when we were on the road, we got two dollars and fifty cents to eat on. But the team paid for the hotels where we stayed. But I had to keep my expenses back at my home base, too - like, uh, another player and I usually rented a room that had a bathtub but no shower or something but anything cheap we could get.
And, uh, it was, even then I had to send home for money quite a bit. But I got a raise to 150 dollars, and then I got a raise to 170 before I left, 175 before I left Del Rio. The next year, I went up a class and signed my contract was for 185 to start and after thirty days I, there wasn’t any bonus pay in those days, after my first thirty days, I got 225 a month, which wasn’t real bad, wasn’t good but then I got another raise to 275 and that was pretty good.
And, uh, of course, I got my meal money increased on the road, and we were on the road half the time every month, fifteen days on the road and fifteen days at home. But, uh, I got my meal money raised to 3.50 or 4 bucks another leg but, uh, it was a good league. Rockford, Illinois, was in it in those days and, uh, Burillinton, Iowa, Clinton, Iowa, a couple teams out of Wisconsin, and, uh, but none of the teams like Fort Wayne is in a league now, this same league and South Bend is in a league. They expanded over Indiana and got a couple of teams up in Michigan.
The Coed at the Hotel
But, um, it was a good time had by all, especially me, but I wasn’t good enough to go on any further so I got serious and got a real good job up in Fort Wayne. And year, year or so later I met my wife up at New York state and, uh, Jamestown and, uh, shortly after started a family and ended up back in Marion three years after that. And we lived up in the Chicago area after that for about three years, working for Motorola, but, uh, that’s about it.
38:28 mb: Um, when you said met your wife in New York and you lived in Fort Wayne right, were you on vacation?
jw: No, I traveled. I bought television cabinets for the old Farmsworth Kaypart Company, which we had a plant here in Marion, Farmsworth Kaypart out where the RCA is now. But I, uh, they sent me on the road to buy TV cabinets. And after Farmsworth folded and changed, uh - IT&T bought them out - I went to work for Motorola in Chicago and I traveled for them. But I met my wife when I was working up in New York.
39:17 mb: Um, is that, do you remember how you met her?
jw: Yeah, I met her, I was standing in this nice, small hotel, which it had entertainment quite a bit in the evenings, had a piano bar or something going on. And I saw her walking through the lobby one evening and, uh, I won't tell… I usually met a few other of my associates after work at a bar in the hotel and we would have a few and then clean up and go have dinner someplace and I saw her come in to have her picture taken and she was getting her picture taken and its was real she was getting her picture taken for the hotel for the um…um…for the school names St. Bonniventure University and she was, and this was part of a deal that she was part of un a queen of the military ball or something up there and I thought she was a very attractive lady, young lady. And uh, so I went into where the photographer was, after I went up and changed my clothes and put a new suit on and I uh went to have my picture taken just so I could have a chance to meet her. And unfortunately for me, she turned me, when I talked to her she would talk to me because she thought I was a drunk hanging out in a bar, which that wasn’t true but we did have a happy hour in the evenings in those days, every day after we got off of work. But, later on I met her through another girl I was dating was her friend and we got together after that.
42:00 mb: Can you describe uh, what it was like, being uh married at the time, uh what the, what you guys used to do, anything that you did at that time that a lot of people did?
jw: You mean the early part of married life?
Entertainment in Marion
jw: Well, like I say, back in those days, we had a lot of entertainment around Marion. And first we had Indianapolis, Fort Wayne to go to, also. Uh, stage shows, big bands. Big bands were a popular thing, like the Glen Miller Band, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey Bands - a lot of other famous bands, too. But, uh, around home here, we had dances all the time, and my wife and I attended a lot of these. It was a good get-together with your friends.
There wasn’t too much, and the movies were great in those days, too. Great entertainment. I mean, plush seat, beautiful scenery, the Paramount Theatre and especially the Indiana Theatre were really nice buildings, really decorated beautiful. And, uh, it was a treat to go to a nice, a good movie. And, uh, of course, we would go to dinner first, go see a movie or maybe go to an early movie and then go have dinner. And we would have babysitters for our children.
And, uh, but Marion was a wonderful place to live, a lot of things to do, a lot of bowling leagues those days, a lot of mixed couple leagues. And of course we always had football and basketball, which been popular for Marion for years. You know, like it is coming back again now real strong - which I think, with you my boy, we might get another champion next year, Matthew, you and your cohorts.
The White Streetcar
But Marion was a wonderful city. It was a clean city. We had wonderful parks and in the early part of my marriage, we had streetcars still going and I think that was the biggest mistake we ever made, taking the street cars out, because it was cheap transportation and entertaining transportation.
Like at Christmas time, we had a streetcar that was painted white, and they kept it painted and cleaned up all the time. And they had lounge[sic]speakers all over it, and all the churches participated and all the choirs in town, the churches in town, even the, the famous quartets we had around here for Christmas for pack saving 'til even after Christmas. They would be riding the street cars, the white streetcars, singing. That streetcar would go all over Marion. You could be in West Marion, North Marion, anyplace, and here come this streetcar with the speakers going real loud playing Christmas carols and, uh, it was just a good thing for Marion.
And the Easter Pageant we had in those days was broadcast all over the count-, all over the United States because WLW out of Cincinnati would come in and carry it and WOWO out of Fort Wayne carried it and a lot of that went national. It was maybe not the biggest, but one of the biggest in the country. The Easter Pageant was packed every year, jam packed, couldn’t get in it was so, there was so many people, standing room only. We had a great city and, and the way I feel we still have a great city and I think we have a wonderful school system and I look for brighter things in the future for Marion, Indiana.
47:31 mb: Um, on an overview, we’ve covered everything so, on an overview, could you give, um, your thoughts on the government at the time of the war - or before, during, or after - if they changed any or how you felt about certain things that were happening? You already said you like the A-bomb, the idea of it, but . . .
Reaching Out During the DePression
jw: Well, a lot of people thought that in those days because I was raised in the depression and things were tough. Not very many people had jobs. I was fortunate because my dad always found some kind of job to do.
Everyone in those days had a garden and they canned vegetables and they canned fruit to try to keep it through the year and to help their neighbors. The difference I see then and I see now with people is more people helped each other back in those days. People that had not food, someone would help them. Someone would get them food, um, even, I remember, the mayor we had at that time. He also had the duties of a city judge and a lot of his fines, instead of putting people in jail, he would fine them a sack of potatoes or five dozen eggs or something or a bushel of apples or something and he would take that and pass that around to the poor in the city. My personal thought, I think that the World WarII ended the depression. And a lot of people have bitter feelings about that for years - so many young men were killed - but World War II is what really ended the depression. The war industry and the depression. Anything else?
Questioning the Wisdom of War
50:16 mb: Um, you didn’t have any feelings on the government at the time?
jw: Yeah, I, uh, especially after I got overseas. A lot of young men like myself wondered why we were really there and was it worth it seeing some of your friends get killed. And luckily I had a couple close encounters. And, uh, we always wondered why the politicians, like I do today, if the politicians had to do some of this fighting, we wouldn’t have any wars. But I had that feeling as a young man, too, at different times when I was overseas.
But I did see a lot of casualities and I, quite a few close calls, and really I feel very fortunate that I got through, even then. Actually I was wounded two or three times but never got a Purple Heart because I didn’t - I was banded, fixed up right wherever I was. A corpsman fixed me up. I never had anything serious but a lot of nicks and, from shrapnel or something or trying to get away from incoming stuff. But I feel fortunate to get through.
And I, as far as opinions, I have a feeling right now we should not be over in Yugoslavia. I don't. I think that Europe should take care of its own problems since its part of NATO, and I think financially, yes, we ought to help them. But these other countries border on Yugoslavia, and they should like, uh, just like Iraq and everything else.
We all know that Vietnam was a big mistake but it took many years and 50 some thousand young men that were killed [to] realize it was a big mistake because, uh, did it help us? No. Did we gain anything by it? No. Is this going to help us? No, I don't think so. Yes, I hate to see people suffer, and, yes, I think we should help those people over there out - somehow negotiate a peace instead of getting our young people killed or maimed.
Enjoying Local Politics
Politicians, I think, I, local, local elections real well. I like to participate in local elections and try to get good people elected to different offices. I am pretty heavy in the school board and in politics right now, and I enjoy it. I enjoy it especially if we can make progress someplace. I really enjoy it, and I think that in a lot of different areas we are making progress especially at the high school. I think we have a super elementary system. And I know that we’ve got, uh, I think middle schools are in good shape, but it's gonna' get better. And I think that the city gonna' see that in the next few years that we are going to be one of the best in the Midwest again. But as far a politics, I am not a big politician.