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Interview on experiences in World War II

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Creator: Conrad, Melvin Louis

Date: October 1, 1999

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 211316

Biographical sketch: Melvin Conrad enlisted on March 6, 1945 while still a senior at Kiowa High School in Kiowa, Kansas. He was called for active duty on April 16, 1945 and took basic training at the Great Lakes Naval Station north of Chicago, Illinois. The Navy Bluejacket Choir was being formed and he was accepted into the company of 140 men. They sang on "Meet Your Navy" radio programs each Saturday night, and sang in a special memorial service for President Roosevelt after his death in May 1945. After basic training he was sent to the navy yard in Bremerton, Washington and assigned to a destroyer that was in for repairs from the Pacific. He was in training to handle ammunition and fire the destroyer's guns when the atom bombs were dropped on Japan and the war ended. His orders were changed and he traveled on the U.S.S. Welles as part of a convoy through the Panama Canal to New York City. The U.S.S. Welles held the press corps during President Truman's review of the fleet and was then sent to Charleston, South Carolina where it was decommissioned. Conrad was given leave and hitchhiked home to Kiowa, Kansas before reporting for duty at Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. In December 1945 he was sent on a troop ship to Japan and served on board an LST (landing ship, tank) as part of the occupation forces based in Tokyo Bay. He was transferred to the Yokosuka naval base at the entrance to Tokyo Bay and assigned as a guard for the supplies warehouse there. In May 1946 he had sufficient points to be discharged from the Navy.

Summary: Conrad enlisted in the Navy in 1945 and served until 1946 in the U.S.S. Welles (DD628), USS LST 814, UNS Station Japan. Interviewed by James Johnston on Oct 1, 1999, Conrad talked about military experiences in the Second World War. The 2005 Kansas Legislature passed a bill funding the WWII Veterans Oral History grant program. This transcript is from one of the nine community institutions that received these grants. The transcript from the interview is presented here; the original video copy of the interview is available through the Greater Barber County Historical Action Assn and through the Kansas State Historical Society.

Space Required/Quantity: Video

Title (Main title): Interview on experiences in World War II

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019-14-03-03  DVD 

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