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Interview on experiences in World War II

View at Kansas Memory

Creator: Mackey, Carl M.

Date: March 6, 2006

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 211406

Biographical sketch: Carl Mackey was working the harvest on a farm in Western Kansas when he was drafted in 1944 and sent to Fort Hood, Texas for basic training. It was wintertime and you had to go out no matter what the weather so he would put on all the clothes he could. Training was hard physical work and he learned all kinds of combat with an attack company, the 105th and 155th. The food was good but with all the physical work he said he was hungry most of the time. After completing basic training he was sent to Fort Ord in California where they were given training on what to do if your ship went down. The went to Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon where they boarded a ship and went to Hawaii, where they stayed for 21 days. When they got to Saipan the war had finished there so they went on to Okinawa and he says "that is where I put my military training into use." The company commander said he wanted him to be a machine gunner and told him "if you live three days, you have got a good chance." His cousin in Hawaii had told him not to be a machine gunner because the Japanese really went after them. He tells about some of the events that occurred during the thirteen days of fighting; how he was always the cover guy but there would be nobody behind to cover for him. Another incident he relates is about surviving the night in a foxhole when it rained and he had about a foot of water in it; he got very little sleep during the thirteen days of fighting. From Okinawa he went to the Philippines where he volunteered to go up into the mountains to take prisoners. For his efforts there he earned the Bronze Star. This was after the bombs had been dropped and the Japanese had surrendered but many of them up in the hills didn't know this and jumped off cliffs and committed suicide. From the Philippines he was sent to Japan where they gathered up all the weapons they had but he doesn't know what they did with them. He hauled supplies from the ship to GI camps and said it was cold and lots of snow but he liked driving because he got to see a lot of the country. Coming home on the ship they had a bad storm that lasted a day and a half and he was really scared. In November of 1946 he returned to Kansas after being discharged at Camp Beal, California and got married. He worked as a mechanic for a while before returning to Montezuma and farming for twenty-nine years. For a long time he didn't want to talk about the war but since then has written down his memories so others will know what happened.

Summary: Mackey was drafted into the Army in 1944 and served until 1946. Interviewed by Joyce Suellentrop on Mar 6, 2006, Mackey 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 audio copy of the interview is available through the Gray County Veterans Memorial & Archives and through the Kansas State Historical Society.

Space Required/Quantity: Audio

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

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019-14-04-08  Cassette Audio Tape (2) 

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