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Murl Higgins video interview on experiences in World War II (transcript)

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Creator: Higgins, Murl

Date: December 8, 2006

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 212209

Biographical sketch: Thirty-two year old Murl Higgins was drafted into the Army Infantry in early 1942 and sent for heavy weapons training (81 millimeter mortar, 50-caliber machine guns, etc.). He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Division and sent by transport to Hawaii to join Company B as a rifleman. He?d had civilian training as a barber in Kansas City, and he served as the company?s barber whenever they weren?t engaged in special training or combat. From Hawaii, the company was sent to combat in Dutch New Guinea by way of Australia. Subsequent battles included Biak Island (which Higgins describes as ?just a bunch of rocks and landforms and mosquitoes? with no protection for the American troops), and then rough combat in the Philippines (Leyte, Mindoro, Davao, Luzon, and Batangas). Higgins describes the death of his friend, James McFarland, during the battle for Luzon as his worst experience in the war. Higgins? Baker Company was awarded the Medal of Honor for its valorous service, despite being below strength after 21 straight days of combat, in holding ?Easy Ridge? against 27 enemy attacks, often in hand-to-hand combat, during the battle for the Philippines. Higgins was discharged from the Army in September 1945 at Fort Logan, Colorado and returned to his home in Highland, Kansas. He received an American Defense Service Medal, Asiatic Pacific Service ribbon, 1943 Good Conduct Medal, Philippine Liberation Ribbon, and two Bronze Stars in appreciation for his service in the South Pacific.

Summary: Private First Class [PFC] Murl Higgins was drafted into the Army (Infantry) in 1942 and served until September 26,1945 in the Company B & Hdqtrs, 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment. He was trained in heavy weapons but ultimately worked as a barber. Higgins served in the Pacific going from Hawaii to Australia to New Guinea and then the Philippines. He talked about a friend (Sgt. James McFarland from Kentucky) who was killed. He was born near Ponca City, Oklahoma on December 30, 1910, and his family moved to the Pittsburg, Kansas, area when he was about 4 years old. His grandparents lived in Doniphan County, Kansas, and his family moved there when he was approximately 8 years old. He graduated from Severence High School in 1930. He attended barber school in Kansas City but he did not finish. After he got out of service, he worked in a service station, sold used cars, and ultimately worked as a barber for 17 years in St. Joseph, Missouri. He was interviewed by Suzette McCord-Rogers on Dec 8, 2006. 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 Doniphan County Historical Society (Troy) and through the Kansas State Historical Society.

Space Required/Quantity: Video

Title (Main title): Murl Higgins video interview on experiences in World War II (transcript)

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019-14-03-04  DVD (2) 
019-14-04-07  Cassette Audio Tape 

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