From: Walter Fisher (wf)
Medium: Audio tape
Date: May 20, 1999
Place: Home of Walter Fisher, 949 W. Old Kokomo Rd. Marion In. 46953
Collected by: Brandon Shook (bs)
00:00 bs: I am Brandon Shook this is May 20, 1999. This is being recorded at 949 W. Old Kokomo Rd. I am speaking with?
wf: Walter Fisher
bs: Do I have your permission to interview you?
bs: Do I have your permission to submit this interview to the Marion High School?
bs: Do I have your permission to submit this interview to the Marion Public Library?
00:28 bs: How was it like for you in World War II?
wf: How was it like for me.
wf: Of coarse I was only 18 years old when I went in. Everybody wanted to go I guess. It was something we had to do so everybody my age at least was either drafted or volunteered. We just had a job to do and we done it.
bs: Did you volunteer?
wf: I was a I volunteered but I would have been drafted if I hadn't of. But theat's the reason I volunteered. I went in and went to Indianapolis, and on down to out to San Diego is were I was my boot camp training in the United States Marines, and when I left San Diego, and went overseas and I never came back till after the war was over. I never got a farewell. It was right around Christmas time that was the hardest thing being away from home on Christmas. I never got back until the war was over, but it was kind of tough I guess for a18 year old kid. How old are you?
bs: Oh I mean 17
wf: 17 I was just a year older than you are.
01:15 bs: What kind of stuff did you do while you were over there?
wf: Well I was first I went into the we went over to Hawaii, and took are training in camp Charawa and we went from there straight on over to the Philippines. and we participated I was honored to be one of supposedly the first Marine to land on the Phillipines, and we took we retook the Phillipines and MacAurthur came in after. Of coarse we were already there and a that was suppose to be the first marines to land on the Phillipines, and we took Laity Island in the Phillipines. It was quit an honor I thought to be there and ugh wether any one else considers it to be an honor, but I thought it to be an honor. anything else.
02:43 bs: About what kind of stuff was going on?
wf: Well at that time we was on the water we was on the water for better than a month and been on the ship for better than a month before we got there. We rondevood with a bunch of other ship, and things in the Marshall island we went there right into Leyti and had the battle of laity gulf of coarse. We went in and a we got the navy had laid down a smoke screen, and they just had these little boats going around with smudge pots in them. And just laid so much smoke you no so we could land without the Japanese spotting us from the air. And it was just about early in the morning but it was still more or less dark because we couldn't see where we was. We could see where we were going because all of the smoke was above us we went underneath it and I drove a radio jeep. And got in contact with a the ships to tell them were to land at and a that was quit a job. It was intersting one thing during that time when we got ready to land we went on the landing a one thing that still puzzles me is. They gave us a little I was not a drinker I never drank anything, and they gave us a little bottle of liquor I guess, and told us to drink it down before we it was suppose to give us nerve I guess. But it did they gave us a little bottle ot liquor like the kin you get on a airplane mor or less. We drank it right down I think they probaly thought it would give you more nerve. I don't Know it must of worked.
04: 03 bs: What was going on in other parts of the war?
wf: Well at that time we had just taken sypain, tenian, and marshall and a lets see sypain teninan, antchewawa, and taboo. And a we were all in stand by for them, and did not have to make the initial landing. On Laity we made the initial landing. A we were in the amphibious corps I was on of the amphibious fifth amphibious corps of the United States Marines. That was the main invasion we made was the Philippines that was our main goal to retake the Philippines with MacAurthur. He still don't admit we wee there, but we were. We were the ones that gave it the start. A well we made the landing, on the phillipines, and we got far enough and the Japanese a landed a was wanting to cut us off so they put paratroopers come in right behind us. We were doing good then and a encringed on the they wanting to after the paratroopers were going to squeeze us more or less out and a the land would be. The paratroopers would come in at night and they shot off flares up in the air where we could see them come in behind us. It was probably the most scary part and of coarse when the flares went up we, we could see them coming down in there parachutes. When we could see them coming in and a we wiped them out more or less coming in at night, and that's about the scariest thing really. A bunch of paratroopers coming in behind ya and that was pretty scary, but we did stop. A the Mainz what ever you wanna call it an attack. We got most of the all the Japanese the snipers and we got all those. It was kind of a scary moment, but a that's all and that the. A I was going back for some ammunition and of coarse they dropped off the ammunition at the ammunition depot at the beach. And I was going back for some more ammunition for the front line and here came MacAurthur. He came in and I had to get out of his way I just never did care for MacAurthur because a I was in a hurry. To get back with ammunition and got up to the front line and there he was. Coming in adn everbody had to salute him and get out of his way, and everything else, and a I just never did have any respect for him after that. I think it was the first time I ever seen him came in with his corn cob pipe and his hat. And just because he was a general he more or less demanded respect instead of earning it. I think respect should be earned instead of on demand.
08:12 bs: Well around what time did you gt back from the war home.
wf: After they dropped the bomb on Hiroshima or which ever it was first I forget. But we were on Guam when on R&R when that happened and when they dropped the bomb. To a well shortly after the war was over and then we came back to a of coarse I had more thatn enough points. They used a points system then, how long you'd been over and all that stuff how you fot your points to come on back. So ugh I was one of the first ones to come back I was in motor transport so I had to unload people from I was froze because I had to unload people from the ships who had less points than I did. Well that always got to me because I had more than those who I was unloading on the ships, but I was froze because it was crucial to get the ships unloaded for protection. Then I came back to a crenaval ammuntion depot inside southern Indiana in Mitchel. I was in the military police on the a I had a jeep I got around in. And of coarse when I came back I was offered a job on the Indiana State Police all marines well not all marines, but the ones that were down there military police. And we came back. And we was more or less offered a job on the Indiana State Police. And of coarse I a I turned it down because I was working over at the glass company in Gas city. And I was making more than what they could offer me pay. So I didn't take it so I worked over ther for better thatn 40 years. I had senority so I though well a I come back and took my job back.
11:32 bs: What kind of stuff was going on around the area?
wf: In around this area?
wf: A well when we before I went into the sevice I just got a job at the owens and a when we came back they had to give vetrans I guess it was a law they gave us all veterans there jobs back. If they could perform it so a my time accumulated while I was in the service senority so I came back with a 2 or 3 years senority. So I left it keep getting my job so naturally I was giving my job back. But a everybody coming back I'll tell ya I, I was in under my commander in chief Franklin D. Roosevelt adn he died. And I also served under Harry S. Truman. I think they were the two greatest commaner in chiefs ther ever was. Two presidents so a I think when we came back Truman did a whale of a job getting everybody ther job back and a going from war time to peace time. A he keep having everybody having a job and a going from war time to peace time seemed like to me that was the hardest thing that could be done in the economy of the United States. Completly a great job every one making all military stuff turned around and making civilian stuff. And a the automobile factories the glass factories a everything everybody of coarse they never made any cars from 1942 to 1946 a it was all military stuff you just couldn't buy a 44 or 45 automobile. See they just wasn't any new ones made and of coarse they had the gas rationing and the tire rationing. And during the war and if you got a good ste of tires you was all right if you had gas to run them. It was quit an experience I've had a great life I guess.
13:59 bs: How difficult was it getting the gas and tires.
bs: How hard was it to get the gas and tires?
wf: Oh you couldn't get the well you was only aloud well I guess I wasn't here during the war or home. But I guess people had a hard time getting a set of tires for their cars get them capped if you could and a gasoline of coarse you ws only aloud so many gallons gasoline. A farmer was allowed mor and if your buisness was dependent on your automobile you was allowed mor gas of coarse they had the rationing of the wheat and meat and a everything was rationed. And a it was probably the hardest thing for the people back here you couldn't buy nothing. You had a job making money, but you couldn't buy nothing, and a eveything was rationed and of coarse in them days a if you bought anything and if you got a refridgeratur or something like that or a range or a heating stove of coarse everybody a burned gas a mostly coal, but if you had a you wanted a refridgeratur you had a hard time finding one. You no you had to put your name in at the store to get one and and a same way with gas. Your stoves your gas ranbges you used of coarse right after the war you had to a. I'm getting in off the war, but after the war you had to put your name in to for a if you wanted if you didn't have gas piped into your house. Everybody had gas and of coarse everybody had electricity, but a heat was gas cuase a it was kind of hard to get gas a lot of times if you got your gas stove you had to a get your gas turned on or piped in. It was a I was a I don't know I think it was the wonder years. After the war what everything wasn't as smoothe as everybody deemed to think it was to be there was problems if you went to buy a stove or TV of coarse when TV came in TV was a a if you bought one of them It was kind of high and you couldn't buy one unless you payed ten percent down. Before you could buy it to keep everybody from going into debt you know, but a thats the way we got are first TV we had to pay it on time we had one of the first TV's in Gas City. There wasn't such thing as a close dryer a you know everybody hung stuff outside, and in winter time it froze if you hung it out in the house you had to string it from one side of the house to another, but inside your front room to get it to dry. I'm fetting off the war now.
bs: Thats alright
wf: Its a after the war but I mean its things that happend after the war see.
bs: Thats fine
wf: Just the way things happened thats all.
23:09 bs: When you came back in and was hire, had more than some of the other people that worked while you were in the war were they jealous mad.
wf: Well a when I came back my senority accumulated of coarse things was going in such a boom at that time the people that were here didn't havce to go to the war most of the young guys was in the war, and the ones that came back they had to a give them their jobs back so there were a few lay offs. Even though a they dad worked they didn't really a particulary any ones job that had more senotity than we did of coarse, but they had a that was a thing that the industry adn people had really work at it to give veterans there jobs back after they came back a they was suppose to get there jobs back if a it was available of coarse a lot of jobs were done away with, and times had changed were it wasn't a didn't have a government contract you know a the glass company had a government contract to a for all the prescription we are the made all the prescription bottles glass bottles, didn't have plastic there wasn't such thing as plastic. Medicines your alkaseltzers and all that stuff didn't come packaged it come in bottles. Didn't have such thing as foil wrap or a plastic. In fact a that was the time during the war a when they first made instant coffee in Miles labratory. I think was one of the first that ever made alkaseltzers I think.