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Interview on experiences in World War II

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Creator: Romero, Ramon Enrique

Date: May 9, 2007

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 211750

Biographical sketch: Ramon Romero joined the U.S. Naval Reserve while in high school in Lawrence, Kansas. The day after Pearl Harbor was attacked, he went to the Lawrence post office to see the Navy recruiter and signed up for active duty. He was sent with the first group of recruits to Kansas City, Missouri for processing and from there to San Diego, California for accelerated basic training (completed in three weeks instead of the normal twelve). Romero describes how the recruits were divided into smaller groups and of receiving amphibious training in Higgins landing craft boats. He was sent north to San Francisco, California and assigned to the U.S.S. Henry T. Allen troop transport ship bound for New Zealand. He describes training New Zealand and Australian troops for amphibious landings and being there in May 1942 during the Battle of the Coral Sea. In August 1942, the U.S.S. Allen delivered troops into battle at Tulagi, Guadalcanal. The U.S.S. Allen was pulled back to Hawaii and, in October, was sent through the Panama Canal to battle at Port Lyautey, Morocco in early November. Romero was the anchor man on an amphibious boat carrying troops into shore at Port Lyautey, and describes having General George S. Patton aboard with his two ivory-handled guns. Patton looked the situation over, called the landing craft off of the beach, and redirected the troop ships to land and unload at Casablanca, Morocco instead. Romero describes waking up the next morning to discover that German U-boats had sunk five ships at anchor in the harbor during the night. The U.S.S. Henry T. Allen picked up members of the exiled Vichy government and took them to Noumea, New Caledonia (northeast of Australia) to join others who were forming a new Vichy government. The ship sailed to Cairns, Australia as its home port in the Pacific and trained more Australians and New Zealanders to conduct amphibious landings. The U.S.S. Allen carried Allied troops into amphibious battles on New Guinea, Morotai, and many other islands in the South Pacific. Romero was assigned to Landing Ship Tank (LST) 1139 ship and helped train Filipino and American troops at Guam to make amphibious landings. Romero's last amphibious landing was at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Tokyo Bay. He describes being anchored very near the U.S.S. Missouri on September 2, 1945 and watching as General MacArthur accepted the Japanese surrender. Romero returned to the States and was discharged from active service in 1945. He was called up again later to serve in the Korean War. Romero was the first Mexican-American to graduate from Lawrence High School and the first Mexican-American to enter the Armed Forces from Lawrence in WWII. The interview folder includes a detailed timeline summary of topics discussed throughout the interview.

Summary: Romero enlisted in the Navy in 1941 and served until 1945 on the U.S.S. Henry T. Allen AP 30; LST 1139. Interviewed by Deborah Pye on May 9, 2007, Romero 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 community institutions receiving grants. The transcript of the interview is presented here; the original video copy of the interview is available through the Watkins Community Museum of History (Lawrence) 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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019-14-05-05  Mini DV Tape 

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