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C. M. (Bud) Geis video interview on experiences in World War II (transcript)

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Creator: Geis, C. M. (Bud)

Date: November 10, 2007

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 218599

Biographical sketch: Bud Geis grew up on the farm in Marion County and helped his father with the farm work until he graduated from Durham High School. His mother was German and came to the United States when she was sixteen, via a cattle ship. It was a very hard journey, he said. When he got out of high school, he worked for a gasoline company a couple of years and then went to Hutchinson and worked in his uncle's clothing store for 12 years. In 1942 he got a letter from the draft board and it said, "You are selected by your friends and neighbors to join the U. S. Army." At the time he was married and had one child. For his basic training he went to Camp Roberts, California and after completing it he stayed there to help train soldiers through about seven or eight more cycles. "It was kind of rough," he said, as they had to do the same things the trainees did, so he was taking a lot of 30 mile marches while carrying full packs. He did get a chance to live off the base and his wife came to join him then. After training in the boot camp for so long he was ready for a change and applied to be transferred overseas. When he got to New York, he and another guy were watching a group of soldiers load up to go overseas, when the captain turned around and asked "Any of you boys want to go?" and Bud said, "Yes, I'll go." They shipped out on the USS WEST POINT from Boston, with 10,000 soldiers aboard. He had to sleep in H Compartment, which was far underneath, and got to thinking about what if a torpedo hit and took his bedding and went up on deck to sleep. They zigzagged all the way to Liverpool, England, then went by trucks to Southampton, where they started their crossing of the English Channel. Because there was a German ammunition dump still on fire, they couldn't land at Omaha Beach but went a few miles down and got off at Utah Beach. They went to the Cherbourg, France area and then loaded up on the 40 and 8 box cars, trying to catch up with the 4th Division that had previously landed on D-Day. His outfit had been fighting in the hedgerows of France for some days when he came down with a kidney stone and was taken to the field hospital until he could recuperate. They took him back to a hospital in England and it was there that they found out he could speak German. He and another guy named Schwartz were told to "get ready, we were going to take a trip," but they weren't told where they were going to go. They ended up at a prison camp in France, further in from Cherbourg, where there were ten thousand German prisoners. He and Schwartz were to sit in on meetings because their interpreters weren't telling them correctly what the orders were. At one time, Bud said that the name Geis had a "t" at the end, spelling it Geist, which in German meant Holy Ghost. When he was training he had taught the use of the 30 caliber machine gun and he said that the German's guns were superior to ours. They could shoot 1500 rounds a minute, compared to our 500 rounds. Their outfit headed into the Battle of the Bulge, where they were supposed to take over the little town of Verdorf. They road on top of a tank and when they got into the edge of town a shell landed close to them but hit a rock fence. They had to take cover from the shrapnel. It was a week or so that they were in this town, and he describes the fighting that took place. It was winter and very cold but they had heavy overcoats, and sometimes they would get too warm and just throw them off. He did that and then that night it snowed and he was wishing he had it back. Later when they thought the war was over and they were in Marseilles, France he only lacked two points to be able to go home. He was put with a new outfit that was supposed to go to the southwest Pacific and he said, "I was happy!" The outfit they put him with was the 480th Tire Repair Ordnace and he had never even changed his own tires, he said. He was on board the ship for 45 days, and decided that the world was composed of 9/10 water, instead of the 4/5 that his grade school teacher had told him. They ended up in the Philippines and went on shore aboard amphibious vehicles. An officer of the 37th division got him a ride with them because they were going home, and he was glad about that. The 480th has had several reunions over the years and he has hosted two of them, one in Wichita and one in Kansas City. He still corresponds with a few of them and enjoys their friendships. Bud never used the GI Bill but has taken advantage of the VA to obtain his medicines and he is a member of both the American Legion and the VFW. When he got out of the service he went to work in the Farmers State Bank in Circleville and today is still chairman of the board of directors. He and his wife have three sons.

Summary: C.M. (Bud) Geis was inducted into the United States Army in 1942 and served until 1945 in the 4th Infantry Division, 480th Tire Repair. Interviewed by Suzette McCord-Rogers on Nov 10, 2007, Geis 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 Doniphan County Historical Society (Troy) and through the Kansas State Historical Society.

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Title (Main title): C. M. (Bud) Geis video interview on experiences in World War II (transcript)

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019-14-03-04  DVD (2) 
019-14-04-05  Cassette Audio Tape 

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