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Interview with Robert J. Adams

Accession No.: 
TH1-001

Transcription:

Robert J. Adams    Interview: September 18, 2004
107 Hibiscus
Lafayette, LA
Born: March 11, 1922
Seaplane/Spitfire Recon pilot

I was born in Houma, but we moved around a lot because my father was a railroad man. He worked on the railroad in Alexandria, Mamou, Lafayette, New Iberia, and even Cypermont Point and Weeks Island.

I was going to school here at SLI when Pearl Harbor happened. I didn’t know much about what was happening because I was flying all day. I had taken up flying at SLI and I was in one of these small airplanes. That plane cost $999 and it came with instructions on how to fly it. 

I was fascinated with flying ever since I was a young boy. My father didn’t believe in flying. So I took up flying when I got to college. There was an old wood hanger at the airport here in Lafayette and we had this little plane; it was a civilian model Piper Cub. We’d have to pick it up by the tail and turn it around. You’d put it in the direction you wanted, started it up and took off. I found out about Pearl Harbor later that afternoon when I landed.

In January of 1942, me and a buddy of mine hitchhiked to New Orleans to join the Navy Air Corps. We were mad at the Japs for attacking Pearl Harbor and wanted to get back at them. We took our test in New Orleans and they sent us back to Lafayette to finish school; that’s when I met my wife.

I had wanted to fly the P-40, the plane with the Flying Tigers. That was the best plane that we had at the time. But when I got my wings, they put me in a SOC seaplane.

I was sent to LSU in Baton Rouge in the summer of ’42 to go to the ground school for navy warfare training. From there I went to Athens, Georgia. I went to school there and took half a day flight training. Then I was sent to Dallas, Texas to train in the N2S2 Steerman. From there so many were sent to dive bombers, some went to big bombers. I was sent to Corpus Christi where I was assigned to a seaplane.

I didn’t know anything about the seaplane before, nothing at all. I was very disappointed about that because I wanted to be fighter pilot. But that’s the Navy. They put you where they need you. And they just picked me for the seaplane.

I flew the OS2U. It had the interior of a small airplane. It had one wing and two machine guns. I had a radioman in the back. The plane could carry two 350-pound depth charges. We went after the submarines and mainly scouted for the heavy cruisers. We were four seaplanes on that cruiser. They would shoot you off of a catapult and you would land in the water. We trained to do everything that you could do at that time. When we finished, we got our wings.

I was sent to Portland, Maine in January of 1944 and was put on my ship, the USS Augusta. We flew patrol in the North Atlantic for three months hunting the submarines. Every once in a while you’d see something, but we never attacked an enemy sub. We flew ahead of the fleet at about six miles an hour. When you flew in a convoy you had to fly as fast as the slowest ship. 

The Augusta was the flagship of the Atlantic Fleet. The first American killed in World War II was on the Augusta (August 21, 1937, China Sea). His name was Falgout and he was from Raceland, Louisiana. The ship was in the China Sea and a shell came over the ship and exploded. The shrapnel killed him. They built a monument in Raceland to honor him. The Augusta was sort of a famous ship. Roosevelt and Churchill met on the Augusta during one of their conferences at the beginning of the war.

There were about 800 men on that ship. When I wasn’t flying I read books and wrote letters to my wife to pass the time. We sailed to England. They sent me down to the southern part of England to go to school to fly the Spitfire. I was on loan to the British.

The British were very nice people. Some people didn’t like the British, but I got along with them. I just didn’t like the food. But the beer was really good.

[Mrs. Adams: Bob didn’t like the food. He used to fly to American airfields to get some American food. My sister had dated a fellow from Alexandria, Louisiana and he was in the Air Force. He worked in the tower. One day Robert flew to this airport and wanted the land. The tower asked him his name and Bob said, “Bob Adams.” The tower said, “Oh! You wouldn’t be married to a girl named Maude Johnson would you?” He said, “Yes, that’s my wife.” So he told him to come on down and he and my sister’s boyfriend met in England; the only time they ever met.]

The Spitfire was a very nice plane and it kept getting better; more power, more speed. I really enjoyed flying it. See the Germans had some really good planes too—they were really fast—and our little old two-wing seaplanes could only go about 135 mph—and that was in a dive. So that’s why they put us in the Spitfire, because it was much faster.

Foreman, who created the Spitfire during peacetime, wanted a really good plane. The Spitfire was a very good airplane. It had six machine guns, three on each side. We trained in the cockpit that showed all the instruments and various equipment for flying the plane. We were going to be used to (foreward) spot for the gun ships at sea. We were especially trained in spotting the fire—the eyes of the fleet.

Before we left on D-Day we had designated targets that we were supposed to pick up. They had done reconnaissance before to pick out the various targets and briefed us on the locations before we left. We were given the coordinantes to go on and we’d go out to beat them up.

We trained for this before the invasion. They had put out these platforms in an area about as big as my house and covered it with different material that the Germans would use. We had to spot for the fire coming in to the targets.

The instructors at the school were all British and they were all good soldiers. We bunked at a boarding school in Sheffield (?) Park. Each pilot had an enlisted man, called a batboy, who took care of your clothes, food, shoes and all that—protocol!

We knew that something big was coming. It had to be. And we knew that it was going to be dangerous, but you just had to go and do it. We were all ready, all excited to go. Actually, D-Day was supposed to be on the 5th of June. But they called it off until the 6th because of bad weather. I wasn’t supposed to fly on the 5th. I had got grounded from a bad sinus infection. When Eisenhower decided, “let’s go” on the 6th, I was well enough to fly. 

We studied on the German Luftwaffe operations. They had good planes, but we had better planes. The Spitfire was one of the best.

We were stationed in Southern England at Lee-on Solent, right across from the Isle of Wight. The morning of the invasion we got up before daybreak and went to our planes. We started out towards the Isle of Wight early that morning. It only took about 15 minutes to fly across the Channel. It was about 90 miles to the target area behind Omaha beach. Flying over the invasion fleet, I saw thousands of different kinds of ships. I was thinking, I’m glad I’m in the air.

We flew in pairs: one pilot would concentrate on the target and direct the fire; the other pilot would hover over him to protect him against enemy fighters and to let him know if he had an enemy on his tail. If we saw an enemy aircraft approaching our wingman, we were instructed to radio him, “break left,” or “break right.” They had sharpened our wing tips so we could break quickly. If he got involved in a dogfight, then I was supposed to take his place and continue spotting the fire. But thankfully, the Luftwaffe never came.

We had two targets on that first mission on D-Day. At Travieres, they didn’t have any Germans there, so I radioed back asking them not to shot up the town. Hell, it was just a little bitty old town. Traviers had a communications center and there was a spotter in a church steeple. He was way up high and could see the invasion beaches. I took a few shots at the steeple, although we weren’t supposed to do that. After we spotted it, our big guns neutralized it until they couldn’t use it anymore.

The naval guns ships would shoot three shots about 200 yards apart. And you would walk the middle shot up to the target and then report back to ship, “fire for effect.” Every gun on that ship would track the same shot and destroy the target.

My other target was the big guns at L-15 in Insigny. It was pretty well camouflaged. We spotted for that and our guns took it out. We had radio contact between the two pilots and the ship offshore.

The Germans were sending up a lot of anti-aircraft fire. I tried to dodge the incoming fire. One of the guns must have hit my plane because I started loosing fuel. I knew that I couldn’t return to England so I had to land it somewhere. I told my wingman that I was hit and I was going to land. I had a parachute, but I wasn’t gone to ditch the plane and jump out. I didn’t want to risk landing it and getting captured either. So I flew out to the Utah beach area where I knew I could land. The sand there on the beach was very smooth. So when I got there I looked down and saw an opening where the bulldozers had cleared a path for planes to land. I signaled them as best I could and that’s where I landed; I didn’t have a choice. It was a smooth landing and I had no problem getting her down. I was the first pilot to land in France on D-Day.

I think a bullet had torn my fuel line. So these boys fixed me up, gassed me up, and I took off heading back to England. (Distinguished Flying Cross)

I got back to base, checked in and was briefed for my second mission that afternoon. This mission was further inland from the beach. There were a lot of ships and a lot of smoke on that beach that afternoon. We flew missions from June 6 to June 24, everyday. 

The Germans didn’t have very many planes, but we didn’t know that. I was lucky; I never ran into enemy aircraft, although we lost one of our guys that day.

After the 24th of June, I got back on the Augusta and went to Algeriers in North Africa for three days. All we did was sit around a table and drink wine. Then I got on the Tuscaloosa and went to Sicily. From there I got on the USS Philadelphia and went on the invasion of Southern France (Operation ANVIL/DRAGOON).

I got back on the seaplane for the Southern France invasion. My first mission was to fly to this minesweeper out in the Gulf of Fos. I picked up this guy from the minesweeper and flew him ahead of the fleet to spot for mines. We could see the mines from the air and he took the compass reading of the minefield and radioed back to the minesweeper the location. I flew about 13 missions on that invasion. We lost another guy on that invasion.

I stayed on the Philadelphia until the end of August. Then I got back on the Augusta. Eventually we made it back to the States. My son was born on August 18. When I got back to Lafayette, he was just four weeks old.

All together, we were 17 pilots. We lost two during the war.

I went on to practice law here in Lafayette and I still fly with the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Every other night, over England, the skies would light up, and rumble from the violent screams of the fast approaching German ‘Buzz bombs.’ The V-1 and V-2 self-propelled rocket bombs—vengeance weapons as Hitler referred to them—were launched from sites in France, Holland, and Belgium. The bombs were fired over the English Channel, and were sent crashing down on unsuspecting victims, killing and wounding tens of thousands of helpless civilians in the battered British cities. London, Hitler’s favorite target, was practically leveled from the daily visits of the unmanned Nazi terror bombs.

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Theriot, Jason
Subject: 
Oral History, Louisiana, French, World War II, WWII, Flight, Pilots
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Jason Theriot; Robert J. Adams
Recording date: 
Saturday, September 18, 2004
Coverage Spatial: 
Lafayette, LA
Publisher: 
Center for Louisiana Studies / Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All rights reserved
Meta Information
Cataloged Date: 
Monday, August 6, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Monday, August 6, 2018
Original Format: 
Microcassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore - Drawer 20 Row 1

Interview with Ned Arceneaux

Accession No.: 
TH1-002

Ned Arceneaux: Jason Theriot

Member of First Army Joint VII Corps Headquarters, inducted in May 1941
-Talk of how Arceneaux was in charge of the reunions from 1975 to 2004
-where they were at, how he set them up and how many men showed up
-Last one was in 2003 and 10 men showed
-wonders what will be in 2004 (the year this interview took place)

May 15, 1941 drafted into the Army (11:00)
-Was 22 years old working as a clerk in the Post Office and was drafted in the second draft, as his boss was able to defer him in the first
-met at the courthouse and a man named McMannis was appointed leader and Arceneaux was put as the assistant leader
-he was the last one to get on the bus

They were sent to the new camp, Camp Livingston, which had just been built by Alexandria in the woods (funny story on the way there) (18:08)

Sent to Camp Blanding, Florida (21:00)
-The others in the National Guard were sent to Africa
-Each morning names would be called and deployed
-eventually Arceneaux and another man from Baton Rouge, Floyd Bourgeois, were the only ones left and they were sent to Birmingham, Alabama
-Arceneaux's MOS was at the Post Office and then he was sent off to the Louisiana Maneuvers

Declaring of War (26:20)
-December 7, 1941 back in Birmingham Arceneaux and Bourgeois had come back from eating lunch and at 3:00 on the radio:
-“All VII Corps HQ personnel report immediately to headquarters. War has been declared.”
-He was in charge of supplies and eventually was going to the Pacific but his company was stopped in San Jose, California
-stayed for 9 months, where they were to stay as the defense command of the western coast

-When stationed in London Arceneaux was the apart of the quartermaster staff and in charge of the food and liquor for 450 men in the VII Corps Headquarters, all mostly Cajuns
-he knew where all the winery’s and bars were and would order in French
-While there they were prepping for an invasion but didn't know when it was to happen

When they went on to the invasion for D-Day (38:20)
-Their company took 2 ships and Arceneaux was in a Jeep
-they landed about 9 in the morning on June 6th to Utah beach, left in the early morning hours
-"My first thought (when he saw the Atlantic Wall) was, “We’re never coming back. We’re never coming back.”

Utah beach landing and afterwards (45:40)
-Set up a command post in Ste-Mere-Eglise for a few days and took fire

Carentan and up to Cherbourg (49:53)
-He was tasked with two Chaplains to find another priest or bishop as four division were going to be sent out to Cherbourg to take it
-they went into a German hospital and found a French priest that gave them wine and cognac and they stayed till 3:00 as by 4 the city and fort was to be taken;
-they joined the fight and found a warehouse full of liquor and had six trucks sent to take as much as the liquor they could pack in them

Full Transcription:

Ned Lawrence Arceneaux
630 Wilson St.
Lafayette, LA 70503
Born: 29 December 1916
VII Corps HQ
Utah Beach, D-Day

Years later, I was asked to put together a reunion for VII Corps Headquarters. Gen. Collins, Army Chief of Staff at that time, told me that the only way he would come to a reunion was if I would show him the Cajun country. He said that he always wanted to come to south Louisiana, so we had the first reunion in Lafayette. Last year, we met in San Francisco…there were ten of us there.

My family is from between the Carencro-Lafayette area. I grew up speaking French and couldn’t speak a word of English until I started school. I was drafted into the Army on May 15, 1941, because Uncle Sam said, “I need you! I want you!” I was 22 and working as a clerk at the post office. We met at the courthouse and they had a fellow by the name of McMannis. Everybody voted to put him as the leader, and they put me as the assistant leader. A bus would be coming later on to pick us up. My Papa and brothers were there with me, and he took myself and three other fellows to have dinner at Mama’s place. Mama had a big meal with wine and whiskey and all that. We left to meet up with the rest of the fellows at this restaurant because the bus was coming to pick us up. The leader, was too drunk to sign the check at the restaurant, so I signed it for him. Anyhow, we got to the bus station and I was the last one to get on the bus. As I’m getting on the bus, my daddy was there with a fifth of whiskey. He said, “Ned, for the trip.” My poor Papa.

From Lafayette, I was sent to Camp Livingston. It was a new camp that they had just built in the woods over there by Alexandria. The four of us, who had eaten dinner together (Ernest Courret, and who were the others?) sat in the back of the bus. We were all new inducties and one lady on this bus. When the bus started, one of them fellows said, “Hey, you got that fifth, let’s have a drink.” The other fellow said, “Wait, there’s a lady in front of us. We should go and ask her if it’s alright for us to drink.” So, he goes over to her seat and says, “We have a bottle of whiskey, and we don’t know when were are coming back, but we are going into the Army. So do you mind if we have a drink.” She said, “Oh, hell no, I’ll have a drink with you.” She had the first drink out of the bottle.

When we got the camp in Alexandria they had this army corporal who greeted us for orientation. He took us out and lined us up. He knew me and he knew the rest of them boys, too; he was from Lafayette. He said, “Alright, all you drunk ones, take a step forward.” Shit, nobody moved. He said, “Well, in that case I’d better inspect.” So this fellow at the front of the line had the bottle behind his back. And as this corporal made his way down, we’d pass the bottle to the next guy, then the next one. When it got to me, I passed back the other way.

So, he took us out to this latrine and made us strip down to take a shower. It was a cold, cold shower. Boy, that sobered us up quick! (Welcome to the Army!)

From there we went to Camp Blanding, Florida. Every morning this sergeant would come in, blow his whistle, and order us into formation. Then, he’d holler out three or four names, “Joe, Tom, Bill…You gonna leave this afternoon on train so and so to go to so and so place.” One morning, we got up, he blew the whistle, and there was just two of us left—a fellow by the name of Floyd Bourgeois from Baton Rouge and myself. He had been in the same tent with me. The sergeant said, “Well, you fellows gonna take a train this afternoon at four o’clock and you’re headed to Birmingham, Alabama. And they’ll have a car waiting for you at the station tomorrow morning.” We figured that the only reason why we were the last two is because this sergeant couldn’t pronounce our last names—Arceneaux and Bourgeois. So, we ended up in Birmingham, Alabama.

Bourgeois was assigned the HQ of the Adjutant General. My MOS was to work in the post office, but I was not assigned there. I was put in the kitchen for a few days. Then, I was assigned to the supply section. We made some maneuvers in Alabama, and then we went to the Louisiana maneuvers.

We got back to Birmingham and on December 7, 1941, Bourgeois and I had gone to church and we had lunch with this family. We were listening to the radio at about three o’clock and here comes a flash: “All VII Corps HQ personnel report immediately to headquarters. War has been declared.”

I was put in charge of the supplies. We went to Fort McClennon to draw up equipment and we were headed to the port of embarkation in San Francisco to go to the Pacific. On the way, we stopped in San Jose, California, where we would stay as defense command of the western coast.

We stayed in California for nine months and made the Mojave Dessert maneuvers. My job as supply officer was to get all the food and equipment for the men in headquarters.

Then we left for England. We stayed at Bremmer Castle north of London. We stayed in dormitories and slept in cots. We were preparing for the invasion. I was in the quartermaster staff and stocked what we needed: all the food, supplies and equipment. There were 450 enlisted men, officers, and NCOs in VII Corps HQ.

We had an exercise to simulate the beach landings. We were in the English Channel and these German E-boats came in and killed a bunch of our men. That didn’t come out until many years later. We knew we were going on an invasion, but we didn’t know exactly when. That was up to Eisenhower and his staff, when they said to go.

I had a friend named Dr. Bourgeois who was stationed in England. He was a captain. I also had two Arceneaux cousins from Carencro in England. One was in an MP company. He was a big husky fellow, and rough. The other was with the 82nd Airborne Division in the glider section. His name was Raoul Arceneaux. On D-Day, they took off first. In fact, we were on our LSTs waiting in Southampton, and we could see the gliders flying over on their way to the invasion. They called him Frenchie and he was a sergeant. This one fellow asked him, “Frenchie, I don’t like to sit by that window. Can you change places with me?” He said, “Oh, yeah.” So they changed places. And when their glider landed and hit the hedgerows in Normandy, everyone on the glider got killed except my cousin. He was sitten by that window and he was the only one who came out alive.

We left early that morning and landed at Utah beach; it was about nine in the morning on June 6th. A lot of boys got sick going over. When we landed, you could see all the dead bodies floating all over. My first thought was, “We’re never coming back. We’re never coming back.”

Before we left from England, I had found out that this piece of property was for sale next to the farm that I was raised on. The owner wanted $10,000 for 50 acres of land. I wrote to my brother back home and told him that I have a $10,000 insurance policy. I said that I don’t know if I am going to make it home or not. I said that if something happened to me and I got killed, I wanted him to go ahead a buy that farm for Mama and Papa.

I didn’t know if I was coming back or not. Regardless of the danger, regardless if you killed or not, you knew that you had to go. From the General all the way down to the Private, they didn’t know if they were coming back or not. It was enthusiasm to fight for our country; that’s what we went for. We didn’t know why we were fighting, but the president said we gotta go, so we went. It was just instinct to serve your country. That was instilled in us.

I came in on a jeep that had been waterproofed. The exhaust pipe was way up high, but when we landed water came over the top and we stopped. These engineers came in with these DUCKS. When they saw that we were blocking the way, they came and hooked onto us and pulled us out of the way. I had my duffle bag with dry clothes and shoes.
We were taking on fire for the few days while we were there. Then we moved onto to Ste-Mere-Eglise and set up our command post in a farmhouse.

From there we went to Carentan and then followed the coast up to Cherbourg. When we got up there, Gen. Collins called me and two Chaplin’s—a catholic Chaplin and a protestant Chaplin—and he told us to go to Cherbourg and find a French priest or a bishop because that afternoon he was sending four division (30th, 4th, 9th, and 1st) to take the port city.

When we got to Cherbourg, they were fighting street-to-street and street corner to street corner. The Protestant Chaplin was a colonel and he said, “We can’t go in there. There is too much gun fire.” The Catholic Chaplin turned to me and said, “Gen. Collins gave us a mandate and I’m going in there.” He asked me, “Ned, will you come with me.” We put on our Red Cross armbands and went into this German hospital. We went looking for a German priest or somebody. So we went in and I met this nurse. In French, I asked her, “Where is the Priest.” I carried a .45 pistol and I shoved this pistol in her side and asked for the priest. She told us to go outside and down the street in a building was a French priest. So we went down there, knocked on the door and this priest came out screaming, “Oh, American! American! Come in! Come in!” He was glad to see us and gave each of us a glass of wine. After that, Father Gleason, an ole Irishman, said, “Ask him if he’s got Cognac.” I said, “The priest would like some Cognac.” No problem.

We stayed there for a while and the fighting continued in the city. There was this German fort that we needed to take to liberate this city. When we got there, they were taking these German prisoners out of this fort and hauling them back to VII Corps headquarters. After all the Germans were taken out of this fort, Father Gleason said, “Ned, let’s go in there and see if we can get some loot!” We go down this big hallway and there are large offices and warehouses on each side. We open this one door and it’s a warehouse full of liquor. (Priest was in heaven!) We got each a bottle of Cognac for ourselves and left. I told my jeep driver to call headquarters and ask to speak to Gen. Collins. I got him on the line and said, “General, we captured this fort, and Father Gleason and myself discovered a warehouse full of liquor.” He said, “Go-head!” I said, “Yep, we got all kinds: wine, scotch, whiskey, cognac, anything you want.” He said, “Ned, stay where you are. I’m sending six trucks your way. When they get there, start loading up as much as you can and send them back to headquarters.” When we got back he told me, “Redline those trucks and tomorrow morning I want you to go to each of the four divisional headquarters and bring them each a truck. Tell them its compliments of J. Lawden Collins.” So I did that, then General Collins said, “Well, Ned. There’s two trucks left. Ones for me and ones for you!” So, we had those trucks with us from Cherbourg on!

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II: Army; Europe
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Ned Arceneaux
Recording date: 
Friday, April 23, 2004
Coverage Spatial: 
Lafayette, LA
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
00:59:30
Cataloged Date: 
Monday, August 20, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Monday, August 20, 2018
Original Format: 
Microcassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore - Drawer 20

Interview with Ned Arceneaux (part 2)

Accession No.: 
TH1-003

Ned Arceneaux: Jason Theriot

(Continued) had trucks help pick up the liquor they found and were able to "keep" two of the trucks from then on

-They were stuck in the Falaise Gap and the planes couldn't come in and then they were bombed
-Operation Cobra and the VII Corps had 4 divisions under them (4th, 9th, 30th, and 1st)
-Arceneaux was a part of the quartermaster staff and followed behind the divisions
-They had to inspect cemeteries and railroads as part of their duties

When they got to Paris they had run out of gasoline and so the tanks couldn't move (3:33)
-A Red Ball Express drove by African Americans, they'd be up all 24 hours sometimes, refueling
-As Arceneaux had to keep track of all these going-ons on paper and then ration out the gasoline to the Armored Divisions (3rd Armored Division)
-Arceneaux was with the VII Corps until the Battle of the Bulge when the 54th Field Artillery Battalion supply officer got killed and he was transferred to replace that officer

Speaking French (7:00)
-Arceneaux could go and run errands for the unit as he could speak French while in France
-French treated him right as he could speak their language and was American however things changed after the war they were a bit more cold (resentment) towards the Americans
-But in Germany they were treated even better by the German people than any other country

Back to the Battle of the Bulge (10:40)
-Still with the VII Corps and when the battle broke out, that was when Arceneaux was transferred to the 54th
-he was in charge of running up the supplies and the gasoline for tanks, trucks, halftracks and jeeps for 2 weeks

Bastogne, on the outskirts (16:08)
-Arceneaux was with Patton when he came to rescue the place with his tanks
-Then went back to France and then through Germany to Nordhousen

Nordhousen, Germany (18:03)
-A regiment of the 3rd Armored Division that found a concentration camp
-Went on Leipzig and met up with the Russians on the Elbe River
-There was all these displaced persons with them everywhere and following them; they had to transport them to the Russians sections
-Arceneaux had to drive the trucks that would pack these people on them like cattle to get it done faster
-Russians would inspect the truck in and out of the section and they'd take anything they could from them, displaced people's or American soldiers' possessions

Trip back (23:05)
-Stayed in Europe with the occupation until October
-Arceneaux got out on points and sent to Reimes, France and was put in a n Engineer Battalion as a Personnel Officer
-On a Liberty ship went through the Strait of Gibraltar and in the Atlantic Ocean hit a storm and everyone had to stay below deck as there was no railings except a thin wire
-Anchored in New York and Arceneaux was put on a train to Camp Shelby, Mississippi to be discharged
-Kept him for 3 days as they wanted him to stay in the army but Arceneaux said no and took a train to New Orleans and then a bus to his brother’s house

Got to his brother's house in Lafayette as he lived in town (30:06)
-Surprised his sister-in-law; she was in a packing and seal organization that sent food over to the soldiers and she'd send him a package every week
-Then went over to his parents' house to see his mother and she cooked for him

Talking and names given (33:20)

Continuation of Transcript:

When we got back he told me, “Redline those trucks and tomorrow morning I want you to go to each of the four divisional headquarters and bring them each a truck. Tell them its compliments of J. Lawden Collins.” So I did that, then General Collins said, “Well, Ned. There’s two trucks left. Ones for me and ones for you!” So, we had those trucks with us from Cherbourg on!

We had to go and inspect the cemetery and inspect the supplies coming in from the railroad. Then we’d have to make our reports to our colonel and he would report to Gen. Collins.

We had to get all the gas for the tanks and trucks. The 3rd Armored Division was attached to us. When we got to Paris we had run out of gasoline. So, we had to stay there for a while. The Red Ball Express, all black soldiers, would drive these trucks all night long. One of these guys was from Lafayette. He worked at a lumberyard. One time, he told me about the Red Ball. He said, “We had to put that damn truck to the floor; we’d go and unload then come right back and load up again.” He said, “Sometimes we’d go 24 hours without sleep, just rations.” They caught hell that Red Ball Express. But, they got the job done.

When General Collins would say, “Ned, I need some fresh eggs. Not just for me but for the whole unit.” So, I’d try to find an egg merchant. I found one in Carentan, France just below Ste-Mer-Eglise. This is where I met an egg merchant. I told him how many dozen we needed—I had the numbers all figured out. “Oh yeah,” he said. “We can fix that.” So he invites me into his house. “Come on, let’s have a drink,” he said. So, he pours some Calvados. It was the worst damn thing that I ever drank. It wasn’t the good stuff; it was the rotgut. He served it with coffee and man by the time I left I was so damn drunk. I got out of there in hurry, but anytime that I needed some more eggs I’d go back to him.

I spoke the language and the French people treated me right. But I was American and we were liberating them, so whatever we wanted, we could get.

We were on the outskirts of Bastogne and firing on the Germans. Patton came in with his tanks and rescued Bastogne.

We had made it to Germany and we were staying at a college there when the Battle of the Bulge broke out. When word came in that the Germans were making their move, we had to move and go back through Belgium.

I stayed with VII Corps until the Battle of the Bulge. After that I was transferred to the 54th Field Arillery Battalion.

In the 54th Field Artillery, we had three firing batteries with 105mm’s mounted on tanks. And we had to supply them with gas and oil and parts and whatever they needed. I had 6 trucks and jeeps to use every morning to move supplies. We had a guy who was the gasman. I believe he had 16 halftracks to go to the depot, load up, and transport it back to the vehicles.

When we took Cologne, Germany, our guns, three batteries, fired on the city for 24 hours. That whole day, this gasman and I would drive our trucks and halftracks to the depot, load up on gasoline, then drive back to the line.

We ended up in Nordhousen, Germany. That’s where we found a concentration camp. We didn’t know anything about then. I had never seen anything like it. Were we shocked? Shocked, oh my, my, my. We were attached to a regiment in the 3rd Armored Division, and they were the ones who found this place.

We went to Leipzig on the Elbe River; that’s when we met the Russians. There were thousands of these displaced persons from Poland and all over other parts of Europe. They were scattered all over in camps. After V-E day we were staying as the Army of Occupation and we had to transport these people to the Russians. We would load them up in trucks with all their clothes and belongings; they were pitiful looking—it was real sad. On the first trip that I made with my trucks, we brought maybe ten people per truck. I thought, “This ain’t gonna work.” So, on the second run, we hurried these people on their like cattle. They were pitiful. When we’d get to the Russian section to drop them off, there were these two big buxom women with rifles at the checkpoint. They would stop us and then come to inspect what we had on each truck. If you had a wristwatch on, you’d better make sure that it was in your pocket or they would swipe it from you. We didn’t want anything to do with these people. They were mean people.

When the war ended, the German people treated us better than the French did. We had liberated them, but I guess they had a different attitude.

I stayed in Europe until October and finally got out on points. I left from Reimes, France and rode on a Liberty ship through the Strait of Gibraltar and across the Atlantic. I landed in New York and was sent to Camp Shelby, Mississippi to be discharged. They wanted to promote me and keep me there. I told them, “Man, I just want to go home. I want to go home.” I took a bus to my brother’s house.

My poor sister-in-law was so glad to see me. See, she would go to this place in Lafayette where you could pack and seal foods to send overseas and I would get a package from her every week. This captain told me he wanted some Tabasco Sauce, so I wrote to my sister-in-law and she sent me three or four bottles. The first day that he tried it, I showed him how to use it and this captain said, “Wow man!” We were sitting around and these three officers were eating together. This one officer said, “Hey man, what is that?” I told him it was Tabasco sauce. He said, “Oh man, I understand that’s good stuff.” So he grabbed the bottle and started pouring it on and I said, “Hey podna! Wait! Wait! Go slow; that’s hot stuff!” When he tried it he said, “Oh yeah that’s hot stuff!” We all bust out laughing.

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; Army; Europe
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Ned Arceneaux
Recording date: 
Friday, April 9, 2004
Coverage Spatial: 
Lafayette, LA
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
00:34:01
Cataloged Date: 
Monday, August 20, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Monday, August 20, 2018
Original Format: 
Microcassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore - Drawer 20

Interview with Minos Armentor

Accession No.: 
TH1-004

Minos Armentor: Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot

-Starts with when Armentor remembers Pearl Harbor and brief summary of his service
-Was practicing law and was above the draft age but finally did enlist as an officer
-Went to New Orleans to the Naval Officer Procurement with another man, Wilbur Allain
-Armentor went to the Pacific as Allain went to the Atlantic
-Did training for a seaman in Tucson, Arizona and in Fort Schuyler, New York
-Then in Panama he got on an oil tanker and eventually to Okinawa (end of 1944)
-Never was in battle but hit 2 typhoons; lost a lot of men

-While in the Pacific gave out information; the big joke at the time was that they'd see the "Golden Gate '48," in that by 1948 they'd be able to see the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco again

-President Truman then dropped the 2 bombs and that was the end of the war
-So instead of getting back in '48, Armentor got back in the first month in 1945
-they were prepared to stay another 3 years and attack Japan
-Kamikaze planes would come over them in Okinawa Bay and they'd turn off all lights so then they couldn't crash into just one ship or any ship if they couldn't see

"Question: Where did all that oil, gasoline and petroleum your tankard had refuel for cargo?" (5:23)
-Had Panama oil tanker come and fill them up; some had enough for the fighter and merchant ships
-A lot of the oil came from the west coast, Alaska and Mexico
-Louisiana was not a part of the oil

"Question: When you were commissioned as an ensign, what month and year were you on the cargo vessel?" (7:45)
-May 1943 joined the Navy commissioned and then training
-Tucson was going through shortage of water so they could not go on ships
-Fort Schuyler was too close to the rocks to do anything except study
-At Panama for 3 months, on fishing vessels to protect the canal from the Japanese
-controlled the traffic from the Atlantic and Pacific

On the oil tanker (10:29)
-By the end of 1943 Armentor was commissioned to the oil tanker and was on there from 1944-1945
-It was a liberty ship tankard with really thin armor and had machine guns and depth charges
-Armentor was the stores and commissary officer and took care of the supplies and helped loading
-Ships would pull up aside to be refueled; aircraft carriers were the hardest

Back to Okinawa (14:24)
-Aircraft attacks from the Kamikaze; they wanted either ammunition ships or the tankards
-No escorts when travelling to be protected
-supply ships took different routes than the fighting ships or the fighting was finished before they reached there

The tankard (16:38)
-Armentor's cargo ship was a liberty ship called the Kangaroo, just oil
-100 crew member, 10-12 officers
-Could go 10-12 knots, real slow; had radar (maybe got it during the war)
-Was never attacked or ever saw battle; only ever fought was the winds and rain of the typhoons
-Many ships sunk from the typhoons

Route to Okinawa Bay (20:47)
-Left U.S. with fuel and stopped in Tulagi and then New Guinea and then Okinawa

"Where did you tank again?"
-Other tankards met them in midocean; they would just anchor and everyone else would come to them to refuel
-Hard parts were the hosing and cranks of the big pumps
-Okinawa was the final spot and if Truman hadn't dropped the bombs, they'd have gone into Japan
-Would follow the fleet

Talking of the careers of others, the people that have passed and retirement (24:20)

Back to the war (26:36)
-The bombs are dropped and Armentor was loaded onto an aircraft carrier on the tankard
-Had been at sea for mostly 2 years; only made one trip back home to be married
-On the way back (from leave) at San Francisco went on another ship (The Chotouk) to the other tankard
-Heading home (at end of war) went above the Hawaiian Islands and came down to San Francisco; the Arctic Circle more or less
-Took a plane or a train home can't remember

Talking and retracing his route again (31:00)

-Talking about Theriot's work and people interviewed (33:20)
-Someone's story about dealing with a bazooka
-The interview with Dr. Harry Bernard
-Telling of one of his stories of his rescue by submarine (pilot rescue)
-Talking about people they wish to interview or had interviewed
-Remark on a few people that had interesting interviews but do not go into detail

Cuts off into silence (40:24)

Meeting his friend (40:42)
-Met up with a buddy from Houma during the war
-He had heard that he was fighting in the mountains of Peleliu and Armentor wanted to see him
-Somehow he was able to come out of his post and waded out to the water and Armentor walked towards him
-Parted and he watched him go back to his post
-Then noticed a clam that was about 3-4 feet in length open (feeding), so he put a stick in its mouth to shut it before it got his legs
-Shocked Armentor that there was something that big and how close he got to having his legs snapped
-Friend was Bruce Hebert and was a good catcher for the baseball team

Ends Armentor interview; after is another interview on the bazooka story and a personal note (47:08)

Transcription:

Minos Armentor
Born Nov. 18, 1914
Interview 10-15-2001

LT. (j.g.) M. Armentor served as officer aboard oil tanker in Pacific.
He entered the service in May 1943.

I was practicing law at the time. (Beginning of WWII) I was above draft age. Finally the draft improved and I was ready to go into service as an officer, which I did. Wilbur Allain, from Jeanerette, and I went to the Naval Officer Procurement in New Orleans and we were both commissioned as ensigns. Wilbur went on to the Atlantic and I went to the Pacific.

Before that I spent 60 days of training in Tuscon, Arizona and 60 days of training in Fort Schuyler in New York. I trained for seamen ship, navigation, and all the things a naval officer should know. Ironically, Tuscon had a severe shortage of water. We hardly had enough water for showers. We really didn't have any ships to train with there. It was the same thing in New York. At least in New York, at Fort Schuyler, we were close to the water. While I was there I was able to ride the subway, and go to the Commodore Hotel on weekends. That was while we were off, the rest of the time we were studying to become officers.

Then I went down to Panama for about 3 months. I was stationed on the West Coast of Panama. We were assigned to fishing vessels; protecting the coast from the Japanese. They (Japanese) wanted to capture the Canal. Who ever controls the Canal controls the traffic from the Atlantic to the Pacific. They (Japanese) had plans in the works to attack the Panama Canal. So, we had a bunch of these fishing boats. There were two officers and about 14 sailors per ship. And we would go up and down the coast, about 15 miles from the Canal Zone. We had a machine gun on top, depth charges, to drop in case we came across submarines.

And then I got onto an oil tanker. Actually it was a liberty ship tanker- The Kangaroo. Very thin armor. There were about 100 crewmembers and about 10 or 12 officers on board. Those liberty ships were slow, only about 12 knots. We had machine guns in the back and depth charges. It was a tanker that would supply oil and diesel fuel to the fighting ships. We went down to the Solomon Islands. We were anchored off Tulagi. We were refueling those ships that were fighting the Japanese right there. And ships would come along side while we were anchored and we would fill them up. I was stores and commissary officer. I was in charge of loading all the supplies on board ship; food and every thing else, including the beer!

Tulagi was very popular place. We were able to get off and have a few drinks at the officers club there on the island.

From there I went to Treasure Island in the New Guinea area. Finally I ended up at Okinawa. Up until that I had not been in any battles or any danger. At Okinawa we had two Typhoons that we ran into. We lost a lot of lives. I had a good captain on the ship that I was on. And he kept our ship anchored, double-anchor, all throughout the Typhoon, against the wind of course- to keep from having our anchor line broken. Many ships capsized and a lot of sailors drowned. We were never attacked by the Japanese- only by Mother Nature. Of course that was just a few years ago. (Jokingly)

All the while in the Pacific we jokingly said, 'Golden Gate in '48.' We were hoping to get back to the Golden Gate (Bridge) in San Francisco in 1948.

I was able to come home on leave to New Iberia for about a week. I was married at that time, but when I got back to San Francisco, I was assigned to a new tanker-The Chotouk.

From Panama on into Guadalcanal, we had huge oil tankers come and fill us up, sometimes in mid-ocean. Some of those big tankers would have enough to fill up the fighting ships and merchant ships. We were a merchant ship more or less. A lot of that oil came from Alaska and Mexico. All of that oil came to merchant ships, commercial ships. Merchant tankers were loaded down with oil. It was crude oil, more or less. But others carried gasoline and diesel. This is the main reason why the Islands (Aleutian's) in the North Atlantic were so important. We had storage areas for oil all over the place: East Coast, West Coast, Panama, Midway Island, etc…

Aircraft carriers were hard to fuel up. We fueled up destroyers, cruisers, and landing craft too. We used hoses, cranes, and big pumps to distribute the oil to those ships.

We had no escorts. We traveled alone.

If President Truman had not dropped those two bombs on Japan we would have made the invasion of the home island. See we would move up as the fleet would move up. We would have lost thousands of American lives. But we were prepared to attack Japan if it came to that.

We had these Japanese Kamikaze planes come over where we were in Okinawa Bay. And we had over a thousand ships in this huge bay. Finally we all got smart enough to figure out- the hell with the Kamikaze- we will just put all of our lights out. When we got notice of the Kamikaze coming we put all of our lights out (aboard ship) and tend our battle stations. The next thing you know, the Kamikaze didn't know where to hit us, because they were coming to hit an individual ship. It was a personal thing with them (Kamikaze pilots). They were giving up their lives for this.

Thanks to President Truman, when he dropped those two bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. When he did that, it was the end of the war. We were then able to get back. I got back to the states, instead of 'Golden Gate in '48'; I got back in the December of '45.

To come home, I got on an aircraft carrier. I came into San Francisco Bay. I took a plane home from there.

I'll tell ya, us youngsters 84, and old timers 86, we're lucky we still hanging around.

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II: Navy; Pacific
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Minos Armentor
Recording date: 
Monday, October 15, 2001
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, LA
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
01:16:39
Cataloged Date: 
Monday, August 20, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Monday, August 20, 2018
Original Format: 
Microcassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore - Drawer 20

Interview with Roy Armentor

Accession No.: 
TH1-005

Andrew Roy Armentor; Jason Theriot; Mrs. Roy Armentor

-Spoke French all his life; there was even a few times when Armentor was sent home from school because he spoke only French
-By the time Armentor was a teenager, he was speaking English; taught his parents
-Armentor was out of high school working when WWII broke out; he had worked at the rice mill in the packing department
-On December 7, 1941 he was at home and heard about Pearl Harbor on the radio and his brother, who was in the Marines, was called immediately back from leave

-Armentor was drafted in February 1943
-Left Abbeville by bus and came to New Iberia and then Fort Polk
-He was the sole supporter for his family after the war broke out
-He had tried to volunteer with 3 friends at LSU but Armentor failed the eye test; did not want to go into the infantry but the Air Corps

Training (13:03)
-No one from New Iberia that he knew of made it to Polk with him
-Then went to Camp Butner in Durham, North Carolina took basic training there
-Came home on leave once after basic
-Thought they were well disciplined soldiers that stuck together; last company of the battalion all the time
-Armentor was a part of a group that volunteered for a special unit that spoke French and went to D.C. for more training
-altogether there was five in Armentor's group: Claude Galley, Nolan Frickey, an Allamon by the name of White from Perry, a Veilleux from Maine and Billadoux from Nova Scotia
-They asked them questions on whether they would be able to do certain duties, like jumping out a plane
-hazardous duties; they had no idea what they were getting into
-Lived in tents on the outskirts of Washington D.C., had a small potbelly stove to keep warm as it was snowing
-Ran 5 miles every morning, ate breakfast, exercises and then to classes

Then went into Maryland and then shipped to Norfolk, Virginia to go onto a big Liberty Ship and cross the Atlantic (28:43)
-At the time Armentor had tonsillitis and suffered from motion sickness; sailed for 15 days and 13 days he was sick
-Landed in Casablanca, North Africa and traveled by train through Oran to Algiers
-All the towns they went through they heard "C'est la guerre!" which meant "It's the war!"
-Stopped near the seashore for parachute training for 3 days and made 5 jumps
-Armentor always jumped in the middle or the rear to make sure everyone made it out; known as the static line out of a C-47
-They had a section of 30 men, but they had 15 men in their sub-section; Armentor stayed with the same 5 men he volunteered with
-They were a special reconnaissance battalion, part of the OSS (but they didn't know what that really meant)

Went to maneuvers with the French Foreign Legion in the Atlas Mountains (39:40)
-They had to live off the land in the fields and did not have rations; ate better this way as they knew how to cook
-Either they hunted or stole from the Arabs' gardens
-The French Legion were rugged people and were from North Africa, so all were black, but they had good communication with them
-Was easy to even talk with the people they met in towns, could order anything from places; a lot was donated though, like wine

First mission (50:50)
-First mission Armentor hurt his back and they landed in a field
-Assigned one night and flew over France but they did not find the signal so they had to go back to Algiers
-Reassigned another night with the French Marquis and the landing gear of the Liberty Bomber had trouble so they turned back around
-Third time they went, jumped out of a British Sterling; commanded by Lt. Weeks from Mississippi

-Armentor was a T-3 sergeant trained in demolitions; used pencil types and C-2 explosives
-They were equipped with a .45 pistol, a carbine rifle, trench knife, machete, a canteen, ammunition, grenades and rations
-explosives were dropped in containers with the men at the same time
-French Underground were tell them where to jump and then gathered up everything for them
-They jumped into the Castle Naizere, France in the Pyrenees that first night, supposed to be an 800 foot drop but it was a 500 feet fall
-it was dark and when the shoots went out
-they just fell and that's when Armentor hurt himself and was knocked out for a while; had to stay with a French family to heal

The French family (1:05:26)
-They were very serious and much against the German occupation forces
-They were like everyday people that anyone meets
-Had 2 story house, first floor had the cattle and second floor was the living space; very clean
-The family was very nice, "overly nice"; stayed there for about a week

After rejoining the group in the hills he was still too injured to go out with the group on a few missions (1:08:00)
-Near Carcassonne they were able to capture a few Germans, "a few bosses," one had a lot of money but he gave it to the French people;
-Armentor didn't believe he would ever make it back home so he kept nothing;
-the work they did was dangerous
-Did not know the mission in France was to stop any Germans from going into Spain as it was a haven for agents as it was a neutral country

Invasion of Southern France (1:11:58)
-They could hear the guns from Montpellier and on the radio they heard "le song liege et da vive" otherwise "the invasion has begun."
-Had 2 invasions, of Normandy and Southern France from over the Mediterranean
-Later on the group went to Grenoble while Armentor was sent to Marseilles and then Naples, Italy to a hospital (from his injury from the fall)
-Discharged and sent to below Naples at a repot depot to go with Patton's army as a replacement
-Armentor requested a 2 day leave and walked around the repot depot to see if he could find his group; he did and they took him the headquarters
-Hadn't seen his group for over a month and when he saw the colonel and told him that he was being shipped out with Patton but the colonel said he was going back home
-Out of the five that had signed up with him had all come back with him to the states

Speaking French in Combat (1:20:29)
-While in Toulouse at a hospital, the first night some German agents were shot trying to get in to kill Armentor as he was part of the French Underground
-He was always being moved around as the Germans were always targeting their group

Going Back (1:22:40)
-Stayed in the states for 30-35 days; still in a crouch
-Went back to Washington on the west coast then shipped out to India
-While in the Indian Ocean they got word of Roosevelt's death
-Once in India they went to Burma, flew over the Hump and into Kunming to start training a Chinese group (early 1944)
-While there in Kunming the bombs were dropped
-they were there training these men because there was to be a Chinese invasion on the coast

-Armentor was to go with his group and Lt. Weeks for a jump into China and the night before he was pulled out
-A major took his name off and sent him home; was supposed to be discharged a year ago
-Went back through India and through the Red Sea and Suez Canal back into the Atlantic
-That night of the jump it was cancelled as the bombs were dropped

-The five men that signed up together, Galley got shot through the hand and Armentor hurt his back, but all lived and came back home

Transcription:

Andrew Roy Armentor
804 Prioux St.
New Iberia, LA 70563
337-367-8823
Born: December 25, 1923
2477 Special Recon. Battalion/OSS
Southern France

I was born in Abbeville, Louisiana. My parents were French-speaking people and we spoke French all of our lives. We didn’t speak any English at home at all. Everyone around us spoke French; our friends, our neighbors, everybody spoke French. There was no way for us to learn English. In fact, when I went to school I was sent back home because I was a French-speaking student. They were trying to do away with the French-speaking language. I was sent back home three times for speaking French. I knew a little English, but I was going to continue going until they accepted me.

Once you know French, it stays with you all the time. Of course we speak a different language than the French-speaking people in France and in North Africa. It’s very close, but they speak what we would call a patios, which is a derivative from the French language, but they add words to it, like we add words over here. The French that we spoke in Abbeville when I was a young boy was on just about the same level as the language spoke when I went into the central part of France.

I was speaking English by the time I was a teenager. The schools that I attended growing up were made up of mostly French-speaking people. We were all Cajuns. In fact, there were very few who didn’t know any French. As the years progressed, we learned English because we had to, and then we’d try to teach it to our parents. We were all Cajuns alike in those days.

I was working when World War II broke out. We didn’t have government loans in those days; you either had money to go to school or you worked. We poor people, the Cajuns, we worked. I worked at United Gas for a while, then at the rice mill in the packing department.

On December 7, 1941, we were all home in the backyard because my brother had come home on leave from the Marines. We heard the news on the radio and he was immediately called back. We were not too impressed with what had happened, to be frank, because we didn’t know the actual meaning of it. We did realize that we were at war, however, we didn’t know what war meant. We had never been to war before. But because we had one in our family our view of war from then on was a little different.

Three of us tried to volunteer for the Air Corps. My two buddies made it my I didn’t. So I came back home and worked. I didn’t want to go into the infantry, but they drafted me anyway. I became a grunt instead…and I’m still a grunt! I was drafted in February 1943. I left from Abbeville and came to New Iberia. From there our group left on a bus and went to Fort Polk. From Polk I went to Durham, North Carolina, Camp Butner. It was rainy and cold, with ice-cickels, and we took basic there. We were becoming good soldiers, I would say, because we were very disciplined and we all worked hard. We came home on leave once, after basic (I got married), and when we returned that’s when all of this started to happen.

Wearing a full field pack, we would do about five miles in about 35 minutes. We were taught that if somebody dropped out, you would give your pack to another man, and you would pick up the other guy and carry him. We had a group of us that spoke French that became pretty good friends. This group of us volunteered for this special unit and we wound up in Washington D.C.

We saw some information that was posted on the bulletin board saying that the army was looking for volunteers who spoke French and other languages. So those of us who spoke French went to this meeting in a big auditorium and they spoke to us. They told us about the kind of work we would be doing and about what we would be expected to do. They asked us questions like whether we would jump out of an airplane. All together we were five; five French-speaking soldiers from south Louisiana; they were from Algiers, Merroro, Westwego, all from the New Orleans area, but Cajun nonetheless. One was Claude Galley, the other was Nolan Frickey, one was an Allamon, and a fellow by the name of White from Perry. There was also a Veilleux from the Maine area and Billadoux from up near Nova Scotia. They were from the Northeast but we all spoke French. And we all spoke the same French, the same patios. So we got along real well.

We all decided to volunteer for this special unit. Each one of us was investigated before we were accepted. The FBI investigated my background. The FBI came to Abbeville and contacted different people asking about my background. After the investigation we got our orders to move, and that didn’t take very long. And they didn’t give us too much information about it. All they wanted to know was if we would do hazardous duty, such as jumping into an area. We didn’t think about it too much, because when you are young, you didn’t think too much about things like that; you more or less thought about everyday life. I didn’t think about the hazardous duty we would be doing with this particular group; I had no idea. And I wasn’t the only one. None of us had any idea what we were getting into.

In November 1943, we got to Washington and we were assigned to these tents to live in. We didn’t have any special treatment; we were just regular soldiers. We lived in those tents with a little bitty potbelly stove to keep us warm at night when we would sleep. It was snowing and it was cold and we coonies didn’t know what snow was. In the mornings we would fallout with just a T-shirt, shorts, and jump boots. We’d run five miles every morning. We came in and had breakfast, took exercises, went to classes—demolition classes or knife-fighting classes—all kinds of classes. We even learned Kung Fu. It was really harsh training. But understand, we didn’t know anything about what was going on. I knew there were people experimenting with different types of explosives. They would invent it and we would try it out. We stayed there training for several months.

We went to Maryland to continue training. We were shipped out of Norfolk, Virginia on a great big Liberty Ship. We traveled across the North Atlantic on the thing and I had tonsillitis at the time—I’ll never forget that. We were all in a hole in the bottom of the ship and it was stuffy, it smelled like diesel fuel, and I suffer from motion sickness. This young doctor gave me an intravenous shot that didn’t go into my vain. It went all throughout my body. I had to strap myself in this bunk with my belt to keep myself from falling off. And that ship was rocking back and forth. We rocked and rolled across the Atlantic for 15 days.

We landed in Casablanca in North Africa. I couldn’t walk a straight line when I got off that ship. We traveled on these rail cars through Oran and into Algiers. It was a slow moving thing and it took us a few days to get there. It was moving so slow that we would jump off and walk for a little bit and relieve ourselves, and then jump back on. There was no beds, no bathrooms, and we ate C rations—those beautiful rations. The toilet was outside and you held on if you had to go do a number two and you did the best that you could. We traveled through the towns that way. C’est la guerre! That’s all we heard when we came through those town: “C’est la guerre.”

Our section encamped about 4 or 5 miles off the seashore. We were preparing for parachute training. We began preparing on a Monday thru Wednesday doing mock training: jumping out of planes, how to roll, what to do, how to hold your risers. On the fifth day, they brought us to the airport and we drew our shoots. We had two shoots, a main and a reserve. I was a sergeant so I jumped in the middle of the stick or the end of the stick. We were 15 men training for static line jump out of a C-47. Three days of training. On that first day, we jumped out, landed, rolled our shoots, put our gear in the trucks, went right back to the airport, drew another shoot, went back up again, and jumped out again. We made two jumps a day. I did well until the fourth jump. I was in the middle and the fellow who jumped after me jumped on my shoot and got his feet entangled in my shoot. We were coming down and my shoot wasn’t open. I looked down, then looked up and saw that his feet were caught, so I started whipping my risers until finally he got loose and my shoot blossomed. I came down and rolled right away. He landed and broke his leg.

The five of us stayed together in a section. We went to Algiers as a group, and we trained as a group, and we jumped into France as a group. We were a special reconnaissance battalion, part of the OSS, although that didn’t really mean anything to us.
We were briefed in Algiers and went on maneuvers in the Atlas Mountains with the French Foreign Legion. We lived off the land because we didn’t have enough rations to eat. But a “coonie” is hard to beat when he gets on the outskirts, living on the land. He knows what to steal; he knows what to kill. He knows what he likes and what he doesn’t like and he knows how to prepare it. All of us knew how to cook. We had goat and lamb and we’d hunt javalinas in the moonlight. We skinned them and cooked them. We’d steal vegetables from the Arab’s gardens. We’d raid the fruit trees and bring all that back to camp.

Those French were very rugged soldiers. They were dark-skinned Moroccans and they were very tough. Most of them were from North Africa and they all spoke French, the same kind of French that we Cajuns spoke, almost. So, we got along pretty good with them. We’d go into town every once in awhile and go to the burless shows. The actors would make fun of us because we were paratroopers, but we could understand their French. It was little jokes about us, but we knew. We could go into the communities and drink all the wine that we wanted; we could order anything at the restaurants. We paid for it all, but very little. Sometimes the five of us would go into the little towns and the people would give us wine and bread. The wine was very plentiful in North Africa, very plentiful…too plentiful!

I would rather be in the paratroopers than any other branch of the service. You were on your own and you were with a group. And you operated with this small group. We never worked with a large group. We worked with a group of British Commandos while we were there, too. All of us—the French, British and Americans were all Special Forces training in that area.

Prior to us, there was another OSS unit formed in England. They were jumping into France and working with the French Underground, the Marquis, gathering information and wiring it back. Sam Broussard was apart of that.

We were trained in demolitions, to cut rails for trains, blow up bridges, how to attack a column. It was a hit and run deal—we’d hit, then run, but we stayed in. We’d jump into a section and conduct our mission and then regroup to go to attack another section. We never stayed in the same area very long. And we did all of this in conjunction with the French Underground, because they gathered the information for us and then we prepared the attacks and went to work.

On our first mission into France we flew in a British Halifax over our jump area, but we couldn’t find the signal on the ground. So we had to come back. We had gone from Algiers, across the Mediterranean and into France and we had to come back. We were reassigned for another night to jump in with the French Marquis. Their job was to light up a section for us to jump into at night. On that second time, we made it over the Mediterranean, and then our plane—a British Liberty bomber—had trouble with the landing gear. So, we had to turn back around. The third time was on British Sterling. We got the signal over the area and we jumped out of the bomb bay. You would sit in a line on the floor and scoot up until you got over the hole and then you just fell out of the plane. You see, the C-47 could not make that trip on two engines. We had to fly in the big bombers to get us there.

We were one plane, one stick, commanded by Lt. Weeks from Mississippi. I was a T-3, a sergeant, trained in demolitions. We used pencil types and C-2 explosives. You could apply this explosive like a putty and you could cut a rail with just a little piece of it. All 15 of us had the same training, the same skills, same weapons, same specialty, and we all spoke French. The one thing that I carried that I wish I would not have was this bush knife—a machete. It was a long blade with an arrow point. We should have never had that, because we were so overloaded. You had grenades, you had your gun, you had your parachute, and you had a little pack. It was all a bit too much. But I guess that’s what we needed.

I had a .45 pistol and a carbine rifle with a folding stock. I had a trench knife, that machete, a canteen, ammunition, grenades and rations. Our explosives were dropped with us in these containers. Both the men and the material were dropped at the same time. The Underground was there waiting for us. They would secure the area from the Boch. They gathered everything on the jump, including our chutes and our containers and they threw all that into wood-burning trucks, and that’s how they powered their automobiles. We would gather ourselves and go into the mountains with them. They had a headquarters up in the Pyrenees Mountains. We jumped into Castle Naizere, France that first night.

We jumped into the southern part of Aude and we worked our way up in Toulouse. We did a lot of work in Carcassonne. On our first mission in southern France, we started off out in the open, in a field. I didn’t think too much about our position and I wasn’t the only one. As I’d go around checking each man, they all felt the same way: “We’re too much in the open. We’re too much in the open.” But you are taught and disciplined to the point that you obey your commanding office and he tells you ‘this is it and that’s it.’ But we were fortunate. At dusk it happened… and it didn’t last very long. The column turned and they went another way. We regrouped up in the mountains and prepared for another mission.

We were supposed to make an 800-foot jump into the Pyrenees. But it ended up being about a 500-foot fall. We jumped out and our chutes blossomed. It was dark and we landed in this area. We all converged with the French Underground and moved out.

I injured myself when I landed. The landing knocked me out, but I came to shortly after. Our medic, Guion from Mississippi, fixed me up. I went into the headquarters and then went down into the village with the French people. I stayed with a French family. The man was le guard de forrestia—a forest ranger. He wanted my rifle but I couldn’t give it to him. He had never seen a carbine and I’ll always regret not giving it to him, but I would not have had a rifle to protect myself. So I gave him my machete. Damn right. I’m glad that I gave it to him because it was a pain to carry around.

The French were very serious people and they were very much against the German occupation. They were like everyday people that you would meet, just like our neighbors that we had growing up in Abbeville. They took me into the safety of their home. They had an upstairs where they lived. Downstairs they kept their cattle and made their milk and butter down there. In other words, the dairy part was down below where they lived. But everything was spotless, clean, well taken care of. They were very, very nice to me; overly nice, you could say. The wife tried various kinds of medicinal things to relieve the pain. I’d exercise every day for a week or so. The rest of my unit was up in the hills and eventually I joined them. That was the last time that I saw that French family. I am very sorry that I did not get their names because I would like to have communicated with them after the war. This was in Castle Nazaire.

I rejoined my group up in the hills, but I was still too injured to go out on a mission. From there we went to different sections.

We captured a few Germans, a few bosses, near Carcassonne and brought them into the French. I captured one who must have been a gambler. He had a purse full of money. So I took the money and gave it to the French people. I was so sure that I wasn’t coming back home. I didn’t think that I would ever make it back.

Our job was different from a regular GI. We lived in danger…there was danger around you all the time. Our mission was to stop the Germans from getting into Spain, more or less, but we didn’t know that at the time. We only knew what we had to do on these missions. Spain was a haven for agents; it was a neutral country, a free country. Anybody could go into Spain. We had a hand radio to communicate back and forth with the army. The only ones who really knew what was really going on were the radioman and the commanding officer. He told us what to do and that was it.

When the invasion of Southern France had commenced, we could hear the guns from Montpellier, because we were just north of the city. And we could hear the guns very plainly and we knew something was happening. We also heard on the radio, “le song liege et da vive”—the invasion has begun. And we heard that on the radio all day long.

Later my group went on the Grenoble and I went down to Marseilles. From there I was sent to a hospital in Naples, Italy. I was later discharged from the hospital and shipped to a repot depot. I was destined to go in with Patton’s Army as a replacement. I was waiting to be shipped out and so I requested a two-day leave. I started walking and I told myself, You’ve got to walk around and spot your group’s number on a truck or something. And sure enough, as I walked, I saw this truck coming down the road and on his bumper was the Special Recon number #2477. I got in the middle of the road and I stopped him I told he to take me to the headquarters and I told him why. So I got in the truck and passed right by the repot depot on our way. We drove a few miles and there was my headquarters. I had not seen my unit in over a month. I got in and requested to see the colonel. I went in and he recognized me. I told him that I was being shipped out with Patton’s Army. He said, “No you not. You’re going back home.”

One of our guys, Galley had got shot and one of the lieutenants was killed. The boy from Maine got in a confrontation with some Germans and he got out of it all right. All five of us, the original group, came back to the States.

I was in a hospital in Toulouse. There was a nurse who took care of me. The first night I was there, the French had shot some German agents who were trying to get into the hospital to get me. She told me about it the next morning. These Germans were on our tail all the time because we were with the French Underground. If those Germans would have got into that hospital, that would have been it for me. I would not have come back; they would have done it right there in the room. But I was very fortunate.

I left from Italy and came back to the States. I stayed in the States for 30 days. I was still in a crouch from my injury. I was sent to the west coast. The people up there used to marvel at us because we would run all the time. They said we were the runningist outfit you ever saw. We’d run through the compounds. We went across the Pacific and into the Indian Ocean. We were enroute to India when Roosevelt died. We went to India, then to Burma, flew over the Hump, and went into Kunming. We landed in Kunming and started training Chinese troops. While I was there we dropped the bomb. We were training to make a jump during the invasion of the Chinese coast. We were training these Chinese boys, but they hadn’t the slightest idea what they were doing.

I was destined to go out with Lt. Weeks. We were all there up in the mountains again. The same group. All five of us were together again. The night before we drew our equipment, my name was called out, and that was it for me. This major saw my name on the jump roster and pulled me out. He said, “I going to send you home; you should have been discharged a year ago.”

From India, through the Suez Canal, through the Mediterranean and across the Atlantic, we traveled. On my way back, the bomb was dropped. Lt. Weeks eventually jumped in with another group into to China.

The five men that went all made it back. I hurt my back, Galley got shot in his hand. This lieutenant, who had joined us in the latter part, got killed. The original five all made it back.

A lot of those people thought of us as a “frog, with webbed feet.” A lot of them believed and still believe today that we go around and communicate in pirogues and bateaus down the bayous. We were looked down on because we were from Louisiana; they thought they were better than us. But I was never downhearted about speaking French. I was always proud of speaking

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II: Special Recon Unit; Europe; French Underground
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Roy Armentor
Recording date: 
Saturday, February 14, 2004
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, LA
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
01:31:33
Cataloged Date: 
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Original Format: 
Microcassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore - Drawer 20

Interview with Larry Aucoin

Accession No.: 
TH1-006

Larry Aucoin
Jason Theriot

-Born in the Philippines and was almost 8 years old when they went into the civilian prison camp in June 1942
-Family from New Iberia; both sides
-After his little sister was born, the Japanese started taking over; they were on the Island of Negros
-When the Japanese began island hopping, Aucoin's father heard that if they made it to the mountains a submarine would come and bring them to Australia
-they stayed there for a couple of weeks and then decided to take their chances in the camps
-Their first camp, the camp commandant was a graduate from UCLA that spoke English and French as well;
-a lot of the Japanese had been educated in America and did not believe they'd win the war, only the lower ranking soldiers did
-They were fairly nice to the civilian prisoners, so as long as they were treated with respect; like bowing when meeting

Before the Japanese came, the Aucoin family lived on the island of Negros and his father was a sugar mill manager (5:24)
-The whole island was dedicated for sugar making
-a Philippine company owned it and the boss would still give his father money so he could buy extra food in the camp
-They stayed in a civilian prison camp and never saw any soldier prisoners
-119 civilian prisoners from the island of Negros (American, Australians, British, and Canadians) were sent to Manila, to the camp Santa Tomas, which had a little over 8-7,000 prisoners and at the end of the war it was probably 4,000, many had died from stress and malnutrition

-The Filipinos were disturbed how the foreigners had been put in these camps
-they'd pass along news but the Japanese made sure to only highlight when they had won a battle with the Allies
-Yet with each time the Americans/Allies were beat, the battles were closer and closer to where the Philippines were so the adults in the camps were able to keep track of war through this method
-From November 1944 to February 1945 the Navy was near Manila and would bomb them daily
-fighter pilots would fly over the camps and drop their goggles with messages and news

The 1st Marine Cavalry came into the camp to liberate them (14:00)
-Set up a pounding of the Japanese and they retreated
-Japanese outnumbered the American, but they didn't know that

Life in the Camp (16:04)
-They had never tried to escape, the Japanese made it clear if caught you were tortured and publicly executed
-there was no place to go on an island anyway
-At first when they were picked up, in the camps they had family friends from the same island
-In Manila at camp Santa Tomas the men and teenage boys were separated from the women and children at night
-Had breakfast, hardly anything for lunch and then a supper
-Food ration from towards the end of the war:

Breakfast
1 cup of watery mush (watered down rice)
Weak coffee
Lunch
1 cup of soybean soup
Dinner
1 cup of boiled sweet potato leaves
1 cup of gravy

-His father weighed 120 lbs. when they were liberated
-In the beginning the food wasn't bad and they could pay for extra from the locals but at the end of the war, paid food was taken away and meals rationed
-The locals did as much as they could to support them
-Aucoin's father had connections in Manila as he worked there before

After the Fact (23:10)
-The one thing that has really bothered Aucoin was that the Japanese Nesi got $20,000 tax-free for spending 3 years in the internment camps in Arizona and had three meals a day compared to what they had in the Philippines
-Aucoin had also found out that his father in 1941 tried to get them back into the states but was denied by the American Embassy
-They were not allowed to leave as Roosevelt felt that if there was mass fleeing it would demoralize the Filipinos;
-Americans were told to stay there for the good of the country but were treated worse than the Japanese Neisi and not paid for it like them
-Roosevelt wanted to get involved in the war and the Japanese were his ticket in, so they had the Americans in Philippines stay in hopes to use the Philippines prisoners as an excuse for going to war;
-got Pearl Harbor instead
-After the war, his father spent a lot of time with Senator Long going through documents in Congress trying to prove that this happened, but at that time everything was classified

Back to Prison Camp Life (26:22)
-Went to school for half a day and was taught by Belgian nuns and when they went "home" their father would teach them
-When liberated and going back to America Aucoin was shocked to find they had to go to school all day long
-Aucoin stayed with the smaller children and women in the camp and on their side there was a chicken coop that he'd crawl into to wait for eggs; always hungry
-They had 50-acres of land to play on in the camp, so to Aucoin it did not feel like they were prisoners but he did understand that they were being held against their will
-He can only imagine the worry his father had trying to feed all of them
-They played a few games like soccer and the Japanese would organize boxing matches between the kids for entertainment
-They had their own structure of government/medical treatment within the camp; their own laws and justice
-Santa Tomas camp was a university before the war, so the buildings were set up as dorms, medical treatment centers, etc.
-The weather was a tropical climate

Liberation (41:17)
-Was in the camp when the Japanese surrendered
-Aucoin was more interested in the planes with the rising sun on their wings flying over; no American planes till mid 1940s
-The planes were flying over but no air raids were made so no one (prisoners) could figure out why until someone saw the star on the planes when the marines landed and started pushing back the Japanese (but they didn't know that)
-That night their camp was liberated, a tank broke down the gate and began firing, scattering the Japanese and prisoners
-But they seemed to know where the Japanese went and as they all holed up in one building; they were there for 2 days before surrendering
-The prisoners hid under their cots waiting to be told to get out and then escorted out to occupied sections of Manila
-Had to go on a diet as the food the Americans had was too rich and everyone got sick
-They left Manila to the island of Leyte that was an army convalescent camp and injured soldiers center
-kids had it made there as the soldiers would "adopt" them and give them whatever they wanted

They eventually got on a transport ship to San Francisco that was going for supplies (51:48)
-They came back to the U.S. with nothing; their home on the island of Negros had still not been liberated
-When it was decided that the Japanese would be able to captured them, Aucoin's father buried a bunch of valuables they had under the house;
-the house was burned but a few friends/servants managed to send a few things back
-Aucoin or his family have never been back to the Philippines or the island of Negros; after the war it became dangerous
-Aucoin found some papers from his father and found a document that showed they were given $400 for the three years in the camp
-From San Francisco they took a train to New Orleans and stayed at his late grandfather's home
-He had died in April while they were still on the island of Leyte and missed the funeral

-The only big memory that Aucoin has of the camp is that he was always hungry and didn't understand why they couldn't have more food
-Slept well at night and woke up at 6ish in the morning and was kept busy with lessons or working in the gardens
-Aucoin remembers that they could have all the peanuts they wanted in the beginning as the Japanese thought it was cattle feed until someone told them otherwise and the peanuts were taken away;
-they fed them soybeans instead as the Japanese fed their cattle soybeans (was used to make the prisoners lose face)
-Kids would make up games or played in the mango trees
-The Japanese were never cruel physically to the civilian prisoners unless "someone asked for it"

Transcription:

Larry Aucoin
Born: November 22, 1934
POW-Philippines

I was very small, about 7 years old, when the Japanese attacked the Philippines. I was born in the Philippines. My dad, Lawrence Aucoin, was from Morbahan, and my mother, Adele Hebert, came from Franklin. We went into the prison camp in June '42. My youngest sister, Dorothy, was born in April of that year (My other sister, Sylvia, was only 4 years old at this time). We were captured on the island of Negros, which is farther south of Luzon.

After the Japanese started taking over the islands, my father was told that if we hid in the mountains, a submarine would eventually come and bring us to Australia. We gave it a try, but after a couple of weeks in the mountains with a newborn, he decided that it wasn't worth it. He hoped that the Japanese would be more civilized than what a lot of people said they were.

For the first ten months, we lived in the Bacolod Internment Camp on the island of Negros. The first camp commandant, Colonel Ota, was a graduate of UCLA. He spoke French and English and my father said they used to talk about the war. The commandant said that after living in the United States, he knew there was no way that the Japanese were going to win the war. He had seen the industrial capabilities of the US and knew that the Japanese could not win. But, he was a soldier and by nature he had to obey orders. There were quite a few Japanese soldiers that had been educated in America and they also really didn't think that they would come out on the winning side at the end. I guess the lower ranking soldiers believed that they were invincible.

The basic thing that they wanted was respect. We had to bow every time we came across a Japanese soldier. If you did not bow, you were slapped. For the most part, that was all the abuse that the families got. I know it was much worse for the American soldiers. The captured soldiers were treated horrible. The Japanese proved that with the Batan Death March.

As long as we treated them with respect, that was all that they really cared about. I guess, in a way, we were more of a pain in the neck to them, because they had to house us and feed us and we were moved around a lot.

Before the Japanese came, we lived on the island of Negroes, where my father was a sugarmill manager. The whole island was dedicated to producing sugarcane and still is today. A Philippine company owned this mill. In fact, that's what helped us survive in the prison camps. His boss, Louis Osorio, a Filipino and the owner of the sugarmill, would give money to my dad to buy food. The Japanese wouldn't feed us much, but if you had money they would let you buy food from the natives, and the Japs would take a cut of the sale.

There were 119 civilian prisoners on the island of Negroes: American, Australian, British, and Canadian. On March 7, 1943, after five days of waiting at Bacoldo Harbor on a small, filthy freighter, the "Naga", we left for Manila. This trip took three days and upon arrival at Manila, on the island of Luzon, we were taken by truck to a prison camp. Santa Tomas, the camp in Manila, was a university before the war, and it held over 4,000 prisoners. At the end of the war there were maybe 3,500. The rest had died from stress and malnutrition.

All the men in Santo Tomas were required to work in the camp garden for four hours a day. This garden was used to feed the prisoners. We grew sweet potatoes and made soup with the leaves. We never did eat potatoes, because they took too long to grow. We had to have something right then! Something, anything with calories. The Japanese let us eat all the peanuts we wanted, they thought that was cattle feed, or food for their horses. But when they found out it was the most nutritious thing to eat, they cut that out right quick. So we ate a lot of soybeans, again cattle feed for the Japanese and loss of face for us. My sisters and I would get the same amount of beans every day. And every bean was important.

During the war, the Red Cross was sending food parcels to the prisoners. After we were liberated, we found out that the Japanese had stored up all this food in a building next to the prison camp. They were using it for their own supply. Whenever an international Red Cross committee would come to visit, the Japanese would hand out a little bit of that food, so they could say that the food was getting to us.

Everybody was treated the same at meal servings. The only difference with my family was my father's boss gave him money, and we used that money to supplement our diet. At the end of the war an egg was going for $12. A can of evaporated milk, if you could find one, was going for $150. If you were starving to death, a can of milk, diluted with water, might mean the difference in someone continuing to live for a while.

I can remember hiding in a bamboo area where there was a chicken coop. I'd crawl in the bamboo and wait for the chickens to lay eggs. Then and I'd steal the eggs. We were limited to what we could do, and we were always hungry. I understood that we were held against our will, but it didn't feel like a prison camp. As kids we played soccer and had boxing matches to entertain the camp. We had a 50-acre plot of land that we were free to roam around in, but I was too young to really realize the seriousness of what was going on around us. The worries that my dad must have had trying to figure out how to feed the four of us.

We were able to get some news, but the Japanese always censored it. They always slaughtered the American forces in battle. They never lost a battle against the allies, but the battles were always fought 50-100 miles closer to Manila, than they were the week before. So we knew the Americans were getting closer, that's how we were able to keep up with the war. We could get the printed news, after it was censored.

From November '44 to February '45, I guess the navy was close enough to bomb Manila daily. Every once in a while, a navy pilot would fly over us and throw his goggles out of the cockpit with a message or news to let us know that they knew we were there and they hadn't forgot us. The Filipino people kept us informed a good bit. When we would read about such and such battle, the adults would go to the library and look at the maps to locate the American forces. The Japanese always claimed they were winning, but the battles were always getting closer.

We never did think about escaping. The Japanese had made that very clear to us from the beginning. There weren't a lot of guards around to watch us all day long, but if you went over that wall, and got caught, you would wish to God that you never born. Early on, a few people did escape, but where are you going to go on an island with a hundred thousand Japanese. They were caught, tortured and publicly executed.

In Manila, at Santa Tomas, all the men and teenage boys slept in one part of the camp, and the women and young children slept in another part of the camp. For the most part, they kept the families together. We made friends with some of them. Most of my father's friends were French or British and we became friends with their families.

In the beginning we had breakfast, not much lunch, and a supper. The food at the beginning wasn't too bad, but towards the end that got worse. This was another way that we could tell the Japanese were losing the war. The food rations were less towards the end. By the end, we couldn't even buy certain foods, because it wasn't available. Up until December '44, we ate about 1400 calories a day. After that, food rations were reduced to:

Breakfast
1 cup of watery mush (watered down rice)
Weak coffee

Lunch
1 cup of soybean soup

Dinner
1 cup of boiled sweet potato leaves
1 cup of gravy

On February 3, 1945, the Americans finally liberated our camp. I can remember that night, when soldiers from the 1st Marine Cavalry, 37th Infantry, and the 44th Tank Battalion came to our camp. They arrived about 6 days ahead of MacArthur's main military forces. Leonard Breaux, from Loreauville, was in the 1st Marine Calvary (43rd Combat Engineers). He was there. They came in with 17 tanks from the 44th Tank Battalion, and the Japanese in Manila, who out numbered the Marines 10 to 1 or more, thought that this was the main force, so they retreated to the other side of the river. They could have counterattacked the Americans and easily wiped them out. When the Marines came in and took the control of the camp, all the Japanese guards in our camp holed up in one of the buildings. They had a ton of gunfire going on. The Japanese had a machine gun and they were firing over the wall of the camp. My family was in our barracks under our beds the whole time. We finally were able to say, "The Americans are here!"

The first American tank broke through the iron gate and came into the camp. Wherever the tanks saw a Japanese guard, they fired their machine guns at them. The Filipino Guerillas must have informed the Americans as to how many guards were there, and were they were. These tanks surrounded the building that the Jap guards were in. The fanatical Japanese camp commandant ran out of that building with his samurai sword and went on a bonsai charge at that first tank. They mowed him down. The Americans eventually let the Japanese soldiers go to another part of Manila, where the Filipino Guerillas were waiting for them. Six of them surrendered, and the rest were killed.

The Japanese garrison at Manila was defeated on February 27, 1945 and we left the camp some time after that. I was 10 years old by then. When we got out I must have weighted about 60 pounds. My dad weighed 120 pounds. We went to the island of Leyte for a few months and stayed at an army convalescent camp. This was a place for injured soldiers and the kids had it made over there. There would be three or four soldiers that would adopt you, and I never ate so much ice cream in all my life. I stayed in contact with one soldier, Harmon Ansevin, through letters for a good while.

We took a transport ship back to San Francisco. We came back with nothing! My father had buried some valuables under our house on Negros, but the Japanese burned the house down. The Filipinos were able to find the buried items lot and sent us back some of my mother's china and jewelry.

When I was in the prison camp, we went to school for half a day, and my father would teach my sisters and I the other half. There were some Belgian nuns who taught us in the morning. When I got back to the states, and found out that they had school all day long, I was devastated. I didn't want to go to school for a full day.

In 1941 my father tried to get us back to the United States. The American Embassy wouldn't let us go back to America, because President Roosevelt decided that if there was a mass exodus of American and British personnel from the Philippines this would demoralize the Filipinos. When you went to the Embassy to apply to go back home they would say "No can do. You have to stay here." I feel that we were treated worse than the Neisi's in America were. As Americans, we were told, for the good of our country we had to stay here, so we would not demoralize the Filipinos. We had servants at our house, because we could afford them. Our Japanese servants told my parents, before it all started, that the Japanese were going to start a war with America. They knew it was coming. My father wanted to send all of my mother and us kids back to the states, while he would stay behind, but our Embassy wouldn't let us leave.

Roosevelt didn't evacuate any Americans from the Philippines because he wanted to get the US involved in the war, and the only way he could do that was to have Japan do something that would instigate it. Well, he got his wish at Pearl Harbor! I don't think he figured that it would be that horrible. He could have gotten us out of the Philippines, easily, but he didn't. He wouldn't do it! After the war, my dad spent a lot of time with Senator Long going through documents in Congress trying to prove that this happened, but at that time everything was classified, top secret. Now, it is probably declassified, but who gives a damn! Most of those people are dead!

One thing that has really bugged me is that the Japanese Nesi got $20,000 tax-free for spending 3 years in camps in Arizona. They had three solid meals a day and I guarantee it was nothing like what we had. After my father passed away I went through his papers and I came across a legal document, which showed that he collected about $400 for the three years that my sisters and I were interned in the prison camps. That's all! God bless the "Penny Pinching" Democrats, because I sure will not!!

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II: Civilian Prisoner of War; Philippines
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Larry Aucoin
Recording date: 
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, LA
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
01:07:43
Cataloged Date: 
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Original Format: 
Microcassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore - Drawer 20

Interview with Ned Badeaux

Accession No.: 
TH1-007

Ned Bradeaux; Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot

(The end of another interview)

-Looking at pictures

Question: Did other members of you family hear of this story of you as you told us?

No
My brother (Nelson) was in the battle of North Africa; we never talked about it

-Talking of another interviewee (1:25)
-How glad he was to finally talk about it

-Photos of Nelson (2:15)
-He was in the 82nd Air Division
-Anzio Beach, Belgium, Germany

-Photos of others and a book (3:38)
-Talking about these people

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Ned Badeaux
Recording date: 
Saturday, July 29, 2000
Coverage Spatial: 
Lafayette, LA
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
00:06:18
Cataloged Date: 
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Original Format: 
Microcassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore - Drawer 20

Interview with Mrs. Nelson Badeaux

Accession No.: 
TH1-008

Mrs. Nelson Badeaux; Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot

-Nelson was stationed in California
-Mrs. Badeaux was very young during the war, in high school
-She met Nelson in the summer 1945 while he was on rotation and was going back to Europe
-He was in the 82nd Airborne Division and before he was in the National Guard 156 Company and left it in 1940
-He left the Guard as he was in the infantry and decided that he wanted to parachute instead

Talking about the history and looking at photos from a book (4:00)

-Remembers him saying that in England the weather conditions were so bad they could not jump during an invasion in Holland
-Before he was in Africa, then to Italy and then England

Looking at a book and photos (5:48)
-Talking about a few people she knew of in the photos

-Nelson was the oldest son, his brother Ned Badeaux was younger and they looked very much alike
-Nelson died in August 1979 from a heart attack

Nelson in the Desert (10:20)
-Tells them to refer to some books as he never told her
-Looking at photos and the books
-He might not have been in the 82nd yet when they were in Africa; might have been training at the time
-(Much debating on whether he was there or not; looking at the book)

Talking about family and kids (16:30)
-Looking at the books and photos
-(She answers a phone call; Theriot read from the book aloud)

Back to interview (28:50)
-Consulting the book on Nelson's company
-While in Holland he did have to attack a few bridges; Bastogne
-(Debating on the company and what the book says; the 101st and the 82nd)

She met him when he was on rotation/ leave and he was to go back to Europe when the war ended (38:44)
-Had been in the service for almost 5 years and was due some rest
-He might have been in communications and when he came out of service he worked at the LineMen; climbed poles
-Looking at pictures in the book

Cuts off to silence (40:20)

Picks up on her remembering a visit they had to New Orleans with another couple (40:40)

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II: 82nd Airborne Division; Africa; Europe
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Mrs. Nelson Badeaux
Recording date: 
Monday, January 20, 2003
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, LA
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
00:48:06
Cataloged Date: 
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Original Format: 
Microcassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore - Drawer 20

Interview with Colonel Leonard Barrow, Jr.

Accession No.: 
TH1-009

Col. Leonard Barrow, Jr.; Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot

Appointed as a flying cadet in February 1938 at Randolph Field; flying school by March
Randolph Field was in San Antonio and was the only flying school in the U.S.
Went over to Kelly Field to specialize; Barrow was in the attack-aviation
Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps Reserve, February 1, 1939
Then went to Barksdale Field in Shreveport and was assigned to the 3rd Attack group; flew A-17A attack bomber

Married in 1940 to a daughter of a WWI veteran
Moved to Savannah when the war broke out later in October; flew A-20 light bomber, fastest plane at the time
Went all over the U.S. for maneuvers; they could see the war was coming
War did break out and Barrow's outfit was spilt 2-3 times
First time Barrow went to the West coast and flew dive bombers

Remembering Pearl Harbor (6:27)
Was having lunch with his father-in-law and wife, on a Sunday His father-in-law got a phone call and was excited to tell them that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor; he went immediately to the air base and Barrow soon left too
They were shocked that the Japanese were able to pull off such an operation

Worked for several months on the anti-submarine dive patrol
Flew about 200 miles over the Atlantic everyday
Very poorly equipped, no depth chargers, just 500 lbs bombs that if dropped to close to the water would blow them up too
Christmas Eve Barrow did see a periscope lined up to a United Fruit Liner, between Georgia and Florida; strafed it as he was too low to bomb it
The 8th Air Force was activated in Savannah and Barrow was taken out and put into them (9:25)
By March his old outfit went to Australia; the first outfit was caught in the Philippines He stayed at the Headquarters and in early June flew Gen. Duncan, the Commander, to D.C.

Gen. Duncan found he had been reassigned to the Chief of Staff (10:57)
Flew to Fort Dix, New Jersey for a week long training and then to New York
In New York got on the Queen Elizabeth to go to Scotland by late June Went to the airfield of Chelveston; transferred to the operations office in the headquarters in London; eventually moved out to Bushy Park
Operation officer for a B-17 wing and for training but had never been in one; sent back to the 8th Air Force later
Put out training programs and mission trainings and was sent around to the British airfields

November 1942 (17:11)
Was sent to Saint Eval, RAF station, to supervise the passage of airplanes that were going to the invasion in North Africa Heart of the British defense was the radar; could now spot airplanes before they got into earshot
Had air-defense-centers along the coast looking for Germans and run the operations
When they got there to Britain, the Battle of Britain of 1940 had already happened so attacks from the Germans on England were more nuisance attacks at night
By the end of November (1942) Barrow's operation had ended

North Africa (24:40)
His father-in-law took over a troop carrier wing and asked Barrow to transfer to him
Wanted flying time so he asked to be transferred; went back to Bushy Park to be sent out to North Africa (funny story of killing a King's deer 26:36)
Was transferred to North Africa but had to find his own way there; there were some P-38s in Ireland with no pilots
Called the Fighter Command and asked he could fill a spot and was given the okay: had to get there himself by his plane (another story 31:40)
Reaches Northern Ireland and was tasked with looking over the last 6 remaining planes until he could get over to North Africa
Flew down to Saint Eval after the New Year and then followed a B-26 to Gibraltar and continued on to Oran (8 hours and 5 minute flight)
Then went up to Tunisia to a P-38 base but didn't want to work there so caught a ride to Algiers
Met up with his father-in-law, who shipped him out Mostagenum to a troop carrier squadron of C-17s to drop paratroopers and gliders
Invasion of Sicily (52:40)
Towed gliders from Tunisia to Sicily at night; strong winds, bad maps and the navy shot up everything
Second night dropped paratroopers over Mount Etna; navy shot down 37 C-47s (friendly fire)
On the first night Barrow led the group and was later awarded the DFC and the Air Medal
It was an experience on joint amphibious operations; but bad communication
Then spent the next 2 weeks flying in and out of Sicily
Moved the outfit to Italy

Invasion of Italy (57:18)
Landed on the Salerno beachhead with supplies
Made serval trips for supplies (might have brought back wounded)
Reassigned as the executive officer and 2 weeks later Barrow gets orders to go back to the U.S. (October 1943)
Reported to Sedalia, Missouri to get his pilots; but no planes Moved to Alliance, Nebraska and stayed there till March 1944 and then to Pope Field at Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Worked with the 13th Airborne Division dropping paratroopers
Missed D-Day

Went overseas in January of 1945 (01:03:59)
Supported Patton; hauled fuel and supplies
Then in May went over to England to pick up British men and flew to Copenhagen, Denmark
Germans were still there at the airfield; wild experience--the Danish executing Quislings, Germans passing by in trucks, parties, etc.
That night they found out the war had ended and flew back to France the next morning

War Ended (01:11:18)
Part of the white project for Japan; went back to the U.S. first
Went out to the west coast to California and had to wait 30 days till the planes could come in and then head out to Okinawa Bay
While waiting the war in Japan had ended Still had orders to go but a friend that told Barrow to ignore the orders as he had the only intact troop carrier group left and things were too hectic
Few days later sent to Austin, Texas for a year

Stayed in the Air Force for 32 years, also serving in the Korean and Vietnam wars

Transcription:

Leonard Barrow, Jr.
Born: February 25, 1917
Retired Air Force Colonel
C-47 Pilot for the Invasion of Sicily
4104 Walnut Dr.
New Iberia, La. 70563
Interview conducted by Jason P. Theriot

I was appointed a flying cadet at Randolph Field in San Antonio on the 25th of February 1938. I started flying school in March. I spend eight months at Randolph learning to fly, then I went to Kelly Field on the other side of San Antonio for the last four months. I specialized in attack-aviation there. My starting class numbered three hundred and fifty, and roughly half finished. I was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps Reserve on the first of February 1939. From there I went to Barksdale Field in Shreveport. I was assigned to the 3rd Attack Group, 90th Attack Squadron. We flew the A-17A attack bomber armed with six machine guns and bomb racks..

I was on active duty, but I was still in the reserves. I flew everyday practically. I got married at Barksdale in 1940. I married the daughter of a WWI major and we are still married today.
We moved to Savannah in October 1940, because the war in Europe had broke out. While we were there we transitioned to the A-20, light bomber—the fastest bomber in the world at that time. It was equipped with a Norden Bombsight. During that period we had maneuvers in Louisiana, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Connecticut; we could see the war coming.
We were shocked, however, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. We knew that relations with the Japanese weren’t good, but we never dreamed that they would have the audacity to pull off an operation such as they did. In retrospect it was an absolutely magnificently planned and conceived operation, and it caught us with our pants down.

When the war broke out I was a first lieutenant. My group was split up. I spent the next several months on anti-submarine patrol over the Atlantic. We would fly out about 200 miles in the Atlantic. We were poorly equipped. We didn’t even have depth charges. All we had were 500-pound bombs; you drop one of those too low, and you would blow yourself up. I saw a periscope one time; he was lined up with a United Fruit Liner between Georgia and Florida in the Atlantic. I strafed the periscope and he went down.

I was subsequently taken out of my group and was transferred to 8th Air Force headquarters in Savannah. In early June, I flew General Duncan, Commander of the 8th Air Force, up to Washington D.C. When he arrived, he was reassigned as the Chief of Staff. We flew to Fort Dix in New Jersey for subsequent deployment to England.

We went to the port of New York and we boarded the Queen Elizabeth in June 1942. We landed in Scotland a few days later. We went down to an airfield that the British called Chelveston. Later on this was a base for our B-17s. The 8th Air Force headquarters was then in downtown London. I got a phone call to report to the operations section of 8th Air Force headquarters. We stayed in London for a week or two before we moved down to Bushy Park near Hampton Court Palace. I became an operations officer for a B-17 wing in July. I had never been inside a B-17 before in my life, but nevertheless, I was an officer in of the wing that was doing the training program for them. I stayed down there for a month. I made captain in February. Somebody who had more experience with the B-17 took over, and I was sent all around various British airfields to check out training programs for our airmen. It was a wonderful experience. The British were very casual people. I got to fly the Spitfire, the Hurricane, the Beau Fighter as well as several of their bombers. I flew a couple of missions with the British later on.

The Battle of Britain had taken place in 1940; that pretty much broke the back of the German’s attempt to shoot up England at will. By the time I got there in ‘42, the German attacks were limited to nuisance attacks at night. They were sending one or two airplanes at a time to drop bombs on London, primarily at night. The heart of the British homeland defense was radar. The success was that they could spot German planes coming before they got to within earshot. Before radar, the British used these giant “ears” to amplify the sounds made by the enemy. This was the method used during World War I; but it couldn’t tell you how high, or how fast the enemy planes were going. With radar you could tell how high the enemy was, how fast they were going, and how many miles away they were. They waited until the Germans got very close, then they released the Spitfires and Hurricanes, and they came in from above [the enemy planes] to attack. The British had these air-defense-centers near the coast, and they would run the defense operations from there.

About this time, in 1942, the B-17 bombers began arriving in England, and they were flying their “freshman” missions. I was sent back to 8th Air Force headquarters. In November 1942, I was sent to a place called Saint Eval, a RAF station, to supervise the passage of the airplanes that were then going down for the invasion of North Africa. We had C-47s coming through; we had B-17s, P-38s—all American planes. I got to fly a P-38. The airplanes for the invasion flew 1,600 miles from Saint Eval to Oran. Most of the big planes—the bombers and twin-engine fighters—had auxiliary fuel tanks to make the trip. The smaller fighters, like the P-40s, were brought over on a carrier.

My father-n-law took over a troop carrier outfit. He asked me to come over. I had been wanting to get out of headquarters; I wanted to fly—the hell with this paper work! I had been promoted to major in August. Headquarters approved the move, and I was walking up to the gate back at 8th Air Force headquarters at Bushy Park, and low and behold there was an infantryman standing guard with his M-1 rifle. I walked by and he “pooped to.” And he’s grinning like a jackass eating fries. He comes to the rifle salute and I saluted him…I looked at him and it was Harold Courtois from New Iberia. I go over and I said, “Harold, what in the hell are you doing here?” He said he was in the National Guard and they had been federalized and sent to England in October. He said, “Man, you better come eat with us today.” The British food was terrible, and I hadn’t had a good meal in a long time. He said that one of the guys had killed a deer and they were cooking up some venison. You see, there was deer all over the place, and this guy was standing guard one night and he hear a noise, so he challenged…three times…no response, so he shot, and killed a deer. That was not good. Killing the King’s deer was almost as bad as making a pass at one of the princesses. So, his commander went through the channels to report this to the King, who in turn presented the deer to the mess hall. So, they had venison that day and Marion Broussard was the cook. Boy it was good!

I found out that I’m to be transferred to North Africa, but I had to find my own way. Most of the planes had already left for the invasion, but I found out that there was still about six P-38s somewhere in Ireland. So, there was a Colonel Bob Landry from New Orleans who I had known at Barksdale. He was in Fighter Command. I called him up and said, “I had heard that you were short on fighter pilots, and that you still had some planes left to go down.” I told him, “I checked out a P-38 about two weeks ago.” It was only one flight, actually, for about thirty minutes: “I’d sure like to help you out.” He said, “Oh, sure that’s what we’re looking for. We’ll cut some orders assigning you, and we’ll give you all the information you’ll need.” My airplane was in a depot in England still. I got in it and I flew it over to Ireland. I had the hell scared out of me. I’m passing over the Irish Sea, and I got challenged by a ship. They signaled, and I was supposed to respond with a red light or a green light. Well, the P-38 was different. It had a row of switches down low. I thought that I had the right button, but I didn’t. I was doing about 250 miles per hour and all of a sudden the wings start flapping. I slowed to about 180. I got close to the airfield in Ireland, Langford Lodge, and everything was normal on the plane. I come down on this airfield and landed. I check out my plane and low and behold, my landing lights were extended. They’re not supposed to be on at the speed that I was flying; that’s why the wings were flapping. I had hit the wrong button, and I gave that ship the wrong signal. Luckily he didn’t shoot me down.

So, I land in Northern Ireland and I meet up with Lt. Col. Roy Lowe from Alexandria. He was the executive officer of the 82nd Fighter Group. Most of his planes had gone, and there were a few left. He told me that he was taking off in a couple of days, and he would leave me behind to take over the remaining six planes. So, I met with those pilots, and I got to fly up a few times in the P-38, and I shot the guns. I spent the most miserable Christmas up there that year. We fixed up those planes and we flew them back down to Saint Eval. We followed a B-26 to Gibraltar—an eight-hour flight. We went through the Straits of Gibraltar and the damn Spanish open up on us from Spanish Morocco. They were neutral, but very pro-German. We continued on and landed in Oran finally. We refueled and flew out the next day to Tunisia, near Constantine—at a P-38 base. I signed off on my airplane and I went looking for Col. Lowe. I finally found somebody and they told me that he hadn’t come back from his last mission. They said that he had dropped back in formation and that was the last time anybody saw him; a German had shot him down from behind. So, I caught a ride on a French airplane to Algiers. I was a major then, and they had given me latitude with my orders. I was actually looking for a P-38 squadron, but I reported to Algiers, and then in turn, met up with my father-n-law. He assigned me to Mostagenum, near Oran. It was a former French airbase.

I reported to the troop carrier squadron there as a squadron commander, and they were training in the C-47s to drop paratroopers and to pull gliders. We were flying supplies up to Tunisia. We were there during the German breakthrough at Kasserine Pass. We were flying wounded troops back. In between flying evac and supply missions, we would train the paratroopers for the invasion of Sicily.

We eventually moved into an area in Tunisian. (Photograph of tent for the book) It was lousy; the food was canned rations. The invasion of Sicily came. We towed gliders from Tunisia to Sicily at night. We were towing British troopers in those gliders. Sicily was the first mass-attempt to use paratroopers and gliders in combat. The first night of the invasion, I led the whole group of C-47s, and I was awarded the DFC and the Air Medal for that, because I was the lead plane. The second night, I dropped British paratroopers over Mount Etna. They were both night operations; the winds were strong, the maps were not good, and the Navy shot the hell out of everybody in sight. We even got shot in the fuel tank. (Has a picture) Between those two nights, the Navy shot down about thirty C-47s—friendly fire. All of us had a lot to learn about joint-amphibious operations, and we did. I think the invasion of Normandy was a testament to that.
For the next few weeks we spent flying in and out of Sicily; hauling ammunition and taking out the wounded. I was promoted to Lt. Col. In July 1943.

Eventually, I took part in the invasion of Italy. I landed on the Salerno beachhead with supplies. We flew into the ancient city of Paestum; I saw bodies stacked up like card-wood—American bodies. It was the damndest thing that I ever saw. I flew several supply runs and transported wounded for a while. Then I was transferred to be the group executive officer. It was another pencil pushing job. After about two weeks—out of the clear blue sky—I was reassigned back to the United States. I packed up my stuff and caught a plane to Brazil and to Miami. I then reported to Indianapolis. This was October 1943. I had been overseas for a year and a half. I came home for a month on leave and spent time with my wife and family.

We were sent to Sedalia, Missouri. I had about ten or fifteen pilots, and no airplanes. Eventually we got a dozen planes. They ordered us out to Alliance, Nebraska. My god. I never saw the ground the whole time I was there. It was January of 1944, up in the hills of Nebraska, almost in Colorado, and there was nothing, I mean nothing up there. The only good thing about that place was that it was the most fabulous pheasant hunting that I’ve ever seen in my life. They were everywhere. We stayed there till March of 1944, before we were ordered to Pope Field at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. It was a nice place.

We received our contingent of sixty-four airplanes and we were training with the 13th Airborne Division, dropping paratroopers and pulling gliders. In the fall of ’44 they gave us the biggest twin-engine airplane in the world—the C-46, called the Curtis Commando.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<European experience>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

We missed out on the invasion of D-Day, but we ended up flying overseas across the Atlantic in January 1945 to support Patton and his army. We hauled gasoline, ammunition, and evacuated the wounded for Patton. We were flying from France and into Germany. I was promoted to Colonel in March.

Then, we got a very secret mission on the sixth of May. We went over to England, picked up a bunch of British men, and flew to Copenhagen in Denmark. Copenhagen was still under German hands and they were running the airfield. The war hadn’t ended yet. We flew in. German planes were landing at the same time that we were landing; it was quite and experience. I spent the night in Copenhagen that night, and it was one of the wildest experience that I ever had in my life. Hundreds of Germans were coming by in trucks with food and what not, with their rifles. The Danish were executing the Quislings—the turncoats from Norway. We got to the hotel and these civilian-armed guards would not let us leave. Shortly after, this Mercedes drives up and this woman comes dashing out, and right behind her is this important looking man. Within moments, they opened fire on him. He was a high-ranking Quisling and they didn’t want us to get in the middle of it all. This woman had set him up. And they killed. Sometimes when you lose the war, the losers don’t fair so good.

We found out that the war had ended! We ran into some Danes that night, and we couldn’t pay for a thing; they were pumping drinks down us, really celebrating you know.
I flew to the States and ended up in California where my wife was living. I was assigned to pickup new airplanes as we were headed to Okinawa for the invasion of Japan. While I was on leave the war in Japan ended. I finally retired from the Air Force after 32 years having also served in Korea and Vietnam.
[What qualifications did you possess to get promoted to a higher rank during the war?] The number one qualification for getting a promotion is staying alive.

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; Airforce; Pilot; Europe
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Leonard Barrow, Jr.
Recording date: 
Saturday, March 9, 2002
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
01:28:11
Cataloged Date: 
Thursday, September 6, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Lloyd Berard

Accession No.: 
TH1-010

Lloyd Berard; Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot; Mrs. Lloyd Berard

-Berard had a deferment and worked on a dredge boat in Panama
-Stationed in Morgan City and every week had to go to Lafayette for a checkup for the draft board
-decided to just join instead of waiting (1942)
-Put him on limited duty at Camp Beauregard and the officer in charge tore up the papers and got him new orders
-Camp Claiborne for basic training for 13 weeks and (physically) built up that camp as the 372nd Engineers
-assigned to the engineers because of past experience (as a tug boat captain?)
-Went to Fort Belvor, Virginia; his crew was almost as good as the 331st Engineer Regiment
-Crossed on the Queen Mary to Birmingham, England and then hitched hiked 150 miles (a week) to South Wales
-England didn’t have the resources to spare to transport them

-They were there to build concrete barges; 2 feet thick, 40 feet high, 150 feet long, 80 feet wide
-Broke big rock themselves and ground it up into concrete with the machinery
-Berard drove the dump truck with the crushed rocks to where they ground them up
-They’d have 5-6 holes in the barges with valves; a barge for either side of ship
-Once in position the valves would open and water would sink it and the ships were then able to land
-They were building these for the landing at the worst place—Omaha beach
-Used tug boats to bring the barges from South Wales to Omaha beach, took 2 ½ days
-Berard was on the position of opening a valve for one of them; they had 8 barges

-Once the barge was sunk they came to England/South Wales and waited around
-Built hospitals, schools, and churches for the English as they were being bombed all the time
-In France they did the same there; whatever was needed to be done the engineers were called, they did plumbing, carpentry work, building Niesent huts

“Mud Barges” (17:22)
-Above water the barge was 8-10 feet, it didn’t need to be above water so much as it needed to be below the water about 5 feet
-It would break the waves in the channel so the ships could land and still maneuver themselves
-Before D-Day (June 6) they brought the first barge in at the end of May to the beach
-The Germans did not think the Allied forces could land there so it was not being watched
-They pulled in right into the bank and dropped the barges and went back to England before the invasion

When Berard was hurt in February 1945 (21:43)
-They were in Briey, France building hospitals and acting as an interpreter for the army
-Berard had 2 truck drivers, 2 helpers and 2 French people to flag traffic for a flat tire on their truck
-They had a German halftrack come to help but the French didn’t know how to drive it; instead of stopping they accidently sped up
-some of the French were against them so Berard never knew who was a friend or not—they could have been inexperienced driving or purposely drove forward
-Berard starting running to the front of the truck (the one with a flat) to catch the side mirror and swing over so they didn’t run him over, but the halftrack caught him before he did that
-The halftrack was coming in slow at first and they thought it was stopping but then they sped up
-the 2 helpers were still fixing the tire and Berard and a driver were by the road
-It crushed his left foot, right hip, right hand and both arms
-he was told that he was the only one hurt and later found out the other 3 men were killed
-All 3 of these men had been with Berard since Camp Claiborne
-Going back to the States he went from England to Camp Shank, New York and then to Tennessee

Speaking French (31:58)
-In one place they were in at France, he had to go to a hardware store frequently
-Berard had become friendly to the owner and he was invited to their house for dinner sometimes
-One day on a visit to him, Berard had gotten a letter with photos of his 2 nieces and showed the man

-“And I said, in French, like I would at home, “Me chichnes.” (my lil nieces)” (the old way of saying it)
-“So he called his wife and said to me, “dis come ta dis” (say it like you said it)
-But then I tried to say it in real French. “No, no,” he said, “say it like you said it.” So he tells his wife, “They talk just like us. They speak the same patois”
(talking about the French language 35:30)

Translating (38:27)
-Berard would go to the lumberyard to find pieces of wood (2x2)
-However French were on the metric system so it was more like a 3x3
-In one town a Frenchman told Berard that there was a cheese factory and as an American he could have as much cheese as he wanted but the French were rationed
-he was asked to get some cheese for the this man
-Got 10-12 blocks of cheese and the Frenchman wanted to hide the cheese; but it was Lambo cheese so it smelled

Recovery Back Home (41:40)
-Came back home on crutches and in a boot
-Had a month leave in New Orleans where he met his wife
-Most of his family was in New Orleans working in the shipyards and she was staying with his sister
-That night they threw a party for him and they danced all night long
-They danced the whole month when they could

-Went to Memphis, Tennessee and then shipped him out to Texas
-Never did get a purple heart

Talking about family history and family members (45:25)

Transcription:

Lloyd Berard
Coteau Holmes
372nd Engineers
ETO

I had a deferment from the service. I was working on a dredge boat in Panama. When the job was over I went to Morgan City. The dredging company had a yard over there in Morgan City. Every week I had to come to Lafayette for a check up with the draft board. I decided that instead of coming to Lafayette every week, I just a soon join. That was 1942.

I had asthma, so I was supposed to be a 4F. They put me on limited duty. I went to Camp Beureguard and gave the officer in charge of recruits my papers and told him, “I’m under limited service.” He said, “Yeah! Unlimited Service!” And he tore up my papers and said he would get me some new orders.

Then we went to Camp Claiborne. There were camps all over Louisiana: Beureguard, Polk, Claiborne, and Barksdale. Claiborne was probably the biggest. We took our basic training there: 13 weeks. We built that camp up, the 372nd Engineers. After 13 weeks we went to Arkansas and worked on the levee. Then, we came back to Claiborne. From there we went to repair the levee in Mississippi that had broke.

I was assigned to the engineers because of my experience before the war. When we came back from Mississippi, we went to Fort Belvor, Virginia. The 331st Engineer Regiment was the top engineers in the Army, all the way back to WWI. And we were almost as good as they were. In fact, when it came to laying mats for landing airplanes in the swamp, we beat them. So, we had a pretty good working crew.

We crossed the Atlantic on the Queen Mary. It took us nine days because there were German torpedo boats all over the ocean. We landed in Birmingham, England. We had to walk to South Wales. England was really down n out; there was no transportation. They couldn’t transport us to South Wales, so we marched. That was about 150 miles. It took us a week. We had a full field pack and a lot of equipment. At night we’d take over a little field or a little town, like as if we passed through Coteau Holmes and just took it over. Let’s face it; we had priority. But the British were glad that we had come there.

We were sent to South Wales to build these concrete barges—mud barges we called them (Code name Phoenix). They were big, bigger than a house. The thickness of the walls was a little over two feet. That thing was about 60-foot high, 150-foot long and 80-foot wide—a big block of iron rods and concrete.

We broke the rocks ourselves. We took big rocks and crushed them with our big machinery. I was driving a dump truck. They’d load me up with crushed rock and I’d go dump them where they would make the concrete.

We had five or six holes, eight inches in diameter, with valves. When you got the thing where you wanted it, you opened the valves and the water would come in and it would sink. You’d sink one here and one here where a ship could come in to be able to land. This place where we were supposed to be landing—Omaha beach—was the worst place to land.

The Germans were sure that was one place that we could not land. So they weren’t watching that place. When they decided to land there, I heard, Eisenhower asked all the other generals where was the worst place to land. And they said Normandy. They said there was no way you can land there. Well he said, “Well that’s where we landing.”

Once it was sunk the barge stood a few feet above water. Actually, you didn’t need to have it above water, just so had it sunk. It could five or ten feet below water. The ships would come in between two barges. The idea was to break the waves for the ships to come in and land. When a ship is out in the open, it can maneuver, but when it gets in close to the beach against the waves—not like coming in at the harbor in New York or the port in New Orleans—the ship becomes too big to handle.

I only went over the Channel with one of them. We built it on like a dry dock. When it was finished, we opened the valves to let water in and then we moved it by tugboat. We took it from South Wales, England to the coast of Normandy. It took us about two-and-a-half days. We got right to the beach. I was on the barge tending one of the valves to open it and sink it. I think we built about eight of them. After we sunk the barge, we came back to South Wales and passed the invasion fleet heading to the beach. We waited around in England building hospitals, schools, little churches. The British had it rough; they were bombarded everyday by the buzz bombs.

Then we crossed the Channel into Normandy. Once we got to France we built buildings and bridges and all kinds of things. Whatever needed to be done, they called the engineers to do it. Some things we couldn’t do, but we tried. We did plumbing and carpentry work and built Niesent huts to use as schools and hospitals. They still have a few Niesent huts in Shreveport, built halfway underground with grass growing over it.

We were in Briey, France, building hospitals. I was an interpreter for the army. When we were building things they needed someone who could speak the language. For instance, when I’m working, I may need 14 two-by-fours. But there are no two-by-fours in France. It’s close, but not two-by-fours. So I’d go to the hardware store and say that I needed 20 pieces like this. Their two-by-four had a measurement that was pretty close. Their two-by-four was closer to a three-by-three. So we had to figure out how to use a three-by-three. So I communicated to the man running the lumberyard.

One day we needed go to this little town about 50 miles away to pick up something and this Frenchman tells me that there is a cheese factory up there. He said, “I can only buy so much, but you can buy all you want.” Because I was an American, I could buy 20 times as much cheese as he could. I told him that I didn’t want any cheese, but he wanted me to buy some for him. I said okay. So we over there and I tell this ole Frenchman selling cheese that I needed quite a bit of that stuff; ten or twelve blocks. So I paid. This old Frenchman put the package in the top of his truck and said, “We need to hide this.” I said, “Hide it, they can smell it.” He said, “If they catch us I’ll tell them it’s for you.” I said, “Yeah, but if they want to catch us all they have to do is smell.” That was lambo cheese.

We moved along the countryside and there were these mountains. Them Yankees called them hills, but to a Cajun, I called them mountains. I didn’t speak French that well, but I could get by. I was buying some supplies from this hardware store. I became friendly with the old man who was running the place. He told me, “Any time to want to eat something and drink some wine, come to my house.” He told me where he lived and said I could come by any time. So I was leaving my barracks when the mailman came and gave me a letter. I went to this old man’s house and was sitting with him on the porch. I opened the letter and there were pictures of my two nieces. They had grown quite a bit in two years. And I said, in French, like I would at home, “Me chichnes.” [my lil nieces] So he called his wife and said to me, “dis come ta dis” [say it like you said it]. But then I tried to say it in real French. “No, no,” he said, “say it like you said it.” So he tells his wife, “They talk just like us. They speak the same patois.” I always tried to speak real French while I was there, but when I got excited, I spoke like we speak at home, which is the ancient French. This old man and his wife spoke the same way. Our French hadn’t changed much.

My mother could write French, in fact she taught school.

On February 16, 1945, I got hurt. I had two truck drivers and two helpers to help fix a flat tire. I had two French people flagging down traffic. We had given the French a captured German halftrack. Evidentially, they didn’t know how to operate that thing. So they were coming and the flagmen flagged them down. They slowed and almost stopped. But when they got a few yards away it looked like they stepped on it. I don’t think that they did it on purpose, but some of those French people were against us. They said that they weren’t used to operating the track.

So I started running towards the front of the truck with intentions of catching the side mirror and swing over the hood of the truck. But they caught me before I got to that. I figured that they might pass over my head and I had my helmet to protect me. But then I figured that the halftrack would have crushed that helmet. So it had to pass over the tire, because they tell me that the halftrack cut two of them boys into three pieces. It had to be that it passed over the wheel before it passed over me.

It crushed my left foot, my right hip, my right hand, and I broke both of my arms. The other three boys were killed. I was in a field hospital in France. I was out for a few days. This lieutenant and this captain came to see me in the hospital. I asked them how the other boys were and they said they were okay. When I got back to the States this lieutenant and I wrote to each other. He told me in a letter that three of them boys were killed. These were three guys who I knew real well. We had been together since Camp Claiborne. I guess the army didn’t want to make things worse by telling me.

From France I went to England, and then I flew to Camp Shank, New York. I stayed in a hospital overnight. The next day I came to Tennessee and stayed at a hospital there.

I came back home on crutches. I had a foot with a shoe that long. And my arm had healed up. So I went on leave for a month in New Orleans and that’s when I met my wife. I had written to her. She was living at my sister’s house while she was working in New Orleans. Almost everybody from here (Coteau Holmes) was working in the shipyards.

That night they had a party for me. And you know the Berard family likes to have parties. So I’m sitting on one side of the room and she was sitting on the other side. I asked her to come, but she didn’t want to come. So I took my crutches and walked across to her. I said, “We’ll dance.” She said, “You can’t walk.” I said, “I can’t walk, but I can dance.” So we danced, danced all night. The next day went out in town to dance. The next day—same thing. That went on the whole month. When I got back to Memphis, Tennessee, in June, the doctor said, “I don’t know what happened, but whatever you did, you did alright.” He said, “We never saw a man so broken, heal so fast.”

We got married on July 18. I never did get a purple heart.

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; Engineers; Europe
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Lloyd Berard
Recording date: 
Saturday, July 31, 2004
Coverage Spatial: 
Coteau Homes, LA
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All RIghts Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
00:59:05
Cataloged Date: 
Thursday, September 6, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Louis Berges

Accession No.: 
TH1-011

Louis Berges: Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot

Part of the rig builders in Baton Rouge in 1941
Drafted in Baton Rouge in December 7, 1942 and then went to Camp Beauregard for training
Went into the Air Force and was sent St. Louis, Missouri, put in the Jefferson Barracks (the worst one)
Left in summer uniforms from Louisiana and it was cold in St. Louis; on the Mississippi River
After training there went to Savannah, Illinois to an ordinance school
Berges was given a choice to the next place he could go to so he went to Esler Field, the 98th Airbase, in Alexandria, Louisiana; closer to home
Stayed there till 1944 or 1945 and then transferred to South Carolina; his wife and child came to join him in South Carolina
Worked in ordinances at both

(7:42) Start of the War
Over in Florence, South Carolina and was drafted out of the Air Force to the Armored Infantry around the time of the Battle of the Bulge (1945?)
Had to get on a troop train in Camp Beauregard to Atlanta with his wife and son with him and then put them on another train to East Texas where she had family while he went from Atlanta back to Alexandria again
Put on another train a few weeks later after GI training to New Jersey, Camp Kilmer, a staging place for embarkation in New York; was on a ship with volunteers from Monique that spoke French (Cuban Island)
Shipped out to France, took 11 days, had all their equipment; stayed in barracks that only had hay for bedding
Put on boxcars and eventually made it into Austria; the war ended while they were in Austria

Was in the martyr squad and berserker, was supposed to go in as the third attack with the tanks; when the tanks went, they went in, not always in order though and most times they went in the first attacks
A part of the 17th Armored Battalion, 12th Armored Division in the 7th Armor
Most of the time they were under Patton’s 3rd Armor instead

They travelled fast along the Rhine River and on the Audubon
Was heading to Nuremburg but missed it and ended up in Munich; drove a halftrack
Had to wear the same clothes for days as they had nothing else; 11 men in a squad

(21:25)
Berges’ job was to carry the martyr and set it up; worked with ammunition
Set up in farms mostly
Most German people were friendly in Austria, washed their clothes and traded with them
Moved from town to town; in the mountains in Austria when given word that Germany had surrendered
Sent back to Munich and then to a smaller town west, where they stayed with the locals in their houses

(24:47)Story of a prayer book Berges brought back home; trying to find the family

(33:04) Confirming dates of Berges’ draft, training, departing for Europe, fighting and being sent home
Earned 2 battle stars, helped him get discharged earlier than the others
Travelling in the halftrack; injured once in Germany while coming out of the halftrack under fire—strained back
Halftrack was blown up at one point and they lost all their clothes and other possessions inside it; replacement came in quick
POWs they met after the war; POWs camps made after the war that they had to guard; sorting out displaced people

Talking of those they knew that were in the war; looking at pictures

(59:00) went home on a Liberty ship in France
Was in the 17th Armored Battalion
Mentions about the favoritism in the Air Force and Army, certain outfits were given more credit than others because of those that were in them

(1:13:50) War was over
Founded out before they got into Munich but knew nothing after that
No time to celebrate and quickly had to deal with the POWs camp
Liberty ship was nicer than the ship he went over on before
Was under the impression that when he did come back to the states he’d rest and then head out to fight in the Pacific
While on the ship is when the bombs were dropped; found out when they landed in New York
Was discharged in Fort Sam Houston, Texas, close to his wife in east Texas
Took his sister’s car with his family back to New Iberia; every 5 miles the car would stop and then start up again (leak in the pipes that trapped air)

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; Armored Infantry; Europe
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Louis Berges
Recording date: 
Saturday, March 2, 2002
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
01:18:52
Cataloged Date: 
Monday, October 15, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Harry Bernard

Accession No.: 
TH1-012

Harry Bernard; Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot

Was in school at VMI during 1941 when Pearl Harbor happened; went into the Navy
Went to Pensacola for flight training and then Miami for further training
Had to become a pilot before getting a commission for officer
9 months of training

Invasion of Palau (8:25)
Bernard’s squadron took out 25 ships and 121 Japanese planes
Bernard was shot down and started swimming towards Hawaii (2,000 miles); submarine picked him up
Rode the submarine for a month before getting to Hawaii

Saw MacArthur land at Mindano, Philippines and watched them take pictures; took them 5 takes to get the right one
Bernard was sitting on the beach; most of the boys did not like MacArthur
They also hated the Red Cross as they wanted them to pay for their supplies; they gave the worst materials for clothes and the everyday supplies they needed

When the war started with Pearl Harbor, everybody wanted to join the Navy, never needed to draft them

Flew a TBM (19:27)
Had rocket launchers
100, 200, 500 and 2,000 lbs torpedoes
And even a few bombs
4 machine guns in the front and 2 on the wings

Back to the Carrier (21:00)
Stayed on the at carrier for almost a year and half
Flew every day; Hawaii was the only time he ever touched the ground
Bernard rejoined his fleet and carrier in Majuro as they were secretly heading to invade Guam
They had 4-5 big carriers; 18,000 ships in the fleet; 35 cruisers and 51 destroyers
About a day into the trip Tokyo Rose (Japanese broadcasting) told them “We’ll be waiting for you at Guam.”

Memories (25:10)
Had a pilot, machine gun operator and radioman on his plane
Could carry up to 15 people on his plane ferrying them onto Guam to the carriers
Bernard’s friend was shot down on the coast of Iwo Jima; he survived
Once was flying in Davao Bay all day long taking pictures but saw no ships
Coming back to the States heard that MacArthur had shot down 5-6 Japanese ships in the area; Bernard never saw MacArthur’s air force in that area at all (looking at photos)

Bernard’s fleet hit Manila long before MacArthur came in
They came in with a whole line of torpedo planes
Dr. Castro, a Filipino now living in New Iberia, watched the whole thing as a child, dive-bombers hitting the waterfront
Bernard sunk a 10,000 ton tanker
Flew 200 knots at 200 feet, straight as an arrow so they would run right
They targeted gun emplacements, road junctions, and ships, whatever they could find

Revisiting being shot down (38:13)
Was in the water for about 12 hours before being picked up
Started swimming to Hawaii but he knew he was never was going to make it
Gave his lifejacket to a crewman who he lost
The life rafts were dropped but once it inflated it flew away and they didn’t try to go after them
3 people on the plane but Bernard was the only one to have survived
They all got out for the plane; one of the men couldn’t swim and drowned immediately
He had nothing and was stuck swimming/treading water that whole time
Did not know if anyone was going to come find him; there were other planes above him but never knew if anyone had seen them

Manila and the end of the war (44:00)
Manila was Bernard’s last engagement
They were brought back to the States on a jeep carrier
Landed in San Francisco and was reassigned to Atlantic City
Received the DSC medal and almost refused it
Later on sent to Boston to fly fighters
They were to head back to Japan on another carrier group
Then after V-J Day and they were told those that had families, enough points in the system, time put in to the service or the DSC medal and higher were to go home; Bernard was sent home the next day
Drove all the way back to New Iberia

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; Pilot; Pacific
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Harry Bernard
Recording date: 
Thursday, September 6, 2001
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
00:53:31
Cataloged Date: 
Thursday, September 6, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Original Format: 
Microcassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Cecilia Beyte

Accession No.: 
TH1-013

Cecilia “Mac” Beyte; Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot

The day the U.S. declared war Beyte was working at a bank in New York; that week she signed up for the Red Cross
Had an interview and went to D.C to have training, which was supposed to be 6 months but after one week she was in San Francisco being sent out overseas
After 3 days on the ship they finally told them where they were going: Auckland, New Zealand
It was completely over run by American soldiers
New Zealand had been fighting for the last 3 years so their men were gone, just the elderly, women and children were left; when those men fighting in the war did come back they found their women had not been faithful and there were more children now that were not theirs, lots of tension later on
New Zealand had been fighting in Egypt, Italy and Africa
They landed in June 1943

Travelling by ship, the “Matzoonie,” she was so fast they did not send her in a convoy
It was more of a passenger ship but converted into a troop ship
There were serval nurses, the Red Cross group of 16 and 5,000 troops
The ship made good time as it zigged zagged a lot
When they reached the equator they stopped to have an initiation for them (Red Cross)
Few days later they went through a hurricane

While on New Zealand Beyte was assigned as a recreation worker at the hospital
There was 3 ships, known as the Unholy Trinity, which would take men from all over to battle and bring back the injured to New Zealand
They would go on the ships to take care of the men before dropping them off on New Zealand; Beyte was never on a hospital ship
They stayed more on the north island of New Zealand and there was thousands of men
Always building barracks for the men and women; New Zealand did provide some food, lots of mutton

Stayed at Auckland for 5-6 months (16:10)
Left when Eleanor Roosevelt came to Wellington to speak and Beyte was picked to be her escort; she never actually got to speak with her
Beyte was put up in a nice hotel with a few other service women and men
Mrs. Roosevelt was there to be a morale booster for the troops
When Mrs. Roosevelt left, Beyte stayed on at the hotel as no one told her to go or where to go afterwards; did some sightseeing and worked at the hospital
One night Beyte came back to the hotel after helping out with a dance for the Red Cross, all her things were packed and put outside; she was supposed to have left with Mrs. Roosevelt
They let her sleep on the couch as it was 2 in the morning by then
Next day her supervisor sent her to the Navy hospital in Silver Stream, Base 4
That’s where she met her husband, Johnny (“Putsey”) who was a dentist for the Navy (Louisianaian)
They began dating but he had a fiancée already in California (the last place he had been stationed)

The war was moving closer to Japan (25:36)
So troops and people were moving and the hospital and Base 4 was closed
Beyte went back to Auckland and Johnny was shipped to Nuemea in New Caledonia
Eventually Beyte’s rest area in Auckland was closed and she was transferred to Nuemea
At that time Johnny asked Beyte to marry him but she hadn’t finished up her year of service in the Red Cross
As it wasn’t like the the army, the Red Cross did not have a strict policy on them for staying the full year or even staying on longer; many girls never finished a year but Beyte wanted too

"Question: How did these ladies manage to get back home? They were not military or did any battle time so no one had to respect them and send them home right away" (28:26)
All depended on where they were stationed as to how they were treated
In New Zealand they were told that they were under the same rules and code of conduct of the nurses; like dating an enlisted man could get you sent home

End of service (32:20)
Beyte’s year was up around the same time as Johnny’s tour was too
Red Cross gave them a vacation and then would allow them to sign back up again
Johnny was going back first so Beyte told him to talk to the girl he was engaged to and they would see how things went from there

Landed in San Francisco and went to D.C to hand in her resignation
From there she went to visit her parents in New York and then got on a train to New Orleans to get married
Beyte had wrote and told her father about Johnny and how she was in love; he wrote back to her about that she should give serious thought to the marriage and her going to Louisiana to live with him
Moved to St. Martinsville with her husband Johnny after their honeymoon in New Orleans

Cuts into silence (43:16)

Stories from Working in the Red Cross (44:34)
When stationed at Silver Stream that was when Beyte saw the truly bad injuries of the war
They were always trying to find things for the men to do
Men that couldn’t write thanks to their injuries were left to the girls’ care to write for them
One man that came couldn’t speak at all as all of sudden he was paralyzed, and no one knew why (48:32)
They would talk to him but he made no sign if he heard anything and one day all his belongings came in and they found out his name and letters that his family had written to him; he was a young Jewish boy named Pack
Beyte read the letters to him and he began crying so they knew he hear them; eventually a ship came that was heading back to San Francisco and he was able to get on it
She wrote to his mother to let her know that he was coming home; when Beyte got back to the States the mother had written her to say that Pack had had a brain tumor and died a few days after he got home

At Home (54:53)
Got home and married all in 2 weeks’ time
Johnny had 2 weeks leave and everyday they’d go and see if he had gotten his orders; their hope was he would be stationed in California
Eventually his orders came in he was being sent to Algiers (Louisiana); Beyte at the time thought he meant a place overseas before someone told her
They were living there when the war ended
They were playing golf (around 11:00) when the news came and the church bells began ringing; whistles blew and the horns on the boats were going off
Then they came back to St. Martinsville as they couldn’t find any place to live in New Iberia
Johnny had had his practice in New Iberia so he wanted to go back there

Life after the war and living in New Iberia (1:05:00)
Stories of:
Looking for a house
Where they did live; their neighbors
Starting a family
Living in New Iberia

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; Red Cross; New Zealand
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Cecilia Beyte
Recording date: 
Friday, September 6, 2002
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
01:17:08
Cataloged Date: 
Thursday, September 6, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Original Format: 
Microcassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Raymond Bienvenu

Accession No.: 
TH1-014

Raymond “Eboo” Bienvenu: Jason Theriot
(Eboo means swamp owl in French)

Bienvenu was getting ready to graduate from high school at age 17 and decided to cut classes to go to Lafayette to sign up as a volunteer for pilot training in the Army Air Corps
They decided to take Bienvenu but he was under age and unless his father signed a minor release he had to wait till he turned 18; took the form and had Borden’s ice cream (near UL/SLI campus) before forging his father’s name on the form
Once graduated Bienvenu was sent to Denver, Colorado for basic training; but there was already too many pilots for assignments
They told him that if he wanted to fly he should try for bombardier or navigator; chose bombardier and went to Madison, Wisconsin
Had a crash program on electrical, mathematics and astrology; became a navigator instead, a crude way without radar
Got on a converted luxury ship in New York with 7,000 men, double loaded—half day above other half in beds
No convoy or escort; headed up towards Iceland where they were hit by a big storm and German intelligence reported that their ship had sunk
What really happened: they left New York on the “USS Washington” and while at sea some sailors repainted the name to “Mount Vernon” to confuse the Germans (which it did)
Most of the British men were fighting in North Africa or the Pacific trying to save their Empire; no men but Americans in England

Troop Carrier Group (6:30)
Bienvenu had joined as a replacement of a troop transport squadron, the 75th Squadron of the 313th Troop Carrier Group; hauled paratroopers and gliders
When attacking, they never went far back into the enemy lines; always left in the dark
Left England at night and at day break hit their targets and then tried to get to the English Channel; everything wide open
All the good navigators were in the Pacific; if they lost an island then they’d run out of fuel and crash—had to find your own way there
Bienvenu dealt with dead reckoning, triangulation and crude radar from the British
Flew mostly C-47s and gliders; 3 missions on B-25s
Had to wear sheepskin suits and a leather helmet

D-Day (11:17)
On D-Day Bienvenu flew a diversion; dropped paratroopers that night before in Belgium to trick the Germans on where they were trying to land; most probably were captured or killed
Dropped the 101st and the 82nd Airborne that night
Never did get the results of the diversion

Gliders were suicidal
When the war ended the gliders were discontinued altogether
Gliders were assembled in about a half-hour
Cloth over aluminum tubing; fuselage had only 6 bolts

Rhine River (17:11)
Really took a beating at the Rhine River near Wessell, Germany
Germans were holding them off so they couldn’t cross the river
Flew C-47s to the front, small enough to land in a pasture, and pick up the wounded and went back to England
Germans would pick them off in counter attacks when they came in
Poorly equipped in defending themselves; they (Bienvenu) were given very little to use to fight with

They were at an old German airfield that they had bombed before
Took cover in a shell hole and Bienvenu only had a .45 pistol; just best thing to do was stay quiet
An older British soldier came up to them to help them; several incidents like that where they would get caught in the fighting and had to defend themselves

Once flying over Wessell, they were hit and went into a bank and plowed into a potato field; had a busted nose but no deaths
Troops found them and pulled them out and gave them rifles to defend themselves as they went back

German Airfields (21:40)
Another time they left England was to go to an abandoned German airfield in France
They were just going to take over this little field; it was rough
They knew how far the Germans could fly before doubling back to the base to refuel; figured that the nearest base was too far for the Germans to come out to them
So no one was watching and a FW 190 comes out and takes a few of their planes down
They had no clue where that plane came from, figured there was a secret base somewhere but never did find it
Later on they noticed that the Germans would use a JU 88 to haul a FW 190 and then cut it loose so it could fly father out but still have enough fuel to make the trip back to the base later

What really beat the Germans were the Russians; all the best German fighters were on the Russian front
Towards the end of the war, they began running into young soldiers that had just been drafted
In the Pacific the Japanese were suicidal in their attacks which made it harder, at least these young Germans were cowards and did not want to die any more than they did

France and Speaking French (25:14)
The French hated the Americans
When the Germans took over they hardly killed anyone; Americans probably killed more French people than the Germans did
Eisenhower told them to not come back with their bombs; had to unload them somewhere
Flying over little towns, they’d just drop the bombs; “we killed a lot of Frenchmen”
Spoke a little bit of French, just enough to get by

In Mons near the Belgium border, wounded men and troops went by train back to Paris to recover or have time off
Bienvenu went there a few times to fix antennas on the Eiffel Tower for navigational purposes; hated it as it would move with the wind the further up you went
On one trip back it was cold and they had stopped at this one station and there was 3 Frenchmen and a potbelly stove in the station house
The commanding officer asked if anyone could speak French so they could ask the Frenchmen if the troops could go in single file to warm themselves up for a bit; Bienvenu went in and asked and they told him no
The officer sprayed the building with a Thomas machine gun and burned the train station to ground
“Eisenhower said, “If you need something, then take it. If somebody gets in your way, then shoot’ um.” There might have been better moments, but from what I saw it was bad.”

Coming Home (33:40)
Went over as a replacement for a squadron in North Africa
They had orders if you could not make it back (to England or Africa) then land in Zurich, Switzerland
The Swiss were neutral but they were pro-German until the end of the war when it became clear that the Allied forces were winning
The Swiss at the end of the war said they’d take so many old combat troops as guests of the Swiss government; Bienvenu’s squadron had been there for a while and so they picked him
They were put up in a fancy hotel and they could eat whatever they wanted for 6 weeks
They were given the choices of touring the castles of Switzerland or go up into the mountains
Bienvenu went to Omnimount to take up skiing lessons; could see 4 countries from the top

After the 6 weeks Bienvenu had enough combat points and came home
Got back to New York and sent on a troop train to Camp Shelby in Mississippi where he was discharged
On the GI Bill he went to LSU and graduated in electrical engineering; got married
First job was in upstate New York for 6 years; it was the pits
Came back home but never did work in St. Martinville, always out of town
Fought in the war for almost 4 years and toured 11 countries

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; Navigator; Airforce; Europe
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Raymond Bienvenu
Recording date: 
Friday, September 6, 2002
Coverage Spatial: 
St. Martinville, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
00:46:14
Cataloged Date: 
Thursday, September 6, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Jeanette Birchett

Accession No.: 
TH1-015

Jeanette Birchett; Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot

Birchett was in training at the Charity Hospital in Lafayette when they heard of the news of Pearl Harbor
Decided to join 3 ½ years later as she wasn’t old enough yet to go into the service; a friend Irene Comeaux wanted Birchett to go with her into the service when they turned 20
May of 1944 when she did turn 20, the superintendent of the hospital did not want them to go as they were needed more at home than at service; threatened to freeze their jobs (deferment)
Eventually they were allowed to go and went to Hunter College in New York for basic training
Went in as pharmacists’ mates; stayed there for 6 weeks
Then went on to St. Alban’s Hospital in Long Island for indoctrination for 2 months; Birchett’s orders were to Corpus Christi, Texas as Comeaux’s went to Georgia
On the main base at Corpus Christi there was a large hospital (main base) where Birchett stayed for a few days; sent on to Rod Field, a smaller air base off Corpus
Worked in the lab and ran the pharmacy; also took care of other WAVES when they got sick in the dispensary

Uniforms were given out at basic training
They had a blue smock or a “sears suckers” uniform when working at the hospital
Then a navy blue dress and a white dress with caps for elsewhere

Basic Training (6:53)
Basic training for 6 weeks
It was hard to Birchett as she couldn’t march; had boot camp training more or less
Had to get up early; woman drill sergeant
They put her in the back row as she couldn’t march
She lived on the 9th floor with no elevators
Went in as an enlisted woman; was a pharmacy’s mate, never an officer
Paid about $50 a month
Did everything the navy way

At Corpus Christi (12:50)
Stayed at Corpus till the end of the war
Lived in barracks; had a bunkmate
They had 3 sections; worked on call all day, that night had duty, second day off by 4:30 and the third day was the off day
Birchett was in charge of all the lab work; blood work, checking diseases, giving medication, etc.
Anything serious was sent to the main hospital, lab work or injured men
The main base, Corpus, had smaller bases around them called P fields; Birchett was at Rod Field

For fun they watched the latest movies that were not even out in regular theaters yet; new one every night
Had dances some nights; it was like a family

D-Day (23: 30)
Birchett was in the commissary getting coffee in the morning; everyone was excited about what was happening
Then they started doing the paper work for discharging; one needed so many points to be able to get out and go home
Took about a week before people began going home; had to go to the main base in Corpus to get discharged or check to see if you were able to
Never really thought about whether the U.S. could lose the war; weren’t told much about the war anyway, they were too busy and so young

Talking (28:58)
What Birchett did after being discharged
Men she dated (and her husband)
What WAVES stood for (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service)
Books of Louisianans in WWII (New Iberians)
Other WAVES she knew
Women that worked in the service for the navy and the army; navy women were trained to take the places of men that had went off to war
How she enjoyed working in the service

Funny stories (40:20)
Living in the barracks in basic training and in Corpus
Things they did in Corpus
How she believes she swallowed a pen once

Coming Back after the War (43:30)
It was an exciting time when everyone was coming back
Discharged in June 1945 (after V-E Day)
Civilians knew more about the war than those in the service; all the news was always late to those in the service
Letters were all censored

Talking (47:16)
About Jason Theriot’s work
People they know

End of Birchett’s interview (53:05)

(Parts of another interview of Ned Badeaux afterwards)

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; WAVES; Homefront
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Jeanette Birchett
Recording date: 
Monday, August 6, 2001
Coverage Spatial: 
Lafayette and New Iberia, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
01:27:59
Cataloged Date: 
Thursday, September 6, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with John Boudreaux

Accession No.: 
TH1-016

John Boudreaux; Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot

Was hanging out at the Estarge Drugstore on Main St. when they heard about Pearl Harbor on the radio
Most of them at the time were 17-18 years old and they didn’t think too much about it at the time; what really changed their views was when they heard stories from other friends in the National Guard (1941)
Boudreaux decided that he wanted to at least be able to shower while serving, so he joined the navy

Joined the navy with Claude Patout in New Orleans in November 1943
Was sent to San Diego for basic training; then went to Memphis to radio school for the dive-bombers (TBF's)
Boudreaux didn't want to fly so when testing to see if he could stand on one leg and then close his eyes, he failed it on purpose and was sent back to California

Eventually sent to Pasco, Washington (Walla Walla) for 6 months; training pilots
Trained pilots by having them take off to the Pacific Ocean and the practice bombing the airport (just like the Japanese attacking a carrier force or island) while those on land would track them with radars and then send out fighters to meet them

A big dish was a on a truck with a large antenna on land, but on the ship the antennas were smaller
The wavelength on the radar would show whether it was a friend or foe; Americans had IFFs while Japanese had nothing
Could catch these wavelengths about 100 miles out which would give them enough time to send out carriers to protect the convoy--the destroyer’s job

At the end of 6 months the navy decided that the Japanese were not coming back to the island the navy was readying to invade and take so Boudreaux's unit of 250 men was disbanded

Time at Washington state (12:00)
On the weekends they could go into Walla Walla for mass
At Pasco they'd work at a factory that made crates/boxes to earn a little extra
On the base all they did on weekends was stand watch around the clock; sometimes it could be all night (funny story 14:00)

After being disbanded (14:50)
Everyone wanted to go overseas to fight
They were sent back to California and then over to Pearl Harbor to be reassigned and get on-the-job training for radar surface
Stayed there for about a month and then assigned to a Destroyer Escort the "USS Abercrombie"
12 men as the radar operators for one ship; sat 4 men at a time at the radar for 30 minutes and then they all stood guard for 4 hour shifts

Left Pearl Harbor to the Pacific to fight the Japanese; always inside at the radars when fighting
First battle was at Okinawa; they arrived 4 days early of the invasion (April 1945)
They would take control of 5-6 small islands and create a harbor out of the escorts for other ships to be protected; they were only escorts, Destroyer Escorts, they would surround an island for about 8,000 yards and patrol
They were the first line defense for the bigger ships in the navy

Okinawa (23:51)
Shot down 3 planes and knocked out a few ships
One of the sister ships was sunk midway by a Japanese fleet
Kamikaze (suicide planes) did damage to the navy; they would circle around at night dropping bombs and around 3-4 in the morning would start dive-bombing--one way ticket for them

When they made the first invasion of Okinawa there was no resistance
Japanese did not show up until a couple days later; stayed on the island for 72 days
Once Okinawa was secured they left to the Lingayen Gulf, Philippines
Escorted transports of troops to the island
Details of invasions--Lingayen Gulf, Leyte Gulf and Okinawa

Escorted 2 Army Tankers to Jinsen, Korea (36:40)
Then went to Japan for occupation duty for 2-3 months
Landed at Wakayama and were the first Americans there; Japanese were friendly and spoke English

Jumps to stories of time in the navy and after (38:26)
Looking for pilots
Initiation rituals
When the news came that the war had ended over the radio
Ships he escorted and travel time
Returning to California and seeing friends in the navy (Carol Lapyouse)
A time he came home on leave and drove from Texas to Louisiana
Standing guard stories
Meeting girls/people they know

(1:04:20)
Boudreaux remembers praying at Okinawa, they were so scared they'd get hit
The ship was never hit or damaged and they never lost anyone
Mostly afraid of the Kamikaze; seeing them on the radars wondering if they'll get hit
Sometimes the Kamikaze would drop aluminum foil to confuse the radars into making it look like a fleet of planes was coming

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; Navy, Radarman; Pacific
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
John Boudreaux
Recording date: 
Thursday, September 27, 2001
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All RIghts Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
01:07:03
Cataloged Date: 
Thursday, September 6, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Dr. Nelson Boudreaux

Accession No.: 
TH1-017

Dr. Nelson ("N.C") Boudreaux; Jason Theriot: Hewitt Theriot

Boudreaux was in school at SLI (Southwestern Louisiana Institute-now ULL) and on the weekends would go back home to court his now wife
Hitchhiking back to Lafayette a Sunday night, they heard on the radio about the attack on Pearl Harbor; all that night he and his cousin stayed up to listen to the radio and both decided that night they were going to join the war
The next day they went to the Air Corps to sign up to be pilots; Boudreaux was 19 at the time so he needed his parents’ permission first (of age was 21)
Took him 2 weeks to convince his parents while his cousin (who was 21) had already left for Alabama; by the time Boudreaux did get permission the Air Corps was closed for cadet training so he signed up for the Air Force and was put on the waiting list
Failed the physical test as he was put down as colorblind but in reality he was not completely colorblind so they failed him

Talking about a photo of his cousins that were in the war (8:30)

Enlisted into the service after failing his test (10:37)
Went to Kessler Air Force base and for a few weeks took tests; ended up in radio school
Sent him to a radio-gunner school in Scott Field, Bellville, Illinois
Trained as a radio mechanic operator and in Morse code

Once finished was sent on to gunnery school in Harlingen, Texas
Spent a lot of time on the range shooting skeets and training to shoot in AT-6s
Boudreaux was made an instructor as he could take apart a .30 cal and .50 cal machine guns blindfolded; 7-8 months there just teaching
Went and studied while there to take the colorblind test again and passed it (late 1942)

Wanted to be a flyer (18:30)
Everyone wanted to be a flyer, even after a year of the war starting; after finally passing the physical Boudreaux was still put on a waiting list
Once in the system he was sent to the Black Hills of South Dakota and stayed there for a month in classes
Was put into a cadet program and sent to Santa Anna, California; nothing but basic training and classroom work
Cadet training was split into 4 sections: primary flight training (Visalia, California), basic training for larger airplanes (Bakersfield, California), advanced training for specialized airplanes Boudreaux chose P-38s and lastly went to twin-engine training school (since he picked a P-38)
Went to Marfa, Texas to fly the twin-engine planes

Around 1944 was sent to Marlin, Missouri to the C-47s in a troop carrier training outfit
There was a large number of pilots there
The Army figured that they would lose a lot of troop carrier pilots in the invasion so they were to be replacements

Then sent out to Fort Wayne, Indiana for a month doing nothing before being shipped out
Left from New York City from a convoy (36:50)
Was put in the infantry; assigned to the ship "HMS Brittany" belonging to a British fleet
Went up to the North Sea to avoid submarines and spent 2 weeks traveling

Reached England in December 1944 (41:30)
Assigned to an outfit in Redington at an air force outside of London
Came into the barracks around midnight and an officer asked if any of them wanted to go on a mission with them that morning; they all volunteered
The mission was dropping supplies to the soldiers at the Battle of the Bulge

Assigned to as a co-pilot to a major who was a squad leader; thousands of planes were reviving up around them
In formation headed towards France and Belgium; could see the American tanks moving into battle; the next day they broke though
They came in low and fast as that was their only protection as they did not come in with a convoy; 500 feet
Once they dropped the supplies they turned back around

Towards the end of the war (55:04)
When flying out supplies, on the way back they would bring back wounded soldiers or German prisoners
When fighting on the Rhine River pushing the Germans back, they would drop paratroopers and gliders into enemy lines
Involved with the 101st and 82nd Airborne divisions; thinks he dropped some of the 82nd
After they dropped they went back to England; flew for 2 hours and saw nothing but formations of planes with gliders going in behind them

When the war ended (1:00:28)
Boudreaux was in Paris on R&R when he saw the headlines in the newspapers of Roosevelt's death
After the war he flew troops to the Riviera for R&R
Stayed there for a while, maybe about a month after that they started sending men home (his cousin that he initially signed up with was shot down and killed, was in the 42nd)
By the end of the war flying planes became more of a chore and lost its excitement

On the way home from France stopped off at in Paris and by a truck to an airport to Ireland then over to Iceland
Eventually reached the states and rode cattle cars in troop trains home
Was home by V-J Day

Letters from home (1:10:10)
His mother wrote him and his wife
Mail lagged behind and one point in England after 2 months his mail caught up with him
Did not open them in order; never got the letter of his brother's death
His brother (Marlin Boudreaux) in Patton's army was killed at the Maginot Line in France; saw his grave before he left for the states

Talking about why most veterans don't talk and how important it is that they do (1:13:40)

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History: World War II; Pilot; Europe
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Dr. Nelson Boudreaux
Recording date: 
Friday, March 1, 2002
Coverage Spatial: 
Jeanerette , La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
01:21:30
Cataloged Date: 
Monday, September 10, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Saturday, June 22, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Therese Boutte

Accession No.: 
TH1-018

Therese Boutte; Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot; another woman

Boutte enlisted in 1942; she was working at a telephone office and was not being paid much
Was about 21 years old and single; joined the Army services to get a change
Sent to Des Moines, Iowa for training, went by train; did basic training there (marching and calestintics)
After training was sent to San Antonio, Texas for schooling in cryptography; they weren't allowed to talk about what they were doing
Was probably chosen because of her background in telephones

Schooling in San Antonio (5:50)
Decoded and coded messages; followed a little book, a codebook guide
An armed guard would come in to take and give messages to them
They were in little cubbyholes and they were always locked in
The messages would come in all garbled, they'd decode it and type it up and the guard would come to take it

Was in the service for 3 years
Stationed at Kelly Field in San Antonio
Came home on leave a few times
Took a trolley into base everyday

Others from the area in service (10:50)
Boutte signed up for service with another girl from New Iberia, Jenny; she was sent to California
Talking about men they interviewed and how no one in their families had heard these stories

Photos (16:10)
Looking at pictures, during or after the war
Boutte on the air force base

Life on the Base (17:27)
Worked every day, sometimes at night even
Lived in barracks; washed their own clothes
Quite a bit of people on the base
Few movie theaters on base; no nightclubs on base
Some girls would go into Mexico on the weekends: Boutte never went as in the mornings they had calestintics
Food was basic enough

Yard Workers coming in (19:38)
Introductions
Families they know or related too
Cutting down a tree; yard work

Picking Up on Base Life (22:10)
Might have got off on the weekends
Took buses into San Antonio from the base
Received letters from home sometimes

At one point Boutte was supposed to go overseas and was sent back to Des Moines for training but the war ended
Only made it to a Corporal but should have gotten a Sergeant
Eventually was discharged and sent home; doesn't remember how she was discharged

Talking of others (29:30)
Women in the service that they interviewed
How some knew what was happening in the war and others that had no news of advancements of the war
Other woman talking about her memories of the war; President's speeches and rations
Talking about yard working and Boutte's workers

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; WAC; Homefront
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Therese Boutte
Recording date: 
Thursday, September 12, 2002
Coverage Spatial: 
Loreauville, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
00:45:11
Cataloged Date: 
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Monday, July 22, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Claude Broussard

Accession No.: 
TH1-019

Claude Broussard; Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot; Mrs. Bourrard

Broussard volunteered for the service as his brother (Paul) was already in it
Was first sent to Camp Livingston or Beauregard; shipped to Fort Knox for basic training in 1942
Went to the Louisiana Maneuvers at Camp Polk and was put in the 3rd Armored division; then cadre into the 7th Armored division

Before being shipped overseas Broussard was cadre into the 697th Field Artillery
They had tractors pulling the trailers for the10-in guns; tractors were to slow so they had to use tanks
Put the tripod on one trailer and the barrel on the other; had to carry a crane to dig a recoil pit; dug a pit 6 feet for the recoil
Hardly used those tanks in battle

Left Christmas morning 1943 from Newport News, Virginia at 2 in the morning
Had a year and half of training; drove a tank at Fort Knox
Was shipped to California for 5 1/2 months to train for going to Africa
Would go out every day at 12-3 to train; 120 degrees in the shade
Was in the 7th Armored at this time; at Fort Benning was cadre into the 697th because they needed tank drivers
697th had 2 40 hoteitzers with projectiles of 365 lbs.

Overseas (6:20)
Went to Africa, Sicily and then into Italy
Landed on top of sunken ship at Naples; Casino was their first real battle
When leaving the U.S. they went through the Messina Straits to Africa; hit bad weather
In Sicily made it secured and then up to Naples; had just been taken over when they landed, fired at Casino

When leaving, the English made cardboard dummies to put up at night so the Germans would still think they were there
Crossed over the Menturner River in the dark, twice; they had 5 tanks and pulled 2 guns
Attached to the 3rd Armored Division, the 7th Army; they were known as a bastard outfit
Their outfit was always being sent all over to push through lines

From there went to Santa Maria, Italy to fire on Bologna; went on to Leghorn
At Leghorn boarded LSTs with the tanks and guns; landed in southern France at Marseilles
Loaded up the tanks and guns onto French flatcars (train) to Bessencorn, France
Was with Patton 3 times: once in basic at California and twice in Europe

Artillery of the tank (17:30)
Would go off at 25 yards off the ground, 365 lbs. of shrapnel; this was a radio fuse in the shells
It was a new weapon and very accurate
Leaving Rome chasing Germans, they ran for 5 days and 5 nights without sleep; 300 gallons of fuel and fuel trunks right behind them
The tank was home, Broussard even slept in it
Had an assistant driver but he rarely ever drove, always Broussard
Took a four-man tray to carry the projectile; if you didn't have a good balance the concussion would knock you down

Casino (24:20)
Could hear Anzio Annies going above them; had them at Casino
Was firing at the Monastery, "the Abby"; ordered to "fire at will"
Germans had a tunnel that would go to the railroad station under the Abby; so they (U.S) bombed the place
Everyone went to the north; Broussard was 23 then

(28:38)
Altogether Broussard thinks his outfit earned 8 battle stars
Reached the Battle of the Bulge on Christmas Day of 1944
Broussard's brother was a captain in the infantry at the battle
Kept pushing north and eventually went over into Austria

When the war ended they were able to take over Salzburg without a shot (32:47)
Stayed there until the company was split up and took all the high-pointers (point system); Broussard was one as he had a child at home and had 112 points

Recapping on when Broussard left the U.S. and his travels in the beginning

Back to the Battle of the Bulge (35:24)
Germans made a push through Belgium where the Allies' position wasn't being defended
Huge snowstorm came through, Allied planes couldn't land or help defend; Germans were going to the river Muse to cut the Allied forces into two but they ran out of gasoline

That day (Christmas Day) they were eating turkey and all the trimmings; at night they left
Broussard isn't sure where they were as he stayed with his tank to keep it ready
At night when they left it was really a retreat as the Germans were coming, but they didn’t know that, no one told them

Through Europe (44:05)
Landed in Naples and then went north to Bologna when they got word to move into France
At the Bulge, which they didn't know until a reunion a few years ago that they were there
In Salzburg, Austria when the war ended and the company was broken up

Was put in CQ (chargers quarters) at an ammunition factory
When men came through from Germany they'd stop there and then in the morning head out to Paris
One day as CQ Broussard sees a friend from Jeannerette, Vince DeVeasay

First person he met from the area while in service was Allen Landry at Casino, Landry was going to Naples
Saw Elles LaGrange in Rome; ran into the entire National Guard group from New Iberia (156th Reg.) there too
Never saw his brother while overseas, he went over before Brossard and came home before him

After being split up (52:40)
On the outskirts of Salzburg; crossing borders into Germany and rivers
Theriot tells a story from another interviewee (Prince from Loreauville)
Went through Hitler's Eagle's Nest (Austria); 5-6 stories down in the mountain with hospitals, operating rooms, nurseries etc.

End of the War (56:17)
May 1945 when the war ended; in Salzburg
Railroad battalion gave them a bunch of stuff; like tents to sleep in
Celebrated that night; near Salzburg so they went into town

Wine Story (57:20)
Was in Italy and the German had vats that they pulled the plugs on in a wine cellar
Someone found it and they filled as much as they could in their cans; used things from the tank to make a still and finish making bootleg wine
Officer caught them one day, they bribed him and set up a trade with him; two whiskey bottles for a can of wine

Coming home (1:01:05)
In the outfit he was in at the ammunition factory; made bullets
Found a German rifle and took it apart and sent it back home through the mail; still has it
After Salzburg went through Holland or France to a ship
Landed in Newport News and got on another ship that sent him to Boston
From there Broussard went to Camp Shelby and then took a train to New Orleans (Sept. 1945)

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History: World War II; Army; Artillery; Europe
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Claude Broussard
Recording date: 
Tuesday, July 30, 2002
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
01:18:30
Cataloged Date: 
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Monday, July 22, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Edward Broussard

Accession No.: 
TH1-020

Edward Broussard; Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot

Broussard had been working in Breaux Bridge as a shipping clerk; all his friends were signing up for the National Guard but no one knew of the world crisis
Signed up in June 1940 and was activated in November that year; he was 18 years old
Only signed up as he wanted to be with friends; Lafayette National Guard unit was filled up so they were accepted in New Iberia—lots of men from the Acadiana area

(5:41) Camp Blanding
When they got to Blanding it was filled with palmetto shrubs that they had to clear out; hauled white sand around Kingsley Lake to make the beach
Slept in tents before the barracks were built
Had regular training, trained on property owned by JC Penny a little away from the camp
The New Orleans Company held a Mardi Gras parade on the camp grounds
Never knew that the war was coming

(8:13) Hearing of Pearl Harbor
Was on leave with G Company, going to Jacksonville, Florida
Staying at a motel but had gone out to eat when they heard the news
They were told that “all soldiers report back to your base, wherever you are from”; drove back that night
Once back they immediately moved out and went north to Charleston, North Carolina at Stoney Field
They were assigned to harbors and warehouses for guard duty
Eventually went back to Blanding and then on to Camp Bowie, Texas

(12:42) Louisiana Maneuvers
Saw Eisenhower parade through Camp Polk
Some units would be designated enemies in different clothes
Broussard was just a private at the time
Designated front lines; New Iberia was assigned the Springfield rifle
The maneuvers lasted for 2 weeks

(18:56) Camp Bowie
Made friends with some of the other units and no rivalry between them
Broussard’s company spoke English well enough to not be ridiculed as the Breaux Bridge Company was ridiculed by the other units as they spoke more French than the other Louisiana companies; some fights broke out in town sometimes
(Theriot: Camp Bowie forbade other languages being spoken, many Breaux Bridge recruits there complained at how they were treated because they knew so little English)

While at Bowie the Army began recruiting for officers at Fort Benning; Broussard was selected to go to the officer training school at Benning; left in June of 1942
Applied for it as he had an IQ level over 118, also got an approval from a board of officers
Hitched hike back to New Iberia, stayed for a few days and then took a bus to Fort Benning; ended his affiliation with G Company

Officer Candidacy School (OCS) in the 67th, outside of Benning; stayed out in the woods off the main base
Known as “90-day Wonders” as in 90 days they could get a commission; went to lectures and had to stay physically fit; did obstacle courses
There was a group of guys from Breaux Bridge and Franklin there
After 90 days, Broussard got a commission

Sent to the 92nd Infantry Division, the Buffalo Division in Breckenridge, Kentucky
The Buffalo Division was just being activated, a Negro outfit
Not enough 2nd Lieutenants and officers so they used the cadres of black noncoms (noncommissioned officers)
Eventually reassigned to Blanding to the 30th Division, the Ole Hickory Division
Went into the M Company, the weapons company of the 120th Infantry Regiment; assigned to this unit as he had background in the weapons from company of the 156th
They were a heavy weapons company with a .30-caliber machine guns and 81 mm mortars
Broussard was in charge of a rifle platoon, 1st platoon of the company

(35:20) Overseas/England
Left the states February 12 and arrived at the Firth of Clyde ten days later on the 22nd, 1944
By train they went to Bognaregus on the English Channel; moved up to Elsbury England
Trained while waiting; lectured on German army clothing and things to expect
No one knew where they were going or what was happening, just a lot of soldiers all over England
Crossed the channel after the invasion; landed on Omaha beach and assigned to support 3 rifle companies
Worked in initial combat with men they had not trained with; supported by the E Company that missed their landing in the invasion
The beach was calm when they landed and no resistance; swollen corps on the beach
In 6 days they cleaned up the beach
Held up for about 2 weeks in the apple orchards in Normandy; hedges were thick and filled with Germans
Little north of St. Lo waiting for the breakout

(46:12) Death of friends in other platoons that lead to Broussard taking over the whole company
Lt. Condon of the 2nd platoon killed before St. Lo
Lt. Lott in the heavy weapons platoon killed at Port Emile

(50:20)
Relieved the 101st Airborne Division on the outskirts of St. Lo
One of the rifle companies in the 3rd Battalion was trapped in Mortan
Talking about where Broussard’s men were from in his platoon
They got as far as Magdeburd, Germany and held it till the Russians could take over
Was in battle from June to May, so almost a whole year
A few times they had recreation areas made at monasteries

(55:53) France
France was dirty; the farm people lived in a house with a barn attached
The soldiers were asked to not eat the vegetables as they were fertilized by human waste
One family Broussard had gotten close too gave him an invitation for their daughter; she was eventually married after the war and sent him an invitation to the wedding

(1:01:12) looking at photos

(1:04:10/1:06:55) Battle of the Bulge
Sent to the line, north of Malmedy
(Going through more photos and maps)
They were going to relieve units where the breakthrough was to happen
Had to cross in narrow paths in the snow
At Malmedy they wore white sheets to blend in with the snow
Talking about sights seen in France; battle fields and the dead

(1:16:46) Spring of 1945
Broussard’s unit only got as far as Magdeburd when they knew that the war was ending
Were given news of the Russians moving in; captured one German soldier that told them that they’d [U.S] have to fight the Russian later
2 types of German soldiers: those that made it their career and the young/old men that were forced
One Frenchman stayed with them as he wanted to be a part of the fighting force; only had a little pistol and followed the company
Other stories about travelling

(1:25:40) Heading Home
Col. Merrill McCulloch sent word for Broussard to be sent back home; He was on line in the field when he got the report
Was driven back to France when he was sent back over on a ship; landed in New York
Once back home went back to USL and built a house with his wife
Rejoined the Guard and became the Adjutant of the 2nd Battalion Headquarters in St. Martinville before being kicked out as a liability for old injuries

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; National Guard; Infantry; Europe
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Edward Broussard
Recording date: 
Sunday, February 15, 2004
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
01:44:08
Cataloged Date: 
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Monday, July 22, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Eugene Broussard

Accession No.: 
TH1-021

Eugene (Gene) Broussard, Sr.; Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot

Broussard was out ducking hunting at Lake Deautrive when he noticed a lot of airplanes fly overhead; got home and listened to Roosevelt’s speech on declaring war on Japan
Went into active service December 16, 1941 and tried to get a job where he could use his legal profession; was turned down as he needed 2 years of practice, he only had 1 ½ years
Wrote to the FBI and they said the same thing

Went into the Air Force and trained at Avon Park, Florida; was already flying by himself
Was pulled out without being told why and put into bombardier training
Later he was called into a meeting with the FBI, asking him to work for them now
He was to have a secret job watching over the Norden Bomb Sight; was the main military secret base form WWI
For 4 years he had to write a report to the FBI; he was not paid as it was “so secret” and the Germans would come for him; never told anybody the whole 4 years
The best way to get into Norden was to be a bombardier

(4:22) Training
The bombsight has 2 parts, the horizontal stabilizer and stays in the airplane and then the most important part was the vertical stabilizer
When checking a bombsight you had to bring a 45-cal pistol; instructed to shoot 2 shots into the bombsight if something went wrong or someone stealing secrets
In ground training they had to hit these “bugs” that moved on the floor while standing on a bombsight that was also moving; easy for Broussard to do

First time flying on a bombing run as a cadet, dropped the bomb a mile away at 4,000 feet away from the target
The next run hit it dead center; average of 5 feet form a mile away, while the typical average is 400 feet
Was made an instructor to teach the other boys to do the same
In 4 years they were able to improve the bombardiers by 400%, from teaching 2 classes of 60; the error was now 100 feet by the end of the war

When each class went through bombardier school the 10% was taken for instructors and then sent to Carsbad Central Instructors School
There they competed against each other and took 62; Broussard was numbered as the fourth best bombardier in all of the U.S.
Never went overseas after that; they told him that he was doing more good teaching than fighting

(7:47) Teaching
First class he taught was sent out to Tampa, Florida; 60 cadets
In 3 months a 1/3 (20) were killed in training; so the field was closed down and investigated
For in the beginning of the war more airmen were killed in training than in combat; towards the end the numbers changed
In Europe 50,000 bombardiers, just them alone, were killed; it’s said that it was the bombardiers that won the war, especially since it was them that dropped the atomic bomb
Never knew anything about the atomic bomb until it was dropped
Stayed mostly in Texas and worked at 10 different airfields (he lists them)
Talking of stories with working with computers, older bombardiers from WWI, other instructors

Had to fly with every cadet, 60, for about 60 months; trained around 500 in all 4 years
Lectured to other classes other than his own; tells a story of calling out another instructor
Once over in Europe all they had to do was fly 25 missions and the come home; Broussard thinks that killed them faster

(18:28) Question: Was there any rhyme or reason for flying in a V formation?
Flew in the squadron (V) to protect each other; if they flew together it would be a lot easier to shoot them down
They had 6 guns on each plane to shoot down enemies (B-29)
Never got training in gunnery, was too specialized (talked about how the guns might have been loaded)

(23:28) Joining Up
Signed up a week after declaring war; had a low draft number and knew he’d be soon
Figured he’d go into the army infantry if he didn’t make a move quick; tried the legal profession side first, then the Air Force
After 6 months of training and trying to get a commission the Army legal department calls him and asked him to work for them
Said he wanted to work for them 6 months ago and he’d only do it from them if he still got his flying pay and they wouldn’t let him so he said “'well you can shove it up your ass then”
Broussard thinks now he should have taken it as he’d have gotten promotions and eventually paid better, it’d have been a safer job too
Was a 1st Lt. for 3 years and never got a promotion even though he was so good

Had to work 14 hours a day or be shipped out; flew 364 days out the year with 1 day off
Flew everyday with pilots, men and women, so he wore his parachute; never had jump training though but thankfully never had to use it
When Broussard was to be married, he needed at least 10 days off and one of his general was able to get him out for it (July 1942)
Broussard believes he probably would have been killed if he had not became an instructor; goes back to the airfield incident in Tampa with the 20 boys killed—reason was that the planes’ wings were 3 feet too short
Talking about types of planes and those Broussard knew in the service

(44:12) Teaching math

(47:48) Talking
Thoughts on the atomic bombs
Airplane training, what could have changed and made it better
Other stories Theriot has heard for his other interviews
More on different planes
Plane maneuvers in training and teaching
Discharged in November 1945

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; Air Force; Insructor; FBI
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Eugene Broussard
Recording date: 
Monday, July 30, 2001
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
01:17:10
Cataloged Date: 
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Original Format: 
mircocasstte
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Jack Broussard

Accession No.: 
TH1-022

Jack Broussard; Jason Theriot, Hewitt Theriot

Went into the service in September 1942
Pearl Harbor day was on a Sunday and Broussard was driving to the movies; he was surprised, never kept up with the news being he was 18
Tried to enlist into the Navy Air Corp, wanted to be a pilot, but he was colorblind so they put him in the regular Navy
Boot camp in San Diego, got there by train and after boot camp went into the Corp school for medical training for another 6 weeks
Was allowed to pick his station so he chose Seattle, Washington at the Navy hospital for a year; ironically gave colorblind tests

Eventually transferred to a troop transport that went out to the Aleutian Islands and stayed on the ship for a year
It was a Merchant Marine ship, “SS Henry Failing”; went out for 30 days between Washington and the islands; it was a big ship
Main destinations were Adak and Attu; did stop at Kodiak a few times
The Japanese were already gone by the time Broussard was there (1943); on one island they were 750 miles away from Japan
Rough water (Pacific) that would rock the ship
Ship was run by the Merchant Marines so the food was good; 4-5 men to a stateroom

(14:33) story of a mental patient he had to take care of on the ship

(17:36) treated for different diseases and minor injuries
There was no war injuries there

Adak was a big base that had a movie theater that they used when in port
Never was in contact with the locals there
Got their mail when coming back to the states; Broussard’s mother wrote every day to him

(18:24) talking on various subjects
The islands
Living conditions and weather on the ship
The food and mess hall
Lower you went the more bunks stacked up and rocking from the ship
So cold and rough waters
Tokyo Rose, the only station they could pick up, played good music
Swapping stories between Broussard and H. Theriot
How the war is portrayed today

(44:00) the end of the war
After being on the ship for a year went back to Seattle for another year, 1945
Got out in March of 1946; discharged in Seattle and stayed for a few months with another medic’s family he gotten close to, before coming home
Came home by train and visited with the family
Went to work at a bank after the visit and met his wife there
His family understood why he left for the war
Recounting how he got home in detail
Talking on other subjects of New Iberia and family, living in Seattle, the ship

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History: World War II; Navy; Ship Medic: Corpsman
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Jack Broussard
Recording date: 
Wednesday, October 10, 2001
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
01:10:44
Cataloged Date: 
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with John Broussard

Accession No.: 
TH1-023

John Broussard; Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot

Pearl Harbor day Broussard was going to a date with a nurse from Lafayette and he was on the way to pick her up when he heard it on the car radio
The draft board was going to put him into the Army, so he “jumped the stick” and joined the Marines in January 8, 1942
Brought him to New Orleans and from there on a troop train to San Diego for boot camp
After the camp went to Saint Louis Abistol in the mountains; 22 years old

(7:10) After 2 weeks at Saint Louis Abistol in the rifle range went back to San Diego
That night they got there they were put on a ship for 200 people but had 2,000 soldiers crossing the ocean
Reached Samoa, unloaded and sent into the hills; no Japanese, came to relieve some “China Marines”
Were given tents and cots, it rained every day and flooded

Went through a telephone school there; learned to climb on coconut trees rather than a pole
First time up fell down 10 feet onto his back
Stayed there for 6-8 months before going back on the ship to Wallis Island; they were a defense battalion
They were there to keep the Japanese from taking this island; early 1942
Made friends with the natives; had a French governor and some French Marines and nuns
Made a wonderful job in making Catholics out of the natives; would go to their beautiful churches for mass

(14:00)
Stayed there for 22 months; only way off that island was to get Elephantiasis or as the natives called it “Moo Moo”, got it from a mosquito bite and it’d swell up
Broussard did get Elephantiasis; they’d take them on a hospital ship back to the states and then once healed back to the island
Got on leave for 30 days after recouping and got married during that time
Reported back to Belle Chase, a naval station across the Mississippi
They were guarding some ammunition dumps where the submarines were stationed
Transferred to Quantico, Virginia as seasoned veterans
Never saw any action, closest to it he got was on the islands but still nothing

Acted as an interpreter on Wallis Island as he could talk to the governor and natives; helped his commander
Built an air strip on it; nothing ever happened; (27:27) story of a fight
The natives were lighter skin than Africans; French did a good job in making them decent Catholics; gentle people, dressed well
Liked to eat dog rather than the wild pigs; coconuts and fish were big part of their diet

Every 2-3 months a ship would come to give supplies; sometimes brought mail and cigars
After staying in Quantico he went to Camp Pendleton, in the desert
Was shipped off to Honolulu, Hawaii; getting close to the end of the war, was there when the bombs were dropped
Shipped out to Okinawa on an LST; then over to Sasebo with materials to make communications along the coast to Nagasaki

While in Japan they began sending people home on points and eventually Broussard was sent off
Took a ship to the Aleutian Islands, very cold and rough waters; seasick for 3 days
Got back in San Francisco and took a train back home

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; Marines; South Pacific
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
John Broussard
Recording date: 
Saturday, March 2, 2002
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
00:39:32
Cataloged Date: 
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Carol Mestaye, Lloyd Broussard, and Louis Prince

Accession No.: 
TH1-024

Carol Mestayer; Lloyd Broussard; Louis Prince; 2 women; Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot

Carol Mestayer
(2nd part) Starts off with Mestayer telling a story trying to get a train from Chicago to New Iberia

(3:20) Basic Training
Took basic training at Fort Sheridan, 30 minutes out of Chicago; was allowed to go in every other weekend
Was there in the beginning of 1943; first time Mestayer had pizza
Had a girlfriend in Chicago but she couldn’t dance; every Saturday there was a dance on the base and that’s where he met her, her name was Helen Thompson

Got back home from the war and couldn’t get a job
Government gave them 52/20 (for 52 weeks paid $20 each week)
Worked out in the Atchafalaya Basin for 9 months before the job “folded up”
Went out into the Gulf to work until his contract was up
Then drove a butane truck in 1947; had to sell in rations
1948 went to work at Brown and Root and stayed there for 35 years

(10:04) Interview with Lloyd Broussard
Worked on a tugboat for a while; last job was for 6 weeks and then quit
Was walking by the high school’s draft board when Broussard and some friends (Homer and Angus) decided to join the Marines
Went to New Orleans to pass the examinations and did; left December 26, 1942 for training
Took a train to training and they came in at night; was in San Diego for basic for 8 weeks

Went on to rifle training and then on to Saint Clementi to specialize
Broussard wanted to go into air force mechanics or metal smith on airplanes
Next day was sent to North Island on the naval base; had to march everywhere
Stayed there for 3 months doing Marine Corp Supply and Naval Accounting (not what he wanted to do)
Sent back to San Diego for a week and then shipped out; at sea for 18 days
On a French Liner, “Roe Sham Boo” with 10,000 people on it; landed in some islands and no one knew where they were
Found out it was Espiritu Santo island, south of Guadalcanal; there to stop the Japanese

It was a rough spot there and they couldn’t get supplies through; one point had to furnish gasoline on a raft to fuel the planes
Broussard’s job was to keep the planes running and flying; had a Seabee battalion
Worked in a warehouse with Marine Corps supplies; sometimes they’d take things from the Army base
Stayed there for 18 months before sending him back to the states to get a promotion
Went back to San Diego and got a 30 day leave and then stayed there for a year
Worked again in a warehouse with the personal effects of those that went over to Saipan

(23:55) On the islands
There were natives, 3 types: a few Japanese, Tonkinese and black cannibals
Tonkinese were dropped off in groups as the others that had been there for a year working were picked up
The cannibals would come out of the jungle once a year to get medical treatment from the nuns; wore no clothes
Tonkinese men wouldn’t work, they’d bring their wives to work in the coffee patches and then sleep
Broussard would go into the jungle but they made a policy that they would not go into the jungle after 12 as it got dark fast

(29:08) looking at photos, medals

(31:01) Interview with Louis Prince
(part 1)

Went into service June 19, 1944; took basic at Fort Bliss, Texas
Went into the infantry and then overseas to Liverpool, England
Crossed the English Channel into Leharve, France straight into battle
Contracted pneumonia in Leache, Belgium and sent to Paris to get well
Once well he was sent to the 78th infantry division, the Lightning division in Patton’s 3rd Army
Back into combat at Wuppertal, Germany and stayed there for the rest of the war

Was sent to Berlin to occupy for 7 months after the war; the city was mostly gone
Had more trouble with the Russians after the war rather than the Germans
Stayed in a big apartment building, ate well, better than when in combat
Wore the same clothes in combat, full of scabies; no food or drinking water
Found a 5 gallon peanut butter can one night and ate it he was so hungry; everybody was starving

Left Europe in 1946, June (looking at photos Prince took)
After the war ended, Prince’s outfit was in Kassel, Germany and they got ready to go fight the Japanese in the Pacific
Happy to hear that the war was ending on that side too; everybody was scared
Looking more at photos (others in the background talking too)

When the war was over, joined the boxing team for the ETO Championship
Got home by ship and landed in New York and discharged at Camp Shelby in Mississippi

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; Army; Marines; Infantry
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Carol Mestaye; Lloyd Broussard; Louis Prince
Recording date: 
Sunday, July 15, 2001
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
00:49:55
Cataloged Date: 
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with RJ Broussard

Accession No.: 
TH1-025

RJ “Chink” Broussard; Jason Theriot: Hewitt Theriot

Was part of the National Guard in New Iberia, in the 156th infantry
Went to Camp Blanding, Florida before the war (1940?) and when war did break out sent to Charleston, South Carolina
There to guard the docks; sent to Camp Bowie, Texas and from there eventually overseas (1941)
Landed in England in 1942

Was a boxer already and went into boxing in the army too (talking about some fights)
In London they were on guard duty and training; boxed in middleweight championship there
Boot camp in Camp Blanding; no infantry training when war broke out
The 156th infantry was mostly all men from New Iberia
With the National Guard went to London then to North Africa and then Italy and lastly to France
Broussard’s term in the guard was over during the war and eventually put into the army

(8:20) In North Africa fought Marcell Serdan twice a week
Fought on the amateur card at the service club in Oran, North Africa
Serdan and Broussard would talk French to each other; Serdan was in the Navy
Looking at newspaper clippings of his fights; boxed till 1948
In North Africa they fought on Saturday and Sunday nights
Before being transferred was in G Company and was sent into the Army Special Service
Fought 90 fights altogether during the war—won 73, drew 7 and lost 10

(16:30) From North Africa went to France then to Italy
In France had a team of pros and amateurs and then went into Rome
Had been to Rome before when working with the police
Guarded some of Rommel’s troops, POWs; worked with the FBI and police looking for fascists
Would knock on or break down doors of addresses the FBI had given them
Had taken hand-to-hand combat at University of Oran in North Africa; never had to use it, always behind the front lines
Was there for entertainment purposes not to really fight in the war

(23:20) Mannheim, Germany
Was in Germany when the war ended; in with a TDY outfit in the special service
People drank a lot and then try to drive the military vehicles so Broussard had to arrest them
One escapee of a POW and had to chase him, Italian GI
Was in Rome for D-Day

(28:09)
People he met during the war
Talking of family, life before and after the war
Fights and people Broussard knew
Speaking French as children
Tour of Europe he did with his wife after the war
What he did for the troops as entertainment (importance)

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; National Guard; Boxer; Infantry Entertainment
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
RJ Broussard
Recording date: 
Monday, November 18, 2002
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, La
Publisher: 
Jason THeriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
00:44:28
Cataloged Date: 
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Friday, July 26, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun adn Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Rene Broussard

Accession No.: 
TH1-026

Rene Broussard; Jason Theriot

Joined the U.S. Navy on June 1, 1942; went to Great Lake, Illinois for basic training
By July he was on the way to New York to board a Destroyer, “USS Jenkins”; patrolled the Atlantic coast for submarines from December to October; made contact with one submarine off the coast of Cuba
Escorted 500 ships on the invasion of Casablanca, North Africa from October 26th to November 8th 1942; on the 7th (day before) a submarine fired a torpedo at Broussard’s ship and missed them by 6 feet
Gives dates and places/battles he was at in a timeline; battle stars he’s earned

(6:40) Sailed on two ships: “USS Jenkins” a destroyer and “USS Sitkoh Bay” an aircraft carrier
Was a water pump tender in the engine room and worked on the boilers on “Jenkins”
Made fresh water from sea water as a water tender on “Sitkoh Bay”
Had 365 men on each ship

(9:44) Joining the Navy/Battle of Casablanca
Had some friends that didn’t want to go into the army so he tagged along
Went to New Orleans to sign up and while there the Navy supported them
Initiated on June 1, 1942 and was on training for 6 weeks; kept a record of everything (is reading from it)

Casablanca was the first real big push against the Germans in the beginning of the war; General Rommel was taking parts of North Africa and going for the rest
Europeans didn’t want that but the British were in Libya so America was asked to go in and help
Escorted 500 ships to the battle; led as lead Destroyer for 21 destroyers, which is why they saw the torpedo being directed to them and were able to evade it in time

The French in Africa were with the Germans and Italians at the time; were shooting guns that had been left there from World War I (1918)
One shell did hit a cruiser and it went through the sleeping quarters and into the kitchen but never went off—might have been a dud

Coming in within 7,000 yards of the beach the Germans started firing and did some damage to them then
They had been shooting at them since 7:00 that morning and by 1:00 the Germans stopped; came to find out a battleship, “USS Massachusetts,” shot 3 shells into the radar control and shut the German artillery down

(15:50) Worked in the general quarters as a doctor
Once in the Pacific was stationed on a .20 mm machine gun for general quarters
“Jenkins” took part in the Battle of Guadalcanal, all the battles in the Southern Solomon Islands and Tarawa
Fought every night with the Japanese; they were good
Had to keep secret on how many ships they were sinking or damaging; no pictures to be taken
After leaving “USS Jenkins” it hit a mine but did not sink and continued to be used till 1969 when it was scraped
Not many destroyers went undamaged when in the Pacific
(22:00) Picked up a Marine pilot who had ditched his airplane in the ocean; had been about 10,000 feet when he had engine trouble
He came down and crash-landed his plane right in Broussard’s ship wake; he jumped out and they rescued him
The pilot was Jeff Deblanc from St. Martinsville

(24:07) Stories
Patrolling off the East Coast of Guadalcanal one night and they could hear a loud plane above them (Washing Machine Charley) almost hit the ship; must have been lost in the dark
Walter McHellhenny was a Lt. in the Marines and they met while Broussard was working at Avery Island
He was in the Pacific; got into trouble a bit with those higher in command
(31:15) A Japanese Colonel came running at McHellhenny with a sword and it took a while for them to kill him as his clothes were too thick for bullets to pierce
McHellhenny caught malaria and was sent to hospital in Australia

(35:40) Pearl Harbor Day
Working as a landscaper at Avery Island when they heard; knew nothing about it or where it was
While in school they would listen to the radio and hear what Hitler was doing and when he was invading the countries in Europe
Did come to understanding that the attack on Pearl Harbor meant war
Tried to get into the Marines but was too tall (6’ 6’’) and almost was too tall to get into the Navy; still grew 2 more inches after that and his clothes were too short

Talking about the American Legion, VFW and family

(43:06) Coming back to the states
Came back in 1945 and went back to school in Pennsylvania
Was able to come back as he had enough points

Knew that eventually if the war was ever to be over the Japanese needed to be defeated
Wouldn’t have stopped if the bombs weren’t dropped
At the time Broussard had no idea what “atomic” meant and how much damage it was capable of

Talking of night and naval maneuvers of the U.S. and Japanese; certain battles
Training he went through
Always at sea, only got off twice to an island to gather supplies
Family history from Canada
Involvement with the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars)

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; Navy; Atlantic
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Rene Broussard
Recording date: 
Monday, September 17, 2001
Coverage Spatial: 
Iberia Parish
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
01:14:53
Cataloged Date: 
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Dot Broussard

Accession No.: 
TH1-027

Dot Broussard; Jason Theriot

Middle of a story about a map that was used by her paratrooper husband (Sam)
Foreign exchange students and CODOFIL people from France that they housed through the years

(5:09) Home Demonstration Agent
Had finished LSU for pre-Med and went back to take Home Ec
By the time the war started she had been married for 4 months and her husband was killed
Moved back to St. Martinsville and drove to Breaux Bridge to work
Broussard’s job was to test pressure cookers to make sure the food they cooked was done correctly

Taught adults like they were in 4-H, on programs that the state wanted them to use in canning, gardening, freezers, etc.
Mostly during the war it was all about preserving food with the rations; people liked to gardened
Taught how to use the pressure cookers, cutting up animals and what to use or can
Everyone was onboard for the war effort

(14:00) her second husband (Sam Broussard) in the National Guard (sent out activated outfits) and eventually was the Battalion Executive
He quit early as he was gone every night and he wanted to have the weekends off
Volunteered for the service as a paratrooper before being put in the National Guard; probably would have died if he continued on as a paratrooper
His knowledge in the French language is what helped him; spoke many different dialects
Would find out where the Germans were hiding in France, working with other Frenchmen
Came a few hours later after the invasion on the beach; he would talk about how sad it was to see all the men dead or dying and couldn’t do anything for them

(18:00) Stories about Sam
Their trips to France, people they met or he knew from his time over there during the war (stayed in Paris for a year)
People they know from Louisiana

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; Homefront; Husband
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Dot Broussard
Recording date: 
Sunday, September 5, 2004
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
00:44:38
Cataloged Date: 
Monday, October 15, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Dr. Agapito Castro

Accession No.: 
TH1-028

Dr. Agapito Castro; Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot

Dr. Castro was 10 years old, living in the Philippines (native) when Pearl Harbor happened; lived on the island of Luzon
The first Japanese bombing on the Philippines was December 8 (in our time zone that was December 7-Pearl Harbor day); the Japanese forces came from Formosa, present day Taiwan
First memories were around September-October when they would practice “black outs”; sirens would sound and they were supposed to turn lights off if it was at night
His father had a radio that was strong enough to pick up the BBC station and that was how they learned about the comings of war

First major memory of the war was December 10 and they were all sleeping, it was around 4 AM, and they heard 3 explosions
Dr. Castro’s father brought them out into a grove of bamboo as it was thick and he figured the bamboo would be able to absorb the shock if a bomb landed close to them; they stayed there till the sun came up
His father was a judge and if anything happened in town he got the first reports, after the army
Later that day he got a report on the bombings and one had hit a railroad and there was some people dead
The bomb had ruined the railroad track and a train came upon it later that morning and detailed, killing a few people inside
There was a camp about 2-3 miles from where the wreck had taken place, an Army camp, and that might have been the target or they were trying to cut off supplies to the camp

(4:10) Question: How did the Filipino people feel about the Japanese coming into their country?
They still hate them now; resisted every way they could with the best guerillas and supported Macarthur

(5:11) at noon (Dec. 10) they left their home and went to their ancestral home in another town (grandparents’ home)
That afternoon the Japanese began bombing Clark Field; Japanese planes were painted silver and stayed in “V” formation
Crossed paths with soldiers from trucks on the roads, watching the bombings
When they got to the house they saw a plane go down, Capt. Collin Kelly, after he shot down a Japanese plane that landed in a rice field
Everyone began moving south to get away from the Japanese; they were invading and people were afraid
Bataan surrendered in April 1942 and Corregidor in May of 1942

(10:56) September 21, 1944
They hadn’t see any American planes for 4 years
Heading out to the farm that morning, it was cloudy but they could hear the planes above them
Then one of the planes came out of the clouds and they saw the “Stars and Stripes” on it
They were bombing Clark Field

With the Japanese invasion, Dr. Castro’s father was not able to practice his profession as a judge
They had closed down their government and his family worked in the rice and sugarcane fields
Japanese also took away his radio and they were only allowed to know what the Japanese told them
The one thing they were not allowed to have was guns, they took all of those too

Each town had a platoon of Japanese soldiers and they used Filipino military to help keep the peace
In Dr. Castro’s part of the country they had 3 types of guerillas: bandits that robbed, the ones supported by MacArthur and the Communists (started long before the war and were calling for reforms); all fought the Japanese
The Communists guerillas still continued after the war and during that time, Dr. Castro felt more afraid than when the Japanese occupation
In 1944 the MacArthur gorillas came to Dr. Castro’s father and asked him to make a guerilla unit in their town as the submarines were giving them supplies and weapons; by the time they were ready to make a unit the Americans came in

(16:58) the Americans
The Marines were landing in the Lingayen Gulf, 100 miles from Dr. Castro’s family’s farm
They could hear the shelling on the beaches; the Japanese fled to the mountains
Eventually the Americans made it into the town and everyone went to see them
They were dressed differently and had jeeps, they were the Alamo Scouts; had been sent ahead of the main army
Dr. Castro was 14 years old at the time

(22:20) Japanese Occupation
The Japanese came in and occupied the Philippines and each town had a platoon
They stayed in the schoolhouses and there were guards 24/7 there; had rifles and bayonets
Every time the natives passed them they had to bow; if not done right you were beaten

(25:20) Bataan Death March
From Bataan the POWs were walked to San Fernando, Pampanga in April for about 30 miles
Then they put them on railroad cars to a town, Capas; 6 miles from Dr. Castro’s town
At Capas they did a head count and then walked to Camp O’Donnell, where the concentration camp was
Dr. Castro did not see the first batch of POWs but others were telling them about the poor Americans
After that they began to bring them food when they got off at Capas; they’d wake up at midnight to make rice and put either chicken or eggs with it and wrapped it up in banana leaves and then haul it to Capas and get there by 7 AM
The Japanese would not let them get close to the POWs; if they were Filipino POWs they were a bit lenient on them so they could throw/roll the food at them when they walked by; if caught throwing food to the American POWs they’d get beat by the rifle butt
One time there was an entire group of American POWs and the Japanese commander let them go up and give food to them; they were reluctant as this was a first
After they ate all the soldiers stood up and clapped their hands before they were sent off

Talking of families, others they’ve interviewed, Larry Aucoin, those they are going to interview

(37:10) after the Americans came
After the Alamo Scouts left the 37th Infantry Division came in; made their headquarters in his uncle’s house
The artillery was placed at their farm and they shelled the hills around Clark Field
Every night they dug foxholes waiting for the Japanese Bonsai charges

(38:12) Life under the Japanese/Stories
Things did change, people lived in fear
They were starving but so were the Japanese; production of rice was down as people were afraid to plant with planes being shot down into the fields
They would do public hangings in the town plaza; mainly they were guerillas
Tells a story about a “ghost,” a hiding POW that wore a sheet
A story about an American dive bomber that parachuted into their field and was shot
Most of the schools were closed and those that were open would brainwash you; his father never let him go (4 years)
The idolization of MacArthur to the Filipinos
There was no news coming so many thought they were not going to be saved, never saw any Americans for so long

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; Philippines; Japanese Occupation
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Dr. Agapito Castro
Recording date: 
Saturday, March 9, 2002
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
01:10:06
Cataloged Date: 
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Ambrose Champagne

Accession No.: 
TH1-029

Ambrose (AJ) Champagne; Jason Theriot; a woman (Mrs. Champagne?); Hewitt Theriot

Raised on a farm in the back of Parks (“Grandboil”-big park)
Drafted March 18 (1942) and sent to Camp Beauregard, Alexandria
Transferred to Fort Smith, Arkansas and attached to the 6th Armored Division; trained for 6 months before going to maneuvers on the Sabine River in Texas
Went back to Fort Smith and moved out to the desert in California; trained another 6 months and then sent on to Camp Cook
Was doing guard work and training; filmed some training films with Paramount Pictures

Went to Camp Shank, New York to go overseas; water was full of submarines
Landed in Scotland and moved inland to Long Polk, England; trained there with anti-aircraft guns
The hospital there was used during D-Day and Champagne watched them bring in the wounded; had to wait until an armored division could be safely put on the beach
Brought to the Channel and waited till July 30th till they could cross; finally saw the aftermath of war

Camped out in a pasture overnight and the 3rd Army started to retake Brittany
Pushed back the Germans and then went up to Paris; cleared up more spots and went into Nancy, France and the Moselle River (Mogdiviille)
Ran out of ammunition and gasoline and had to stay there from September to October
By November they attacked through the back of Metz and pushed the Germans back; Battle of the Bulge soon followed

(7:44) Battle of the Bulge
On Christmas Eve they moved to Metz and slept; next morning traveled to Luxembourg for a week
New Year’s Eve (if remembered correctly) they replaced the 5th armored Division
The snow was horrible and was the height of the fence and so cold (40 degrees below 0)
Took 9 days at Bastogne to wait out the weather; they’d fight and take 10 feet and that night they’d lose it to the Germans again—a costly war

One night Champagne got stuck out in some acres of trees with just 2 men; Germans were firing tree-burst shells and all the tops of the trees were gone
Decided to play coward as the Germans were coming so they dug a foxhole and covered themselves with the fallen tree tops and branches; there was going to be more Germans than there was of them (3 men)
Doesn’t really believe he was a coward, just realized there was no way they could fight all the Germans that were coming

January 9th the sun came out and the planes were able to come in and pushed the Germans back
They retreated pretty far and they followed them until the 3rd Army was called back; the 1st and 9th Army took care of the rest
They got to the Rhine River and the Germans were trying to sink the pontoon bridge so they couldn’t cross
Never got to sink it and they were able to cross it into the country
Germans were not really on the run but they were running low on equipment
The Germans were using their flak guns and grenades on them; a fight the whole time they were retreating

(13:32) Went through the town Buchenval and saw a concentration camp
There was a little room where the people were executed; made with cement with nails on the walls
The people would be tied by the necks and hung up on the nails until dead
Never saw any hanging but Champagne knew what it was; he could see the fingernail marks of where the people would try to claw themselves up
The beds were big traufs with 3-4 people in each with one blanket
They were little and starving; had seen American POWs and none went through that kind of punishment

(15:42) Halftrack and Armored Tactics
Was a sergeant in charge of a halftrack; had 5-6 men with him, a driver and 2 machine gunners in the back
In the Headquarters Company, 50th armored Battalion, 6th Armored Division
Tactic: “Let’s say that we were going to fight for Parks. Okay, they would first send some of the line companies in the battalion, foot soldiers. They would be in the two-and-a-half ton trucks. When it was a big deal, they brought in infantry from an entire division, two divisions if necessary. They would walk ahead of the armor.”
The 2-3 years of training before going into combat helped; learned a lot of the tricks
English men would say: “He who runs today may live to fight another day”
Came back with a bronze star and the French “Croute de Ger;” wasn’t there to try and earn medals

(24:43)
Shot one of his own men one night in the woods
They had to be careful as Germans were there so they were told to shoot anything that walked unless it knew the password
These 2 fellows, Wishner and Wagner, Champagne figured they were too old (in early 40s) to be in the army; Champagne saw movement and yelled for the password and no one replied so he fired and hit one
Never found out if he killed the man but he (the other man) should have been more alert; had to go on a small trail to see whether or not Champagne shot on purpose
Needed to be alert as they had replacements coming in all the time (so you didn’t always know everybody that was with you)
Many times the replacements would go on patrol and never came back; Champagne’s brother Richard was a replacement and after a few days he was killed

Was under Patton and only ever saw him once in Magdeville
They were stationed there several weeks waiting for ammunition
It was the first of November and it was pouring cold rain; Patton was there with Generals Grove and Bradley

Normandy was hedgerows with Germans in the trees; tanks would get hit in the bellies
Germans had bulldozers so it was easy for them to knock over the tanks
One sergeant took a bulldozer and put blades on the tanks; saved a lot of equipment this way
Found the concentration camp and from then on it was just pockets of Germans they would find

(47:00) Leaving
Left the equipment at Frankfurt, Germany and 20 men were picked that had been there from the beginning to go back to England with the captain
They were put on trucks and followed the Rhine River to Coblenz, Cologne and Antwerp and crossed the Channel
Some places all that was left was little walls of brick, devastated area

(48:20) Speaking French
Staying at Megdeville for 6 weeks defending the line
Got to get close to 3-4 families that would cook him food and drink wine with them in the afternoon
One family (Jobert) kept writing him after the war
Would go into towns and say “bonjour” to those he met

(57:20) the ship back home
Took 8 days coming back; landed in New York and sent to Virginia to be discharge
Got so sick on the way back and stayed on the first deck the whole time

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral Hisotry; World War II; Armored Division; European
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Ambrose Champagne
Recording date: 
Saturday, July 31, 2004
Coverage Spatial: 
St. Martinville, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
00:57:58
Cataloged Date: 
Thursday, October 18, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Caesar Comeaux

Accession No.: 
TH1-030

Caesar Comeaux; Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot

Was 17 years old when Pearl Harbor happened; had been out with friends shooting and when he came home his parents told him "On el a geure" (We are at war)
His older brother was in the National Guard and already at Camp Blanding, Florida
Went to enlist in 1943 but was told to come back in when he was 18; drafted in February 14, 1944 and went into the Marines

Sent to San Diego, California at the Marine station for 10 weeks; then went on leave for 10 days
Was able to adjust in training and gained 30 lbs. while in service
After boot camp and leave went to Camp Miramar, California (Air station) and started assigning them to as-needed-to places

Started training as a mechanic on airplanes and out in the 3rd Air Wing on an escort carrier
Went down to Honolulu for a “shakedown cruise” and while heading there the war ended
Sent to Formosa and then Okinawa for occupation; afterwards went to Saipan
Sailed on the CVE 110 “Salerno Bay”
Came back to the states in December 1945

(6:20) In the Service
Wasn’t that bad (at Saipan) and the sugarcane grows wild
His mates thought he was crazy when he’d eat the cane, they thought it was grass
After going back to the states they were put on another ship to do a “shakedown cruise” to Honolulu
It was another aircraft carrier
Station on one of the main islands for Hawaii

On the aircraft carrier the pilots would practice flying
His job was to keep them running and clean
Carried about 30-40 planes; torpedo bombers and fighter planes
If doing major overhaul they got to fly with them
Came back to the states after a few months

Had to spread the news to the islands of the war ending
Would take precautions in keeping lights off at night and looking to submarines
Never knew who knew the war was over or not

(11:06) Before Enlistment
Couldn’t buy tires or gas but that didn’t bother him as a teenager
He worked washing clothes and delivering them by bike
Sometimes heard the news of the death someone or someone gone MIA but didn’t get much word
Parents couldn’t read or write so they never got the newspapers; taught himself English

Older brother in National Guard and he went through Europe and Africa
Didn’t really write letters to each other or kept in touch
After the war and they both came home, never talked about it; never saw battle so not much to tell on his side
The service was a learning experience since he never went to high school; mother had 12 children and in the 6th grade he had to quit school to help support the family

(20:55) Discharged and the War Ending
Came back home on the Southern Pacific railroad; bought his own ticket
Rode from California to home

Was in Califronia when the bombs were dropped; heard it over the radio on the ship
People were on the streets celebrating; they were allowed to get off the ship for the day
Next day had to get back on the ship and head out

(Tape begins to distort at the end when Comeaux and Theriot are talking about experinces and voices change)

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason theriot
Subject: 
Oral History: World War II; Marine; Pacific; Aviation Mechanic
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Caesar Comeaux
Recording date: 
Monday, October 29, 2001
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
00:26:11
Cataloged Date: 
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Thursday, August 1, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Homer Comeaux

Accession No.: 
TH1-031

Homer J. Comeaux; Jason Theriot; Mrs. Comeaux

Was 17 years old when signing up for the National Guard against his parents’ wishes
Left with all his friends from New Iberia in 1940 to Camp Blanding, Florida for 13 months
They were supposed to train for 12 months (a year) but they were kept an extra month longer so they figured something was wrong
Within that month the war broke out and they were sent to North and South Carolina to guard the coast
His friends that he signed up with: Rivis Hebert, Walter Hebert, Shorty Broussard, Eudey Surlock, Wallace Thibedoux, Chink Broussard, Ellis LeGrange, LeTick Courrege, and Oswald Ronsonet

In South Carolina was put in the combat infantry in the airfield
Then sent to Brownsville, Texas and trained there until 1942
September 1942 brought them to New York and put on a ship
Had turned 18 a few days before they left on the ship

Met a lot of the Breaux Bridge, St. Martinville, Franklin men
They all went overseas together
All could speak French and spoke it to each other a lot
Some of the orders in the beginning of training were said in French but they were also taught in English
They were trained in American rules not Frenchmen rules

(9:15) Overseas
Landed in Scotland and by truck sent into England
Took them awhile to get to London to help guard the Air Force (8th, Bushy Park)
They ate many deer off the King’s land (illegal); they had it good for awhile
When patrolling had to yell “halt” 3 times if they saw movement and if no answer then shoot; would do this mostly when they came across deer and say they thought it was the enemy
Comeaux’s neighbor (in New Iberia) Etian Leblanc was their cook and he was always on the ready for the deer they killed as it had to be done fast so they weren’t caught
It was an important job though guarding the air field from the Germans

(13:50) Africa
Took a ship in 1943 to North Africa; no problems really, just a few bombs falling on them
Their first duty was to guard the Oran prison; then put to guarding the port
Had problems with the locals as there was a lot of stealing between the Arabs, Africans and Americans
There were some French speaking people in Oran; his French helped him a lot

(20:57) Italy
A few months later after landing in Africa put into the 202nd Combat Infantry Battalion and they made them into MPs
Moved around a lot in Algiers and then shipped to Italy
Was in the 71st MP Company
Left for Italy on 5 LSTs; the German news commentator (Axis Sally) was telling them what they were going to do to them when they landed
That morning of them landing they were bombed at; landed about a quarter of mile from Comeaux’s ship
Once on the beach they dug their own foxholes; landed on Anzio beachhead
Followed the infantry into Rome and couldn’t go in as it was an open city
Had to split up and got in and worked as military police

(24:34) Talking
Breakdown of movements and dates
Infantries he was in or might have been in
Looking through papers and photos
People from Louisiana with Comeaux, those he knew

(32:47) Story of a jeep accident with a grenade

(33:55) Rome
Their duty was to find the hiding Germans within the city; go through building and hotels
Knocking on doors and asking them to come out; if no answer they tied hand-grenades to the door handle and ran around the corner
Lots of German snipers in Rome; one shot Comeaux’s officer, they unloaded on that German

(Talking of family and wife after the war)

(49:50)
Didn’t stay in Rome for too long; went to the Rhine River to guard it
Took no pictures from the war, didn’t believe it was right
Drove a motorcycle as a MP; all new Harley Davidsons were given to them
They had to guard a general in Rome with the motorcycle

Looking at the papers at men that served in Louisiana; trying to find someone from Franklin
Message Comeaux wants the President and his admin to hear on the war in Iraq

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; North Africa; Italy; National Guard
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Homer Comeaux
Recording date: 
Monday, July 21, 2003
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
00:57:47
Cataloged Date: 
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Thursday, August 1, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Lynn Curry

Accession No.: 
TH1-032

Lynn J. Curry, Jason Theriot: Mrs. Curry; another woman

Stories of living on Bayou Chene
Curry comes from a family of 9, his wife a family of 12 (maiden name of Larson)
Curry’s house was where they held parties and played music
They used coal oil lamps or a Delco plant later
Only 3 teachers for 7 grades; 3 churches: Catholic, Baptist and a Methodist—all for 100 families
Lots of trapping for fish or wild game; Curry had chickens, hogs and cows
Had to use the bayou channels to get to the towns to trade; went to Catahoula, St. Martinville, New Iberia and Plaquemine

(21:11) the Draft/Training
All the men in Bayou Chene were drafted under St. Martinville parish; only 2 men did not go because of failed tests
Turned 18 when they drafted him (1944)
They had radios and newspapers so they knew there was a war going on
Sent down to New Orleans then to Fort Hood, Texas for basic training

Trained as regular infantry men
Was put in the 82nd Airborne glider-born as an infantry replacement once overseas
They had a pilot, copilot and 10 other men in the gliders
Had to hold it right when landing or it could be bad

Overseas was sent straight to France (towards the end of 1944?)
Curry was sent to a paratrooper outfit and right into the fighting; first time he had ever seen one
(31:41) story of meeting those from Bayou Chene that were his next door neighbors; Ranger Smith and Cecil Verret
Was in the Battle of the Bulge; wouldn’t trade for anything the experience he had but he wouldn’t do it again

(36:20)
Never trained in a glider before his first mission
Being a glider had more pay though
Something Curry will never get to do again

(37:11) story of how one of his buddies was sniped in Germany

(39:26)
Curry’s first trip on a glider was into a combat mission
Loaded up in France and landed in Germany (might have been the Battle of the Bulge?)
Story of a man, General Gavin, was a fine man according to Curry
Story of having to salute to the brass for a meeting and saw General Montgomery

It was slightly uneasy flying the gliders
Sometimes the canvas would tear while flying
Most of Curry’s combat happened during the winter

Reading from his discharge papers

Entered the service at the end of 1944
Did 6 weeks of training and then immediately sent overseas
Might have landed sometime between August-October
Took part of 3 campaigns so his letters were never sent and only 1 picture

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral Hisotry; World War II; European; Paratrooper
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Lynn Curry
Recording date: 
Saturday, September 4, 2004
Coverage Spatial: 
Bayou Chene, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All RIghts Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
00:57:42
Cataloged Date: 
Thursday, October 25, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Thursday, August 1, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Irma Darphine

Accession No.: 
TH1-033

Irma Darphine: Jason Theriot

Graduated high school in 1939 and moved to Port Arthur, Texas for medical training
She had to be a registered nurse in order to get into the army
Was at camp Claiborne then John Sealy in Galveston, Texas
At Sealy when the hospital (127th General Hospital) was activated to go overseas; left August 12 (1943) and took 10 days to get to New York
Sent to Camp Shanks and missed the ship so they were transferred to Fort Devons in Boston; stayed there till October 13

Boarded the ship “Martainia” and headed for England; took 15 days, not in a convoy and had to take a detour as the submarines were following them
Landed in Liverpool in the morning and took a train to south England to Bishop Lydia (near Tauten) to build their first hospital
It was on an estate’s gardens and they had put in about 45 Quonset huts; the men lived in the manor house but the women stayed in smaller homes nearby
The hospital opened in November 1943 and kept it going until May (1944); they turned it over to another general hospital

(3:42) D-Day
Sent near Stonehenge to wait for D-Day; they waited awhile and they lived in tent cities
They made them march to keep busy as well as conditioning and training; practicing to go down ladders on ships
They knew about the invasion and that it was coming but they were in a secured location and they weren’t letting them out
Got on a ship July 31st, an Indian ship, and crossed the Channel; it was a nice ship
Got on smaller boats (Higgins boats) and landed at Utah beach with the whole staff; 100 nurses, 80 officers (MACS and medical doctors) and 250 enlisted men

Carried with them their bed roll, Musset bag, Val pack, helmets, canteen belts—everything they owned
The first night stayed at a bombed out church and then later they built a tent city; maybe stayed there for about 5 weeks (close to Sainte-Mère-Église as holding zone)
No Germans, the women were well protected and never close up to the Germans
They kept going until the big trucks came to take them to Rennes, France; opened the second hospital
It wasn’t too safe at Rennes as they weren’t allowed to go out of their dorms and buildings as there were German snipers; had to clean it all from the mess that the Germans made
Stayed there for about 9 months and left January 1(1945)

(11:42) Started for Nancy, France
Put them on a train, outside was cold
Nancy wasn’t completely secured so they had to wait in Paris (Battle of Bulge was happening); had some R&R
Back at Rennes they had worked 12-16 hours a day; were bringing in soldiers from ships as they were near the Brittany Peninsula

At Rennes, Darphine worked in the orthopedic ward and when in England it was the Hepatitis ward
If the men could walk they were sent back to the front
She remembers the first soldier they lost at Sandhill, England and it broke everyone’s heart
They even had a German pilot there but she doesn’t know what happened to him afterwards

(14:43) Nancy
Stayed in a chateau and had to walk through a village to the hospital; it was cold and there was snow but the Army kept them well supplied
It was not a bad experience more of a sad experience; weren’t close to any fighting
It was rewarding for what they did and they were glad to do it
Had 2 brothers in the war; the oldest in the infantry and the younger one in the Navy
The older one was wounded in Metz and transferred to the air force

(17:03) Meeting her older brother in France
Darphine had had an appendectomy and was recovering so she was working the ward with the POWs
She was smoking when her older brother came up to her; hadn’t seen him in 2 years
He took her to Mont-Saint-Michel with friends (island castle off of France)

She saw him again in Marseilles as he was in the air transport command and at her port of debarkation
He took her and some friends out on a boat in the Mediterranean
He was a captain so he was able to get things

(19:15) Back to Nancy
They had to walk through a village to get to the hospital
Had a friend that befriended a little girl and gave the girl her first toothbrush
Looking at some photos of them
They’d give the children candy, gum or chocolate when they had it and if they didn’t the children would throw things at them; Darphine had something dead thrown at her once

Towards the end of the war the POWs would farm for them
They had a dry cleaning establishment, shined the women’s shoes and waited on them in the cafeterias
They were happy to get out of the army and the war; never made any trouble
The ladies from other hospitals made baseball teams and they’d play against each other
Since they were a Texas hospital they had a longhorn for their sign
The locals started bringing their animals to them thinking they were a veterinarian clinic
The French people she met were nice

(33:54) Return Trip
Nancy was their last stopping place
Got on a train to Marseilles and given immunization and flu shots; half of them got sick
Also where she met her older brother again; he got to fly home and beat her
They got on a ship, “Breckenridge;” it was 2 years and couple of days to the day of when she left, October 1945

Landed in Newport News and were given the opportunity to call home; her parents were so happy to hear her
They hadn’t heard each other’s voices in 2 years
Took a train to San Antonio for debriefing before going home
Her parents didn’t know when she was coming home

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History: World War II; Army Nurse; Europe
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Irma Darphine
Recording date: 
Sunday, April 11, 2004
Coverage Spatial: 
Iota, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
00:40:26
Cataloged Date: 
Thursday, October 25, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Thursday, August 1, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Beulah Dugas

Accession No.: 
TH1-034

Beulah/Buella Dugas (Laviolette); Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot; Dugas’ grandson

Had to stop going to school to work to help support the family; was sewing uniforms at the factory in St. Martinville
Then word got out that welders were needed so Dugas volunteered; trained in Lafayette at a school and stayed there for 6 weeks
Had 2 brothers in the war and a few other relatives
After training was sent to New Orleans and stayed with an aunt and an uncle
Worked at the Delta Shipyards and her sister worked at Higgins so they got a place together; Dugas was 18 at the time
Made the big ships, Liberty ships and stayed in New Orleans for 2 years

Started off at tacking and then went to welding straight lines
Worked at that for about 6 months before being allowed to work overhead and the bottom decks
Paid .75 cents an hour and by the time she left she was getting $2.25 an hour, top pay for a qualified welder
Worked 8 hours a day from 3 pm to 12 am; they had three shifts working 24 hours a day
Built the ships like in an assembly line that it would get closer to the water (typically 3 weeks for 1 ship)

Worked there for 2 years
Took a bus and then walked to the shipyard
Was scared of the Navy boys when she got off at midnight while walking back
Wore trousers and something on her head, always had to be covered
Just knew that they were making ships and slept most of the day so didn’t keep up with the news

Left New Orleans and the shipyard in 1944 to get married (21 years old); her husband was not in the service as he had to stay behind to work on the family farm
Her husband wanted to join up but his younger brother beat him to it and someone had to stay behind
Dugas went to work for the war for her parents to help to support them and pride for her country

(26:00)
Only spoke French when visiting home or at her aunt and uncle’s but hardly ever at all
When finished with the ships they’d “champagne it” and send it off
Wore a badge in order to get into the shipyard

(25:53) Taking pictures
Outlining what Theriot plans to do with her story
Comparing the home front and the service
Looking at photos
Talking about the lack of knowledge of WWII veterans’’ stories
Theriot’s work and upcoming book

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; Home Front: Welder
Creator: 
Jason THeriot
Informants: 
Beulah Dugas
Recording date: 
Sunday, May 25, 2003
Coverage Spatial: 
St. Martinville, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
00:43:27
Cataloged Date: 
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Samuel Delcambre (part 1)

Accession No.: 
TH1-035

Samuel J. Delcambre; Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot; Mrs. Delcambre; unknown man (son? grandson?)

Enlisted in the Air Corps to dodge the draft in 1942; they needed men very badly and Delcambre was assigned as a gunner
Sent to Kessler Field for basic gunner training and then to Barksdale Field in Shreveport, LA and assigned to the 93rd Bomb Group, 328th Squadron on a flying crew as a waist gunner
Immediately sent out to Page Field in Fort Myers, Florida for training; trained as flight crews on coastal patrols for submarines
Picked up 2 depth chargers once from Barksdale and sunk a surfaced German submarine on the way back to Fort Myers
After training they were told that they’d be shipped off with new planes to either in the dessert (sand colored) of the Far East or to England (green colored); they got green planes

Flew to Newfoundland and from there flew as a unit to Scotland; lost a plane going to Scotland in the Arctic Circle in cloud cover, it just disappeared
Arrived at Alchomberry Field outside of London and September 9 started doing bombing trips; made 8-9 missions from there
Saw Roy Landry from New Iberia there with the National Guard guarding the field (8:17)
Got a letter from his mother saying she was glad he was in London as there was a war in North Africa now; that day the tanniod came on and said: “All crews in your summer clothes leave and go to your planes immediately;” they were headed to North Africa

(11:42) North Africa
Flew over Spain and Portugal and landed in Oran, North Africa; they were not supposed to fly over these countries but they were needed urgently
It was raining all the time at Oran and they lost a plane while it was trying to take off and the wheels collapsed
Flew them to LG139 in Tobruk, Libya over a battle field in a night trip
From Libya (LG139) went to Bizerte in December 17 (1942)
They flew from Oran to Sousse and back, Oran-Sousse-Palermo-Tripoli, Tripoli-Sousse, Tripoli again, Messina-Palermo-Naples, and Palermo-Naples
They were all over water trips (25 trips in all) and that ended Delcambre’s stay in Africa

(15:00) England
Next trip was a diversion flown over to England
On the way spent the night in Gibraltar
Diversions were dangerous missions
They had a small group of planes, 2-3, that flew along the German coast to bait their fighters to come out and the main group can then sneak around the back
Flew this diversion April 13, 1943

(16:14) other diversions
Then went on to Vegesack and Wilhelmshaven, Germany
From there to France and then Antwerp, Belgium
By then had 30 trips and it was May 5, 1943
Delcambre considers himself lucky as most planes were shot down in diversions

(17:25) left Europe
Leaving the Air Force/ bomber group they were being briefed for a (#31) mission
Got to the runway and were ready to leave when a jeep pulled up and grounded the whole group except one who didn’t have enough points to go home
Sent back to the U.S. and went to Florida for rehabilitation, resigning, resting and recreation
Gave them a complete physical and Delcambre was put in the hospital as he couldn’t hear
Afterwards assigned to Charleston, South Carolina First Air Force training center and taught; he was the top man running the school
He stayed there for 17 months

(19:36) Story of meeting a friend at the school (Frank LeBlanc)

(21:50) Combat Tour of Duty
First trip out “bagged one” but it’s not on his record; Air Force did not confirm “kills” from bomber crews because of all the crossfire
They’d have a formation of 3 planes with 10 guns each in one small area; there was no way of knowing who shot who
But the German planes were faster, smaller and shot cannons so their range was longer; Delcambre’s bombers were known as “P-shooters” as they had such a short range
If you were going to drop the bombs, had to fly straight and level for 5 minutes before the dropping point; the bombardier then set the Norden Bombsight that figured the trajectory
Used (the Germans) a box with 5 guns to shoot as a scope and their planes were the targets; if you were hit/crippled and that was when the German fighters got you
That was the problem but it had to be done this way; lost a lot of men
Daylight bombing was much more successful as they could see and swarm the Germans

Got frostbit a few times in 60 degrees below zero and no flack vest but just an oxygen mask
Flew from anywhere from 20-25 thousand feet; flew “tree-top” level trips and night trips
Delcambre was diverse and some thanks to his training in hunting submarines down; in Africa they were after Rommel’s supply lines
Earned the Distinguished Flying Cross once and the Airman’s Medal four times

Discharged in 1944 and re-signed up for another 2 “hitches,” stayed in for 10 years; they tried to get him to rejoin when the Korean War broke out—his term ended the day before

(29:38) Stories
They were training for the Ploesti Oil Field raid but Delcambre didn’t get to go as his tour had ended
His airplane did go and came back; 53 bombers were lost on that trip

The movie “Memphis Belle” and the B-17 footage

Defining what it means to be “flack happy;” too many close misses in fighting and becoming nervous
When training the crews at the school, Delcambre kept seeing Germans in the clouds

Shot many enemy planes down, as far as he knows; describes how he shot down a plane on his last mission

(37:19)
Gunners were freestanding and with an air hose and had their heads out the window looking; parachutes were on their back and Delcambre never had to use his

Shot as an expert with 45 at the shooting range and at gunnery school trained with the .20 caliber machine guns
Also at gunnery school first time to be in an airplane

Left New Iberia January 19, 1942 and sworn in February 2, 1942 at Camp Livingston in Alexandria, Louisiana
Left with Gervais Patout, Lee Castille and Roland Durand; talking about Lee in the Pacific war, he never came back

(41:44) North African campaign trip
The British 8th Army almost got boxed in Egypt and were pushing Rommel back
That’s when they came in and were in Tripoli to strafe the town and bomb the ships and go back home
Shot random and Delcambre shot his down a street while flying; a tree-top level trip

The purpose was to help the British get out the German in Tripoli
When at the base (U.S) was told there was a mistake made and they came in an hour later than what was asked for
While at the base in Fort Slocomb, New York met to 2 British soldiers and they were talking and found they were a part of the 8th Army; they wanted to thank the bombers that flew over and helped them in Tripoli

In the Libyan Desert they stayed in tents and the beds were 3 feet underground; at night it’d get lower than 50 degrees and over a 100 in the day and never rained in the last 40 years—rained the day they left
Sand was everywhere and the sandstorms were terrible
Had to be flown to Egypt to take a bath once a month; they were in the middle of nowhere
(Looking at pictures in North Africa)
Had to wear British uniforms as the British were the only Allies at the time in Libya and the locals (Limies) would shoot at anybody else that was seen as an enemy (Germans and Italians)

(55:40) the French
Never in France; met some French in Africa that would visit with them
Tells a story of speaking French in Egypt for a haircut and a shave
Saw Paps Blue Ribbons Beer and Tabasco Pepper Sauce in Egypt’s restaurants
They spoke St. Martinville French
Never given problems for being Cajun
Had his name spelled “Delcambro” so he was given the nickname “Delcambro the daigo”

(1:03:15) Tunisia
Where a big fight happened
Tunis was where the Germans left to go to Italy to get away
The only thing Delcambre ever did there was just bombing; they were hitting the harbors
Hit up the staging areas for the Germans to the battle front in Africa

Re-describing the sinking of the submarine near Florida and how they held depth chargers
Talking about the German U-boats in the Gulf and how long they might have been there; wives tales
Flying trips and what they did up there; flying formations
Ground crews and the Rosie the Riveters that built and kept their planes going

(1:19:58) Talking about people he met from the area during the war; people that they know/knew

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; Waist Gunner; North Africa; Air Force
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Sam Delcambre
Recording date: 
Sunday, January 19, 2003
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All RIghts Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
01:27:17
Cataloged Date: 
Thursday, November 1, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Monday, August 5, 2013
Original Format: 
Microcassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Sam Delcambre (part 2)

Accession No.: 
TH1-036

Samuel J. Delcambre; Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot; Mrs. Delcambre

Talking about the members of his crew; those that are still alive and those that have passed on and how
Showing a handkerchief that had a map with locations of Allies sown into it so if they were shot down they could use the handkerchief to find their way back to safety; if captured they could dissolve it by using their blood so the enemy would not be able to find their locations
Reading from an article that detailed one of Delcambre’s missions (from “Air Force Journal” Oct. 1943)

(6:11) Telling the story of how his good friend that was a captain was captured and was a POW
Origins of the name of Delcambre’s plane “Jerk’s Natural”; their pilot’s name was Jerstad so his nickname was “Jerk”
Showing photos; he was able to use his address as the serial number and his parents’ names
Talking of how he and his wife met
Reading from Delcambre’s passport/discharge papers (H. Theriot is talking to Mrs. Delcambre at the same time)

(12:11) “Ted’s Traveling Circus,” a book
Looking through photos in the book
Picking out photos for Theriot to use in his book
Talking about their grandson who is working overseas in mining
Delcambre’s finding his papers for his medals

(19:40) Talking all over each other
Discussing the war and how ready the men were to fight; ill-prepared and not trained though
Majored in electrical engineering at Southwestern
Flew to England and took a ship back to New York; “Queen Mary” with 17 thousand men on it

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; Waist Gunner; North Africa; Air Force
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Sam Delcambre
Recording date: 
Sunday, January 19, 2003
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
00:29:00
Cataloged Date: 
Thursday, November 15, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Monday, August 5, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Avery Derouen

Accession No.: 
TH1-037

Avery Derouen; Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot

Took basic training in San Diego, California, was 17 years old and volunteered into the Navy (1944)
From the base was transferred to a battalion amphibious force with the 4th Marines overseas on APA 162; it was an amphibious transport ship
Made two invasions
First invasion was Iwo Jima and fought for 3-4 days
Was driving the LST landing craft near the beach and waited to bomb the beach so they could land
The next day they landed; it was a dirty fight and lost a lot of men and boats; Derouen sunk his by accident
Describing how he ferried marines back and forth to the beach (coxswain)

(5:30) “How did you become a marine?”
Went to training for 6 weeks as a Navy and an amphibious force (part of the Marines)
Worked as a coxswain for the Navy in the amphibious forces
Was trained as a Navy but fought with the Marines

Couldn’t land on Iwo Jima as there were pillboxes about a foot above ground and a foot apart
No one could land until they were gone
Describes how he worked the boat in landings
Stayed until the island was taken over
From Iwo Jima invaded Okinawa and “did what they had to do”
Then waited for orders for invasion of Japan

(10:00) Talking of various subjects and going back and forth
The hindsight now of the death tolls on Iwo Jima and Okinawa; was so new to war
Was scared but Derouen volunteered so he did what was needed of him for his country
Pushing the Japanese to the other side of the island on Iwo Jima; Theriot explaining the battle of Iwo Jima
Coxswain of a LST and a LCM; describing each boat and the large boat APA they lived on
Re-describing of going from San Diego to Iwo Jima; talks of few other places he went to (18:00)
Bombing on the beaches and the ships they had in their convoy
The people Derouen had in his boat and what each person did; he drove
Waiting on the orders for the atomic bombs to be dropped so they could invade Japan; there were rumors already about the bombs
Had to patrol a coast city in Japan for 6 months; 6 Japanese men worked under him
The fight on Iwo Jima and leaving for Okinawa (27:25)
The one man submarines the Japanese used at Iwo Jima; they came to do a job and did not go back home
Re-describing the changings of his boats from Iwo Jima to Okinawa
Being a Navy and Marine in amphibious forces; the differences of each one
Used Higgins boats at Okinawa
Describing seeing 3 Kamikazes at Okinawa; shot 1 down himself
Types of guns Derouen used as a coxswain on his boats or on the large ship (jack of all trades)
On the APA ship everyone was a Marine with separate a crew
Volunteered for the Navy in 1944 (46:28)
All his buddies were going into the Navy as well
Didn’t stay long at Okinawa, Derouen never touched land; maybe about 2 days there
Probably took 3 -5 trips to Okinawa with soldiers and supplies during the invasion
Food came from Australia; ate horsemeat
(Looking at photos of an LST and the island of Iwo Jima)

(52:06) came home from Japan
Went back to the states with a different group, took 17 days; landed in San Diego
Put on a train to Louisiana, 3-4 days and discharged in New Orleans at the Navy base
Not once all his time in the Navy saw his buddies or anyone from Louisiana
Never had a reunion so Derouen has no idea what happened to the rest of the men on his ship, APA 162
Went through some rough times and was glad to make it back home

(56:54) Talking of Various subjects again
Besides horsemeat ate a lot of lettuce and bread, goat meat too
Beer rations of the green beer from the states and Australia; made you sick and couldn’t drink it cold, had to be hot to taste better
April in Okinawa and the bombs dropped in August, Derouen stayed on an LST, a dry dock, driving around while waiting for the bombs to be dropped
They knew of the atomic bombs and the idea of using them but when and where they didn’t know; didn’t know what an atomic bomb was even
Drove his LST to Japan and then worked there for 6 months waiting to be discharged; they took his boat back
What he saw when working on Japan (never saw the bombed cities), their fortifying methods and the machines they used (the Japanese)
Rode the greyhound bus from New Orleans to home (1:06:03)
Hadn’t been home for about 2 years
After the war Derouen worked as a milk man in delivery; had 3 trucks
Worked off shore until retirement
Talking about people they know that also served in the war; telling stories

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; Navy; Amphibious; Pacific
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Avery Derouen
Recording date: 
Sunday, July 7, 2002
Coverage Spatial: 
Delchambre, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
01:22:10
Cataloged Date: 
Monday, November 12, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Monday, August 5, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajuna dn Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Tom Dedouen (part 1)

Accession No.: 
TH1-038

Tom Derouen; Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot

Summer of 1941 graduated from Texas A&M with a masters
Hired at A&M and taught till March 1942 when he was called into the service; had received a commission from LSU in 1939
In the service took basic at Fort Benning, Georgia; was a second Lieutenant and the youngest there (in his 20s)
Already assigned to the 90th Infantry Division at Camp Barkley, Texas; spent a year and half there
Moved over to the deserts of California and Arizona for 6 months before going to Fort Dix, New Jersey; took 10 days on a troop train

While at Camp Barkley they would leave Monday morning for maneuvers in the hills and stayed outside until Friday or Saturday
Slept on the ground, made their own latrines, dug holes for garbage
Had to march out 15-20 miles and back each time (1942)
1943 went to Fort Dix and stayed till March 1944
Was loaded onto ships to Europe; was sea sick the whole time

Landed in England and prepared for an invasion
Had practice invasions at Devonshire, the Slapton Sands; it was a disaster
When Derouen’s regiment, the 357th landed, everything was fine but the next regiment (either 359th or 358th) never came in
Germans had snuck in on PT boats in the waterways and sunk the regiments’ boats; lost over 600 men before the actual invasion
It was kept quiet so the morale would stay up; learned of it 20 years later

(9:30) Invasion
Loaded onto boats at Whales, Bathe England
Kept them in a big compound for a week as they loaded up
Derouen made the invasion; “it’s not a pretty thing….I don’t like to talk about it much”
Thinks he landed at Utah beach
Landed next to the 9th, 4th and 1st divisions; each country had their own beach
Was just a platoon leader for a heavy weapons company; attached to K Company under Capt. Woodrow Allen from Texas
Fought with rifles most of the time and not machine guns (only had 4)

Got in skirmishes with the Germans all the time
In the hedgerows in France they were close to each other; Germans were prepared already with 88 mm canons, heavy casualties on the Allies side
Derouen stayed in France until May 1945
Before the invasion General Patton and General Middleton spoke to them
Took about 6 weeks for them to break out of Normandy; the 90th split and some went to Cherbourg and the rest to Paris
Still attached to K Company
Half the time they didn’t know where they were or what they were doing; the orders changed a lot
Casualties were high; Captain Allen was promoted to Battalion Commander and was killed the next day
The mind went haywire with all the killing and bombing; men dying left and right of you

(17:05) Going Across the English Channel
On a big ship and then went down a net to a Higgins boat
Planes were passing over them
Thought he was ready for adventure but he was scared
You shot in the bushes because you were scared and maybe you shot a German or maybe a civilian

(19:12) Living in England
Didn’t see much of England; trained all the time
Only the elderly, women and children were left as all the men went into service; they were bombed every night
American soldiers however criticized them calling them backwards; caused a lot of fights

(22:49)
Had to march everywhere
Derouen did not last the whole campaign in Normandy; was wounded on July 10th, 1944
Was on guard patrol in the morning and crossing a hedgerow and he slipped and fell and his carbine shot off into his leg
Spent about 6 months in England in a hospital; was not able to go back into the 90th division
Was put in charge of training a company of soldiers on how to shoot; trained 200 men for 4-6 weeks
Worked with other officers and sometimes they were trouble and did not do what was ordered; Derouen was in charge

(29:00) Talking
Hewitt Theriot telling of his experiences; Derouen and Theriot comparing
Looking at a map that was drawn on a cricket bat that Derouen used while at the hospital; inscribed: “HMS Deminion Monarch, Gen. Collins, March 1944”
The bombing of Sainte-Mère-Église
Staying at the hospital and therapy
Back at the states stayed at the Augusta George resort hotel hospital for another 6 months; very well taken care of there
Didn’t like the French, too lazy; German POWs workers messed around a lot
Teaching at Texas A&M in 1941; born in New Iberia
While at war, in England, ran into Butch Kennedy from LSU (football), was a paratrooper (47:10)
Knew Eddie Gatto (killed in Normandy) and he was a good friend of Hewitt Theriot; stories about him
Also both knew an All American football palyer from LSU, Tim Cavanaugh
Before going back to the states Derouen stayed at a ski lodge in Switzerland
How he met his wife, Lela in July 1946; married a year later

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History: World War II; Infantry; Europe
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Tom Derouen
Recording date: 
Sunday, July 15, 2001
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rghts Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
00:57:55
Cataloged Date: 
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Tom Derouen (part 2)

Accession No.: 
TH1-039

Tom Derouen; Jason Theriot; Hewitt Theriot

Derouen and H. Theriot, both went to LSU and studied agriculture; Derouen took a job and graduate school at Texas A&M, paid $50 dollars a month
Talking about his days at A&M as a student and teacher
H. Theriot talking to Lela Derouen about the home front in New Iberia
How draft numbers worked and the mailing orders given
Talking again about school days at LSU and A&M; working with horses
His commission at LSU; military balls; girlfriend at LSU
H. Theriot’s plans in wanting to work with the horses in France during the war
Stories of Derouen’s time working with the horses and traveling with them on trains to livestock shows

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History: World War II; Infantry; Europe
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Tom Derouen
Recording date: 
Sunday, July 15, 2001
Coverage Spatial: 
New Iberia, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
00:21:42
Cataloged Date: 
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
96 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

Interview with Jefferson Deblanc (part 1)

Accession No.: 
TH1-040

Jeff Deblanc; Jason Theriot

Describing a seaplane wild dogfight in the air with German pilots
Seacrest (Jim Seacrest, another pilot from Mississippi) noticed 2 German zeros and 2 bombers targeting one the U.S. ships; his wingman was Joe Foster
Deblanc’s wingman was a man form New York, Jim Felton, was shot down and crashed into an island; he survived through the whole war
Tells how he outmaneuvered one of the zeros, trying to free up Seacrest to go after the German bomber planes
Was shot down by one of the zeros but the bombers missed their targets
The fight probably took about half an hour

(8:25) Stuck on an island now and is trying to get back to his men (in Pacific)
Found a hut and spent the night there; woke up the next morning surrounded by natives with machetes
They were headhunters but Deblanc found that out later
Showed him how to crack open a coconut; took him prisoner after he ate
They put him in a covered caged in their village; kept it covered as the Japanese pilots were known to raze the villages if they saw any white people
They may have been keeping him to trade with the Japanese later for rice
He was traded to another village chief; this chief had connections to the coast watchers
One of the men of this chief was a native coast watcher; they all spoke pigeon English
Deblanc showing Theriot a spear and other things these natives gave him

(19:04) “U.S.S. Jenkins”
Jan. 29 was given a pre-dawn take off to “scramble” some Japanese fighters (in the Guadalcanal)
Too dark to see so they had to rely on the plane’s instruments; if not watching could fly into the water
Knew he was going to the East and needed to go left to miss the mountains and return to the sea
Engine began to fail that night in a fight and it ran out of oil so he needed to glide down to the water
Decides he might have to jump out before hitting the land but recalls that early that morning another man in his squadron had to jump and his chute didn’t open
The parachutes are replaced every 15 days or so and Deblanc didn’t know if his had been replaced or not recently so he chose to stay in the plane and glide it down to the water
Notices that there’s ships (U.S.) everywhere fighting and churning up phosphorus; made a glowing runway for Deblanc
Landed in front of “U.S.S. Jenkins,” the same ship that Rene Broussard from New Iberia was on (TH1-026)
Told them to pick him after the battle was over in case they were sunk; they gave him a raft and picked up around dawn the next day
Then on Jan. 31 (2 days later) was when he was shot down and on the island with the natives

(25:18) Return to the island story
The native coast watchers took Deblanc by boat to a missionary church (Church of England)
Met a missionary by the name Sylvester, also part of the coast watchers
The next morning he had to leave as the Japanese were coming to check the church

(27:36) Getting off the island
“That’s how I learned the British soldiers were the best fighters in the world”
British soldier Henry Johnson picked up Deblanc from the church; they went through by trails in the jungle up the mountain
While walking they saw a group of Japanese looking around below them, slowly heading up to where they were; at the time Deblanc had been wearing a Japanese uniform to hide himself (did nothing)
So Deblanc and Johnson were trying to move out of the way of the Japanese but about 3 o’clock Johnson stops; he said it was time for tea and they stopped to have tea (never was caught by the Japanese)
The coast watchers finally picked him up on the other side

(32:03) Spent 6 more weeks in combat and then sent back to states to teach pilots for another 6 weeks
Got tired of it and joined up again in a squadron on a carrier; thought it’d be easier
Had to fight Kamikazes and the weather
Fought in the Pacific for 4 months
Continued to teach into the Vietnam War
Talks about his time teaching and flying
Other aircrafts Deblanc flew in combat

(36:30) Talking about the country today and people’s stances on war and America
How to overcome fear: “don’t panic;” environmental surroundings and background can be very helpful in one’s survival

(Cuts off into silence for the last 10 minutes)

Language: 
English
Media Type: 
Audio
Collection: 
Jason Theriot
Subject: 
Oral History; World War II; Pilot; Pacific Theater
Creator: 
Jason Theriot
Informants: 
Jefferson Deblanc
Recording date: 
Thursday, April 22, 2004
Coverage Spatial: 
St. Martinville, La
Publisher: 
Jason Theriot
Rights Usage: 
All Rights Reserved
Meta Information
Duration: 
00:43:42
Cataloged Date: 
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Digitized Date: 
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Original Format: 
Mircocassette
Digital Format: 
WAV
Bit Depth: 
24 bit
Sampling Rate: 
95 kHz
Storage Location: 
Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore-Drawer 20

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