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Interview on experiences in World War II

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Creator: Eckert, Carl C.

Date: October 1, 1999

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 211691

Biographical sketch: Carl Eckert enlisted in the Navy in May 1943 and was sent to the Farragut Naval Station in Idaho for boot camp training. He was transferred to Port Hueneme, California for amphibious landing training at Port Mugu and hand to hand combat training with the 5th Marine Raiders. Upon graduation, Eckert was sent to Hawaii and assigned to the Navy Commandos (what is now known as the Navy Seals), which he describes as the "suicide squad" who conducted covert reconnaissance on enemy-held islands before the Marines landed. Out of 227 men in his squad, only seven survived. He describes the battle for Tarawa, an island less than the size of Kiowa, Kansas, where 8,010 men were killed, and of having to push the bodies of dead Marines out of the way to get ashore. Three days after Japan surrendered he was on Tarawa, Quadulene, and Enewetak. He was stationed on Enewetak running a pick up boat to lead incoming ships to their assigned berths. The Navy had gathered most of the Commandos survivors on Enewetak and told them they "weren't fit ["wacky"] to come back to the States and we needed to get our head screwed back on right." Eckert described the tortures inflicted on those commandos who'd been captured by the Japanese. Eckert was eighteen and weighed 185 pounds when he was drafted before graduating from high school, and was twenty-one years and two days old and weighed 135 pounds when he was discharged from the Navy in November 1945.

Summary: Eckert enlisted in the Navy in 1943 and served until 1945 in the Acorn 17, Navy Commandos; Marine Rangers; Sea Bees; Army. Interviewed by James Johnston on Oct 1, 1999, Eckert 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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