Stories :: W
Maureen Wallace John Wallin Richard Walsh Richard Walsh Layton Warn
Helen Warner Howard Weiner Bob Whiting Cyril Williams    

Maureen Wallace


John Wallin


Richard Walsh


Richard Walsh


Layton Warn

U.S. Army, U.S. Army Air Corps

Hutchinson, KS
United States
Original home:
Haley, KS
United States

I was a medic at Barksdale Field on August 14, 1945, the day when WW II ended. I was one of the lucky ones in a fairly safe environment compared to so many that were risking their lives daily. Still, I was as glad as most to have the war ended.

On December 7, 1941, I think I heard the first bomb of our engagement in the war while in Wheeler Field, Territory of Hawaii, which was right in the path of the incoming Japanese planes.

On my birthday, August the 4th, 1945, the war had been going on for over three and a half years. Germany had been defeated, but the Japanese showed no sign of ever surrendering, so the country was looking forward reluctantly to a major invasion of Japan; a task that it was commonly estimated would probably take a million lives on both sides. In addition, the Soviets were acting as though they would not go home unless they could take everything with them. It seemed probable that we would see nothing but war for years to come. The future did not look bright.

Then, two days later, came the astounding news that an atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima. Surely, this would end the war - we thought. But the Japanese seemed not to notice, and the war went on as usual. The dropping of a second bomb three days later didn’t seem to get any reaction either.

Finally, on the 14th, came the Japanese surrender! The war was over!

That evening, as I was preparing to join the world’s greatest celebration, already in progress, I saw plane after plane coming in for a landing.

It seemed symbolic.

They had no purpose any more.

None of us did.

I was a civilian in a month and a day.

(See Layton’s story online at www.stories-of-service.org

Submitted by:
Warren C. Hegg
Los Gatos, CA - United States

Relationship to Storyteller:
Adult volunteer

Helen Warner


Howard Weiner


Bob Whiting

Other (Navy corpsman), U.S. Navy

Born: 1926
Escondido, CA
United States
Original home:
Pasadena, CA
United States

I worked in a Navy hospital as a corpsman in San Bernardino and later in Riverside. There was a big hospital there and I cared for a lot of patients. The hospital had a radio outside and we heard the broadcast. The war was over.

Everyone went running out to the eating area. We were all so excited but at the same time very solemn. We knew we would remain in the hospital working for 6 months to a year because our patients needed us. It was quiet in the hospital. I was happy because I lived with the knowledge that I could have been shipped to the war zone at any time. But now that was over and I was relieved.

I was fortunate in my stay in the Navy. After I was discharged I went back to my job at the Standard Filling Station and that is when I met Marie. She was working in a store that had a soda fountain where I would go to buy ice cream cones. She was not happy that I kept asking if I could drive her home. But finally she gave in and I took her home in my old Ford with the cloth rumble seat. We fell in love rapidly and after a summer romance we were married in September. We lived in Arcadia while I attended Pasadena City College and USC on the GI Bill. I taught school and 3 years later became a principal. We have 5 children and have been happily married for over 63 years.

Submitted by:
Linda A. Laurie
Poway, CA - United States

Relationship to Storyteller:
Adult voluntee

Cyril Williams

U.S. Army

Cy Williams as First Lieutenant
Born: 1922
San Jose, CA
United States
Original home:
Salem, OR
United States
Cy Williams at Fort Stevens Oregon as a Corporal in 1942.

I was in a hospital in England when the European Theater War ended with the surrender of Germany. While there, a newspaper headline, reported the development of the atomic bomb. I soon returned to my unit in Germany, a Third Army Maintenance Company in support of the 80th Infantry Division. I stayed in contact with the personnel of that unit for some time, and I could almost recall the name of all 165 of the men.

Indications were that many units in the European Theater would rotate back to the States to prepare for the final stages of the Pacific Theater of Operations. When that failed to materialize in our case, my “after action” mind kicked in and I started contemplating my next move to peacetime pursuits.

I wondered what the impact on the American economy would be with millions of servicemen looking for new careers or their pre war jobs, if they were still there. I wondered what I could do to qualify for the new “GI College Tuition Bill” as I did not take the college prep courses in High School. I wondered where I should return to in the States, having to choose between where my wife was in Seattle or hometown in Salem, Oregon. I even wondered if I should write a “Dear Jane” letter to the wife and go back “home.” I worried about being able to buy civilian clothing. (That was difficult for more than a year after the war). Probably could not buy a car or tires if you already had access to a car. Where was I going to find a place to live? Sure could not move back in with my parents

As it turned out, the GI Bill created the doctors, lawyers and executives of all types. Some of us stayed in the Army, eventually retiring. Cars and clothing to include white shirts were scarce. I chose the wrong town. After the second marriage, the Army became my place to settle. I am now 87 and “stuck” in a retirement home.

I often wished I had not overlooked the chance to prepare a list of all 165 men I served with showing their selection of an address to which each interested man could send a letter with hopes it would be forwarded. As it is, I only stayed in contact with about three. Have regretted that as the most negative memory of the war, for we all went our separate ways and there could have been valuable exchanges of information.

Submitted by:
Cy Williams
San JOse, CA - United States

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