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Interview on experiences in World War II

View at Kansas Memory

Creator: Marhofer, Basil C.

Date: September 6, 2006

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 211409

Biographical sketch: Basil Marhofer was drafted in September 1944 and inducted into the Army Infantry at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He was sent to Fort Hood, Texas for three months of basic training. He was given a week's furlough at home and then sent to Rhode Island before embarking for France from Boston, Massachusetts. His group of replacements was sent in 'forty and eight' boxcars to Worms, Germany. Marhofer was assigned to a company. He describes preparing to take a bridge over the Danube River into Ulm, Germany when they received word that the war was over in Europe. They became occupation troops and were sent to Baden-Baden looking for German troops to gather into prisoner compounds. He had played French horn in the Ness City High School band and was assigned to a 12-piece band. After a month or so, he and others with insufficient points to be discharged were sent to Camp Lucky Strike along the English Channel. He was shipped back to the States, given a two week furlough home, and told to report to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to be shipped to the South Pacific and the invasion of Japan. Marhofer was aboard a troop ship "about a day out of New York" when it was announced that Japan had surrendered. The ship turned around to return to New York. They were the first troop ship to dock in New York City after the war ended and were given a heroes welcome. They were sent to a camp in New Jersey to be processed and sent to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He describes being covered in soot riding in the coal-powered trains across the country and that the trains were met at train depots by crowds of people who wanted to pay their respects to the returning soldiers and do something nice for them. The troops were given two week furloughs before reporting back to Fort Leavenworth for reassignment. Marhofer was sent to Camp Gruber, Oklahoma to audition for the Army band and then to Camp Swift outside Austin, Texas to join the band there. He describes performing across the country and leading the military parade in San Francisco, California when the United Nations charter was signed. He describes an impromptu parade given during a rest stop in Amarillo, Texas while en route to San Francisco, and playing with the Canadian National Army band to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the peaceful border between Canada and the United States. He describes listening to famous 'big band' musicians play in the Army band. He was discharged from the Army in August 1945 in Seattle, Washington and returned to live in Ness City, Kansas.

Summary: Corporal/Specialist Marhofer was drafted into the Army (Infantry) in 1944 and served until 1945. Interviewed by Clint Bain on Sep 6, 2006, Marhofer 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 Frank Stull American Legion #152 (Ness City) 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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019-14-03-06  DVD 

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