Its hard to imagine what Wold War II was really like is you were born long after it ended. As more veterans die very day, fewer people are alive that can remember it. While books can teach you everything there is to know about the war, nothing can capture the reality as well as stories from people who were affected by it. Hear their stories on this page. God Bless all of our WW 2 veterans!
Interview with Veteran Corporal R. Addison
R. Addison, born in Akron Ohio December 7, 1922, graduated from High School January 1941, and started at Mt Union College which was in his hometown of Alliance Ohio. In November he got appendicitis and was recuperating on his birthday, December 7, 1941 when some of the guys came from the movies and said that they stopped the movies and announced that they bombed Pearl Harbor. He remembers his reaction, everyone was pretty much shocked. He didn't realize it until he was downtown in malt shop and he said “'Those son of guns! That's my birthday! So I had a personal vendetta against them I guess! The whole town was buzzing about it” he said. “ Some of the fellas said it might take 6 weeks, the little 22 articles...well they got 25s which were a lot more powerful than the 25s we found out.”
January 7th he went down and left for the Marine Corps, he left on January 7th. He picked the Marine Corps because he felt it was the best organization. He went to Parris Island for his basic training. “Of course” he said, “all the Marines had just a skeleton of 2 divisions, very very basic, and they were bringing them in 500 a day. They cut boot camp from 13 weeks to 6 weeks. So they put 500 of us in a train up to Quantico in Virginia on the rifle range in the cold.”
“We had the O3s, and took them all the way to Gaudalcanal. In basic we had the old pith helmets. They were in the process of change over from the old WWI helmets. The Raiders were forming at the time” he said, “ at Quantico- were the old 1st Battalion of the 5th Marines. I volunteered for this. We had about 60 in the platoon. 30 or 40 of us volunteered.”
“In Quantico we pulled manuevers through April and had an oversized battalion. Most of the battalions were about 750 men. So we were there and April most of Headquarters Company A, B, C, and E shoved off for San Diego and eventually Samoa for 2 months. Then we finally got word, we travelled on APD’s, those were 4-stack destroyers. They put new diesel motors in them.” By August 7th we hit the island of Tulaghi. The rest of the division had gone to Australia. They weren't in any kind of shape.”
He shares that the Edsen Radiers 1942-1944 which he was a part of was the fist offensive group to engage the Japanese in WW II in Tulaghi. August 7-and 0800 hours. At the time he was just a private. He landed in a old Higgins where they went over in the sides. They couldn't get within 100 yards of the beach because of the coral. They were anywhere from knees up to chest high in the water depending on the coral. “We had the old herringbone type fatigues”
When people asked him what made his battalion so much better than others, he said “training and leadership. Colonel Edsen was his leader at Quantico, and would take them on a 22 mile hike, and would watch everybody go by and then he’d double time up to the top and take off. When they would get back to the barracks he was there talking and making nice remarks to everybody.
He spent time in the reserves when Korea came around, and spent a year down at Portsmouth Virginia in Special Service. When he went they gave him the same MOS, at his rank as a corporal. He made use of the GI Bill and went 8 summers and got his Masters degree at NYU as a Specialist in Education. He belongs to the Legion and has a life membership in the Marine Corp League. He says that service has developed his leadership.
If you are a WW 2 veteran, or you are a family member or friend of a WW 2 veteran and would like to share their story on this page, please email or contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 405-821-9047