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Allen Easum video interview on experiences in World War II (transcript)

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Creator: Easum, Allen C., Jr.

Date: September 26, 2007

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 214317

Biographical sketch: Allen Easum, Jr. grew up on a farm in Woodson County near Yates Center, Kansas. During the Depression his father lost the farm and went to work on the WPA as a stone mason, eventually moving the family to Lawrence, Kansas in 1942, where he worked erecting a stone building on the KU campus. There were nine children in the family and all six boys were in the Army at one time or another. When Allen turned eighteen, he immediately was hired by the Hercules Powder Company and worked there for about six weeks until he was drafted. For his basic training he was sent to Camp Robinson at Little Rock, Arkansas. He said the food was good, and that he always slept on Army cots except for the time he was on board ship. From Camp Robinson he was sent to Fort Dix, New Jersey,to prepare to go to Europe. While he was there the war ended in Europe and he describes the celebration going on in Washington, D.C. while he was there on leave. Then he got new orders and went by troop train to Camp Beale, California, which he said was "boxcar-like transportation." (See note below) Their crossing of the Pacific was pretty quiet and they offloaded at Leyte, then were stationed on Panay, an island in the Philippines, where they trained every day. They were doing amphibious training, getting ready to hit the beaches to invade Japan when the atomic bomb ended the war. He brought back a sword and binoculars as souvenirs that were taken from the Japanese troops when they surrendered. He said that the troops were rough looking as they had been on short rations for a long time and were ready to quit. Allen liked the Filipino people, he said; the women would do their laundry and they had a boy that was their handy man and kept their tents picked up. There was no combat on the island while he was stationed there. In September he was sent to Korea for the occupation and described the country as very backward and primitive. Their first project was shipping the Japanese people back to Japan and bringing the Korean people back. His job in Korea was "more or less guard duty," as they worked the Korean laborers unloading ships of lumber, etc. for the rebuilding process. Instead of tents they had buildings to stay in because it was a Japanese army camp and he said that they had snow and it got cold, just like it does here. They were able to interact with the Korean people some as the younger ones could speak English and would act as interpreters and they seemed glad to have the Americans there as they got rid of the Japanese and improved their life. When his infantry outfit disbanded he was sent to Seoul and assigned to an engineering outfit where they filled oxygen bottles for welding and for hospital use. Living conditions were better in Seoul, it was a little more modern there, and after about six months he got to come back home. On the way home they ran into rough weather and a lot of guys got sick between Incheon and Tokyo; it was about three weeks before they docked in San Francisco. When he got his discharge papers he boarded a train and came back to Lawrence. Allen mentioned that a gentleman by the name of Ivan Wiggins took his physical the same day he did and was inducted the same day. They never saw each other until when they got on board ship to come home, and there he was! They both got to Lawrence at the same time. In 1948 he got married to Dorothy McCall and they raised two boys. With the help of the G.I. Bill (the government furnished him a small box of tools) he got a job in a machine and welding shop and eventually opened his own shop called, A.C.E. Steering and Brake Service which he operated for over thirty years. He turned it over to his boys and now his grandson is there, also.

Summary: Allen C. Easum was inducted into the Army (Infantry) in 1945 and served until 1946 in the 40th Infantry Division, 160th Infantry. He was drafted in 1944 and went to bacis train at Fort Robinson, Arkansas. He was sent to Fort Dix, New Jersey, but the war in Europe ended. He was sent to the Philippines and later Korea. Interviewed by Nancy Porter on Sep 26, 2007, Easum talked about military experiences in the Second World War. He was born in Yates Center, Kansas on October 20, 1926. He attended school in Quincy, Kansas, but graduated from Liberty Memorial High School in Lawrence, 1944. After his service, he returned to Lawrence. He worked as a mechanic for Pickens and a Ford dealership before opening his own business A. C. E. Steering and Brakes. He operated that from 1963 through 1993. 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.

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Title (Main title): Allen Easum video interview on experiences in World War II (transcript)

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019-14-05-02  Mini DV Tape 

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